Fiona MacKinnon’s Top Ten Games of 2018
Hello everyone, my name is Fiona MacKinnon. Some of of you may know me from my Twitch streams, being the co-captain for Kinda Funny’s Extra Life team, or even from the limited-run podcast on this website that I host, Nuke This! Before I start, I want to say something that I have heard a hundred times and could not agree with more: we are currently living in a golden age of games. Games exist for everyone, and a lot of fantastic content has been released over the past year. With my past experiences of playing the same game for 5 years (looking at you, World of Warcraft), I’ve recently made it my goal to try out a large spectrum of games – and 2018 was no exception. I will admit there are a few games I wanted to try, however did not get around to it, due to my addiction / need to watch The Office at least three or four times throughout a year.
This list covers a wide variety of games I have enjoyed, and are in no particular order:
God of War
Right off the bat, I want start off with not only the Game of the Year (According to the Game Awards, myself, and hundreds of thousands of others) but my most anticipated game of 2018. From the moment it was announced in 2016, I had been waiting to join Kratos in the new, snowy landscape, battling the gods of the north. For as long as I could remember, I have been interested in Mythology; I remember reading books about these larger than life beings from other lands and times. Now seeing these Gods recreated in these games, have been an absolute delight. Cory Barlog, and the team at Santa Monica Studio took an existing AAA game series, and made it “God Tier”. (See what I did there? Ahh I crack myself up.)
In all honesty, I am amazed by how they took a phenomenal series, built off of that foundation, and created a whole new experience that seems to stand out from the original series. This was definitely the best move for the series, and I cannot wait to see what they do with the next installment.
This game has rekindled my excitement for VR. I have struggled with wanting to lug my VR out, set up the wires, and adjust the visuals JUST right to be able to play, however this action-adventure game by Polyarc takes you on a journey. You play, what I can only assume is No Face’s (From Spirited Aways) distant Woodland cousin , directing a small mouse adventurer named Quill through mazes, challenges, and battles against creatures that only want to hurt your fluffy companion. While I try not to make my full judgement of a game based on how adorable the protagonist is, this game does not lack in vibrant storytelling. Though there are little to no words used throughout the game, the lush atmosphere, music, and the games ability to draw you into this small piece of the woods is quite magical. If this game is a glimpse of what is to come from this developer, I look forward to seeing more of Quill, and what Polyarc has in store for the future.
Monster Hunter: World
I had little previous knowledge of the series, and was not completely on-board with purchasing this game, until I watched “5 Reasons to Play Monster Hunter World” by OK Beast’s own Ian Preschel. I purchased the digital deluxe edition, and I have not looked back since. With 120+ hours into this game, and excitement for the new DLC this coming summer, I can safely say this is my most played game of 2018. With its rich landscapes, detailed monster design, and cat companions (Frankly, if someone just told me there were cat companions in this game, I would have bought it instantly) Monster Hunter: World is a captivating action RPG where you, and your friends are sent on missions to hunt monsters in the New World. It is refreshing to be able to select from a wide variety of weapons, such as a massive two-handed swords, bows, dual-handed weapons, and even bagpipes.
As a previous WoW addict, this game satisfied my need for dungeon queuing, my overwhelming need to complete gear sets, and the excitement I would get for finally killing a difficult boss. Did I add that you get to dress up your cat companion?! Whenever I defeated a new creature, the first thing I would check is the new outfit my cat companion would get. I tend to jump back into this game around seasonal events, however once the new DLC comes out, I can assure you, I will probably put another 100+ hours into this game.
Night of the Full Moon
If you have a love for deck builders like I do, I would highly recommend this free mobile game. Players start off the game as a sword wielding little red riding hood, in a quest to find your grandmother, however the woods are not what they appear to be, as the people and creatures inhabiting it have been turned into dark twisted versions of themselves. Night of the Full Moon includes elements of a choose your own adventure game, as each card, ability, and choice you make as a player can change the outcome of the game. There are 3 rounds of the game’s story, which culminates in a final boss fight which reveals information on how the woods ended up so foul.
I travel on the bus to and from work, and I find myself always looking for something to keep me occupied on those 15 minute trips. A month ago I was searching through the Play store, and stumbled upon this game, and have been hooked ever since. I was surprised by the replay-ability of this game, though I have come to a point where I will probably spend $0.99 to purchase another fighter, which will lead to even more opportunities.
Smash Brothers: Ultimate
If you told me at the beginning of the year, let alone 2 weeks ago that I was going to have Smash on my top 10 list, I would have thought you were crazy. I have never been a fan of the Smash Brothers series, mostly out of being not that great at fighting games, and my competitive personality caused a lack of interest in the game, however Smash Brothers: Ultimate has surprised me. Since I purchased the game last week, I have been finding myself drawn to the game and wanting to collect more Spirits & Playable characters. While I do find myself taking breaks here and there to just… calm down after an intense session of getting stonewalled by multiple adorable spirits. It has been a joyous experience, and I cannot wait to finally master… actually I would just be happy to understand how to hit people properly, baby steps.
Though this was the shortest game I played this year, it made a lasting impression on me. I remember specifically starting this game while waiting for my clothes to finish in the dryer, and sliding down the wall 35 minutes later, just staring at the credits, thinking about what I just experienced. Florence is an interactive, slice of life story where you follow the life of a 25 year old woman named Florence, who is trying to find her calling and her way through life. As you complete basic puzzle elements to continue her story, I found myself looking into myself, as an artist and 25 of the time of playing this game, I felt like I could relate to the character in many ways.
After looking into this game, I was happily surprised that Annapurna Interactive published it, as they were involved with publishing games such as Flowers, Donut County and Journey. These 3 games all included fresh storytelling methods.
The last time I wrote a Top 10 article, I had the original Overcooked game included, so it was only fitting to include the newest installment. Kevin the dog is back, and cute as ever! You are sent to save the world, one friend ruining challenge at a time. In, and outside of gaming, I have always been a fan of cooking. While Overcooked puts cooking on it’s head, it reminds me of times I spent in the kitchen with my family. Though we were not rushing around sliding counter spaces, or trying not to fall into Lava, the enjoyment of spending time together, and making something has always made me a fan of cooking based games. With the short sessions I had, it was a blast. Once I repair my friendships with my Overcooked team, I will make sure to complete this game!
Detroit: Become Human
While others enjoyed watching people play Fortnite, I took enjoyment watching playthroughs of Detroit: Become Human on Twitch. You could watch multiple people play the same scene, and each time it would end with different outcome. I even had the opportunity to provide my technical customer service skills when a friend, and streamer, was interrogating a android with Connor. Mind you the interaction escalated quickly (Insert Anchorman meme here) and it did not end the way that we thought (I apologize Jake for that error, but it made for good content!)
For those reading this, and asking yourselves “Fiona, you said you enjoyed watching people play this game, but did you play it yourself?”, and to that, the answer is no. I have this game on my list, because of what I was able to witness during the first month it had been released. It was almost as if you were watching a show you enjoy, however each time you watched it, you see new pieces of material, or are able to relate it to other occurrences.
When it comes to new games/series, I sometimes enjoy jumping into them blind, without little to no knowledge of the game, and Donut County was one of them, and I was far from disappointed. I am always in awe when a group makes their own game, let alone one person; Ben Esposito is no exception. From a outlandish game idea on Twitter, to a fully playable game 6 years later, with multiple layers of story, music (That I cannot stop listening to), and colorful humor, I commend him for all of his hard work.
I will admit, this game does remind me of a specific episode of BoJack Horseman, when Mr. Peanut Butter hosts a party at his home, and after fracking under his home, his mansion, and everyone in it end up in a sinkhole. Out of the two, Donut County definitely had the better outcome. This humorous, lighthearted experience is definitely worth the 3 hours I spent trying to consume the whole town into a massive sinkhole, plus there is a whole corporation run by Raccoons, how could you not love it.
Yes, you read that game title correctly, I have Fallout 76 on my Top Ten Games of 2018. Before you close this article, let me explain myself. I have been a massive fan of the series for the past 4 years, and have spent many a night reading into the weird experiments that were involved with the Vaults, and lore of Fallout. From the moment they showed us the small teaser with the words “Standby” on the screen for a number of hours, to Todd Howard’s “full” explanation of what was to come with 76, I was hooked.
Now, has it been hard to love this game? The answer: Yes.
It has been a very bumpy road for us Wasteland explorers, and I will admit the emotional roller-coaster that is involved with everything that has been happening with this game, has made it hard to hold on. Without dwelling on everything you have heard; I have played a number of hours, I can honestly say it has been fun venturing out into the Appalations alone (As long as you do not find yourself in a rut), but even more entertaining when you are with a group of friends.
One of my fondest memories was when Alex Van Aken saw my character for the first time: Off in the distance he saw my character run over a hill, in a bathing suit, party hat, aviators, holding a flaming pitchfork as I yelled “RUN” as I had a low level person on my tail… and his 25+ level friend who was decked in full power armor throwing grenades at us. Did I provoke them? Maybe… but that is not what we are focusing on.
Bethesda, I hope that this game has it’s phoenix moment.. however, I appreciate that you have given Alex and I an overwhelming amount of content for Nuke This!
If you have made it to the end of this Top 10 list, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, before I end this, I would like to add some games of 2018 I would love to play but never got a chance to:
Banner Saga 3, I love the series, however I want to finish the others before I start into this Norse experience.
GRIS: Ever since I saw the trailer a few weeks ago, I have been thinking about this game a lot, and cannot wait to get the chance to play it.
Assassins Creed: Odyssey: While I am not an AC fan, this game has definitely caught my interest.
I know 2019 has a lot in store for us. I am excited to jump into the New Year to play all the new games that 2019 has to offer. I look forward to playing with you all, and talking about our gaming experiences online! Thank you again for this opportunity, have a wonderful holiday season, and I will see you in the New Year!