Monday, December 31, 2018

PSXBoxIndies' Top 10 PS4 / X1 Games of 2018

Welcome to PSXBoxIndies' Top Ten Games of 2018. It includes indies and "AA" games that released on PS4 and Xbox One. This was a hard list this year, honestly. In 2017 I had so many games I liked I made a Top 15 list instead of Top 10, but finding 10 games I truly loved in 2018 was tough. You might notice that there are no big budget "AAA" mega blockbusters on this list. Well, I did play some, but thought they were only OK (Spider-Man) to downright bad (Red Dead Redemption II). This is my site and my list, so I'm going to do what I want. Continue reading for the full list.

Before we begin, I just want to say the order of the games doesn't really matter - this is just ten of my favorites - but #1 is my Game of the Year. Also, if you see a game you like, how about using our Amazon affiliate links below to buy PSN or Xbox credit to buy it? It would really help us out if you do.

#10 - Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet 

I don't even like the "Sword Art Online" anime at all, but for some reason SAO: Fatal Bullet got its hooks into me and didn't let go to the point it was my #3 most hours played Xbox One game of 2018. I loved the character creator. I enjoy the relatively simple third-person-shooter gameplay. And I really like the loot and upgrade system. It was a ton of fun on release and has had a ton of DLC added to it throughout 2018 to make it even better. Whether you like SAO or not, give Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet a shot if you like anime games or loot shooters even a little bit. 

#9 - Jurassic World: Evolution

I love dinosaurs and love "Jurassic Park" in particular so this was a no-brainer. It isn't the deepest park management sim around, but it has freaking goddamn dinosaurs in it! The visuals are fantastic, the sound is great, and the gameplay is fairly intuitive and ultimately very satisfying. This is another title that saw several updates over the year so it's a much better experience now than it was even at launch. It isn't a perfect follow-up to Operation Genesis, but it's as close as we're going to get and I still really enjoyed it. 

#8 - Farming Simulator 19

Farming Simulator 19 is the best Farming Simulator yet. Period. Sure, it has some rough edges - so-so maps, a brutal economy, semi-major performance issues - but the core game is as satisfying as ever and the visual upgrades make it look surprisingly nice. The big improvement this year is the ability to buy property, not just fields, and build your farm and animal pens and anything else wherever you want. This is a total game changer and makes the game even more satisfying. A post-launch update added the ability to manipulate the terrain which really, really lets you turn the game world into your own playground and turn it into something that is uniquely yours. I love it and I can't stop playing it even though I have a bunch of "AAA" games to play.    

#7 - Donut County 

The cutest and funniest game of 2018 was definitely Donut County. Who would have thought that a game about dropping stuff down a hole could be so entertaining, but here we are. With a great art style, fantastic music, simple yet satisfying gameplay, and an awesome core concept, Donut County is just awesome and well worth playing. 

#6 - Death's Gambit 

If Death's Gambit had come out any other time of year than when it did - August 2018 - it would have been more popular but, unfortunately, it came out at the same time as a bunch of other 2D platforming / action games (including Dead Cells) and was overshadowed a bit. I played it, though, and freaking loved it. It's my favorite 2D Souls-like by far thanks to unique progression mechanics that keep you moving forward even if you're dying and trying a lot. The gameplay is simple - a bit too simple to the point you feel overwhelmed for the first couple hours - but once you learn how to play properly and get some upgrades it is very, very satisfying and some of the boss fights are absolutely fantastic. The visuals and music are A+ as well. Death's Gambit is an under appreciated gem I highly recommend for 2D action fans.

#5 - Horizon Chase Turbo 

You were expecting the best racing game of 2018 to be Forza Horizon 4 but it's (me, Dio) Horizon Chase Turbo. Surprise! This is a new game in 2018 that plays and feels just like the classic arcade racers of generations past like Top Gear and Outrun but with smooth and gorgeous, but still nicely "retro", visuals that you can't help but love. It's also massive with more than 100 tracks and dozens of cars so you'll always have plenty to do and see. It plays freaking awesome and has an incredibly good soundtrack. If you love old school arcade racers you need to play Horizon Chase Turbo.

#4 - Override Mech City Brawl 

Override: Mech City Brawl is basically the evolution of Pipeworks' awesome Godzilla fighting games mixed with "Pacific Rim" and it's freaking awesome. The gameplay is relatively simple, but all of the various robots have unique attacks and attributes and it feels really smooth and responsive and great to play. Whether in solo play - including a story mode against giant invading aliens! - or local or online multiplayer battles, Override: Mech City Brawl is just a solid, fun, great looking, can't miss experience for giant robot and kaiju fans. 

#3 - Tetris Effect 

Tetris Effect is the prettiest most fully-featured Tetris ever and it actually justifies the $40 MSRP. The combination of beautiful background visuals with great music and that tried and true Tetris gameplay really makes this something unexpectedly special. I have to admit that I didn't really "get" it when I played through the Journey mode on normal difficulty, but when I bumped it up to Expert difficulty suddenly everything fell into place and I saw what everyone else was talking about. This is just an incredible experience that no one should miss. The best part is that it is packed with different gameplay modes and variants, too, so it's a lot more than "just" Tetris. This is Tetris at the absolute best it has ever been.

#2 - Dead Cells 

Dead Cells takes the classic 2D Castlevania action platformer formula and improves it in every way. Movement is fast and fluid and combat is brutal and hard hitting and satisfying. Everything you do in Dead Cells just feels good. You're always in complete control, which is a necessity because Dead Cells is also really, really difficult. This procedurally generated roguelike is one of those games where you die and try again and do a little better each time and it is incredibly fun and rewarding to play. With tons of weapons to unlock and permanent upgrades always tantalizingly close making "just one more run" becomes an all day affair. The graphics and sound are outstanding as well. Dead Cells is just awesome and is my favorite 2D action game ever.

#1 - Earth Defense Force 5 

Earth Defense Force 5 isn't a dramatic upgrade over EDF 2025 / 4.1 as far as visuals or core gameplay mechanics go, but it does improve in other areas to make it easily the best Earth Defense Force yet. The introduction of new humanoid alien enemy types adds some much-needed variety. Progression has been improved since now all classes get upgraded as you play, which makes swapping classes and trying new things much easier than before. The performance of the game is also now (finally after all these years) mostly stable even with hundreds of enemies onscreen and crazy things happening in every mission. Perhaps the best improvement in EDF5 is the scale has greatly increased and some of the battles you get into are absolutely wild and massive. The more I play and the crazier it gets, the more I love Earth Defense Force 5. I love it so much, in fact, that it's my 2018 Game of the Year!