The best video games released in 2018

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Digital Trends writers pick game of the year

This year at Digital Trends, we had the pleasure of enjoying a number of stellar video games. With the end of the year fast approaching, we decided to give our gaming-inclined staff a free pass to wax poetic about their favorite games. We then put together this list of what we consider to be the best video games of 2018.

There are certainly some trends in our picks, particularly with action-adventure games that capitalized on the open world design like Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War, but there are also a couple of titles that impressed us with their ingenuity as well, like Celeste and Florence.

Red Dead Redemption 2 won our award for the best product of the year. Make sure and check out all our other selections for Best Products of 2018.

At a glance

Product Category Rating
Red Dead Redemption 2 Game of the year 10 out of 10
Celeste Best Indie Game 10 out of 10
God of War  Best Game Direction 9 out of 10
Marvel’s Spider-Man Best Game Narrative 9 out of 10
Pokemon Let’s Go Best Remake 9 out of 10
Florence Best Mobile Game Not yet rated

Red Dead Redemption 2

Game of the year

Crunch Culture | Rockstar Games
Red Dead Redemption 2/Rockstar

Why should you buy this:
It’s Red Dead Redemption 2.

Who’s it for: Action-adventurists who enjoy western themes, detailed open worlds, and a moving story.

How much will it cost: $60

Why we picked Red Dead Redemption 2Red Dead Redemption 2 is the most stunning achievement in the AAA gaming space. From its otherworldly attention to detail to how it seamlessly segues from gameplay to cutscenes, to the way its beautiful open world dynamically changes based on your actions, Red Dead Redemption 2 endlessly shines.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is far more than a technical marvel, though. It’s the most thoroughly engaging open world game I’ve ever played. Each of the game’s missions brings something new to the rich heartland, and they consistently accomplish the rare feat of working hand-in-hand with the story. Set at the end of the 19th century, in the last days of the outlaws, the tale of Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang is expertly written and delivered through characters that feel like living, breathing people.

In many ways, Red Dead Redemption 2 is the antithesis of what we’ve come to expect from open world games. It has action, yes, but prolonged lulls exist in the middle to showcase the quiet moments. It’s a game that forces you to spend many hours simply riding across the countryside by horse. And yet, some of my favorite moments happened during these periods of calm. Red Dead Redemption 2 is endlessly fascinating.

Read our full Red Dead Redemption 2 review


Best indie game

best video games 2018 celeste goty

Why should you buy this:
Celeste masterfully combines simple controls, challenging platforming, and a lovable story with a soundtrack that suits every intense moment.

Who’s it for: Fans of story-telling platforming games, regardless of skill level.

How much will it cost: $20

Why we picked CelesteIt’s not too often that you get to see an indie game on the list of nominees for Game of the Year but Celeste has achieved that and for good reason. 2D platformers aren’t exactly a unique concept to gaming but Celeste succeeds in staking its claim in the oversaturated genre by taking familiar ideas and executing them in a way that makes them remarkable.

Controls are simple and fluid, yet the perilous side-scrolling climb in Celeste is complex and demands creativity. But that isn’t to say that Celeste is unfair. Its elaborately constructed levels are speckled with plenty of checkpoints and limitless respawns, and the straightforward controls make completing levels possible and immensely satisfying with enough practice.

While the movement and platforming are masterful, what truly makes Celeste stand out is how it pairs refined gameplay with an adaptive soundtrack and a charming story. It’s not only a game about overcoming physical challenges but also mental and emotional obstacles as well. All of these ingredients mixed in with an abundance of content get you a game that’s hard to put down and even harder to forget.

Read our full Celeste Review

God of War

Best game direction

God of War New Game+

Why should you buy this:
God of War brings breathtaking visuals, engaging combat, and a more mature yet fascinating story filled with Nordic lore about a warrior father and his son.

Who’s it for: God of War fans and enthusiasts of lore-filled action-adventure games.

How much will it cost: $25

Why we picked God of WarYou can’t always fully appreciate a game by its trailers or footage in a YouTube video – that feeling of playing it can’t be replicated. God of War is one of those games, delivering the best third-person action of the year, and arguably of all time, against enemies both large and small.

From heaving Kratos’ ax toward a Draugr to pummeling a boss into submission with your bare hands, Sony Santa Monica simply gets action, despite the game taking a drastic turn away from its predecessor’s zoomed-out, combo-based system.

Where God of War has matured even more, however, is in its storytelling. No longer a gore-fest for the sake of shock value and fantasy fulfillment, God of War manages to feel grounded, despite still being a game about gods murdering other gods with magical abilities and sharp weapons. I can’t wait to see where the series goes next, as the stage is set for an even more ambitious follow-up.

Read our full God of War review

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Best game narrative

spider man accessibility options feature marvel s 2

Why should you buy this:
Marvel’s Spider-Man is the best superhero game since Batman: Arkham Asylum, a title that it takes clear inspiration from yet effortlessly improves upon.

Who’s it for: Spider-Man comic book fans and action game lovers.

How much will it cost: $60

Why we picked Marvel’s Spider-Man2018 was full of games seeking to become a lifestyle. They’re packed with content to promise 40, 60, 80, even 100 hours of distraction. Whether or not that time is well spent seems secondary. Thankfully, Spider-Man arrived to save me from the doldrums of repetitive blockbusters. I beat it in less than 20 hours, yet I could hardly tear myself away from the console.

The wonderfully fluid, highly praised web-swinging is part of the thrill, but credit is also due to the game’s writing, voice acting, and pacing. While many games feel designed to waste the player’s time, Marvel’s Spider-Man respects it, treating every minute like a precious resource that must be crammed with entertainment.

Playing to the end was a joy, not a chore, and unlike so many other blockbuster games, I often find myself returning to Spider-Man. Not because I need to check off an activity or beat a side-quest, but because I want to play, even if there’s nothing left to finish. That’s why it’s my game of the year.

Read our full Marvel’s Spider-Man review

Pokémon Let’s Go

Best remake

pokemon lets go review 8

Why should you buy this:
Pokémon Let’s Go is a modern yet authentic reimagining of Pokémon Yellow. It delightfully utilizes the Nintendo Switch motion control capabilities and adds just the right amount of newness to revitalize the concept.

Who’s it for: Let’s Go incorporates just the right amount of entry-level gameplay and classic features to appeal to new and old trainers alike.

How much will it cost: $60

Why we picked Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu! and Let’s Go Eevee!:

Pokémon Let’s Go needs a round of applause. It’s been a blast strolling down memory lane with an impressively familiar yet distinctly new experience. My hope is that the younger generation enjoys this game the same way I did all those years ago when I first toured Kanto, learning lessons about morals, friendship, and the importance of strategy along the way.

This game successfully rekindled the fondness I’d held for Pokémon Go when it launched two years ago. I’ve got all new reasons to get up and go outside with friends, like taking my monster friends for walks in a real-life Pokéball and transferring the new recruits to my Switch upon returning home.

With less importance on fighting and a much bigger focus on collecting, Pokémon Let’s Go is finally the relaxing, wholesome Pokémon game it was always meant to be.

Read our full Pokémon Let’s Go review


Best mobile game

best video games 2018 florence goty 1

Why should you buy this:
Florence is an interactive love story that fits in your pocket and demands less than an hour of your time. But during that period, it manages to deliver one of the most heartfelt experiences in recent memory, presenting light puzzles reminiscent of day-to-day moments.

Who’s it for: Mobile gamers who enjoy bite-size visual novels with charming stories and interactive gameplay.

How much will it cost: $3

Why we picked FlorenceFlorence is little indie that brings a distinctly clever and charming experience. It tells the story of a young woman stepping into a romance using a series of short interactive sequences that include brushing teeth, flirting at a party, or eating pizza with a partner. Everything is done with quick and well-thought-out interactions using a few simple taps on your smartphone’s screen. As the story unfolds, you’re treated to a soothing soundtrack that slowly works to immerse you into the story and steal you away from the outside world.

In less than an hour, this simple mobile game achieves what dozens of big-budget narrative-driven titles have been striving to accomplish for years. Instead of requiring the player to press different buttons simultaneously or think fast for quick-time events, Florence uses simple mechanics to tell each chapter of the relationship in an honest and almost innocent way.

By ditching overly complex puzzles and unnecessary sequences, Florence presents everyday moments that anyone can relate to and play with intuitively, all wrapped up in a tale that’s as moving as it is comforting. It’s an accessible game that can, and should, be experienced by everyone.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


For the Gamechanger charity, comforting sick kids with games isn’t child’s play

Gamechanger is a worldwide charity that helps thousands of children each year, bringing them gifts and video games to keep them entertained during their hospital stay. Yet all started in a garage during a family’s darkest hour.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.

Make some room in your backlog. Here are all the games to look out for in 2019

2019 is already a huge year for video games, with a large number of series getting new installments, including some that have been dormant for years. Brand new franchises are also being created.

Upcoming zombiefest Days Gone boasts 30-plus hours of story-driven content

Days Gone, the first PlayStation 4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.

Need to perform a factory reset on your Xbox One console? Here's how to do it

Whether you're upgrading to a One X and giving your old console to a friend, or troubleshooting a technical issue, sometimes your Xbox One needs a clean slate. Here's our quick guide on how to factory reset an Xbox One.

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.

New character Octane makes an entrance with the first Apex Legends Battle Pass

Apex Legends' first season kicks off March 19 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. The Battle Pass comes in two versions, with the base version costing around 10 bucks. Seasonal rewards include a bevy of new loot such as legendary skins.

The Unevn One is a portable desk that brings PC gaming on the road

Bringing a gaming PC outside your usual setup can be a challenge, but the Unevn One is the first all-in-one, portable gaming desk complete with a computer chassis and integrated monitor mount.

How to get the most out of agent builds and specializations in The Division 2

The Division 2 has an intricate loot system to let you fine tune your agent to fit your play style. In our builds and specializations guide, we'll walk you through all of the stats you should pay attention to when tinkering with gear.

Transport your Nintendo Switch in style with these nifty cases

The Nintendo Switch, which boasts both wired and handheld modes, needs a good case to ensure it doesn't get beat up while you're on the go. We scoured through dozens of Switch cases to bring you the best ones.

Here's how you can control your PS4 right from your phone

Sony built the PlayStation 4 with smartphone and mobile integration in mind. Take a look at our guide for connecting your smartphone or tablet to a PS4, so you can get the most out of the system while on the go.

Here's our guide on how to progress through The Division 2 endgame

Your mission as an agent doesn't end after taking out the three main factions in The Division 2. The endgame brings the Black Tusks, a dangerous new faction, to D.C. Our endgame guide will help you on your quest for the best loot.

Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs brings 3D demolition into your living room

Angry Birds is releasing its next entry in the spring of 2019 - with a new spin. Bringing 3D environments and destruction, Angry Birds AR: Isle of Pigs uses augmented reality to add a new dimension to a classic series.