Who expected this year to be yet another amazing year of games? Following 2017s superb showing, the gaming community likely didn't expect 2018 to be at all capable of matching that same level of quality. Thankfully, much to everyone's surprise, the industry was determined to prove that last year wasn't a fluke. From Insomniac's Spider-Man to Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2, the year provided titles that either somehow met the colossal expectations set for them or ones that came out of nowhere to blow the minds of gamers worldwide. It has been a refreshingly-varied set of releases throughout 2018, providing something for everyone in both the indie and AAA market.
That said, it wasn't entirely glorious. As is the case annually, there are a fair amount of games that everyone from the players that spent real human money to get them, and the publishers that funded their existence, feel ashamed about. Whether it stems from an inexperienced development team or major design choices that just didn't work, these titles came and went without much more than a collective groan. When reaching the end of the year, it's important to recognize both sides of the spectrum. It's easy to go on and on about the games you love and cherish, but it's just as important to bring up those disappointments as well. Here are 20 Best (And 10 Worst) Video Games Of 2018, Officially Ranked, based on their Metacritic score!
A product of over a decade of development, Owlboy is a gorgeous and charming platformer that initially found its way to PC back in 2016, but finally found a place on all home consoles this year. Praised for its art style, character roster, and for simply being downright wholesome, this Metroidvania platformer was a clear product of love.
Although its rating varies between releases, its PS4 version is the highest among all of them with an 89. With it being the most recent version, this release was Owlboy's most critically-successful launch. Now that it's available on all platforms, everyone can try out this charming title that's fun for any age.
The game that will likely be continually re-released long after the human race has been wiped out, Okami came to Nintendo's newest console with as much praise as you'd expect. Originally released back in 2006 for PS2 and GameCube, Okami HD is a remaster of that title, with all of the prettiness of modern gaming mixed with the original beauty of its initial release.
Art direction and presentation are top-notch here, as well as gameplay that feels like the wolf sections in Twilight Princess. Its focus on Japanese culture and mythology lends Okami a unique quality that few other games can offer. It's a perfect experience for Switch owners, as well as dog lovers.
Have you ever tried to do anything ambitious with six friends? How about trying to create a first-person action RPG with under a million dollars to work with? That's what developer OtherSide Entertainment had available when making Underworld Ascendant, and it unfortunately shows.
Originally a Kickstarter project (despite being the third game in the series), UA met its goal of $600K, but was still too underfunded to include their planned co-op and modding tools. They were ambitious, but with seemingly non-existent AI and weak enemy variety, the game was considered unplayable by many Steam reviewers. Patches and big changes are on the horizon, but it's unclear if fans will give it a chance.
Tetris is the only game to surpass the likes of Okami for the most re-releases, but it differs from most in that category by being “reimagined” rather than remastered. Tetris Effect is a visually-striking version of the classic game that has the energy level of a crowd at Electric Forest.
Pulsating with engrossing music and consistently changing backdrops, Tetris has never felt anything like this before. The use of colors alone makes it one of the year's most visually-pleasing games, even if it's still just blocks stacking onto other blocks. It does for Tetris what Geometry Wars did for math: it makes it cool again.
No matter what year it is or how advanced gaming gets, there will always be a place in gamers' hearts for retro-styled RTS games. Into The Breach proves as such with endlessly re-playable levels that offer an appropriate amount of challenges.
Randomly-generated maps and environmental changes keep combat interesting, especially as the difficulty level rises (along with the stakes). Just to top it off, it's a game with plenty of meat on its bones, offering over dozens of gameplay hours if you take your time with it. After all, there's no wrong time for a great old school strategy experience.
Sometimes, even if you nail a suitably spooky atmosphere and art direction, you can still ruin it on the gameplay side. Games like Alien: Isolation and The Evil Within were able to pull it off, but Hollow was not. In fact, including a significant amount of gameplay may have been this game's biggest mistake.
Hollow has the haunting sci-fi feel, but it gets held back tremendously by its stiff, irritating gameplay and an overall lackluster story, which is a bit disappointing when considering that the focus of the game is built around a major mystery. This could've been the Nintendo Switch's standout horror title, but it ends up being another experience you'll scroll past in the E-Shop Deals section.
Oh, that's right, there's a new Sony exclusive platformer on the rise, and the name doesn't start with Crash or Spyro. Their name is Astro Bot, and they're the face of PSVR's greatest accomplishment yet. An unlikely critical smash, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is a platformer for Sony's VR platform that utilizes excellent animation, visuals, and a whole lot of charm to make something special.
Even for those who aren't fans of the gameplay style, AB establishes itself as a must-buy for all PSVR owners and a great inclusion in a genre that didn't receive enough quality titles this year.
Likely the best bang for your buck on this list, Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania side-scroller brimming with content and addicting moment-to-moment gameplay. You'll be bobbing and weaving through tight, dangerous corridors and fighting giant monsters in hand-drawn wonderfully realized environments.
Now available on all platforms, everyone can experience this game that much like Shovel Knight, is an indie game that just keeps on giving. It's $15 at its most expensive, and it's worth double (possibly triple) that; you can even take it wherever you go, Switch owners! You can never own too many great 2D side-scrollers, and HK is one of the best in the genre.
One Piece may be a beloved anime, but One Piece: Grand Cruise is not a beloved game. No amount of well-realized art direction can distract players long enough for them not to notice a complete lack of content or interesting things to do.
While the concept of an OP game in VR seemed intriguing, the lack of any freedom or engaging activities made finding your own fun impossible. Players were stuck with what the developers gave, and it wasn't very much. A disappointing output from Bandai Namco that will probably get gamers nervous for next year's open-world title World Seeker.
As it turns out, making a somewhat-inaccessible series more accessible leads to far more critical and financial success. This was the story of Monster Hunter: World and how easing up on some technical elements led to a larger, more entertained player base.
Critics pointed towards the visuals, impeccable gameplay smoothness, and satisfying grinding system to explain their love for the latest in the Capcom series. The developer was able to keep both newbies and the veterans pleased with the end product. Add on several massive free updates and you've got a game that may literally never end for most players.
When developer Platinum Games is given a proper budget and allowed to use their imagination, expect greatness. That's exactly what players got with NieR: Automata. It's an epic experience involving a war between mankind and the androids they created.
Bringing their A-game yet again, Platinum Games loads N:A with standout combat, music, and a surprisingly effective story. Yes, it did come out in 2017, TECHNICALLY, but with the more content-loaded Become As Gods Edition, the game received even more love than its original release. So hey, good news Xbox owners, you got the best version of a great game.
Have you ever wanted to watch women get uncomfortably hit on for several hours in different scenarios? If so, Super Seducer is the game for you! Billed as an (ironic, or is it?) how-to guide on dating, players get to engage in conversation with women that will ultimately lead to a specific goal. It starts with getting numbers and progresses to the likes of bringing home multiple women at once.
It's a pretty uncomfortable experience that wears out its ironic level of enjoyment pretty quickly. Most of the choices lead to your controlled character looking extremely weird. It's not worth the venture, even if your morbid curiosity begs to experience it.
Whenever a game fills its campaign with pure adrenaline-fueled boss battles, it will always have a place in gamers' hearts. However, that's not all Shadow of the Colossus has to offer. In addition, there is a heartfelt story and strategic bosses that are both fights AND puzzles all in one.
This remade classic from the PS2 era is now on its third console generation and it's never played better. Awkward controls aside, reviewers felt that the game has never looked more stunning (unsurprising) and the original components still hold up remarkably. For anyone who's never taken part in the quest to take down all 16 colossi, it's a worthy challenge.
Unfortunately known best for the IGN plagiarism scandal earlier this year, Dead Cells deserves far better. Another Metroidvania that takes the best components of the genre and takes pitch-perfect combat that'll make you feel like you're fighting for your life; although in this case, you're just fighting for your progress.
Loved for its art direction, self-proclaimed “tough but fair” difficulty, and engaging gameplay loop, DC was a highlight in a year full of great retro-styled titles. For those who don't mind a bit of challenge and that Dark Souls “eliminated, learn, repeat" cycle, then there are few 2018 games better at replicating it.
Man oh man, this game really wanted to be Alan Wake. It ambitiously attempts to do so many things at once that it overextends itself. When playing Past Cure, you could be playing a survival horror-like section, only to then be thrown into a full-on third-person shooter section. There are no smooth transitions between genres, leading to drastic jumps that never feel natural.
A valiant effort by small developer Phantom 8, and it could've been solid if it were focused. Alas, without any focus on one gameplay style or a compelling story, there's little for gamers to grasp onto here.
Fans had wanted a Sonic game like the classic SEGA originals for a while, and Mania finally gave them that. A mix of old and new, SM was a love letter dedicated to those fans who stuck with the character for so long.
But, that was back in 2017, and SEGA didn't leave the game on its own. Sonic Mania Plus was released earlier this year as an upgrade to the 2017 version, offering two new playable characters and an extra campaign mode that remixes stages for those going onto their second playthrough. Earning rightful praise across platforms, the Switch version was the most beloved, proving the hedgehog has a home on the Switch.
Remember when LIMBO messed you up emotionally? Developer PLAYDEAD is back to get you emotionally invested again. INSIDE received its fair share of acclaim back in 2016 due to a heart-wrenching plot, all-encompassing atmosphere, and a carefully-selected (albeit short) runtime.
While its story is the central focus, the game is best discussed unspoiled so that you go in as fresh as possible. Nintendo Switch owners finally got the option of experiencing the game in handheld mode, making everything even more personal than ever before. Switch owners definitely loved it, and two years after its original release, INSIDE earns another place on a Best Games list.
The sweet irony that is calling a game Agony and making it agonizing to play. This humorous coincidence seemed to be lost on developer Madmind Studio whose game put players through the underworld in every sense.
Agony is littered with long, dull stealth sections that result in automatic failure if you get caught. The big dealbreaker on this is that checkpoints are incredibly inconsistent. And with the game being relatively challenging, this leads to a painful experience that drags on longer than anyone would like. The concept was there, but the developers just didn't take the time to consider how to make it worth playing.
Platinum reappears once again, only this time, there are no androids, but there are witches. Although originally a Wii-U exclusive, Bayonetta 2 (along with its predecessor) was ported over to the Nintendo Switch, and it definitely hasn't lost any quality in the transition.
Playing as an all-powerful witch combating the forces of heaven and hell hasn't gotten old for players or critics. They continue to love the game's incredibly-polished fight mechanics, exaggerated, cheesy tone, and imaginative art direction. The increase in system capabilities has only improved the game too, making visuals more stunning and gameplay smoother. Playing as a witch is more fun than you ever would've thought.
Whatever you do, don't doubt Playground Games' ability to make a quality racer. With this fourth installment in the series, the developer has put up their best experience yet. Forza Horizon 4 bolsters even better visuals, a greater selection of cars, and a dynamic season element that lets you drive through fallen leaf piles in autumn and across a frozen pond in winter.
It's a tech demo with the substance to back it up. Player freedom is at its highest, as is the number of available modes. Great Britain serves as a perfect playground for players to drive across, whether it's just to take in the sights or to take the roads less traveled.
JRPGs can be hit or miss for most casual players, but in the case of Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy, it's a miss for everyone. Adopting many of the genre's standard tropes without any of its positives, FH is an all-too-standard affair with lifeless, repetitive combat and no enjoyment factor whatsoever.
The graphics belong on a far smaller screen as they look outdated and pixelated in an unintentional way. Difficulty spikes lead to enduring sections that you must repeat over and over. And even if you power through these parts, there's little incentive to do so. Nothing great is waiting for you at the end of the journey, so it's probably better to just sit this one out.
Over recent years, isometric ARPGs have become less prevalent within the industry. While Diablo III and Marvel Heroes remain in gamers' memories, role-playing games nowadays have stuck to the simple first/third-person perspective. Regardless of what you're used to, Divinity II: Original Sin is a quality RPG that has everything genre fans could ask for.
The Definitive Edition only adds on to this fact by opening the game to console players this time. The story's deep and enthralling, each character is well-developed, and the combat has the strategy/action balance you'd want. Hop on in and enjoy the world of Divinity II, you'll love getting lost in it.
Likely surprising very few people, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate turned out to be another huge success for Nintendo. While the online mode had its problems at launch, the sheer amount of content and quality packed into this fighting title is simply unmatched by any other in the genre.
Bolstering a massive roster and the same excellent fighting mechanics, Ultimate serves as a culmination of series creator Masahiro Sakurai's years of work, consistently outdoing himself with every installment. A lengthy single-player mode will keep gamers busy for dozens of hours, but once you're done, there's an endless amount of co-op fights waiting for you.
Another day, another badly-reviewed sci-fi game from an indie studio. This third-person shooter is woefully unsuccessful at almost everything it attempts. Perhaps the resources weren't there or the experience was lacking, but what is here is a lousy, buggy mess that is incredibly short and linear.
There's a clear Gears of War influence in the cover-based shooting, but it lacks the polish and fun that makes it work. It also lacks the quality voice acting, which one critic stated was the worst he's heard since the original Resident Evil. If you want to play something like Gene Rain that isn't Gene Rain, just stick with Gears.
The game that feels like a spiritual successor to the Earthbound series finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch, and it was accepted as well as you'd expect. After all, with all of the fans craving Mother 3, Undertale satiates that desire quite effectively.
Quirkiness that rivals a Wes Anderson movie, inventive boss battles, and more await you in Undertale. It works in the handheld style perfectly as it plays and looks like an old-school SNES title. It's somewhat on the shorter side for an RPG, but the replay value and amazing music (on top of everything else) guarantees more than just one playthrough.
The last excellent example of the Year of Metroidvanias comes in the form of Celeste, a charming, greatly-challenging platformer that will test your limits while also warming your heart. A representation of the battle with mental illness, the game is a spiritual one that expresses a deep, frequently ignored message that only serves to deepen the game even further.
Beyond that, the pixel art for the game is eye-catching and vibrant. As you'd expect, the music here is also perfectly-tuned, giving off that sweet retro 16-bit feel games like these nail. Oh, and for you Xbox Gold subscribers, you get it for free in January.
A rather odd hybrid of FMV and third-person brawling, The Quiet Man simply doesn't work. Whether it's the wooden acting in the cutscenes (that are muted and unintelligible) or the completely stiff, dull gameplay sections, TQM makes the gamer lose interest at every turn.
While there was obviously an attempt at representing a definitely underrepresented demographic, nothing about the game works well enough to really grasp at any message. The acting is just not good, the combat isn't better (possibly worse), and the whole experience is tied around your deaf character, so you don't know anything that's going on. The Quiet Man is confusing and just poorly-designed in so many ways.
2018's official Game of the Year winner stars a familiar and angry face from Sony's past. Although this time, he has a son! God of War represented a huge return for the Ghost of Sparta as this latest installment may have been the best to date in the longstanding series.
Coming from Santa Monica Studios, GoW boasts exceptional combat against varied, challenging enemies across beautifully-realized environments and settings. The story is also thoroughly engaging as you must work to protect your son, as well as make things right in a world that's an entirely new feeling (compared to previous games). Any and all PS4 owners, take a dive with Kratos on his newest adventure into Norse mythology.
This year's highest-rated game comes from a developer many know and love. Rockstar Games' latest achievement serves as the best cowboy simulator, among many things. Boasting possibly the most immersive, well-realized open world ever and an amazing story, Red Dead II doesn't disappoint in meeting the incredibly high standards people set for it.
Rockstar took everything from its predecessor and improved, enhanced, and then enhanced some more. The world is massive, yet, the little details are impeccable. There's so much to do and you'll need a lot of time to do it. Also, if you're into it, there's an Online mode that can take up even more of your life. Rockstar has done it again.
Just to serve as a beautiful coincidence, the worst rated game on Metacritic in 2018 is also a Western. The difference is, this one is online only and has absolutely nothing to offer anyone, even fans in desperate need of some cowboy simulators.
Wild West Online is an unquestionably shallow, boring, and microtransaction-filled nothing of a game where you do rudimentary tasks and nothing else. Player progression is weak and lacks meaningful rewards. There's no story to be found and the gameplay is impressively repetitive. If you have any doubts about this assessment, User Metacritic scores average out to 0.1. Just play Red Dead II, for your own sake.
What did you think of these best (and worst) rated games? Sound off in the comments below!