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Best new PS4 game of 2018

The countdown is over and we have solidified our list for the 50 best games in 2018, covering the spectrum of big-name blockbusters and triumphs in small teams. But we know it's a pretty long list, so here are the choices that can be played on PlayStation 4 – which don't surprise given the platform's position this generation, includes more than half of the titles listed.

Out of our top 50 picks, 29 can be played on PS4. Of these, five are exclusive to the Sony platform: Shadow of the Colossus [1

9659000] Astro Bot Rescue Mission (for PlayStation VR), Marvel ] Spider-Man Tetris Effect [19659000] and our # 1 game of the year, ] God of War [19659012].

When it comes to the inclusion of games like Shadow of the Colossus, who technically first came well before 2018, well, what we said in the top 50 post, also applies here:

] You can add notice the inclusion of games that were either fully released or made available in Early Access before 2018. Because many games change from update to update, year after year, we will include previously available games that receive a significant update within the year or become available on a platform that greatly affects how the game is experienced. For example, Fortnite Battle Royale is included, ranked No. 13, because we feel the recent seasons were the first great game in 2018.

Don't worry too much about the ranking. It's a fun and easy exercise. Finally, we recommend all these games. That's why we've included a bit of what makes each individual special: so you can find the best games in 2018 for you.

Related, we have fixed the numbers from this because, out of context with the top 50

If you're looking for recommendations that expand beyond 2018, see our important page for best PlayStation 4 games .

  Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom - Prince Evan

Level-5 / Bandai Namco

Ni n o Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

No, you needn't have played it first Ni no Kuni to enjoy its successor, a feberishly optimistic (and inviting naive) Japanese role-play inspired, in part, by the works of Studio Ghibli. Its colorful animation hides a rich but not overly complicated royal management system that gives the adventure a great sense of scope. An adventure story gives its motley band of heroes a playful pep that feels anachronistic, if not flagrantly in conflict with our time.

Here is Cameron Kunzelman's recording from our review: "It is not a wasted breath or a landmark that is unable to pay off in a significant way. Ni no Kuni 2 is a solid, modern JRPG that Brings many design ideas that I love in crisp, clear focus while keeping you entertaining and engaging through. "

-Chris Plante

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

  Lumines Remastered - screenshot under & # 39; Urbanization & # 39; song

Resonair / Enhance Games

Lumines Remastered

None of the many successors and gates for 2004s Lumines stuck to PlayStation Portable original, a marriage of high-confidence graphics, pump Japanese dance tracks and bright charm. That the original Lumines was portable made it even more enjoyable.

Lumines Remastered franchise's latest entry, available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and most importantly the Nintendo Switch. The switch version captures and in some ways gives the feel of the original, with improved visuals and better controls on the switch's comparatively more spacious sliding fault. All versions have "trance vibration", a term that series creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi popularized with one of his beloved games, Rez . Additional controllers can be connected to Lumines Remastered and turned into vibrating nodes, humming in rhythm with the game. The Joy-Con controls fit in the pockets or under the toes, giving a subtle vibration that gives a little extra texture to the experience without feeling so strange.

If "trance vibration" is not your cup of ayahuasca tea, Lumines Remastered stands as one of the best rhythm games ever made. We've been waiting for a decade for an experience to compete with the original Lumines on PSP. It's finally come.

-Jeff Ramos

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store | ” style=”object-position: 50% 50%” data-upload-width=”1920″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/lgA_VAtqWKbJaaQuG53oFjjIF1k=/0x0:1920×1080/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:1920×1080):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/13232739/Fallout76_E3_Camp_1528639308.png”/>

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  Fallout 76 - a barn / garage marked & # 39; The Devil & # 39; s Pitchfork & # 39;

Bethesda Game Studios / Bethesda Softworks

Fallout 76

Fallout 76 understands that an open world must be rewarding – not in terms of finding resources or new missions, but because the exploration itself Be engaging. Foregoing skeleton-on-a-bed storytelling that worked so well in earlier games, Fallout 76 's landscapes of West Virginia are spotted with descriptive mise-en-scenes. Every time I stumble upon one, I feel I have uncovered a secret about the world. I have found a birdhouse workshop, a gladiatorial arena and a household covered with cat head wall tracks. It's just a small piece of what is being offered.

Fallout 76 can cope because there is only so good content; tons of enemies, buildings, quests, outfits. Sure there are no NPCs, but with the spice of online multiplayer added, I found that I didn't miss it much. The interactions I have experienced have been most kind – strangers show their bases or desperately need clean water. Sometimes they have been violent, but the wilderness is a dangerous place, and the consequences of being murdered are quite small. More importantly, everything is possible in a virtual world, and Fallout 76 opens up the possibilities in a way that few games do.

-Jenna Stoeber

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

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Arc System Works / Bandai Namco

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Through its various manga and anime incarnations, the Dragon Ball world has defined an unmistakable look. While these versions of the series remain unbearable classics, the franchise has always played on the video game front. Fortunately, Dragon Ball FighterZ lives up to the series' heritage and delivers one of the best fighting games of the year.

The game's cell-shaded art style is a clear nod to the aesthetics of Dragon Balls illustrated and animated forms, even down to tearing the same angles from manga and anime. The visual play goes hand in hand with the game's simplified control system, which makes experts and beginners alike to players who can easily distinguish 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 on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Nintendo eShop |

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  The Gardens Between

The Voxel Agents

The Gardens Between

The Gardens Between starts on a rainy evening with two middle-aged friends huddled together in a wooden house. A mysterious light transports them to a gorgeous, mysterious world filled with islands populated by memories of their friendship. Each island is a transverse puzzle; Tweens must work together to reach the top, but obstacles block the path. A character carries a lantern that holds a mysterious light that can withstand fog and create bridges, while the other seems magical machinery that can stop and reverse the time.

Playing The garden between feels like a clear dream. The lack of control – I can't directly choose where the characters go – and manipulation of time and memory can be a bit trippy, but never overwhelmingly so. When I get frustrated by a difficult puzzle, I stop and observe the flow of time. Usually I find my solution by seeing the time passing by.

The garden between is not the first game to explore the memory and grow up. It's probably not the last. But visuals, history and bending of time harmonize on the way that raises the game, giving new light to an overworked theme.

-Emily Heller

Available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Linux and Mac
Get it here: Amazon | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam | ” style=”object-position: 50% 50%” data-upload-width=”3840″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/RDcLiDyg02dP6L_eCz92NMX4LKE=/0x0:3840×2160/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:3840×2160):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/13301567/Black_Ops_4_Multiplayer_Beta_screenshot_03.jpg”/>

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  Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 - urban chaos

Treyarch / Activision

Call of Duty : Black Ops 4

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 's multiplayer package is both bigger and more refined than its predecessors. The traditional multiplayer and zombie modes – two hallmarks of the Call of Duty franchise over the last few decades – have been freed from bloating in recent years, with the developer Treyarch focusing on the central mechanics that give Call of Duty its iconic feel.

Instead of releasing another overwhelmed single player campaign, Treyarch has invested in a large multiplayer expansion. Blackout is fighting royally with the signature Call of Duty Shine. It's faster and smoother than almost any other match royal game. But where the mode really sets itself apart is the map. Every city in the massive space is taken from the multiplayer maps of previous Call of Duty games, and made sure it was designed to stand as a full multiplayer map. It has an authorship that borrows from over decades of top multi-lingual multiplayer design, which its contemporaries have not liked.

Each of the three modes that make up Black Ops 4 can easily stand on its own as a valuable game, but together they prove it to survive this year and into the future, Call of Duty creators are wise to focus on what the series does best.

-Austen Goslin

Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | Walmart | PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | ” style=”object-position: 49% 50%” data-upload-width=”1921″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/GFkzu73WL-1uQ5ohy49Zrl_KCxY=/0x0:1921×1080/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:1921×1080):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/13377075/Scene1_Gate_stand.png”/>


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  Moonlighter - guy stands in front of the door with four locks

Digital Sun / 11 bit Studios


Moonlighter answered a question I never thought to ask: Where do adventure game shops find the items they sell in their stores? In this fantasy world, at least one shop job works double duty as the kind of fairytale manager they serve in their shop. This double life sets up one of the most lovable genres of the year: Moonlighter is more than a fairy-tale villain — it's also a retail sim.

Collecting items to sell, every night raises the protagonist into the darkest depths of various dungeons, slaying animals, and collecting items. When he returns from his mission, these spoils become the next day's holdings. As a shopkeeper, he has to store the shelves, speculate on pricing, lure customers with lovely decor and tackle would-be thieves. Whatever remains in his checkout that day, his purse gets around the city to the various gun dealers, potion makers, and more. With better equipment he can explore more dangerous dungeons, which get better loot, which gets higher prices in the store and so on. It is a convincing loop that swings between the part of the brain seeking adventure and the part that believes in good oil entrepreneurship.

-Jeff Ramos

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


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  Donut County - the guy went out on a garden chair in his garden

Ben Esposito / Annapurna Interactive

Donut County

Nine hundred and ninety-two meters below the Earth's surface is a crackling campfire and a ragtag group of animals who lost their homes and loved ones to the holes that terrorize Donut County. Guilty of the catastrophe of BK, an extremely selfish and extremely sweet raccoon with an ugly smart phone addiction.

Donut County invites many comparisons to Katamari Damacy : A strange, inexplicable force goes down on a city and its ignorant residents, consuming everything it comes across. But where chaos literally reaches new heights with Katamari, the holes that terrorize Donut County are quiet, effective, and clean. Where Katamari gives, Donut County removes.

The prerequisite for the game is simple: Be a hole in the ground and swallow as many things as possible while solving a few puzzles along the way. It is strangely therapeutic.

The dialogue is witty, charming and funny. Texting BK is a pleasure. I spam him an and-emoji; He spammers it right back. Between stages I can review all the elements I have extinguished as a hole in something called Trashopedia. For example, it shows a candle as a "really bad version of the sun. Tastes ok."

When puzzles go, Donut County is a sugary treat. Like any good donut, it is short, sweet and best enjoyed in a sitting.

-Ashley Oh

Available on PlayStation 4, iOS Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One and Mac.
Get it here: PlayStation Store | Xbox Store | Nintendo eShop | Steam | ” style=”object-position: 50% 50%” data-upload-width=”1920″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/WlZe9b_fWqZCAgeN_lkb9XVmwTU=/0x0:1920×1080/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:1920×1080):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/10542789/DQXI_InGameScreenshot_March28_C10.jpg”/>

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  Dragon Quest 11 - Rider on horseback looking at ruins

Square Enix

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an exclusive age

Dragon Quest The franchise likes to play it safely. Under the leadership of Yuji Horii, creator of the iconic Japanese role-playing game, the games have gone where the audience goes, boomerang from Nintendo to PlayStation to Nintendo and back again. Over the course of three decades, they continue to tell stories of legendary heroes who are fighting evil to save their homeland or the whole world.

Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Exclusive Age stick strongly to many of the series' formulas, for the better. It is a great role-playing game that spans many hours (as required by the JRPG law), filled with swing-based battles against slimes, dragons, golems, and other cute heavyweight monsters. I love it for all its Slavic adherence to the Dragon Quest formula. I love visiting charming towns, exploring the countryside with a party of engaging and sweet heroes, and vanquishing evil. Dragon Quest games have always had these things, and Exclusive Age Echoes have several of them, in high fidelity and polished to a pleasurable smoothness.

In our review of Dragon Quest 11 we rightly criticized the game to appeal largely to long Dragon Quest fans. It is true; There are a large number of things in this game aimed at the veteran Dragon Quest player. But I am, and it is wonderful to be back to this world-class world class again.

-Michael McWhertor

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

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  Shadow of the Colossus Restoration - Walk a Colossus, send a spray of black blood into the air

Bluepoint Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment

Colossus Shadow

] Shadow of the Colossus is one of the best games on PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and now PlayStation 4. The 4K Recovery, produced by Austin, Texas & # 39; s own Bluepoint Games, is respectful (but not also respectful) restoration of the classic. This is not a restart, nor is it an easy upgrade. Instead, it is similar to a modern performance of a classic script. Everything is there, just as 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 comfortable as we remember it.

In our review I wrote: "Originals barebones interface will be quickly replaced by a decade of open-world games loaded with minimaps, health bars and countless screen messages telling you exactly what to do, how to do it, and when – just for the minimal interface to come back to fashion again in the last year. " The Colossus Shadow feels like it could have been done today, not because of what is in the game, but it was carefully omitted.

-Chris Plante

Available on PlayStation 4.
Get it here: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | ” style=”object-position: 50% 50%” data-upload-width=”1920″ src=”https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/i_beiHmKCbRz8wD_o5WoskpZ-9Y=/0x0:1920×1080/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:1920×1080):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/11371057/ss_e182b6b20bb797500f9f63c561586d920d44e37c.1920×1080.jpg”/>

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  The sea is scanned in Subnautica

Unknown Worlds Entertainment


Subnautica first appeared on Steam Early Access in 2014, but did not get one formal, full release for this January. I remember many years ago playing a promising but relatively thin and unfinished game that borrowed from previous buildings, such as Minecraft and paved the way for glut of survival games that would flood the market during the long run. How wonderful to say that Subnautica in 2018 is richer and more mysterious than I could have expected, a sprawling and playful experience that captures the excitement of survival and exploration while greatly trimming the busy work who have gathered at the genre as a biofouling on the stomach of a boat.

In 2016, right in the thick development, Subnautica traveled director Charlie Cleveland asking why the game did not contain weapons. Cleveland, who had previously worked with first-person shooters, described a change in heart in response to the tragic Sandy Hook shooting. "I've never thought that video game violence is creating more violence," Cleveland said. "But I couldn't just sit by and" add more weapons "to the world either.

" So Subnautica is a voice against a world of smaller weapons. A reminder that there is another way forward. One where we use non-violent and more creative solutions to solve our problems. One where we are not at the top of the food chain. "The decision has nurtured something beautiful, inspirational, different .

-Chris Plante

Available on Mac, Windows PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Get it here: Amazon | | | | | | Dead cells

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Dead Cells

Dead Cells

Without Losing Focus, Dead Cells bring together fewer than six different genres in a single adventure, which is an incredible achievement. Metroidvania is a challenge on its own, but Dead Cells shows a championship of each form, as well as its contemporaries dedicated to a single genre.

Some credits go to the game's roots in Early Access, where the developers used feedback to refine and revise their ideas llet started officially, felt Dead Cells as a complete creature, rather than a half-filled Frankenstein creation.

Despite the complexity of the design, it is friendly to newcomers, slowly introducing new mechanics instead of repeatedly throwing players into impossible battles. And thanks to many secrets and upgrades, every death feels less like a game over and more like a step towards progress.

Finally, Dead Cells feels like so many games we have loved, and yet, there is nothing like it.

-Russ Frushtick

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

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  Hitman 2 - Agent 47 dressed as a flamingo mascot

IO Interactive / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment Hitman 2

It is not inaccurate to describe Hitman as "more Hitman ", but it is reductive. If anything, Hitman 2 is the culmination of his predecessor, rather than a gambling sequel. The 2016 episodic collection of open world killings has been cemented into a traditional standalone release, and includes all the extra bullet points you can expect. Smarter bad guys! Sillier costumes! Mirrors that actually can withstand and reflect!

While history is barely understandable, the last thing in my mind is when I examine Hitman 2 's scattered environments and fill Agent 47's bottom pockets with everything he needs to distract and disturb anyone stands between him and his goal.

Every Hitman level is a giant puzzle box where people, places, and things are related to what must be a rat horse of AI routines. Calculating the connections between everything is still the most exciting element of the game. AI of the hundreds of people running through each set is not realistic, nor should it be.

Hitman 2 does not act as a simulation of a life in life. How ugly it would be! Hitman 2 acts as Groundhog Day with significantly more murder. I've put enough hours in the games to anticipate the reactions to each action – because I understand the interaction between the systems and the mechanics, the NPCs and the objects. The more I play, the more I learn how these intricate contractions work, how each person behaves. And when I know the rules, I can bend them to my will when I orchestrate the perfect hit.

-Samit Sarkar

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


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  A Way Out - Leo and Vincent Player Connect Four

Hazelight Studios / Electronic Arts

A Way Out

A Way Out May Have Someone Frustrated players with their end. But the hours that led to the conclusion each were ridiculous, sincere, quirky and memorable. The split co-operative game runs between identities and forgiveness styles, and it is part of its charm.

The plot follows two escaped prison fields at races from every policeman in the world . And yet the managers seem unconcerned when they are controlled by me and a friend. Can also stop and play some baseball in the trailer park, right? Can also try on hats in the house we rob. Action movie sets always follow these more gorgeous sequences, destroying tonal consistency, but giving players a loving ride.

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

-Simone de Rochefort

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

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  No man's sky portal

Hello game via polygon

No man's sky Next

The No Man's Sky Next update is the game No Man's Sky seemed to be in its early trailers and demos. Players have been given more freedom to explore the universe as they see fit, whether to build underwater bases or mount a massive frigate. Craft systems are renewed, the user interface improved and new music added. You almost never need anything new to do or discover. And now you can really play online with three other players – explore the galaxy, transfer resources and building bases.

The access to multiplayer has had an unexpected side effect: the need for a third-person camera option. This new angle reframes the game. Your explorer is now an avatar that can gesture, the sport looks and is photographed in the game's amazing photo mode. We liked the loneliness of No Man's Sky right from the start, so the third person's camera feels like a dramatic improvement. It's something about seeing our own character on a large, unpopular planet that nails the game's impeccable sense of isolation and grandeur of space. The update that eventually brings players together also makes it easier to feel the only thing in the whole universe.

-Clayton Ashley

Available on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.
Get it here: [19659032] Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop | PlayStation Store | Microsoft Store |

  Steam </small></p>
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  Heroes of Prey Mooncrash

Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks

Prey : Mooncrash

In 2017, Bethesda launched a handful of deep and inventive single games, including Prey The Evil Within 2 and a standalone extension to Dishonored 2 . Although critically promised, none of them sold particularly well, claiming the sustainable development of cleverly designed single-player games, especially those in the so-called immersive sim genre. Since then, some fans and critics have wondered what the developers of these projects may be forced to create to stay alive. Vapid first person shooters? Cynical battle royal modes? Match-three apps ?

Prey: Mooncrash is our first look at the future of expensive sims, and it is undoubtedly influenced by the rise of Twitch streams, with its pseudo-processed generated design emphasizing player expressions and unexpected scenarios. In one game, I had almost escaped the game's moon base as I found myself the corner of a bunch of roaming enemies with telekinetic powers. I decided to wait them out in an air vent, but I made too much noise. Rather than waiting for me outside, the enemies used their powers to detonate the gas lines in the valve, causing the pipes to spread. When I tried to escape, their telekinesis ability lifted me into the air, pushing me toward the ceiling of the valve, so that the fire praised me as a pig on a spit.

Mooncrash has not been made easier or less complicated to appease a wider audience. Its semi-permadeath sessions encourage you to actually use all your fancy skills, rather than sitting on them for the perfect occasion. And their goals are refreshingly opaque, welcoming players to discover how the deepened systems work in dozens of times-long slots – or to learn with the help of a Twitch chat audience. That is, it is a single-player game that can be better played with others and provides insights from their own playthroughs.

If Prey: Mooncrash hints on the future of Bethesda's single player and immersive sim projects, there is reason to be comforted and excited about the future of the genre and its creators.

-Chris Plante

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

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  Destiny 2 loading

Bungie / Activision via Polygon

Destiny 2: Forsaken

One year after Destiny 2 Forsaken the expansion reinvented the entire game. Bungie re-engineered the weapon system to provide more flexibility and increased access to powerful weapons such as shotguns and sniper rifles. 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


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


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


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


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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