SquareXO Staff – Our Best Games of 2018

It’s that time of year where it’s time to pick our favourite game of the year. So we’ve rounded up our staff and contributors to give us their picks. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

Game of the Year – Joe

It’s been a fantastic year for gaming, especially from a PlayStation point of view, with fantastic exclusives such as Detroit Become Human, Spider-Man and the amazing Tetris Effect on PlayStation VR, but for me, God of War was the masterpiece to rule them all. Studio Santa Monica did an absolutely fantastic job of reinventing the God of War series for PS4, with almost every area of the game an improvement on any game in the series before it. The storytelling is at a different level from nearly every other game out there, while the studio has also performed miracles with the presentation, as both the sound and graphics blow any other PS4 title out of the water. There is a level of depth on offer here which is second to none and as for the gameplay itself, it’s just stunning.

I loved every second of my time with God of War and while there are other games which have grabbed my attention, none have left the impact which God of War has.

Honourable mentions: Tetris Effect, Spider-Man, Detroit Become Human,  Astro Bot, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Red Dead Redemption 2, Vampyr, Far Cry 5

Game of The Year – Rebecca S

To me 2018 was the year of the indie games, underwater survival game Subnautica had me hooked from my first dive into the waters whereas Bendy and The Ink Machine kept me on my toes with its eerie story and whimsical graphics. Whilst I can’t deny that I loved some of the bigger titles of the year, such as Detroit: Become Human, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Super Smash Bro’s Ultimate the game that won me over in 2018 was made by a small indie company, called The Voxel Agents. The Gardens Between was teased at Paris Games week 2017 and while it may have been overlooked by some it caught my eye. This charming indie game explores friendship, childhood memories and the power time has over us, colourful graphics and beautifully constructed sandbox worlds kept me interested but it’s the emotion that I uncovered in the game which made me fall in love with The Gardens Between.

Honourable Mentions: Detroit: Become Human, Red Dead Redemption 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Subnautica

Game of the Year – Lloyd

2018 will live long in my memory as the year I finally understood the appeal of open world games. It took a combination of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Marvel’s Spider-Man to show me the joys of emergent storytelling and open world collecting respectively. That inspired me to return to Assassins Creed: Origins and a few others to finally commit the time to finish them. God of War also stands out as one of the greatest games I’ve had the pleasure of playing, with its connected world, lore, and incredible journey. With all that said, my Game of the Year is Red Dead Redemption 2. Never before have I felt so strangely empty when finishing a game, and my seventy-plus hours spent in its vast open world were filled with a near constant amount of surprises and wonders. It takes a strong developer to make a cast of killers and thieves feel like a family, and Rockstar had me caring about each and every member of the Van Der Linde gang. Red Dead Redemption 2 is a watershed moment for storytelling in video games in the same was The Last Of Us was five years ago.

Honourable Mentions: Dead Cells, Into The Breach, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Game of the Year – John 

My game of the year is actually pretty easy to pick.

I can’t say I really enjoyed God Of War all that much, as much as I love spider-man I still have not even bothered to finish the main story. Forza horizon 4 I was hyped for the longest time about it and it comes out and I put in a few hours.

The one game I have played most this year and I keep going back to is Dragonball FighterZ. FighterZ has the honour of not only being the best fighting game of 2018, but it is also the best Dragonball game ever made.

Taking the 3v3 over the top fighting style of Marvel vs Capcom and mixing in the Dragonball licence was pure gold, and seeing Goku and crew flying around in stunning cell-shaded style kicking ass is a joy to play. Some people may argue that the game leans a little too heavy on Sayians, but Sayians are awesome so who cares?!!

If you are a Dragonball fan or a fan of 2D fighters you owe it to yourself to own this game.

Honourable mentions: Forza Horizon 4, Spider-man, Tetris Effect

Game of the Year – Myles

If I had to put a nail on the game I enjoyed most this year, it’d go to none other than Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. A game that I enjoyed the combat and story in as much as God Of War, a game that kept me hooked 3x longer than Spider-Man, but ultimately: a game that made me fall in love with Assassin’s Creed and the open world genre once again. If you decide to pick up Odyssey, you’ll find a great adventure awaits you.

Honourable Mentions: go to both God Of War and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, both of which being games that kept my ass firmly planted on my seat, my controller stuck in my hands and my mind 100% on playing the game. 2 of the finest experiences I’ve had, full stop.

Game of the Year – Seb

I have played a lot of games this year and it’s hard to pick the best one out of so many great games. I have to give it to the best overall game, sure games were better looking than Dead Cells and had better stories but Dead Cells was something new. It was a rogue-like Metroidvania with nearly unlimited replay value. Beautifully handcrafted graphics and amazing combat that was different every time you play. It was fast, hard and very rewarding. I loved it, it was as near perfect as any game came to being perfect this year.

Honourable mentions – God of War, Spiderman, Monster Hunter World, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Celeste, The Persistence, Slime Rancher, Guacamelee 2, AstroBot, Hollow Knight and Beat Saber.

Game of the Year – Rob 

When we all look back on 2018 it can be rather depressing. Look, I didn’t want to open with that but you’ve got to give it to me. Some pretty great people sadly passed, the Prime Minister of the UK swerved our lovely island into a black swamp of uncertainty and gave way to a rise in far-right idiocy. Donald Trump continued to…well, be Donald Trump I guess and PLEASE do not get me started on baby shark. Yes, it’s all a bit much to swallow (except if you’re a white nationalist or an avid dancer of the shark song), but thankfully we had a load of nice shiny video games to keep us distracted from the inevitable creep towards deaths embrace.

So, the game of the year? It took me a while to think of it if I’m honest. Not because there was a lack of quality games this year, quite the contrary, it’s just that I’m an extremely indecisive chump and I enjoyed a load of games for different reasons and where some excelled in one area, others absolutely killed it in others. When I finally decided even I was shocked at myself. My game of the year of 2018 is Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. Yes, that one. Not Spider-Man, not God of War and definitely not Fortnite (god do I suck at Fortnite).

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a marvel and this is coming from someone who wasn’t a massive fan before. I played a few of them and it all started to get a bit silly for me. The story, the repetitiveness of the assassination missions, the dull combat, I switched off pretty quickly from the series very early on. Then I played Odyssey, and oh god what had I just got myself in for. Everything that I had come to know about Assassin’s Creed quickly melted away and gave way to this absolute brute of a game. The world of ancient Greece is full of beautiful landscapes and steeped in history that can be felt throughout. Kassandra is an incredibly lovable character and someone you will take to the edge of the world to get her where she needs to be (she’s also true canon and I won’t hear anything else about it).

Maybe it’s the fact that Odyssey kept me hooked for the longest time, I had to know what was on every island, find every location and search high and low for every cultist member so that I could spartan kick them all off a frickin’ cliff. Oh, what a wonderful thing. I just let my worries melt away in the beautiful landscapes of ancient Greece. Seventy hours later and I emerge from my pit, only to realise that Brexit is still happening. Oh no.

Honourable mentions – Spider-Man, God of War, Dead Cells.  (See you all in 2022 where I review Death Stranding on a computer far underground in the rebel hideout I built after Brexit destroyed an entire country. Doo doo doo doo doo…….)

Game of the Year – Nic

2018 has brought us some truly phenomenal games. My first honourable mention, Monster Hunter World, brought the franchise back to where it belongs — a Sony console — in a language I can play with my friends. Playing in Japanese is fine, but the English language release has helped open up who I can play with, and I’m overjoyed to share one of my favourite franchises with gamers new and old.

My second honourable mention is Guacamelee! 2. DrinkBox studios knocked it out of the park with this sequel to one of the best metroidvanias I have ever played. If you like bright, colourful, funny games that celebrate culture while referencing the other games you love, do yourself a favour. I gave it a solid 10/10.

But my true Game of the Year has to be Spiderman. Never before have I gone from zero to Platinum that fast. The quality of this game really is something to marvel at. It plays like Arkham Asylum but has the engrossing colour and texture of the real world, unlike the dark and gritty world of DC. Spiderman’s latest game is rich, beautiful and a genuine delight to be part of. It is funny; it is sad; it is the most human superhero game I have ever played.

Honourable Mentions: Guacamelle 2, Monster Hunter World

Game of the Year – Rebecca N

Trying to decide on my game of the year for 2018 has brought me great internal turmoil. I’ve thrown around several different games arching over several different genres, but I would be lying to both myself, and everyone reading this if I didn’t hand over the crown to God of War. The journey of self-discovery that both Kratos and Atreus go on is – in my opinion- second to none. The combat if fluid and satisfying, the humour is wonderfully executed and the story is simply phenomenal. After finishing God of War, I needed more, I bought a book on Norse mythology, I trawled the internet for theories I may have missed, I simply didn’t want my experience to be over, I didn’t want to say goodbye to Kratos and ‘boy’. If you haven’t played God of War yet, I would implore you to reconsider, it’s an adventure you won’t want to miss.

Honourable mentions: GRIS, Spiderman and Detroit: Become Human.

Game of the Year – Josh

It is a difficult decision to make as there have been no short supply of fantastic games to be released this year. However, at the end of the day the clear winner for me what Spiderman. Ever since I was a little boy he was always my favourite superhero and I went into the game with a lot of height. The story was fun, travelling around the city was literally something I would do for hours. I am excited to see what the next Spiderman game will be like!


Honourable Mentions: Rage in Peace, Tetris Effect, The Council, Super Smash Bros Ultimate

Game of the Year – James

I think I should start off by saying I haven’t played all the great games that 2018 had to offer. I am yet to play Astro Bot or Tetris Effect nor have I even loaded up AC Odyssey or jumped back Destiny 2 Forsaken. Therefore, consider this the game of the year for the games I have played. My choice for Game of the Year is Spider-Man! I thought this game was absolutely fantastic and it was full of little things that just made it so great. The gameplay is fun and enjoyable, web-slinging around the city feels so natural, the mixed paced keeps you on your toes and it is a beautiful game. Publishing a well-loved Marvel Super Hero comes with its own challenges and I think Insomniac Games did everything right in the development of this game.

Game of the Year – Podcast

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Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year from Team SquareXO.