Hard to believe a full year has gone by, but hey, here we are, about to start the first annual Precursorgames Game Awards (a better name will have to be made some time).
We are undoubtedly living in a golden age of gaming, what with the Switch and PS4 offering masterpieces on nearly a six month basis, its madness! And I am so here for it.
Of course, I didn’t get to play anywhere near all of the best releases this year (I still haven’t played God of War or Spiderman).
Now, because of this, and because I simply can’t play everything in a year, we’re not going to be sticking exclusively to games that released in 2018.
These are, rather, games I played in 2018, regardless of their initial release date.
Got all that? Cool, lets get into it!
Best level design
When it comes to level design, there is really only one clear winner for me this year. Team Cherry’s Hollow Knight had me so entranced in its world, its all I could think about for a solid month or two.
All throughout my play-through, I couldn’t help but admire and gawk at the sheer brilliance of its level design. It sets out to create a connected world not unlike that of Dark Souls, but if you ask me, manages to transcend its inspirations and create something truly its own, and very much on another level.
You can read my full review for the game here, if you’re interested.
I did not see this one coming. Seriously, not at all. I had seen this game release and shrugged it off immediately as a shameless Overwatch clone. And while that is absolutely true (they don’t even try to hide it) the game is still very competently built, and considering I played it on the Switch, the only major platform currently without Overwatch, you kinda just think “why not”.
The game is totally free, and doesn’t push micro-transactions in your face. You can get by perfectly fine without paying a dime.
Give it a go if you’ve got some friends to play with, its a seriously good time.
Until Overwatch makes a debut on Switch, Paladins is way more of a viable option than you might think.
Kirby: Star Allies
Its not often that a Nintendo game lets me down. At least not recently, in the lovely Switch era. But Star Allies was not the Kirby game I wanted to happen at all.
To be fair, this is mostly on me. I saw an HD Kirby game being teased, with gorgeous graphics and classic side-scrolling. I thought “Oh hell yes! Given Nintendo’s recent track-record, this could well be one of the best, least gimmicky Kirby games in a long time”.
Thiiiisss was not the case. Star Allies, as the name very much implies, is an allies-focused game, with a large emphasis put on playing with friends. Up to three.
On paper that sounds like it could be alright, but in practice its really a mess of a screen, with so much happening at once, that you lose sight of your own character.
Far too many times did I shout “WHERE AM I”.
I ended up taking extra time and care to attempt to play through the game without the sometimes necessary to proceed allies, but ended up giving up on the game, and to this day I have not completed it.
I get a little bit of a headache thinking about it.
Maybe next time, Kirby!
Ni No Kuni II
The sequel to one of my favourite games of all time! And it lives up to the name. Which is no simple task.
Ni No Kuni II is a vastly different game from the first, and while in some ways (story, mostly) it might not be quite as good, it does so much new, and is such a joy to play that it carves out its own identity even in the market of ever-bettering RPGs that we currently find ourselves in.
I’ve spent hours upon hours simply running mundane tasks for my villagers in order to build my prestige and grow my town. The amount of replay-ability found here is rare today, and makes for a game that will find it a struggle to age at all.
An ever-green, brilliant RPG with a seemingly endless amount of content to venture through.
A fairly large DLC pack has been announced recently too, with new story content, new weapons, improved combat, etc. Gets a huge recommendation from me!
Steamworld Dig 2
I sort of downloaded this on a whim one day, I just thought it looked like it could be fun, and woah, was I right.
Its an absolute blast to play, but what I didn’t see coming was a genuinely good story?! Steamworld Dig 2 is a game crafted with heart and executed with a finesse you don’t often see from an indie studio. Definitely give it a go if you’re at all interested in it.
League of Legends
The game that just doesn’t die, huh. I’ve played this on and off for years and years now, and am forever finding myself drawn back to it for one reason or another.
The newer characters and updates to the game-play have been some of the best to ever be introduced, and things seem to only be on the up.
Streamers are picking the game back up again, and an influx of new players are being drawn in by the KDA skin set.
There’s never been a better time to be into League of Legends, which is not often something you can say for a game that is going on ten years old!
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The latest in Nintendo’s long-running party fighter is undoubtedly my favourite. Which is saying a lot, because I love Smash, always have. I honestly thought the Wii U game was going to be the pinnacle, but nope, here we are, with a vastly superior version yet again.
The inclusion of so many characters this time round just leads to so many possibilities, you can simply play regular Smash against CPU for hundreds of hours and not get bored.
I’m all about playing competitively though, its just what I enjoy, and the online is brilliant for that (when it works).
Honestly, whether you’re buying for a single-player or multi-player experience here, you will not be let down. This is the result of years of endless work and revisions.
It very much lives up to the Ultimate name.
Game of the year
Monster Hunter World
And… My favourite game this year. The one I spent by far the most time in, Monster Hunter World.
There’s too much goodness here for me to go over in a meager paragraph or two, but know that World is far and away the best Monster Hunter game in the series.
The monsters, the environments, the gameplay, the evolution of the mechanics. Everything is executed flawlessly to build without a doubt, my favourite game of 2018.
You can read my full review on it here, if you want a more in-depth explanation.
And there we are! That’s that. What a year.
With any luck, 2019 will be just as good! It’s looking promising alright, what with Animal Crossing, Metroid and Pokemon looming on the horizon, it could very well top this year.
We’ll just have to wait and see.
What do you think of my picks, and what would you change? What is your game of the year? Do tell, I’m so curious to hear!
Precursogames Discord server: https://discord.gg/nDUGUfm