I’m always reluctant to throw around high praise and label games as the best the genre has to offer. Games tend to be overhyped on release and then the love dies down over a few months and you end up looking a little stupid. Here’s the thing though, Resident Evil 2 really is that good. It actually is genre-defining. It is one of the best triple-A experiences I’ve had in years and it will be in contention for my game of the year. You can believe the hype this time. Resident Evil 2 is phenomenal.
While True Learn doesn’t quite live up to its fascinating premise and could have done with more time in Early Access. However, developer Luden.io has already proven responsive to customer feedback and, in six months to a year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see While True Learn living up to its cool concept.
Combat is challenging and enjoyable enough that I briefly started a second playthrough on hard. I wanted to master the combat challenge and solve the puzzles properly instead of brute forcing my way through them. I got through a few encounters and then it hit me just how similar the experience would be the second time around. There weren't any cool new mutations to play with or better weapons to acquire. So I stopped playing. My first playthrough lasted fifteen hours and it was decent. I'll keep an eye out for a sequel or an expansion, but at the moment, Mutant Year Zero doesn't have enough worldbuilding or interesting variety in its upgrades for my tastes. I doubt I'll ever finish that second playthrough.
Timespinner has a great art style and the music is excellent, but a five-hour crawl through relatively bland maps isn't enough in a year with incredible games such as Guacamelee 2, Dead Cells, and Celeste. I spent another hour with Timespinner after finishing the story but didn't quite get 100% and felt no desire to finish it off. Timespinner is decent, but when compared to other titles that came out this year it comes up lacking. It needed more abilities and more interesting ways to use them in puzzles. Doubling the length would have also helped because it felt over way too soon.
GRIS is relaxing and visually stunning. It's like a watercolor painting come to life. Much like any piece of art, what you make of it is going to be intensely personal, however if you enjoyed the experience of games like Flower and Journey, you should probably play GRIS. My three hours with the game flew by and I felt reinvigorated at the end, as if I'd just awoken from a good night's sleep (or so I imagine).
Guacamelee 2 is a game I didn’t know I wanted until a year ago when I saw the reveal trailer and it’s a game I didn’t know I needed until I played it. Guacamelee 2 doubles down on everything that made the first game great and improves on a few of the weaker areas as well. I don’t know where Drinkbox Studios can go with a potential Guacamelee 3 but I thought much the same thing after the first game and here we are five years later with a sequel that is a huge leap forward for the excellent original. There’s a lot of competition in the 2D platformer space this year, but you absolutely must find the time for Guacamelee 2.
Hitman 2 is my favorite $60 title of 2018. I had an absolutely fantastic time and will certainly dip back in every time there’s a new elusive target available. If you haven’t already played Hitman then I highly encourage you to pick up the two-game package because the two combined are easily worth five stars.
The Messenger has a unique spin that sets it apart from other games and yet, ironically, it lacks an identity of its own. As a modern Ninja Gaiden game it’s excellent, but it only maintains that for half the game. The other half is a faint-hearted attempted at a Metroidvania that never quite works. I thoroughly enjoyed eight to nine hours of my twelve-hour playthrough. The other three or four were a little more tedious than I would have liked but that shouldn’t entirely negate a brilliant platformer with plenty to offer even in a year that’s been chock full of throwback retro platformers.
Battlefield V‘s war stories have tedious mission design and are a step back from those of Battlefield 1. The multiplayer is only a slight iteration on its predecessor and, while the online experience is stronger overall, the lack of content on release means it feels like DLC for Battlefield 1 instead of the new game I waited two years for. I will consider increasing the score when Battlefield V is complete in March, however as of November 2018, I don’t recommend you buy in at full price. Wait for a sale, by which time Battlefield V might actually be finished.