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Best New PS4 Games from 2018



The countdown is over and we have consolidated our list for the top 50 of the 2018 games, which includes the range of big blockbusters and the successes of small teams. But we know it's a pretty long list, so here are the picks that can be played on PlayStation 4 – which, given the platform's position in this generation, comes as no surprise, encompasses more than half of the listed titles.

29 of our Top 50 Picks can be played on the PS4. Of these, five are exclusive to Sony's platform: Shadow of the Colossus Astro Bot Rescue Mission (for PlayStation VR), s [1

9659005] Spider-Man Tetris Effect and our # 1 game of the year, ] God of War .

Speaking of, for example, the inclusion of games like Shadow of the Colossus, which came technically well before 2018, well, what we said in the top 50 posts, also applies here: [19659017] You may notice the inclusion of games that were either fully published or made available in early access by 2018. As many games are changed from update to update, not to mention year to year, we will include games already available that will contain a significant update the year or become available on a platform that changes the way the game is played For example, Fortnite includes Battle Royale, ranked 13th, because we believe his last seasons were the first big game of 2018.

Do not worry too much about the ranking. It's a fun and easy exercise. Finally, we recommend all these games. That's why we wrote down a little bit about what makes each one so special: this is how you can find the best games of the year 2018 for you.

In this context, we have counted the numbers out of the context of the top 50, the rankings lose their value.

If you're looking for recommendations that go beyond 2018, visit our Essentials page for the Best PlayStation 4 Games Ever .


  Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom - Prince Evan

Level 5 / Bandai Namco

Ni n o Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

No, you do not have the first Ni no Kuni you can enjoy his sequel, a feverishly optimistic (and invitingly naive) Japanese role-playing game inspired in part by the works of Studio Ghibli. Its colorful animation hides a rich but not too complicated kingdom management system that gives the adventure a great deal of leeway. A fairytale storyline gives her colorful group of heroes a playful touch that feels anachronistic, though not downright brutal in conflict with our time.

Here is Cameron Kunzelman's opinion from our critique: "There is no wasteful breath or conspiracy that does not succeed in paying off in a significant way. Ni no Kuni 2 is a solid, contemporary JRPG that brings a lot of design ideas that I love into a sharp, clear focus while remaining entertaining and engaged throughout.

– Chris Plante

Available on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Steam


  Lumines Remastered - screenshot during the

Resonair / Enhance Games

Lumines Remastered

None of the many sequels and connectors for the Lumines of 2004 stack up to the PlayStation Portable original, a mix of high fidelity graphics, Japanese dance tracks and bright charm. That the original Lumines was wearable made it all the more enjoyable.

Lumines Remastered the franchise's most recent entry, is available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and most importantly the Nintendo Switch. The Switch version captures the feel of the original and, in a sense, enhances it with improved visuals and controls for the comparatively roomy joy cons of the switch. All versions include "Trance Vibration," a term that made serial creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi popular with one of his most popular games, Rez . Additional controllers can be paired with Lumines Remastered and turned into vibrant nodes that hum to the rhythm of the game. The Joy-Con controllers fit into your pockets or under your toes, creating a subtle vibration that adds a touch of texture to the experience without you feeling too comical.

If "Trance Vibration" is not your cup of ayahuasca tea, Lumines Remastered is one of the best rhythm games ever made. We've been waiting for over a decade for an experience that could match PSP's original lumines . Finally it is there.

– Jeff Ramos

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Available here: Amazon | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | Nintendo eShop

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  Fallout 76 - a barn / garage labeled "The Devil's Pitchfork"

Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks

Fallout 76 [196590018] 76 understands that an open world must be rewarding – not in terms of finding resources or new quests, but because of the act of exploration should be included. Forgoing the skeleton-on-a-bed storytelling that worked so well in earlier games. Fallout 76 & # 39; s landscape of desert landscapes West Virginia is littered with descriptive mise-en-scènes. Every time I stumble upon one, I feel like I've discovered a secret about the world. I've found a birdhouses workshop, a gladiator's arena, and a household studded with cat's head wall panels. That's just a small part of the offer.

Fallout 76 can do that because there is so much good content. Countless enemies, buildings, quests, outfits. Sure, there are no NPCs, but with the spice of the online multiplayer game, I've found that I have not missed much. The interactions I experienced were mostly friendly – strangers demonstrating their bases or handing out much-needed clean water. Occasionally they were violent, but the wasteland is a dangerous place, and the impact on murder is quite low. More importantly, anything is possible in a virtual world, and Fallout 76 opens up possibilities in ways that few games offer.

– Jenna Stoeber

Available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Here's the article: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | Bethesda Store

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Arc System Works / Bandai Namco

Dragon Ball FighterZ

The world of Dragon Ball has defined a distinctive look through its various manga and anime incarnations. While these versions of the series remain unassailable classics, the franchise has always played on the front of the video game. Fortunately, Dragon Ball FighterZ will do justice to the legacy of the series, delivering one of the best fighting games of the year.

The cel-shaded art style of the game is a clear allusion to the aesthetics of the illustrated and animated forms of Dragon Ball, even down to the same angles of manga and anime. The visual spectacle goes hand in hand with the game's simplified control system, which turns experts and novices alike into players who can easily hand out harmful laser light shows. These elements work together to deliver one of the most satisfying multiplayer experiences of the year and the Dragon Ball fighting game I've always dreamed of.

– Jeff Ramos

Available for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.
Available here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam

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  The Gardens Between

The Voxel Agents

The Gardens Between

The Gardens Between [19599106] The Gardens between starts on a rainy night with two middle school years friends huddled together in a tree house. A mysterious light takes them to a beautiful, mystical world full of islands marked by memories of their friendship. Every island is a huge puzzle. The tweens need to work together to reach the summit, but obstacles block the way. A character wears a lantern that holds a mysterious light that can disperse fog and bridge, while the other is a magical machine that can stop and reverse time.

The gardens between feels like a lucid dream. The lack of control – I can not directly choose where the characters go – and the manipulation of time and memory can be a bit trippy, but never overwhelming. When I start getting frustrated by a difficult puzzle, I pause to observe the flow of time. Usually I find my solution by forgetting the time.

The Gardens Between is not the first game that explores memory and growing up. It probably will not be the last one. However, the visual elements, the history and the sense of time of the time harmonize in a way that enhances the game and sheds new light on a revised theme.

-Emily Heller

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Linux and Mac
Here Amazon | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam | Read more:


  Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - urban chaos

Treyarch / Activision

Call of Duty : Black Ops 4

Call of Duty: The Multiplayer Suite by Black Ops 4 is both bigger and more sophisticated than its predecessors. The traditional multiplayer and zombie modes – two hallmarks of the last ten years of Call of Duty franchises – have been liberated from the bloat accumulated in recent years, with developer Treyarch reorienting the central mechanics, Call of Duty his iconic feel to lend.

Treyarch has not released another redesigned single-player campaign, but invests in a massive multiplayer expansion. Blackout is Battle Royale with the signature Call of Duty. It's faster and smoother than almost any other Battle Royale game. But where the mode really differs is the map. Each city in the vast room was taken from the multiplayer maps of earlier Call of Duty games to make sure it was designed as a fully fledged multiplayer map. It has a level of authorship that is based on over a decade of world-class multiplayer design that its contemporaries have not achieved.

Each of the three modes that make up Black Ops 4 could easily stand alone as a worthwhile game, but together they prove that the makers of Call of Duty are committed to surviving this year and in the future cleverly focus on what the series does best.

-East Goslin

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Available here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Battle.net

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  Moonlighter - Guy is Coming with Four Locks

Digital Sun / 11-Bit Studios

Moonlighter

Moonlighter answered one Question I never thought to ask: Where do shop owners find in adventure games the items they sell in their stores? In this fantasy world, at least one shopkeeper works as an adventurer whom they serve in their store. This double life represents one of the year's loveliest genre mashups: Moonlighter is more than an adventurous villain's lite – it's also a retail sim.

To collect goods, every night, the main character travels to the darkest depths of various dungeons, killing animals and collecting items. When he returns from his quests, this loot becomes the inventory of the next day. As a shopkeeper, he has to fill the shelves, speculate on prices, lure customers with pretty decor, and tackle potential thieves. What's left in his cash register that day becomes the purse he brings to various arms dealers, potion makers, and more. With better equipment, he can explore more dangerous dungeons that will produce better prey, which will result in higher prices in the shop, and so on. It's a compelling loop that oscillates between the part of my brain that seeks adventure and the part that believes in good old entrepreneurship.

– Jeff Ramos

Available on Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Available here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Steam

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  Donut County - Guy faints in his garden on a deck chair

Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive

Donut County

Nine hundred and ninety nine feet under the surface of the earth is a crackling campfire and a wild group of animals that have lost their homes and relatives through the holes that terrorize Donut County. Blame BK, an extremely selfish and extremely cute raccoon with an unpleasant smartphone addiction.

Donut County invites numerous comparisons to Katamari Damacy : A strange, inexplicable force rises on a city and its ignorant inhabitants who consume everything they encounter. But with the chaos with Katamari literally reaching new heights, the holes that terrorize Donut County are dumb, efficient and clean. Where Katamari gives Donut County takes away.

The premise of the game is simple: Be a hole in the earth and devour as many things as possible while solving a few puzzles. It is strangely therapeutic.

The dialogue is funny, charming and funny. SMS to BK is a pleasure. I spew him an Entenemoji; he spits it right back. Between the phases, I can view all the items I've swallowed as a hole in a so-called Trashopedia file. For example, a candle is listed as a "really bad version of the sun." Tastes ok.

As the puzzle games go on, Donut County is a sugar-sweet treat. Like any good donut, it is short, sweet and can best be enjoyed in one session.

-Ashley Oh

Available on PlayStation 4, iOS Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and Mac.
Available here: PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam | App Store

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  Dragon Quest 11 - Rider on the back of the horses towards the ruins

Square Enix

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age [19659195] The creators of The Dragon Quest series want to play it safe. Directed by Yuji Horii, the creator of the legendary Japanese role-playing game, the games have gone where the audience goes. From Nintendo to PlayStation to Nintendo and back. For over three decades, they continue to tell stories of legendary heroes fighting evil to save their homeland or the world.

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of Elusive Age adheres to many formulas of the series for the better. It's a great RPG that spans dozens of hours (as mandated by the JRPG law) filled with turn-based battles against mucous membranes, dragons, golems, and other cute tongue monsters. I love it, despite the slavish adherence to the Dragon Quest formula. I love to visit enchanting cities, explore the landscape with lovable and sweet heroes and defeat the evil. Dragon Quest games always had these things, and Echoes of the Elusive Age has more of it, in high fidelity and smooth smoothness.

In our review of Dragon Quest 11 we rightly criticized the game because it has largely addressed the longtime Dragon Quest fans. This is true; There are a lot of things in this game that are aimed directly at the experienced Dragon Quest player. But that's me, and it's wonderful to get back into the cosiness of these worlds.

-Michael McWhertor

Available on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.
Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | Destination | PlayStation Store | Steam

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  Shadow of the Colossus Remake - Wander pierces a colossus and sends a black stream of blood into the air

Bluepoint Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Shadow of the Colossus [19659224] Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best games on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and now PlayStation 4. Produced by Austin, Texas' own Bluepoint Games, 4K remake is respectful (but not ). respectful) Restoration of the classic. This is not a reboot and not an easy upgrade. It's more like a modern performance of a classic script. Everything is there, the way you remember it, and yet it feels fresh and more present than actually returning to the PS2 original, a game that is not quite as smooth and enjoyable as we know it.

In our review I wrote: "The surface of the bare-boned original was quickly replaced by a decade of open-world games with minimaps, progress bars, and countless on-screen instructions that tell exactly what to do, how, and when – only a minimal interface for returning to fashion in the past year. " Shadow of the Colossus feels like it could have been done today, not because of the game, but because of the intention that was intentionally left out.

-Chris Plante

Available on PlayStation 4.
Available here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store

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  The Sea is Scanned in Subnautica

Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Subnautica

Subnautica [19599248] Subnautica first appeared on Steam Early Access in the year 2014, but not Get a formal, full release by this January. I recall that years ago I had played a promising but relatively thin and unfinished game that was taken over by earlier building hits like Minecraft while paving the way for the flooding of survival games that hit the market flood its long development. How wonderful to say that Subnautica in 2018 is richer and more mysterious than I would have expected, a sprawling and playful experience that captures the thrill of survival and explorations while doing the strenuous work that is going on has largely degraded the genre as biofouling on the belly of a boat.

2016, in the midst of development, The Director of Subnautica Charlie Cleveland, answered questions why the game did not contain weapons. Cleveland, who had previously worked on first-person shooters, described a change of heart in response to the tragic Sandy Hook shoot. "I've never believed that video game violence leads to more violence in reality," said Cleveland. "But I could not just sit there and add more weapons to the world."

"Subnautica is therefore a voice for a world with fewer weapons, a reminder that there is another way, one in which we use non-violent and more creative solutions to solve our problems We're not at the top of the food chain. "The decision has promoted something beautiful, Inspiring Anders .

– Chris Plante

Available for Mac, Windows PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. [19659029] Available here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Steam | Microsoft Store

More information: 19659249] Dead Cells – Jumping With A Hammer ” style=”object-position: 50% 50%” data-upload-width=”1916″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/89sF-iDcHMG3PGOW7ukq5B5I7D4=/0x0:1916×1080/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:1916×1080):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/11919033/dead_cells1.jpg”/>

Motion Twin

Dead Cells

Without losing focus, Dead Cells put together no less than six different genres in a single adventure an incredible achievement Creating Distinguished Roguelike or Metroidvania is a challenge in itself, but Dead Cells shows a mastery of all forms and their contemporaries dedicated to a single genre.

Some merit comes from the roots of the game in Early Access, where developers used feedback to refine and revise their ideas. At the time of the official launch of the game, Dead Cells felt more like a fully formed creature rather than a half-finished Frankenstein creation.

Despite the complexity of its design, it is friendly to newcomers by slowly introducing new mechanics instead of hurling players into impossible fights over and over again. And with so many secrets and upgrades, each death feels less like a game and more like a step toward progress.

At the end Dead Cells feels like many of the games we loved, and yet there is nothing like it.

– Russ Frushtick

Available on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Here's the article: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Nintendo eShop | Steam | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store

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  Hitman 2 - Agent 47 disguised as a Flamingo mascot

IO Interactive / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Hitman 2

It is not inaccurate to describe Hitman 2 as "more Hitman ", but it is reductive. If anything, Hitman 2 is the culmination of his predecessor and not a continuation of the cash grave. The episodic collection of Open World assassination sites in 2016 has been cemented to a traditional stand-alone release that includes all the extra back-of-the-box bullet points you expect. Smarter villains! Sillier costumes! Mirrors that really fog and reflect!

Although the story is hard to understand, I think of the last thing I explore Hitman 2 in their sprawling environments and fill Agent 47's bottomless pockets with everything he needs around someone distract and demobilize that stands between him and his goals.

Each Hitman level is a huge puzzle box where people, places and things are connected by a rat nest of AI routines. Finding out the connections between everything remains the most exciting element of the game. The AI ​​of the hundreds of people drifting through the sets is not realistic and should not be.

Hitman 2 does not work like a simulation of a murder in real life. How grim it would be! Hitman 2 works like Groundhog Day with significantly more murder. I have spent enough hours in the games to anticipate the reactions to each action – because I understand the interplay between the systems and mechanisms, the NPCs and objects. The more I play, the more I learn about how these intricately layered devices work and how each person behaves. And as soon as I know the rules, I can bend them to my will while orchestrating the perfect match.

– Samit Sarkar

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Here's the article: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | PlayStation 4 | Xbox Store | Steam

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  One Way Out - Leo and Vincent Play Connect Four

Hazelight Studios / Electronic Arts

One Way Out

One Way Out

One way out likes Some have frustrated players with their demise. But the finishing lessons were alternately ridiculous, heartfelt, whimsical and memorable. The split-screen co-op mixes identity and style with devotion, and that's part of its charm.

The plot follows two escaped convicts who had fled every policeman of the world . And yet the leads do not seem to be affected when they are controlled by me and a friend. Could it be that you also play baseball in the trailer park, right? Could also try on hats in the house, which we rob. Action movie set sets invariably follow these rather playful sequences, destroying the tonal consistency, but giving the players a lovable ride.

The friendship of Leo and Vincent still has a place in my heart, and although this game sure has its faults, I do not regret it my time a bit. As people say, the journey is sometimes more important than the destination, especially if the trip has so many hats. Yes, that's what they say.

– Simone de Rochefort

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Available here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | mart mart PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Origin

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  The Portal

Hello Games via Polygon

No Man's Sky Next

The No Man's Sky The next Update is the game No Man's Sky appeared to be in its early trailers and demos. Players were given more room to explore the universe as they pleased, be it underwater bases or building a massive frigate fleet. Crafting systems have been redesigned, the user interface has been improved and new music has been added. They almost never have anything new to do or discover. And now you can really play online with three other players – exploring the galaxy, transferring resources and creating bases.

The addition of multiplayer mode had an unexpected side effect: the need for a camera for third parties. This new angle gives the game a new name. Your Explorer is now an avatar who can gesticulate, have different looks, and be photographed in the game's fantastic photo mode. We've enjoyed the loneliness of No Man's Sky right from the start, so the third-person camera feels like a dramatic improvement. There is something about seeing our own character on a vast, unpopulated planet that nails the impeccable feel of the game of isolation and the expanse of space. Das Update, das die Spieler schließlich zusammenbringt, macht es auch einfacher, sich als das einzige Wesen im gesamten Universum zu fühlen.

– Clayton Ashley

Verfügbar auf PlayStation 4, Windows PC und Xbox One.
Hier geht's zum Download: [19659032] Amazon | Bester Kauf | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | Steam

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 Die Helden von Prey Mooncrash

Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks

Prey : Mooncrash

Im Jahr 2017 veröffentlichte Bethesda eine Handvoll tiefer und origineller Single -Spieler-Spiele, darunter Prey The Evil Within 2 und eine eigenständige Erweiterung zu Dishonored 2 . Obwohl sie kritisch gelobt wurden, verkaufte sich keiner von ihnen besonders gut und wirft Fragen zur Nachhaltigkeit intelligent gestalteter Einzelspieler-Spiele auf, insbesondere im sogenannten Immersive Sim-Genre. Seitdem haben einige Fans und Kritiker darüber spekuliert, was die Entwickler dieser Projekte möglicherweise schaffen müssen, um am Leben zu bleiben. Vapid Ego-Shooter? Zynische Battle Royale-Modi? Match-Three-Apps ?

Prey: Mooncrash ist unser erster Blick auf die Zukunft der immersiven Sims und wird zweifellos vom Aufstieg der Twitch-Streams beeinflusst, wobei das pseudo-prozessual erzeugte Design betont wird Spielerausdruck und unerwartete Szenarien. In einem Durchgang war ich der Mondbasis des Spiels beinahe entkommen, als ich von einer Bande herumrennender Feinde mit telekinetischen Kräften in die Enge getrieben wurde. Ich beschloss, sie in einem Lüftungsschlitz zu warten, machte aber zu viel Lärm. Anstatt auf mich draußen zu warten, benutzten die Feinde ihre Kräfte, um die Gasleitungen im Abzug zu zünden, was dazu führte, dass die Rohre Feuer spuckten. Als ich zu fliehen versuchte, hob mich ihre Telekinese-Fähigkeit in die Luft, drückte mich gegen die Decke des Abzugs und ließ das Feuer mich wie ein Schwein am Spieß braten.

Mooncrash wurde nicht einfacher oder weniger komplex gemacht, um ein breiteres Publikum zu besänftigen. In den semi-permadeath-Sitzungen werden Sie dazu ermutigt, alle Ihre ausgefallenen Fähigkeiten einzusetzen, anstatt für eine perfekte Gelegenheit darauf zu sitzen. Seine Ziele sind erfrischend undurchsichtig und laden die Spieler dazu ein, herauszufinden, wie ihre ausgeklügelten Systeme im Verlauf von Dutzenden stundenlangen Spieldurchläufen funktionieren – oder mit Hilfe eines Twitch-Chat-Publikums zu lernen. Das heißt, es ist ein Einzelspieler-Spiel, das besser mit anderen Zuschauern gespielt werden könnte und Einblicke aus ihren eigenen Durchspielen bietet.

Wenn Prey: Mooncrash die Zukunft von Bethesdas Einzelspieler und In immersiven Sim-Projekten gibt es Grund, sich über die Zukunft des Genres und seiner Schöpfer zu trösten und zu freuen. (Obwohl seine kommerzielle Durchführbarkeit ein Fragezeichen bleibt.)

—Chris Plante

Verfügbar für PlayStation 4, Windows PC und Xbox One.
Hier erhältlich: PlayStation Store | Dampf | Microsoft Store

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 Destiny 2 loading

Bungie / Activision via Polygon

Destiny 2: Forsaken

Ein Jahr danach Destiny 2 s Veröffentlichung, Die Forsaken -Erweiterung erfand das gesamte Spiel neu. Bungie hat das Waffensystem komplett überarbeitet, um mehr Flexibilität zu bieten und den Zugriff auf mächtige Geschütze wie Schrotflinten und Scharfschützengewehre zu erleichtern. The flow of every combat encounter feels different, yet the series’ fantastic gunplay remains intact.

Forsaken also adds two new environments and Destiny’s best raid to date. PvP and the new hybrid PvEvP mode, Gambit, are faster and more enjoyable than the Guardian-on-Guardian combat of years past. Forsaken pours a foundation that the team at Bungie can build upon for years to come, starting with its new approach to seasonal content in the upcoming Annual Pass.

—Ryan Gilliam

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | Battle.net

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A screenshot of Quill the mouse in a forest from the game Moss

Polyarc Games

Moss

In so many ways, playing Moss is like vacationing in a storybook. I take on the role of the Reader, a powerful force that the residents of Moss can sense but not see. I come across a tiny mouse named Quill who is on a quest to save her uncle, after their kingdom was overthrown by a fire-breathing snake. As the Reader, my job is to solve puzzles and clear obstacles to aid Quill in her journey.

Magic radiates from every corner of the game: Pulling a handle from the ground renders a tower of stone steps. Pushing and pulling objects feels like an act of wizardry — wisps of light follow my path, as if from a magic wand. There are tiny libraries, mouse-sized pubs and rich forests, each worth the few minutes rest to pause and marvel at their details.

Moss’ creators have built each scene like large dioramas. Had I not stood up, leaned forward or looked left to right, I would’ve missed so many more lovingly crafted details along my adventure. Polyarc Games uses VR fostering a sense of intimacy, to build a protectiveness of its lead character. Like its central characters, Moss is a game of small things that make a big impact.

—Ashley Oh

Available on PlayStation VR and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Steam | Oculus | Vive | PlayStation Store

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Astro Bot Rescue Mission - holding controller in front of Astro Bot

SIE Japan Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Astro Bot Rescue Mission

Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a platformer that has me moving as much as its adorable robot hero. To fully explore levels, I have to maneuver my body to peek around corners and swivel my head to find new ledges. At one point, I headbutt the air in my world to move a crane into place in the game world, helping my bot cross a chasm.

The physicality feels like a natural extension of the “gamer lean” — the sensation of tilting while, say, going around corners in Mario Kart. It’s intuitive; the game is seamless and well-designed so that it’s always clear how I should bend or stand or tilt my head, without feeling too easy or dumbed down.

As a result, Astro Bot is the first VR platformer that feels like not just a good VR game, but a good game beyond its sub-category. Combined with the expressive character designs and peppy music, Astro Bot Rescue Mission is a complete joy to play — if not a little exhausting.

—Jenna Stoeber

Available on PlayStation VR.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | PlayStation Store

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Minit - lighthouse

JW, Kitty, Jukio and Dom/Devolver Digital

Minit

Unlike in other adventure games, where exploring vast landscapes and poring over the tiny details of the surroundings is the norm, every second counts in Minit. The main character dies every minute, only to get another chance at the moment. It’s like Majora’s Mask and Groundhog Day but, well, you know, shorter.

The hero makes gradual progress by reaching checkpoints from which death restarts the adventure. Progress, die, restart from the beginning, apply what you learned, reach a checkpoint, die, restart a little further in the quest, and repeat.

Tasks are simple enough to be completed in 60 seconds, whether that’s finding the perfect radio station for a stranger, listening to an old man’s story or solving the mystery behind the cursed sword that has plagued the hero’s hometown.

With the finite amount of life there is to live, mundane tasks turn into monumental undertakings. Each new life becomes a fresh opportunity to learn more secrets or find more money to buy new sneakers. Most modern games expect players to do a bit of everything at once; Minit succeeds because it focuses on one thing at a time. Progress, it shows, is incremental and deliberate.

—Jeff Ramos

Available on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Get it here: Nintendo eShop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Steam

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Fortnite - woman looking at a glowing cube

Epic Games

Fortnite Battle Royale

Don’t worry about being late to Fortnite Battle Royale. The creators of this colorful and constructive twist on the battle royale formula ensure that new players have plenty of chances to jump on board as they constantly reimagine and retool the map, weapons and modes. The most dramatic changes take place across seasons, in a fashion reminiscent of Blizzard’s Hearthstone model. Over a couple of months, players progress through the ranks, unlocking new costumes, gliders and bonuses. And when the season wraps, everybody returns to zero. Of course, none of these upgrades and rewards give players an advantage on the battlefield, so if you don’t care about cosmetics, there’s no wrong time to start — or a reason to spend money.

Whether you come to Fortnite through a console, a PC or a smartphone, the items and experience you earn are persistent. (Unless you play on PlayStation.) We’ve found ourselves rotating where we play, enjoying a week on an iPhone, then craving the precision of mouse and keyboard, then spending a week on the couch with an Xbox controller in our hand. PUBG revolutionized this genre, but Fortnite is quietly revolutionizing the fashion in which big video games seamlessly exist wherever you wish to play them. And it’s free!

The game technically launched in beta in 2017. It’s unclear if it will ever graduate from being “early access,” as that status makes the process of releasing regular patches and updates easier, particularly on consoles with complicated publishing contracts. But beneath all that legal stuff that gets in the weeds is the kernel of what made Fortnite Battle Royale uniquely special this year: the use of game updates as an interactive group storytelling device. The 2018 seasons told a exciting, confusing, messy and surreal story fueled by a handful of sci-fi plots that have fueled countless B-movies. The meta-story of Fortnite has lost some of its energy — entropy! — but at its peak, the game felt all encompassing.

—Chris Plante

Available on iOS, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Epic Games Store | App Store | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store | Nintendo eShop

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Team Cherry

Hollow Knight

Yes, we know Hollow Knight first came out in 2017. We’re ashamed to admit it, but most of us never actually played it last year. That changed when the game arrived on Switch this summer, and I realized just how big of a mistake that was.

I adore Metroidvania games, and, quite simply, Hollow Knight is the greatest the genre has ever produced. The game’s design, from its sprawling map to its bespoke customization system to its countless boss fights, is peerless. Better than Symphony of the Night, better than Super Metroidbetter than Bloodborne. That quality is matched by a haunting score and hand-drawn visuals that look ripped from the pages of a Tim Burton sketchpad. It’s a feast.

And on the Switch, it has found a truly perfect home. Hollow Knight’s length and difficulty are made far more palpable when you’re able to trawl the depths of the bug kingdom on the go. As a bonus, the game has only gotten bigger with a handful of free updates over the last year. If you’ve got the stomach for it, you’ll find an unforgettable experience awaiting you.

—Russ Frushtick

Available on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam

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Assassin’s Creed Odyssey - Alexios leaping toward a soldier

Ubisoft Quebec/Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

Exploration, combat, stealth, role-playing progression and dialogue choice make up the core activities in this giant open world, but its kinetic elements don’t entirely do it justice.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is a teeming saga of the Peloponnesian War, loaded with likable, believable characters, both fictional and drawn from history. Moody marine hues and bright Hellenic contrasts create an eye-pleasing world of mountains, meadows, cities and islands.

The story twists a warm familial reunion narrative with a cold, hard search for vengeance against an evil cult. Hidden shipwrecks, mythical beasts, combat arenas and creepy tombs add to a sense of a fantastical, expansive world.

Ubisoft built the Assassin’s Creed series on its big, dense open worlds. But Odyssey’s world feels like a turning point, loosening its focus on muted historical settings seen from grimny rooftops, and instead embracing vibrant colors, mythological beasts, and sprawling swaths of ocean and countryside.

—Colin Campbell

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | Steam

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Spider-Man PS4 - Spidey looking at the Empire State Building from the southeast

Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Marvel’s Spider-Man achieves something rare among licensed games: it goes toe-to-toe with its lead character’s two blockbuster movies this year in terms of quality, while not directly tying into either. The PS4 exclusive takes inspiration from Spider-Man’s significant history in comic books, movies, television shows and games, but established canon doesn’t prevent the writers from taking their own risks.

Sure, the plot’s a little predictable, and yet while I could predict each beat, so little of the final experience felt rote or uninspired. It does just enough to subvert expectations, while also providing the opportunity to zip around a world so familiar and established.

—Ben Kuchera

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | Target | PlayStation Store

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Monster Hunter: World - chef palico

Capcom

Monster Hunter: World

Here’s Polygon’s Chelsea Stark laying out everything you need to know about Monster Hunter: World: “To answer the three most pressing questions around Monster Hunter: World: Yes, its creators have made a notoriously inaccessible franchise into something that, if not totally accessible, somewhat resembles it. Yes, it’s still filled with countless menus and tough-to-parse mythos. And yes, this game lets you be best friends with a cat.”

There’s a BFF cat — what else can I add that might convince you to give Monster Hunter: World a try? You demand more? For fans of Capcom games who haven’t leapt into this daunting franchise, Monster Hunter: World carries a bounty of goofy cameos. The game has received post-launch updates featuring characters from Street Fighter, Devil May Cry and Mega Man. For non-Capcom fans, the guest stars complement the abundance of other additions, from new quests to humongous beasts. Monster Hunter: World was a great game at release. With each month, it’s only gotten better.

—Chris Plante

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Microsoft Store | PlayStation Store

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Red Dead Redemption 2 - Arthur and archaeologist

Rockstar Games via Polygon

Red Dead Redemption 2

When Rockstar Games released the original Red Dead Redemption eight years ago, critics jokingly dubbed it Grand Theft Horse. The creators of the open-world Western shrewdly transported the power fantasies and juvenile social commentary of the Grand Theft Auto series to the American Southwest of 1911. Its sequel, released this year on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, unexpectedly stands as a counterpoint to both its predecessor and the Grand Theft Auto series.

Rockstar’s notorious satire has been replaced with a straightforward ensemble piece for Red Dead Redemption 2, and the previous game’s Southwest setting swapped out for the American South, blurring the story’s genre between Western and historical drama. It’s still a power fantasy, but the developers often toy with players’ assumptions. When I find myself horseless in the mountains, for example, I discover it will be a very long and dull walk home — one I probably won’t survive, what with all the criminals and deadly critters. The game is slower, stranger and, for better and worse, more confident in its storytelling, an ambitious albeit flawed exploration of life in the American South following the Civil War.

Before the game’s release, comments by one of Rockstar’s co-founders about the amount of overtime employees worked in order to finish the game raised questions about the ethics of creating these massive open-world games. Actually playing Red Dead Redemption 2 shows the limitations that come with such an endeavor. Here is a beautiful, surprising world. At its worst, it feels like an argument between hundreds of creative people, all of whom have a slightly different idea for this one hulking thing. At its best, it feels like a novel — a patient, cohesive, sweeping trip in another person’s boots.

—Chris Plante

Available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store

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Celeste - ‘I can’t breathe’

Matt Makes Games

Celeste

Matt Thorson’s follow-up to TowerFall takes one move from the competitive multiplayer game (its buoyant jump) and mines it for every fleck of creativity, like a chef creating a prix fixe menu around a single, delicious and flexible ingredient. Celeste is a challenging platformer, in the line of Mario or Meat Boy, but notably, it includes tools to modify and alleviate the difficulty. You can slow the game speed, turn on invincibility or skip chapters. Thorson’s game doesn’t judge players for how they experience his work. And for those who want a more difficult experience, collectible strawberries are tucked throughout the world of Celestetypically in precarious places, provoking highly skilled players to pursue challenge for no greater reason than “it’s fun.”

The decision to trim the stress from a notoriously stressful genre pairs well with Celeste’s story, which plunges into the shadowy trauma of anxiety, depression and meeting the expectations of those we love most. A charming art style and an uplifting score hold everything together, like a warm sweater or a bear hug. Life is hard enough, Celeste seems to say, there’s nothing wrong in asking for help.

—Chris Plante

Available on Linux, Mac, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC.
Get it here: Steam | PlayStation Store | Nintendo eShop | Amazon

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Tetris Effect gameplay

Monstars, Resonair/Enhance Games

Tetris Effect

For the past three decades, people have zoned out with the help of Tetris. The classic, nigh-perfect puzzle game demands unwavering attention, particularly at higher speeds. To excel at Tetris is to tune out the rest of the world.

Tetris Effect wants you to tune in; don’t just play Tetrisexperience it. The PlayStation 4 game bathes the time-tested classic Tetris with showers of light and music. Every turn and drop of a puzzle piece cues a wind-blown chime, a tinkle of jazzy piano keys or the hum of a blue whale. Music builds and flows as you clear lines and stages. Tetris Effect exchanges the Soviet bloc architecture and catchy folk tune “Korobeiniki” of the classic Game Boy game for something closer to an electronic music festival held in a Frank Gehry building.

Gazing upon a desert sunset, walking through pristine snow and chilling with dolphins are so sensually rich on their own, it’s easy to overlook the simple fact that Tetris Effect is also a damn good puzzle game. Its additions ultimately don’t distract from the game; they complement it, reminding us what an addictive, pleasurable and transportive experience a game of Tetris can be.

—Michael McWhertor

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store

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God of War - Kratos and Atreus approaching the top of the mountain

SIE Santa Monica Studio/Sony Interactive Entertainment

God of War

God of War is a methodical reimagining of the action franchise. Rather than ignoring its past with a top-to-bottom reboot, God of War is a sequel that’s in dialogue with both the actions of its characters and its previous creators. But plenty has been said about where the entry fits alongside its predecessors. Mentioned less is how well God of War stands on its own, working just fine without the baggage of its prequels. You get the sense, a couple dozen hours into the adventure, that it was created by massive fans of all sorts of other games: The campaign takes inspiration from the Tomb Raider and Doom reboots, Dark Souls, Shadow of the Colossus and even Call of Duty — the widely praised ax throwing combat, for example, places a first-person shooter reticle within a third-person action game, creating something unique and fresh.

Before we changed our reviews program, we scored the game a 10. But a perfect score doesn’t mean a perfect game. (Does such a thing even exist?) One of the pleasures of a game as big and ambitious as God of War is that it inspires great criticism. Deorbital hosted a set of pieces, including this great read on the series’ unique and complicated place within games from Jackson Tyler. Hamish Black produced a video praising the game’s companion, Atreus. And Bullet Points Monthly published its own series of interesting critiques. God of War feels like a game we’ll remember as a distinctly 2018 product: a glossy testament to the astonishing artistry and craft of games at this moment, and a reminder of how much room the medium still has to grow.

—Chris Plante

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store

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