Top Five Games of 2018

This article was published on 12/25/2018.

Another year begets another "top five" list of video games from me, which is what this article is all about. My last few lists only contained four games apiece, because I struggled to come up with the five that is expected for this sort of thing. That won't be the case for 2018, though, because I played a couple more games this year. This means that, yes; I actually have a whopping five games to list this time! Wow! Similar to my previous list, but unlike all the ones that preceded it, this list will include games made by developers other than Nintendo. Now nobody can accuse me of being a Nintendo fanboy. As always, only the games released this year that I've played are eligible to be on this specific list. Given my esoteric taste in games, this list will probably trip you up. If you don't mind, I'd like to get started now.

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#5) Kirby Star Allies is the fifth game on my list, and it should probably plead the fifth. Considering how good the last few Kirby games were, it's disappointing that this one turned out so weak. By no means is this a bad game, but it's more than a little lacking in the content category. There are so few stages and worlds that it makes the game feel like an incomplete package. I see some people online cynically remarking that Nintendo fell into the trend that many modern game companies fall into, releasing an incomplete game and then completing it later with DLC. That's not really the case with Kirby Star Allies, though, because most of the DLC it's been getting, albeit free, doesn't really add any significant content to the game beyond additional playable characters. Being that Kirby Star Allies is a side-scrolling platformer, the bulk of its content is primarily comprised of stages to jump through, so more characters doesn't fix the feeling of incompleteness.

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#4) Mega Man 11 is the fourth game on my list, and it'll make you go north. Capcom's first Mega Man game since the departure of series creator Keiji Inafune, I approached this one with no expectations. That ended up being for the best, because if I went in with any expectations at all, I would've come away disappointed. This game is firmly entrenched in the "merely all right" spectrum. Nothing about it is particularly amazing, but it doesn't do too much wrong, either. The only noteworthy thing about this game is the "Double Gear System," which allows you to either briefly strengthen your attacks or temporarily slow everything down for a Matrix-like bullet time effect. Besides that, there's not much else to say about Mega Man 11. It's just your average Mega Man game, but that's okay, because I'm just your average Mega Man fan.

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#3) Dragon Ball FighterZ is the third game on my list, and it'll make you fly like a bird. Aside from the Super Smash Bros. series, I'm not too into fighting games. I also hate Dragon Ball Z with a burning passion. So it's pretty strange that I ended up liking this game, but that's the way the universe rolls. The game came out earlier in the year for other platforms, but I didn't play it until the open beta on the Switch. Much to my surprise, Dragon Ball FighterZ is very easy to play for newcomers to the genre, which works out rather well for yours truly. This added accessibility comes in the form of simplified inputs and a few automated combos. Combat is also quite stylish, featuring cinematic attacks that make you feel like a big boy, even if you're a girl. The only letdown is how anemic the base character roster is, forcing you to delve into expensive DLC if you want to fully enjoy the game. Alas, that's a trend with modern fighting games.

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#2) Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is the second game on my list, I reckon. Despite not following the development of Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, I decided to pick up Curse of the Moon. Apparently, Curse of the Moon is a Kickstarter bonus reward for Ritual of the Night, which is a spiritual successor to the exploratory Castlevania titles such as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In contrast, Curse of the Moon is more like the linear 8-bit Castlevania games on the NES, particularly Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. Regardless, I deeply enjoyed my time with Curse of the Moon. The tight level design, methodical game play, and precise controls all contributed to that. Like Castlevania III, you're able to recruit several characters on your journey that you can seamlessly switch between, but that mechanic is handled much better here. If you like the classic 8-bit Castlevania games, then you're sure to like Curse of the Moon.

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#1) Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the first game on my list, and it'll quench your thirst. As implied by its title, this is meant to be the "ultimate" Super Smash Bros. game, and I completely agree with that sentiment. Every single playable character from the series up to this point makes a return in Smash Bros. Ultimate, and nearly all of the stages are back, too. There are also a plethora of modes, items, and music. With so many options at your disposal, you'll never get bored of this game. The only criticism I have for Smash Ultimate is that there's not much in the way of new characters or stages. I'm fine with that, though, because my biggest worry for new Smash entries is cut characters, and Ultimate thankfully won't be cutting any.

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That's about all the modern games I played in 2018. Everything else I played this year is over two decades old, because I'm a big old school gamer. Other than Smash Bros. Ultimate, not much happened on the Nintendo front, so 2018 wasn't terribly exciting for Switch owners like me. The reason you don't see some of the biggest games this year on this list, such as Red Dead Redemption 2, is because I still don't own a PS4 or Xbox One. At this point, I probably never will. Rumor has it that we're nearing the release of the next PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and so I've decided just to wait for those. Anyway, that about does it for 2018. Let's see what the next year will bring.

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