A console goes through growing pains when it launches. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One both debuted in November 2013. For the longest time, their biggest hits were remasterings of the prior generation’s best games, developed for the PS4 and the PS3, or for the Xbox One and the XBox 360. It felt as if they were holding themselves back from their true potential.
Yes, we've had PS4 exclusives and Xbox One exclusives since then, but 2018 will be remembered as the year that the PS4 and the Xbox One truly came into their own—when we experienced games that were really next-level, completely removed from the prior generation. We all remember that unreal Spider-Man trailer at E3 2017; many speculated that the footage was somehow doctored or enhanced. When we finally got to play the game, it lived up to its promise. There’s a similar story for Red Dead Redemption 2, which exceeded the hype around it.
And as for Nintendo? They’re doing just fine. The Switch has already established itself as one of the most successful consoles in gaming history. Forget third-party support; players buy Nintendo systems to play Nintendo games. And with the recent release of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo has created a sprawling game that will keep their fans entertained for years.
Enough with the talk, though; let’s pick up the sticks: Here are the best video games of 2018.
11. ‘Tetris Effect’
10. ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’
9. ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’
8. ‘Forza Horizon 4’
7. ‘Guacamelee! 2’
5. ‘God of War’
3. ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’
2. ‘Red Dead Redemption 2’
Platform(s): Playstation 4, Xbox One
There is no other game that deserves to sit in the top spot. With Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar Games has created an 1899 America that is intimidatingly detailed. It contains neither the cynical satire of Grand Theft Auto V nor its amoral mayhem. Red Dead Redemption 2 is its own animal: an unblinking, tragic tale of doomed men and women leading doomed lives, and a damning deconstruction of the Wild West mythology. What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to be part of a family? And what does it mean to be a man in a world that seems like it’s passing you by?
In retrospect, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the thematic opposite of Spider-Man. This is no vicarious power fantasy where you soar, unfettered, over the map like a miniature god. Instead, Arthur Morgan’s life is a series of dark-humored, karmic humiliations, one after the other. You’ll get kicked into the mud by an irritable horse. Muggers steal your money. People you trust betray you and put your life at risk. And no crime you commit ever goes well; you’ll have to shoot your way out, sometimes with little to show for it.
After finishing the storyline, things loosen up a bit. You can hunt down a vampire or search for Bigfoot. You can go into a house, find blood smeared all over everything, and piece together a murder mystery. You can search the night sky for UFOs. You can track down bounties, and bring your perps in dead or alive. And that’s not even including Red Dead Online, which recently launched its beta.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is Rockstar’s first game built exclusively for the current generation of consoles, and it shows. The developers have given us a world to not only play in but to live in. And chop wood in. And tame horses in. And rob carriages in. And play blackjack in. And bathe in. The list goes on and on.