We’re drawing close to the mid-way point of the year, and we’ve already seen some amazing releases already in 2019. With another six months ahead of us, there are a number of titles that are shaping up to be critical and commercial successes. Some of you might be wondering if I’ll be writing an article that highlights some of these titles, and I will. But first, I’ve got some catching up to do. I stopped writing for close to ten months, but I didn’t stop playing games during that time. There were a number of great games that were released and I’d like to shine a spotlight on some of my favourites.
God of War
Let’s kick things off with arguably the most critically acclaimed video game of 2018; God of War. The game represented a massive shift for the series, with a number of significant changes. Unlike its predecessors, God of War ditches the fixed cinematic camera and instead features an over-the-shoulder free camera. The combat system also received a complete reboot, and is now more reliant on using combos to defeat enemies. I was a big fan of the combat in this iteration of God of War, and it played a large part in my enjoyment of the game.
Another significant change is that the game has moved away from Greek mythology, and instead takes inspiration from Norse mythology this time time around. In the game, Kratos and his son Atreus journey to the highest peak of the nine realms where they intend to spread the ashes of Kratos’ second wife. Their journey is awe-inspiring and expertly written. I was never much of a fan of Kratos or his character, but his portrayal in this game made me do a complete 180 on how I felt about him.
The excellent writing is one of the many aspects of the game that the team at Sony Santa Monica nailed. Their world design is stunning, the combat system is fun and the RPG elements are a great addition to the game. It’s no surprise that God of War was met with critical acclaim, and it is definitely worthy of the numerous awards that it has received.
Red Dead Redemption 2
If there was any game that was going to give God of War some competition when it came to critical acclaim, it was Red Dead Redemption 2. Fans had been chomping at the bit for information on this game as soon as it was revealed to be in development, and we were all lucky enough to finally get our hands on the game in late October of last year. What an experience that turned out to be.
Red Dead Redemption 2 puts us in control of Arthur Morgan, a loyal member of the Van Der Linde Gang. After a botched heist, the gang flee Blackwater and upon the realisation that outlaws like themselves are slowly beginning to disappear, they decide to collect enough cash for the whole group to escape from the law and retire.
Rockstar received universal praise for their work on Red Dead Redemption 2, and it’s no surprise. The game is a masterful example of a quality, AAA title. It exceeds in so many areas, writing, world design, performance capture and its soundtrack just to name a few.
Spyro Reignited Trilogy
Growing up, the original Spyro trilogy were some of my favourite games. I still remember playing Year of the Dragon on an almost daily basis where I’d start the game over each time because I didn’t have a memory card to store my save data.
When I first heard about Spyro Reignited Trilogy you can bet that I was over the moon, especially after experiencing the time and care that was put into the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. I was more of a Spyro fan when I was younger, and it was great to get to experience these games again.
With updated graphics, sounds and controls, Spyro Reignited Trilogy is a must have for those of you that enjoyed the original releases. The game’s aren’t very long nor difficult so they’re approachable for gamers of just about every age.
Forza Horizon 4
I’ve only just talked about how Forza Horizon 4 was probably my most played game of 2018, so it’s hard not to include it in this list. Forza Horizon 4 marks another amazing entry into the spin-off series. This time around, the Horizon festival is being held in the United Kingdom, where players get to race through remarkable locations that are altered by a dynamic weather system and the addition of seasons, which results in significant changes to the worlds landscape. Speaking of which, for the first time ever in the series, Forza Horizon 4 features a shared-world where up to 72 players can be paired up on each server.
The series has continued to improve since Playground Games released the first Forza Horizon title back in 2012, and with the latest updates it’s no surprise that Forza Horizon 4 became the highest rated game in the series. It’s a game that’s definitely worth your time, and if you’re interested, its two expansions are pretty great too.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Forza Horizon 4 might have been my most-played game of 2018, but Assassin’s Creed Odyssey would have to be a very close second. Out of all the games I played, it might just be my favourite of the bunch as well.
The game is set 400 years prior to the events of Assassin’s Creed Origins, and the main plotline centres around the player character (either Alexios or Kassandra) journeying across the land in an attempt to repair their fractured family, which was torn apart when they were a child.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes many of the new gameplay elements from Origins, such as the introduction of the hitbox combat system. This time around though, the game has an increased focus on its RPG elements. Players are now able to select from multiple dialogue options when interacting with NPCs, and the game also features branching storylines and multiple endings for quests.
A few years back, I was feeling burnt out on the Assassin’s Creed series. However the series has completely reinvigorated itself, and I think it’s better than ever. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey represents the peak of the series, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t try it for yourself.