The Top 10 Best Games Of 2018 (Q2)

2018 continues to be a great year for gaming and here are our top picks for Q2

by Luke Albiges Jul 12, 2018 at 9:36 AM


  • The blazing summer sun hasn't stopped publishers from dropping an unprecedented number of scorching new releases during what is typically a pretty quiet period for games.
    Whether you're after epic adventures that will last you weeks or bite-size chunks of inventive gaming action, there's something for everyone in this rundown. As before, we've omitted remasters and re-releases, so if you don't see the likes of Dark Souls Remastered or any of the myriad awesome games that finally made their way to Switch in the last few months, now you know why. So without further ado, here are what we consider some of the must-play titles from the last three months.


    God Of War

    God Of War
    Available on PS4
    Where better to start than with the Game Of The Year frontrunner so far? Kratos' return is an incredible adventure spanning vast realms, and yet the camera never leaves the side of the father/son team as they set about performing the mother's last wishes. Norse mythology is the new backdrop (since Kratos already went ahead and slaughtered pretty much every notable character from Greek mythology) and it gives the game a brand new flavour, backed up by a closer camera and and more intimate encounters more about dueling with several enemies than taking on legions at once with the classic sweeping chain strikes. It's a truly epic journey and Sony's phenomenal first-party support just seems to go from strength to strength.

    More: God Of War Review


    Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon

    Bloodstained: Curse Of The Moon
    Available on PC / PS4 / Switch / Vita / Xbox One
    We couldn't have thrown money at our screens any quicker or more vigorously than when Castlevania legend Koji Igarashi announced a Kickstarter campaign for a spiritual successor in the form of Bloodstained: Ritual Of The Night. But while we're still waiting for that Symphony Of The Night-style main course, the team has been kind enough to serve up an appetiser styled after the classic NES Castlevania releases. A real-time character switching mechanic akin to Castlevania III means you need to swap between heroes to use and combine their various abilities, and the authentic 8-bit visuals and killer chiptune soundtrack make this feel like an unearthed relic from the glory days of vintage gaming. One of the best retro-style releases in recent memory, and we're more excited for Ritual Of The Night now than ever.

    Onrush

    Onrush
    Available on PC / PS4 / Xbox One
    We should have seen it coming based on the team's outstanding pedigree, but Onrush still managed to catch us off-guard with just how easy it was to pick up and how hard it is to put down. Codemasters assembled a development supergroup by picking up the Evolution team (MotorStorm, Driveclub) and having them work alongside the folks that made the likes of Dirt and Grid to create a new IP in Onrush – a chaotic nitrous-powered vehicular stampede that channels classics like Burnout and the team's earlier arcade racers while feeling very much like its own original entity. Objective-based modes and a number of vehicle classes add a degree of strategy and depth to the various events, and slamming a rival into a tree or off a cliff to prevent them from securing an objective never gets old.

    More: Onrush Review



    The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit

    The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit
    Available on PC / PS4 / Xbox One
    Dontnod's latest adventure game has a distinct advantage over the other titles vying for your time and attention here, given that it's completely free to download and play in its entirety. It's only a couple of hours long, but this playable prequel to the second series of the popular Life Is Strange stands up on its own merits and is something anyone can and should try. It's as wholesome and captivating a tale as you're likely to play this year and it does some really clever things with letting young hero Chris' imagination run wild, presenting outlandish scenes in what is otherwise an extremely sombre and grounded game. If you enjoy the adventure games of Telltale and Quantic Dream, Captain Spirit should absolutely find its way onto your must-play list, and it won't even cost you a penny to put it there.

    More: The Awesome Adventures Of Captain Spirit Review



    Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life

    Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life
    Available on PS4
    The surging popularity of Sega's crime opus in the West has been heartening to see, especially for those of us who have been championing the series since the very beginning. It just keeps getting bigger and better, each new release giving oddly likeable mobster Kazuma Kiryu an even bigger sandbox in which to rough up thugs, sing karaoke, help folks out, kick back at arcades and whatever else you feel like doing – as with previous games in the series, you're absolutely spoiled for choice once the game opens up and there's easily 100+ hours of game here. Over-the-top combat remains a clear highlight, toeing a strange line between brutal violence and slapstick humour which really works... somehow. Newcomers would do well to start with the fantastic Yakuza 0 (a prequel that sets up the story) before jumping into this sequel, but the series continues in fine form all the same.


    Mario Tennis Aces

    Mario Tennis Aces
    Available on Switch
    Gaming's most prolific character shows the breadth of his range once more with this latest arcade sports title, and it's among the most exciting and inventive to date. Aces has drawn comparisons to fighting games due to the inclusion of various special shots that involve meter management and a racquet-breaking system where you can defeat an opponent by putting sufficient strain on their equipment to knock them out. But even as an arcade tennis title in the vein of Virtua Tennis or Mario's own previous court-based outings, it's still smashing fun that can be enjoyed by anyone, just with a degree of depth that means fans can keep improving their skills for months or even years to come.


    Detroit: Become Human

    Detroit: Become Human
    Available on PS4
    Quantic Dream's output has been steadily improving over the years, to the point where the shark-jumping insanity and problematic characterisations of Fahrenheit feel like a lifetime ago. Detroit isn't without a few of its own issues, but it still shows the studio at its most proficient and mature, a diverse and well-rounded cast only slightly let down by some heavy-handed handling of the game's subject matter. Many games boast about player choice but Detroit takes the surprising step of showing its working to make it perfectly clear this is no bluff. Branching scene flowcharts are truly sprawling and even small choices can shift the tone and direction of the story, causing every choice to really feel like it carries a lot more weight and making it that much more tense and captivating as a result.

    More: Detroit: Become Human Review



    Minit

    Minit
    Available on PC / PS4 / Xbox One
    This monochrome indie adventure has a novel hook, where the life of your hero – a strange Tamagotchi-duck-looking little dude – lasts just sixty seconds. Each brief expedition into the game's bizarre world offers long-term progression, however, with items found and experience garnered carried over between runs, enabling you to slowly piece together clues and steadily make progress despite that restrictive lifespan. It's almost like Majora's Mask playing out in fast-forward and the oh-so-short nature of each run means you can either try to blast through it in a single sitting or chip away at it in brief chunks between other things. Whichever you choose, it's a superb and fascinating concept, making it one of this year's indie highlights so far.


    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection

    Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection
    Available on PC / PS4 / Switch / Xbox One
    Yes, we know we've broken our own rerelease rule here, but this superb collection of 12 mainline Street Fighter arcade titles in one place is an exception that's absolutely worth making. It's a fantastic compilation that includes every mainline Street Fighter release from the 1987 original up to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike, meaning that PC and PS4 players can for the first time enjoy the entire series on a single platform. The four most prominent titles (SFII Turbo, Super Turbo, Alpha 3 and 3rd Strike) also include online play, but the whole package – which also includes loads of character art, production documents and other galleries – is a perfect celebration of the most important fighting game series of all time, and with the sole exception of the sketchy original game, every game here remains an absolute joy to play today.


    Yoku's Island Express

    Yoku
    Available on PC / PS4 / Switch / Xbox One
    A bizarre hybrid of platforming, exploration and pinball, Yoku's Island Express is one of those oddball game ideas that doesn't seem like it should work on paper, but that absolutely does in practice. The quirky blend of gaming styles means that progress will always keep you guessing, and spotting what you need to do then executing it efficiently is endlessly satisfying. Couple its inventive design with the beautiful art style and massive game world to explore in a unique and entertaining way and you'll see why we have so much love for this bonkers mash-up – you've never played anything like this before, that's for sure.


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