When thinking about video games in 2018, one thing probably comes to  mind: “Fortnite.” The addictive game took over talk shows, Twitter and teenagers across the globe, but there was a lot more to this year in games than just dancing, armor-clad avatars. Here is Daily New Media’s picks for the five best video games of 2018.

5. “Fortnite”

You can say what you will about “Fortnite,” but one thing is true: The game dominated 2018. “Fortnite”’s Battle Royale mode united gamers young and old to bask in user-friendly, light-hearted, cartoon murder. In 2018, I personally devoted an embarrassing number of hours to the game. However, I also used “Fortnite” as a way to connect. As I enter my adult life, keeping in touch with old friends and relatives is difficult. Luckily “Fortnite” allows me to maintain these long-distance relationships while also letting me blow off steam after a long day. As an emerging international esport, I hope “Fortnite” continues to grow, and I’m eager to see the future content Epic Games releases this year.

4. “Marvel’s Spider-Man”

Like my newfound taste for mushrooms, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed “Spider-Man.” Swinging between the beautiful and astoundingly accurate skyscrapers of Manhattan is a euphoric feeling few games can create. Despite a slight learning curve with the movement and combat, after an hour “Spider-Man” becomes a game of fluid finesse. The story is heartfelt, the villains are a real threat and the characters are dynamic. I could play “Spider-Man” for hours only swinging around the city — that’s how fun it is.     

3. “Detroit: Become Human”

“Detroit: Become Human” is a game everyone should play. A departure from the usual shoot ‘em up violence that is ubiquitous in the game industry, “Detroit” is a narrative-based choice game in a class of its own. Set in a futurist version of Detroit where androids have become common, the player navigates the lives of three androids who find themselves in situations that test their morality, blurring the lines between human and machine. The best aspect of this game is that each story can be played differently. Due to multiple dialogue and action options for each decision, the player can inject as much personality into the characters as the developers can. “Detroit: Become Human” is an emotional rollercoaster and a model for what the game industry has the potential to be in the future.         

2. “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

The best word to describe “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is ultimate. This iteration of “Super Smash Bros” has quickly proved itself to be the best in the franchise. Not only does “Smash Ultimate” include an impressive 76 characters (with more to come via downloadable content), many of the older characters have been updated with new moves and abilities. On top of that, “Smash Ultimate” just seems beefier: hits pack more punch, characters are more responsive and the music is enticingly epic. It always makes me want to play another round. I’ve been playing “Super Smash Bros” all my life, and I’ll admit that I probably haven’t even begun to master an eighth of all the characters “Smash Ultimate” offers. It just might be the new gold standard for fighting games.    

1. “Red Dead Redemption 2”

“Red Dead Redemption 2” has the most detail I’ve ever seen in a game. Rockstar’s rendition of the American Old West is impeccable. Every action has an accompanying animation. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t even completed the story yet because I get lost in the realism of the world. The map is a gradient from modern industrialized cities on one side to untamed badlands on the other, and riding through it feels like a microcosm of America’s development into the nation we know today. That’s the beauty of “Red Dead Redemption 2”: it gives you senseless murder and destruction, but it also provides political commentary on par with the highest and most pretentious of the arts because it, too, is a masterpiece.

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