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Forza Horizon 4

Kristian’s Best of 2018

A great year for racing

This year, the Doublejump Management decided to use Game of the Year time to allow each of its writers to shine individually by producing a short article containing their Game of the Year selection for 2018 along with up to two honourable mentions and up to five things that they’re looking forward to seeing in gaming in 2019. As always, we more than welcome your thoughts and opinions as well; head on over to our Discord server or our newly-created Facebook Group to discuss gaming’s past year with our team and our community!

My Game of the Year: Forza Horizon 4

The best game I played all year was unquestionably Forza Horizon 4. It is simply a phenomenal game and my admiration for the series improves with each entry. Most of the time I prefer track-based racing games like Gran Turismo Sport or Forza Motorsport, but Playground Games’ effort to bring an open-world experience while still providing thrilling competitive races is unmatched in the racing genre.

The best part about Forza Horizon 4 is there’s literally so much to do. There are events on track, off-road cross country events, drift zones (which I’m terrible at, standard), speed cameras, drag races, quests, hidden rare/vintage cars, landmarks – the list goes on. Add the changing seasons, Blueprint races and route creation system, and there’s virtually an infinite list of events to compete in. The game’s first expansion, Fortune Island, released last month, and it brings a whole new area for players to explore.

All up, Forza Horizon 4 is a brilliant bundle of fun and a reason why you must own an Xbox One. The whole experience is further improved by the game’s compact recreation of the UK, and despite a persistent audio bug that mutes your car’s engine audio at random times, it still plays better than any other racing game to come out this year.

Honourable mention: F1 2018

As I mentioned in my review, F1 2018 has so many modes to play, which can account for players of all types, from those with a desire to go fast, right through to the racing purists. Its deep and sophisticated career mode will keep players engaged, while the racing is slick and crafted to perfection.

Honourable mention: GRIS

Gris was another game I reviewed earlier this month, and it has outstanding narrative/storytelling sequences with fairly sharp platforming mechanics, to bring a tale of sorrow and anguish, all from a visual perspective.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2019:

The best of 2017/18 for cheap: Those who know me will be familiar with my system of picking up only one or two new releases every year, with most of my gaming expenses coming through picking up older stuff on sale. This year, I’ll be looking out for some of the best games of the past few years that I missed the first time around, like how I purchased Rise of the Tomb Raider earlier this year for just $25. I hope I can get titles like Horizon: Zero Dawn or Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey for a similar price.

Twitch’s new Squad Streams feature: This feature, which allows streamers to run four screens simultaneously from different accounts onto one stream, will bring a whole new dynamic to Twitch as a service. It will be effective for both co-operative and competitive gamers, and it’s something that I’m excited for as a streamer and a viewer. The new feature will have a multitude of uses, such as helping streamers collaborate easier, as well as teaching viewers new tactics in competitive games like Overwatch or Rocket League. I have some plans to run a few of these Squad Streams with some friends, but I’m also keen to see how streamers that I watch adapt the feature as part of their content.

Dead or Alive 6: Fighting games would quite comfortably be the genre I’m the least skilled at, alongside MOBAs and puzzle games, but there’s something about Dead or Alive’s combat system that just clicks with my play style, so it’s one game I’m definitely looking to get my hands on. The action looks very crisp and I’m keen to return to the series and familiarise myself with its wonderful cast of characters. In particular, I’d like to play Mila, Eliot and Christie, but there are so many great characters that I’m going to have to try them all.

The Outer Worlds: I’m approaching Obsidian’s new IP with cautious optimism more so than outright anticipation, but the Game Awards last month. It has been called a Fallout-in-space, as well as being compared to Mass Effect, but I’ve always felt that Fallout games are just bland and desolate to the point that I feel lonely and depressed playing them. I hope that the setting of outer space, as opposed to a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland, will have some more life in it.

Twin Mirror: Dontnod has quickly cemented itself as one of my favourite developers, thanks to titles like Life is Strange and Remember Me. The Parisian studio is releasing a new IP this year, featuring main character Sam as an investigative journalist. The game looks like a strange blend of its earlier works, David Cage’s recent titles, as well as Remedy’s Alan Wake, and it really seems like it’s going to be a game to watch. Twin Mirror will take on an episodic release cycle, just like the Life is Strange series.

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