Good. Bad. I'm the guy with the XBone.
2018 was an interesting year for me with life changes and video game releases. This year was also when i decided to actively engage with this damn fine community. At the moment I only have a 3DS and Xbox One, so my exposure to new releases last year was limited. So my list will consist of multi-platform and Xbox One games released in 2018. So here is my Top 10 games released in 2018:
It the last couple of years I have gotten into roguelikes thanks to indie games such as Spelunky, Rogue Legacy and Enter the Gungeon. I decided to try this because I liked the art style and was interested in the survival elements. With the art style, minimal instructions, atmospheric music and exploration it reminded me of Another World as I explored the eerie and unfamiliar landscape.
I explored the mysterious island and explored the depths of the island with my lantern and sword to guide and protect my character. I used my sword, a bow and spear I had found to kill the enemies in each room that I entered. Killing the enemies gave me fuel for my lantern that was used to highlight deadly spikes and to open doors to other rooms and floors beneath the island. With thirst and hunger meters to manage I was hunting animals, gathering materials and crafting soups, potions, bandages and torches at campfires that are found around the island and on each floor. The campfires can be used to save your progress and to warp to with your new character after the previous one has died to collect the material the previous explorer had left behind. I discovered secret paths that lead me to hidden areas and chests filled with materials to craft with. I also unlocked shortcuts to different areas on the surface of the island such as the northern beach that was littered with the remains of wrecked vessels. The only time I have died was when I walked into spike traps in the darkness and dying of dehydration and hunger.
So far I have only gotten to the third floor but I am wanting to play more and unlock the mysteries of this game.
I had been meaning to purchase Moonlighter for a while because I was attracted to the roguelike dungeon exploration and the managing of a shop. With the Legend of Zelda like dungeons and the pixel style art I explored the dungeons at night and during the day I managed the store like a medieval Dante.
I moved around the dungeons killing enemies with weapons such as swords, spears and gloves. I blocked the enemies attacks with a shield or dodge rolled out of the way similar to Enter the Gungeon. For the first time in quite a while I got out a notebook and pencil and recorded what prices got what reaction to work out the best price to sell my gathered items for. In the dungeons I had to carefully manage my inventory because some items i would find would be cursed and could destroy or clone what I had already picked up. I had to decide what items to sell with a magical magnifying glass in the dungeons so i could keep hoarding more loot. The enemies were interesting and had a set patterns to learn and ways to dispatch of them. Items and enemies for each dungeon were recorded in a note book that could be consulted in the menu. I upgraded the town and my shop using the gold I earned buy selling my wares, I upgraded and had weapons forged by the blacksmith and defeated the boss of the first dungeon and unlocked the next. I was able to wishlist weapon upgrades so the materials I found in the dungeon would be highlghted and I would know not to discard them. The udgrades for the shop are town are quite expensive and will take a few runs in each dungeon to gather enough valuable items to make a profit in the shop.
The gameplay loop is satifying and wanting to work out the best price for every item is a goal I want to achieve and this is probably another indie game that I will double dip for when I eventually get a Switch.
8. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden.
I had only played some of the new releases of 2018 so I decided to expand that by getting Xbox Game Pass. If I didn't do that I would not have played this strategy RPG. I was drawn to this because of the open world design, stealth elements, post-apocalyptic setting and anthromorphic mutant characters.
Set in a post-apoclyptic world that I felt was very similar to Fallout, I controlled two mutant Stalkers: a mutant warthog named Bormin and mutant duck appropriatley named Dux. The Stalkers were orginally tasked with finding scrap and materials within the radiated area called the Zone. The leader of the safe haven called the Ark asks them to find a missing techincal genius called Hammon that is needed to keep the Ark running. Exploring the Zone I encountered enemies in turn based fights by postitioning the Stalkers around the area and using shotguns, rifles and grenades to kill the enemy scavengers. Along the way I found other characters to join my party such as a mutant with the abilty to jump great heights, another that could use mind control and electric attacks and a mutant fox lady. I unlocked mutations by spending points from leveling up via a skill tree that gave the characters new abilites to use in battle. Some of these abilites allowed me to rush enemies, use an extra action point during a turn or to sprout wings to get to higher ground. I could equip vests and hats to buff my characters and add attachments to their weapons. Stealth can be used to avoid battles or to individually pick off enemies without alerting the rest of the group. In some instances I stealthed around areas with high level enemies just to collect scrap to uprgrade my characters to be able to kill these enemies later.
The game has many different difficulty levels and options to include permadeath for party members and autosaving after every turn. Due to me choosing the default difficulty it has been slow going and I have restarted many times. I plan on revisiting the game again at some point this year but I have too many games to play at the moment.
Another Game Pass release that I played to pad out my Top 10 of 2018 and I was surprised that I liked it so much. I liked the minimalistic character design and was intrigued by the low fantasy setting and the world. Before this I had only played Dark Souls and Lords of the Fallen, so I had some experience with Soulslike gameplay but I had not gotten good at it.
I explored a world that had been living in darkness and fought other humans characters with a companion that was controlled by A.I. or another player via matchmaking. I travelled through ruins and dungeons completing main quests and quests for the NPC companions that leveled their skills up. I could equip single-handed weapons with a shield or two-handed weapons to use against the enemies I faced. A lantern is used to light up the dark areas of the world and can used to weaken some enemies and can be placed on the ground so your shield can be used in the dark dungeons. The weapons along with the health restoring potion can be upgraded using the currency called Scoria gained from defeated enemies. Just like the Souls games you lose Scoria if you die and are able to recover them from the place where you died. Weapons, shields, armour and Scoria stashes can be found throughout the world by climbing over cliffs and ruins and making risky leaps across gaps.
This game if definately influenced by Dark Souls but unlike those games this one is fun not frustrating, except until you get to the dungeon of the third boss and that is where I'm currently at. I enjoyed this game alot and it will hopefully get me to play Dark Souls again and maybe get to the first boss.
6. Sea of Thieves.
In 2018 Sea of Thieves was one on the first major releases I bought, I had preordered to get access to the beta and even bought the Sea of Thieves Xbox One controller. I wanted to play this with my brother and my friends and thanks to the crossplay with PC I was able to organise a crew to plunder and explore the seas. I wanted to play this because I was a fan of the Monkey Island series and grew up playing classic Rare games such as Battletoads and Conker's Bad Fur Day. I understood what this game was offering and did not expect any more than what was delivered.
With my crew of friends we dug up buried treasure, hunted down skeleton captains and delivered cannon balls and chickens to other ports on the map. We all dressed up our pirates in different clothes that we had unlocked through voyages and had bought with our plundered gold. Sometimes we would just mess around with other crews or worked with them to defeat the skeleton forts. Other times we would get drunk, play our instruments and shoot each other out of the cannons. Our ship was sunk many times or we sailed off after a crew member fell off the ship. We had so much fun just playing around on the seas and doing stupid stuff within the scurvy world. The day we were trying to complete the steps we needed to fight the Megalodon we finally defeated the Kraken. That boosted our confidence and when we finally encountered the Megalodon with all these other crews we managed to deliver the killing blow.
This game is definatley a social one and a game that can be played casually with friends as you catch up and chat while pirating about the bright and colourful world. I have not played in a while but with all the content we have missed I cannot wait to play again with my friends.
5. Dead Cells.
Being a fan of metroidvanias, getting into playing roguelikes and most people on Destructiod all playing it at release convinced me to get this as soon as possible. I drawn to the pixel graphics, the Symophony of the Night influence, run based gameplay and the dark humour.
I started my first run using the sword and bow to kill enemies and pick up stat upgrades and items to use such as turrets and grenades. I had gotten as far as the second area where I was killed by the teleporting swordsmen, I kept playing thoughout the night and had gotten up to the first boss who killed me quite quickly. Through subsequent runs I had upgraded my health flask and had unlocked more weapons and items by spending souls that I had gotten from enemies that I had slain. Days later I had found the glyphs that unlocked traversal abilites that allowed me to explore the levels more thouroughly and to find alternate exits and levels. I have found all of the glyphs and have found most of the branching levels and have fought most of the bosses. The furtherest I have gotten is the the area after the clocktower and I only died because I wanted to explore the rest of the map instead of exiting the level. I have not finished it yet but I have played it enough that stopped playing Enter the Gungeon. This is definately a game I will be playing for quite a while.
4. Hollow Knight: Voidheart Edition.
I didn't discover Castlevania: Symphony of the Night until about 10 years after its release and became fascinated with the metroidvania genre. Since then I have tried to play as many games in the genre that I have had access to. When Hollow Knight came out it was prasied by all and I was interested in playing it but was disappointed that it was not on any of the platforms that I owned. It was going to be my first indie purchase when would eventually get a Switch then in September of last year it finally came to the Xbox in the form of the Voidheart Edition.
I started my journey into the ruins of Hallownest playing as the title character, a bug knight that wields a nail as a sword. I traversed across platforms and defeated enemies with my nail while collecting the currency known as Geo from my fallen foes. I saved my progress at benches thoughout this insect influenced world and respawn at them if I had made a mistake and died. When I died I would drop my Geo but I would have a chance at recovering it by going back to where I died and defeating my soul. I would meet a bug cartographer who would sell me maps for the different areas of the game and my progress of exploring the areas would be updated everytime I sat at a bench. I could unlock traversal and magic abilites by exploring the world and progressing the story. I could purchase pins that I could equip that would allow me to gather Geo magnetically or show where I was on the map. I found a stag station that allowed me to ride a spider from station to station allowing me to fast travel around the world. I found that each area had its own theme and enemy types and areas that I could not access until later. At times the game reminded me of past Metroidvanias that I had played such as Dust: An Elysian Tale and Ori and the Blind Forest.
I have only gotten up to the third area just after I had gotten stuck on the first Hornet fight until I had finally defeated her. This is one Metroidvania I am determined to finsh and will be on eof my favourites of the genre for quite a while.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.
This was my first Call of Duty I had purchased since Modern Warfare 3 and the first I had played since Ghosts. I was not fazed that Black Ops 4 did not have a single player campaign since I did not even finish the one in Modern Warfare 3. The multiplayer mode was what I was mainly interested in as well as Blackout since I had been playing PUBG a lot last year. I had only played Zombies once before in the first Black Ops, so I was interested in trying out the mode and seeing what had changed since then.
I jumped staright into the multiplayer after it took forever to install that huge day one patch. I enjoyed being able to select from a range of specialists with varying abilities. I tried to play as Ruin to begin with but I could not get used to using the grappling hook well and was getting killed mid air. I eventually settled on using Ajax and cleared rooms with the 9-Bang and the MX9 submachine gun. I did well for a while learning the maps, getting kills, leveling up and upgrading my class loadouts. Then I started playing hardcore team deathmatch with my little brother and realised I had to change my playstyle because I was flashing my teamates quite often and was team killing them. I then switched to playing as Nomad using his mesh mines and faithful dog to get kills and I have been using him ever since. I'm currently on my second prestige and am getting close to starting my third.
With multiplayer taking up most of my time I have only played some of Blackout with my brother and his friends. We played PUBG earlier in the year and was impressed that it ran and played better than the game that inspired this mode. It took some time getting used to playing in first person since PUBG on Xbox no longer had FPP servers down under. With the abundance of weapons and attachments you are spoiled for choice and the play area is exciting and varying in the different landmarks on the map. I have only encountered the zombies a few times and did not receive a mystery box weapon that I was happy with. The furtherest I have gotten in Solo is third and have placed in the the top 10 a few times in Duos and Quads. This is my go to now when I'm in the mood for a battle royale game.
From what I have played I really like the Zombies mode and is a change from playing against other players. I enjoyed making custom loadouts for my character with potions, perks and special weapons. I liked the maps that were intially released with the game with the Titanic one being my favourite. Playing Zombies with friends is lot of fun except for them because they have to revive me every couple of rounds and I have enjoyed trying to unlock the easter eggs for each map.
My favourite Call of Duty in years and a game that contains all the different gameplay modes that I want in a shooter in one package.
2. Monster Hunter World.
I bought my N3DSXL in May 2017 just so I could play Monster Hunter, then two months later they announced Monster Hunter World for consoles including Xbox One. I don't regret purchasing the 3DS because I got to learn the base mechanics for the game series before I got to play Monster Hunter World. Since I was still playing Generations I did not buy World at launch instead I got it on the third to last day of 2018.
I created my Hunter and Palico and played through the tutorials, some of the game felt familiar but there was modern gameplay improvements. I liked that I was able to to go on expeditions to the areas without time limits so I could gather materials, complete bounties and farm monsters for parts to improve my weapons and armour. It was great to see the little details such as endemic life and the graphics did not see as old fashioned as the entries on the 3DS. The scoutflies highlighted gathering points for me and helped me track the monsters with ease. I used the Dual Blades as I did previously with Generations and found that I enjoyed using them more because I had a proper lock on system and was able to easily move the camera with the right stick. I have not played co-op with anyone yet because not many of my friends play Monster Hunter and I don't really want to play with randoms that will most likely call me a noob.
I have progressed as far as the four star missions and with the short amount of time I have had with this game I will have to try to balance my playtime with this along with the rest of my backlog. I hope there will be more Monster Hunter games for home consoles in the future and I will try to get my friends to play this series with me.
1. Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Redemption was one of my favourite games of the previous console generation and one of my favourite Rockstar developed games. The sequel was one of my most anticipated games of 2018 and it did not fail to disappoint. I had only finished the story of the previous games a couple of weeks earlier because I got carried away with completeing side missions. Like with Black Ops 4 there was a big day one patch for this game and I had to make room on my Xbox's hard drive and wait for the patch to finish downloading. It was worth the wait as I played throught the opening act as the aging cowboy Arthur Morgan until the early hours of the morning knowing I had to go to work in a couple of hours.
After surviving in the snow and having run in with a rival gang I tracked and rescued the previous games protagonist John Marsden. Once the gang had set up camp in New Hanover, I explored the rich and detailed open world of Red Dead Redemption 2. I went hunting for hides and meat, walked around the local town greeting everyone I saw, bought new clothes and provision for myself and my horse and took part in missions offered by strangers around the world. After I had dressed up Arthur in black and purple like the Undertaker, I continued with the story. These missions introduced me to robbing trains, antagonising other gangs, getting into saloon fights, hunting legendary bears and drunken shenanigans with gang member Lenny. I was able to interact with other members of the gang, complete side missions with them and contibute to the camps funds by donating trinkets that I had stolen or money that I had earned. Being the the leaders right hand man I was able to determine what the funds could be spent on and could upgrade the facilities of the camp and by provision such as food, medicine and ammo.
I could also spend my earned or ill gotten gains on improving and customising my weapons, buying new belts and holsters and customising my horse's saddle. I could buy or wrangle new horses and store them in the local stables in town with each of the horses having differents strengths and weaknesses. I earned money by completing missions, robbing townsfolk, stealing wagons or by gambling in many of the saloons across the map. With so much side activities to do it is easy the get caught up in doing them and not continuing the main story missions.
I have only just started playing Red Dead Online and it feels like a western version of GTA Online only with a few differences and an actual story to play though as your own custom cowboy. The gameplay and world is greatly improved from the previous title and even though I am only in the third act I will continue playing this game for the next few years.
2018 was an amazing year for video games and many of these titles and the ones I didn't play will keep me busy for most of 2019 even though there are many games releasing this year that I want to play. Maybe I will get around to playing them in the second half of the year after I have finished completing my favourites from 2018.