Console games of the year 2018


Last year was a superb year for gaming for many different reasons. Not only were some truly tremendous titles released, but a brand new and immensely popular genre emerged from games based on Koushun Takami’s novel Battle Royale; a huge array of top-class single-player games stood tall when some ‘experts’ foresaw their end; and gamers continued to revolt against the tyranny of loot boxes.


Here, we’re going to be narrowing our focus to the three best console games – those released to the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, or Xbox One – released in 2018.


Honourable Mentions



Credit:
Monster Hunter

Credit: Monster Hunter


It was very tough to compile a top-three of the best console games of 2018, so it’s important to make a note of these other incredible creations.


Monster Hunter: World: Capcom’s big drive to create a game that would appeal to the Western audience was a smash-hit. The immersive and deep game features unique game mechanics, simply stunning graphics, and a completely customisable experience – from your choice of weapons and armour to deciding whether to slay or sedate the monsters.


Spider-Man: In a world devoid of superhero games, Insomniac’s Marvel creation proved that the audience is very hungry for more. Spider-Man was a record-breaking game for Sony, but the game’s appeal went well beyond its titular character: it delivers the full superhero experience in an open-world which features a storyline, many supervillains, boss battles, random criminal encounters, and customisation options.


Forza Horizon 4: Forza Horizon’s innovative take on the racing genre continues to shine through, this time taking its drivers to Great Britain. With all of the customisation and free roam aspects that it’s become well-known for, Forza Horizon 4 is quite possibly the best racing game ever made. In a year that the PS4 and Switch released many great exclusives, Forza Horizon 4 stood as the Xbox One’s only top-class console exclusive.


With the honourable mentions in the books, let’s take a look at the games which made a huge mark on 2018 and what we consider to be the very best releases of the year.


3. Red Dead Redemption 2



of the American south.

Credit: Rockstar Games


Release Date: 26 October 2018, Console: PlayStation 4, Xbox One


Red Dead Redemption 2 is one of the most detailed and vast open-world experiences ever put to game. The developers, Rockstar, have left no stone unturned, from the need to clean your guns to animating every aspect of each horse.


The story is superb, not just engaging in Western-style shootout and bank jobs, and instead adding many different elements that the player must partake in to help restore the camp to its former glory. With grand character development through meaningful missions and less important tasks, players find that they’re not playing for themselves and are instead doing what’s best for the camp, such as behaving in most public places, contributing money to the camp, and going hunting.


The story aside, it’s clear that a huge amount of time went into creating the game’s vast open world, and the developers want each player to experience it all. The sheer grandeur of the game becomes most apparent when you find yourself without a horse and low on supplies in the wilderness, needing to walk all the way back to civilisation while refraining from carrying a perfect pelt due to it hindering your ability to fend off the many predators of the American south.


It’s a tremendous game, one that gives players a massive playground to be an outlaw as they see fit. Red Dead Redemption 2 went on to win Best Narrative, Best Performance, Best Audio Design, and Best Score/Music at The Game Awards 2018 as well as being a nominee for Game of the Year.


2. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate



Credit: Nintendo of Europe


Release Date: 7 December 2018, Console: Nintendo Switch


On the surface, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a deep fighting game; but just a peek under the lid will reveal that it is so much more than a brawler. Unlike other games in the genre, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate offers players a huge range of challenges which force them to think about how they play the game and which characters to use, leading to the discovery of brand new characters from gaming universes that they’ve never experienced.


In both the overall game and the adventure mode World of Light, players start with a quaint group of fighters from the massive total roster of 74 playable characters. From there, players must simply play the game to earn their chance at fighting, beating, and unlocking more characters for their own uses. One of the reasons why the game was so hotly-anticipated in 2018 is because of the series’ notorious cross-over rosters. In Ultimate, fans get to play as all 63 characters which appeared in the previous games as well as 11 new ones at launch, with more on the way, all of which boast multiple appearances.


Gameplay can take many different forms for those who are playing it single-player, with many others in local multiplayer, or online. There’s the vast story mode, massively customisable battles and tournaments, arcade modes, challenges, and much more as players are given free rein to battle and practice with new fighters as they see fit.


With so much to do, incredibly balanced fighting, gameplay that can be quickly and enjoyably picked up by any experience of gamer, and a vast collection of much-loved characters, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate transcends the genre but stands as one of the most enjoyable brawlers in existence. It went on to win Best Fighting Game at the Game Critics Awards. The previous game Super Smash Bros Melee became so popular among the fighting gamers that some eSports betting sites started to put out odds on the competitive matches.


 


1. God of War



Credit: Santa Monica Studio


Release Date: 20 April 2018, Console: PlayStation 4


God of War from Sony Interactive Entertainment Santa Monica Studio was the defining game of 2018, and perhaps of the decade so far. The God of War series has run since 2005, with its many renditions set in Greek mythology, appeasing fans with its hack-and-slash style of play. But with 2018’s God of War, the franchise made the brave move to pivot to the realms of Norse mythology and mix-up the gameplay, which resulted in it earning immense critical and player acclaim. Even though former God of War games were pretty big, this God of War had a new sense of appeal which drew in a massive audience, breaking sales records upon release.


Along with moving into Norse mythology, God of War 2018 differs from the rest of the series by featuring two lead characters. You’ll get to play as Kratos and indirectly as his son, Atreus, as the two make their way past mythological beasts to reach the top of the mountain spread the ashes of Atreus’ mother. Fans of the series get to see Kratos develop from the rage-filled god whose sole aim is to destroy everything in his path into a father-figure trying to teach his son the harsh truths of the world, while also keeping his past a secret.


The story differs greatly from the standard God of War model, which led to the developers changing the gameplay from hack-and-slash to featuring more tactical, but very satisfying combat system centred around Kratos’ new Leviathan Axe as well as super powered foot-and-fist fighting. The way that the player sees the game is also very different, with an over-the-shoulder free camera being used over the traditional cinematic view. It is also the first 3D triple-A game to take place within one shot, which goes a long way towards fully immersing you in the story and the action.


A truly momentous creation, God of War won Game of the Year and Best Game Direction at The Game Awards 2018, cementing the Norse-themed action-adventure game among the very best console games ever made.