Josh's Top Five Games of 2018

At this point in my life, I can't say that I play a whole lot of new games. However, I do tend to be very passionate about the handful of games that I do play.

I'm also not much of a writer or a critic, but given that it's that time of year where everyone and their literal mother puts out a "top however many games of 2018" list, I figured that the least I could do is attempt to throw together a top five.

So with that, here are my top 5 games of 2018!

5.) World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth

This one gets the number five slot solely due to the fact that its an expansion to a game that I've been playing since 2005. I've easily put the most amount of time into BFA compared to any other game that came out in 2018, and personally I feel that it was all time well spent. Since it released in late August, any and all time spent playing has felt "productive", and that’s not something I can say about many of the previous expansions. I know that opinions on this expansion have been very polarizing, and many criticize the hell out of it. Personally, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Granted, I'm not hard to please when it comes to WoW, but still. I feel that the way the story for each faction unfolds and intertwine with each other is being handled better than any other expansion to date, and makes the leveling experience for each side unique and fun. When it comes to endgame content, There's a good amount of stuff to do, and as someone who identifies as a "Hardcore Casual" player, I've consistently found myself busy on any of my level capped characters, even without being into progression raiding or PvP.

4.) Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle

The Nintendo Direct in September certainly had a lot going on for it, what with all that Animal Crossing and Luigi's Mansion business going on. But for me, the announcement that caught my attention (Aside from Isabelle being in Smash) was Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle. It interested me primarily due to the fact that I had never heard of several of the titles that were included, and hadn't played any of them but Final Fight. I thought it seemed like an amusing little time waster to keep on the ol' Nintendo Switch in case I didn't feel like playing something that required more time invested. Now while that's what it did end up becoming, I can say that all of the games had way more going on for them than I had anticipated. Rather than being mindless side-scrolling button mashers (which they can be if you want), all of the games had a surprising amount of depth to them. Some of them were deeper than others, but all of them had a different feel to them, had characters with unique abilities, and were decently long games. None of them will blow your mind, but they are easily worth checking out.

3.) Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition

Hyrule Warriors is anything but a new game. It initially launched for Wii U in 2014, was ported to 3DS in 2016, and finally ended up on the Switch this year. Despite that, it was all new to me. It's a game that managed to pass me by twice, but was always on the edge of my radar. I've been a lifelong Zelda fan, and I played my fair share of Dynasty warriors in my younger days, so it made sense that it would catch my eye. To put it bluntly, this game has a ton going on for it. A decent story, free play mode, multiplayer, and several massive "adventure" maps that all have unique mechanics and play conditions, among other things. It includes all of the DLC from the previous versions, so there's a ton of different fan-servicey characters to choose from. All of the characters have different unlockable weapons, each of which plays differently. I played a ton of this game over the summer, and I can definitely see myself returning to it later. To sum up the majority of the gameplay, its pretty much the same as most "Warriors" type games but with a Zelda twist. Lots of running around the battlefield, capturing enemy bases, defending your own, supporting your troops, all while mowing down impossible numbers of enemies in increasingly flashy ways. As someone who can sit and mindlessly hack and slash for hours, it easily scratched that itch, and the Zelda Fanservice made it even better.

2.) Dragon Ball FighterZ

If there’s one thing I came out of 2017 with, it would be a feeling of disappointment over the flop that was Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. Upon its release, Dragon Ball FighterZ immediately made me forget about all of that, and rightfully took its place among the best fighting games I've played this decade. While this may be due to the fact that it does share many similarities to games like Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it still managed to carve out an identity of its own. The gameplay can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be, and anyone can pick it up and play. The story mode left a lot to be desired, as it was very long and repetitive, but the core gameplay is wonderful, and that is what will carry this game into the future. It's fast paced, flashy, and it controls perfectly. The graphical style still amazes me almost a year later. It honestly looks like you’re playing out an episode of the anime, and I can see it aging very well due to that fact. The roster is full of fan favorites, as well as some new faces from Dragon Ball Super. One season's worth of DLC fighters has been released, and while there's certainly a lot of Gokus and Vegetas, It doesn’t take away from the variety at all. The Dramatic/Destructive finish system is also a really cool/flashy way to show off a win, especially if it was a well fought match. I enjoyed this game so much, that I bought it and all of the DLC twice, and will continue playing it regularly until an inevitable sequel comes out.

1.) Super Smash Brothers Ultimate

This game requires no introduction. It's easily one of, if not the biggest game of 2018. As its name suggests, it is, in fact, the ultimate Smash Bros game. As a fan of the series since day one, I was immediately sold from the second this game was announced, despite there being next to no details about it. That was the day the hype train left the station, and continued to gain momentum for 9 months leading up to launch. With 74 playable fighters, 100+ stages, and almost 1000 music tracks, there’s no shortage of content with this title. While everyone has their own opinion on which Smash game is the best, I can say without a doubt that in terms of gameplay, it has literally never been better than this. The controls are precise, the game speed is decent, the mechanics feel more refined, and the graphical style is bright and colorful, while still maintaining that unique Smash aesthetic. There's plenty of new items, Pokemon, and assist trophies, and enough ruleset options to appease a player of any level. The new multiplayer modes (Smashdown, Squad Strike) are a ton of fun, especially with more people playing. I can't say that I've played much in terms of the Spirit Board or World of Light, but they both seem to have a lot going on. I do intend to play more and hopefully report back on them in the future. The online modes are legitimately awful, but I'm gonna hope that Nintendo will at least attempt to remedy this in the future. Until then though, I'm willing to put up with it, as I've definitely seen worse. But when it comes down to it, Smash Bros Ultimate is the ultimate local multiplayer party game, and is a title that every Switch owner should have.

- Josh

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