Another year, another feast of games to devour. Here are my 10 favorite games of 2018.
Vampyr was a charming, ambitious game, despite its clumsy combat and sometimes tedious navigation. Getting to know its London’s residents and tending to them as a doctor would, only to feast on them when I needed the XP, gave me a lot of feelings. I hope to make time in the new year to play its new modes, which hopefully let the story shine through more.
Standalone Gwent officially released this year, and though the card game’s changes have left me in the dust, story mode Thronebreaker let me ease into the new cards and mechanics while taking me on a tale of intrigue and political power straight out of The Witcher universe. I’m glad there’s at least a little Witcher on my GOTY list.
Far Cry 5 was my first Far Cry, so I can’t say how it falls in line with the series as a whole. While it was ridiculous, explosive, and usually fun, I was most enamored of its take on religion. I loved its cult radio station; the complicated Christian issues it raised, whether intentional or not; and the fact that in the end (fight me) the cult was right. Far Cry 5 let me write about a lot of my non-games passions, so I’m fond of it for that, and I’m excited to see where New Dawn takes things.
This little indie game from the Gods Will Be Watching team came out early in the year. I loved its alcohol mechanic, where you manipulate people’s emotions with booze to get what you want, and the complicated choices you make throughout the plot. Developer Deconstructeam recently released a game about a hitman working in a flower shop, which I definitely want to make time to play.
Frostpunk had me from its first wintery trailers; I’m a sucker for any game that takes place in the snow. This gritty city-builder from This War of Mine’s devs combined survival mechanics with tough choices into a game that seemed made just for me, even if most of my playthroughs ended in disaster.
Boats, sea shanties, and board game randomness—Nantucket was another very Riley game. Through its simple but beautiful art and awesome soundtrack and sound effects, Nantucket let me tell my own Moby Dick story.
When the first Red Dead came out, I had neither the money nor space for a game console. I read about the game obsessively and dreamed of playing it. Red Dead 2 let me live that dream at last, giving me so many adventures wrapped in a sometimes clumsy but always affecting package. I’m still on Chapter 4, and will probably be forever, because even though I want to see the end, I don’t ever want to be done with this game.
Hitman 2 takes everything great about 2016's Hitman and amps it up with new mechanics and weapons, crowds you can hide in, and new locations full of secrets to find. I’ve barely scratched the surface of it and, like its predecessor, I’m sure I’ll return to it for a long time.
Into the Breach is tough as hell, especially for me, who tends to make impetuous choices in strategy games. I’ve played a ton of it on my PC and even more of it on my Switch, and while none of those hours have seen me through to victory, I can never resist trying one more time.
I love survival games, and I’ve been taken with Subnautica since its earliest of early access days. Its ocean is by turns peaceful and terrifying, and it always felt both scary and exciting to go deeper. Its story propelled me forward without sullying the survival elements or impacting the game’s unique progression. I’m so excited for the upcoming Below Zero expansion, which, by adding cold weather, is making Subnautica even more my kind of game.