For the past five years I’ve written a top ten video game list during the final days of the year. And following each and every one of those competed lists, I have always toyed with the idea of going back and doing a revised version in the lead up to the following year’s game of the year list.
I’ve always ended up stopping myself short of actually doing this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I already have way too much to do already. Writing 20-something posts in the 20-something final days of the year, the idea of adding a whole ‘nother ten on top of that is kind of insane. Additionally, there is this weird completionist tick in my brain that insists on doing something like this, I need to do it completely…
Which is even more daunting of a task. See, the problem is, each year I end up making my list with a handful of games I regret never getting around to, games that I feel would most likely find their way into my top ten had I been given the time with them. But the problem then becomes weighing up a game I played within the last few months with a game I haven’t touched in well over a year that made it into the top three of last year’s list.
Am I thinking about this too much? Probably, but when it comes to compiling and quantifying something in a ranked order, I get the chills and want to avoid making a stance and saying I like one thing better than another, for that great fear that… my opinion could change. And once it’s published in a blog, it’s set in stone. It’d be highly embarrassing if put a game on my top ten list one year and then decided it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be 12 months later…
With that in mind, let’s go back and look at my Top Ten Video Games of 2018 and see if the list stand the same today as it did when I wrote it last December.
Instead of writing them all in here, let’s make use of thus handy new archive format I spend too much time of the last few days making for my old game of the year posts:
The games I missed out on:
First point of order, how much of that pent up regret for the games I never got around to in 2018 actually motivated me to go out and play the games I missed out on that year?
As it turns out, not that many. Thinking back to the end of last year and listening to Giant Bomb’s very lengthy game of the year podcasts, as well as seeing the tidal wave of top ten lists being posted on any bit of bare wall to be found on the internet’s social media space, there were only two games that I regretted not getting to.
These are Return of the Obra Dinn and Yakuza 6, the second is which is a game that has been out for a while in Japan but only saw world wide release in 2018.
Did I get around to playing these games I’d missed out on in 2019? Much to my own surprise: Yes.. and no. I feel l’m cursed to always desperately want to get into the Yakuza franchise and then aggressively bounce off every time I try to play it. Mostly thanks to its combat system and very dense menu system, which is a very Japanese game thing that I always need to get over. Monster Hunter is a game that I can overcome the menus to play, Yakuza somehow doesn’t manage it.
I actually spent more time trying desperately trying to enjoy Nier:Automata this year than I did anything I’d missed in 2018. In the end, I just couldn’t get into it in the way I was expecting. And much like Nier, I ended up having much the same reaction when trying to see what all the fuss was about with Obra Dinn.
And indeed it is a very cool and unique video game. The visual style, as well as the logic based approach to gameplay make it a game unlike any other. In the end though, I ended up hitting a wall with it. After I’d uncovered the majority of the events on the ship and it came down to simply crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s of identifying each individual on the ship, I kind of lost interest.
Mostly due to the fact that I felt like I was guessing more than actually logicing it out. Which put me off wanting to see where it went. So, the important question, would the game make it onto my top ten list of 2018? Probably not.
Honestly, really surprisingly, there aren’t any games from 2018 that I even still regret not getting to. Which shocks me even more considering the number of people who have being saying that this year was supposed to be a weak year for games compared to the last two. Personally, there are at least six titles I really wish I’d found the time to play on top of the twelve that made it onto my shortlist.
Re-positioning the current list
So now it comes down to the order of my current top ten. Making a list of 2018 now, 12 months after the list is even relevant takes a whole different approach from me. How many of these games am I still playing now? Is that a relevant point? Is it fair to judge a game that is constantly getting updates like Dead Cells to a more one and done experience like God of War?
Obviously games with longer tails have an unfair advantage over a single player narrative driven game. Dead Cells is probably the freshest game in my mind of this top ten, because it’s the one I’ve gone back to within the past couple months. Is that a strong enough basis to move it up the list? Well, yeah. Of course.
Even without the updates, Dead Cells is the type of game you can come back to over and over, like I have done with Rogue Legacy in the past. It’s a super solid game with great gameplay and a very long tail, which makes me feel like I kind of gave it short shrift when making this list last year.
Which is entirely unlike the top five games on the list, which I haven’t touched since finishing them back in 2018. Does that mean I need to drag them down the rankings? I don’t think so. I still feel strongly about all of those games, and fully remember why I put them as high on my list as I did. Truth be told, once I got my Xbox One X, I was really interested in playing Red Dead Redemption 2 again from the beginning. It’s just finding time to tackle that behemoth again when I have so many other games to play from 2019 still.
So the top five stays the same… Except Spyro. Not that I have any issue with Spyro, It’s just that there is a game on the list that I feel like I criminally under-ranked on this list first time around. Mostly due to the fact that I was only about a third of the way through it at the time of writing. Although I already felt strongly enough about it at the time to want to include it on my list anyway.
It’s because Dragon Quest XI is another big boi of a game, one that I didn’t end up finishing until early March. And I adored it. I’m not going to go too much into it, just read the original post if you want to know more of my feelings on the game. But having seen all it had to give, I ended up feeling this is the game most misplaced on the list. So that goes up to five, not quite overtaking Red Dead purely based on the insane scale of that game as an undertaking.
There is one last game I want to talk about and how my enjoyment of it has changed drastically since I wrote this list a year ago. Not that I’ve gone from liking to hating it or anything mind you, but instead my enjoyment has gone from me playing the game myself to simply watching it and what it’s been doing from the outside over the past 12 months.
You see, right now Youtube is continuously recommending me Dragon Ball FightersZ videos when I open the app. And I just can’t stop watching them. The game’s recent inclusion of Broly and Gogeta from the Dragon Ball Super movie as the final characters in their season 2 character pack had added a whole bunch of new specials, combos and the dramatic finishes. And it all looks fantastic.
I love watching this game in action, but as with most fighting games, I eventually bounced off of it when the casual players stopped playing and the whole loop of the game just became that of learning it and digging into the competitive scene. Which is something I’ve never been able to do in a fighting game. So I’m not sure what to do with this one. I probably love the game more now than I did last year, but I actively don’t want to play it. So it goes down the list I guess by that metric… Weird that.
So this is my revised list for 2018:
10: Dragon Ball FighterZ
9: Into the Breach
8: Forza Horizon 4
7: Spyro: Reignited Trilogy
6: Dead Cells
5: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
4: Red Dead Redemption 2
2: Monster Hunter World
1: God of War
Not as different as I was expecting it to be when I first thought up this post. I had at least expected to have another game added onto it, but the research and soul searching didn’t warrant it. All that happened in the end was me learning to appreciate some games more even after being away from them for a while. Or me learning to appreciate them in all new ways as they continued to grow and change over the past 12 months.
This ended up a lot longer than I’d been expecting, and all when I have a bunch of entries to write for this year’s lists. I don’t know what it is about this time of year that makes me go crazy and just want to write insane volumes of stuff during the period where I have the least free time to actually do it…