2018 treated us to a superb bounty of games. Cross-platform titles included the epic western Red Dead Redemption 2, the beautifully crafted Celeste, the immersive Assassin's Creed Odyssey and the huge Monster Hunter: World. Xbox One players got Forza Horizon 4 and massively multiplayer pirate extravaganza Sea of Thieves. Nintendo Switch owners got Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Pokemon Let's Go. PS4 fans were treated to a bumper year, with God of War, Shadow of the Colossus, Detroit: Become Human and Spider-Man, plus Astro Bot for PS VR.
But was 2018 the best year for games ever? You could certainly make a case for it.
In this post, we'll examine the case for 2018 being the best year ever of game releases by comparing it to some of the previous best to see where it ranks.
2017 was an incredible year for games with titles like Super Mario Odyssey, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Nier: Automata, Horizon Zero Dawn, Cuphead and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Every month seemed to bring about a new release to savour and every new title had something going for it.
That said, we still think 2018 has a slight edge.
2007 is regarded by many as the golden year of games. In 12-months, we had The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion, The Orange Box, BioShock, Halo 3, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Super Mario Galaxy and Mass Effect. Across all consoles, a new game was always available to blow your socks off. A truly incredible bounty, but we think 2018's technical achievements and epic stories have it beat.
2004 is an underrated year for games. It saw the release of Half-Life 2, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (hey Niko!), World of Warcraft, Far Cry (Crow says, we’re damned if we do..), Unreal Tournament 2004 and Metroid Prime 2. It's hard to argue that any of these haven't gone on attain classic status. However, we think the sheer depth of 2018's games list gives it the edge.
1998 is a nostalgia-packed year. We got Pokémon Red/Blue, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Party, StarCraft, Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil 2, Spyro the Dragon and Banjo-Kazooie . Make no mistake every one of these is a top-tier game, with Spyro recently being reimagined and re-released. We think '98 overall beats 2018 thanks to the number of hugely influential titles launched, the effects of which are still being felt 20 years later.
1997 was a golden year for games. If you were alive and kicking back then, you’ll have played titles like Grand Theft Auto, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, Star Fox 64, GoldenEye, Final Fantasy VII, Quake II and the iconic Gran Turismo. With so many classics, 1997 is the one-year 90s’ kids will never, ever forget. As with '98, it's hard to argue with a list filled with so many iconic titles.
So, where does 2018 rank?
It's always tough to rank years objectively, without the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia applied. It's also tough in the sense that we know how influential and enduring 1997 and 1998 have proved to be - who knows how many of 2018's games we'll still be talking about two decades later?
We think 2018 has a very good claim to the best year of games for the past 20 years, however. From the technical achievements showcased by games such as Red Dead Redemption 2 through to the deft story-telling and simplicity of Celeste made for a terrific year. We can't wait to see what 2019 has in store.