Hey hey folks, Dave here. Well, another year has come and gone, and boy were there a lot of excellent videogames to play. 2018 was the year when my laptop finally let me know that it wouldn’t always be able to run the latest AAA games, but there were plenty of other more playable experiences to be had. As usual, I went back in time to play games I’ve always wanted to, and the majority of my impressions videos on the channel in 2018 were indie titles. I know my PC can run those.
I’ve picked 8 games out of the impressions and critique videos from the last year. 3 of the games were released in 2018, one was ported to PC this year, and the rest are from years passed. Since the majority of these games are from my impressions videos, it’s not the complete game that caused me to put it on this list, but the joy I experienced in the short time I spent with it. Its potential to delight me in the future when I return to complete it. You might see some of these games in one of my future best of year videos. As always, the games are in alphabetical order, so let’s get to it!
This is the only game on the list that I played through for a critique. It’s the only Souls game I have completed, and I am happy that I put in the time and effort to do so. What makes Demon’s Souls special is what I imagine makes all of the souls games special. That they instill a sense of perseverance and learning from one’s mistakes in the player. That no challenge is insurmountable, and given enough time and effort, anything can be accomplished. Playing a magic user, I learned to love the benefits of ranged and melee combat on top of the overpowered nature of spells, endearing me to the game more strongly than it might have if I just played a pure melee class. I look forward to returning to Demon’s Souls in the future, as well as playing the other Souls games for this channel in the coming years.
Dustforce was my first impressions video of 2018. It started off the year in the best possible way. What makes Dustforce special is that aside from the novel concept of a platformer based around cleaning, the game is a purely mechanics driven platforming marvel, and the player improves and adapts to its quirks as more time is spent with it. As I progressed through Dustforce, I definitely became more confident, learning new tricks and techniques that aided me in returning to earlier levels to achieve those coveted SS ranks. Even though the game has time based leaderboards, speed can be your enemy. Most of my failures were caused by panic. Executing every move with deliberation and precision steered me right. Speed resulted as a consequence.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
I only got to play the first level of Metal Gear Rising for impressions, but what a memorable first level that was. There’s a fluidity to Raiden’s movement and animation that makes controlling his actions feel amazing. You know the feeling that even though the character on the screen is doing ridiculous things that should break immersion, they feel like an extension of the controller you’re holding? That’s how it struck me. Throw in the ability to chop enemies or anything else into confetti, combined with the standard ridiculous but compelling Metal Gear plot, and you have an action game that I can’t wait to return to. I hear the themes of the game are quite prescient to the times we find ourselves in as well.
Planescape: Torment is regarded as one of the best videogames ever written. One of the things I love most about videogames is the stories they can tell, so I definitely want to see this one through to the end to find out if I can see where such praise is coming from. I think what I liked the best about my time with Planescape is how inventive it can be because it relies so much on text. The planes are a place where anything seems possible, and while I’m sure the majority of my time with The Nameless One will be disturbing and more than a little heartbreaking, if my time with it has been any indication, I look forward to experiencing this tale of immortality in its entirety.
Return of the Obra Dinn
Speaking of disturbing. Return of the Obra Dinn is a game where you use a magic pocket watch to transport yourself to the instant where the crew of the Obra Dinn met their often grisly demise. Rendered in a green monochrome reminiscent of the original Apple computers, the level of intricate narrative weaving that creator Lucas Pope would have had to gone through to make all these stories and their clues link together is remarkable. I have no plans to continue my playthrough, but I applaud the game’s originality and the excellence of its execution.
The Missing: J J Macfield and the Island of Memories
I love the games of Swery. They’re not always the most polished or technically sound, but they have a lot of charm, and I always find myself attached to the characters that inhabit these strange worlds. The Missing is no different. I spent my impressions video talking around the games’ main mechanic because I didn’t want to spoil the scene that kick starts JJ's journey. I’ve been playing this one through with a friend, and we’ve been mostly enjoying ourselves. It’s not exactly a lighthearted adventure, but it does have its moments. I’m looking forward to being able to share my thoughts on the game with you fine folks in the future.
I had the biggest smile on my face while playing Wandersong. Its cute cardboard cutout art combined with musical mechanics makes for a delightful time. Despite the whimsical tone, what I played is not all sunshine and rainbows, and I think the game is foreshadowing some rougher emotional moments. I look forward to seeing how these tones balance themselves out, and if the joy of the game ends up feeling all the stronger because you can’t have highs without equal lows. Wandersong is what I’m looking forward to playing the most out of everything on this list.
Speaking of balancing tone, we come to the final game, Yakuza 0. Every story beat is full of dramatic conflict and tension. I always wanted to see what happened next as the stakes for Kiryu kept rising. I wanted to keep punching my way to the next cutscene. The violence and loyalty of Kiryu shifts once Kamurocho opens up, the player engaging in side stories where Kiryu helps the citizens of this small slice of Japanese nightlife. I want to see this crime drama through to its conclusion. Even though my laptop is not up to the task of running the game smoothly, I can’t wait to start pummelling hooligans, and singing karaoke again.
And that’s another list for another year. Links to all the videos I made on these games in 2018 are below in the description. Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear what games you enjoyed playing the most in 2018. They don’t have to be from 2018, and you don’t have to have finished them. I just want to know the gaming experiences that were the most memorable for you. I might find some new games to add to my ever growing list of doom. Let me know in the comments. I hope you all had a great 2018, and that you have plans to make 2019 your best year yet. Let’s be all we can be. I look forward to all the wonderful new experiences on the horizon for this year, inside and outside of videogames. Happy new year everybody, and I hope you’ve all been having a wonderful day, and aren’t too hungover to enjoy the rest of it.