So we’re well over half-way into the year and as a new blog Pro Strats Noob Stats (PSNS) is behind on the review game. The good news is that the fall lineup of releases is healthy with titles like Red Dead Redemption 2, Call of Duty Black Ops 4, Fallout 76, Battlefield V, Super Smash Bros., and more. I’m excited for the upcoming opportunities of content and the built-in excuse to my wife as to why I’m spending so much money and time on games. In the meantime I thought I’d make up for lost time by posting PSNS “Must-Plays” of 2018.

Before I go any further, this is a good opportunity to go over the review system that will be in place. I cannot stand the “out of 10” system. Nothing is worse than the doctor asking you what your pain is out of 10. It is a personal grievance of mine that keeps me up at night. Like how do I know where to put this on a numbered scale? If I sprain an ankle do I say 8, 5, or 6? I don’t know bro, it hurts and I don’t know where to put it on your over-demanding, over-specific scale. My ire towards the “out of 10” system extends to reviews as well. Like where does a 8.4/10 come from when they stamp it on a game? That specific of a number on an opinion review can’t be backed by mathematics. And if it is, shut up, nobody asked you nerd. No, I will not abide by some rigid scale because opinions are more fluid and we will not take this too seriously. PSNS scores will go by: Must-Play, Solid, Rainy Day, and Oof. I will go into more detail about each rankings later but for now we will focus on Must-Play. Must-Plays are pretty self-explanatory but they are the elite games that everyone should pick up at least once to try. These are the type of games that you can’t put down and your loved ones complain about.

There are three games released this year that I found to be Must-Play. Monster Hunter: World, God of War, Detroit: Become Human and Marvel’s Spider-Man. For you cynics out there, I am aware that 75% of the list are PlayStation exclusive. There were a lot of games across all platforms that were Solid teetering on Must-Play. Some of you may also notice that FIFA, Madden and NBA 2k19 are not listed. I will post later about my disdain for sports games but they do not deserve Must-Plays from me. For anyone concerned about the integrity of the blog fear not for I have associates with a different perspective who will represent the virtual sports world for us.

Monster Hunter: World plunges you into the New World as part of the Fifth Fleet. You take control of a hunter that you can customize and name. You also customize a cat creature called a Palico that will join you on your adventure. This open-world RPG has you take on monsters with 12 different types of weaponry from a massive hammer, to dual blades and bows. Once you either kill or capture your target monster you return to the hub of Astera to use the materials to craft better weapons and armor unique to each monster. Hunts can be played with up to 4 players, making it fun to play with your friends. What sets the gameplay of MHW apart is the depth of ways you can play to take on the monsters roaming the world. Each weapon is uniquely different and changes the play style entirely. Whether you’re tinkering for the perfect play style or just bored and want to switch it up, the weapons easily interchange and make for a fresh experience. If you don’t mind a little grinding and some corny dialogue this game can be hours of slaying fun.

God of War

Kratos is back in a new realm to bring the pain to a new set of mythical deities. Now our hero is an overpowered hermit of a father who wants to live in the woods with peace and silence. And refuse to address his son by his name. If you’ve played it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, you’ll find out when you do.   God of War checks the boxes, deep and entertaining story, top-notch graphics and great gameplay. The previous God of Wars could be argued as Must-Plays on their own but the latest installment brings the storytelling to the next level. Once Kratos story was only rage and being a douche to the same guy through 3 whole games which was entertaining enough. But God of War 4 does a great job of tackling Kratos character development while telling an engaging story that expertly weaves the Ghost of Sparta into Norse mythology. The gameplay offered season fans a new experience while honoring God of War traditions like (*Spoiler*) elevator missions. The RPG elements of looting and crafting armor and talismans to level up the hero are welcome additions that make the action feel more like your own. Fighting is challenging as is engaging and flows well with dynamic combos. The are enough abilities to unlock to tailor the way you like to play. The combat is so satisfying because lives up to the game’s name as you punish your enemies with god-like strength allowing you to fully embrace the title. Unless of course you’re a glutton for punishment like me and play the game on ‘God of War’ mode. God of War is a great story that makes you feel like a boss and it looks good doing it.

Detroit: Become Human

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure where to start with this one. What I will say is that it is not for the anxious. Detroit: Become Human puts you in the shoes of three androids struggling with their increasing sentience. The gameplay centers around quick-time events and taking actions with the controller. What makes the game so unique is that nearly if not all the decisions you make affect the story in narrative changing ways. Not hitting the right button or choosing one path to another carry adrenaline producing weight in every decision.  I remember talking about our playthroughs with my friends and finding they went through whole sequences that I didn’t because of a choice I made in visa versa. The story being driven by your decisions really makes it feel like your own. What makes this game a must-play is the absolute thrill ride it takes you on. It will have you on the edge of your seat for 90% of the game; it’s almost like living in a movie. Adding a deep story with relatable problems to society and high-end graphics makes this a title everyone should go through once.

Spider-Man

Marvel brings in another W with their newest game featuring everyone’s favorite web-slinger. I hunkered down and 100% this game in five days and I just could. Not. Put. It. Down. Before the release they decided to dumb the graphics down to improve the frame rate which caused a lot of concern but honestly I couldn’t tell a difference. The whole game is immersive and really makes you feel like the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man. The dialogue is well written and has the quips you’d expect from Spidey even mid-fight during gameplay. If you’re a completionist or just a Marvel fiend like me, you will find more easter eggs than nerds can handle with references to movies, comics and the presence of New York’s other super-powered residents. The gameplay is fun and not too complicated to get the hang of. Traversing around Manhattan with your webs feels authentic and exhilarating as it is detailed. You actually need something to swing from and can zip, swing or vault from things as you land. There is a fast travel system but swinging around and doing tricks in the air was so fun I could count on one hand how many times I used it. And even when I did the fast travel it was more to enjoy the loading screen of Spider-Man riding the subway. Combat feels like Spider-Man with a combo and dodge system similar to Batman Arkham Knight and Assassins Creed of old. Spidey isn’t a bruiser, he’s an acrobatic vigilante so in the stead of powerful counter kicks or finishers you use spidey sense to dodge around and string combos together. Using webs is a big part of combat as it should be and there are many different gadgets to unlock that let you approach fights in a different way that suits your play style. The RPG elements are subtle. I didn’t feel that the skill tree was that impactful but there are a myriad of costumes to unlock that I won’t spoil here because for me that was part of the fun. What I will say is that most pay homage to different eras and Web-heads throughout the multiverse and through the comics. In the end it felt like a Marvel movie that I got to be the star of and I am begging for more that will create the same magic (hint, hint Marvel).

There you have it. PSNS Must-Plays of 2018 so far. Monster hunting, god fighting, android revolting and web-slinging are the to-do’s if you haven’t already. If you have made this far through my ramblings then first of all, congratulations and I love you. As I hope I portrayed in the “Pilot” post, PSNS will not take things to seriously and at the end of the day it is only an opinion. That being said, if I missed any “Must-Plays” PLEASE leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear about anything I missed. I’m always down for more content even if my wallet or my wife may not be. Also please feel free to comment on anything, if anything, you’d like to hear from me or us moving forward.

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