The 36 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2018

Between "Super Mario Odyssey," "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds," "Horizon Zero Dawn," and "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," 2017's game line-up was hard to top.

2018 has some massive games

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.

It's "Pac-Man," but on loads of party drugs.

From its thumping soundtrack to its extreme visual style, there's a lot to love about the "CE" series. 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. "Burnout Paradise Remastered"


10 years after "Burnout Paradise" demonstrated what a car game could be, the crash-filled racing series is back to show up everyone once again.

In "Burnout Paradise Remastered," you get the same incredible open-world racing game that impressed critics and fans alike way back in 2008. Better yet: You also get all the additional content that came out after release, and a massive update to the visuals that befit a new game in 2018.

Release Date: March 16 (later on PC)

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

8. "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

9. "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

10. "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

11. "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 — and, frankly, good — but a (slightly) more reserved family man.

Release Date: April 20

Platforms: PlayStation 4

12. Nintendo Labo (and its games)

12. 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

13. "State of Decay 2"


Picking up where the first game left off, "State of Decay 2" is a much more fully-realized 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

14. "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

15. "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

16. "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

17. "Mario Tennis Aces"


Nintendo's producing a steady beat of games starring Mario for the Switch, with "Mario Tennis Aces" being the latest. The game also stars a large cast of other Mushroom Kingdom favorites, like Luigi and Wario, and this new entry even has a story mode of sorts.

"Mario Tennis Aces" looks to be a surprisingly deep tennis game, though Nintendo's taking plenty of liberties in focusing on fun over simulation. It's worth taking a look at the full gameplay trailer for "Mario Tennis Aces" that Nintendo debuted recently:

Release Date: June 22

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

18. "Octopath Traveler"


The much-anticipated new role-playing game from Square Enix that's exclusive to the Nintendo Switch, "Project Octopath Traveler," just got a final name: "Octopath Traveler." Fair enough!

That name is super literal: "Octopath Traveler" is a pixel art-style role-playing game where you can play as one of eight different characters, each with their own ability. Those abilities enable you to get past challenges in a variety of different ways.

A free demo is currently available on the Nintendo Switch eShop, and you can take a look at it in action right here:

Release Date: July 13

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

19. "Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker"


Nintendo's last console, the Wii U, was a flop. But just because the console didn't sell well doesn't mean it didn't have great games — it absolutely did, and "Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker" was among its best.

Thankfully, Nintendo's bringing the game back to life on the Nintendo Switch this summer. In addition to the original game, which has the everyone's favorite Mushroom Kingdom helper as its main playable character, the new Switch version is adding, "new miniature courses based on various Kingdoms in the 'Super Mario Odyssey' game." Rad!

Release Date: July 13

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

20. "Shadow of the Tomb Raider"


Officially, there's next to no information about 2018's "Tomb Raider" game. A message on Twitter from the game's creators, Square Enix-owned Crystal Dynamics, was 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 game has since been revealed — at least its name and release date have been revealed — as "Shadow of the Tomb Raider." It once again stars Lara Croft as she traipses around the world discovering ancient ruins and leaving a wake of enemy corpses. But is it a direct sequel to the excellent "Rise of the Tomb Raider"? That remains to be seen.

We've got this brief teaser trailer of the game, which looks quite impressive — take a look:

Release Date: September 14

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

21. "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4"


It's a new year, and that means there's a new "Call of Duty" game on the way.

After returning to World War II in last year's game, "Call of Duty: Black Ops 4" seemingly continues the ongoing story of the "Black Ops" sub-series. That means future tech like drones and jump-jets rather than bolt-action rifles and the Third Reich.

The long-running first-person shooter franchise is gearing up for a big reveal of "Black Ops 4" in May, but for now you can watch this very teasy video announcing the game:

Release Date: October 12

Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

22. "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

23. "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

24. "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 "Mega Man" games, "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

25. "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

26. "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

27. "Super Smash Bros." (working title)


If you've never played a "Smash Bros." game, think of it as a fighting-game version of "Mario Kart." Nintendo's large cast of famous faces — from Mario to Donkey Kong, Pikachu to Princess Peach — take each other down in a simplified fighting format. They each have their own set of moves and traits that map to that character — Pikachu shoots lightning, Mario throws fireballs, Link wields the Master Sword, etc.

Rather than taking players on one at a time, "Smash Bros." distinguishes itself by throwing anywhere from two to eight players into a match at any given time. It's a chaotic, silly, surprisingly deep fighting-game series with a serious following.

And in 2018, it's apparently coming back: The series is headed to the Nintendo Switch in 2018. So far, we can spot Link, Bowser, Pit, Pikachu, Kirby, the two Inklings from "Splatoon," and Mario — and it looks like Link is represented in his "Breath of the Wild" form. But is this an entirely new game? What we don't know about "Smash Bros." far outweighs what we do — but Nintendo says it's coming this year, so we'll assuredly learn more soon!

Release Date: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

28. "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

29. "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

30. "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

31. "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

32. "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 re-boot for the protagonist. That said, if the first trailer is any indication, "Travis Strikes Again" is more of the anime-esque thrill ride fans loved in previous games.

Release Date: 2018

Platforms: Nintendo Switch

33. "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

34. "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.

Release Date: 2018

Platforms: PlayStation 4

35. "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

36. "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 "1.0" in 2018.

Release Date: 2018

Platforms: PC


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