DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Tanner’s Top 10

As 2018 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2018 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2018 releases — can be considered.

Well, it’s the end of the year again, which means it’s time to tally up our favorite Games of the Year and contrary to what others at this site have said, I think it’s been a great year for games. Some were all-time favorites, some set precedent for the future of gaming, and some were so popular and fun that they couldn’t be ignored, even if they didn’t come out this year. Some, in fact, I didn’t play until literally days before our Game of the Year deliberations.

So, without further ado, I’d like to present to you my favorite games of 2018 for you to criticize me for in the comments section or on Twitter.

10. Fortnite


Ok, so I’m kicking off this list with an interesting pick. Many of my fellow writers know that I haven’t exactly been speaking highly of Fortnite as of late. That being said, until Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was released, there was no other major battle royale game to play. Because of this, I played Fortnite a ton between January and October. No matter how much I like other forms of battle royale, there’s no denying how much I played the game during that period of time.

In addition, Fortnite does put a unique spin on the genre with its building aspect. If you want to make a giant castle to hide out in while the final circle is closing in on you, you can. If you need to make a quick board for cover, you can do that too. For both of these reasons, I feel like it deserves a spot on my list.

9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links

This may be cheating a bit since I put it on my list last year, but once again, there’s no denying how much I played of Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links this year. The game itself includes a quicker version of the normal dueling format: three card zones instead of five, 20-card decks instead of 40, 5 extra deck cards instead of 15, etc. This lends itself perfectly for the mobile format, allowing you to do quick duels while riding the bus or train but also have a ton of fun dueling with friends that have more complicated decks.

Beyond that, the game is being supported like nothing I’ve seen before. New main boxes and mini boxes are released nearly every few weeks, there’s always some kind of event going on in-game, and recently, we got an entire world based around 5D’s, the second spin-off in the long-running YuGiOh series, which introduced Synchro summoning. While some people may think it complicated the game, I personally think it’s a great addition, and I hope that the other summoning methods (Xyz, Pendulum, and Link) all get added in the near future.

8. Sleep Tight

There are certain titles that I had to include on my list and Sleep Tight is one of those games. I got to play it for the first time at E3 2018 (and even took part in a hilarious video) and ever since that point I was hooked. Sleep Tight combines elements of twin-stick shooters with base-building for an incredibly addicting experience, as players need to buy weapons, pillow forts, turrets, and more in order to survive.

My only problem with the game is that it doesn’t have a ton of content. While you may have a good amount of characters to play, as some of them aren’t easily unlockable and the game only includes one map. I think if it included more content, it might be higher on my list, but right now #8 is a good place for Sleep Tight. Certainly a highlight, but not the best of the best.

Check out the DualShockers review of Sleep Tight.

7. Vampyr


Vampyr was one of the first major games I played for review this year. I gave it an 8.5, which is apparently higher than most people gave it, but I still stand by the fact that it’s a fun and interesting title all the same. While I haven’t touched it in a while, it still stuck with me through the past months since its June release. Dr. Jonathan Reid, the game’s main protagonist, has to struggle between helping others and fulfilling the bloodlust that comes from being a vampire and it’s an interesting struggle. On top of that the gameplay, while simple, can be mastered in a number of different areas.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have any complaints about Vampyr: in fact, the bugs that I experienced were downright dreadful at certain points. Muddled textures, framerate drops, and other small annoying bugs occurred during certain points in the game. While it’s often enough that I’d call it “frequent,” it certainly doesn’t help Vampyr get higher on my list, though I did enjoy my time with it this year.

Check out the DualShockers review of Vampyr.

6. Florence

Here’s where we start getting into to the truly wonderful experiences. Florence is absolutely stunning when it comes to its art style and story. Its narrative is heartbreaking, uplifting, and incredibly relatable. Anyone who’s been in a relationship in the past can appreciate what Florence has to offer. On top of that, it’s art style is charming, to say the least.

One thing that some people may complain about is the gameplay. I, on the other hand, think that its gameplay is what sets it apart from everything else. Everything you do is simple, even all the way down to the dialogue choices. You don’t hear any voice acting, hell, you don’t really read any either: all of it is based on context. After playing Florence, I can’t wait to see what developer Mountains does next.

Check out our editorial on Florence.

5. Tetris Effect

For me, the biggest surprise of the year has to go to Tetris Effect. Who would have thought that a Tetris game would be one of the best titles released this year? Its music selection is absolutely top notch and the way that it combines the typical Tetris gameplay with its music is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a video game. Within the first minute of the first song, I got goosebumps and was in awe, and the way it transitions from song to song gave me chills every time.

My only complaint about Tetris Effect is how short it is. Hopefully, the game gets DLC in the near future, because I just want more, more, more, more, and more. Tetris Effect is something that should be experienced by everyone, even if it’s just a rental for a weekend.

Check out the DualShockers review of Tetris Effect.

4. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Did you think I could write a Top 10 list without including Call of Duty: Black Ops 4?This is the change that Call of Duty needed; Treyarch has made so many alterations to every single mode in the game that I was honestly astounded. The whole game saw an increase in health across all modes, the addition of useful specialists, and the addition of a fantastic battle royale mode in Blackout (despite what my colleague Ben Walker thinks). In fact, Blackout is my favorite battle royale mode out of them all. It’s time to kill and pacing is next to perfect for my tastes and seeing old maps be used in new ways will never get old, at least for me.

Specialist HQ, the game’s “story mode,” may feel rushed, but everything else about the game feels meticulously crafted to the point where I basically have no major complaints. While I don’t want the next few Call of Duty games to try and replicate Blackout in some other form, I hope that Infinity Ward and Sledgehammer takes notes on what Treyarch did with all the other modes.

Check out the DualShockers review of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

3. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

Now we’re getting into the cream of the crop, the top tier stuff, the best of the best, starting with Red Dead Redemption 2. What Rockstar Games did with the game on a technical front can’t go unchecked. In that area, the game is absolutely phenomenal and deserves all the praise in the world. What they’ve done for graphics and technical gameplay will be the new industry standard for years to come, maybe until Cyberpunk 2077 hits.

While the graphics are amazing, it’s definitely the lowest of the top 3 titles. I know I’d get a lot of flak for that opinion, but the game suffers when it comes to the other aspects. Its story isn’t exactly riveting, it’s unbearably long, and frankly, the gameplay is awful. The graphics are good enough to put it at the same level as this year’s other games, but it’s, frankly, the only thing keeping it there.

Check out the DualShockers review of Red Dead Redemption 2.

2. God of War

Where do I even begin with God of War? In my opinion, even though I put it as my #2 favorite game, it’s the best Game of the Year. First off, the story of Kratos and Atreus respecting his mother’s last wishes and spreading her ashes at the highest mountain in all the realms brings an unexpected and welcomed heartwarming aspect to the series.

On top of that, the game’s gameplay is superb on most levels. While the upgrading and armor system can be a bit confusing, the moment-to-moment gameplay is next to perfect. And don’t even get me started about how satisfying the Leviathan Axe is to throw and call back. In fact, I played almost the first half of the game exclusively like that. Sony Santa Monica and Cory Barlog should be proud of the accomplishments they achieved with this game.

Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.

1. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Like I said in my previous entry, is Marvel’s Spider-Man the best Game of the Year? No. However, it’s definitely my favorite. The web-swinging is probably the best mechanic featured in a game all year: you can’t tell me that jumping off a building, falling, and swinging out at the last second doesn’t feel buttery smooth. Combat also feels just as smooth and when you’re playing as Spider-Man with all of his flips, jumps, and movements, it kind of has to be.

While it may not be as good as God of War’s, the story is also fantastic. The relationship between Mary Jane and Peter feels so real and relatable, and the introduction and arc of Doc Ock throughout the game was perfectly tragic for these versions of the characters: mature, not young and naive.

I could go on about why Marvel’s Spider-Man was my favorite Game of the Year, but, frankly, others have talked to no end about it. If you want to find out more, I highly suggest you pick it up, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:

December 17: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2018
December 18: Lou Contaldi, Editor in Chief // Logan Moore, Reviews Editor
December 19: Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor // Tomas Franzese, News Editor
December 20: 
Reinhold Hoffmann, Community Manager
December 21: 
Scott Meaney, Community Director // Ben Bayliss, Staff Writer
December 22: 
Ben Walker, Staff Writer // Chris Compendio, Staff Writer
December 23: 
Grant Huff, Staff Writer
December 26: 
Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
December 27: 
Max Roberts, Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer 
December 28: 
Rachael Fiddis, Staff Writer 
December 29: 
Steven Santana, Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer
December 30: 
Iyane Agossah, Staff Writer // Travis Verbil, Staff Writer // Zack Potter, Staff Writer

The post DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Tanner’s Top 10 by Tanner Pierce appeared first on DualShockers.

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DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Steven’s Games of 2018 (and More)

As 2018 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2018 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2018 releases — can be considered.

[Editor’s Note: Some spoilers may be present in the games discussed below, so we might suggest coming back to this list after finishing the games mentioned.]

Game I Started in 2015 and Finally Completed (Twice) This Year

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

This year was not a great game year for me personally. Playing the likes of Far Cry 5, God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Red Dead Redemption 2 garnered no real emotion from me aside from an intense dislike of Far Cry 5 after wasting thirty-some-odd hours on that game. Apathy notwithstanding, I did manage to find some great games to play this year, including finally completing The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt after three years of on-again/off-again play.

Unsurprisingly The Witcher 3 is really good, so good in fact that I’ve already read my way through the first three books upon which the video games are based on. CD Projekt Red did an excellent job capturing the spirit of Geralt and the general theme of choosing between the lesser of two evils. The Witcher 3 is not a happy game, as a large majority of the quests revolve around stories of tragedy, many of which made it onto my guide of essential quests to do in the game. That list is a good explanation for why this is my game of the year, with so many good little stories I’ll remember.

The main quest is also quite good, especially how the ending is determined by how you decide to act with Ciri, something I really thought upended the usual final decision being a binary choice made at the last minute. Upon wrapping credits on my first playthrough, I started a new game with the intent of taking the knowledge of that first playthrough to do a much more thorough look at everything that the game had to offer.

I succeeded in greying out every icon on the map, finishing every quest, and even earning the Platinum Trophy, despite the bulls*** crossbow headshot Trophy. I then went on to complete Hearts of Stone, an excellent expansion, and started Blood and Wine before finally being sidetracked by other releases.

Slaying monsters, counterattacking humans, watching the numbers go up, successfully creating the mastercrafted versions of every Witcher gear set, and solving moral quandaries are all excellent in The Witcher 3. While Skellige may have wasted my time with the huge number of treasure chests below the surface around the islands, I thoroughly enjoyed the 130 hours spent on my second save file and love the grumpy dad that is Geralt.

Old Game Catch Up

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening

2018 was also the year I found the second good Zelda game after Breath of the Wild in Link’s Awakening. I played this on my childhood Game Boy Color that I dug up after attending the Portland Retro Game Show and purchasing it along with good old Tetris. Link’s Awakening has the same overall format as A Link to the Past with a major difference: the map is uncovered and as you clear areas, you are reminded of which areas might now be accessible when you retrieve a new item, Metroid-style. Link’s Awakening also has a more compelling anchor in Maron, whose simple island life nurtures a desire within her for something greater that is both relatable–as someone who always wants more–and tragic. The final revelation of the game is that she, as well as the entirety of the island and its inhabitants, don’t exist beyond Link’s sea-bogged dreams.

This was the year I realized that I love tragedy, as this, The Witcher 3, and an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (“The Offspring”) taught me that I find tragedies more compelling than other types of fiction. Often compared to Twin Peaks, it was fitting that my playthrough of Link’s Awakening would come in the same year of my initial viewing of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s strange but endearing television show.

The smaller scale and more intimate nature of Link’s Awakening was a greater motivation to stick around than the shallow and world-ending stakes of Ocarina of Time, a game that never kept me in beyond the first few temples. It also helps that the direction and pacing of Link’s Awakening seems so much better than other Zelda titles, as the acquisition of new items/abilities came consistently enough that I always had a location I could now access in the forefront of my mind. Despite its age and the limitations of the platform, Link’s Awakening is still immensely charming and one of the best games I played this year.

Hitman (2016)

Another game I came late to, Hitman (2016) is excellent. The year 2016 for me was dominated by DOOM, so I was a bit surprised when Giant Bomb ended up giving Best Game to Hitman, but, now having played it, I see why. Hitman is a game about solving puzzles, with the solution being your target’s death. Each map is a giant complex bundle of systems, NPC pathways, triggers, tools, and mechanics to help you find a solution. Maps begin nice and pristine at first, and in jumps Agent 47 to disrupt the entire proceeding. Your purpose is chaos: the degree to which you determine. You can kill your target without anyone noticing or cause an entire lighting fixture to fall on top of them and those around them.

Hitman is a game about a “World of Assassination” but you aren’t supposed to feel bad about your targets, as they are all terrible people. The game even penalizes you for killing those who are non-targets, emphasizing that although Agent 47 is a killer for hire, he’s a “good guy” who is rewarded only for taking out the awful pieces of shit that make the world a worse place. The game takes you through an assortment of these missions to take out terrible people, whether this is someone who trades information in order to sell it to terrorists, or an affluent banker cheating an entire country out of millions, or a rock star who probably killed his girlfriend. You are sent to kill these people and enjoy it. Many of the opportunities that the game presents are comical, whether it be the many impersonations you can make, or just the comedy of an exploding golf ball being set off and sending your target into the air and onto a small crater.

Challenges present questions and it’s up to the player to work their way to the answer whether by blind luck or by accurate predictions of how the puzzle will react to your actions. It’s so much fun to figure out how to achieve a certain kill and a joy to set up perfectly-executed scenarios. Failures will happen, but it never takes too long to load into a previous save and despite my worry, the opportunities proceed at a quicker-than-expected pace. Hitman is an excellent game about working out the many ways in which someone can die while feeling great about accomplishing it.

Assassin’s Creed Origins

assassin's creed Origins Pyramid

2018 was partially a year of catching up on games I didn’t make time for previously, with Assassin’s Creed Origins catching my eye last year as maybe a finally “good” entry in a dead-to-me franchise. And boy is it actually good, with a protagonist who isn’t a piece of s*** and someone genuinely interested in helping his people. Bayek is the best protagonist in recent memory whose motivation is cliche (the death of a family member, this time a child), but he doesn’t let that get in the way of his duty to help those around him. While his one goal is to kill those responsible for the death of his son, he still takes time to talk to random people in the street who have problems only he can solve.

Taking cues from The Witcher 3, many of these stories, both in side quests and as part of the open world’s many points of interest, are centered on tragedy. Whether it be the loss of parents, accidental deaths, or the oppression of the occupying forces, Origins has lots of tragic tales to tell you. It also has a large open world that equips the player with the tools to adequately explore it in a bearable amount of time. Your mount can automatically follow roads to your waypoint or objective, allowing you to move the camera freely to take in the sights or check your phone for texts. The eagle lets you locate a location’s objectives and you can even ping the surrounding area for lootable objects, breaking down time that would have been spent pixel hunting for the last trigger to check off the current world map icon.

The open world still reads like a traditional (and boring) Ubisoft checklist, but it gives you a compelling playable character, the tools to find what you need to move on to the next thing, and a world with some worthwhile stories to tell.

Actual 2018 Games

Marvel’s Spider-Man

spider-man tobey

Being basic, I too liked the everloving s*** out of Spider-Man 2 on the PlayStation 2 as both an early open world and a super-hero game centered on a character I loved. Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies are endearing to me, even Tobey Maguire’s deadpan tone for most of his dialogue. Despite the highs of Spider-Man 2 the lightning was gone, never to be captured again in the many, many Spider-Man games to come after.

And yet, Insomniac Games took it upon themselves to make a Spider-Man game in the Year of our Lord 2018 and the people responded universally: “the swinging is good.” And the swinging was good, as was the open world and combat; but still, the lightning was gone.

Though the city was rendered with realism, Insomniac decided to interpret some of the problems plaguing that metropolis as fictional as the PMC that occupies it in the late-game. The one-button combat was surprising with how often I utilized all of its permeations, as the combat challenges and hideout challenges forced me to repeatedly use different moves.

Peter Parker is solid, as is the rest of the cast, though the game’s main plot never had me super motivated. As an open world, it falls into the trope of a pressing narrative moment occurring but still allowing the player to do whatever open world activity they want in the meantime. Marvel’s Spider-Man is probably the best Spider-Man game, but it proves that childhood endearment is not something that can be repeated, even if there is an awesome easter egg in the form of the much-beloved pizza delivery song.

Donut County

Donut County

A short but super sweet game about an asshole raccoon ruining everyone else’s life for his own benefit turning around and helping restore order. The theme of Donut County is a bit of self-reflection on the developer Ben Esposito, whose original game Kachina took aspects from the Native American tribe Hopi before realizing that he was not capable of actually representing them. Instead, we have a nice game about a version of Los Angeles in which a donut delivery app spawns a hole that gobbles up whatever “trash” it can as it grows bigger and bigger so that raccoons can move in and enjoy all the trash humans create.

It has a great sense of humor, from the duck emoticon you can tap during text conversations, to the item descriptions, to the gameplay mechanic of two rabbits devoured by the hole getting busy and making the hole bigger by their copulation. As many have noted, the main disappointment is that the game ends maybe too soon and with too few puzzles to solve to make it completely satisfying. With every other AAA game lasting five to ten hours longer than necessary though, I’ll happily accept a nice two-hour experience over sixty hours of Arthur Morgan saying, “I don’t know Dutch.”

Into the Breach

It has been a long time since I played chess regularly, and Into the Breach reminded me of the many times my father and I would face off. While some of the mechanics are very different, you know every move the enemy is going to take beforehand, and the importance of positioning is something I don’t think any other strategy games have accomplished quite like this one.

Every board is a puzzle to solve and all information is available to you, laying both success and failure at your feet. Resets for a turn are freely available once per board, the difficulties don’t restrict your unlocks, and each run lasts at most 45 minutes if all goes well. The scenario mixes time travel and kaiju killing together perfectly, with each failed run ending with a pilot being sent back in time to try again.

Games I Want to Talk About But Not in a “Best of” Category (Major Spoilers)

God of War (2018)

God of War

This year was so-so overall, as many games that people held up as great pieces of media had me unconvinced they were anything special. God of War is one many people feel strongly about one way or the other, and is a perfectly fine action-adventure game that goes on five hours too long. Kratos and Atreus’s relationship goes from rocky to both of them understanding each other better, which is nice but was never compelling. The only portion of God of War that interested me was when Atreus became a little shit upon learning that he was a god, as it was a change in their relationship I didn’t expect. At one point Kratos explains to his son that they have a responsibility as gods to be better than the others, but also shrugs off opportunities to help spirits find peace. Combat is too restrictive at the outset and takes awhile to get really good, though the callback for the axe always feels great. A late-game pivot towards world-ending stakes felt weird given the exceedingly empty world and small cast of characters and personal story, though makes sense in a post-Marvel world where things have to set up the next thing.

Having a one-take camera perspective was a waste, as it was never utilized outside of the dragon fight in an exciting way. Crafting and loot are worthless systems, and the game moves the goal post too often to artificially extend game time. God of War did make me want to read more about Norse mythology which is a pretty cool accomplishment.

The theme of children killing their parents is an interesting one, as Kratos is so against the cycle continuing that he kills Baldur despite Freya’s insistence on dying for her son. The reveal of Loki felt like a dumb end-game talking point at first, but then I realized it plays into the theme of Kratos attempting to disrupt cycles. However, that only led him to fulfill them, as Atreus still ended up in the Loki role of causing Baldur’s death and therefore the beginning of Ragnarok, albeit a bit early. Kratos was able to stop one cycle, but jump-started another one.

Although it was the game I argued for in DualShockers‘ Game of the Year podcast, it was only because the other choice was Red Dead Redemption 2. I don’t feel strongly for God of War, but just felt strongly against Rockstar taking home Game of the Year, which I’ll explain next.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

No game was a bundle of conflicted emotions for me more than Red Dead Redemption 2. Arthur Morgan spouts about as many vain words as Dutch Van der Linde, and his devotion to a clearly compromised man makes the gang’s plight and eventual dissolution difficult to care for. Morgan claims to want to do good, but the terrible things he engages with throughout the campaign make that claim hard to believe. While his turn does eventually come, it’s only after he is confronted with death that it sets in fully, cheapening the act.

And yet, I liked the journal he kept, sketching pieces of the landscape and strange locations he comes across. I liked the way he talked to and comforted his horse, to the very end. Morgan can be charming, but I remain puzzled as to why Rockstar would give him a very clear narrative arc and yet include the capability to be dishonorable and even refute this arc in a final decision. Morgan is supposed to learn to be a good person, but can also choose to ditch John for money. The game is supposed to be about redemption (it’s in the title!), and yet you can throw it all away.

Leading this gang is Dutch, a piece of s*** from the outset, emotionally manipulating his followers with every complaint and a personal affront to both their shared love and trust for each other. Dutch is terrible and I was never sold on why these people would follow him as far as they do.

Dutch and the gang’s arc is supposed to be about their fall from grace, but we are only ever told about the part where they would rob the rich and give to the poor. At the beginning of the game, they are already on a downward spiral morally; I was never presented with the time they were all better people who helped others who weren’t capable of helping themselves. The game is far too long and repeats the same beats and dialogue until the very end. Then it went on even further with a two-part epilogue whose purpose I still question. John’s arc in the epilogue is a repeat of the first game, an outlaw who desires a simpler life but keeps getting dragged back into the past he tried to leave behind. The epilogue does at least gives some closure with the killing of the man responsible for Arthur’s death, but that didn’t require two chapters.

And yet despite these issues that I had with the game and Rockstar’s decisions, I still booted up a new save file, intentionally stalled out midway through Chapter 2, and started to cross off icons on a third party website whose map of Red Dead Redemption 2 guided me towards the interesting aspects of the open world. A UFO appearance, dead bodies bearing mysterious maps, a hermit’s shack, mysterious rock formations and obelisks: these are some of the best aspects of Red Dead Redemption 2‘s open world. Unfortunately the game does nothing to help you discover these locations on your own.

This was probably intentional, as are the complex controls, weighted movement, and animations, so that stumbling upon them is a Magical™ moment. However intentionality does not equate to quality, and other open worlds guide players towards their interesting aspects much better than this game does. A lack of direction would be fine if I had hundreds of hours to wander around the wilderness, but I don’t. And yet, I continued to ride through Red Dead Redemption 2 until the sheer weight of it all pushed me towards something else.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:

December 17: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2018
December 18: Lou Contaldi, Editor in Chief // Logan Moore, Reviews Editor
December 19: Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor // Tomas Franzese, News Editor
December 20: 
Reinhold Hoffmann, Community Manager
December 21: 
 Scott Meaney, Community Director // Ben Bayliss, Staff Writer
December 22: 
Ben Walker, Staff Writer // Chris Compendio, Staff Writer
December 23: 
Grant Huff, Staff Writer
December 26: 
Iyane Agossah, Staff Writer // Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
December 27: 
Max Roberts, Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer 
December 28: 
Noah Buttner, Staff Writer // Rachael Fiddis, Staff Writer 
December 29: 
Steven Santana, Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer
December 30: 
Travis Verbil, Staff Writer // Zack Potter, Staff Writer

The post DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Steven’s Games of 2018 (and More) by Steven Santana appeared first on DualShockers.

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DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Rachael’s Top 10

As 2018 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2018 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2018 releases — can be considered.

Each and every year I’ll always find games to get excited about – whether that is a huge AAA title or a small indie release. I don’t think I have had a “bad gaming year” in rather a long time because there’s so much talent out there and something for everyone in every nook and cranny if you spend the time to look. With every year that rolls in and out again, I’m still amazed at the amount of progress that video games have taken not only graphically, but narratively too, and how developers are evolving with each tick of the clock.

I’ve played a lot of games this year (my bank balance is still really upset with me) with some unfortunately not making the list – not because they are bad, but more because the ones I have chosen appealed to something within me more than others have – they’ve built a stronger connection. So, let’s begin with my Top 10 games of 2018, shall we?

10. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption

When I heard Rockstar were bringing out another Red Dead Redemption, I was beside myself with anticipation. Having put so many hours into Red Dead Redemption on my trusty Xbox 360, this really was a treat for me and you better believe I bought it on its release day. I loved the immersion of this title and the choices it gave you for who you wanted to be. I spent many hours riding around with my beautiful horse named Biscuit, hunting some wildlife for the best pelts or relaxing in one of the hundreds of baths I took, for some reason…and sometimes not alone, either.

The downside to Red Dead Redemption 2 was the length of the story for me, as I just didn’t get a lot of time to sit down and play it. We complain when the story is too short and complain when it’s too long, right? One of the other negatives was the shooting: the gunplay just hasn’t seemed to improve much from the original title at all and this could really be hard work at times. With aim assist off, I don’t think I could’ve shot fish in a small barrel if I’m honest. I do hope these creases iron out with updates.

Check out the DualShockers review of Red Dead Redemption 2.

9. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Spider Man

I’ve never really been a huge Marvel fan. I’ve always enjoyed DC way more, but something special caught my eye when I witnessed the trailers for Marvel’s Spider-Man and I knew that I had to play this title, if nothing else. The freedom I felt while swinging through the crowded streets of New York was amazing and I enjoyed the fighting elements a lot; I’d sought out gangs just to use all the moves I had learned on them. The negative here would be that I wanted more story, and by the story I mean I wanted Spider-Man to pull me deeper into the narrative, instead of little bits of it and then pushing me out to do missions and whatnot.

Even so, I enjoyed Marvel’s Spider-Man a lot and I look forward to catching up over the holidays on some of the DLC that I’ve missed out on lately.

Check out the DualShockers review of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

8. Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than getting on the Nintendo Switch to play a nostalgia-fueled Metroidvania, 8-bit endeavor, and Axiom Verge was the very title to delve into that scratched that itch for me. Axiom Verge is fun, simply put, and one of the best 12 hours you can spend your time partaking in. It’s dripping with that “Oh so good nostalgia” that many gamers, not just the older ones, ache for. Thankfully, it never feels like a revival and stands on its own feet very well.

7. Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

I’ve been a fan of the Far Cry franchise for quite some time and for me, this was the best one I’ve played – although debatable by others, and that’s perfectly fine. The open-world element was everything I needed or could ever want in a title with a fully-immersive world – I could fly, fish, drive, and enjoy so many others aspects of it.

The one section of the game that I was most compelled by was Faith Seed. I loved this character and thought she was so well done; from the trippy dream-like visions she would appear into, I thought that the manipulation tactics she used to side others with her and her beliefs was unbelievably well thought-out and written.

I will say one thing though; many a folk came to a grizzly end when they hit or killed my dog Boomer, which called for many moments of rage while I shouted out “Oh, you’re dead now, buddy!”

Check out the DualShockers review of Far Cry 5.

6. Fe


I’m not sure how much I can express using words to tell you how much I enjoyed Fe. It was probably one of the greatest pleasures I’ve had in an indie game. The sheer beauty of this little creature facing a harsh world alone and that it was crumbling around it, was incredibly emotional but heart-warming.

Although Fe is unbearably cute and adorable, it highlights a more serious matter in the world regarding the threats facing forests and nature. This is clearly apparent throughout the title without making it overwhelming, and it doesn’t drown out the positivity and joy from the story.

Developers Zoink deserves every single piece of praise they get for Fe and definitely have firmly set themselves among the greats in the indie gaming world.

Check out the DualShockers review of Fe.

5. Where the Water Tastes like Wine

Where the water tastes like wine

This gritty and dark American folklore tale by Dim Bulb Games is a dreamlike and strange journey that took me through American legend and fantasy with the introduction of drifters, fortune tellers, and magical creatures. Having spent time in Louisiana and listening to the many stories told while there, this title appealed to me so much with its American noir narrative.

Where The Water Tastes Like Wine takes you on a vast adventure across an expansive map of America where you can stop for a while at various cities to look for work, eat, explore, or hop a train and get the chance to meet some very unusual characters, all with their own stories to tell along the way. This title may have slipped off the radar for a lot of people, but I can highly recommend that you pick it up. The soundtrack is amazing, too.

Oh, and Sting is in it – yes, the singer Sting.

Check out the DualShockers review of Where The Water Tastes Like Wine.

4. Life is Strange 2: Episode 1

life is strange 2

Life is Strange 2‘s first episode drew me into the diversity and the mirroring of what life is really like on the politically-charged side of America for some people like the Diaz brothers. However, what also drew me in was how unafraid that developers Dontnod where to tackle these hard-hitting issues. Although this is only the first episode, it hit me hard enough to rank it high on my list due to it being a world inside a video game that I immediately recognized, which isn’t something you usually see.

The clever writing, beautiful score, and the cliffhanger at the end of Life is Strange 2: Episode 1 has made me really look forward to the next episode due out on January 23, 2019.

Check out the DualShockers review of Life is Strange 2: Episode 1.

3. Detroit: Become Human

I adore games where you can push and explore the morality of the characters within it, and maybe your own as well, but Detroit: Become Human appealed to me even more since it was dealing with AI. I wondered how deep this questioning could go because, I mean, they’re robots after all. But Quantic Dream took this notion and flipped it on its head.

Each story had a pull that kept me completely engaged and invested in, which is hard enough to do with one plot, no mind three. My favorite story was Kara’s and the twist that lay within it that I never saw coming. It takes at least two or more playthroughs to obtain the desired outcome in Detroit: Become Human, and each time I found something new with my choices. It’s not surprising that I enjoyed this title so much really due to it being written by David Cage, who also wrote/directed two of my other favorites games – Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls.

Check out the DualShockers review of Detroit: Become Human.

2. Gris


Gris is an art lover’s wet dream, quite frankly, but that’s only a small part of this fantastic 2D platforming journey. When I reviewed this title, I couldn’t stop gushing about it because of how it made me feel and how important I believed it was for others to play and experience it.

To develop a game without any words or narrative whatsoever, in the hopes that you get it right with visuals and music alone, is no easy feat as seen in other amazing games like Journey and Fe. But Gris had nothing to worry about, as it hit all the right notes and much, much more.

Check out the DualShockers review of Gris.

1. A Way Out

A way out

This took some deliberation when making a game you’re number one out of a whole year of fantastic gaming experiences. But for me, A Way Out topped the charts due to it not only being a really fun and compelling game with an excellent story (and also a plot twist I didn’t see coming ) that you could play through a number of times easily without the dreaded boredom factor, but because I could play it with another person in the same room as me.

This was hugely important for me due to the demise of developers not implementing this feature into their games anymore – other than Nintendo, in which Hazelight Studios have stated why their title would never release on the Switch. I had spent a really fun and memorable night completing this game with another where we laughed, shouted, and ate fast food together all in true couch co-op gaming style. You can read more about the importance of couch games and why we still need them, here.

Hazelight Studios combined an emotional and intriguing story with beautiful cinematic moments, while showcasing the importance of teamwork and human interaction.

Check out the DualShockers review of A Way Out.

Also, Josef Fares needs to run for president, please! F**k the Oscars.

Honorable Mention

I’m sure some are wondering where God of War is? Surely I can’t call myself a gamer without playing it, right? Well, yes, you’re partly right there. Unfortunately, the truth is I haven’t had a full hands-on experience with God of War yet, but I did watch an entire playthrough with my best friend who bought it, and I sat on the couch enthralled the whole time.

I also managed to play some sequences myself, but of course, this doesn’t count in playing it, thus that’s why God of War did not make it to my Top 10 – that just wouldn’t be fair. From the little I was allowed to play and from watching it from start to finish, I can say it was captivating, graphically amazing, and the story had me constantly wanting more at every turn. Cory Barlog and Sony Santa Monica created something very special here, and I can’t wait until I experience it for myself very soon!

Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:

December 17: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2018
December 18: Lou Contaldi, Editor in Chief // Logan Moore, Reviews Editor
December 19: Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor // Tomas Franzese, News Editor
December 20: 
Reinhold Hoffmann, Community Manager
December 21: 
Scott Meaney, Community Director // Ben Bayliss, Staff Writer
December 22: 
Ben Walker, Staff Writer // Chris Compendio, Staff Writer
December 23: 
Grant Huff, Staff Writer
December 26: 
Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
December 27: 
Max Roberts, Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer 
December 28: Rachael Fiddis, Staff Writer
December 29: 
Steven Santana, Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer
December 30: 
Iyane Agossah, Staff Writer // Travis Verbil, Staff Writer // Zack Potter, Staff Writer

The post DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Rachael’s Top 10 by Rachael Fiddis appeared first on DualShockers.

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DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Ben Walker’s Top 10

As 2018 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2018 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2018 releases — can be considered.

2018. Seriously, what a year for gaming. I can’t remember the last time I actually had this many games to juggle into the top 3. When Sony blew their load at E3 2016, it was one of their best conferences and, incidentally, most of those games released this year, like God of War and Marvel’s Spider-Man. I didn’t jump on the Nintendo Switch hype until August of this year, and honestly, I’ve barely used it because of all the other titles shining instead.

I don’t usually compile lists in my head of ten games because only a select few titles really keep my enthusiasm by the end of the year. However, when thinking about my backlog and the games that did come out this year, it reignited a spark in me that felt these games needed recognizing. Here are my Top 10 games for 2018:

10. Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 ranks at the beginning of my list for Game of the Year and it barely made it onto here. Let me tell you a story of how I even came to purchase this title. I’m a bad spender – give me money, it’s gone in a week or two. I had money around the time that Far Cry 5 was about to release and I thought “meh, why not” and pre-ordered the game. It’s a bad habit; help me. In doing so, I jumped blindly into a series which I had never really touched other than playing Far Cry 4 and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon at a friend’s house in the previous years.

Needless to say, Far Cry 5 was a huge change from its predecessors – and I’m not sure I liked it. At the start of the game, it’s quite fun when you begin to learn about the cult and story of the world you’ve been dropped into. It had great potential from the get-go, with a cool concept. However, Ubisoft wasn’t the best at executing that later on down the line.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t finish the game because I lost motivation to do so. Either way, a game has its faults but can also be quite fun. I did have a bit of a blast in co-op free roam and running around this unique open world. As is with Far Cry games, I loved the times where wild animals would appear out of nowhere and help me attack NPCs. I adored Boomer and all of the other companions, but that’s about it.

Check out the DualShockers review of Far Cry 5.

9. Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Black Ops 4

Okay, this was a huge change for Call of Duty, at least in the sense that they barely changed any features from previous games. Black Ops 4 removed single-player, one of the series’ best elements, and replaced it with Blackout – an awful attempt at battle royale. That said, the multiplayer is surprisingly fun with its new additions such as manually-regenerating health, specialist-based combat, improved mobility and controls, and the change in game-modes.

It’s nice to see a Call of Duty game be fun again, and actually feel somewhat balanced. Blackout is another story – that mode absolutely sucks. Zombies becomes more and more complicated every year, so much so that I don’t feel like it’s a “casual mode” anymore. All I want is for me and my friends to jump into zombies and see how long we last, but the maps are too convoluted and you have to do a crap ton of objectives just to unlock the better weapons. I want Zombies from the original Black Ops back.

Either way, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (or IIII if you want to be difficult) takes players on a good journey into the lands of playing online. In short, we don’t care if you want to play a story – fight these kids instead. At least they actually made it fun unlike Fallout 76.

Check out the DualShockers review of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

8. Deltarune


This incredibly good spin-off to my personal Game of the Year from 2015, Undertale, is just part one of a possible series, and I’m super excited. We’re finally into that part of the list where I stop half-criticizing games and instead showcase how bloody good some of them are. Deltarune was a fantastic revisit to the world of Undertale with vital mechanic changes, a unique story, and an all-new cast of characters mixed with reused ones.

Lancer’s design is hilarious; I love the thought of a chubby spade who rides a bicycle. I won’t reveal any of the plot details, because if you’ve played Undertale but not Deltarune you have to go jump into it right now. It’s a blast, and you should be playing it. If not, go play Undertale then this game. I’ll be waiting. I’d put this game as number 1 if so many amazing AAA games didn’t exist. Let’s get into those now.

7. Fortnite

Fortnite Battle Royale

Image by @ikcatcher

Yes, Fortnite is on my Top 10 list. No, I have no regrets. I’m putting it on this list less because of it being a good game (it’s pretty good, to be honest) but more because of the game’s significance this year and the impact it made on my life. I played Fortnite on the day they released the Battle Royale mode last year, purely because consoles (at the time) didn’t have a battle royale game due to PUBG being on PC originally. I found that it was decent, but never would I have imagined the absolute influence it would gain.

Aside from becoming the most popular video game on the planet, Fortnite actually helped me expand on my career this year. I started off the year at various other outlets before eventually branching out into writing about Fortnite. Writing about this game actually allowed me to open up my experiences in games writing, and I actually ended up here at DualShockers because of it. I’m happy at the journey this game allowed me to take, and the memories I’ll have because of it. As much as it can suck sometimes waking up early in the morning to write about patch notes, it gives me the motivation to keep going and not just lay in bed all day. Thank you, Fortnite. You can suck it if you blindly hate this game. That’s my two cents.

6. Detroit: Become Human

Detroit Become Human

“Oh no,” you say: we’re entering Sony territory – and with a bang, as one of the most gorgeous games of this year is Detroit: Become Human. Detroit was a huge step forward from the previous titles from Quantic Dream and David Cage, and a game where choices actually changed the story. From the days of Telltale Games and Life is Strange emerges a game where the choices you make surprisingly matter, and the game lets you view what could’ve happened instead. I loved when I checked the choice map at the end of a scene and realized everything that mattered. Except for saving that goldfish at the start – that made no difference whatsoever.

That’s also not to mention how absolutely mind-bogglingly gorgeous this game is. The photorealistic visuals are mind-blowing when accompanied by those motion-capture performances of a lifetime. The star-studded cast of Bryan Dechart, Clancy Brown, Valorie Curry, Jesse Williams, and more perfectly brings each and every character to life to tell an enriched story of a very possible near-future. It’s a visually-appealing masterpiece.

Check out the DualShockers review of Detroit: Become Human.

5. Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect is a gem of an experience. With incredible, entrancing visuals that make you feel like you’re in either the next Star Wars combined with a mixture of audio that flies around your brain and sucks you into the dreamscape, Tetris Effect is a masterpiece. Each movement subtly synchronizes itself with the music playing in the background, with the BPM adapting to your placements and rotations. For something as simple as Tetris, this game really puts an Effect on you.

It’s also extremely difficult. As someone who had never played video games would say, it’s the Dark Souls of puzzle games. I should probably change the difficulty, to be honest. Either way, I’m having a blast with this game; I wouldn’t even call it a game – but an auditory and visual experience. Go play it.

Check out the DualShockers review of Tetris Effect.

4. A Way Out

A Way Out

A Way Out was such a good game, and a refreshing take on the co-op genre. I absolutely adore co-operative games, especially those in which me and a single friend can complete a campaign. This game from Hazelight Studios was an absolute blast of a time, with minigames in-between story elements such as Connect Four or Baseball being such a nice way to take a break from the story and just have fun. Me and my co-operative partner beat the game in a single sitting with how much we adored it.

I think I’ll forever keep coming back to A Way Out with new friends just to see their reactions to each element of this short, but sweet experience. The fact that it is developed for couch co-op but also allows anyone with a copy to invite their friend to play for free is something I absolutely admire, and Josef Fares’ dream came together extremely well. The game sold well, which I love, and I hope to see more out of this genre of video games. What a title.

Check out the DualShockers review of A Way Out.

3. Marvel’s Spider-Man

Marvel's Spider-Man

Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best superhero video game of all time. Sorry to the Batman: Arkham games, I love you – but this game is just so good. I’m kinda sad that it got snubbed at this year’s The Game Awards ceremony, losing to the next two games on my list (spoiler alert)…and also got snubbed at our own Awards ceremony. Boy, oh boy, this game got pushed under the rug.

The combat is magnificent when combined with all of the different variations of movements that the player can create; it is an utterly satisfying experience, one in which I keep coming back to. It’s rare that an open world game can keep my attention for so long (I have the attention span of a fetus), and Marvel’s Spider-Man achieves that magnificently. Well played, Insomniac Games.

Check out the DualShockers review of Marvel’s Spider-Man.

2. God of War

God of War

God of War is a masterpiece; a project with the absolute intent of demolishing any of its competition Kratos-style. The game was my first foray into the God of War series, and playing the original remastered trilogy makes me just wanna go back to the new one. It’s such a damn good game that if I went into everything amazing about it, then this article would never be finished.

The gameplay, the story, the music, the tone, the setting, the atmosphere, and everything – just everything about God of War is an absolute delight. My issue is that the game ended way too early. I absolutely cannot wait for the next installment. Bring it, Sony Santa Monica.

Check out the DualShockers review of God of War.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 brings something new to the table; not in the sense of just being a fresh take on the open-world genre, but being a revolutionary landmark in the history of video games. Ever since the release of the original Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar Games has worked tirelessly on this project – controversially so, after the senior writers stated that they worked 100-hour weeks.

If you’re reading through each and every staff member’s Game of the Year lists, it’s pretty likely that most, if not almost all of them will include both God of War and Red Dead Redemption 2 at the forefront (assuming they played them). I’m falling straight into that trend – but you have to admit that there is an astonishing reason behind it. Both of these games are absolute masterworks, built detail-by-detail in order to transcend the normal experience of an open world game.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a thrill to play, and quite frankly is one of the greatest video games ever made.

Check out the DualShockers review of Red Dead Redemption 2.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:

December 17: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2018
December 18: Lou Contaldi, Editor in Chief // Logan Moore, Reviews Editor
December 19: Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor // Tomas Franzese, News Editor
December 20: 
Scott Meaney, Community Director
December 21: 
Reinhold Hoffmann, Community Manager // Ben Bayliss, Staff Writer
December 22: 
Ben Walker, Staff Writer // Chris Compendio, Staff Writer
December 23: 
Eoghan Murphy, Staff Writer // Grant Huff, Staff Writer
December 26: 
Iyane Agossah, Staff Writer // Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
December 27: 
Max Roberts, Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer 
December 28: 
Noah Buttner, Staff Writer // Rachael Fiddis, Staff Writer 
December 29: 
Steven Santana, Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer
December 30: 
Travis Verbil, Staff Writer // Zack Potter, Staff Writer

The post DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2018 Staff Lists — Ben Walker’s Top 10 by Ben Walker appeared first on DualShockers.

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DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor’s Top 10

As 2017 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games for our official Game of the Year awards. In the lead up to the New Year’s Day reveal, each member of the staff will give their personal top 10 games they played this year.

2017 is arguably one of the best years not only in gaming, but for the eighth generation of consoles. Although I personally felt that the first and fourth quarters were stronger than the second and third quarters, nevertheless, throughout the year we have consistently received hit titles from various developers across all gaming systems, with the Nintendo Switch being one of my most favorite pieces of hardware released this year, right behind Elgato’s 4K60 Pro capture card. That being said, now is the time that I personally reflect on my ten games that have earned my admiration this year.

When compiling this list, I found it extremely challenging to figure out with games deserved the utmost praise from myself. So when narrowing down my top choices, I felt it was fair to remove games that were ports, therefore games such as L.A. Noire and Worms W.M.D. on the Switch and Okami HD (despite you all knowing how I feel about this game) I felt were a bit of a copout for me to place on this list, especially when there were an abundance of games released this year that have earned my undivided attention. Without further ado, here are my top 10 games of 2017.

10. The Evil Within 2 

A sequel to one of my favorite games of 2014, The Evil Within 2 is an excellent sequel. While I would not consider it to be as terrifying as its predecessor, I can honestly say that I felt the sequel to be a satisfying in more ways than one. While two other Bethesda games were ranked higher than this one, there is no denying that this game still deserved a spot on this list.

The first game in the series had gamers either loving it or hating it, with some of its biggest criticism being the hard-to-follow narrative and the aspect ratio, just to name a few. However, while some people still criticized the story and its characters, I can wholeheartedly say that I got exactly what I wanted with The Evil Within 2 – a compelling story as Sebastian searches for his daughter, and more refined gameplay. Although this game has several blemishes, which holds it back from being one of the greatest games of this year, The Evil Within 2 hits enough of the right spots to deserve a place on my list.

Check out DualShockers’ The Evil Within 2 review.

9. Hover: Revolt of Gamers

Hover: Revolt of Gamers

Back in late 2001, my mother purchased an original Xbox for my household and with it came a copy of Jet Set Radio Future, and I instantly fell in love with the game. With many of Sega’s IP not seeing the light of day, with the Jet Set Radio series being one of them, earlier this year indie developers Midgar Studio and Fusty Game created a spiritual successor to the franchise titled Hover: Revolt of Gamers and it peaked my interest.

Before I joined this site, I had the chance to receive an early copy of this game and I was not disappointed. Hover: Revolt of Gamers offers a vast open-world that encourages you to explore, as well as fast-paced parkour gameplay – essentially it’s Jet Set Radio meets Mirror’s Edge. In a time where spiritual successors begin to appear more and more, Hover: Revolt of Gamers is one spiritual successor that is worth your time and money.

8. L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

Okay, so I know I mentioned that I would not be adding ports to this list. However, L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is not a just a VR port of L.A. NoireThe VR Case Files offers seven of the original, self-contained cases from the original game. However, unlike other video game ports released this year, Rockstar Games has rebuilt these cases from the ground up.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files is more than just a remake of L.A. Noire, rather than a port in many ways. L.A. Noire was never made with virtual reality in mind, but the developers have put a lot of time to ensure this game felt like a made-for-VR game.

Check out DualShockers’ L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files review.

7. Forza Motorsport 7

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

While I prefer the Forza Horizon series more over the Motorsport series, 2015’s Forza Motorsport 6 was a fantastic racing game. So going into 2017, I knew that Turn 10 Studios had big shoes to fill, and the development team has managed to tweak a near-perfect racing series and has provided one of the best sim-racing experiences this year.

Forza Motorsport 7 introduced over 700 cars, including some which have been brought over from the critically-acclaimed Forza Horizon 3. On top of that, the level of customization, from dynamic weather to modifying the physical appearance of your racer, left me speechless.

Check out DualShockers’ Forza Motorsport 7 review.

6. Sonic Mania

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

Sonic the Hedgehog series has seen more lows than highs going into 2017, so last year when I heard about Sonic Mania and how the game was going to be a 2D side-scrolling platformer (courtesy of a group of fans turned developers), I was excited. Sonic Mania was arguably one of the best Sonic games I have played this generation and is on my list of favorite Sonic games of all time.

Sonic Mania is a colorful and vibrant platformer that takes me back to the Genesis days. Although I started out playing Sonic when he made his jump into 3D with Sonic Adventure on the Dreamcast, over the years I have grown to love both the 2D Sonic titles and (a selection of) 3D installments. Sonic Mania is a fantastic title that has helped reignite 2D Sonic entries and I hope to see more games like this from these talented group of individuals.

Check out DualShockers’ Sonic Mania review.

5. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

For nearly 25 years, William “B.J.” Blazkowicz has been slaying Nazis left and right, but ever since MachineGames rebooted the series back with 2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order, this series has found a new calling. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is just what I was looking for.

The New Colossus also provides gamers with more insight on Mr. Blazkowicz as well as a compelling story, hectic and adrenaline-induced gunplay, the ability to choose your playthrough, and more. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a work of art. In a world where first-person shooter games are becoming more focused on online multiplayer, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus stands out from the rest and is the living proof that single-player games in that genre are not dying.

Check out DualShockers’ Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus review.

4. Super Mario Odyssey

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

The Nintendo Switch had a bit of a slow start at the beginning of this year, but as the year progressed, it became a solid contender in the console wars. While I was interested in putting The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on my Top 10 list, it all came down to which game that I played the most, and to be honest, I liked Super Mario Odyssey more than Breath of the Wild.

Super Mario 64 was one of the first Mario games I played and I have been itching for Nintendo to make another game with that type of playstyle, and Super Mario Odyssey has satisfied my wishes in every way possible. Thanks to its beautiful graphics, interesting level design, the ability to choose how your adventure progresses, and the new possession mechanic, Super Mario Odyssey is one of the most original games out there and is a system-selling exclusive that every Nintendo Switch owner needs to own.

Check out DualShockers’ Super Mario Odyssey review.

3. Cuphead

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

When Cuphead was revealed at Microsoft’s E3 press conference in 2014, it stuck out from all the other games revealed E3 that year. I was immediately attracted to the game due to its aesthetic taking inspiration from cartoons from the 1930s and after three years of waiting, this beautiful little game has finally arrived.

There is no denying that this game is hard, but I would not go as far as saying that it is the 2D equivalent of Dark Souls, because it isn’t. That being said, the game is more of a trial-and-error type experience and while I have had my fair share of raging at the game, it was always rewarding to finally beat that boss that was giving you such a hard time. As someone who loves run ‘n gun games and sidescrollers such as the Mega Man and Metal SlugCuphead deserves all the praise its receiving and it is an Xbox One exclusive that PlayStation 4 owners should be extremely jealous of.

Check out DualShockers’ Cuphead review.

2. South Park: The Fractured But Whole

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

South Park: The Fractured But Whole is one of the most raunchy games of this year, and I love it. A sequel to 2014’s South Park: The Stick of TruthThe Fractured But Whole is one of the most addicting games I have played this year. Although I loved The Stick of Truth, I did not think that any sequel to this game could top it, but I am glad that I was wrong.

The new features such as Coonstagram and even doing small sidequests such as collecting Yaoi pictures helped immerse me into one of my favorite fictional worlds. Sure, these things may be deemed small and insignificant to some, but it’s the little things in The Fractured But Whole that I found the most rewarding. Fans of the long-running TV show must pick this title up; you will not be disappointed.

Check out DualShockers’ South Park: The Fractured But Whole review.

1. Prey

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Taylor's Top 10

Bethesda has been on their A-game this year. From porting over The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim onto the Nintendo Switch, to making VR ports of three of their most popular games, as well as sequels to The Evil Within and Wolfenstein, this Maryland-based company has delivered so many great titles this year, and the 2017 reboot of Prey is one of them.

Prey takes much of its inspiration from popular sci-fi horror films such the Alien franchise as well as popular first-person games like BioShockDead Space, and System Shock series, and it works great. Although it takes inspiration from many movies and games, Prey has more than enough substance to stand on its own two feet.

The survival-horror genre has become oversaturated, with most of the games in the genre focusing more on action rather than the principle of a “true” survival-horror game. Instead of constant action, Prey offers a sense of suspense: you’re alone on a big space station, which is infested with an alien race, ammo is far and few between, and danger can lurk behind every corner.

Whenever people think of a great horror game this year, they think of Resident Evil VII: biohazard. Do not get me wrong, that is a great game. But something that Prey did that Resident Evil VII could not do was provide a sense of fear when I played and at times, I felt like I was in a horror movie when playing the game. Prey is a distinctive title that offers an ominous atmosphere, great audio design, and solid gameplay.

Check out DualShockers’ Prey review.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10s and our official Game of the Year Awards:

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DualShockers’ Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael’s Top 10

As 2017 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games for our official Game of the Year awards. In the lead up to the New Year’s Day reveal, each member of the staff will give their personal top 10 games they played this year.

I’m not sure if I’m experiencing a sort of recency bias, but 2017 has arguably been the best year for gamers this generation.

Admittedly, I have not put enough time into some of the greats mentioned in previous lists like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, Horizon Zero Dawn, and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds — which I plan to during my time off. That being said, here are the games I felt deserved the most praise in 2017.

10. Assassin’s Creed Origins

Ubisoft’s brief hiatus from one of its most popular franchises seems to have paid off. Assassin’s Creed Origins may not change the game, but it has certainly re-sparked my interest in the long running series.

While it hardly strays from the formula the series is known for, Assassin’s Creed Origins‘ characters and ancient Egypt location is what sets this title apart from the rest. After finishing the noticeably long intro and learning more about the game’s protagonist, Bayek, he quickly became my favorite assassin from the series.

Check out DualShockers‘ Assassin’s Creed Origins review.

9. Fire Pro Wrestling World

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

I am an unabashed professional wrestling fan; I wear a t-shirt of my favorite heels and babyfaces everyday and watch NJPW and WWE’s events daily. It is my favorite entertainment avenue next to video games. As such, some would believe that WWE 2K18 would have taken a spot on this list. It may have — despite some of its problems — if Fire Pro Wrestling World did not officially release a few days ago.

Spike Chunsoft’s arcade-style wrestling game is a visual aid for your wildest pro wrestling dreams. Its incredibly robust character customization options allows you to create your favorite grapplers, high flyers, and technicians right down to their finisher. This facet alongside some fun (and somewhat difficult) gameplay makes Fire Pro Wrestling World a must-play for pro wrestling fans like me.

8. Subsurface Circular

subsurface circular

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned throughout 2017 is to respect my time. With so many fantastic games out this past year, many of them required an excess amount of time I simply did not have (with some exceptions). However, there have been a number of titles that did respect my time; Subsurface Circular is the epitome of that statement.

Lasting a whopping two hours, developer Mike Bithell’s latest game tells the tale about a detective named Tek investigating the disappearances of a number of its android companions within the game’s titular subway system. The sci-fi text-based adventure is a great modern interpretation of the genre that is short and sweet.

7. Nex Machina

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

Housemarque is known for creating expertly designed arcade-style games. Previously released titles like Dead Nation and Super Stardust Delta exemplify this notion. I thought Resogun was the company’s magnum opus until I played Nex Machina.

I had previously played Nex Machina at PlayStation Experience 2016 and was blown away by it. Fast-forward six months later, and those feelings are still present. It is like a modern version of Robotron: 2084 — which makes sense considering Eugene Jarvis’ involvement with the game.

Nex Machina is a tour de force in raw gameplay and a sweet swan song to the Housemarque we know and love.

Check out DualShockers‘ Nex Machina review.

6. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

Nintendo has had a fantastic year since the Nintendo Switch released in March. Alongside it is arguably the best launch title in Nintendo history, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

What makes Breath of the Wild so revolutionary is how it rewards players with experimenting with the game’s logic. The example I always bring up was the time I found myself in an area too cold for Link to explore without specific equipment. This is going to sound simple, but my first thought was “what will make my surroundings hot?” Torches were that answer for me, and it worked as a temporary solution.

Moments just like that occur regularly as you play through Link’s latest adventure. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is the most rewarding experience you will play on a Nintendo Switch…and the Wii U.

Check out DualShockers’ The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review.

5. Persona 5

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

Whenever I discuss the quality of a game, the first fact I bring up is its soundtrack. I feel that without the proper music, the emotions the developers set out to portray are extinguished. This is not the case for Persona 5. The JRPG undoubtedly has the best soundtrack of the year.

Right as the main menu appears and the smooth jazz commences, I knew the music would be great. It wasn’t until I fought Komoshida and discovered the game’s boss music and its opening guitar riff did I know this had to be on my top ten.

Joking aside, Persona 5 does have a brilliant soundtrack and awesome gameplay mechanics that got me into a genre that I usually throw to the wayside.

Check out DualShockers’ Persona 5 review.

4. Emily is Away Too

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

There are two emotional roller coaster on this list. The first — or second if we’re going by rank — is Emily is Away Too.

My experience with the text-based adventure is an interesting one. As I booted up the nostalgic period piece, my friend looked over my shoulder asking me what was wrong. He saw how physically distraught I was as I tried to repair my relationships with Evelyn and Emily. Moments later, he installed the game and we started comparing our experiences.

I kid you not, my friend noticed me writing this section and started playing the game. Emily is Away Too is an immersive experience unlike any other game I’ve played this year.

Check out DualShockers‘ Emily is Away Too review.

3. Super Mario Odyssey

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

Honestly, I was down on Mario’s return to 3D platforming. I did not understand why everyone was giving Super Mario Odyssey the scores they did. However, after I completed New Donk City and experienced the rest of the game’s craziness, I understand why everyone loved it.

The Super Mario series has been fairly conventional until Super Mario Odyssey.  There were points in the game where I legitimately questioned whether or not it was a Mario game (for those who played, you’ll know what section I’m talking about). Without spoiling anything, the phrase “what the hell?” is the best way I can describe this adventure.

Check out DualShockers’ The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review.

2. What Remains of Edith Finch

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

If “emotional rollercoaster of the year” was a category on our Game of the Year feature, What Remains of Edith Finch would win that category easily.

Without going too deep into spoiler territory, but there is a moment where you play as a baby in a bathtub. In the moments that followed, I legitimately cried. I don’t know if it’s my aspirations of becoming a father or the fact that I live with an 8-month old currently, but it hit me on an emotional level that no other game has this year.

The other stories told throughout What Remains of Edith Finch are just as effective; each moment is simultaneously filled with excitement and dread. Its impressive storytelling is a good enough reason to check out Giant Sparrow’s latest release.

Check out DualShockers’ What Remains of Edith Finch review.

1. Tekken 7

DualShockers' Game of the Year 2017 Countdown: Michael's Top 10

By no means do I consider myself a good fighting game player; sure, I have picked up every title featured at EVO, but I’ve never been competitive in any of those games. Tekken 7 changed that as I found myself not only enjoying myself, but dominating the competition as my boy Hwoarang.

Sure, Bandai Namco’s fighter has a nonsensical campaign, but everything else about it is fantastic. I have never put effort into learning a game’s meta, but Tekken 7 changed that. I’ve watched a number of videos to help me progress and be competitive in a space that I normally find myself find myself fall out of fairly quickly.

Something about Tekken 7 clicked with me; I’m not quite sure if it’s the game’s mechanics or the Bullet Club shirts you can equip onto your favorite fighters, but it has become the game I always come back to. Win or lose, Tekken 7 has put a smile on my face that few games have.

Check out DualShockers‘ Tekken 7 review.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10s and our official Game of the Year Awards:

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Lou Contaldi’s Top 10 Games of 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games for our official Game of the Year awards. In the lead up to the New Year’s Day reveal, each member of the staff will give their personal top 10 games they played this year.

This year has been hectic as a game critic. Besides a ton of releases, there have been almost too many amazing games gracing store shelves. In the next couple of weeks, I plan on getting back to some games that I passed up during the original launch — namely NieR: Automata, NiohHellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, Hollow Knight, and Horizon Zero Dawn. All amazing games.

But reflecting on the year so far and the games I’ve played, here are my top 10:

10. Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8: Final Chapter Prologue

This remake wasn’t the only Kingdom Hearts game out this year — given the ports of PlayStation 3’s Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD and 2.5 HD — but it stands out, mostly because it acts as a window to one of the least-played Kingdom Hearts games (Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance), but also a view of what Kingdom Hearts III‘s gameplay will look like. And I’m impressed. It may not be the best remake this year, but it did leave the largest footstep in the remake series.

Check out DualShockers Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD: Final Chapter Prologue review.

9. What Remains of Edith Finch

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

Developer Giant Sparrow continues to impress. Sure, they’ve only made two games, this and 2012’s The Unfinished Swan; but they masterfully craft stories that resonate. Whether I was rolling down the hill as a shark, swinging into the horizon, or exploring the inside of a daydreamer’s mind, I wouldn’t get ripped away from the collective tragedies of the Finch family. Even better, the game stretches the medium in similar ways as The Unfinished Swan, offering one of the best-presented first-person experiences on the market.

Check out DualShockers’ What Remains of Edith Finch review.

8. SteamWorld Dig 2

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

SteamWorld Dig (the original) is a hard game to follow-up. Universally praised for fluid combat and a terrific gameplay loop, there was only so much room for a sequel to grow. Thankfully, developer Image & Form aimed for that small gap, and created an all-around better experience. SteamWorld Dig 2 focuses on creating a directed world, as compared to the procedurally-generated original. In doing so, SteamWorld Dig 2 is brimming with creativity in ways the original simply could not do. Even better, the gameplay has been fine-tuned and tweaked into a fine polish.

Check out DualShockers’ SteamWorld Dig 2 review.

7. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy XII- The Zodiac Age

Representing the second (and highest-rated) remaster on the list, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is not only an amazing underlying game that is both under-represented and underplayed in the well-known series, but it is also the definition of what a remaster should hope to do. Aside from the obvious graphic overhaul, the game is re-orchestrated and sounds amazing. Mixed with some improvements that most American audiences never got to see in the original release, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a complex, mystifying, and old-school RPG that should be played by any regular reader at DualShockers (if you haven’t already).

Check out DualShockers’ Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age review.

6. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

It’s hard for a first-person shooter to really stand out in a year so chock full of them. Bulletstorm: Full Clip EditionCall of Duty: WWII, and Destiny 2 are all vying for the same market, and they are all great (yet flawed) in their own right. However, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is different. Offering one of the most interesting worlds and fleshed-out environments in recent memory, exploring the history and world of a nazi-controlled America is amazing. And the flawless FPS gameplay is just a cherry on top.

Check out DualShockers’ Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus review.

5. Linelight

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

Of all the games on my list, Linelight may be the one that is unknown by the gaming community at large. And it shouldn’t be. Linelight shows off how a simple concept — in this case a line puzzle — can be executed perfectly. Though the gameplay is only limited by the simple concept, everything about Linelight is relaxing and contemplative. Developer My Dog Zorro should be proud of their one man-developed project because it scratches every itch you will be looking for in a puzzle game.

Check out DualShockers’ Linelight review.

4. Persona 5

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

While Persona 5’s flaws may be more glaring than others’ on this list, what it brings to the table outshines even some of the higher ranked games. Coming from someone who couldn’t get into Persona 4 Golden (sacrilege, I know), the terrific story, expert character designs, soundtrack, and art direction ooze from the game. Persona 5 will be a game that defines turn-based titles this generation, as it should. Now there is nothing else to do but count down to Persona 6.

Check out DualShockers’ Persona 5 review.

3. Cuphead

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

Moving into the top three games, Cuphead was a hard-fought contender and deserves the spotlight it has been getting this year. First debuted in 2014 at E3, it has felt like an eternity since we first got a glimpse of the game’s 1930s-era style. However, that waiting was worth it. I have never seen a game that is so strict to an unwavering design choice and, matched with the brutal-and-unforgiving gameplay, I have nothing but deep appreciation for Studio MDHR. Cuphead is a piece of art, in the very literal sense, and must be experienced.

Check out DualShockers’ Cuphead review.

2. Super Mario Odyssey

Super Mario Odyssey

One of the two 10s I awarded this year, Super Mario Odyssey is a blue-print for expert game design. A benchmark release for the fledgling Nintendo Switch, Super Mario Odyssey shows off Nintendo in their most raw, creative form. Pushing a series of different environments, hundreds of collectibles, and varied environments that push the Nintendo Switch, I felt then (as I do now) that this is the Nintendo Switch’s killer app — a game that will be fun for anyone that can get their hands on it.

Check out DualShockers’ Super Mario Odyssey review.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Lou Contaldi's Top 10 Games of 2017

Last on the list is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: a game that is flawless in execution, innovative in gameplay, and reverential to the series’ past. While too much of the series has delved into tutorialization or trying to fit into the mold that The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time created, Breath of the Wild returned to the basics: mystery, non-linearity, and experimentation. Hell, there are still things getting discovered weekly in this game — which released months ago. While it may have less public appeal as compared to a Super Mario game, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a masterpiece for the series and for action-adventure games across the board, and will be readily remembered as a generation-defining title.

Check out DualShockers’ The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild review.

Check out the other DualShockers’ staff Top 10’s and our official Game of the Year awards:

  • December 21: Lou Contaldi, Editor in Chief
  • December 22: Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
  • December 23: Giuseppe Nelva, Executive News Editor
  • December 24: Michael Ruiz, Staff Writer
  • December 25: Tomas Franzese, Staff Writer
  • December 26: Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer
  • December 27: Azario Lopez, Staff Writer
  • December 28: Jordan Boyd, Staff Writer
  • December 29: Logan Moore, Staff Writer
  • December 30: Noah Buttner, Staff Writer
  • December 31: Taylor Lyles, Staff Writer
  • January 1: DualShockers Game of the Year 2017 Awards

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