In a world increasingly dominated by consoles for their ease of access and the many exclusive gaming experiences that they offer, PCs emerged as strong as ever. Not much has changed with regards to why the PC still dominates video games. High adaptability, customisation capabilities, and the strongest graphical power still rule the roost with ease. It is no surprise that a host of games, ranging from AAA blockbusters to independent gems, has made the PC their home. Before we begin, a special mention needs to be extended to certain Xbox One games, specifically ‘Forza Horizon 4’ and ‘Ashen’ which are also available on PC. The following list tries to move away from games marketed primarily as Xbox (effectively meaning console) exclusives. Without further ado, here is the list of top PC games of 2018. The list includes strategy games, online games and war games that you can play on your computer.
10. The Messenger (2018)
A demon king comes down upon a ninja village and decimates it. A mysterious hero from the west appears in the aftermath of the attack and bestows a scroll upon one of the surviving ninjas, to deliver it atop a mountain. The messenger ninja is helped by a blue-robed shopkeeper and a benevolent demon along the way. What follows is a remarkable revelation and time travel to make a ridiculously compelling adventure. ‘The Messenger’, by first-time developers Sabotage Studio, is a side-scrolling platformer that makes great use of 8- and 16-bit graphics along with tight controls and gameplay to deliver one of the best indie sensations in a long time.
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9. Into the Breach (2018)
Turn-based strategy games are typically seen as familiar ground for only an audience that has played lots of games, but the scintillating ‘Into the Breach’ by Subset Games beats such pigeonholing comfortably. Players are transported into a near future where humans are in a ceaseless fight with creatures known as the Vek. Advanced mechs are the key to best them in battles, where the protection of protect civilian structures tis crucial, as they power up the machines. With a large number of equipment, weapons, and an unparalleled depth in gameplay, it is no wonder that ‘Into the Breach’ is one of the best PC games this year. The ‘Best Strategy Game’ award at the recently concluded Game Awards helps its case too.
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8. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (2018)
Set in London during the Industrial Revolution, ‘Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate’ was received with acclaim, but the franchise still took a year-long hiatus. The general opinion was that the series remained the same for the most part, especially after ‘Unity.’ After the release of ‘Origins’ last year, the new direction that the series had taken was more evident, as it brought in new role-playing gaming (RPG) elements more predominantly. While ‘Odyssey’ was thought to be too similar to its immediate progenitor, but Ubisoft would buck this criticism with a multiple choice-based narrative, in-depth combat and skill progression, iand the perfection of the RPG mechanics of ‘Origins’ just a year ago. At a time when ‘Assassin’s Creed’ was thought to not be the series it once was, ‘Odyssey’ has brought in a renewed hope not witnessed in years.
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7. A Way Out (2018)
We all talk about multiplayer gaming, with both competitive and cooperative elements very much in vogue. But how about a game that mimics real life cooperation to the highest possible degree, with two players side-by-side playing a single game together in the most literal sense of the term? It took a new indie game-centred initiative from EA, a dedicated team who wanted to make a truly different cooperative game, and a Swedish-Lebanese film director to lend in a supremely heartfelt and unique approach to a multiplayer game. ‘A Way Out’ is the story of Vincent Moretti and Leo Caruso as they develop a kinship over their mutual hatred of mob boss Harvey and collaborate for a prison break. The high-octane events of the game play out as two players help each other out in various strategic and combat situations. The attention to detail is astonishing, as are the choices in the narrative, all of which lead to a nail-biting conclusion. ‘A Way Out’ is the way forward for video games, on PC and elsewhere and that should say it all for Josef Fares and the team at Hazelight Studios.
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6. The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories (2018)
Hardly anyone was expecting Japanese developer White Owls Inc. to bring out a riveting puzzle-platformer horror game with well-drawn characters and a terrific portrayal of LGBTQIA+ issues, but that is exactly what they did with ‘The Missing: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories.’ The game starts off with the eponymous J.J. searching for her friend and love interest Emily after she goes, well, missing from a camping trip. The sleuthing takes an unexpected turn as lightning strikes our protagonist, and she undergoes significant changes that bring out the tragic aspects of her personality. The game’s stunning animation coupled with the haunting soundtrack build up a terrific atmosphere of suspense, which also lends some devastating credence to our hero’s deeply troubled psyche. The game’s masterful but harrowing use of flashbacks serves to tell players about J.J.’s proclivity towards self-harm, and the plot itself is maturely and effectively drawn to ultimately say a compelling story.
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5. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (2018)
The excellent ‘Pilars of Eternity’ in 2015 left a mark on single-player RPGs, and its sequel simply takes off from where it left back then, with some brilliance added for good measure. ‘Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire’ takes place in the fantastic world of Eora again, where players assume the role of a ‘Watcher’ once again. They, of course, retain the ability to look into other people’s souls, and read their past and present memories. The story takes place five years after the first game, and we are immediately thrust into the action when Eothras, the god of light and rebirth, wakes up once again. His awakening causes great violence, snatching away fragments of souls from others in the vicinity, including our hero. With unlikely help from the god of death, he goes on a quest across the eponymous archipelago to defeat several formidable foes to bring peace on the land. An underrated gem that is a must-play on PC right now.
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4. Return of the Obra Dinn (2018)
After 2013’s exceptional ‘Papers, Please’, Lucas Pope retuned with yet another indie masterpiece. From a bleak border checkpoint in the fictional nation of Arsotzka in the middle of the Cold War, Pope and the team at developer 3909 LLC take us aboard an East India Company ship in 1807. All the ship’s crew and passengers have died and no one knows how. We are put in the shoes of an insurance adjuster whose job is to figure out how all this came to be. The game employs monochromatic dithering, reminiscent of old school PC graphics, and gives us a first-person view of the proceedings. ‘Return of the Obra Dinn’ is a magnificent mystery with elements of logic puzzles and reasoning replete with relieving death scenes via recordings and images.
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3. Frostpunk (2018)
City-building games have seen a welcome resurgence of late, and across several platforms too. From ‘Cities: Skylines’ to ‘Pocket City’, the glorious days of ‘SimCity’ seem to be coming back again. Developer 11 bit studios, famous for ‘This War of Mine’ and the ‘Anomaly’ games, ups the ante with ‘Frostpunk’, an alternate take on the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa. While the eruption of the volcano caused global cooling, the game reimagines its ramifications.
‘Frostpunk’ depicts a greatly dilapidated society affected by a volcanic winter. The dimming of the sun and widespread crop failure have led to the death of countless people worldwide. Players are in charge of a city located near one of the ‘generators’ built by the British authorities to ward off the relentless cold. The main objectives are managing available resources to ensure survival of all the people while making some tough decisions along the way, under four (one as DLC) different scenarios. For these wintery nights, ‘Frostpunk’ is quite the apt game to play.
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2. Insurgency: Sandstorm (2018)
Shooting is arguably the most popular genre in all of gaming, with first-person shooter (FPS) games providing an immersive experience as we are taken more into the engrossing action before us. While there have been a few great FPS games over the years, perhaps none have been as revolutionary as ‘Insurgency: Sandstorm.’
The game provides what can be described as nothing short of a truly realistic shooting combat experience. There is no HUD, no crosshairs for aiming, and weapon effects mimic those of real life. In other words, ‘Sandstorm’ makes us feel as if we really are elite soldiers, part of a team that is undertaking dangerous missions. It may be a video game, but it feels like it is much more. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as its predecessor, ‘Insurgency’ paved the way for ‘Sandstorm’ today. This isn’t a mere shooting game, it is a work of art.
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1. Subnautica (2018)
Despite the advances of human technology, there still exist two avenues whose secrets have been barely found out: outer space and the oceans. Video games have been particularly fascinated by the two, providing gateways to exploring these worlds as we imagine them. Going underwater in particular, has gained credence especially after the emergence of virtual reality. While games have been met with varying degrees of success, ‘Subnautica,’ by Unknown Worlds Entertainment, has rendered the limitless wonders of the water world with remarkable sensitivity, design, and accuracy.
After a fateful crash on an unknown ocean planet, a lone survivor from the ‘Aurora’ must explore the depths of the planet’s waters to save it from deadly microorganisms while seeking help from Earth. Players need to collect tools, build bases and submersibles, and interact with the teeming flora and fauna of the fathomless waters in the mesmerizing open world. ‘Subnautica’ is a veritable joy to play, and PC players would do well to give this one a shot as soon as they can.
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