Last year was one of the games industry’s banner years. Microsoft’s and Sony’s home consoles saw a plethora of fantastic releases, the PC elite kept on trucking and Nintendo came out of the gate swinging with the Nintendo Switch and one of the best launch titles for any console in recent memory, The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild.
However, while this year saw the release of some pretty wonderful new IPs, our readers, for the most part, went with more traditional franchises, and the most popular game shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise to anyone.
- Call Of Duty: World War II (22.2%)
This year, Activision decided to do something a little different with its annual shooter. For the past six years, Call Of Duty has been set in futuristic worlds with players firing sci weapons at each other. Heck, the last instalment felt like the groundwork for a Wing Commander reboot.
Perhaps buoyed by the success of 2016’s Battlefield 1, developer Sledgehammer Games decided to set its game in World War II. COD: WWII then, saw the player thrust deep into the invasion of Europe, beginning at D-Day and pushing the Nazi forces back towards Berlin. The game’s campaign was great, the online multiplayer was superb and we always have time for shooting zombies.
- FIFA 18 (14.8%)
EA Sports’s annual soccer behemoth powered into second place in our readers’ hearts and it’s easy to see why. The engine has benefitted from the usual array of tweaks and tucks, the animations look as crisp as ever and between one-to-one local and online kickarounds, FIFA 18 can suck hours from your life.
The single-player campaign, The Journey, saw its second installment this year, continuing the story of young Alex Hunter’s movement up the ranks of the world’s elite players. Oh, lest we forget, FIFA Ultimate Team, the game’s highly addictive card-collecting game was present and correct.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn (13.6%)
The highest rated new IP by our readers, Horizon: Zero Dawn is a beautiful sprawling RPG epic set in one of the more interesting open worlds we’ve seen in a while. Humankind has returned from the heights of technological advancement to its cave-dwelling origins and massive animal-shaped robots roam the earth.
The story follows a young heroine called Aloy as she tries to uncover both her own origin and the story behind how modern civilisation fell. The discoveries she makes are better thought out and plotted than any game with robot deer in it has any right to be. Beyond the game’s story, players were given a vast, gorgeous expanse to explore, weapons to craft, robots to hunt or convert into mounts and a combat system that blended fast-paced action with a need for tactical imagination. The game’s DLC was also one of the year’s best releases. We can’t wait to see where developer Guerrilla Games takes this series next.
- Assassin’s Creed: Origins (12.5%)
After Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate failed to set the world alight a couple of years ago, Ubisoft decided to head back to the drawing board for its historical open world adventure series. Both we and our readers are very happy they did.
Set in ancient Egypt, Assassin’s Creed: Origins follows the story of Bayek, one of the first assassin’s, and his battle against a group that would eventually become the Templars. The game’s map is massive, filled to bursting with vistas, battles, quests and side-quests for players to get stuck into. It even boasts a non-combative mode that allows players to go on historical tours, if they so wish. One of the best games released all year – and one of the best games the Assassin’s Creed series has seen for a while – Origins is essential. Just make sure you take some time off work before you dig into this one. You’ll be playing it for a very long time.
Cuphead and his friend mugman find themselves in a pickle when they gamble their souls and lose them to the devil. In return for a reprieve the pair are tasked with rounding up a bunch of souls from a collection of nasty and bizarre characters, constituting a set of the most challenging boss battles ever assembled in a videogame.
Don’t be fooled by Cuphead’s cartoon-like veneer and retro-crush soundtrack; this is a game that could give the Dark Souls series a run for its money in the hardcore stakes. Cuphead is as rock-hard as games come and players will need patience, lightning fast reflexes and a willingness to deal with out and out chaos if they hope to succeed. They’ll also need to exercise restraint when the urge to smash their controller to pieces rises up as it so frequently will.
Something of a return to form for Capcom’s premier horror series, which hasn’t been this compelling or this terrifying in a while. Set in the southern Gothic horror territory as movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, Resident Evil 7: BioHazard follows a man named Ethan who travels to a deserted plantation to find his missing girlfriend.
Right from the moment Ethan step through the side-door of the building, players will be on edge. They’re continually surrounded by an environment that is by turns derelict and disgusting, and an atmosphere that ramps up the tension to nail-shredding levels. This is one of the most consistently frightening games of 2018 and a must for horror fans. Veterans of this genre will be impressed by the base-game itself; only those with iron in their blood should attempt to play this with a virtual reality headset.
One of the best console launch titles of all time, Breath Of The Wild is a magical experience in which players are whisked into the land of Hyrule to save it from a steadily growing evil presence.
Mixing fantastic combat with epic questing (and dungeon raiding), The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild makes a convincing case that serious gamers really do need a Nintendo Switch in their lives – even if they’ve never been particularly enamoured with Nintendo before now. It really is that good.