My Top Ten Games of 2018: #9

My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Dead Cells

#9 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden

Developer: The Bearded Ladies
Publisher: Funcom
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO

I’m an easy target for any game that features tactical, XCOM-like turn-based combat. Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden had the dubious potential to become a budget XCOM – which I probably still would have enjoyed. But by combining solid tactical gameplay with rewarding stealth mechanics and shockingly good voice acting Road to Eden carves its own space in the genre.

Road to Eden is based on the old Mutant Swedish tabletop RPG from the 80s, recently reborn as Mutant: Year Zero. Shameless plug alert: I wrote an article diving into the adaptation from tabletop RPG to tactical video game for PC Gamer earlier this month.

Unlike XCOM, Road to Eden features RPG-like characters with their own skill trees and personalities. They’re a bit one-dimensional but the banter and commentary is delightful, particularly the hilarious dialogue heard from enemy zone ghouls on the battlefield.

Stealth is a huge part of the gameplay. While XCOM 2 lets you enter a map in stealth mode to set up an advantageous opening salvo, Road to Eden lets you enter and exit turn-based combat mode as you please. The trick is to isolate and eliminate targets with silenced weapons, just as any stealth game, letting you drop back into stealth mode and continue to turn the tide in your favor.

The post-apocalyptic world is made up of smaller zones where you can find scrap for upgrades as well as new guns and armor. The zones are just big enough to allow some tactical wiggle room without getting lost in – and unlike XCOM the campaign won’t take you 40 or 50+ hours to finish.

It’s a bit rough around the edges and definitely feels like it left a lot on the cutting room floor but as a big fan of the tactics genre Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden provides a unique blend of real time stealth and turn-based tactics.

Advertisements

My Top Ten Games of 2018: #10

My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Dead Cells

Developer: Motion Twin
Publisher: Motion Twin
Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch

Metroidvanias and roguelikes are two of the most overused genres, and buzzwords, in indie gaming, but it’s still a genre I tend to love. Dead Cells is anything but a tiresome retread, pulling the best elements of both genres into an instantly likable neon art style of colorful death.

The level designs offer the perfect mixture of procedural generation and carefully crafted locations, while featuring uniquely branching paths that offer compelling choices and new locations to explore without artificially lengthening the game.

The classic 2D combat supports a multitude of playstyles by equipping multiple weapons and subweapons. I can succeed as a trap-deploying coward, a life-stealing hack and slasher, or a lightning whip-wielding fiend.

Dead Cells is a modern roguelike in that the progress you make carries over in the form of collected cells at the end of each level, letting you unlock new weapons and talents for future runthroughs. Death is still painful but much more manageable, and often exciting as you can experiment with different weapon loadouts and new abilities.

Much of the world design is built to respect the player’s time, keeping levels relatively short and sweet, and even including frequent teleporters at the end of any dead ends.

Dead Cells is always challenging but rarely frustrating, and that’s a very fine line to walk in this genre. For 2D action game fans it really doesn’t get much better than this.

My Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2018

If you haven’t already, read over my mega-list of 30 anticipated 2018 games for Pixelkin. It’s a general list of great games to look for this year across a variety of styles, genres, and platforms.

But this, this is my personal list of the ten games I’m most looking forward to in 2018. Hindsight always kills me at least a little bit by the end of the year, but that’s part of the fun of making these lists.

Hopefully we won’t have another Mass Effect: Andromeda on our hands. Only two games from last year’s Most Anticipated list got pushed back to (hopefully) this year, and as always there will be plenty of new announcements and surprising indie debuts that I’ll fall in love with it. And a big choice I’ll have to make this year is whether to take the Nintendo Switch plunge.

But for now, here are my Top Ten Most Anticipated Games of 2018!

10) Griftlands

Is it the Banner Sage in space? Is it Sid Meier’s Pirates…in space? I’m not entirely sure but it’s made me Klei and the trailer that debuted at E3 made me sit up and say: “oh my, oh yes.”

9) The Bard’s Tale IV

One of the last games I backed on Kickstarter, despite no nostalgia for the old Bard’s Tale cRPGs. InXile hasn’t been making waves like Larian and Obsidian but they’re doing solid work, and this first-person RPG is shaping up nicely.

8) Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age

Both DQ 7 and DQ  8 remasters still lie unfinished on my 3DS, but I’m still looking forward to the first true main single player Dragon Quest RPG in a long time. I may actually be more exited for the 3DS version over the fancy big console release, as the bottom screen replicates the entire game in a classic 16-bit art style.

7) Into the Breach

“From the makers of FTL” deserves an instant Shut Up and Take My Money reply. That it happens to be an isometric tactical strategy game of mechs vs giant monsters is just icing on the cake.

6) Spelunky 2

I have so many fond memories of playing the first Spelunky. Its intuitive 2D platformer gameplay yet intricate challenge got its hooks in me real bad. The sequel was announced with only a teaser trailer and no gameplay, but I’m already sold.

5) Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

The master of Castlevania, Koji Igarashi, crowdfunded this Castlevania-like 2D action-RPG back in 2015, and I’m 100% on board. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a proper 2D Castlevania, and Bloodstained looks to scratch that demonic itch beautifully.

4) Jurassic World Evolution

Planet Coaster is an amazing RollerCoaster Tycoon-like that just barely missed my top ten list of 2016. The same developers are making a sim theme park game with the Jurassic World/Jurassic Park license. I was a big fan of Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis back in 2003 and can’t wait to see what Frontier can do with it.

3) State of Decay 2

It was on my list last year but we heard almost nothing about it. I’m still very excited for the sequel to one of my favorite games of 2013. The inclusion of multiplayer should fit perfectly with the blend of zombie action and survivor management.

2) Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

The sequel to my 2015 Game of the Year will absolutely rank highly on my most anticipated list. I’m loving all the new gameplay tweaks and updates, and the swashbuckling pirate theme looks fantastic.

1) Red Dead Redemption 2

I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into various Grand Theft Auto games over the years, but none made such a mark on me as Red Dead Redemption, the rare game I loved both with single player and online multiplayer. Red Dead Redemption 2 has been a very long time coming, and I’m excited to dive into the Old West again.

30 Most Anticipated Games of 2018 [Pixelkin]

Read the full list at Pixelkin

We’ve seen lots of exciting new game announcements throughout 2017, with the inevitable disappointment when we saw ‘2018’ as the date. The new year will bring us our first full year with the Nintendo Switch, including several new game entries for Kirby, Yoshi, and even Metroid.

Several big console games have been in development for years and made last year’s most anticipated list, including Red Dead Redemption 2, God of War, Spider-Man, and Detroit: Become Human. There’s all new games like Anthem and Sea of Thieves and remasters of classics in Shadow of the Colossus and Secret of Mana. And is this the year we’ll finally see the incredibly long awaited sequel that is Kingdom Hearts III?

Here are our 30 most anticipated games of 2018!

Read the full list at Pixelkin