As 2018 draws to a close, now is a good time to start looking at the best games of the year. After all, the holidays are one of the few times a year that many of us have the chance to actually play those games.
Every year, though, there are games that come out that might have flown under the radar. The reasons they’ve done so tend to vary wildly, but that’s not the point. The point is that they deserve to be played nonetheless. \
Here are the most underrated games of 2018.
Detroit: Become Human
The controversy surrounding this game’s developer (as well as the controversy surrounding “interactive movie” games) meant that Detroit: Become Human was launched with significantly less fanfare than we typically see from a PS4 exclusive.
The shame of it is that Detroit is simply one of the best games of the year. Its plot is a little cliche at times and its gameplay is a little too restrictive, but few games of this type have ever explored the concept of a branching narrative quite like Detroit does. You’ll be astonished when you see how many ways there are to complete each level and all the directions this game’s story can take you.
Detroit is a must-play game for fans of ambitious storytelling in games.
A Way Out
A Way Out might just be the best co-op game ever.
At the very least, you’ve never played a co-op game as ambitious as A Way Out in terms of how it reimagines the entire concept of co-op play. This isn’t a game where you and your friend just shoot your way through single-player levels. Instead, nearly every objective and level in A Way Out forces you and a friend to truly work together in an increasingly clever series of ways.
While A Way Out’s lack of online play and its short runtime hurt its “value,” the game itself is a must-play experience.
Kingdom Come: Deliverance
If you long for the days of open-world RPGs that felt like they were made for a more “hardcore” audience, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is for you.
Yes, the game is very buggy (although a series of patches have fixed most of the major problems) and yes, some of its survival mechanics feel half-baked. Still, this is a game loaded with memorable missions, well-written characters, and gameplay systems that actually make it feel like you’re building a character that represents your preferences.
Kingdom Come might just be the year’s best pure RPG.
Iconoclasts’ biggest problem is that it came out the same year as Dead Cells and Celeste. We suppose there’s only so much room on the market for 2D action/adventure platformers.
If that wasn’t the case, Iconoclasts would have been a bonafide hit. This beautiful and challenging 2D title is a throwback to classics like The Lost Vikings that required you to use your brains and quick reflexes to solve its toughest challenges.
Iconoclasts won’t be for everyone, but we feel confident in saying that not nearly enough people who would love this game have actually played it.
Put Twisted Metal, Burnout, and Wipeout in a blender, and you’ll probably get something close to Onrush.
There are times when Onrush’s genre blend becomes a bit too much, but at the game’s core is a fundamentally satisfying racing experience that offers hours and hours of old-school entertainment (especially if you play it online). It just so happens that the game’s modern mechanics help keep things fresh.
If you can find a way to play Onrush in order to understand just what it is, then you absolutely should do so.
Have you ever wanted to play as one of the shopkeepers that populate various RPGs and adventure games? No? Well, you should probably play Moonlighter anyway.
Moonlighter is one part shopkeep simulator and one part NES Zelda game. While the game’s action elements are a little generic, Moonlighter’s shockingly compelling crafting, management, and social interaction elements make it feel like you really are playing a small part in a grand world of mythical adventure.
If you’re craving a more traditional Zelda game with a twist, then you need to play Moonlighter.
Tetris Effect (PSVR)
Yes, people everywhere are praising Tetris Effect as one of the year’s best games, but few people seem to understand how good the game’s PSVR version really is.
Tetris might not seem like the kind of game you buy a VR headset for, but Tetris Effect may just be the best VR game ever made. With its incredible music, rhythmic gameplay, and hypnotic effects, it manages to transport you into another world like few other VR games are able to do.
You will lose hours of your free time to Tetris Effect, which is something that we can’t say about even the most technologically impressive VR games.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit
Released earlier this year as a spin-off to Life is Strange, The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit pretty much came and went without many paying it much attention. However, those who did bother to play this game have almost universally sung its praises.
The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is perhaps best described as Calvin and Hobbes: The Game. It’s all about the wonder of a child’s imagination and the adventures that imagination creates. Featuring a wonderful story, a fantastic world, and some great characters,
Best of all, it’s currently free to play.
Do you long for the days of classic NES action games, but want a twist on those titles that make them feel fresh again? If so, The Messenger is the game for you.
At its core, The Messenger is a really good 8-bit action game. As the game develops, though, though, The Messenger reveals itself to be a brilliant blend of classic video game genres ends up feeling rather fresh despite its classic roots.
The Messenger is a lost sequel to the NES Ninja Gaiden games and so much more.
Vampyr is not a great game. Some would say it’s not a very good game. However, it still manages to be a criminally underrated game.
While Vampyr falls short in many ways, it’s also a single-player, narrative-driven, action/adventure title about vampires that certainly isn’t lacking in interesting ideas. For all its gameplay and technical faults, Vampyr feels like a Triple-A game made by people who were genuinely thrilled to be working on this project.
Quite frankly, there aren’t enough games like that on the market.