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Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

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Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Let’s look back at the best new video game IPs of 2018. Voted on by our editors, these were the best, fresh experiences that our team felt really helped to breathe some new life into the smattering of game releases this year.

Let’s start with some honorable mentions, and then our top vote-getting runner-ups, and finally, of course, our overall winner!

Honorable Mention: Sea of Thieves

sea of thieves

Editor-in-Chief Ed McGlone: Sea of Thieves might not have burst out of the gate like some of the other games on this list, but in the months following its release, it’s grown into a solid exclusive IP that Microsoft can continue to build on. In other words, Sea of Thieves has legs, and it’s a game that we don’t think will be fading away as the calendar turns to 2019.

The best part of Sea of Thieves’ rapid improvement is that all of the DLC has been delivered through 100% free updates. Shrouded Spoils released just last week and added game-changing threats such as fog that severely reduces visibility, and roaming skeleton ships. These updates have also been tied to themed events, such as Halloween’s Festival of the Damned, featuring exclusive rewards that have given players a reason to return.

The game is evolving too to try and cast a wider net of players. If Sea of Thieves’ pace is too slow, or you are more of a PvP player, The Arena, coming in 2019, will allow players to just jump right into some ship versus ship combat —a part of the gameplay that is one of Sea of Thieves’ most unique features, but doesn’t happen as often as one would think in normal play.

As long as Rare continues to build on its foundation, rather than toss it all aside in a future sequel, Sea of Thieves has the potential to be more than just a one-off new IP relegated to the memory of 2018.

Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

Honorable Mention: Astro Bot: Rescue Mission

Assistant Editor Tom Hopkins: When we were first introduced to Astro Bot with PS4 launch title The Playroom, we didn’t even know that PlayStation VR was in the works, let alone that the little robots would star in one of the system’s best titles a few years later.

Astro Bot Rescue Mission doesn’t rely on jump scares, fast movement, or huge settings to create the immersion. Instead, it uses variety, attention to detail, and unique twists on the familiar platforming genre to make it exciting.

Your little Astro Bot mate interacts with you in cute ways, waving at you from afar, and you’ll need to use your head to peak around corners and take out obstacles. Much of the gameplay is a standard platforming affair, full of enemies to punch out of the way, coins to collect, and platforms to jump across, but it’s charming from start to finish.

The most memorable VR moments, however, are the boss fights at the end of each world. You’ll be staring up at giant beasts, making Astro Bot scamper around below it. The fights are well-designed and bosses have never felt more imposing. Rescue Mission’s worlds are already varied, but there’s plenty of options for new places to explore in a potential sequel.

Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

Second Runner-Up: Dead Cells

best single player nintendo switch games, nintendo switch, best, single player, metal

Reviews Editor Zhiqing Wan: Even during its Early Access days, Dead Cells showed a lot of promise. A beautiful, pixel art style rogue-lite with fast-paced action combat, movement, and Metroidvania elements? Sounds like an easy winner to us. And once the game finally left Early Access, it surpassed all our expectations.

Dead Cells is full of wit and humor in its writing, and the way the Prisoner reacts to the world around him. As a rogue-lite game, you always feel like you’re making good progress with each run as you unlock new weapons and more healing items. There are several different biomes available as well, and as you unlike more traversal runes, your options open up in terms of which biomes you can access and how you want to fight your way to the end.

Dead Cells’ weapons are wonderfully varied, with good synergy that you can experiment with. Movement is fast, the combat is satisfying, setting it apart from other popular rogue-lites like Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon. Every run is different, made even better by the random weapons you can find. When you beat the game, you can beat it again on higher levels of difficulty with greater limitations. We love Dead Cells. We can’t get enough of it.

Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

First Runner-Up: Celeste

Steam, Celeste, January 2018

Reviews Editor Zhiqing Wan: Celeste was a powerful start to 2018. Hardcore, hellish precision platformers aren’t usually my thing, but Celeste stood out from the pack with a surprisingly gripping narrative that just resonates with you from start to finish.

The story is simple. You take control of a girl named Madeline as she attempts to climb the treacherous and mystical mountain Celeste. The journey is, as you might expect, fraught with danger. One wrong move spells instant death, but the game’s respawn timer is instantaneous as well, allowing you to start from the beginning of the screen you’re on. As far as precision platformers go, the controls are tight and responsive. Pulling off a tricky jump feels satisfying, and that sense of accomplishment never goes away.

More importantly, though, Celeste is earnest and genuine with the message it’s trying to deliver. This game deals with stress, anxiety, and depression in meaningful ways, all while reassuring the player that everything’s going to be okay in the end. Celeste is full of heart, and despite how heavy things can get at times, this is one of the most refreshingly optimistic games we’ve seen in 2018.

Best New Video Game IPs of 2018

Winner: Octopath Traveler

octopath traveler

Staff Writer Irwyn Diaz: With Square Enix titles such as Final Fantasy going in a completely new direction, Octopath Traveler feels like a breath of fresh air in today’s changing climate of RPGs. With more and more games relying on QTEs and fast-paced fights, Octopath’s tried-and-tested formula of tactical and turn-based battles hark back to the golden age of classic role-playing games.

Octopath Traveler takes players on a grand adventure, following eight different characters who each have their own stories. These tales are personal, giving us a glimpse into their actual lives rather than focusing on the larger evil.

Whether it was Primrose the Dancer or Ophilia the Cleric, Octopath Traveler definitely gave these characters a sense of solid progression as they persevered through challenges and personal hurdles. We couldn’t help but cheer for our favorite heroes after joining them on their globe-trotting journey throughout Osterra.

It’s clear from the get-go, however, that Octopath Traveler was more focused on what secrets were scattered throughout the world. Osterra is a wondrous place filled with mysteries and discoveries waiting around every corner. Each locale is brought to life with lively NPCs who actually feel like more than simple cardboard cutouts meant to occupy an area.

These characters, while minor, also had their own fulfilling stories you could follow through side quests. There’s a sense of emotional investment when you manage to reunite two lovers or help a woman reunite with her long-lost family.

Osterra is also filled with thugs, bandits, and all sorts of other nasties you’ll come across on your adventure. Octopath Traveler isn’t afraid to mix things up with its job system, which is an obvious nod to titles such as Bravely Default and Final Fantasy V.

Players are encouraged to mix and match jobs to create unique abilities and different skill sets, tailoring to your personal playstyle. And if you wanted more of a challenge, you could always chase after some of the more elusive jobs locked behind thrilling boss fights that push you to your limits.

Couple all of these factors together with its charming art style, and Octopath Traveler is hands down our favorite new IP of 2018. We had a blast exploring the game’s vast world and cheering for our favorite heroes as they overcame each obstacle that came their way. Octopath Traveler’s timely release marks one of the Nintendo Switch’s best RPGs in its expanding library, and we can’t wait to see what other projects Square Enix has in store for us.

Author:

Z is a ridiculous fangirl of Metal Gear and anything Souls-related. She has a B.A. in history but thinks her time is better spent as the resident Reviews Editor around these parts. She also thinks Amazon's Kindle is the greatest technological invention in the world. You can reach her at [email protected]

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