Note: This list will not include Red Dead Redemption because it was just released a matter of days ago. Suffice to say, it appears to be one of the best games of the year. 2018 has been a somewhat slow year from gaming on the surface. It’s been steady; there are still so many games yet they were spread out rather evenly so many are forgotten. This was still a fantastic year for gaming though. There were some amazing third-party titles, first-party titles were spread out nicely, and the best is still yet to come with the Nintendo Switch. That being said, there were several games that stood out to us. While it’s hard to hold a list to just five games, any more than that is just too much. 5. Forza Horizon 4 Forza Horizon 4 is definitely a Game of the Year contender, although it may never win the award. Playground Games outdid themselves and it’s clear that Microsoft’s acquisition of them was a fantastic move. I am not a racing fan but I found myself enthralled playing the latest installment of Forza Horizon. Exploring the historic English countryside is exhilarating and there is so much to do! The DLC packs are also well thought out, including a James Bond car pack! The seasonal weather is a very innovative gameplay mechanic and sets the title apart from every other sports game out there. 4. Spider-Man I was captivated when I first played Spider-Man at E3 2018. I have to give Sony a real shout out here for being so accommodating regarding my disability. Anyhow, this game could have gone so poorly if the wrong development team was behind it. Insomniac Games was the perfect choice. It had vibes of the final Arkham game, yet it so itself apart from Rocksteady’s masterful Trilogy. The combat is fluid, the missions are thought-provoking, and the story is great, without going into too many details. It is the quintessential Spider-Man experience, even moreso than the films and rivals the 90s cartoon show. 3. Shadow of the Tomb Raider Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the final entry in the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise and is the best game of the series. Some claimed its tone didn’t match the character, or that the story wasn’t that great, but regardless of those opinions, the Tombs were the best in the series, the weaponry and perks were a ton of fun, and the game has so much replayability. I even think the story is the best in the franchise and given what Lara was facing, she was never out of character. The game has faded into the background with so many excellent games being released but it’s probably Lara Croft’s best adventure yet and deserves to be included in the Game of the Year discussion. 2. Torna The Golden Country If you would have ever told me even in 2017 that an expansion/side story could be considered the best game of the year I’d tell you I was crazy. We loved Xenoblade 2, but Torna The Golden Country surpasses it in so many ways. The gameplay is superior, it plays well in handheld mode, the characters are more intriguing; there’s no contest. It’s Nintendo’s best game so far this year. And it’s essentially DLC. The fact that Monolith Soft has made what was supposed to be a DLC expansion into a full-fledged game is incredible. You can spend at least 40 hours on it, if not more, and the story is just as good if not better than the original. It has earned its place here. 1.428: Shibuya Scramble 428: Shibuya Scramble is one of the few games we have given a 10 to. It deserves it. Like I said in the review, the game is a classic example of cause and effect and the ninth game to ever receive straight 10s from the Japanese publication Famitsu. It is a niche game, but you will not find a better story told. Even yet, the localization is excellent (and I imagine not easy for such a text-heavy game). Spike Chunsoft pulled it off though. Whether or not you’re a fan of visual novels, if you’re a fan of excellent storytelling, you will not find one better than Shibuya Scramble. The music is top-notch (you may recognize Sato Naoki from Eureka Seven), and the characters are some of the best ever written. The gameplay mechanic of changing from story to story is genius, as it shows how one seemingly small even affects another. The fact that it was filmed with real actors gives it the chance to use unique camera angles and framing, making unlike any visual novel in history. Film fans will love it. 428: Shibuya Scramble was a classic in 2009 on the Wii and it’s just as good on the PlayStation 4. This has been an incredible year in gaming so far and we still have some excellent games ahead of us!