Video games, I still love them… I think. No wait, I absolutely still love them! It’s just modern games that are getting on my nerves. In 2018 I played fewer total games than any year in the past and fewer “new releases” than ever before. Instead, I spent most of my time playing older titles, timeless favorites, retro games, and some grindy stuff with friends online.
It’d be impossible to rank them in typical categories like Graphics, Story, or Game-as-a-Service so in lieu of all that I’m just going to recap everything I played in 2018 (just like I did in 2012). These are just some quick thoughts on the games I spent a reasonable amount of time with, or ones that stuck with me over the months. Let’s take this one fiscal quarter at a time starting with Q1: January through March or The Wintering Months.
P.S. The 📅 emoji denotes a 2018 new release.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (PS4)
I came back for the tombs and exploration. But I was put off by how identical the gameplay was to ‘Shadow’ while at the same time adding another couple hundred piles of scrap, animal carcasses, weapon upgrades, and assorted trinkets to track down. From the very start of 2018 I was feeling SO over all of that.
The Italian Job (PS2)
I got this in a haul of PlayStation 2 games and finally gave it a shot. All these years I’d been ignoring it because of its movie tie-in but it turned out to be a fun arcade frolic a la Top Gear Dare Devil or GTI Club.
Ace Combat Infinity (PS3)
With its impending demise looming just a few months away, I was going hard on ACI early in 2018. The missions, the music, and the ridiculously gargantuan tech tree continued to enthrall me as I recorded as much of the game as possible for posterity.
2017’s unexpected Most Fun Game still had its hooks in me early in the new year but it was waning. Most dedicated players were using builds I didn’t find fun so I unofficially retired from the game, probably to focus more on Ace Combat Infinity.
Also played in January: Dying Light (PS4), Disneyland Adventures (Xbox One), Tomb Raider (PS1)
X-COM: UFO Enemy Defense (PC, GOG)
While Giant Bomb continued their exploits with the newer Enemy Within expansion I went back, all the way back! The original X-COM is assuredly one tough turkey! Like, being-killed-coming-down-the-ramp-of-the-dropship tough. I only made it 6-8 hours in but I really enjoyed how hardcore it was, and finally seeing where the inspiration for Enemy Unknown/Within came from.
Contra Hard Corps (Genesis)
When Giant Bomb gets into a game I like, I have to run through it ahead of them. I never paid Hard Corps a lot of mind but delving into it now I found it as wild and unique as its Genesis counterpart, Castlevania: Bloodlines. New respect for that soundtrack too!
Metal Gear Survive (PS4) 📅
Here’s my first 2018 release and the game I *think* I spent the most time with all year. I was worried the game would be light on content and while it wasn’t nearly quite as sparse as I’d feared, it did leave something to be desired. Nevertheless, the survival was real and fueled me through more than 100 hours of exploring The Dust, crafting, and scouring for resources, and generally exploring the game’s world.
I finally got into the co-op mode and spent another 30 hours horsing around with kids from my Friends list and generally having a blast. The grinding for upgrades was daunting though and by late March I’d pretty much had my fill.
Also played in February: Zoo Keeper (DS), Dynasty Warriors 9 (PS4)
Don’t Bite Me Bro (PS4)
In my write-up I summed it up as “Mini” Gear Survive and the rest of my intro serves just as well here: Don’t Bite Me Bro! boils down the crafting, scavenging, farming, base-building, and tower defense of Survive’s single player campaign into such a surprisingly tiny and satisfying package.
Also played in March: WarioLand 4 (Game Boy Advance), Mario Pinball Land (Game Boy Advance)