Once again, disclaimer… I have played over 100 games this year, but most of them are not this year’s top blockbusters. So no Red Dead Redemption 2, no Monster Hunter World, Dragon Ball Fighterz (although I do have that game now), God of War or Spiderman.
Also, some of the games included definitely were not released in 2018. I just played them for the first time this year, so new to me is the phrase of the day.
So let’s get to it and continue this Top Ten list, starting with # 5!
5. Bloodstained Curse of the Moon
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t the biggest fan of classic Castlevania games. I played them, but I was never like these are must-have games and instant classics.
I’m singing a different tune with Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, a game that is clearly a spiritual successor to the classic Castlevania games, because its made by the guy who made them.
I first played this game on my birthday last year and was instantly drawn to the retro style of it. The characters were fun and writing was done well. The game also gets rid of some of the drawbacks in the old Castlevania games, including a mode that eliminates the knockback seen from enemy hits.
Some characters are clear copies to their Castlevania 3 counterparts, but its still great to play and actually had me playing through it twice. I can’t remember the last time a game made me do that.
I’m looking forward to its upcoming sequel, Ritual of the Night.
4. Super Mario Party
This is one of the newest games on this list and I can finally say the Mario Party series is seeing a return to form!
Super Mario Party fixes many of the problems that Mario Party 9 and 10 made in the first place. It makes the game a board game again instead of a bloody car ride with friends and adds some new quirks, like allies and additional mini-game modes. The river game is a lot of fun to play and I actually enjoyed the rhythm challenge mode as well.
More importantly, it doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel with the game’s mini games. Many of the mini games included take classic games from the previous parties and freshens them up with the new mechanics.
If they keep making Mario Parties like this, it’ll be worth seeing more games come out in this series.
Overcooked is a game that my wife loves and I begrudgingly accept.
I say that, but I really enjoy this game and can’t remember the last time my wife and I spent multiple nights playing through a game to completion. The fact that the game’s main story mode is multiplayer as well earns it huge points, as opposed to focusing on a solo player main campaign.
Overcooked is a style of game I’ve never played before that actually makes cooking games fun. Its fun to play casually and super challenging if you want to go for three stars in every cooking mode.
Its definitely worth your time to play this with your friends and family.
2. Super Smash Bros Ultimate
I have only had this game for seven days of 2018, but its clearly been part of my life for much longer.
The hype train for Smash Ultimate has been amazing. Every Nintendo Direct, every trailer, every new character introduction, built up to the release of without a doubt the greatest Smash Bros game ever.
Every feature retained from previous games is great, the gigantic cast is amazing even if I haven’t unlocked all of them yet and I’ve already spent hours delving into the new game’s story mode, the World of Light.
I’m looking forward to seeing this game through to completion, but with how large it is, I doubt that’ll be possible.
Maybe I’ll just stick with unlocking all of the characters in the #2 game on my list.
1. A Hat In Time
A Hat in Time is the game I spent the most time on in 2018.
29 hours of time spent with this game (Thank you XBox Year in Review for that stat) and its clear why so much time was spent here.
This game was both my favorite and my daughter’s favorite game of the year, as we played a 3D platformer on par with the likes of Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine.
The main character is a blast to play as and feels great to control, the levels are fun for young gamers and challenging enough for older gamers who want to master everything.
And the voice acting is fantastic, especially with the likes of Anthony Sardinha “Antfish” in the mix (of Team Four Star fame). Luke Sizemore does a fantastic job as Snatcher and I hope we see more of him in other games.
The game may seem small with only several levels to choose from, but these levels are huge and offer plenty to accomplish.
A Hat in Time clearly takes my Number One spot.
That about does it for our look back at 2018.
Thanks for joining us as we keep bringing you more features, more lists and more great content through 2019!
Disclaimer here… I have played over 100 games this year, but most of them are not this year’s top blockbusters. So no Red Dead Redemption 2, no Monster Hunter World, Dragon Ball Fighterz (although I do have that game now), God of War or Spiderman.
I didn’t even play some of the shittier games of the year like Fallout 76 or… Fallout 76.
Some huge titles appear on this list, but not many.
Also, some of the games included definitely were not released in 2018. I just played them for the first time this year, so new to me is the phrase of the day.
Now that we got that out of the way, here’s my Top Ten games of 2018…
10. Earth Atlantis
Earth Atlantis came my way through the Keymailer service from Pixel Perfex and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from this game. I’ve always liked space shooters, but never thought of them as games to write home about, playing things like Gradius and Raiden and R-Type.
Earth Atlantis however surprised me. Here you have a shooter underwater and you actually explore a large connected map to get to each of the bosses. Power ups pop up randomly and can be built up, much like weapons in other shooters.
There’s a dedicated button to turning around that’s actually functional and boss designs are solid. Its a very hard game and early on, there was actually a glitch I pointed out to developers where the ship could be controlled in one player mode using two controllers. Suffice to say, my kids went nuts over that “FEATURE” and kept trying to control the ship together in total chaos.
So Earth Atlantis is a surprise #10 on my list.
9. Mega Man X Legacy Collection
Now we’re going to yesteryears.
This game may be a cheat, because its actually 8 games in one, but in truth, this is an ultimate Mega Man collection, coming from Capcom which has been spewing out collections of their awesome archives lately. Between Street Fighter 30th Annniversary Collection, Arcade Beat Em Ups, the original Mega Man and now this.
What sells this game for me and earns its place on the list though is a single feature on this game, the X Challenge mode.
Boss fights in any Mega Man game are awesome, but how about combining them and making you take on two mavericks at the same time. The answer is a series of battles pairing similar or opposite mavericks together into some awesome challenges.
This mode alone is what sold this collection to me. I already own the Mega Man X Collection on GameCube, so I have a place to play all the X Games together. This mode was enough of a cool challenge to catch my interest. Thanks Capcom.
8. Battle Princess Madelyn
This one is a bit of a late addition to the list and while it is a new game, it takes what we love about an old game and brings it back in a unique way.
Battle Princess Madelyn is Super Ghouls n Ghosts. It is, no sugar coating it. But what Causal Bit Games has done is but you in the shoes of a girl protagonist with a ghost dog accomplice, as you throw spears, axes and whatever else you can find at a slew of monsters.
But does the protagonist change matter? 100 percent yes. As a father of a six year old daughter, this one change sold this game to her and has put this up there as one of her favorite games, alongside another game coming up on this list.
It also has a story mode, which connects all the worlds into a vast overworld map.
Clearly Battle Princess Madelyn has battled her way onto this list.
7. Jackbox Party Pack 2 – Bomb Corp
This is an odd choice but bare with me.
Jackbox Party Pack 2 was released in 2015, but only made it into my hands this year. Its a collection of games fit for any party night, but it has one game that secured it a place on this list… Bomb Corp.
Bomb Corp is a unique playing experience. Each player needs to work together to defuse bombs and keep them from exploding. One person defuses, the other players shout out what their instructions are.
And in our group’s case, add drinking. It made for one of the best party experiences of the year for me.
And our last game of this part is Chasm from Bit Kid Games.
I am a huge fan of both Metroid and Castlevania style games and we are seeing a huge number of these games coming out lately.
Chasm is one of the latest to make its way to the XBox One this summer with a unique promise. Every world is different every time you start a new game.
There are five specific areas to play through, yes, but the layout of these areas and the item placement changes each time you start a new game.
This game is addicting, fun and definitely plays similar to favorites like Symphony of the Night, getting it a spot on my Top Five list.
That’s five games down and five to go.
What did you think of these games? Let me know in the comments below.
Be sure to join me tomorrow as I take you through my thoughts on my Top Five Games for 2018.
2019 is here and we are looking what could be the most significant year in GameOnGNT’s history.
In seven years, GameOn amassed 1.1 million views.
People watched content made by us for over 1.4 million minutes. That’s over 23,333 hours, over 972 days, over 2 and a half years of watch time here on GameOnGNT.
But we can’t compete with the all-stars of YouTube.
We are not Pewdiepie, T Series, Markiplier, Game Theory, Game Grumps, Logan Paul, Team Four Star.
Nor are we in the class of Death Battle, Channel Awesome, Angry Joe, Really Freakin Clever, Jirard the Completionist, Angry Video Game Nerd or any of the other names you might think of when you think YouTube.
GameOnGNT was a channel started by a group of friends who liked games, comics, wrestling, dick and fart jokes and our favorite TV shows. We were caught by the thrill of writing about games on the GameNTrain blog, which led to talking about and doing videos of our favorite games online.
I loved seeing the constant growth of the channel in our early years, but more importantly, I loved the time I spent doing it with my friends and family. And we had lots of good times.
The earliest group efforts I can remember are myself and Kyle Born voicing the Killing Time with Kyle Born features on the channel, followed by us travelling to our first Calgary Expo. It changed everything for me content wise and I wanted more.
And more came, I remember getting together with people like Roger Dalke as we played Double Dragon Neon, working with Steve as he covered our first ConBravo in Ontario and organizing gaming get togethers with a whole group of our friends as the review games started coming in.
2013 came around and video production began. More people joined in as we produced content daily and it kept up like this for years, until 2015, when a myriad of events changed how GameOn and myself functioned.
Significant changes happened with my work, including my hours on the job, which forced me to now work a day job, as opposed to early mornings, completely changing my availability. Not only that, but the work environment completely changed, something I can say contributed to a darker frame of mine that I was in for 2016, 2017 and earlier this year, as I’ve talked about in past videos.
I also saw my family expand, as we had three kids in four years and we moved to a new house, which if you’ve ever had to purchase a house, you know how serious that can change your life.
Bottom line, GameOnGNT wasn’t the priority anymore. It wasn’t the focus for me and it certainly wasn’t the focus for my team of supporters that had built up along the way. And so the group of friends who liked gaming news and talk weren’t available as a team anymore.
And the numbers certainly show that. To go from producing 321 videos in 2014 to 131 videos in 2015, down to 81 in 2016, 32 in 2017 and then 52 in 2018, averaging a video a week last year.
Obviously nowhere near as much content has been put out. The good news though is that number did go up last year, we saw increased production. And while we didn’t increase as much as I wanted to and was gunning for, it was still up from 2017’s numbers.
And once again, that echoes my day job, my real life if you will as opposed to the life of internet Jeff. Earlier this year, I saw a return to the early morning shift. We also saw a change in the general work environment, as things were starting to get into sync, life was starting to come into place.
And so recently, I began to think what comes next? The second half of this year has prompted one of the single greatest changes that I have done in a long time. I left my charity work behind. I began significant changes to my online presence, cancelling accounts and closing profile pages everywhere and its all been part of a major question I’ve been asking for seven months now.
WHAT DO I WANT TO DO?
So with these changes, it surely clears the way for what I want to do next right? To be honest, it led to the single hardest decision to come about yet.
WHAT DO I WANT TO DO WITH GAMEONGNT?
GameOnGNT has been my baby for seven years. So like all responsible parents, I’ve neglected it for months at a time as I dealt with my own personal demons.
But now that I’ve been cutting through the chaff and noise of everything, its made me see clearly that GameOn has been lacking in definition, at least in recent years. We’ve been bouncing back and forth between interviews, First Impression videos and convention appearances while the heart and soul of what makes GameOn what it is has been left lacking.
GameOnGNT is not Pewdiepie. We aren’t a YouTube institution, nor are we a YouTube sensation. We’re like that show that comes on every week on public access television that you can only watch with rabbit ears and we somehow found our way to the internet. That’s GameONGNT.
And that’s the family and friends I talked about when I started this feature. I miss the GameOn Party Nights, the Husband and Wife features, the Thoughts of the Day videos and yes, even our podcasts. While they may not get the most views, they are what makes GameOnGNT what it is. And they are what is most important to keeping a lasting audience. A connection with who you are actually watching videos from.
That and actually making videos.
So lets get down to business. Here’s my goal for 2019 and that’s consistency.
I want to have a more consistent presence from GameOnGNT. We’ve got 32 videos to go until we hit our 1000th video. Say we post four videos a week, it will take eight weeks for us to hit that mark.
So all goes well, we should be able to hit our 1000th episode spectacular celebration before the end of February or the beginning of March!
And believe me, that’s going to be a thing. We’ll give you more details as we get closer to that actually happening.
But most importantly, I want to reconnect with viewers and listeners and actually build a community. Our channel says it has over 1700 subscribers, but I’m pretty sure most of them are either dead or AWOL at this point.
You heard me say earlier four videos a week. That’s the goal I want to hit. They’ll probably mostly be Thoughts of the Day videos or Jeff’s Gaming Journals, but its want I want to happen. If we can make five or six videos a week possible, awesome, but I’m not going to kill myself doing it.
Lets be honest, I said before there are three kids in my life, alongside a full time job. I have to be realistic and accept my limitations. 2019 could potentially be GameOnGNT’s last stand, so why not give it my all and produce some content that you and I can be really proud of!
Like this video, hopefully!
I’m going to leave it off with this. I want to pursue projects that fulfill me.
But I also want to return to past loves that I hope to share with you as well. Writing is a big part of what I want to do moving forward. Also more creative ways of doing these videos. I plan to play around with some video ideas that you might not see coming, but I hope you’ll enjoy. I definitely want to give these ideas the time and energy they deserve and you’ll be able to find them through our social media as we go.
Facebook, Twitter, Discord (Yes, we are on Discord now), I will be sharing all of those in the video description and blog post here as well.
So thank you for watching, 2019, the year we prove we aren’t mega stars…. we’re GameOnGNT. I hope you’ll enjoy it! Its going to be interesting.
I am going to piss off many fans of Heavy Rain today.
Its not my fault. I really wanted to like this game. I really went into this one with an open mind and felt this was something that I could enjoy.
Heavy Rain came out back in 2010 and received near universal praise, getting high ranking scores upon its release and even being named PlayStation’s Game of the Year in 2010 by numerous sources, despite some glaring bugs. It was even included in a list of 1001 video games you must play before you die. That has to stand for something, right?
Today, I’m Cracking the Case on Heavy Rain by Quantic Dream for the PlayStation 3.
What This Game Does Right
This game looks gorgeous.
While the graphics may be a little dated compared to what can be seen on the PS4 and XBox One nowadays, it stands out for its time. Its like you are watching a computer animated movie. Many of the characters in the game look more realistic than people made for movies from Pixar or Dreamworks and its even comparable to Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.
While not to the point where it looks photo realistic, the game carries with it some of the best graphics offered from the PlayStation 3 at its time of release. That alone is pretty impressive.
This game has an interesting plot hook
This game starts incredibly slow, but once I got past the prologue, I knew there was some interesting events starting up. Between Ethan Mars randomly finding himself in the middle of the street with an origami bird in his hand, the detective fighting an abusive client of a hooker and the FBI agent looking through a crime scene with futuristic technology, you know big things are afoot.
The goal of the game is to figure out just who the Origami Killer is and to stop him from killing again. Its much like the motivation seen in movies like Se7en and Saw. Both revolved around stopping a killer from doing his dirty work and in the end, became great parts of movie history. Many people have given great praise to this game for its gripping story. Its too bad at the time of writing this, I still haven’t seen much of the game’s plot.
But lets be frank, there’s a reason I haven’t made it much further into the game than I did.
What This Game Does Wrong
This game fails at basic elements of storytelling
I am not saying that Heavy Rain has a bad story. Its too early in my playthrough of the game for me to tell you that. I can however say that this game fails to hook you right from the start of the gameplay.
If this game is going to consider itself an interactive drama, than it needs to live by the rules of drama to truly be successful.
The game’s prologue should serve as a hook, something to grab your interest right from the start. Instead, the first amount of tension and interest I found in this story was about three scenes in, where (SPOILER ALERT) the main character Ethan Mars’ son Jason dies after getting hit by a car.
Allow me to painstakingly take you through the beginning of Heavy Rain. You wake up, you sit up in your bed, then get up from your bed slowly. You walk around the room and pick up a note left by your wife, learning your name is Ethan. You the open the door, walk into the shower, brush your teeth, first up and down, then left to right. After that, you shave, making sure to apply the right amount of pressure so you don’t cut yourself. You use your shower and dry yourself with a towel; first your hair, then your body. After that, you go back to your closet, open it, get dressed, then go downstairs, go into your office and draw a building.
The estimated run time for this is about eight minutes of actual gameplay. Don’t believe me? Watch this video.
The point I am trying to make here is that you are not trying to play a game so you can re-live what should be the normal morning routine of your average male going to work if you worked in your own house. Because lord knows the tedium of actually driving to work and getting stuck in rush hour traffic would have just added to this masterpiece.
This is called padding. If I wanted to go through all this crap, I would play The Sims. At least time flows faster there and is not actually in real time.
Really, if they wanted to make the start of this game more interesting, they should have not treated the story chronologically. They should have started the game with the detective interrogating the hooker about the Origami killer, move onto the scene with the cop at the murder scene, then come back to Ethan Mars picking up his son Shawn from school and flash back to the scene at the mall where Jason dies.
That flow of events would at least keep you entertained. After all, the whole reason we play video games is for entertainment, not to be bored watching the average morning routine of John Everyman.
A similar game that did this whole sequence of events right is Shenmue. Here’s a game that took exploration to a whole new peak for its time, forcing you to do everything for Ryu Hazuki in his day-to-day life.
The huge difference in Shenmue though is that it gives you motivation right off the get-go. At the very start of the game, you witness your father get murdered. Now, you are trying to find the man who committed his murder and find answers to why it happened. That is an interesting start to the game, not John Everyman waking up and reading notes.
This game makes you do everything
Fast-forwarding a handful of scenes into the game, your main character needs to pick up his son Shawn from school. To do this, I need to open up the back door of the car to let Shawn into the vehicle. Then I have to walk around to the other side of the car, open the driver’s side door, do up my seat belt, adjust my mirror, start the ignition, put the car into gear and step on the accelerator. Then, the car goes down the street and back to your house.
Why? Why do I need to do all these things? In any other game, this would be a simple cutscene where I could just whisk by the entire thing with the press of the start button. Here, its almost a damn ordeal you have to pass to move the story along.
And realistically, any sane person would have your mirrors adjusted to the way you want them to be well before you reach your trip’s destination. Its one of the first damn things you do when you leave the house. Hell, most people don’t even do it because why would you have to change it if you are the only person driving your vehicle?
I am all for video games increasing the amount of interactivity that is available for the player. Far too often there is too much of a segregation between gameplay and a game’s custscenes, giving you cases where your character suddenly develops cutscene superpowers they cannot do normally in a game. THIS however borders on new levels of tedium and exhaustion.
For this example, lets look to one of the greatest role-playing games of all time, Chrono Trigger. The game starts with Crono’s Mom shouting for him to wake up, opening the blinds and heading back downstairs. Crono gets out of bed, does a little fist pump and then you are given full-control to move around and do whatever you want. That’s it.
If we were to apply the Heavy Rain engine to this game, we would see Crono wake up in the morning, open his blinds, make his bed, go to the bathroom, get dressed, comb his Goku-like hair for 3 hours straight, brush his teeth, go downstairs, feed his cat, have a conversation with his mom, set out two plates, two forks, two knives, two spoons, two cups, get the milk out of the fridge, pour it, put the milk back into the fridge, sit down, eat breakfast, then do a little fist pump and go out the door. Its all completely useless to the actual flow of the story. By the time Crono is done going to the bathroom, Lavos would have risen from the Earth and ended this misery for all of us.
Do I care that I get to shake my controller so my character can brush his teeth? No.
Do I care that I can shake my controller to shake a carton of orange juice to make sure its not all pulpy and gross? No, I’d just buy non-pulp orange juice like any sane person would.
The fact is, no one cares. Really, what does it add to the whole experience that is Heavy Rain’s story, which I’ve heard so many wonderful things about?
In Chrono Trigger, all I care about is getting out of the house, walking into some random forest and bashing in the heads of monsters so I can build my levels up, summon lightning and kill bigger monsters.
In Heavy Rain, there are lots of tedious actions seen as revolutionary because you do it all with the PlayStation Move or with the PS3’s fancy motion controls through the system’s dual shock controllers. Its a gimmick that probably won a lot of people over when the game first came out because they like fancy technical crap like that.
This game is very glitchy
Right out of the gate, I ran into issues with bugs. That’s even after waiting the two hours it took to download over a GB worth of updates for this game.
In the prologue, when the mother and two kids pulled into the driveway and walked into the house, my game froze. Not only that, but my game didn’t save before it froze.
Remember that whole chain of events that started the game? The one I described for you in painstaking detail a moment ago? Now I have to live through it all AGAIN.
This is not the only time I ran into this issue. In the scene where the detective goes to interrogate the hooker and has the attack in the hall, my game wouldn’t allow me to do anything to get the inhaler, forcing me to reboot the game.
Also, in the scene where I’m introduced to the detective with the fancy technology at the crime scene, my game froze once again. Whether this is an issue with the game disc or just problems that all gamers have run into, I don’t know. But that ended it for me.
This basically made an already tedious game a chore of glitchy proportions.
I don’t know what to tell you for my final thoughts on this one. I am sure there is some appeal to be found if I delve a bit further into the story, making for an interesting gameplay experience.
Personally though, I’ve had enough. Why should I have to force myself to continue playing to find merit in what’s supposed to be PlayStation’s Game of the Year for 2010. Must have been a really crappy year if that was the case.
The key elements of a narrative are to hook your readers right from the get-go. Dan Brown didn’t become a millionaire author overnight just by forcing his readers to watch Robert Langdon fiddle with how straight he can tie his tie. If the key aspects of this game is to play like an interactive drama, then it should follow the rules of drama and actually try to catch the attention of viewers or gamers right from the get-go.
For that reason alone, I would put this game back on the shelf. With thousands of games at my disposal to play, it would take some patience or a few drinks to look past the nonsense of shaking orange juice in the fridge. Maybe I’ll mix some non-pulp concentrate orange juice with some vodka… See if that gets me to the point where I can play this game again.
NEXT WEEK: We return to the XBox 360 to explore Tales of Vesperia.
Calgary Expo 2017 has come and gone. Join GameOnGNT’s Jeff, Shayla and Steve as they reflect on three days of Expo. We’re talking about the best panels we saw and missed, the amazing cosplayers, shopping and our favorite celebrities. For anyone who went to Calgary Expo, what was your favorite moment or favorite cosplayer at this year’s event?