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MeltedJoystick Games of the Year 2018

View Nelson Schneider's Profile

By Nelson Schneider - 12/24/18 at 01:55 PM CT

This year, the MeltedJoystick Crew decided to break with tradition with regard to our annual Game of the Year. Historically, we’ve posted a poll and, up until last year, took nominations from users to populate it. However, our voter turn-out has always been tragically low, while nomination turn-out has been incredibly high. Thus we’ve always had polls where most of the nominees received no votes. Last year, we took action and cut-out nominations by users and just hand-picked a small, elite number of titles for consideration. Unfortunately, some users couldn’t handle the situation and behaved badly. So this year, we’re doing away with the poll altogether, and instead presenting the Top 5 Games of 2018, as hand-picked by the MeltedJoystick Crew.

1. Dragon Quest 11
Square-Enix really outdid themselves with the latest release in the venerable ‘Dragon Quest’ series. Not only did they avoid doing the things that bungled-up the last two main-line ‘Dragon Quests,’ but they also managed to avoid committing all of the money-grubbing Capitalism that has been sinking the “AAA” games industry since roughly 2006. “Dragon Quest 11” is just a solid, complete game, and has been since launch, with nary an update or patch to be seen; it’s a return-to-form for a series and a developer/publisher that has been hit-and-miss (but mostly miss) for over a decade; and it’s just a fun, polished romp of an RPG.

2. Red Dead Redemption 2
Rock* surprised us all by proving that there actually is a market for Western-themed games nowadays. This even-more-Cinematic sequel provides not only memorable characters and settings, but hours of additional content, should one be so inclined to roam the vast countryside. Combined with the obvious market for huge, detailed Sandboxes and quality writing, you’ve got this runaway hit. Too bad Rock* has thus far left Steam and PC gamers out in the cold.

3. Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
The RPG renaissance continues with another sequel to a spiritual successor of the cRPGs of the Golden Age (read: ‘Baldur’s Gate’). While “Divinity: Original Sin 2” was definitely first-place material last year, ‘Pillars of Eternity’ is both a weaker IP and was up against stiffer competition in 2018.

4. Dad of Boy (God of War)
The new “God of War” is dramatically different from the old “God of War,” to the point of no longer even belonging to the same genre. Sony’s new take on the franchise moved it in what we thought was a very positive direction, adding a layer of Cinematics and narrative depth the series never really had when it was a combo-based Beat ‘Em Up about a guy who wanted to kill all the Greek gods out of revenge. Of course, with all of these modern games just re-using the original title for their (often long-running) series, we decided to call it by Jim Sterling’s tongue-in-cheek nickname, just to keep things straight and not confuse anyone into thinking it’s 2005.

5. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
After a blockbuster 2017 where there were just too many good Switch games to nominate them all for GotY, 2018 was decidedly more low-key for Nintendo’s platform. But ‘Super Smash Bros.’ is always guaranteed to deliver a solid dose of fun and a huge overdose of nostalgia. With “Ultimate” providing a monstrous glut of content and characters out of the box, including not one, but TWO single-player modes which promise to rectify the shortcomings of the phoned-in version of the game from last gen, this sequel (which is NOT a port, thankfully) deserves the final spot on this list.

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Anonymous MeltedJoystick user


Wrote on 01/04/19 at 02:23 PM CT

Very solid list. A shame these games are so spread out among platforms. Wanna play Smash Bros? Buy a Switch. God of War? Buy a PS4. I'm just sick of it.

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Wrote on01/02/19 at 10:28 AM CT

If by "behave badly" you mean calling out the fact The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild wasn't even included in last year's poll for GOTY but somehow Star Trek: Bridge Crew was...then yes, I guess you could call that behaving badly :)

If it matters at all I think this list is pretty solid. There are a few other games worth noting and could be discussed as well. Those would be: Spider-man, Tetris Effect, Octopath Traveler and Celeste but none are hands down better than any of the games listed above.

And just to clarify, about a month after the release of DQ 11 there was an update of about 100MB on the PS4 to fix a few bugs but it didn't change game play or add any new content.

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