41 votes

What were the best games you played this year?

What made them great? Who would you recommend them to?

Don't feel like you have to limit yourself to 2018 releases either. I'm interested in whatever you played and enjoyed regardless of when it came out.

65 comments

  1. [13]
    hungariantoast (edited ) Link
    Dwarf Fortress! No seriosuly, DF got a bunch of new features around how your fortress interacts with the surrounding world, including, but not limited to: Sending militia squads to capture,...

    Dwarf Fortress!

    No seriosuly, DF got a bunch of new features around how your fortress interacts with the surrounding world, including, but not limited to:

    • Sending militia squads to capture, destroy, or just loot other sites, possibly starting wars or even causing other races to go extinct

    • Having new settlements sprout up on the world map around your fortress.

    • Settlements that have sprang up around your own fortress, or sites that you have captured and added to your sphere of influence, can be ordered to send workers back to your fortress, so migrant waves and birthing are no longer the only source of new labor. Alternatively, you can exile troublesome dwarves and militia squads to these new sites.

    • We have taverns, barkeeps, and visitors who come to enjoy your hospitality. They may even petition to stay on as a citizen of your fortress!

    • Thieves can now show up and steal artifacts from your fortress, giving you plenty of reasons to go raid other settlements.

    And tons more!

    This year Dwarf Fortress (or at least fortress mode) went from being an isolated base building simulator to giving players options to control how their settlement interacts with the world, from establishing tributary sites, managing trading partners, or even razing the entire world to the ground.

    As far as adventure mode improvements, there were several, but I don't play much adventure mode (a tragedy, I know) so I don't have a cute list for this topic. I can say that Toady (the developer) is planning on allowing adventures to start with more than just a single customized adventurer, but an entire customized party with mounts, items, and personalities. It'll be like D&D but lonelier, violent(lier), and ASCII(ier).

    Want to finally learn how to play Dwarf Fortress and stop just staring at the ASCII like it's the fuckin' Matrix? Well do I have some links for you!

    Try out this walkthrough guide first. It allows you to follow along, on the exact same map, with a custom made starter pack containing a custom made save file. Very easy to follow and explains the game well.

    After you have finished that guide and want to start your own fortress in your own generated world, grab the latest starter pack, which by the way, is made by the same person who authored the guide above!

    If you use Linux or macOS the Dwarf Fortress Wiki's Lazy Newb Pack page typically has the latest packs for those operating systems listed there.

    For advanced users, there is the starter pack script, made by the same author of the guide and Windows starter pack, that he uses to auto-generate and compile his starter packs. This script should automatically download and build a working starter pack for you when you run it, regardless of which operating system you use. Linux dependencies not included! (I'm actually having trouble getting this script to work on Arch Linux at the moment. Encountered the issue last night and haven't debugged it yet. I think it was just downloading Armok-Vision and not renaming it correctly, but I PMed the script/starter pack author on Reddit and let him know and plan on making an issue for it on the GitHub page, so watch out!)

    Oh! By the way, Dwarf Fortress has a wiki, and you should read it, bookmark it, and reference it if you're into that sort of thing. Specifically, the quickstart guide and fortress mode reference pages are very handy.

    RimWorld!

    RimWorld hit 1.0 this year, which is crazy, because it has come so far! I remember playing before items would degrade when left outside, good times.

    Despite popular belief, RimWorld is not a base building survival game. It is a storyteller simulator. The story it tells is typically that of (though certainly not limited to) three spaceship explosion survivors who just landed on this "rimworld" in the fringes of the galaxy, barely making it to the escape pods without being turned into space dust. Your three survivors are average joes, nothing special, with randomized appearances, personalities, and other qualities that make them tic. You have to keep them happy, build shelter, grow food, survive raids, and eventually build and fly a spaceship off this lonely rock before you all die.

    Core to the gameplay of RimWorld is the storyteller, an AI who decides when and where things happen to your colony. If you're familiar with the AI concept Left 4 Dead uses to create special zombies and hordes, you'll have a sort of familiar idea of how RimWorld uses its various storytellers to create different kinds of experiences for each colony.

    RimWorld also has a popular, active, and very creative modding scene on its forums and its Steam workshop.

    I've put more time into this game than I have in Skyrim, both of which I bought at release. It's my second most played game on Steam and I love it to death. The replayability is obviously excellent, the multiple starting scenarios, different biomes, and random maps all help make each session a different struggle. The difficulty, absurdity, and hilarity of the game keep me coming back for more, and that's just the vanilla game. With the 175(ish) mods I like to play with, the game gets even more absurd, difficult, and fun. I can definitely say that, when you look at all of the criteria, the developers, the ethics, the features, the price, RimWorld might just be one of the best video games ever made.

    AI War II!

    AI War II is the latest from Arcen Games and a sequel to the award winning and ground breaking strategy game AI War: Fleet Command.

    As a sequel, the most obvious change for AI War II are the graphics, but even in its early state the game sports several enhancements over the original.

    Directly from their Steam page:

    We still have a lot we want to add, and even more we want to polish, but the current version of AI War 2 is already vast:

    • Many optional factions, each with their own goals and strategy, create a living galaxy.

    • Polished gameplay mechanics, representing everything learned from first game’s six expansions.

    • Redesigned UI, currently going through iterations.

    • Over 1700 lines of spoken dialogue from more than 25 actors, and more to come from the AI itself.

    • 1.5 hours of new music added to the 4.5 hour included score from the original game.

    • A ton of map types, and with a lot of sub-options to make them even more varied.

    • Crazy moddability, with many levers available in easily-accessible XML.

    • Multiplayer is temporarily disabled, but still being implemented.

    • Multithreading for modern performance, and a codebase that will not summon an elder god.

    I've been a big supporter of Arcen over the last few years. I like them and their games for a lot of reasons, the least of which is that they sent me a DRM-free copy of the original AI War after I emailed them asking for one, giving proof of my Steam purchase. They didn't have to do that, Chris could have just told me I would need to purchase it again, but he did a nice thing.

    As a game, AI War II is definitely a sequel to AI War. The original game is almost completely present, and the daunting challenge of beating the AI hasn't been nerfed or simplified at all. This is still very much the most advanced strategy game I think I have ever played. Winning isn't just difficult because the AI is powerful though, it's difficult because the AI is often times a better strategist than you are.

    The game is of course still under heavy development, and it's no secret that Arcen ran into financially difficult times after finishing the original AI War and its expansions, but they're back into familiar territory, have a clear vision of what they want this sequel to be, and it really shows in their work.


    This comment got pretty long pretty fast so I'm not going to go too in-depth with the remainder of these games, more for my own sake than anything else, but some other games I've played this year that I have really enjoyed have been:

    Kenshi, an open ended, squad based RPG. I bought Kenshi years ago, played it a little bit in its early state, and dropped it for a while. I almost forgot about it entirely until I heard that it hit 1.0 ten days ago and I have been playing it for the past couple of days. It's on the extreme end of open world, open ended gameplay, with no dedicated story, and the game can be very difficult. There are numerous starting scenarios to choose from, even being a slave in the beginning if you choose, and progressing through the game, becoming a skilled warrior or thief, building a reasonable settlement with farming, trade, and industry, and really getting to a point where you can profoundly affect the world the game is based in takes a lot of work. I've got about two dozen hours in Kenshi so far and I don't think I've hit "late game" yet. The game also has modding/Steam workshop support.

    Hyper Light Drifter, a two-dimensional action RPG, sporting what is (IMO) the most gorgeous pixel art I've seen in a video game in a long time. The environments are beautiful, the soundtrack is great, the gameplay is tight and fun, and the story-line is deeply personal and good, reflecting the game's creator's struggle with his own heart disease.

    20 votes
    1. [6]
      Amarok Link Parent
      Rimworld's modding scene is pretty solid right now too, seems like everyone came out of the woodwork to update their mods to v1.0. Real Ruins takes the cake from the latest batch - it'll use the...

      Rimworld's modding scene is pretty solid right now too, seems like everyone came out of the woodwork to update their mods to v1.0. Real Ruins takes the cake from the latest batch - it'll use the bases built by other players as the basis for most of the ruins in your game. If you permit it, it'll upload your base plans to be used as ruins in other player's games. It has some very interesting effects on gameplay, as scavenging becomes a lot more useful.

      7 votes
      1. [5]
        hungariantoast Link Parent
        Indeed, my favorite thing right now is choosing the naked brutality scenario, using EdB Prepare Carefully to customize an Android character (courtesy of Android Tiers) with reasonable implants and...

        Indeed, my favorite thing right now is choosing the naked brutality scenario, using EdB Prepare Carefully to customize an Android character (courtesy of Android Tiers) with reasonable implants and skills, and then spawn him onto a map with lots of ruins, which he becomes the steward of, surviving and repairing the old base until I can manage to recruit enough colonists for a thriving settlement.

        I make it a priority not to deconstruct anything from the existing base unless it's rearranging a room or something similarly simple, which means the starting scenario isn't 'that much' easier.

        Real Ruins' mod option to set the amount of hostile inhabitants of the random bases makes up for the fact that you have shelter already generated for you as well.

        Not Mine- Unclaim Structures is also pretty useful in conjunction with Real Ruins, but it can be used in some very "cheaty" ways.

        I also found Pick Up And Haul, which might be my new favorite quality of life mod. It allows pawns to pickup and fill their inventory when hauling, so they don't just get one stack of one thing and head back to base, they'll pick up a pistol, some food, and whatever else they can carry before going back. Makes hauling less tedious and more logical I feel.

        3 votes
        1. [4]
          Amarok (edited ) Link Parent
          I have a ton of qol mods loaded. OgreStack because I don't enjoy RimWorld's 'inventory simulator' aspects and like stack sizes of 7500 so I don't have to be bothered by it. I'd much prefer Quantum...

          I have a ton of qol mods loaded.

          • OgreStack because I don't enjoy RimWorld's 'inventory simulator' aspects and like stack sizes of 7500 so I don't have to be bothered by it. I'd much prefer Quantum Storage but nobody's updated that one past B18 yet. That felt like a much more 'in game' solution to the storage hassles with a spectacular failure mode. OgreStack will have to do for now.
          • Allow Tool because Rimworld's 'select item' capabilities need a kick in the head. This makes managing large areas much easier. This one really should be part of the core game code.
          • Blueprints because when I take the time to design something like a mechanoid-proof sniper nest I like to be able to copy/paste the entire design. Being able to reuse old ones in a new game is nice too.
          • Allow Harvest lets you control harvest and sowing behaviors separately and easily for each growing zone. Very handy for crop management.
          • Dubs Mint Menus is like an advanced mode for the basic user interface, and it changes a lot - most of it aimed at letting you see more things at once on every tab. Really helps with bill management. Think of it like SkyUI for Skyrim, or RES for reddit.
          • RimHUD will expand the pawn info box with almost everything there is to know about a pawn, at a glance. No more digging into nested menus for that information, it's right at the top.
          • Moody adds a simple collapsible overlay box to the screen showing you the moods of all your colonists at a glance (or as an always-on heads up display). Handy for figuring out which one of your hundred plus human-leather-hat wearing clones is about to snap and start killing everyone in the base.
          • Medical Tab makes it a lot easier to spot colonists with health issues like missing limbs, and keep track of how well your mandatory cyborg-bionics upgrades are progressing through the ranks.
          • Relations Tab lets you easily track friend/enemy relationships between your colonists.
          • Animals Tab adds a bunch of features to the animals tab menu to make it more useful for managing large groups of animals.
          • Work Tab changes the entire way you handle jobs. Up to nine tiers, copy-paste between pawns, expanded to dozens of sub-jobs (including and especially those jobs added by other mods) so you get ridiculous levels of control. You can tell your cooks to butcher the herd of Boomalopes you've genetically engineered to produce neurotramine without also telling them to replenish the colony's supplies of chocolate candy and insect pizza.
          • Heat Map is awesome for quickly tracking temperature zones - including deadly ones, which is nice if you've built a large network of firebomb-trapped caves for the next insect infestation waves... but now the heat is leaking out somewhere and a couple of your colonists have collapsed from heatstroke.
          • Room Stats adds a simple hud element to let you see cleanliness, beauty, etc for all of your rooms at a glance. Now you know just where to put that statue of Horatio you spent six seasons carving out of beta-poly for maximum social impact.
          • Better Colonist Management makes it very easy to build templates for outfits, jobs, schedules, drugs and more, then switch groups of colonists between them with a click. Handy when the volcanic winter starts and you need to tell everyone to change into hazard suits instead of cargo shorts, carbon fiber suits, and those human leather hats. Good for avoiding collateral damage when a group of raiders decides to start sniping your muffalo herd and you want them back in the barn before you release your explosive pig army.
          • Better Workbench Management lets you copy and link bills (or entire groups of bills) across workbenches. It's such a massive timesaver that micromanaging the bills is no longer a pain in the ass. Combine with Export Agency if you want to export/import surgery bills and bills of unlimited length, and save them for use in new games.
          • Vein Miner lets you easily designate all of any exposed mineral to be mined fully, no more need to double check that the colonists didn't miss any.
          • Incident Person Stat gives you more information about people who are trying to join your colony over the radio. Useful for making sure they aren't a wandering pyromaniac looking for an excuse to burn down your hyperweave manufacturing facility.
          • Tech Advancing because I like starting out 'tribal' and slowly advancing to glittertech and ultratech. With lots of other mods adding research trees (and entire tiers) this gives you some control over how difficult it is to master new technologies.
          • Research Tree because Rimworld's default tech tree view is genuinely horrible and simplistic. Now you get something less confusing to look at and able to let you queue up tech for research however you like.
          • RimQuest gives you a wonderful in-game way to sniff out new world events by tipping informants in visiting caravans.
          • Replace Stuff lets you do an in-place-upgrade of physical structures in one step, instead of having to tear something down then build it back again. If you are constantly fiddling with upgrading parts of your base this one is a mega-timesaver.
          • Pick Up And Haul is handy, and so are Share The Load, Just Ignore Me Passing, and Meals On Wheels. All of them fix minor annoyances.

          None of these change the core game at all, that's just what I've got for supercharging the user interface and eliminating minor annoyances that shouldn't be there in the first place. It's about 1/3 of my mod list. All the rest change the game quite a bit.

          Edit: Fine, here's my whole mod list as a collection.

          6 votes
          1. [3]
            cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
            Bookmarked this. After I am done with BELOW I need something to play and getting back in to Rimworld now that it's in 1.0 sounds perfect. Any chance you could make a Collection of all the Rimworld...

            Bookmarked this. After I am done with BELOW I need something to play and getting back in to Rimworld now that it's in 1.0 sounds perfect. Any chance you could make a Collection of all the Rimworld mods you use (even non-QoL ones) on Steam so I could have a gander at them? It's been quite a while since I played last so I really don't know what mods are still considered essential/worthwhile to subscribe to these days.

            2 votes
            1. [2]
              Amarok Link Parent
              Added collection link to the parent post.

              Added collection link to the parent post.

              3 votes
              1. cfabbro Link Parent
                Thanks! And thanks for the detailed explanation of how some of the mods work (and can potentially cause problems later) too. Much appreciated.

                Thanks! And thanks for the detailed explanation of how some of the mods work (and can potentially cause problems later) too. Much appreciated.

                2 votes
    2. [3]
      TheSaltShaker Link Parent
      I would really love to get into dwarf fortress, but the steep learning curve scares me off, to be honest. I love how all the systems in the game can interact, but every time I start a world and...

      I would really love to get into dwarf fortress, but the steep learning curve scares me off, to be honest. I love how all the systems in the game can interact, but every time I start a world and try to learn it seems like something I didn’t know existed comes in and wrecks my fortress. I guess that’s why they say it’s more of a simulation than a game, since it isn’t particularly fair.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        hungariantoast Link Parent
        I definitely understand what that feels like. Dwarf Fortress is one of the least accessible games around in our modern age and struggling to learn it is part of the process. If you would like, the...

        I definitely understand what that feels like. Dwarf Fortress is one of the least accessible games around in our modern age and struggling to learn it is part of the process.

        If you would like, the starter pack allows you to disable certain things that make the game harder, like cave-ins, invaders, and even temperature if you wish. Doing this obviously deprives you of the full content of the game, but it's great for learning how to build fortresses, keep dwarves happy, and make sure no one starves to death. I still don't play with cave-ins enabled, and I've been at this for years.

        Oh and aquifers! Those are very difficult and I recommend turning them off in the starter pack options unless you want to spend a whole day learning how to breach them just to access more than the two z-levels of dirt below the surface.

        Also, don't be afraid of death, tantrums, and losing. Part of the fun is the absurdity of Dwarf Fortress and you shouldn't be too worried about building an invincible settlement until much later, when you know what to look out for. Besides, you've got an infinite number of fortresses to found/reclaim, in an infinite number of worlds to generate. Enjoy the emergent gameplay and embrace the lack of control and DF becomes a much, much funner experience.

        Beyond that, I really only have a few pieces of advice, similar to what I wrote in my comment, and they are:

        Once you're ready to strike the earth on your own and not follow a guide, you should still reference the wiki whenever you're unsure of something or want to learn something new.

        At the same time, you should keep in mind that Dwarf Fortress is absurdly detailed and if it will work in real life, it'll probably work in Dwarf Fortress, so don't be afraid to just build something and hope it works without referencing the wiki first. It's a two part act really, balancing what you want to know and want to find out on your own.

        For instance, if you pump water from a river down a narrow corridor to flush away invaders, don't worry about looking up if it will work, just use the wiki to figure out how screw pumps and water wheels work, then give it a try when the goblins come. (Spoiler, those green morons are going to drown)

        My best piece of advice though would be to keep in mind that Dwarf Fortress doesn't have a "win condition." Your fortress will eventually succumb and crumble into nothing. It might take a thousand in-game years (and several real ones) but, it was inevitable.

        So always remember: Losing is fun!

        4 votes
        1. TheSaltShaker Link Parent
          Maybe dwarf fortress just isn’t for me. I’m pretty casual and just play games to unwind, and I don’t want to feel like I’m banging my head against a wall trying to learn a system that’s made to be...

          Maybe dwarf fortress just isn’t for me. I’m pretty casual and just play games to unwind, and I don’t want to feel like I’m banging my head against a wall trying to learn a system that’s made to be obscure.

          That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with it, I admire the work the devs have put into the game, and I love the fact that there is a game as intricate as DF. I just don’t think it’s for me.

          3 votes
    3. Makkiux Link Parent
      Had never heard of Kenshi but it looks fascinating. Kind of strikes me as a cross between Mount & Blade and the less-linear PC RPGs of the 90s like Wasteland and Fallout 2.

      Had never heard of Kenshi but it looks fascinating. Kind of strikes me as a cross between Mount & Blade and the less-linear PC RPGs of the 90s like Wasteland and Fallout 2.

    4. [2]
      annadane Link Parent
      Jesus christ. If there's one thing I love/am horrified by about Tildes, it's the ridiculously long posts

      Jesus christ.

      If there's one thing I love/am horrified by about Tildes, it's the ridiculously long posts

      3 votes
      1. Nitta Link Parent
        There's probably some kind of reverse relation between public visibility of a community and amount of meaning put into comments within it. If Tildes gained a couple billion users, comments would...

        There's probably some kind of reverse relation between public visibility of a community and amount of meaning put into comments within it. If Tildes gained a couple billion users, comments would be full of "hooman floof".

        3 votes
  2. [10]
    anowlcalledjosh Link
    Absolutely, hands-down, The Witness. Whilst it's true that it contains many puzzles that look similar, the game is more than that. I don't want to spoil it for anyone that may not have played it...

    Absolutely, hands-down, The Witness.

    Whilst it's true that it contains many puzzles that look similar, the game is more than that. I don't want to spoil it for anyone that may not have played it yet, but there's certainly enough in the way of line puzzles to keep you entertained for a while, even if you never moved any further in the game than that.

    I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone who enjoys puzzle games or working things out themselves; however, the game is very good about guiding you through so that there's almost always something logical you can do – it doesn't have the big leaps in reasoning you need for something like Myst, say – so even if you don't like most puzzle games, it might still be worth a shot. It's better the more into the game you can get, so if you enjoy exploring the depths of a game then you might enjoy it too.

    If you are planning on playing it, I'd really recommend going into it knowing as little as possible about it – there are some really big things that people spoil, and it's much more enjoyable to work them out yourself. The thing to know before playing is essentially that you can't break it, whatever you do – don't be afraid to do something because you think it might break the game or make something inaccessible, it's not that kind of game, and there are good safeguards to make sure that you don't ever get stuck anywhere. (At the same time, there are a couple of points which are unnecessarily difficult to understand or are poorly explained; don't be afraid to walk away from those for a while, either within the game (just walking around looking at stuff is a perfectly valid thing to do!) or outside of it, but if you really don't understand something then there are places online like /r/TheWitness that will attempt to show you the way forward without spoiling any more than necessary.)

    19 votes
    1. [5]
      kfwyre Link Parent
      Your writeup has convinced me that I need to give this game another go. I bought it and played it on release, but I got full stuck shortly thereafter and ended up leaving the game unfinished...

      Your writeup has convinced me that I need to give this game another go.

      I bought it and played it on release, but I got full stuck shortly thereafter and ended up leaving the game unfinished despite enjoying what I'd played so far. Normally I'm fine with looking up hints or a guide if I hit a wall in games of this type, but at the time the information wasn't readily available (and I was worried about ruining it). I'm lucky in that I haven't had anything spoiled for me, so I feel like I'm ripe for a restart.

      Are there any hint guides you would recommend, or should I just pop onto /r/TheWitness if I hit a wall like I did last time?

      4 votes
      1. [3]
        Nitta Link Parent
        There are many places to start moving from. If you got stuck on a series of puzzles you can leave it for a while and try looking somewhere else on the map. Also I have an idea, we could have a The...

        There are many places to start moving from. If you got stuck on a series of puzzles you can leave it for a while and try looking somewhere else on the map.

        Also I have an idea, we could have a The Witness hints thread here on Tildes. I'm not sure how much I remember and I didn't complete all puzzles, but still can remember some hints and others probably can help too.

        5 votes
        1. [2]
          kfwyre Link Parent
          Awesome. I'm not planning on starting the game until January, but when I do I'll definitely seek help when needed. I want to finish it for good this time!

          Awesome. I'm not planning on starting the game until January, but when I do I'll definitely seek help when needed. I want to finish it for good this time!

          4 votes
          1. TankorSmash Link Parent
            I never beat it because I got stumped basically, but there's a ton of room to move around and try the different 'worlds' so to speak. Good luck!

            I never beat it because I got stumped basically, but there's a ton of room to move around and try the different 'worlds' so to speak. Good luck!

            2 votes
      2. anowlcalledjosh Link Parent
        /r/TheWitness is good; there are a few wikis and guides, but they all tend to reveal more than is necessary. I'd definitely be willing to give you a hint if there was a thread on Tildes.

        /r/TheWitness is good; there are a few wikis and guides, but they all tend to reveal more than is necessary. I'd definitely be willing to give you a hint if there was a thread on Tildes.

        3 votes
    2. [3]
      deadaluspark Link Parent
      Have you played The TALOS Principle? If so, could you give a rundown on similarities/differences, between the two? Because they both seem so similar in presentation and theme that I constantly get...

      Have you played The TALOS Principle? If so, could you give a rundown on similarities/differences, between the two?

      Because they both seem so similar in presentation and theme that I constantly get them confused, and am interested in playing both.

      4 votes
      1. Wes Link Parent
        They're pretty different. Talos is more like Portal where the mechanics are easy to understand, but the puzzles grow in complexity as more mechanics are paired together. The Witness is more like...

        They're pretty different. Talos is more like Portal where the mechanics are easy to understand, but the puzzles grow in complexity as more mechanics are paired together. The Witness is more like Myst where you need to experiment to understand how the mechanics work, and that realization is often the answer to the puzzle.

        They're both great games though.

        8 votes
      2. kfwyre (edited ) Link Parent
        If we're talking first-person puzzlers, imagine a spectrum of world-design from completely compartmentalized levels to a cohesive, connected open-world. Portal sits at the compartmentalized end,...

        If we're talking first-person puzzlers, imagine a spectrum of world-design from completely compartmentalized levels to a cohesive, connected open-world. Portal sits at the compartmentalized end, and The Witness occupies the open-world one. The Talos Principle sits between them. It has individual, compartmentalized levels, but those levels exist within larger, contiguous worlds.

        Puzzles in The Talos Principle are mostly spatial and procedural affairs. Using different tools, you will have to, say, connect a laser from its origin to a terminal or use blockers to strategically remove forcefields. The game introduces each of these tools (and more), teaches you how to use them, and then ramps up the complexity of its challenges to satisfying heights. Everything is robust and smartly designed, and I ended up enjoying the game more than I did Portal, which is high praise.

        The Witness is famous for its unique puzzle style. Given the sentiment of many that you should go in blind, I won't say much about it other than to say it's different from most other games in the genre but still satisfying.

        Talos also has a strong narrative and features a well-told, thought-provoking journey. Imagine if Portal decided to go serious and existential rather than dark and snarky, and you'd be close to what it has to offer.

        Both games feel very fair, and both games have significant challenge. While I beat The Talos Principle, there are still plenty of optional puzzles that I haven't unlocked, much less completed. With The Witness, I was not able to get through it on my own. Nevertheless, I would recommend either wholeheartedly if you like the genre.

        6 votes
    3. Atvelonis (edited ) Link Parent
      I enjoy this game particularly because Jonathon Blow's thesis with it seems to be a rejection of modern video game design philosophy; the world and puzzles themselves are what keep you going, and...

      I enjoy this game particularly because Jonathon Blow's thesis with it seems to be a rejection of modern video game design philosophy; the world and puzzles themselves are what keep you going, and nothing more. There is a tangible form of progression (the lasers), and there are those little audio files scattered around for you to find, but there isn't a scoring system or a bunch of useless shiny trophies to artificially encourage you to continue playing once you've become bored of the actual gameplay.

      Even the pillars for the optional environmental puzzles are just a way for players to gauge their progress, and the lack of pomp and circumstance around the pillars means you don't feel as though you need to get every single environmental puzzle shown on them. Compare this to something like MGSV's completion counter, a percentage that you see every time you open the game (and one far too focused on completing every single idiotic filler task you possibly can, rather than the "big picture" of the game). In this sense, The Witness takes the "burden of enjoyment" off the player; you play until you feel that you've played enough, and there is no subconscious pressure for you to waste more time in the game.

      I think this is just a much neater and more considerate way of designing a game than what is usually done: to add whatever pointless or often boring systems necessary to keep people playing indefinitely. It's possible to enjoy games that do this (I enjoyed MGSV overall, for example), but I also think it's a breath of fresh air to be able to play something that doesn't treat you like a commodity, and just exists for your enjoyment.

      2 votes
  3. [2]
    kfwyre (edited ) Link
    EDIT: Inspired by @hungariantoast's outstanding, in-depth writeup, I decided to change my blurbs to be more substantial. Quern: Undying Thoughts (2016) For a long time, Myst was, for me, The One...

    EDIT: Inspired by @hungariantoast's outstanding, in-depth writeup, I decided to change my blurbs to be more substantial.

    Quern: Undying Thoughts (2016)

    For a long time, Myst was, for me, The One That Got Away. When I was younger, it looked jaw-droppingly amazing, and the intrigue of being stuck on a mystery puzzle island took root within me in a powerful way. Nevertheless, I never actually played Myst on release, so my fondness for it was abstract and untested--still real, but only in the vaguest, most projected sense.

    Unfortunately, Myst hasn’t aged well. Nor, in fact, have the attempts to modernize it. I tried playing Myst: Masterpiece Edition and couldn’t get past the dated visuals and interface. A few years later I tried again with realMyst and ran into the same issues. Ditto a few years later when I tried realMyst: Masterpiece Edition. I've tried four different versions of the game over nearly two decades and still never gotten what I wanted from it. I started to wonder if the issue was really with the game and not with me.

    Last year I finally sat down and played the game using a walkthrough, just to satisfy my longstanding curiosity. Turns out I liked the idea of Myst I had created in my mind much more than the game itself, mostly because I found its puzzles to be needlessly, often deliberately antagonistic. My problems with the game weren't just software-related but design-centered. The game was intentionally opaque. No doubt the experience was landmark at a time when exploring a digital space was its own reward, but decades later, I long for conveyance and design that points me in the right direction and gives me tasks and purpose rather than deliberately hiding all points of interest and asking me to find things through protracted trial and error. What I really wanted was an "escape room" experience from my island getaway, where the game presents you with the locks and you have to puzzle out the keys.

    Enter Quern, which I would dare to call a masterpiece of the genre in its own right. The game is much more linear than Myst and does a fantastic job of conveying important information to the player regarding puzzle concepts and completeness. Almost everything is signposted if you pay close attention. If you don’t have enough information/items to solve a particular puzzle, that’s almost always made clear, so you don’t waste time trying to solve something you can’t. The puzzles are also rich, varied, and deeply satisfying. The designers of the game wanted to minimize absurdity as much as possible (in an already admittedly absurd premise), so nearly everything in the game has multiple uses in order to give the space more of a cohesive, connected feel. Concepts from one puzzle might carry over to another, or you might use an item in multiple locations.

    There are a few tedious moments, I’ll admit, and I had to consult a guide a few times as well, but the richness of the rest of the game more than made up for those moments. It finally fulfilled for me the puzzle island fantasy I’d created decades ago.

    Distance (2018)

    This was made by a team of developers that first put themselves on the map with a freeware racing game called Nitronic Rush. That game was one of the better racing games I’ve ever played (free or paid), so when they announced a Kickstarter to take what they learned from Nitronic Rush and roll it into a full-fledged official release, I was ecstatic. Four years later, and the finished product is now available.

    I followed the game during early access, and it was clear they were on to something, but I ultimately made the decision to NOT get the game until the full release because I didn’t want to ruin the game for myself by playing it before it was fully cooked.

    I was able to do that this year and was pleased to find that the game is as excellent as I'd hoped it would be. It takes a lot from my forever favorite TrackMania series while changing up the formula to have its own identity. The controls allow you to “hop” your car and rotate it in air, which allows the racing to consist of fast-paced technical transfers (where you hop from the floor to a ceiling or wall, for example). It also has a fantastic aesthetic, and they did a lot to incorporate the music into the game itself. Most levels act as visualizers, with lights and environmental pieces that pulse and shine in time to the excellent electronica soundtrack.

    The campaign is also noteworthy. Racing games rarely have a story worth shaking a stick at, but Distance bucks the trend and has a nice, short, succinct narrative experience that introduces you to the game’s technical complexity while giving its aesthetic some heft. Calling it a story is misleading, as there’s not much plot, but what it lacks in story events it makes up for in atmosphere. I saw the campaign described as "driving survival horror," which is apt. I’ve played through it multiple times for sheer enjoyment of how well it’s presented and how quickly it goes by.

    Celeste (2018)

    This was one of--if not the--indie darling of 2018. It's a challenging platformer about a girl scaling a mountain and going on a journey of self-discovery. What makes it excellent, rather than simply enjoyable, is the craft and care that were put into the game.

    Movement is precise, responsive, versatile, and, above all, fun. The devs released the source code for the player movement class, and it's a whopping 5400 lines of code! While lines of code don't necessarily correlate with quality, I feel like it nevertheless shows the significant effort that the devs put into making the game feel good to play.

    The level design follows the same trend, with the game being and feeling very smart. Levels are clever and balance giving you opportunities for success while also pushing you just past your comfort zone. It's the perfect blend of satisfaction and challenge and was a joy from start to finish.

    9 votes
    1. biox Link Parent
      Adding some additional Celeste love. I cannot recommend the game enough.

      Adding some additional Celeste love. I cannot recommend the game enough.

      2 votes
  4. [2]
    Nitta (edited ) Link
    Need for Speed Underground One more time completed the career in this cozy, beautiful, authentic street racing arcade. Super fun to play on controller this time, better than keyboard in childhood....

    Need for Speed Underground

    One more time completed the career in this cozy, beautiful, authentic street racing arcade. Super fun to play on controller this time, better than keyboard in childhood. The beauty of the night city, the randomness of traffic, fun physics of car handling, collisions camera work, ease of tuning, decent difficulty on hard, spectacular drag and drift racing - basically everything converges to perfection of this wonderful game.

    Subnautica

    That was a hit in the beginning of year. Free exploration of alien ocean using and building high tech equipment. So diverse fish there, and not every kind of fish is equally nice to the player. Life forms glow like in Avatar movie. The story isn't pushy at all, it allows you to play at your own pace and explore (there are a lot of things to explore), and it's a Star Trek level quality story there. Oh and it's free on Epic Store now

    9 votes
    1. clone1 Link Parent
      I absolutely loved Subnautic. It's in my all-time top list of games. They completely nailed the atmosphere, the whole game felt completely alien. Also, maybe it's just me, but it was one of the...

      I absolutely loved Subnautic. It's in my all-time top list of games. They completely nailed the atmosphere, the whole game felt completely alien. Also, maybe it's just me, but it was one of the scariest games I've ever played. The ocean freaks me out in real life, and Subnautica really tapped into that primal fear.

      In short, it's extremely good at making the player feel like they are actually surviving in an alien ocean that was never meant for humans to be in.

      5 votes
  5. [4]
    mat Link
    Beat Saber. It's a near-perfect rhythm game. Sure, it's not deep or complicated (and I say that as a dedicated Soulsborner), but it's the most fun I've had with my playstation for a long time....

    Beat Saber. It's a near-perfect rhythm game. Sure, it's not deep or complicated (and I say that as a dedicated Soulsborner), but it's the most fun I've had with my playstation for a long time. Every single person I've put in front of it - from non-gamers to people who get severe VR sickness - has loved it. There isn't a lot to say about it - you cut up blocks in time to the music and get points, but it's ridiculous amounts of fun and while the harder modes get very challenging, the simpler ones are easily accessible to anyone who can swing a light sabre.

    Matt from UpIsNotJump has a great review here

    9 votes
    1. [2]
      Defluo Link Parent
      Just wanted second your opinion. However if possible, try the PC version with the custom song mod, it completely changes things. There are literally thousands of songs available on beatsaver.com...

      Just wanted second your opinion. However if possible, try the PC version with the custom song mod, it completely changes things. There are literally thousands of songs available on beatsaver.com and a lot of them are charted better and are more challenging than the songs that come with the game.

      7 votes
      1. mat Link Parent
        Great point.The PSVR version isn't as flexible and us console peasants don't get all the fun custom songs. It's a shame but there was no way they'd ever get that past Sony's legal team.

        Great point.The PSVR version isn't as flexible and us console peasants don't get all the fun custom songs. It's a shame but there was no way they'd ever get that past Sony's legal team.

        4 votes
    2. tape Link Parent
      Yep. It's like DDR for your arms, but better because you're not trying to balance on your arms like you were in DDR.

      Yep. It's like DDR for your arms, but better because you're not trying to balance on your arms like you were in DDR.

  6. Heichou Link
    So recently I booted up my SNES Classic and started playing Earthbound , despite my general distaste for JRPGs. I think this game is a prime example of a complete and utter outlier in an otherwise...

    So recently I booted up my SNES Classic and started playing Earthbound , despite my general distaste for JRPGs. I think this game is a prime example of a complete and utter outlier in an otherwise over-saturated and creatively barren (in my humbly opinionated opinion) genre. Of course, Earthbound was made in '94, but it has aged excellently and is still so different from anything I've seen released today. Like Katamari Damacy (A game I still really need to pick up on Switch), I love games that fully embrace the essence of weird and Earthbound nails that perfectly. I'm super interested in playing Mother 3 , but Mother 1 may be a bit more dated than I can handle

    7 votes
  7. [2]
    Staross Link
    Dota 2, 5 years in and still not bored, although I play less than before (work doesn't help too).

    Dota 2, 5 years in and still not bored, although I play less than before (work doesn't help too).

    7 votes
    1. Maven Link Parent
      7.20 changed so much stuff that it almost feels like a new game.

      7.20 changed so much stuff that it almost feels like a new game.

      3 votes
  8. DeFaced Link
    Mario Odyssey, it made me realize that my interest in games isn't really dwindling as I'm getting older, it's just the industry moving in a direction I don't really like, because even though Mario...

    Mario Odyssey, it made me realize that my interest in games isn't really dwindling as I'm getting older, it's just the industry moving in a direction I don't really like, because even though Mario Odyssey is basically like every other Mario, the gameplay is just so damn solid and fun.

    7 votes
  9. [4]
    Tpyo Link
    Obligatory Breath of the Wild reply. The game really breathed life back into a long degrading gaming slump I was in. After playing it I went back and played a bunch of my favorite old Zeldas: Link...

    Obligatory Breath of the Wild reply.

    The game really breathed life back into a long degrading gaming slump I was in. After playing it I went back and played a bunch of my favorite old Zeldas: Link to the Past, Oracle of Ages/Seasons, Link's Awakening. It was so refreshing to feel love for gaming again! :-D

    7 votes
    1. anowlcalledjosh Link Parent
      BOTW would probably have been my second choice for this thread. It's nothing like any other Zelda game I've played, which honestly is probably part of the reason I like it – if I get stuck with...

      BOTW would probably have been my second choice for this thread. It's nothing like any other Zelda game I've played, which honestly is probably part of the reason I like it – if I get stuck with something, I can walk away and try something else, whereas with something like Twilight Princess or Ocarina of Time, the story is basically linear, so if you come across something challenging, you're stuck trying to do it until either you succeed or give up and go and play something more fun.

      4 votes
    2. [2]
      Crespyl Link Parent
      I'm looking forward to returning to BotW over the holiday. I had the misfortune of accidentally running into what were, IMO, the most obnoxious and flow-breaking parts of the game one right after...

      I'm looking forward to returning to BotW over the holiday. I had the misfortune of accidentally running into what were, IMO, the most obnoxious and flow-breaking parts of the game one right after the other.

      The first was gliding into the Lost Woods section and having the game unceremoniously yank me down to the surface and a maze full of invisible reset walls, followed by one of the most tedious escort quests I've had the misfortune of playing.

      After spending some time in the otherwise enjoyable woods, I ended up going to the desert and encountering the Yiga Clan hideout, which was even worse.

      Between them, those two sections pretty much killed my enthusiasm for the game at the time, even though the rest has been really enjoyable. I intend to revisit it while I'm on vacation, but by the time I finished the Yiga boss I had no more patience for it.

      I think the biggest problem those two sections had in common was that they broke the rules of the gameworld that had otherwise felt very consistent and fair. BotW is great at setting up an environment and giving you a huge box of tools to approach it with, but suddenly having the game tell you "no, you're doing it wrong" (by tearing you out of the sky if you're flying over the woods), and "no, you can't experiment" (by almost instakilling you if you make one mistake in the Yiga hideout, and disabling Mipha's Grace) sort of betrays everything the game has done well up to that point.

      4 votes
      1. KapteinB Link Parent
        Those were my two least favourite parts of the game, by far! I made the mistake of going west to the Gerudo Desert as soon as I left the Great Plateau. (It was the nearest Divine Beast, so I...

        Those were my two least favourite parts of the game, by far! I made the mistake of going west to the Gerudo Desert as soon as I left the Great Plateau. (It was the nearest Divine Beast, so I thought it made sense at the time.) But trying to get through the Yiga hideout with less than 5 hearts, when the guards deal 5 hearts damage with each attack (and I really suck at stealth missions, which isn't exactly BotW's strong point in any case), was a real pain. I very nearly shelved the game after about my 12th botched attempt.

        I'm very glad I didn't though, because BotW is overall the best gaming experience I've had this year. Just a tip for any new players: Do the other Divine Beasts before you do the one in Gerudo Desert.

        Those were also two of the very few times I consulted a walkthrough during my playthrough. The Lost Woods section isn't actually that bad when you know what the puzzle is. It's just that the visual cues for it are very subtle, so many players simply don't know what they're supposed to do.

        3 votes
  10. [2]
    Wes Link
    I recently played Life is Strange and its prequel, Before the Storm. The games moved me. They play similarly to Telltale's recent games but with a story that is completely captivating. The setting...

    I recently played Life is Strange and its prequel, Before the Storm. The games moved me. They play similarly to Telltale's recent games but with a story that is completely captivating.

    The setting isn't what I would normally play (highschool senior), and there's some initial awkwardness to it. But it's entirely endearing in the same sense, and the game managed to convince me of its sincerity. The music choices (in both games) is completely spot-on. The experience feels very genuine and compelling.

    Life is Strange is my favorite game I played this year.

    I also recently played Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. I didn't know anything about it before playing - just that it was a difficult game. Much of my satisfaction in playing games comes from overcoming adversity, so I gave it a go.

    It's actually a great game. And most importantly, it's completely fair. It is difficult, but any frustration comes from the player making a mistake. The game is honest with you from the beginning.

    I played for a few hours using an Xbox controller, but switched over to mouse after needing more precision. I completed the game in something like 7 hours.

    It's definitely not for everyone, but it was the perfect game for me. If you enjoy tough platformers, shmups, or other high-precision games, you might like it too.

    6 votes
    1. jclishman Link Parent
      I played Life is Strange just before Episode 5 came out, which happened to be my junior year of High School. The in-game choices allow you to deviate from the story, while still remaining a...

      I played Life is Strange just before Episode 5 came out, which happened to be my junior year of High School. The in-game choices allow you to deviate from the story, while still remaining a fantastic overarching narrative. Everything about the game is beautiful, from the soundtrack (which I still listen to on a regular basis) to the visual art style. The dialogue can be a bit corny in some scenes, but in a way that leans more towards endearment than cringe. It made me laugh and cry, and has substantially changed my life more than anything else I've played.

      3 votes
  11. Gaywallet Link
    Best games I played this year in no particular order: ----PS4:---- God of War - action rpg. Recommended to anyone who enjoys RPGs or action games. The storytelling is absolutely fantastic. Monster...

    Best games I played this year in no particular order:

    ----PS4:----

    God of War - action rpg. Recommended to anyone who enjoys RPGs or action games. The storytelling is absolutely fantastic.
    Monster Hunter World - action. Recommended to anyone who enjoys fighting games, action games, or soulslike games.

    ----Nintendo Switch:----

    Octopath Traveler - turn based oldschool feel rpg. If you liked the old final fantasy games or anything similar, I would recommend this to you.
    Dead Cells - action platformer roguelike. Anyone who likes games who challenge your timing and input will like this. Anyone who likes roguelikes or metroid style games will like this.
    Hollow Knight - action platformer. Recommended to the same kind of people as the above game.
    Okami HD - remake of the classic in HD; action rpg. Do you like zelda? Do you like fantastic stories? Then I recommend this to you.

    ----PC:----

    Vermintide 2 - FPS. This one is interesting because although it is an FPS, most of the game is melee attacks. I'm not sure what they call this style of mission-based games where you level up a character and slowly progress to higher difficulty, but I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys FPS games.

    5 votes
  12. [2]
    AngBeer Link
    I’m new here; so this is a test to see whether my commenting sucks. My most recent favorite game is Civilization VI on the Switch. My husband and I bought a second Switch and two copies of the...

    I’m new here; so this is a test to see whether my commenting sucks.

    My most recent favorite game is Civilization VI on the Switch. My husband and I bought a second Switch and two copies of the game so we could play together, but he doesn’t have enough time to play. I’m totally sucked into the game... to the point where husband is getting a smidge pissy about me playing.

    5 votes
    1. cfabbro Link Parent
      Can confirm, comment doesn't suck. ;) I'm not a huge fan of Civ VI on desktop, especially compared to the much more in-depth Paradox games like Europa Universalis 4, but it is a damn fine mobile...

      Can confirm, comment doesn't suck. ;)

      I'm not a huge fan of Civ VI on desktop, especially compared to the much more in-depth Paradox games like Europa Universalis 4, but it is a damn fine mobile game and one of my most played games on the iPad. I didn't know it was on Switch though, and when I eventually get around to buying one I will have to get it for that too since the Switch is way more convenient than lugging around my iPad everywhere.

      2 votes
  13. [3]
    roboticide Link
    I think my top pick is Horizon Zero Dawn and Overcooked, but probably because /u/hungariantoast covered Rimworld in depth, and we're picking games we played, not games that were released. I'm...

    I think my top pick is Horizon Zero Dawn and Overcooked, but probably because /u/hungariantoast covered Rimworld in depth, and we're picking games we played, not games that were released.

    I'm picking these two jointly as they were my reason for buying a PS4 and between the two, haven't regretted it for a second.

    2016's Overcooked is a fairly simple cooking party game. All mechanics can be controlled by just two buttons and a joystick, with the complexity coming from each level's layout, the recipes, and time. And while it isn't the first game to put two players on one controller, it's maybe the best. It's sequel, Overcooked 2, is even better, although I've not finished it yet.

    I'd never played any party-type game as fun as that, and went and bought a PS4 immediately after playing it at a friend's house. Since then it's been a hit at parties with competitive multiplayer, and my girlfriend and I have had a wonderful time with co-op.

    And then on the other end of the indie-to-AAA spectrum is 2017's Horizon Zero Dawn. This was one of THE games of 2017, so I don't think there's much to say. If you don't have a Switch and feel like you're missing out on Breath of the Wild, this is a good substitute. Arguably better, imo, as it's a new IP with a new villain other than Ganon. I loved the way we slowly uncovered what happened and how the story developed. It was beautifully done, the environment was great, and the gameplay was excellent.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      blau Link Parent
      Started Horizon this week and am absolutely blown away so far. May even like it better than RDR2.

      Started Horizon this week and am absolutely blown away so far. May even like it better than RDR2.

      2 votes
      1. roboticide Link Parent
        I've never played RDR or RDR2, but as far as HZD goes, you're in for a treat. I also highly recommend you get the Frozen Wilds expansion before you beat the game. Definitely worth it either way,...

        I've never played RDR or RDR2, but as far as HZD goes, you're in for a treat.

        I also highly recommend you get the Frozen Wilds expansion before you beat the game. Definitely worth it either way, but I think the story works a bit better if you do it about midway through, not at the end.

        1 vote
  14. tesseractcat Link
    The best game I played this year was, without a doubt, Echo Combat. If you've ever read Enders Game and fantasized about floating through the battle room in zero gravity, hiding behind stars,...

    The best game I played this year was, without a doubt, Echo Combat. If you've ever read Enders Game and fantasized about floating through the battle room in zero gravity, hiding behind stars, making tactics with your teammates, this game is essentially that. It's one of the most polished vr games as well, and it has an active enough community that there's always some people playing. Although it would be great if more people played.

    4 votes
  15. [2]
    grahamiam Link
    Persona 5! I used to love RPGs, but in the last few years they just felt tedious and exhausting to me. I'd heard so many good things about P5, but saw on howlongtobeat that it was 95 hours long,...

    Persona 5! I used to love RPGs, but in the last few years they just felt tedious and exhausting to me. I'd heard so many good things about P5, but saw on howlongtobeat that it was 95 hours long, and I just thought there was no way a game could hold me for that long. But I tried it anyways and wow. The combat is pokemon-esque, the story is deep and emotional but also with a lot of humor (similar mix of pop culture+silliness as Earthbound, actually). I think it might be my favorite RPG since SNES, and that's saying a lot.

    It pairs really well with the graphic novel Solanin which was one of my favorite books I read this year as well.

    4 votes
    1. Makkiux Link Parent
      Have your tried P4? That one is a personal favorite of mine. So much so that I initially bounced off of P5 because the characters weren't nearly as good. But my girlfriend ended up playing through...

      Have your tried P4? That one is a personal favorite of mine. So much so that I initially bounced off of P5 because the characters weren't nearly as good. But my girlfriend ended up playing through P5 this year and it gave me a newfound appreciation for how damn good its overall style and the its main storyline are.

      1 vote
  16. 666 Link
    Best one so far: Heavy Rain. The graphics were bad and the animations poor, but I loved the story and that's the most important part of a game for me. Runner up: Detroit. Great graphics, fantastic...

    Best one so far: Heavy Rain. The graphics were bad and the animations poor, but I loved the story and that's the most important part of a game for me.

    Runner up: Detroit. Great graphics, fantastic story. I loved that it forced me to choose between morally ambiguous decisions. And it's a story you can replay because there are a lot of different paths you can take, unlike most interactive movies I've played.

    Others I've enjoyed: Mirror's Edge (the first one, I'm going to play the second one soon). Horizon Zero Dawn (beautiful story, awesome landscapes and a huge world to explore). Read Dead Redemption 2 (great game, I loved so much exploring it that that ended up being a negative thing, I haven't managed to get past the first few missions). What Remains of Edith Finch (I can't say much without spoiling it, this game was different, it felt more like reading a good book with a few images than actually playing a game, the writers did an awesome job).

    4 votes
  17. [3]
    deknalis Link
    God of War- I absolutely loved this game, the combat was excellent, and I thought the characterization was fantastic. The themes of legacy and the idea of what we pass on to our children felt like...

    God of War- I absolutely loved this game, the combat was excellent, and I thought the characterization was fantastic. The themes of legacy and the idea of what we pass on to our children felt like a somewhat fresh spin on the "father son bonding" story, which kept it from feeling like it was just aping off movies, which is how I've felt about alot of the other cinematic games like Last of Us.
    Return of the Obra Dinn- I've loved mystery novels and movies, but was always annoyed at how hand-holdy everything felt in mystery games. Well, this game solves that. It actually felt like I was the one solving the mysteries, and the clues weren't completely laid out to me with the dots already connected.
    Florence- I got recommended this game from the Twitter of a YouTuber I follow, so I went into it with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. I really felt a connection to the characters, and I thought the story was wonderful and didn't drag on too long.
    GRIS-Recommended from the same YouTuber, and I haven't actually finished it yet, only an hour or so in, but the beginning hit me emotionally in a way I really didn't expect. I guess this is more like a "for your consideration" because I'm still not done with it, but it's been so good so far that I want to put it on the list.
    Spider-Man- I get tired of a lot of open world games (Red Dead 2 bored me to tears eventually), but the traversal in this game keeps me coming back to it, and I love pushing myself in the combat to make everything as flashy as possible.
    Celeste- Similar to Florence, I just got a rush of emotion and catharsis from this game. The gameplay is tough, but the story about depression and anxiety was really well done and the story was told in a way that the gameplay felt integrated into the narrative.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro (edited ) Link Parent
      GRIS had me blubbering like a baby the other day (no spoilers). It's short but really fantastic and I would definitely recommend it too. I have Obra Dinna and Celeste on my wishlist and am looking...

      GRIS had me blubbering like a baby the other day (no spoilers). It's short but really fantastic and I would definitely recommend it too.

      I have Obra Dinna and Celeste on my wishlist and am looking forward to playing them. And Spider-Man looks great and makes me I wish I had a PS4. I heard the side missions and mini-games are pretty shit but the combat and movement mechanics more than make up for that, though. Was that your experience with it?

      2 votes
      1. deknalis Link Parent
        Yes, the core gameplay loop of Spider-Man is a wonderful experience of swinging and tight combat. I haven't enjoyed the core gameplay of an open world game that much since probably Metal Gear...

        Yes, the core gameplay loop of Spider-Man is a wonderful experience of swinging and tight combat. I haven't enjoyed the core gameplay of an open world game that much since probably Metal Gear Solid V (the story presentation of Spider-Man is much better though). But a lot like MGSV, the developers are very aware that they have a great gameplay loop, and the side missions and activities are virtually indistinguishable from the main missions or the random encounters. I don't have a problem with this, because as much as I enjoy completely varied side quests (Gravity Rush 2 comes to mind), just giving more examples of solid gameplay is something I'd never complain about. But if you want variety in side encounters, the game will really let you down in that regard.

        1 vote
  18. tunneljumper Link
    Slay the Spire: a rogue-like single-player game in deck-building form. I'm still average at best at the game even though I've sunk almost 250 hours into it. It scratches a lot of the MTG itches I...

    Slay the Spire: a rogue-like single-player game in deck-building form. I'm still average at best at the game even though I've sunk almost 250 hours into it. It scratches a lot of the MTG itches I get, without having to spend hundreds of dollars into real-world cards.

    Talos Principle: a first-person puzzle game built in Unity with a heavy emphasis on a philosophical story.

    Return of the Obra Dinn: a mystery-solving game where you have to discover the fates of fifty-some people on board a pirate ship in the late 1800s. The thing I love about this game is that it makes you figure out clues and use your brain for yourself; there is no "compare clues" button and the game isn't there to hold your hand.

    Minit: a top-down exploration-based game in which the central mechanic is that everything has to be done under 60 seconds, and the player respawns at their home base afterwards. Very Undertale-esque in its worldbuilding and its quirky charm.

    4 votes
  19. [2]
    Thrabalen Link
    Surviving Mars. It's deep but whimsical, and if ever there was a title that felt like it had Maxis' imprint on it, this is it. Build a colony, watch it thrive. It's a great time waster... as in,...

    Surviving Mars. It's deep but whimsical, and if ever there was a title that felt like it had Maxis' imprint on it, this is it. Build a colony, watch it thrive. It's a great time waster... as in, don't play it when you're waiting for something to happen, because it will fly by.

    3 votes
    1. transientDCer Link Parent
      Paradox Plaza he's are always so difficult to me haha. They're hard to get good at.

      Paradox Plaza he's are always so difficult to me haha. They're hard to get good at.

  20. CrazyOtter Link
    My gaming time has been fairly limited this year (partly circumstance, partly choosing to work on open source instead). So really I haven't bought many new games this year. Most new games I've...

    My gaming time has been fairly limited this year (partly circumstance, partly choosing to work on open source instead). So really I haven't bought many new games this year. Most new games I've tried have been from the PS+ monthly selections, the only one I completed was the Ratchet & Clank reboot. I enjoyed that when I was younger and it's still fun to play.

    The one game I did actually buy was Tekken 7. I like the fact that I can boot it up and start playing right away. It's technically a deep game, but storywise is fairly lite. Idk I guess at the moment I'm looking for a game that's fun and not too thought provoking or crafting heavy.

    3 votes
  21. JuniperMonkeys Link
    I just got a PS4 this year, and I think I enjoyed Horizon: Zero Dawn the most of what I played. Really stunning designs and art, interesting story, and fun gameplay behind it all. God of War made...

    I just got a PS4 this year, and I think I enjoyed Horizon: Zero Dawn the most of what I played. Really stunning designs and art, interesting story, and fun gameplay behind it all. God of War made a strong start (the PS4 I got was even the fun dumb GoW-edition Pro), but had a shorter tail for me than Horizon did. I also picked up both Tekken 7 and Soul Calibur 6 on the PS4, and had a great time with both; good returns to form for Bandai Namco. Over the holidays I'll do my traditional Journey playthrough (previously via PS3), which will be nice, and I've still gotta try the Shadow of the Colossus port.

    Kind of a weak year for Switch, if only because 2017's a hard-ass year to compete with -- BotW and Odyssey are two of my favorite games ever. The Switch spent a good portion of 2018 being my Dead Cells box. Which is a really good thing to be, it turns out! I'm maybe not quite as much of a fan of it as others are because I feel like the boss battle break a lot of momentum, but meh, it's still great. Otherwise, I enjoyed some of the Switch's 2018 games (Let's Go, Taiko no Tatsujin, Katamari Damacy Reroll), but nothing that super-grabbed me. Try as I might, I'm just not a Smash guy.

    I didn't really have a very diverse year of PC gaming. Hour for hour, it was mostly Factorio, CK2, and DCS. Of the things I bought this year, They Are Billions, Frostpunk, and Battletech were probably the standouts.

    Overall, I think my favorite game was actually Donut County. I got it on iPad and PS4. It's not the best, it's not the most amazing, but it's fun, well-made, and doesn't wear out its welcome.

    3 votes
  22. [2]
    Makkiux (edited ) Link
    Monster Hunter World - I'd really wanted to get into this series purely due to the art design but had bounced off of it due to how archaic and cumbersome the older games were. While some parts of...

    Monster Hunter World - I'd really wanted to get into this series purely due to the art design but had bounced off of it due to how archaic and cumbersome the older games were. While some parts of the game remain rough, either intentionally (e.g. the deliberate Souls-like movement) or unintentionally (e.g. online play) for the most part this release has smoothed down a lot of the edges. The gameplay loop is incredibly rewarding and switching weapon types turns it into an entirely different game (i.e. changing classes in an mmo).

    3 votes
    1. cfabbro Link Parent
      MH:W is definitely up there for me too. I had never played any MH games before this one so can't compare it to them, but I had a blast playing MH:W with some friends. There are lots of distinctly...

      MH:W is definitely up there for me too. I had never played any MH games before this one so can't compare it to them, but I had a blast playing MH:W with some friends. There are lots of distinctly Japanese game/story elements and weird idiosyncrasies in the mechanics and UI, which I am not normally a huge fan of, but overall it was really solid and the most important part of the game, the monster fights, were everything I had hoped they would be. I will definitely be going back to MH:W again once they add more content, and that's not something I can say about many games these days.

      2 votes
  23. MajorMajorMajorMajor Link
    One I haven't seen mentioned here is Theme Parkitect. Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 and 2 are some of my favorite games of all time, but the succeeding games in the series and others in the genre...

    One I haven't seen mentioned here is Theme Parkitect.

    Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 and 2 are some of my favorite games of all time, but the succeeding games in the series and others in the genre haven't been able to live up to them. Planet Coaster, another recent theme park sim, showed some promise, but failed to meet my expectations as a management sim (though some people have made some amazing creations with its powerful design tools). Theme Parkitect finally meets those expectations, and has improved on the RCT formula in a number of ways.

    3 votes
  24. Devin Link
    Very obscure game. Overlord 1 and 2. Old but awesome game. It flew under my radar for years. I will never forget the adoration of minions you order to their destruction loving saying "yes master"....

    Very obscure game. Overlord 1 and 2. Old but awesome game. It flew under my radar for years. I will never forget the adoration of minions you order to their destruction loving saying "yes master".

    As an old school hunter of cool stuff in dungeon rooms. Having 60 minions tear apart a massive room in seconds and walk up to you with treasure, is second to none.

    3 votes
  25. transientDCer Link
    Kingdom Come Deliverance. I played 80 hours in the first week and a half of playing it. One of the best RPGs I've ever played.

    Kingdom Come Deliverance. I played 80 hours in the first week and a half of playing it. One of the best RPGs I've ever played.

    3 votes
  26. Lazarus Link
    HOW IS TETRIS EFFECT NOT ON THIS LIST? Seriously y’all need to play this on a 4K HDR screen at a minimum- it’s like having really pleasant LASIK while tripping on acid and enjoying a pot brownie....

    HOW IS TETRIS EFFECT NOT ON THIS LIST?

    Seriously y’all need to play this on a 4K HDR screen at a minimum- it’s like having really pleasant LASIK while tripping on acid and enjoying a pot brownie.

    ...I assume. I’ve never done drugs but goddamn doing Tetris effect on a proper giant screen in the dark is simply incredible.

    2 votes