Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2018 Computer Gaming in Review

Like the tabletop RPG gaming post, I find myself amused by the fact that far less of what I did this year with computer gaming was actually from 2018. Even worse, I have indulged in plenty of 2018 releases, but to be honest....not too many were all that impressive. This is not a great year for gaming, to be honest....especially not AAA gaming.

So without further delay: here's the Realms of Chirak Household Gaming Top Six List for "Things we Played and Liked" in 2018:

#6: Vampyr
   I think this came out a year ago, but it is notable for being the only 3PS role playing game I have bought this year that is not a distinctive Sony exclusive. It's a great story about Victorian London during a rash of sickness and plague and the physician who finds himself an unwitting vampire. Very much enjoying this one, check it out!

#5: Fortnite

   As a family we have played a lot of Fortnite in the last year. It's ironic because back in 2017 (or was it 2016?) I bought the zombie-killing fortress building retail version of this game for my son and I to play together. We weren't so excited about that mode it turns out, but Battle Royale ended up getting us back in to it.
   This game has the following features going for it:
--it's basically family friendly as shooters go (if you mute the snotty kids in squads)
--you can group up in the game as a team (great for mom, son and dad to play together)
--it's Battle Royale mode is free (but yes you will end up wanting to spend money on v-bucks Just Because)
--just when you get tired of it, a new season starts; also, if you give up the idea of actually being good at it you can instead play the "challenges and achievements minigame" which is honestly the only way to get anywhere in Fortnite anyway unless you are aged 15-25 and stream on Twitch.

#4: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands

   Did I review this game last year? I played a lot of it, but I kept on playing in 2018 and finished the full campaign then dived right in to the weird DLC. I don't know if this game is ultimately a "reccommend to all" sort of deal, but Ghost Recon: Wildlands uniquely exotic and fun version of fictional Bolivia is a pleasure to explore, and filled with interesting open world content. I continue to revisit the game even months after completing the content.

#3: Watch Dogs 2

   Yeah, over two years since it was released and I finally finished this game, but continue to love it. The theme of millennial hackers vs. the evil cyphers for Google and Facebook is a fantastic open world experience, and I really appreciate that the game let me play a non-lethal character for 95% of the experience. The multiplayer component is singularly unique and digital San Francisco was loads of fun to explore. I am done with it now, but I spent a lot of time getting to this point in 2018.

#2: Diablo III Eternal Collection

   Speaking of family games, Diablo III Eternal Collection on the Switch has also proven to be a household hit. Remember, the family that slays demons together stays together! We all have copies, and have engaged in lengthy demon-slaying sessions. I think my wife and son are way ahead of me, however. Once again, though....this game is several years old, but thanks to a new release of a very good port to a dedicated handheld-optional game console, it's well worth playing again.

#1: The Switch

   This location gets reserved for the portable hybrid console which Nintendo has championed. The Switch is loaded with content that just works for fun entertainment, as only the Switch can deliver. There are games on the Switch (such as Dead Cells, Bayonetta and Octopath Traveller) that I will happily engage with on the small screen in the comfort of bed or on a lawn chair that I would never bother with on a big screen with a regular console. And when I want to play the Switch on the big screen, or on co-op with the family? Piece of cake. I started with one months ago, and now we have three Switch consoles in the house, one for each of us.

Dishonorable Mention:

A lot of new and ongoing franchises just crapped the bed this year. In no particular order I feel that AAA gaming did itself little least for me. Here's the list of shame:

Call of Duty Black Ops IIII: buggy, crashes often, and needs lots of tweaking to make the Blackout mode ultimately worth my time as a filthy casual who can't compete with the hardcore leets. I load it up periodically and think about how cool it would be if they had a single player campaign I could enjoy, but then remember that they decided I am not their target demographic (solo player who likes a story with his FPS game). I need to make sure not to buy CoD anymore, it's like the game dumped me, but will still take my money.

Destiny 2: well, the problems with Destiny 2 are many, and I think they stem from the fact that Bungie doesn't know how to do a living world MMORPG. The fact that Destiny 1 content is gated off from the new game is an example of how they fail to do this right. The newer game has too much hardcore content and not enough stuff for filthy casuals who just want to do missions, have fun and NOT grind for armor and weapons. It has too many locations on odd worlds, asteroids and moons that are singular in their lack of interesting details (contrast with the much more interesting locales in the first game), and a restructured questing format that is just not at interesting as it used to be. I'm still playing, but only barely.

Star Wars Battlefront 2: As this game chugs on it continues to avoid re-introducing loot crates after the debacle last year, but they have added more content. Unfortunately most of the content is just not as good, and often leads less to strategic and interesting experiences on the map and instead leads to confusion and random nonsense. I am sure, if I had the energy, I could find the sweet spot for this one and get it to click, but I find it interesting that I found Battlefront 1 so accessible and fun, and the sequel is just so.....painful and random. I may delete it entirely (although my son might object so maybe not).

The Future:

There are a few games I look forward very much to playing in 2019, but I haven't gone far enough in to these games in 2018  to be able to speak on them much yet. These include:

Pathfinder: Kingmaker -- a computer game in Golarion, with Pathfinder rules!
Numenera: Tides of Torment -- I have it, and my interest in the RPG will get me to try this at last
Assassin's Creed: Origins and Odyssey -- yeah I'm two games behind on this now, still trying to finish Syndicate, but both of the new games I would like to visit in 2019.
Anthem: please EA don't let me down here.
Resident Evil 2 Remake: I can't stress how much I desperately want this game.
Division 2: absolutely looking forward to this one.


  1. I am so thoroughly out of synch when it comes to video games... this year I 'finished' Skyrim, re-started my quest to play all/most of the Final Fantasy games (I'm on IV), and started Maniac Mansion.
    Oh, and I'm still playing Minecraft.

    At this rate I'm never going to get to Doom (2016).

    1. Does anyone ever really finish Skyrim? I've played many hours in it and always get diverted from the actual plot. I did the same thing with FF games at one point, but eventually gave date the only FF title I've finished in total is FFVII.