This is the Niche Gamer staff game of the year selection for 2018.
While there were a ton of amazing games this year, the overall winner for the Niche Gamer staff 2018 game of the year is – Monster Hunter World.
All of the mentioned games are excellent and worthy of your time.
Here are each of our staff members’ picks for their own personal game of the year, for 2018:
Brandon’s Pick – Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World is such a breath of fresh air in a very long-running franchise, it instantly hooked me and I’ve gotten a ton of time in with the game, and I feel like I can put in a ton more just like any other game in the series. Monster Hunter World is definitely my 2018 game of the year, and it was tough to pick a single game with so many great releases this year.
One of my main gripes with the previous Monster Hunter games is that they were behind held back by hardware, and thus a modern leap in terms of visuals and in-game mechanics couldn’t be reached. Monster Hunter World retains everything I love from the older games, while packaging it in a beautiful HD box, with some fun improvements.
It feels like a massive step forward for the franchise, and yet hasn’t been really “dumbed down” for the modern audiences that maybe haven’t played a game in the franchise yet. Honorable mentions for me are games like La-Mulana 2, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Dragon Ball FighterZ.
Rory’s Pick – Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk
GOTY picks for me is a strong battle, last year the choice was easy however this year not so much. I wish I can chose to have a tie between Monster Hunter World and Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk. However the more I think about it I have to give my vote to Labyrinth of Refrain.
To be fair to Monster Hunter World, I have dumped more than 400 hours into both the PC and PS4 versions combined. I absolutely love the Monster Hunter series and have played it since the initial entry on the PS2. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had a much easier time than previous entries and had most of my enjoyment playing with friends. I still currently play it and enjoy it immensely and when I suffer from burnout, its easy for me to take a break and go back to.
However when it comes to Labyrinth of Refrain, I went in with no expectations and it became an absolute surprise to me. Being an updated version of classic first person CRPG’s I was fond of as a child, I couldn’t help but to remember the fondness I had for classics such as the Might and Magic and Wizardry series. The game was tough, had rough difficulty spikes, and still I found myself pushing through the game for days on end. The battle music never got old, the art was great, and the story started lighthearted but became very dark by the games end. At the end of my time with the game I found myself wanting more and I hope to see this become a series.
Caitlin’s Pick – Monster Hunter World
Monster Hunter World just does so much right and it shows that by being the highest grossing Capcom game of all time. From the locations, to the monsters (both returning and new) to all the quality of life improvements players have been begging for, Monster Hunter World started off with an amazing launch and doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
Honorable mentions for me would include titles like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and it’s Torna ~ The Golden Country expansion, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT, Sonic Mania Plus, and the Mega Man Classic Collections.
Frank’s Pick – Insurgency: Sandstorm
My pick might seem a bit weird, especially since I gave the game a 7.5 in my review based on the prerelease version’s bugs and performance problems. I also didn’t get to play many of the big games this year either. But even with all its flaws, Insurgency: Sandstorm is a game I keep coming back to. This shooter offers some really intense firefights, with fantastic sound design and animation quality, and it’s definitely the best multiplayer experience I’ve had from a game released this year.
Sandstorm has also gotten noticeably better since my review, to the point that if I scored it today, I’d probably give it an 8.5 or 9. Best of all, in a year where many major multiplayer games are $60 with microtransactions and season passes that split the community, Sandstorm is a complete experience for $30, and the developers have promised that new maps and weapons will all be free updates.
Tyler’s Pick – Warriors Orochi 4
My game of the year is definitely Warriors Orochi 4. For me, it’s a no-brainer, the game has everything that I could have asked for in a crossover Musou sequel. The game has a ton of content, over a hundred characters to choose from and runs like a dream on a Playstation 4 Pro.
I can see myself coming back to the game at least once a year to play through my favorite levels. I hope that the game continues to be supported, even if it is just costumes and smaller minigames. Thank you Koei Tecmo for helping me remember why I loved these games in the first place.
Michael’s Pick – State of Decay 2
This year was kind of a slow year in games for me so nothing really sticks out other than 2 games. One is State of Decay 2 which I have 300 hours in it but far as quality goes overall , the most fun ive had is with Mutant year zero: road to Eden.
Captivating story , stunning visuals, engaging characters, beautiful environment with tons of potential for customization , excellent combat system that rewards tactical decisions as well as run n gun style. I urge everyone to give it a chance. It’s free on Xbox game pass atm so you ain’t got anything to lose!!
Ryan’s Pick – Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-tered Edition
Deciding my Game of the Year was incredibly difficult. It boiled down to games such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Octopath Traveler, Dead Cells, and of all things- Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-tered Edition. The two formers had moments that were more fun and challenging than the latter, but had some flaws. On the other hand the latter was the most consistently fun, and its flaws were minor.
Do you go for the fancy steak with some vegetables you don’t really like, or nice burger with fries? A contest I watched on TV had a similar scenario, and the reasoning behind who won that helped me come to my decision. Red Faction Guerilla Re-Mars-tered Edition is my Game of the Year for 2018. It may be a remake, but it just as much dumb fun as its original release.
Zoe’s Pick – Subnautica
Subnautica was a huge surprise. I had heard of it in early access, and again upon its official release back in January. While I thought it looked interesting, it never had that ‘pull’ a game needed to really make me pull the trigger and make the purchase. In comes the Epic store, and they’re offering it for free. I’ve got fairly decent rig; let’s do it.
Immediately upon starting, and crashing onto an oceanic alien world, I’m blown away by the sharp visuals; the water looks so damn pretty. The UI begins to explain basic crafting and survival tactics, such as gathering materials and how to pay attention to your hydration and caloric needs. Funny enough, this is when I realize this is what I had wanted No Man’s Sky to be originally. I started collecting, then fabricating, exploring, and constructing a base. Before I know it, I’m hopping in my Prawn underwater walker and picking a direction to explore, ready to tap mining nodes, and fully prepared to punch angry fish in the face. Subnautica showed me a survival game fully worth the effort to survive.
What was your game of the year for 2018? Did you vote in our second community game of the year poll? Sound off in the comments below!