The last few years I never gamed that much as in my teenage years but there were always some titles that would grip my attention. This year? Not so much. Sometimes I feel like I read more about gaming than that I actually play games. For me a good game is the ultimate form of interaction design. I find a lot of inspiration for my work in video games.
There's only two games that I really enjoyed and even then I only ventured about ten or so hours in. It's Christmas holiday time now and I should really give one of these two another shot.
Ni No Kuni 2 offers a surprising variety of story, different game modes and beautiful graphics. I was surprised by the fluid real-time combat - which was not at all what I expected from a Japanese RPG. You can pick this up on sale for less than €25 by now.
In terms of quality, Red Read Redemption 2 is everything you would expect from a Rockstar title in 2018. Some reviews categorised this game as a new form of “slow gaming” and I can relate; the pacing of the game seems deliberately slow. You can just wander around the wilderness on your horse, hunt a little bit, go into town, and still feel like you did something. But if you get bored, you can pick up a mission and follow the storyline, only to probably get distracted again by many of the side events in what feels like a living, breathing world.
There were some releases I bought but that don't really deserve a recommendation - like Assassin's Creed: Odyssey and the new Spiderman game. There's nothing wrong with these releases per se, but after playing them a few times I never wanted to play them more which is a telltale sign of a mediocre game.
At some point I tried the new World of Warcraft expansion. It was interesting to return to Azeroth for a few hours but ultimately it didn't seem like there was much to do - it was the same old grindfest.
Assassin's Creed has beautiful graphics but it seems like every game in the series has the same kind of gameplay bugs that have been in the series for ages. Spiderman adapts Batman's combat system which makes for great combo-based combat, but after the wow-effect from the web swinging dies down, you are left with a game which mostly consists of what seems like filler content.
Noticeably absent from the list is the Nintendo Switch. While being excited about it in 2017 it mostly gathered dust in 2018, with the PS4 being my preferred gaming platform. In general I found most of the game prices too high for a casual gaming platform, especially when I have a backlog of PS4 games waiting to be played. But perhaps I should turn my attention to some games that are a bit more “indie”. I bought Into the Breach and played it for an hour, and this kind of game seems like the ultimate timekiller on a long trip.