GameCentral readers name the game theyve enjoyed the most this year, but that was released before 2018.
The subject for this weeks Hot Topic was a simple one: which game have you enjoyed playing the most in 2018 that wasnt a new release? It could be from any time period, from this gen to the 8-bit era, but what did you enjoy the most and why?
We werent sure what to expect with this topic, but in the end the majority of games were only a few years old – with relatively few retro titles. Although plenty of people were also planning to catch up with more games during the Christmas break…
Third time lucky
What Remains of Edith Finch and Super Mario Odyssey were contenders for the best pre-2018 game I played this year. 3D Mario games being my all-time favourite subseries of games and Odyssey is one of the best but it is not my favourite, Super Mario Galaxy 2 is. And for that reason Odyssey was disappointing, despite being an excellent game in every way.
What Remains Of Edith Finch is easily the best narrative driven, exploration game I have played. (I hate the term walking simulator). It is excellent and was my game of 2017 (I played it in the first week of January) but it is also not the best pre-2018 game I played this year.
With the scheduled release of Red Dead Redemption II this year I was finally properly motivated to play Grand Theft Auto V. Like all Rockstar games (including Red Dead) it did not click with me when I first tried it at launch (or even on the second attempt) but this summer gave me the perfect conditions to give it a proper go. It is an excellent game, with strong characters, decent missions, a great world, and an unprecedented attention to detail. Quite frankly nothing stood a chance of bettering it.
Titanfall + Rabbids
The best game I have played this year, not released in 2018 is Titanfall 2. I am not into multiplayer games, no matter how much praise they get but Titanfall 2 had always been on my radar due to what I heard about its campaign being so good and that it even shared aspects with my favourite ever game: Half-Life 2.
So when I saw it for a ridiculously cheap price on PlayStation 4 of £4.99 I had to pick it up and I wasnt disappointed. The campaign was really great in how it introduced something new in each level and then you wouldnt see it for the rest of the game. It meant that the campaign had great variety. The pacing was also spot on and the relationship between the titan and pilot character was well written, with the titan having some great one-liners. I also enjoyed the pace of the gameplay which reminded me a lot of Doom 2016.
I would also like to put a shout out to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, which Im playing now and thoroughly enjoying. By the time I have finished it, it might just take the place from Titanfall 2 as my favourite non-2018 game.
Ive played a lot of retro/slightly old games this year. I maintain a healthy backlog to fill time between new releases and this year Ive bounced between games as varied as Donkey Kong 94, Final Fantasy VI, The Dagger Of Amon Ra, Castlevania: Portrait Of Ruin, and WCW/NWO Revenge. The one that I had the most fun with though would be Tiny Toons Adventures: Wild & Wacky Sports.
Its a multiplayer sports mini-game collection for the SNES. Made by Konami, it is essentially a Track & Field game with a licence pasted over it, but while most of the games involve various amounts of frantic button mashing there is a fair bit of variety, from races to weight-lighting to target shooting and more. Its also stupidly hard, which made for some great multiplayer sessions when set up with a multi-tap and three friends.
Although ostensibly its a competitive game, it quickly turned into us vs. the game, as we struggled to have at least one of us successfully manage the saucer throw or get enough points without falling to our deaths in the chicken dash. Successfully making it through the normal course of events was a bigger achievement than getting all the moons in Super Mario Odyssey (almost).
If youve got a SNES and four controllers, I definitely recommend picking it up.
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Drink and drive
My current favourite pre-2018 game is Split/Second: Velocity, which was originally released in 2010. I only really play games at the weekend these days, for about a couple of hours at a time.
Split/Second is the perfect title to be enjoyed in short bursts. The game provides full-on arcade racing action, theres no faffing about with car customisation and story modes and whatnot.
I often play Split/Second whilst drinking, which seems to add to the experience until the alcohol begins to impair me and I start losing races. Which makes me annoyed.
I feel sorry for PlayStation 4 owners who cant experience this games high-octane thrills and wanton destruction. Yes, the Xbox One has fewer exclusives than Sonys machine, but you can play Split/Second on the Xbox and that in itself is a very good reason for owning one.
Having played a lot of games this year I had to peruse my trophies to spot which older game Ive had most fun with. For some reason I thought Moss came out last year and that was my first thought, but it was early 2018.
Then I thought of the Spyro remakes and Shenmue remasters, technically kinda old games but released in 2018. Then the Yakuza games, but Id finished them off late last year too (yet to pick up 6 or Kiwami 2).
Surprisingly, the game Ive played and enjoyed most this year that wasnt released in 2018 is theHunter: Call Of The Wild. Im anti-hunting in real life but Ive always enjoyed wandering around the countryside and sniper games so I gave it a try and loved it – I wouldnt shoot a person in real life but do so in games so I see no difference with a videogame deer.
Its now my go-to game when Im stressed out, as half an hour in the world really chills me out. You might not even see an animal in that half an hour, which I think puts many players offl its definitely a game that requires lots of patience but its so rewarding when you finally get it.
Aside from that Id say Resident Evil 7, I played it last year and didnt think a great deal to it. As a fan since the first it didnt feel like a Resident Evil game to me, more like P.T. with green herbs and a Redfield cameo at the very end. But playing it again this year in VR blew me away, and frightened the heck out of me in places despite knowing what was coming.
My answer to this question will be a lot easier next year as theres oodles of games that were released in 2018 Im yet to pick up, such has been the quality of releases for a good while. Ive got a good 10-15 on my wishlist Ill be looking out for in the January sales/ Ill have to be quick and get them done before Resident Evil 2 though, which Ive been looking forward to since the announcement.
Ive been playing a lot of old games this last week, EndWar, Full Spectrum Warrior, and RUSE.
All fantastic, even now.
Full Spectrum Warriors mechanics are just as good, graphics are scratty but they were way back when too.
I loved RUSE. I seem to remember you werent as keen GC? I love the tactics, would love an updated version on the Switch.
Switching to motion controls
My game for 2018 is something I never played on original release, that I found going fairly cheap in a second-hand game store.
It is 2011s The Legend Of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
I had a good relationship with the Wii back in its heyday, picking up and playing the exclusives and AAA content and avoiding the shovelware like the plague, but for some reason I never got this game despite enjoying its predecessor Twilight Princess. So when I powered up the trusty white brick from hibernation this year and put in my second-hand copy of Skyward Sword I was very pleasantly surprised.
Firstly on looks: In the modern era where high quality graphics and fast processing speeds reign supreme, here was a seven-year-old game making the most of what its decade-old hardware has on offer. To say the environments and world building have been lovingly-crafted would be an understatement, as there are scenes in this game that could have come straight out of a painting. The art style plays to the Wii strengths and looks amazing, even today (I can see why people have been looking for a HD remake recently).
I seem to remember the controls coming under fire back on release, and in some respects I can see why. Nintendo went all in on this one. There is no opt-out to play without motion controls; they are there front and centre to the gameplay. I can say I struggled at times with them, never from precision, but more from having to constantly check that my mindset was set to motion control. If I ever found myself stuck on a puzzle or dungeon, the solution was almost always revealed by taking a step back, examining the environment for telltale clues, and applying some kind of motion-based tactic to my situation.
On reflection most of these puzzles are easy when you think about it from that angle, but in the modern world of button presses this took a while to retrain my thought process. Dont get me wrong, this is not a Wii mini-game wagglefest that we saw so much of during that consoles lifetime. It is just that the motion controls are so built into every aspect of this game that it is sometimes hard to adjust your playstyle to adapt. There is no compromise here and for better or worse (given the criticism that Nintendo came under for this aspect) that deserves some credit.
Other than this the story is classic Zelda, with the gameplay centred on dungeons, quests, and exploration.
The soundtrack of this game is also noteworthy, and the game comes with a 25th anniversary Zelda orchestral tie-in CD. The music suits the mood wonderfully and is varied from fun and light-hearted to deep and moody depending on your situation. The classic sounds and nostalgic item pickup notes are all here too and really tie this back to the Zelda lineage.
I would close with saying that this game has really reawakened my love for video games, after something of a hiatus. I am 50 hours in and still going, and loving every minute of this finely wrought experience. I have enjoyed it so much, that top of my Christmas list is the Nintendo Switch and a copy of Breath Of The Wild that. If it has been put together with half the effort that is apparent in Skyward Sword will be worth the price of admission alone.
Happy Christmas and happy gaming in 2019!
GC: Despite being an entirely different experience it, surprisingly, has exactly the same producer and director.
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