The games of 2018. (Gaming)

by stabbim @, Des Moines, IA, USA, Wednesday, December 26, 2018, 15:26 (762 days ago) @ cheapLEY

I had a lot of fun playing Forza Horizon 4. This is the closest thing we have to a modern Burnout (I guess if you ignore Burnout Paradise Remastered, which hit this year), in that it's just a great driving game that doesn't take itself seriously and focuses on fun and silliness in a way that most driving games don't anymore. The world is your playground, and it's a good one.

We need to play that again soon. Korny is not in charge of the race settings this time. ;) I challenge anyone to come up with a 100PI car that can hang with my P50.

I picked up a PSVR this year. I had a lot of fun in Skyrim VR (that world is ugly as shit up close, but VR adds a whole new amazing feeling to being in that world). Dirt Rally in VR is really something special. It's already the the best feeling racing game in the last five years, and being in VR only makes it better (although, be warned, this one made me feel ill the first few runs until I acclimated). Moss is a neat VR puzzle game, where you control a mouse with a sword. Simplistic combat and neat puzzles, but the art style is gorgeous, and the sense of scale is really something to see. Astrobot Rescue Mission is probably the best real game in VR. It's basically Super Mario 64 in VR, and it really works. The premise of the game is that you control an Astrobot through various levels, and your goal is to find all his friends hidden throughout. The platforming is great thanks to the terrific character control, so the game just feels good on a fundamental level. The real magic is the way VR is utilized. Lots of Astrobots are just out in the open at the end of good platforming sections, but many of them are cleverly hidden along the way, and they really require you to use VR movement to peak around corners and behind things to find them all.

XBox VR needs to come out ASAP. I want Dirt Rally in VR.

God of War is my overall game of the year, I think. This game has it all, and is as close to a perfect video game as I have ever played. It's gorgeous. The story is compelling. The combat is the best I've ever experienced. It's deep and satisfying. Like Horizon: Zero Dawn last year, this game set out to make a AAA open world game with all the extraneous bullshit stripped out of it, and it succeeds in a huge way. The only activity I can think of in the entire game that feels disappointingly tacked on is the hidden Ravens, and even those are sort of compelling in their own way. This game is a masterpiece, and I mean than genuinely. It has the best moment of the year: part of the way through the game, after using the new axe for hours and hours and hours, Kratos goes home and picks up his old Blades of Chaos. It's a dramatic moment, filled with tension, and even not having played the previous God of War games, that moment was near pitch perfect, and the way it changes that game and adds variety and strategy to the rest of the game is just incredible and so well done. I have my issues with the story, but it was compelling all the way through, and the issues are relatively minor. If you have a PS4, play this game.

I'm glad to hear that you got so much out of it, despite being new to the series. That means there's more to it than just a nostalgia trip. I loved it, too, but I've played almost all of the God of War games, and the series has been with me for most of my adult life. Kratos is as familiar to me as any Disney character. So of course I was going to like it as long as they didn't totally screw it up (and they REALLY didn't). What's interesting to me is how the gameplay seems fundamentally different from its predecessors in several ways (like the over-the-shoulder camera, an axe as main weapon rather than swinging blades, etc.), and yet felt completely right to me, from the beginning. I guess it's because a lot of the way you go about things is still the same. Lots of button combo moves, based on the same light/heavy attack system as always, and grabbing/bashing/throwing enemies as a way of changing the battlefield dynamics. They done very good on this one.

I attended my first bungie.org LAN, and I can't wait for the next one. I truly thank those of you that were there--it was the best weekend I had this year. Meeting some of the folks from here was an amazing experience, and an important one. I feel like I know many of you pretty well through our time playing Destiny, and through our posts here on the forum, but meeting in person provides a new perspective and does a lot to provide context and tone to posts here in a way that I didn't expect. Let's do it again soon!

It was really cool to meet you, and everyone else. I'm still willing to host something at my place, maybe next summer. I've learned from the last couple of meetups that these things have gone down in scale a bit as far as the number of concurrent consoles, so I'm a little more confident about the electrical system holding up now.

I guess I should mention a couple myself:

Deep Rock Galactic

I know this one's been mentioned here before, but I'll keep repping it forever because DRG really is one of the best co-op games I've ever experienced, and it keeps getting better with frequent content updates. The short summary is that up to 4 players descend into a procedurally-generated and totally destructible underground cave system. Your objectives vary. You might be gathering minerals, hunting aliens, or repairing machinery. There are 4 very different classes of dwarf to play as, each with their own unique weapon sets, team support equipment, and special traversal methods. You explore the mission space, do whatever you need to do, and try to get out. It's still in early access so it's cheap.

No Man's Sky

I only got this one recently, after it finally went on sale for Black Friday. I KINDA heard a little about it back when it first came out and was really not very well received, but I wasn't paying super close attention then because it wasn't actually available on XBox. Later on after the NEXT update came out, and it became available on XBOX, I started to hear about how much better it had become. I was hearing a lot of things like this:

So I looked into it a little bit and it seemed like my kind of thing. Just a relaxed RPG that you can play slowly and see some cool stuff. Then cheapLEY showed it to me at the KC LAN and I was pretty much sold. Once it went on sale, I went for it, and I don't regret it at all. I will admit that there's occasionally moments where it still feels like a pre-release game. For example, this moment when I fall out of my own freighter, apparently as a result of Dame's and mine having spawned in the same place (which isn't supposed to be possible):

But even so, the actual experience of looking up from a planet's surface and seeing another planet, then jumping into my ship and flying to that other planet, and landing on it, all without any loading screen or pause, continues to feel amazing. It's not going to be for everyone, you spend a lot of time just looking for things, or mining, or walking. But for a certain set of people, it might be what you've been looking for. Also, thanks to Dame117 for playing so much co-op with me and giving me pointers that I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. I just maxed out my backpack's main inventory thanks to you.

Forza Horizon 4

cheapLEY's right about this one. It's the best game of its type that I know of. It's goofy arcade fun rather than the more sim-like Forza Motorsport approach, but it still has that special Forza ability to communicate the weight and feel of each individual car that makes them all feel special and interesting. And thankfully, as the Horizon series has progressed, they've managed to mostly ditch the overly "bro" presentation of the first one.

Forza Motorsport 7
's December update

This isn't technically a new game, but if you have a wheel and pedal set, it might as well be. Forza Motorsport 7's December update completely re-did the force feedback system for wheel users, and it's a BIG deal if you're in that category. I've been saying ever since I got a wheel that Forza was actually better on a controller than it is on a wheel, because they did the force feedback systems on the controllers very well, and not so much on the wheel. The result was that I always felt like a better driver on a controller, just because I could feel what the tires were doing better. On a wheel, I'd often fail to catch a slide that I would have corrected if I'd been using a controller, because I just wasn't getting the feedback to warn me that the rear end was losing grip. However, since this latest update, things have changed dramatically. Right now, I feel as fast using my wheel as I ever have on a controller. I'm finally able to really attack things the way I used to, and it feels great.

BTW, if you're wondering why I kept the wheel, the answer is that there are more driving games than just Forza. Dirt Rally has kind of the opposite problem as Forza used to IMO - frustrating on a controller, but extremely good on a wheel. That's the game I really bought a wheel for.

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