There are the big, award-winning games that you just have to play, and then there are the ones that you play late into the night, and just won’t let go no matter how many hours you give them. In the last Big Question of 2018 we found out what our writers really played the most this year, from Fortnite (opens in new tab) to Pokemon Go to… Candy Crush Friends Saga and Simon’s Cat: Pop Time?
We’ll back in 2019 to answers more questions, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter. (opens in new tab)
I pretended to like Monster Hunter: World (opens in new tab) for at least 15 hours – and, in fact, did kind-of like Monster Hunter: World for 15 hours – but spent all my time sweating about menus I’d never clicked on and mechanics I never understood, even though the game wasn’t asking me to know them. The FOMO became too intense, and I barely got to fight a monster bigger than a ferret. Far Cry 5 (opens in new tab) was a game that doesn’t need to exist, that plays like every Far Cry game since Far Cry 3, and has quite possibly the worst ending(s) in video-game history. As such, I played it for 50 hours and quite enjoyed it. The plot threatens to be interesting, but pulls every punch with its agnostic view of Middle America, and the druggy Faith sections are stylistic, vapid, odes to Metal Gear bosses circa 2003. I also completed one boss fight *while I was dead* thanks to my flying AI partner. That said, the moment-to-moment gunplay is superb, pre-planning outpost raids rarely tires (especially when best-laid strategies become ad-hoc gunfights), and it’s so visually accomplished, *every time* the game loaded I did a double-take at how nice the scenery looked.
God of War (opens in new tab) is my game of the year. You know why. I even spent 10-15 hours in the Mists of Niflheim: a sub-game I hated so much I shouted, “F**k the Mists of Niflheim” in an empty room, yet it was so fair and well structured, I couldn’t stop playing. I thought I’d be lauding Red Dead Redemption 2 (opens in new tab) as my GOTY, but I’m only 20+ ish hours in and – by Marsden’s beard – I’m finding it hard going. It is, of course, a *formidable* production. It’s hard to argue against it being the best-looking game ever, and the world *sweats* love and detail. But it’s glacially slow and uncompromising; with just a shade too much staring at horizons through black borders. Ask me again when I finish it. I’m ready to be wrong.
In between diving headfirst into the big AAA games of this season like God of War and Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (opens in new tab), I’ve actually had an incredible amount of fun sinking hundreds of hours (yes, that’s literal) into simulation games. My PC is a hub for all things sim, starting with Jurassic Park World (opens in new tab) and Moonlighter (opens in new tab), but then dissolving into a combination of almost crippling addictions to Megaquarium, Two Point Hospital (opens in new tab) and Graveyard Keeper (opens in new tab). Honestly, my boyfriend says I need a management sim to manage my management sim addictions, and that’s something that genuinely excites me. Send help. But I’ve also got a world of games sat in my back pocket at all times in the form of my phone. I’m one of the only people on the GR team to play mobile games almost as much as I do console or PC, and this year it’s been a blur of Pokemon Go (opens in new tab), Piffle, RollerCoaster Tycoon Touch (yes more management sim action), Solitaire Kitchen, Alto’s Odyssey, Florence (opens in new tab), and feel free to shame me, but Candy Crush Friends Saga.
Like Sam, I’m a simulation junkie, and lost far too many hours of sleep to Two Point Hospital, Graveyard Keeper and The Sims 4 this year. My mouse hand is basically a claw at this point, and I keep waiting for Razer to bring out something that helps with carpal tunnel syndrome, but does it with fabulous RGB lighting.
The start of the year was all about God of War and Far Cry 5, but really my entire 2019 orbited around the release of Red Dead Redemption 2. I was lucky enough to get a copy early, but only recently finished the main story because I wanted to make the journey last, and because I would lose track of time hunting egret or stalking elk, forgetting all about any actual missions I was supposed to do. Now I’m finding my feet in Red Dead Online (opens in new tab), and can’t wait to explore more of it in 2019.
And look, I ride the subway a lot, usually listening to a podcast (shout out to my murderino squad) and with a solid 40 minutes of trying to avoid eye contact with strangers. That means I’ve poured more hours into Simon’s Cat: Pop Time than seems healthy.
Nobody makes Call of Duty multiplayer better than Treyarch, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (opens in new tab) kept me entertained for dozens of hours with its fast-paced, class-based FPS action. Oh, and that’s without spending more than maybe a single match in the battle royale Blackout mode. I’ve done my best to proselytize the highly entertaining (and oftentimes hilarious) Specialist HQ single-player mode (opens in new tab), and I adore the move to manually activated healing (opens in new tab) for the sense of panicked urgency it adds to every firefight. But of course, multiplayer shootouts are where it’s at, and I spent many a night honing my skills as Nomad, the gruff survivalist who sics his loyal dog Juneau on opponents so she can tear out their throats. I even prestiged for the first time in my personal Call of Duty history, which is impressive by my erratic gaming standards. Card games also called to me quite a bit this year, as I spent 33 hours seeking out every last collectible and puzzle in the excellent Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales (opens in new tab). And this was the year I finally hit Legend rank in Hearthstone, just one month after it seemed like Hearthstone had stolen the last ounce of my sanity (opens in new tab).
The most time I’ve spent in a game in 2018 has been Pokemon Go, mainly because it kills the walk to work. The updated challenge system also means there’s always something to collect/chase/catch so it’s just become a habit while out of the house. Fortnite’s a close second because I played Season 4 and 5 daily (but have lapsed a little since). Elsewhere there’s been Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, because I love that world and I really want to see that story through. However, right now, all my time is focused on Red Dead Redemption 2, which so far both manages to be an amazing experience and utterly contemptuous of the time I have to play it. I can almost hear the Housers whispering threateningly in my ear, ‘enjoy it as we intended’, as another whip-cracking blast of a mission dissipates, unresolved, into four potluck map markers. I’m getting that done by Christmas, Housers, and I don’t care how many strangers you ‘randomly’ throw under my horse along the way.
My year started putting about 40 hours into God of War, which at the time sounded like a lot. Once the credits rolled though I didn’t feel the need to go back to it and I certainly haven’t fought any of the Valkyries or even stepped foot in Muspelheim. But it will come as no surprise to anyone who glanced at my Twitter feed, or indeed the site over the last year that Fortnite has taken over a lot of my gaming time in 2018. 739 hours to be precise. What Epic has managed to achieve with that game in terms of a constantly updating online world is staggering and something even the likes of Rockstar (who experimented with worlds evolving over time in Red Dead Redemption 2) can’t keep up with. Speaking of Red Dead Redemption 2, being a cowboy has been my other habit this year and despite it only coming out at the end of October I’ve still ploughed over 100 hours into it. Yes, it’s slow to get going and yes Red Dead Online (opens in new tab) needs more tweaks to balance everything out but the sense of place you get while riding through the forests and up small mountain paths is unlike anything else.
Fortnite has stolen many hours of my life, but with it I have received many hours of joy, I would even go as far as saying some of my most memorable gaming moments of all time. I remember points of hysterical painful laughter when I purposely flew my friend off the map in a ATK, fun evenings squadding up with my colleagues and picking on the noob of the office (sorry Zoe), and I even remember making a friend with a Moroccan kid who’d never had a victory royale in his life, so I decided one evening to battle my heart out in order to get him that victory royale. It happened, and I’ve never heard someone so happy in my life. Fortnite is without doubt my most played game of 2018, with hundreds of hours of game-time, but Call of Duty Black Ops 4, is slowly creeping up, especially with its new map additions, and incredibly tricky challenges that I can’t help but try to complete. 2018 has officially made me a battle royale fan-boy.
My most played game of 2018 first came out in 2015, but at least I can circuitously connect it to this year. When I heard the praise being heaped on Yakuza 6 (opens in new tab) in April, I finally decided to jump in at the very beginning (narratively speaking) with Yakuza 0 (opens in new tab). I had a romantic notion of experiencing the entire Kiryu story on my PS4, starting with 0, then Kiwami – which I also own now, thanks free PS Plus games (opens in new tab) – then Kiwami 2, and hopefully even powering through the remasters of Yakuza 3, 4, and 5 that Sega may or may not bring west. Only then would I finally loop back around to Yakuza 6. I might revise my scheme to just jump from Kiwami to 6 because these games are long, but my plan has been worth it either way to experience the goofy melodrama of Kiryu and Majima’s origins. And hey, I did play some stuff that actually came out this year! It turns out Into The Breach (opens in new tab)‘s tight strategic loop and low system requirements made it a perfect fit for my Surface tablet whenever I was out of the house.
I got Monster Hunter World (opens in new tab) on PS4 shortly after it came out and put around 250 hours into it in a few months. I didn’t really keep up with the post-launch DLC and events, though, which ultimately worked to my favor because I have new content to look forward to now that I’m playing through again on PC. I haven’t hunted Kulve Taroth or Behemoth, for instance, and I know their gear is top-tier. I’m also playing with a new group of friends on PC, and rather than meticulously crafting every piece of armor, this time I’m flying through the ranks doing only the bare minimum. For reference, I’m only 25 hours in on PC and I’ve nearly crafted the same endgame armor set I had on PS4. Monster Hunter World is already a grindy game, so I was worried that replaying it would feel like work. But between the improved performance on PC and the different weapons I’ve been experimenting with, I’m still really enjoying it.
While I may have finally fallen off the Fortnite wagon (or should that be battle bus?) over the summer, having played consistently since day one of the closed beta, I’m embarrassed to admit it’s still probably my most played game of 2018, so much so that I’m too scared to look at the ungainly hour count on my PS4. But Monster Hunter World came pretty close to topping it, eating up my evenings during the first quarter of the year with hours upon hours of primordial bloodsport. Aside from those two, runners up include God of War (25 hours just to complete the story, and 5 hours too long if you ask me), Far Cry 5 (20 hours) and, naturally, Red Dead Redemption 2, which I’ve still yet to complete despite spending at least 35 hours with, partly because my save file decided to go and get corrupted during a crucial late game chapter. Stupid save file.
Which games have devoured the most of your 2018. Are there any fellow Simon’s Cat: Pop Time fans out there? Let us know on Twitter. (opens in new tab)