The annual Push Square Towers tradition is back, as we sit down our scribes and pester them once more for their five favourite PlayStation games of the year. With such a strong assortment of software in 2018, it’s always tough deciding upon the cream of the crop. Rob spent a whole week "finding himself" up in the mountains before deciding on the final order of this list.
Fifth Choice: Yakuza 6: The Song of Life
It was incredibly hard to choose which game made my top five between Yakuza 6 and Dragon Ball FighterZ, but I eventually gave the nod to Kazzy-chan. I've been playing Yakuza since the PS2 days, and seeing Kiryu's story come to a dramatic close in The Song of Life was a highlight of 2018 for me. The Dragon of Dojima is one of the best lead characters in modern gaming, and I think SEGA did a great job of offering up a satisfying conclusion to his long and winding tale. Yakuza 6 may not be as fleshed out as other titles in the series when it comes to its world or its gameplay, but the superb story really struck a chord, and just maybe brought a tear to my eye.
Fourth Choice: Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Sometimes I think Ubisoft gets a bad rap for its open world design. The company's formula certainly isn't perfect, but I've put almost 200 hours into Assassin's Creed Odyssey and I still find it a blast to play. I continue to find myself impressed by how absurdly vast the map is, and the fact that you can just hop on your boat whenever you like and sail off to the other side of Greece makes the whole thing feel like a proper adventure. And much like Origins, it's the RPG elements peppered into Odyssey that make it stand out from the open world crowd. I think the dialogue choices make its story a lot more engaging, and what can I say, I just love randomised loot. Odyssey may not be the best open worlder of 2018, but I reckon it deserves way more credit than a lot of people are willing to give.
Third Choice: Monster Hunter: World
I've dabbled in Monster Hunter before, but Monster Hunter: World is the first game that I've really sank my teeth into, and it's cost me over 200 hours of my life up to this point. Devilishly addictive and hugely rewarding, it's one of the finest Capcom titles I've ever played. Admittedly, it did take a little while for World to click with me, but once I was in, I've had trouble tearing myself away ever since. It's a title that I've come back to throughout the whole year, and not just because of Capcom's free updates and support. What I like most about the game, though, is its superbly executed difficulty curve. When I first fought the Elder Dragons I thought they were near impossible to kill, but Monster Hunter has a way of tempting you back time and time again. Bit by bit, you get the better of each and every beast until beating them is just second nature, and that's one of the best feelings in games.
Second Choice: Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2 tells one of the best told stories in video games, in my opinion. I expected great things from Rockstar but even then, I think this prequel blew my expectations out of the water. It's by some distance the developer's best release, and I've rarely experienced a more gripping plot, especially towards the latter stages of the game. And on top of that, there's just the overall quality of Red Dead 2. It's been said before, but it's like a Naughty Dog title, only it's stretched across an entire open world. With big budgets come big benefits, I suppose, but the game's size never diminishes its character. There are moments in Red Dead 2 that are going to stick with me for the rest of my gaming life, and for that alone, Rockstar's finest is right up there among my favourite games of this generation.
First Choice: Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age
Is Red Dead Redemption 2 a better game than Dragon Quest XI? Yeah, I'd say so, but Dragon Quest is a series that I hold especially dear. Everything started with one of my favourite games of all time, Dragon Quest VIII on the PS2. Back when it released, it opened my eyes to what an RPG could be, with its sprawling world and immaculate presentation. In many ways, Dragon Quest hasn't changed all that much since those days, but I think that's why this eleventh entry resonated with me -- I loved every minute of this traditional turn based adventure. For my money it's got the best cast and best story of any Dragon Quest title, and the way everything unravels before tying back together towards the end of the game is masterful. Thoroughly memorable and surprisingly unique in 2018, Dragon Quest XI is my Game of the Year.
For the record, God of War is in Rob's top 10 for 2018, but he's always been a bit weird, hasn't he? Please try to avoid his ban hammer in the comments section below.