So at Christmas last year, I told my family I was sure I could read 100 books in a year. Looking back at 2018 I realize this was a foolish boast - I didn't even come close! I did, however, keep a list of the books I've read and games beat in 2018 and will definitely do this every year from now on. Reading has been easy for me and I have a big library to choose from - gaming, though, that takes some time and time is not always something I have to spare with work and family obligations (mostly family). Switch has been a real blast this year and has helped me accomplish some gaming goals - nothing like firing up that bad boy and having a game start-up in no time flat. The Switch has, I imagine, extended some of my bathroom breaks though, all in the best ways. My game list would be far shorter without that magic console.
It's taken me way too long to write my first ever blog post. Last year was my first year discovering the Qposts and I've been a proud shit-poster since then (thanks Wes, Dere and Boxman for giving me that push!), so I'm hopeful, much like Santador (go read that blog here!), to be a better member of the community. And without further ado, I present a list! Also, after realizing how labor-intensive the list would be with pictures, I copped out and only put them for my GOTY and will also blog about my 2018 reading accomplishments separately :)
God, I loved this game so much. Just pure joy right from the start and the moment-to-moment gameplay is so solid and enjoyable. This one put a smile on my face the whole time. It's been a while since I had so much fun playing a game. I'm so glad this was my first Switch game and the first one on this list. I tapped out after 300+ Moons, maybe someday I'll go back and finally 100% it!
I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for a good "walking simulator" and ADR1FT sure was pretty, although the "1" in the title really bugs me. Honestly, this game was OK but I rage-quit after the shoddy gravity-physics caused me to die right in front of an oxygen canister, thus ruining my hopes of the no-death trophy. After several hours of play, this was sufficient. The gameplay loop was VERY repetitive, and this was the last straw.
See note above on my love for walking simulators. This game gets extra points for being very well written and a tight gameplay experience. I loved that I could play it from start to finish over two sessions - just what I needed. Beautiful story, charming gameplay (although the owl bit glitched on me the first time and I couldn't grab a rabbit for legit 30 minutes). This one really is a gem and highly recommended.
Yes, another walking simulator - BUT - I actually started this in 2017 and decided to come back to it and I'm so glad I did. I wish I had Safe Mode when I played through this since the forced stealth bits hampered my enjoyment a little, but overall I really liked SOMA. The atmosphere was awesome, the game is real pretty and I'm an even bigger sucker for a good story. This is another high recommendation!
Primarily I wanted a game I could finish in one sitting and that was inexpensive. Subsurface Circular checked those boxes, but was also interesting to play through. I look forward to checking out Quarantine Circular on a sale.
Having never played the original, I really enjoyed Wonder Boy, especially the gorgeous animation. My kids watched me play this one and I don't recall there being too much challenge to it, I even managed to get all the items and secrets which is rare for me! This game was a joy to play and I look forward to more in the series. A perfect game for Switch in handheld or docked.
Look, I picked this up on a deep sale last year and told myself I'd play through the single-player campaign. The more I played, the more bored I got. I stopped maybe 3/4 through and couldn't handle sinking any more time into it, as much as I love Star Wars. Never got into the mp, though, but heard that's fun...
Starting disclaimer: I'm an idiot and a compulsive gamer, of sorts. I felt that I needed to play GOW III before I could play the new GOW - so I sunk a few hours into the remastered version - except I hated most of it. I don't like button mashy combat (Diablo somehow being an exception) and just didn't like the excessive violence and random nudity that, of course, would crop up while my wife walked through the room. I made it about 1/3 of the way through this game before deciding it was OK to put down if I wasn't having fun. Often I feel that because I've paid for a game, I need to play it from start to finish - I need to be more OK not doing that if it's no fun.
Hot damn, what a surprise God of War was. I knew from the moment I started the campaign that this was something special. Just everything on display was tight and enjoyable (hiyooo). The story was beautiful, the camera-work was stunning, the epic vistas, the pacing, the amount of content, the pairing of Kratos and "BOY!", I fell in love with this game hard and sank dozens of hours in. I was actually really bummed to finish the campaign and be done with the beautiful story. I plan to come back, clear out the Valkyries, Muspelheim and Niflheim at some point, maybe even do an NG+ run. I very rarely play a game more than once, but I'm really looking forward to jumping back in at some point. Perhaps 2019 will be the year I just keep playing God of War...
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed The Messenger. I think playing this in between two fairly sizable games was a benefit to my enjoyment and I even pushed myself to collect all the secrets. I had a blast playing this one and the often-hilarious writing definitely helped. I will admit that maybe 3/4 of the way through, my enjoyment tanked hard and I began playing just to beat the game - but I'm trying not to let my hours of fun get marred by the endgame - which I felt was pretty bloated. The NES/SNES swapping conceit was really fun and I loved hitting portals and seeing how things changed. I'm actually pretty stoked for the free DLC coming out soon and will use that as the perfect opportunity to reinstall and jump into The Messenger. A perfect Switch experience.
Disclaimer: I'm biased, I know. I saw the first Tobey McGuire Spider-Man movie in theaters at least 5 times, something I've never repeated with any other movie. I love the character, the comics, the story, the drama...everything about the Spider-Man universe. This character embodies my childhood and teenage years, so it was a no-brainer playing this one. I was shocked at how good this game was. I could devote an entire blog to my love for what Insomniac did here, but the biggest testament for me was that I wanted to 100% the game and never once felt like that was padding. I paced myself in terms of doing side-content and felt this lent itself to varying lengths of gaming sessions. Spider-Man made it super easy to jump in for an hour or two, grab collectibles, clear strongholds or play story missions. I loved every moment of this game and cannot wait for the season pass to go on sale so I can jump back in. I will absolutely 100% the DLC and then run back through for an NG+ Ultimate run. I'm really looking forward to playing this again soon!
A massive thanks to Wes and Dtoid for this one. I love the contests on this site and have gotten some real gems in 2018 which, I believe, is also my first year hitting the contests hard. The Gardens Between is a very straightforward puzzle game of sorts, with a beautiful story that totally broke my heart. Any game with nostalgia factor tying back to childhood and loss is right up my alley - I think I just want games to wreck me emotionally. This game is definitely worth a play and is a fairly easy platinum. I enjoyed my time with The Gardens Between and, really, that's good enough.
Like Star Wars: Battlefront II before it, I picked this up on a deep sale in 2017 and just never got around to it. I blitzed the single-player campaign and liked it decently enough, but never got into the mp, although I understand it's quite fun. My game-to-spare-time ratio is way off, so I gravitate towards tight single-player games when given a chance. I'll probably still grab BFV when it goes on deep sale...
Free for PS Plus and I just wanted a short game I could platinum in a few hours. The repetition wore on me but this was quick enough to be enjoyable and a little silly. I think it's worth a play, especially if you nabbed it for free.
I'm sorry guys, I hated this game. I played a few chapters and just didn't like any of it. Schmups aren't for me :\
Props to Limo for repping Florence hard. I played this over Thanksgiving break and loved it. Another game that had a tremendous story, fun, light gameplay and just tore my heart up but in a good way. Charming soundtrack to boot and didn't overstay its welcome. Florence checked all the boxes for me.
I was pleasantly surprised this was released as a PS Plus game last year and happily grabbed it, but didn't play it until the tail-end of the year. The shooting was pretty tight, the tech was OK, there were definitely more RPG-lite elements than I expected. The most fun part was that I thought I knew the ending and was anticipating it, only to find out I was totally wrong. Actually, the ending I thought had been spoiled would have been way better than the actual ending. Ah well. A solid shooter that likely earned extra points from me simply because it was free. A ton of content with Zombies and mp, but I just wanted to beat the sp campaign, delete and move on.
I was really looking forward to Celeste based on the universal acclaim it received. Truthfully, I loved the first three chapters, but things took a turn for the worst during one of the early boss sequences which I felt dragged on way, way too long and was just a pain in the ass. Things went downhill for me from there. I made it to the last level on my own, but then finished the game with Assist Mode on because I just wasn't enjoying the try/die/repeat gameplay anymore. Perhaps these types of games just aren't for me - regardless of how interesting the story is. I was really bummed to not like this one, but am glad I played it.
What a delight Donut County was (although I could have done without some endgame content). I played this mostly over Christmas break and enjoyed my time with it. As a testament to the quality of gameplay, my 10- and 7-year-olds are also playing and enjoying Donut County - so that earns extra points from me. A fun, short romp and definitely well-placed on the Switch.
Given the pre-release hype, I was pretty stoked for GRIS. While the game was beautiful, I found the moment-to-moment gameplay to be just OK for my tastes. I recognize that this is quite an experience and I do think folks should play GRIS, but it didn't totally blow me away, which is fine. I enjoyed my brief time with it. Perhaps this fell victim to my just trying to play and beat games towards the end of the year.
Manual Samuel was exactly what I wanted at the tail-end of the year. A short, enjoyable, often funny niche game that never over-stayed its welcome and kept me engaged. I liked the art-style, the dialogue was funny (and frequency of the word "feces" was certainly unexpected) and, having picked this up for 50% off, I think was worth the cost of admission. I wouldn't recommend this at full price, but playing solo and then co-op would certainly extend the experience. An enjoyable game, for sure.
I'm cheating a bit here, but these two (!) games exemplified the year of gaming for me and were just pure joy to play. I'll remember the experiences for years to come and these will be the bar by which I judge 2019's gaming, especially if 2019 gaming consists of me just playing these two NG+ over and over again. Probably no surprises here:
What an awesome year for gaming. I'm so looking forward to 2019 and knocking some massive games off of my backlog!
Thanks for reading!