PaXaN’s 5 Games Of The Year For 2018


Hey there folks Drew from PaXaN here. 2018 is coming to a close and what a glorious year it has been for the gaming industry. With so many great games having come out in 2018 it has been difficult for the PaXaN team to decide which five would take the spots on our list. Below is our personal list of the games that we have both counted down the days until their release and spent far too long in the virtual paradise they provided. With that in mind let’s get to our list of PaXaN’s 5 games of the year for 2018.

 


 
Crash Bandicoot ‘N’Sane Trilogy
2018 gave us one of the greatest gifts of all, our childhood memories in glorious HD. During the days of the PS1 (Playstation 1) the original Crash Bandicoot was a knockout hit. The game provided young players with just enough challenge so that completing each level felt like a genuine achievement, mixed the right amount of innuendo to keep older player smirking and interested. The following two iterations in the series only helped to further popularize this strange Playstation mascot whilst introducing new characters, level designs and gameplay mechanics. Fast forward to today and this all-time classic series and been reworked from the ground up to look and sound as beautiful and enticing as the plethora of animated movies that come out each season. Whenever we think back to our favourite games from our childhood they always look and feel like they were a dream to play, the Crash N Sane Trilogy as finally done the impossible and recreated a remaster that we actually care about. The remaster contains all of the same jokes, all of the same characters, all of the same shortcuts and all of those teeth clenching difficulty spikes, the “Dark Souls” series have nothing on the levels “High Road” or “Stormy Ascent”. Developer Vicarious Visions as given us back a small piece of our childhood and for that the gamer in us will be forever thankful. That being said no one on the team still has any idea what a bandicoot is.
 

 

Red Dead Redemption 2
Developer Rockstar has given players some of the best games in the industry. The GTA (Grand Theft Auto) series and its online counterpart have consistently been the gangland/murder spree simulator king and every developer looking to throw their pimp hat into the ring has had to do so in shadow of this colossal gaming series. Rare is it that a game will even come close to the no-holds barred, hell in a cell style gameplay that this series has to offer, and even rarer still is that game from the very same developer. RDR2 (Red Dead Redemption 2) not only gives the GTA franchise a run for its money, it does so whilst giving players the opportunity to name their primary mode of transport ‘Jon Bon Pony’. RDR2 is set in the American frontier and acts as a prequel to the original game in the series, RDR (Red Dead Redemption). Without even mentioning the stunning visuals the game immediately sets off on the right foot by throwing players into a harsh environment to serve as your tutorial. Now for most games there are a number of gameplay mechanics shown in the tutorial that will go unused for the majority of the game, this is based heavily on individual play styles. However RDR2 quickly shows you that everything you learn in the tutorial is nigh on essential if you want to survive. Simple mechanics such as eating and sleeping will have a huge effect on the accuracy of your shooting and the amount of stamina you have, and something as seemingly optional as shaving and taking a bath will affect the in-game bartering system within the game itself and the frequency in which you can obtain optional side quests. RDR2 sets the bar even higher for what a great game needs to include, something the industry as a whole needed for a long time.
 

 

Spiderman
The Spiderman gaming series, much like the films, has had so many redrafts and makeovers that players the world over were rightly getting sick of hearing about a new Spiderman game, especially with the growing popularity of so many other great heroes. Insomniac Games had a monumental task ahead of them when they first announced that they were creating yet another Spiderman game. Credit where credit is due, the developers started this project on the right foot by announcing almost immediately that this was not an origins story and that the Spiderman we would control has already been Spiderman for eight years. From the get go this grabbed the attention of fans and would be web slingers. Fast forward to the game’s release and many are hard-pressed to say that Insomniac Games have done nothing short of the impossible. Starting with the movement mechanics, the game almost begs you to constantly keep moving and to be the agile, wise-cracking Spidey we all know and love. Even inexperienced players can get a feel for the fluid movement system that is not only simple but also incredibly intuitive and hours of fun. Having to race across the city for whatever reason the gameneeds is always exhilarating and movement plays a big part in the combat as well. Taking notes from the Batman Arkham series the control mechanics allow first timers to quickly learn the basics and survive a fight, all the while giving experienced players several different movement options during combat that make any battle better than when we fantasied about being Spiderman ourselves. Throw into this already impressive mix a healthy dose of genuine character growth and an ending that will leave your mouth agape and this outing into the world of quip toting is truly one that sets the standard even higher than the old PS2 (Playstation 2) classic.

 


 
Monster Hunter World
Much like the Rathalos ,one of many flagship monsters for the series, the Monster Hunter series has long reigned supreme in Japan. 2018 does not mark the first time Western audiences have enjoyed a Monster Hunter game, but it does mark the first time for the series to be played on something other than a hand-held console. The game wastes no time in getting you to create a character out of the varied character creation options that are available not just for you, but for your trusty little palico as well. There is nothing more satisfying than watching your armoured kitty-cat companion dismember the tail of an Anjanath whilst simultaneously shouting various cat related puns, “Purrrfect hit meowster” being one of the team’s favorites. In terms of the story this iteration follows suit by delivering what can only be described as a weak and easily forgotten tale, but that is not where this series shines. The multitude of side quests and the grind for gear nature makes this game just as addictive as the likes of Destiny or any of the Call of Duty online components. Couple this with the fact that in order to level up your gear you physically have to take down a set of tanks on legs that breath fire, spit poison, are charged with electricity, can create a blizzard with a simple wing beat or just have a strange penchant for carrying rocks around and looking like an oversized comedy chicken. Monster Hunter World is a game that will keep you coming back time and time again, not only for its single player campaign but for the online hunts as well. Many of the hardest beasts in the game can only be taken down by a small squad of hunters which gives more incentive to join the ever growing online community, top that off with the fact that it has already been celebrated as a community that supports and encourages new players and there is no reason for you not to jump in and cull the local fauna Victorian zoologist style.

 


 
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
Starting back with Assassin’s Creed: Origins this critically acclaimed series made a huge shift in its overall play style. This shift saw the fundamental gameplay mechanics move from: action-adventure to something more akin to an ARPG (Action Role Playing Game). With the release of AC: Odyssey this shift has been firmly cemented and it was the breath of fresh air that this stale series needed. Set in ancient Greece the opening to this game is one that is enough to challenge some of the best scenes the movie ‘300’ has to offer. Very quickly you are asked to make a choice between two playable characters of opposite gender, both with stunning visual designs, believable animations and phenomenal voice acting. The open world is nothing short of enormous with a consequence system that actually does change the way NPCs (Non Player Characters) interact with you, a claim that has been made by many titles before but one that has been achieved by few. Character skill progression truly makes it feel like your preferred play style is taken into account and we here at the office cannot think of a game that fits the old adage “you get out what you put in” more aptly. The more time you spend exploring this world and uncovering its secrets the more the game’s story starts to make sense. There are plenty of moments throughout the game were you may feel as though you skipped a cutscene or missed some important dialogue, but this feeling is quickly washed away by a plot that has more twists than Medusa’s up-do. If you are looking for a game that boasts a sizeable and engaging campaign then you need look no further than AC: Odyssey, and with what seems like an innumerable amount of side quests and mythic beast to fight this game will truly keep you entertained for weeks on end.

 

And that’s our list. There are so many more games we debated about adding to this list. A few honourable mentions would the recently released Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spyro: The Re-Ignited Trilogy, the hit indie game Dead Cells, Mario Party, God of War and so many more. Is your game of the year not featured? Leave a comment below letting us know which game you loved the most this year. Now that 2018 has come to a close the PaXaN team would like to leave you with a piece that we at the office think sums up the year quite aptly;

The year comes to a close,
No more bad guys to shoot,
It’s time to set up camp,
And look through my loot.

The monsters have come,
All slain with my sword,
I’ve gone back on my word,
Now I scream “FOR THE HOARDE!”

I can wall run and strafe,
Jump and glide,
Yes I ‘m a camper,
Now there’s nowhere to hide

Let’s not forget,
That we have come far,
Let’s also not forget,
My impressive KDR

And now we will leave you
For a new game has begun
Let’s feel joy as we think
Ready Player One!


 

Author: Drew Lewis
Editor: Erik Larsen
Co-Editor: Michael Brennan

Hi folks, Drew here from PaXaN. I am an up and coming video game journalist looking to inject your daily cravings for virtual screen time with various features on video games and the industry itself. Keep an eye on this space for more news and features on your favourite games both new and old. Have an idea for a feature piece or something you’d like for me to cover? Send me a message on WeChat or email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. WeChat ID: DrewAW, Email: awl1989@yahoo.co.uk

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31 Dec 2018


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