games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Games of 2018 (So Far)

July 3, 2018 | Posted by Marc Morrison
God of War

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! Well, July has just started which means the year is a little more than halfway over. I thought it might be good to take stock in the games I have played so far and see what I think of certain games. This isn’t an all-inclusive list of every game that came out in 2018, this is just a list of games I actually played and can speak to on some authority with. Enjoy:

#8: Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is decidedly not a good game. But of the 2018 games I’ve played, it’s at least one I can reasonably talk about. There are innumerable problems with Far Cry 5 as a whole: 1. Crafting is largely removed from the game. 2. The storyline and characters go absolutely nowhere. 3. You have no player identity or agency within the game world. 4. Certain NPC helpers are grossly overpowered and others are near useless. 5. No real improvements over Far Cry 4. Really, I could go on. About the only thing the game has going for it are the “Prepper Stash” puzzles and online co-op, but they even managed to screw the online part up by not letting your partner share in any progress that you do in your world. From top to bottom, Far Cry 5 is a mess of a game but if you’re really looking to play something with a friend, who may live in Georgia (for example), it’s at least a decent diversion for a while.

#7: Subnautica

Subnautica isn’t the most action-oriented game on this list but I dig it for the relaxing vibe it has. Harder modes has you focus on things like your hunger, thirst, health and so on, but there is an “easy” mode where you just care about building cool stuff, exploring the ocean planet and trying to go deeper and deeper in the dark depths of it all. Also, Subnautica just is a really pretty looking game with some nice effect to the underwater landscape.

#6: Wreckfest

I think Wreckfest might be the newest game on this list, having only come out a few weeks ago. It’s long been in Early Access but the official release date is June 14th. It’s a racing game in the vein of Flatout but actually pretty good. The cars are a bit squirrely to drive but it just leads to some unpredictability within the races. The first race has you in riding lawnmowers and you have to take out five other drivers, whose lawnmowers generally explode when they get too much damage. If you just want to have a good time, crank the game to max opponents, start a demolition derby and watch the chaos truly unfold.

#5: Monster Hunter World

I’m not a Monster Hunter fan and after World, I’m still not 100% sold on the idea of it. I did have some fun with Monster Hunter World but it was usually just fighting the smaller creatures I was hunting and not any of the big stuff. Once I encountered the big stuff and could get decimated in one or two hits, the fun quickly evaporated. I think World did do a fairly good job of introducing non-fans to the basics and streamlining the overall experience though. Just exploring the game world was also just enjoyable, at least until a huge dinosaur or dragon came by to ruin you.

#4: Yakuza 6

I’m not quite sold on his being Kiryu’s final chapter. It has some odd moments in the finale that just kind of deflate the experience. Plus, the removal of most of the characters from past Yakuza games isn’t great, especially since the new cast isn’t memorable much. Still, exploring and seeing Kamurocho modernize and become even more built up, especially from my mindset of Yakuza 0 and Kiwami. Honestly, this is the best playing Yakuza game in the series, the combat is incredibly fast and easy but feels weighty behind every attack you use. It may not have wrapped up Kiryu’s story completely but it’s still a fantastic playing Yakuza game.

#3: Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

I have kind of a soft spot for Ni no Kuni 2. The story is a tad messy but the RPG combat is pretty solid, if really easy when I played. I was regularly taking out enemies 15 or 20 levels above me and even the final boss was a bit of a pushover. The reason I really enjoyed the game though was recruiting new people to my kingdom. While you only ever have 6 playable characters in the game, the people you recruit vary from armorers, blacksmiths, farmers, fisherman, wizards, teacher, police officers, etc. You can fill the different buildings of your kingdom with this workforce to better maximize efficiency within your kingdom. The downfall of the game is there are timers that you have to wait for, both to accrue kingdom money (which is different from party money) and to build/research things in kingdom buildings. At certain points it almost feels like a mobile game and I would happily have thrown down 2 or 3 bucks to speed things along, but this isn’t the case. Still, Ni no Kuni 2 is an actual playable RPG (unlike the first) and is enjoyable.

#2: Dragon Ball FighterZ

Who would have thought, it’s only been 29 years since Dragon Ball Z debuted and there’s finally a good fighting game based on it. Some people defend Budokai, even I did, for a while, but even those games can’t hold a candle to this one. Taking its cue from DBZ and Dragon Ball Super, FighterZ has a cast made up from both series. There are the usual characters like Goku, Vegeta, Cell and Frieza, but also newer ones like Beerus and Hit who longtime DBZ fans might not know of. Control-wise, this game does play a lot like a Street Fighter since it’s locked to a 2D plane (even if it’s rendered in 3D), so that means there’s no flying all around a level and such. This is a good thing though, since 3D DBZ games are uniformly awful. This is one of the best fighting games out right now and should really make Capcom scared of future installments.

#1: God of War

Finally, a God of War game I actually like! I’ve tried to get into the God of War games, at least the main numbered ones, and always bounced off them. I didn’t like the camera, I didn’t like the combat, I didn’t like Kratos “I AM ANGRY” character, etc. So, when reviews for the new one hit, I was curious. Once I got it, I was hooked and pretty much marathoned the game from start to finish. I then went back to it and got the platinum trophy because it really is that good to keep playing. Combat is incredibly rewarding and varied, the story is great, the characters are good, the game is gorgeous to look at, etc. At present, it’s one of the best games on the PS4 and frankly, one of the all-time best games ever released.

For comments, list your favorite games of 2018 and why.

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