2018 is over. Finally, am I right? It has been one hell of a year. Just a rollercoaster of one bad thing after another. A loop-the-loop of one catastrophe to the next. It has been a nightmare, my friends, but we are here and we survived. Congratulations are definitely in order.

 

2018 also saw numerous video game releases for every possible genre on every console and handheld available on the market. Old games breathed anew as remasters were churned out whilst the library for newer consoles started to grow. The PS4 and the Xbox One rosters are still as strong as ever while the 3DS is still hanging on. All in all, it has been a pretty sweet year for gaming.

 

Given that I only have so much money and so much time to play games in a year, here are my five favorite games out of the 26 I managed to play last 2018, which are, coincidentally, all released last year.

 

 

5. Spider-Man (Insomniac Games)

 

One of the later releases last year, the game puts you into the shoes of Peter Parker, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, tasked with saving New York from a deadly plague and the usual dastardly shenanigans of the Sinister Six. As a Spidey fan, this game was an absolute delight to play what with all the web-swinging, suit collecting, gorgeous graphics, cinematic music, beating people up—the whole shebang. EVERYTHING. IS. SO. GOOD.

 

 

4. God of War (Santa Monica Studio)

 

We left Kratos in God of War III all bloodied and dying. Or more accurately, he left us with a bloody trail for a cliffhanger. The new GoW game follows up on that trail and as we discover that Kratos gets married, fathers a son, and gets widowed all in the span of us waiting for the new game. God of War sees Kratos rekindling his bonds with his son, Atreus, as they journey through beautiful Norse realms to mourn and honor the ashes of their departed. Seeing post-revenge Kratos all old and tempered down, just trying to fulfill his wife’s last wish was a bittersweet sight to behold–like feeling the inevitable goodbye right after seeing an old friend.

 

 

3. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Ninja Theory)

 

Okay, technically, Hellblade was released last 2017. But they did release the Xbox One version and a physical copy this year so it should count. Set in a Nordic landscape and heavily peppered with Celtic influences, Hellblade follows Senua as she journeys to Helheim, hoping to bring back the soul of her beloved. What makes this game particularly special is that Senua suffers from psychosis, making it a central and integral part of the game. The voices in her head are characters, in a way, and at some point, you’re going to start looking for them.

 

 

2. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Level-5)

 

I have always loved both Level-5 and Studio Ghibli so the follow up to the first Ni no Kuni game was a definite get for me. With revamped gameplay and the added aspect of maintaining your newly-established and growing kingdom, Ni no Kuni II was leaps better than its predecessor. The core of the story, however, is still in the same vein. The young King Evan has been usurped from his throne and is now on a quest to re-establish his kingdom with the help of his friends. Even without the direct involvement of Studio Ghibli, Revenant Kingdom still plays and feels like a Ghibli movie with Joe Hisaishi’s music returning to accompany the Ghibli-like visuals we know and love.

 

 

1. The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit (Dontnod Entertainment)

 

Technically not a full-length game, Captain Spirit is a free demo released in preparation for Life is Strange 2. Despite only being around 2 to 3 hours in length, Captain Spirit packs a lot of heart in the form of Chris, a very imaginative nine-year old boy who, by the end of the game, you will swear to protect. The demo is simple and straightforward but it banks on the player’s experiences of make-believe and childhood nostalgia to give the story that extra shot of heart and it works. The demo also hints on heavier and darker themes which will probably be explored in the main game. As it stands, Captain Spirit was an excellent taste for Life is Strange 2 in addition to the fact that it’s, well, free.

 

And there you have it: my favorite games for 2018. Here’s to another good gaming year.