This blog is not a tentpole site with a suite of writers working in different genres. I can only cover games I play. I’m just one guyAlthough it really was nice having Bob Case around this year to do his long-form analysis of Witcher 3. and I tend to seek out games that can keep me going for weeks rather than promiscuously hopping from one game to the next like big-name reviewers do. Which means that I tend to miss a lot of games.
I didn’t play a lot of bad games this year, so my “worst of 2018” list wound up being pretty short. I suppose that’s yet another thing that makes this the year of good news.
But before I begin hurling rotten tomatoes at the games that had the audacity to disappoint me, let me talk about a few games I missed…
I loved the new Hitman. It got the #2 spot on my best-of-2016 list. I thought the episodic release was goofy and annoying, but the environments and gameplay were better than ever. I really wanted to play the sequel this year, but I just didn’t have time. It came out in November, and at that point I was already juggling Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Prey: Mooncrash.
If this game had arrived in any of the preceding months, I would have been able to purchase and review it close to launch. I guess this is what happens when everyone fights over the end-of-year spot. It creates a winner-take-all situation. Since the entire point of having these monolithic publishing houses is to distribute risk, this pile-up in the Christmas shopping season seems… counterproductive.
Ah well. I did manage to grab it at the end of the year during a sale, but I haven’t spent enough time with it to give it a proper review.
I don’t know why publishers do this to themselves, but I guess it hurts them a lot more than it hurts me. So… whatever.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Wow. This game was a sensation. It was all anyone talked about for most of November. On one hand, I could see it was like Grand Theft Auto V: It’s a marvel of technology and decadent production values. RDR2 is a culture-wide event and offers a tremendous amount of incredibly polished content. On the other hand, it was also like Grand Theft Auto V in the sense that it’s a dark, mean-spirited tale of murder, violence, and cruelty. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when the game came out I’d just finished with my retrospective on the Grand Theft Auto series. I’d had my fill of misanthropy and nihilism.
I’m sure I’ll play it one of these days, but I didn’t have room for it in 2018.
Detroit: Become Human
If you’ve spent any time on this site then you’ve probably figured out a few things about me. I’m irritated by quicktime events, I’m hard on cutscene-heavy games trying to imitate cinema, and I loathe pretentious writing. So you can imagine just how much I dislike the work of David Cage.
Apparently we’ve mass-produced a bunch of these humanoid robots, but due to a computer bug this one accidentally has survival instinct, a need for validation, self-esteem, body shame, fear of the future, a desire for self-determination, and a dozen other incredibly specific emotional desires and behavioral patterns.
“I thought… I thought I was alive,” Kara says, disappointed.
And then I nearly have a stroke due to intense eye-roll.
Going by reputation, I gather that Indigo Prophecy is probably the smartest game David Cage ever made. That’s terrifying, since it was a ridiculous pile of squicky nonsense that alternates between uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Even the trailers for Detroit: Become Human strike me as cringy sophomoric trash. I can barely endure the advertising, so I have no idea what the game itself might do to me. I realize it’s incredibly lazy to point to another reviewer saying “I agree with this other person”, but Yahtzee’s review really does capture everything I hate about David Cage games:
Having said that, I seriously considered getting it. I thought it might be amusing for everyone to watch me go off the deep end. Then again, I’m always fighting against the notion that I’m a cantankerous grump that only complains about things, and playing a game I know I’ll hate wouldn’t help with that.
And The Rest…
God of War Reboot: I didn’t play the rest of the series and it’s never really been something I was interested in. Although Joseph Anderson did make it sound pretty good.
Monster Hunter World: Not my thing? I think?
Return of the Obra Din: I really wanted to check this out. It’s a game by Lucas Pope, author of my 2013 Game of the Year. Sadly, it released in October and got lost in the end-of-year shuffle. I’ll check this out when I get the chance.
Donut County: This looked cute and amusing, although I didn’t see it get a lot of attention after release. I think it got a lot of praise for the novel concept of having you play as a hole in the ground more than for its actual execution. Still, I’ve got this on my wishlist.
Far: Lone Sails: This one came out early in the year. I intended to play it, but it ultimately got lost in the shuffle. It’s got really good reviews and the art looks amazing.
Those are the titles I missed this year. Next time we’ll talk about the games I disliked.
 Although it really was nice having Bob Case around this year to do his long-form analysis of Witcher 3.
The Gradient of Plot Holes
Most stories have plot holes. The failure isn't that they exist, it's when you notice them while immersed in the story.
The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.
The Opportunity Crunch
No, brutal, soul-sucking, marriage-destroying crunch mode in game development isn't a privilege or an opportunity. It's idiocy.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.
There's a wonderful way to balance difficulty in RPGs, and designers try to prevent it. For some reason.