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Funny To A Point – Jeff M's Big Picks For 2018

by Jeff Marchiafava on Jan 05, 2018 at 04:01 PM

We're just a few days into the new year, which means most gaming outlets are busy doling out their final year-end awards to all of 2017's greatest titles. However, being the extremely efficient and professional editor that I am, I already did that, and am ready to stop living in the past and focus on the year ahead of us.

And what a year it's going to be! Full of triple-A sequels and plucky indies and probably more lootboxes than you can shake a pitchfork and/or torch at. But don't worry about that crap for a minute and instead read this list of my most anticipated games of 2018. Some of the entries are guaranteed to surprise you! (But not in legally binding way. Seriously, I will not be held responsible if you walk away from this list unsurprised.)

Note: The following entries are listed in no particular order. Except for the last one, which is my most anticipated game. But everything else is totally random.

Monster Hunter: World
I never really paid much attention to Monster Hunter; to me it was always just a weird and super-confusing JRPG series that Capcom relegated to handheld systems I didn't own. It also didn't help that most Monster Hunter fans seemed insane, sinking hundreds of hours into farming dragon tails and romancing anthropomorphic cats – like I said, I never played the games, so I honestly don't know what you do in them. I can only assume it involves cat sex.

However, there is one thing I know for certain about the series: You hunt monsters (I mean duh, it's in the title), and that part always sounded awesome. That's why I'm so excited for Monster Hunter: World; not only is it on a system I actually care about this time, but Capcom is going all out to update the formula and make it more enticing to open-world fans. I can't wait to dive into Monster Hunter: World – particularly the co-op, so I can have the Monster Hunter fans in the office explain how the hell everything works and take me to the best hunting spots like I'm some rich jackass on safari.

Far Cry 5
The Far Cry series has always been about battling for survival in exotic open-world locations, and Far Cry 5 takes you to the sandy beaches of...Montana? Isn't Montana landlocked? Well, whatever. At least you'll still be contending with rare animal species such as bears and...elk, maybe? Surely we can count on the small-town cult you're infiltrating to deliver perceptive and thought-provoking political commentary!

I'll be honest: There's only one reason why Far Cry 5 is on this list, and that's the radio towers new, full-fledged co-op. At it's heart, Far Cry has always been about running around a giant open world and causing mayhem, and that's always more fun with a friend. Plus, Cork and I can never have enough games to claim we're going to play together, then never follow through on.

State of Decay 2
I'm a huge zombie fan, and regardless of how cliché an enemy they've become, my hunger has remained because no game has perfectly scratched the zombie itch – which in this case would be decaying zombie flesh. Or brains maybe. Yeah, definitely brains.

Disastrous metaphors aside, the first State of Decay is as close to my dream zombie game as any title has gotten, thanks to its smart mix of strategy, permadeath, exploration, and survival. And tons of zombies. Unfortunately, the game came with more bugs than you could ragdoll a corpse at (I really need to give up on the metaphors), so hopefully the sequel can deliver a more polished experience. Brrrraaaaiiiiinnnnssss!

Spider-Man
Sony has only released one highly scripted gameplay video for Spider-Man so far, and the amount of QTEs it contained had my spidey-sense tingling. Not to mention the years-long bombardment of Marvel shows and movies we've all endured, which has made it hard for me to muster up any kind of enthusiasm for super-hero shenanigans. But come on: Insomniac making a Spider-Man game? How awesome is that! I still have fond memories of the old Xbox Spider-Man games, and I can't wait to continually swing face-first into the sides of buildings in glorious HD.

Call of Duty Whatever
I thought it was great that Call of Duty was going back to World War II, in a time-is-a-flat-circle kind of way. However, as I mentioned in last month's year's column, I can't believe how rote the campaign felt. That's why I'm excited for literally whatever the next Call of Duty does: space, prehistoric cavemen, alien sex vampires – as long as I don't have to show a dying squadmate a picture of my sweetheart back home, no idea is too outlandish.

Coming Up Next: More big games that everyone is looking forward to in 2018. And by "everyone," I mean "me."

Anthem
I made a joke on last month's year's podcast that between Mass Effect Andromeda and EA's myriad microtransaction controversies, Anthem has an uphill battle in front of it (that isn't the actual joke, but rather the kinder gist of it – being less of a jerk is my new year's resolution, okay?). However, I'm still excited for Anthem; in addition to the aforementioned zombies, I also have a soft spot for sci-fi games, and will pretty much always be up for exploring a new universe. Hopefully this one isn't crammed full of crappy lootboxes, but either way, I'm willing to give Anthem the benefit of the doubt for now, and want to see more.

Dreams
Speaking of benefit of the doubt: By my calculations, Media Molecule has been working on Dreams for just about forever now, so even expecting it to release in 2018 is a gamble. However, I'm still willing to get my hopes up because I love LittleBigPlanet and pretty much any other game that lets me create my own content. Granted, I never actually make anything worth sharing – or even saving for that matter – but I always enjoy putzing around with the tools and checking out the insanely cool content that way more talented players come up with. Dreams seems impossibly ambitious, but I don't want anything else from Media Molecule. Well, more Sackboy, maybe. He was adorable!

Pokémon Switch
I'm barely even counting this one – Nintendo announced in an investment report that "Pokémon Switch" (a working title, naturally) would be releasing in "2018 or later." What kind of release window is that?! That sounds like an excuse a kid gives: "I'll mow the lawn tomorrow or later. Homework? Why, I'll get on that right now...or later." Nintendo's release window is wider than the gaping maw of a Snorlax! Even Wishiwashi would demand a more concrete release date than that, and yes I'm flabbergasted that's a real Pokémon! 

Anyway, however slim the odds (our screenshot is still a picture of Gamefreak's prez announcing it, for crying out loud), it's easy to get excited about the prospects of a bona fide console Pokémon game. Even if it will probably end up just being a slightly prettier version of the handheld games. And come out in 2019.

Persona 5
Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know Persona 5 came out in 2017, alright? However, I didn't have a spare HUNDRED HOURS to devote to it before the end of the year. As such, it is a video game that I anticipate playing in 2018, which G.I.'s lawyers assure me meets the legal criteria for inclusion on this list. 

My vague recollection of Persona 3 was that it was like an adult version of Pokémon, only with schoolkids constantly shooting themselves in the head. I don't think that's the case anymore, but I still look forward to seeing what all the fuss is about – and finding out what's up with that demanding cat. Is she the boss or something?

Sea Of Skull & Bone Thieves
Sure, Sea Of Skull & Bone Thieves isn't really a thing, and if it was, the developers better name it something else because that's a lawsuit waiting to happen. This entry is really just a stand-in for a great pirate game, because neither of the top two contenders are shivering me timbers at this point.

Skull & Bones is certainly easy on the eyes, and Ubisoft Singapore's work on Black Flag gives the studio some serious street sea cred. However, you're not so much a pirate in Skull & Bones as you are a pirate ship – you control the entire vessel and never disembark to search islands for buried treasure or soil yourself in raucous taverns (which must've happened all the time considering the baseline for sober pirate hygiene). 

Sea Of Thieves, on the other hook, seems designed specifically for YouTubers to scream at each other as they livestream the game (henceforth referred to as livescreaming), which makes me want to swan dive from the nearest plank straight into a kraken's...blowhole (being less vulgar is also a new year's resolution for me).

Maybe one of these two games will ultimately surprise and delight me in 2018, but I'll take all the high-sea adventures I can get. Come on, developers – let's make 2018 the year of the pirate!

Red Dead Redemption 2
And this is what it all comes down to. Boys never really get over their fantasy of being cowboys – instead we keep the dream alive through cowboy video games and cowboy movies and cowboy television shows that also have killer sex robots because why not?

We still know virtually nothing about Red Dead Redemption 2 at this point, but I have no reservations about naming it my most anticipated game of 2018. Why, you ask? I'll tell you! For starters, the first Red Dead Redemption was my favorite game of last generation, and based on the few early peeks Rockstar has given us, the sequel looks even more sprawling, detailed, and positively gorgeous. I also can't wait to see what the GTA Online version of the Wild West entails – carving out my own little corner of the American frontier could be just as engrossing as running around my backyard in cowboy boots and waving a stick gun at imaginary bandits.

To be clear, that's something I use to do as a kid. I definitely don't do that anymore. Much.

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