Collectors Corner

Posted on Jan 5th 2019 at 08:00:00 AM by (Addicted)
Posted under Hidden Gems, GOTY

To me, 2018 was a great year for gaming with sequels to long-dormant franchises, new takes on old classics, and open world games where traversal is half the fun. As the year draws to a close it's time to reflect upon the games that made an impact on me in 2018. I have collected my top five games for 2018 and will discuss why they matter to me below.

5. Forza Horizon 4

I'm a sucker for a good arcade racer and Forza Horizon 4 is a great one. It builds upon the solid driving mechanics of Forza 3 and introduces improvements in making the stuff you do between events exciting.
Every car has it's own progression chart full of bonuses and items, incentivizing you to try different cars. Also new to the series is a prize wheel. This does a great job and happens often enough you don't feel like you're being drip feed lootboxes. The graphics and sound are stunning and will make a great showpiece for any 4K TV owner.

4. Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect is a fresh take on Tetris and I found myself enjoying it as much if not more so than the NES and GameBoy versions. Tetsuya Mizuguchi of Rez and Lumines fame brings his signature style of colorful visuals blended with funky beats. Gone are the gimmicks and baggage that has been added over the years. This is one of those rare games where I can relax and get lost for hours upon hours proving to me that Tetris is a perfect game and can still amaze me 30 years later.

3. Dragon Quest XI

I've been playing the Dragon Warrior/Dragon Quest series since I received the first game for Christmas in 1989, so needless to say when a new Dragon Quest game was announced I pre-ordered it. The story starts off slow but quickly becomes engaging and I can't help but get swept up in it. Once again I found myself chasing down mini medals, searching for metal slimes, and whistling along to familiar tunes. I've spent over 80 hours on this title and I'm looking forward to spending many many more.

2. Marvel's Spider-Man

I've played a lot of open world games from Red Dead Redemption 2 to Assassin's Creed Odyssey but none have impressed me like Marvel's Spider-Man. To make an open world game memorable the stuff you do between missions has to be as fun as the missions themselves and web-slinging around the city is a joy to do. Even the side missions have as much thought and care put into them as the main story goals. The combat mechanics will feel familiar to anyone who has played a recent Batman game and Spidey controls at a brisk pace and executes moves snappily making you feel as if you really are Spider-Man.

1. Monster Boy

Monster Boy is my Game of the Year, and the only game to make me say I want to play that again after the credits roll. To play this game feels like playing an HD remake of a lost Genesis game. The art style is colorful, and the animation looks like it was ripped out of a cartoon. The soundtrack is composed of songs by Yuzo Koshiro (Streets of Rage etc), Motoi Sakuraba (Golden Sun, Tales of Series), Michiru, Yamane (Castlevania), Keiki Kobayashi (Ace Combat), and Takeshi Yanagawa (Shenmue) complete with a Sonic Boom inspired intro. The gameplay is Metroidvania (with a couple schmup portions) at it's finest with tons of secrets and Easter Eggs to find. This game is hard and will challenge gaming veterans but pulls back from anything rage inducing. The puzzles in the game make creative use of the environment and the players abilities and more often than not require me to stop and really think about how to solve them. Precise control is required from this game and it delivers. I never felt like I died due to poor control. If you're looking for a great game look no further than Monster Boy.

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I'm glad to hear Monster Boy turned out so great. I've been a big Wonder Boy fan since the Master System days and have been looking forward to giving this new one a try.
Wow, I knew you loved Monster Boy, but GOTY? Nice! I'm definitely going to have to add that to my shortlist. Also, I'm looking forward to picking up Spider-Man at some point, because that looks really fun. Great article!
@zophar53: It's a great game. I'd love to see a review from you after you play it.

@MetalFRO: Thanks! Monster Boy is the only game this year I had low expectations for that ended up surprising me. It was also John Linneman's (Digital Foundry) GOTY.
Wow man, I might have to bump up Monster Boy on the wantlist.

I'm def interested in DQXI and keep hoping a Western release will be announced on Switch.

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