From Monster Hunter: World to the latest God of War: here are the 30 hottest video games you can't miss in 2018

By Ben Gilbert, Business Insider

Better start saving up for these must-play games, (and the cardboard-fused Nintendo Switch Labo kits too)

By Ben Gilbert, Business Insider |

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Shadow of the Colossus pits you against massive giants with hidden weak points.

Between Super Mario OdysseyPlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsHorizon Zero Dawn, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it’s going to be hard to top 2017’s game line-up.

But 2018 has some massive games of its own.

From major new Nintendo games to highly-anticipated sequels, 2018 is full of promising new games. As such, we’ve put together a thorough list of games that should officially be on your radar this year.

1. Dragon Ball Fighter Z

If you even remotely care about the Dragon Ball universe, you probably already know what Dragon Ball Fighter Z is. Even if you don’t, you should: It’s a gorgeous, unique fighting game that doesn’t require a burning passion for anime to enjoy.

The game plays out similarly to the Marvel vs Capcom franchise, with each player selecting a team of three to fight as. You can switch between that trio during a match - matches play out in 2.5D, where the fight is on a 2D plane but the visuals are in gorgeous 3D. If you’re a Dragon Ball fan you’ll enjoy it more, but this one looks like a delight for anyone who enjoys a good fighting game period.

Release date: January 26, 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

2. Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World is the latest major entry in the long-running, cult-classic Monster Hunter series.

If you’re wondering what the game is about, look no further than the on-the-nose name: You hunt monsters, repeatedly, in the third-person. This is a game about exploring a massive world and taking down its massive monsters. You can do that alone, or you can do that with up to four friends, but the goal remains the same: Murder monsters, take the loot you get from those monsters, and use it to take down more monsters.

Release date: January 26, 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC (release date unknown for PC version)

3. Shadow of the Colossus

In 2018, the best game from 2005 arrives on the PlayStation 4. It’s called Shadow of the Colossus, and it’s getting a gorgeous remake on the PlayStation 4.

When the game originally launched on the PlayStation 2 in 2005, it was a revelation for PlayStation 2 owners. Though it may look like a standard video game, Shadow of the Colossus is anything but - the diminutive character you see above is who you play as, and he’s got an objective: Take down gigantic monsters. But why? And what are these “monsters”? Are they monsters, or is he, for murdering them?

Release date: February 6

Platforms: PlayStation 4

4. Bayonetta/Bayonetta 2

There’ve been plenty of opportunities to play the excellent first Bayonetta game - it first launched way back in 2009 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It’s since made the jump to PC, and Wii U, and now it’s coming - along with the excellent sequel, Bayonetta 2 - to the Nintendo Switch. Better yet: Both games are a precursor to the upcoming Bayonetta 3, which currently has no release date.

The games are a throwback to the Devil May Cry/Ninja Gaiden era of action games, which focused on lightning-fast reaction and control mastery. The better you took out a bunch of bad guys, the more the game would reward you. Those systems are then surrounded by a delightfully crazy story. In the case of Bayonetta, she’s a super-tall witch with guns in her feet. Okay!

Release date: February 16

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

5. Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2 Plus

Unbelievably, across decades of game consoles and changing tastes, the Pac-Man franchise endures. With the Championship Edition spin-offs, Pac-Man evolves into something surreal and fantastical.

From its thumping soundtrack to its extreme visual style, there’s a lot to love. With Pac-Man: Championship Edition 2 Plus, the game is getting more levels than ever, more new game modes than ever, and even a two-player co-op mode. It plays like Pac-Man, yes, but it’s something entirely new.

Release date: February 22

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

6. Kirby Star Allies

Kirby Star Allies is another fresh take on a classic franchise from Nintendo. The focus here is on co-operative play, with up to four players at a time floating around.

The game otherwise features classic Kirby gameplay, with relatively simplistic platforming and combat that’s focused on Kirby’s main ability: Consuming enemies and absorbing their power, like some sort of pink necromancer.

Release date: March 16

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

7. Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves is something completely new: It’s a pirate-themed, open-world action-adventure game that’s intended as a means of getting players together to take on pirate quests. It’s essentially an open-world adventure game aimed at people who want to play out their pirate fantasies. And who doesn’t want to play out their pirate fantasies?

Release date: March 20

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

8. A Way Out

Ever wondered what it’s like to break out of prison with your best friend? A game called A Way Out offers just such an opportunity, and it looks fascinating.

The game stars two men named Vincent and Leo. They each have their own backstories and goals, but they must work together to escape prison. The way that applies to gameplay is what’s so interesting: You and a friend control one of each character, either in a room together on one TV or online. There is no other way to play it.

Release date: March 23

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

9. Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 takes place in (fictional) Hope County, Montana. It’s intended to represent “small town, rural America” - lots of outdoor sports and logging, not a lot of museums and malls. Previous Far Cry games brought players to despot-ruled, corruption-laced tropical lands; Far Cry 5 is the first game in the series set in the US.

The hook with the Far Cry series is their massive, open-world environments filled with enemies to kill, animals to hunt, and adventures to be ventured. Think of it like a big sandbox full of very violent toys. Far Cry 5 looks to continue that tradition - at its heart, it’s still an open-world first-person shooter.

Release date: March 27

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

10. God of War

The newest entry in the God of War franchise stars the same bald-headed marauder from previous games, but Kratos looks a bit different than the last time we saw him. Aside from that epic new beard, he’s apparently moved on from the Grecian setting of previous games to a more domestic existence in a Norse setting. At the very least, he looks like he’ll be playing the role of a mentor - Kratos is a dad now (and there’ll apparently be some interaction as the player using both Kratos and his son). This is not the same vengeance-driven hyperviolent demigod we’re used to seeing but a (slightly) more reserved family man.

Release date: April 20

Platforms: PlayStation 4

11. Nintendo Labo (and its games)

Nintendo Labo is a do-it-yourself construction kit that uses cardboard to turn your Switch into something new. Maybe you build a piano, and play piano on your Switch. Or maybe you build a robot suit, and topple buildings in a video game as a robot.

Labo is less of a game - though it does come with games - and more of a project. Starting at $70, you get a couple dozen pieces of perforated cardboard that fit together into a kind of new game controller. The corresponding game that comes with your Labo set is specifically designed to be used with whatever you’ve created. It’s bizarre, and risky, and very Nintendo.

Release date: April 20

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

12. State of Decay 2

Picking up where the first game left off, State of Decay 2 is a much more fully-realised version of the survival game that first debuted on the Xbox 360. In the sequel, you’re controlling survivors from a third-person perspective as they scrounge for resources amidst a non-stop barrage of zombies. It’s stressful, and very pretty, and often violent.

Release date: May 22

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

13. Detroit: Become Human

Detroit: Become Human is a game about artificial intelligence and humanity’s future.

The game is set in a near-future version of real-world city Detroit, Michigan, where the city is a manufacturing hub for artificially intelligent robots that look exactly like human beings. It stars a robot named Kara - the first robot to “wake up” from servitude and demand freedom.

In this sense, what the game’s really about is consciousness, and what it means to be alive. How that story is told is up to you.

Release date: May 25

Platforms: PlayStation 4

14. Spider-Man

This is the classic Peter Parker/Spider-Man you already know and love.

“Our Spider-Man features a 23-year-old Peter Parker who has become a masterful Spider-Man,” the game’s creative director, Bryan Intihar, said of the game. “While he may be more experienced, Peter and Spider-Man’s worlds continue to collide as he tries to juggle them.”

The new Spider-Man game features a massive New York City that you can swing around, with plenty of enemies to pummel along the way.

Release date: Q1/Q2 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

15. Crackdown 3

The Crackdown franchise was a surprising delight on the Xbox 360. It was one of the first superhero games to literally let you leap over a building, and it encouraged exploration with a meta-game of orbs you could optionally collect throughout the world - the more you collect, the more powerful your character becomes, so you were probably grabbing all of them. Few games have felt more fun to simply move through than the Crackdown games, and Crackdown 3 looks to be a continuation of that tradition.

Release date: Spring 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PC

16. Red Dead Redemption 2

The Red Dead series is beloved by gaming fans, for its vivid storytelling as much as its massive open-world. Like Grand Theft Auto, you’re in control of a protagonist from the third-person perspective, and you navigate a massive open-world with missions, side missions, and all sorts of ridiculous characters. Red Dead Redemption 2 is the long-awaited sequel to 2010’s massively popular Red Dead Redemption, which was on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Release date: October 26, 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4

17. Metro: Exodus

Metro: Exodus is the third entry in the Metro series, a grisly franchise focused on survival in a post-apocalypse Russian subway system. On paper, it’s a first-person shooter. In reality, it’s more of a horror/survival game.

In Exodus, the game’s main protagonist Artyom is on a mission to escape the subway and find new life. Assuredly that journey will take Artyom to places both fascinating and horrifying.

Release date: Fall 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

18. Mega Man 11

Mega Man 11 is the first new Mega Man game in years, and it looks great.

More than just a re-hash of previous ames, Mega Man 11 is an evolution of the series that impacts the visuals and gameplay in exciting ways. For instance: It’s the same 2D gameplay, but the visuals are a far sharper 3D look. It’s also clear from the game’s debut trailer that Mega Man 11 gameplay is borrowing moves from across the franchise.

Release date: “Late” 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

19. Days Gone

It’s rare these days that entirely new blockbuster games are made, but Days Gone is seemingly attempting a new take on the post-zombie apocalypse genre.

It’s an open-world game set two years after a global pandemic - the kind where people turn into flesh-eating zombies. Worse: They’re the 28 Days Later, super-fast zombies that stampede toward food. It’s up to you to navigate the dangerous open world, the dangerous people all over that world, and even to take out some zombified wild animals every now and again.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

20. Yoshi (Working title)

Wondering where all the 2D Nintendo games are? The new Yoshi game is right up your alley, though the game is more 2.5D than anything else.

Like Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo, Yoshi for the Switch is a platformer starring Yoshi. He can pause to aim and throw eggs at enemies, or he can consume them, or he can leap into the air and butt stomp down. Yoshi is versatile!

In the new Yoshi game, you’ll be able to walk into the background, and occasionally switch up the entire orientation of levels. In so many words, it’s a new spin on the classic 2D formula.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

21. Pokemon RPG (working title)

What is the new Pokémon game for the Switch? That’s not clear. We know it’s a “core” game in the franchise, meaning it’s considered a flagship entry - along the same lines as this year’s Mario and Zelda games.

That’s kind of huge considering the history of Pokémon as a series only featured on Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Since the Switch is a handheld and home console in one, it makes sense that the next main series Pokémon game would head to Switch. It kind of has to head to Switch, doesn’t it?

Outside of the game being announced as in development, and a financial calendar listing giving it a release window of “2018 or later,” we know very little about the next major Pokémon game. Expect to hear more in the coming year.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

22. Dreams

The British studio behind Dreams, Media Molecule, is most well-known for its previous franchise: LittleBigPlanet. Like that series, Dreams focuses on letting players create their own game worlds. Also like the LBP series, Dreams offers a straightforward campaign that’s intended to introduce the kinds of worlds that players can create.

What that actually means in practice is far more complex. Dreams is almost more of a tool than a game, but you’re also able to buy it and play creations from other players without ever actually creating anything yourself.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

23. Kingdom Hearts 3

There are few crossover franchises as beloved as Kingdom Hearts, which marries the worlds of Disney and Final Fantasy. More than just a fan favorite, the Kingdom Hearts series has breakout appeal - there are a lot of hardcore Disney fans out there, itching to play a lengthy action-adventure game that involves Disney’s biggest characters.

Kingdom Hearts 3 is, like it sounds, the third major entry in the series. It’s hotly anticipated, and is expected to finally launch in 2018.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4

24. Soul Calibur VI

In celebration of the franchise’s 20th anniversary, a new Soul Calibur game is in the works. The game’s debut trailer showcased series mainstays Mitsurugi and Sophitia, and the first previews of the games have been very positive.

For fans of the series, it sounds like Soul Calibur VI is a bit of a throwback to classics like Soul Calibur II - a welcome return for a fighting franchise that has fallen from the spotlight over time.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

25. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes

The No More Heroes franchise is known for being as stylish as its gameplay is brutal, and the latest entry looks to continue that trend. That game is Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes - the third game in the cult-classic franchise.

You’ll once again play as Travis Touchdown, and he’ll once again be equipped with his notorious “beam katana.” Rather than a direct sequel to the previous two games, Travis Strikes Again is more of a reboot for the protagonist. That said, if the first trailer is any indication, it will be more of the anime-esque thrill ride fans loved in previous games.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

26. Tomb Raider 2018 (Potentially named Shadow of the Tomb Raider)

Officially, there’s next to no information about 2018’s Tomb Raider game. An official message on Twitter from the game’s creators, Square Enix-owned Crystal Dynamics, is intentionally cryptic: “Square Enix is excited to share some big news with you next year,” the company wrote on December 7. “Honestly, we wish we could share it with you right now, but we’re taking a new approach this time.”

The message goes on to say that it “won’t be very long” between when the game is revealed, at some point in 2018, and when it’s available to play. The game is rumoured to be named Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and the Twitter message seemingly confirms that - the letter of each of the first word of each sentence spells out the word “shadow,” one Twitter user noticed.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

27. GTFO

Like Left 4 Dead and Payday before it, GTFO is a co-op focused shooter that requires teamwork and planning to survive. Rather than zombies or police, it’s you and three friends against some truly gruesome-looking creatures. Aside from looking great and having an interesting concept, GTFO has a strong pedigree behind it with Payday creator Ulf Andersson at the creative helm.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: PC

28. Death Stranding

What is Death Stranding? That’s a great question. Even though I’ve seen several trailers for the game, I have no idea what it is. Here’s what I can say for sure:

  • The game is being created by Metal Gear series creative lead Hideo Kojima, a legendary character in the video game business.
  • It stars Norman Reedus, of The Walking Dead fame. He’s the main character. Mads Mikkelsen, a Danish actor best known as the bad guy from Casino Royale, appears to be the antagonist.
  • The game is a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and famed film director Guillermo del Toro.
  • It’s being funded by Sony, which means the game is only coming to the PlayStation 4.

Is it a first-person or third-person game? A survival game? Open world, or linear? All of this stuff is still up in the air. Here’s an eight minute trailer - if you can piece it together, more power to you!

Release date: 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

29. Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove

The Sega Genesis is loved for many reasons. Some will cite Sonic the Hedgehog with cementing their love, or more obscure classics like El Viento and Shining Force - for millions, it was a pair of rapping aliens that did it. And for those folks, the reboot of ToeJam and Earl will assuredly come as a delightful surprise. The game features the eponymous aliens as they rebuild their spaceship and encounter a bizarre, surrealist world in the process - all through the lens of A Tribe Called Quest-esque hip-hop culture, naturally.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4

30. Day Z

DayZ is, in many ways, the precursor to the massive hit PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. It puts huge groups of players on a single map, and they must survive against other players. The twist in DayZ is that the map is also full of zombies, and surviving means more than just dealing with gunfire.

The game has been in development for quite some time - it originally started as a spinoff of another game, and evolved into its own project. DayZ developer Bohemia Interactive promises the game will reach version1.0 in 2018.

Release date: 2018

Platforms: PC

This story appeared originally on Business Insider as “DayZThe hottest 30 video games you shouldn't miss in 2018

Edited by Jamie Lam