With 2018 winding down, it’s time to look back at this year in gaming. Today I’m covering the hottest games of the year in this gaming retrospective.
Christmas is behind us and New Years in front. Thus, no better time to look back at the biggest happenings of the year. Today I’m talking about the Hottest Video Games of 2018. This is my post for the ongoing communal series called The Best of 2018: Scorum Super Series hosted by a wide variety of users here.
Before we dive into the entries let me first cover a few points. These are not my favorite games of the year, nor are they necessarily the best games either. Here we are talking about the hottest games of the year. The games everyone was playing and talking about. If you feel like I missed one of your favorites, be sure to let me know in the comments below.
Now grab a controller and let’s jump in.
Perhaps as ubiquitous by now as Mario, Fortnite took the world by storm . . . well at least a slowly shrinking storm at that. We’re starting with the massive gaming giant Fortnite today because it’s the one everyone knows is going to be on this list. Whether you are a gamer or not, chances are you have heard all you ever want to hear about Fortnite; however the rise of Fortnite is really the rise of Battle Royale.
The Battle for Battle Royale: for those uninitiated, a Battle Royale game mode involves a large group of players all dropping into a single map with absolutely nothing. Player gather and craft items to make them stronger while they battle each other to be the sole survivor. Think The Hunger Games but without all the relationship drama and the post-apocalyptic setting.
Fortnite was far from the first to offer a Battle Royale mode; however, they were first to give it a unique spin that set it apart from all other competition, and with its bright, colorful, over-the-top art style, it became much more than just a game. It became cultural phenomenon.
The game spawned a wave of dances, slang and memes. You can’t go anywhere without seeing or hearing something about the game. With kids flossing or taking the L, Fornite has become a force to be reckon with and makes its claim on 2018.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!
There is nothing that will sweep me away on a wave of nostalgia quite like hearing the Pokémon theme song. The game and anime series was a staple of my youth. My Gameboy Color never went anywhere without a version of Pokémon shoved inside. I doubt I ever used my Gameboy for much else other than Pokémon. I had all the toys, collectibles, games, books, and of course, I would rush home every day after school to catch Pokémon episodes at 4:00 pm. It was life.
The recent resurgence of Pokémon has been music to my ears. The people of my generation are now adults, yet they still carry the love of Pikachu with them. The mobile game Pokémon Go helped bring the series back in the mainstream fold, offering up an easy simple version of the game based on real life GPS location. It was an immediate sensation and helped make Pokémon cool again.
Pokémon: Let’s Go revisits the Gameboy Color Yellow edition of the series while giving it a complete makeover. Although the core of the game remains the same, several new additions have been added, including a new Pokémon catching system, multiplayer features and Pokémon Go mobile integration. Fans of the series have been clamoring for a Pokémon game for consoles and finally Nintendo deliver, making it was well worth the wait.
God of War
In the world of modern gaming, console exclusive titles are a very big deal. Back in the 90s, when consumers would decide to buy a Sega or a Nintendo, they were also deciding what games they were going to play and what games they would miss. For instance, if you owned a Super Nintendo, you might have been awesome at Super Mario World, but you would not be familiar with Sonic—and of course vice versa. All that began to change during the PlayStation/X-Box era. Now all of sudden big gaming titles were released on both consoles, including PCs. All of a sudden it didn’t matter too much what console you owned because everyone was playing 90% of the same library.
Not a lot has changed since then other than how important console exclusive games have become. If the majority of the games released in a year will be available for both Sony and Microsoft systems, it becomes more difficult for one company to standout over the other. The only way this can really be achieved is by releasing console exclusive titles that will only be sold for one console. Enter God of War.
This year’s release makes it the eighth installment in the series. Previous games used Greek mythology as a backdrop for the series while this year’s game features Norse mythology. The games have always been loved by gamers, but this year’s released topped the charts for console exclusives—even winning Game of the Year. The game is lauded for its graphics, 3rd person combat and narrative story telling. If you are looking for a story driven game with gorgeous graphics and top-notch action, this is the game for you.
Call of Duty Black Ops 4
Every year there is a war between first person shoots, Battlefield vs Call of Duty, and each year one game will reign supreme over the other. Sure diehard fans will stick with their preferred series, but for the average gamer who jumps around to what is popular, they will likely only play one or the other. Last year Battlefield One topped CoD: Infinite War by a long shot; however, this year it reversed. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has caught on stronger than the still struggling Battlefield V.
2018 was the year of Battle Royale games, and Call of Duty was early out of the gates with their attempt. The CoD franchise has become built on two main gaming modes: Multiplayer and Zombies. Each of these game modes offer a very different type of gameplay, so those buying the game get two different ways to play. Multiplayer is a more traditional online FPS shooter experience with a variety of game modes. Zombies is a mode CoD has perfected over the years involving rounds of zombies where the player has to survive.
However, with Battle Royale being so popular, CoD quickly incorporated it into their series alongside multiplayer and zombies modes. It was the secret formula to put CoD back on top over Battlefield and made it a top game of 2018.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Users familiar with my posts already know how big of a fan I am of Red Dead Redemption series, having previously written about it on here before. The game offers a single player open-world experience second to none. Anyone familiar with Rockstar’s other games will be familiar with the style of gameplay on offer here. Rockstar doesn’t stray too far from the formula already established—this is both a good and bad thing. On one hand they have perfected their style of game and the level of polish is truly stunning. Conversely, they aren’t adapting to gamers’ changing taste, trotting out basically the same game over and over again only with a new setting.
Regardless, RDR2 isn’t a game you want to miss. Arthur Morgan, the games main protagonist, has become one of my favorite video game characters of all time. The developers and acting talent spent five years motion capturing and recording dialogue for the game. Nearly every cut scene and animation was motioned captured from a live actor, resulting in some of the most fluid and life like movement in a game.
It’s not just me who went nutso for RDR2. The game broke several sales records, most notably the biggest weekend opening of any form of media. Yes, you heard that right: RDR2 brought in $750 million in the first three days, setting it far above any video game or movie release. For reference, Avengers: Infinity War earned around 500 million in its first three days.
While the single player experience has garnered much praise, the multiplayer has struggled massively to find itself due to Rockstar’s greedy and predatory micro-transactions that have hamstrung the experience. It remains to be seen if RDR2 Online will ever catch on compared to the likes of GTA Online. We will know when we finally get the full release of the online modes, as currently the mode is considered a “beta test.” Let that mean to you whatever it means. Regardless of the online mode, RDR2 sits proudly on this list.
And there you go: the 5 hottest games of 2018. Be sure to stay tuned into the Scorum Super Series for the next installment. 2018 was a decent year for AAA games. I am very worried about certain gaming trends and what affect they will have on gaming in the future. Time will tell. I’ll be back in next year for another gaming retrospective. Until then, stay cool.