13. Bayonetta 2 - This is a game I played in 2014 on Wii U, but it did come out in 2018 on Switch, and it is awesome. It improves upon the original in every way, except for the story and new characters. I felt like the combat flowed so much better than in the original. Once I had all the moves unlocked, I always felt like I had the right move to keep my combos going.
12. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection - I feel like this belongs in every fighting game fan’s collection. It’s all the pre-SF4 Street Fighter arcade games in one place, and it’s the first time we’ve gotten the real arcade versions of most of these at home, too.
11. Mega Man Legacy Collection 2 - This is actually the game I played the most of in 2018. I think it’s the best of the 4 Mega Man Legacy Collections released on Switch, since it displays the game without CRT stretch and doesn’t have the input lag that MMLC1 does. It also has the best OG series Mega Man game ever, Mega Man 7.
10. Iconoclasts - This is a bit of a different take on the genre. It’s a more story and character driven game with more mature themes than the usual Metroidvania. It has great boss battles and gets a ton of mileage out of its weapons by giving you the ability to combine them in different ways to solve puzzles. It has some nice really nice sprite work, too. One of the most overlooked games of 2018.
9. Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion - It’s an all-new single player campaign that introduces the Octolings as playable characters in Splatoon 2. It has a bunch of new, super challenging, puzzle platforming levels in the style of the original Splatoon 2 campaign. In a world where we might never get a Portal 3, this is the next best thing.
8. Mega Man 11 - This game is what the series needed. Mega Man 9 and 10 were fine games, but they were steps backwards for the series. This feels like the true sequel to Mega Man 8. This isn’t just a greatest hits of Mega Man. The gear system felt like a fresh new addition to the classic gameplay, the level design was a good mix of old and new obstacles and enemies, and the story was interesting and cute. I thought the soundtrack was a bit lacking, but graphics looked pretty nice, and aside from Mega Man’s English VO, the voice acting was pretty good.
7. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate - I felt like this was missing some of that Nintendo history flavor without the trophy gallery, but as far as gameplay goes, this is the best Smash Bros ever. Everyone is here! It’s has every character and stage that has ever been in the series, more options than ever, and pretty much everything I could ever want to set up any dream videogame character battle. Now, I just need Ryu Hayabusa, Alucard, Tails, Zero, and Waluigi in it.
6. Dragon Ball FighterZ - I know ASW makes great fighting games, but I didn’t get DBFZ right away, because I had not been into Dragon Ball for a while. I watched the first run of DBZ on Cartoon Network up to the end of the Cell saga, and then I kind of didn’t watch any Dragon Ball for almost 20 years. Then this game came along and Dan and Jeff from GB started doing the All Systems Goku podcast. I got back into Dragon Ball thanks to the podcast, watched all of DBZ over again, including the Buu saga, and then I got this game. This game is kind of like the Dragon Ball action figures I never had. I can have any dream match that doesn’t involve Mr Satan with it. It’s also the best playing Dragon Ball game I’ve ever played. I know I’m not the only person who had been waiting for a Dragon Ball game that played as well as a Street Fighter or DarkStalkers. I always hoped for a Capcom VS Dragon Ball game, but this will do just fine.
5. Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! - Let’s Go has a lot of things I don't like, like the catching minigame and the 3DS in HD graphics, but I had a lot of fun with it. I love how it doesn't bog you down with tons of cutscenes and tutorials, like Sun and Moon. I love how much freedom you have to explore, and I especially love that they finally got rid of random encounters. This game really takes me back to when the GB games first came to the US, the anime was first airing on TV, and Pokemon was just a crazy Japanese fad that gave people seizures. I hope Gen 8 takes a few hints from Let’s Go and gets back to the basics of what made Pokemon fun in the first place; catching ‘em all and being the very best, like no one ever was!
4. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon - What a debut for the Bloodstained series. This game really took me by surprise. After playing Mighty Gunvolt, I expected a sort of okay Castlevania throwback, and then I got an amazing Castlevania throwback. This game is like Castlevania III, Ninja Gaiden, and Rondo of Blood rolled into one and packed into an NES game. It’s so much fun, has so much replay value, and gets the Classicavania style of gameplay so right. I want this style of Bloodstained to become its own separate series.
3. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom - This could have easily fallen flat on its face while trying to chase the glory of the originals, but instead, it turned out to be one of the best games in the series. It isn’t just a game paying tribute to the classics, it’s a gigantic, all-new adventure that tries new things and moves the series forward. It has fun and challenging gameplay, beautiful graphics, and an incredible soundtrack. This is the best new Metroidvania I've played since Shantae and the Pirate's Curse.
2. Monster Hunter World - I really admire what Capcom did with MHW. They could have easily kept building on things they made in the PS2 era, and kept making MH games like the ones they made for 3DS, but they decided to shake things up instead, and it paid off bigtime. This game improves on and gets rid of so many dumb things that have been lingering in the series for way too long, and I love it for that. It could really use more monsters, but what’s there is so fun and addicting. It’s one of my most played games of 2018 and I can’t wait for the expansion.
1. Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age - DQXI is both familiar and new. It is all the great things of SNES RPGs, like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI, with the amazing graphics UE4 allows. I loved all the individual town stories that tie into the overarching one, the endearing characters, the sense of exploration and adventure, the Toriyama style character enemy designs, the battle system, and the amazing looking 3D world. It’s a new high bar for the series and old-school RPGs.