Now is your chance to sound off on your favorite games of 2018. Do your part and vote to make sure your favorite games make our Reader Games of the Year section in the February 2019 issue of the magazine.

Between Nintendo releasing a new console with Mario and Zelda games and the introduction of the Battle Royale genre, we really thought 2017 was a tough year – but the competition is just as fierce this year, and maybe even more so. Cast your vote in assorted categories (including Game of the Year) to help us show what you think was the best.

You may notice that some seemingly obvious picks aren’t on the list. That could be because of our eligibility requirements. Remasters and remakes are restricted to that category. Also, if a game is episodic, but the final episode didn’t releasing in 2018, that keeps it off our list for this year.

You can find the survey below, or click here to submit your choices. Did we miss one of your favorites in the poll? Let us know in the comments and we can add it to the field. And if your having trouble making decisions, you can always use our scientific method of making important game of the year decisions.

The last day of voting is Tuesday, December 18, so get all of your votes in while you can and look out for the results on the website and in the February 2019 issue of the magazine!

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Rage 2 has a lot of great weapons, sure, but part of what makes the combat so satisfying are the nanotrite powers that protagonist Walker can use to stun, bamboozle, and otherwise decimate foes. Alongside movement-based upgrades (like double jump and dashing) these are the powers you’ll acquire during Rage 2 and use in combination with one another to wreak havoc on any group of bandits foolish enough to pick a fight with you. Avalanche teased that numerous upgrades will allow players to make these powers even stronger and demonstrated the fantastic ways in which they could be used to create combos.

Note: All the powers have in-development names and will possibly change in the final product.

Ground Slam
As powerful as its name is self-explanatory, Walker leaps into the air and plummets to the earth, smashing whatever is directly below. A direct attack on an unarmored bandit will turn them into a fine paste while those in the area will briefly be stunned, allowing you to zip to them and use another power or shoot them.

Shatter is probably the power that grabbed our attention the most during the demo due to its dual usefulness. Shatter’s blast (similar to Star Wars’ Force Push) will not only blow foes back into walls but it’ll also rip armor off stronger foes, allowing you to target their exposed fleshy parts. Weakened enemies have a habit of being literally torn apart when thrown into a wall.

Vortex Grenade
Think of the Vortex Grenade as the combo glue of your power arsenal. Throwing this ethereal grenade will create a black hole that sucks anything—foes or objects—nearby into wherever you threw it for a brief time. When the black hole collapses, it shoots anything caught in its field upward and leaves them suspended and helpless, allowing you to do some quick skeet shooting or Shattering to send them flying off into the distance.

Barrier, as the name implies, throws up a shield that will absorb bullets. Pretty tame, right? Don’t turn that dial just yet. An upgrade for Barrier allows this defensive power to become much more aggressive, making its touch deadly enough to turn any unlucky enemy into what Game Director Magnus Nedfors vividly describes as “meat cubes.” During our demo, we saw what happens when you throw a vortex grenade into the middle of a barrier near some enemies. Let’s just say it was a very squishy spectacle.

For more on Rage 2 be sure to check out our cover-story hub by clicking on the banner below.

Starting today, Adventures of Lolo, Ninja Gaiden and Wario’s Woods are available to Nintendo Switch Online subscribers. Nintendo launched the service in September with 20 NES games, and promised more every month.

The Adventures of Lolo follows the titular character trying to rescue his love, Lala, after she is kidnapped by King Egger. In Ninja Gaiden – which launched a long-lived series – you play as a promising young ninja who travels to America to avenge his father’s death and prevent his enemies unleashing an ancient demon. Toad’s adventure in Wario’s Woods plays like Dr. Mario – but instead of pills, you try to align monsters and bombs. You can get a better feel for each game by watching Nintendo’s announcement trailer below. 

Beyond adding a trio of new games into the mix, Nintendo has also offered SP versions for Dr. Mario and Metroid which lets you skip straight to the endgame. For Dr. Mario, that means being throwing into level 20 at Hi speed, and for Metroid you’ll drop into the game with all of Samus’ abilities fully upgraded just before the battle with Ridley.

Previous SP types included an endgame Link in The Legend of Zelda and a version of Gradius that gave you fully-powered ships.

In a teaser trailer today that showcased its January lineup, Netflix revealed a glimpse into The Punisher’s next season.

Last month, Netflix gave nearly all their original Marvel series the chop beginning with Iron Fist, followed by Luke Cage, then ending with the critically-acclaimed Daredevil. As it stands, only Jessica Jones and The Punisher have been left breathing. 

The new teaser for the ruthless vigilante comes exactly one year after The Punisher was officially confirmed for a second season. So far, there is no official premiere date for when the series will air.


The Game Awards has become a surprisingly big show in the years since it split off from Spike TV’s infamously crass version that nonetheless commanded attention due to a TV audience. In order to get big reveals, the show had to prove itself, and it had to prove itself by getting big reveals. Now it seems host and creator Geoff Keighley can point to this year’s numbers whenever he wants to convince a major developer or publisher to bring announcements to the annual award show.

For the 2018 event, over 26 million people streamed the show over the internet, counting restreams and recorded broadcast views after the show itself was over. That number is up 128 percent from 2017’s already fairly large number of 11 million. If you were asking yourself why there were so many Super Smash Bros. Ultimate commercials during the show, that’s why.

During the actual live broadcast, The Game Awards hit four million peak concurrent viewers.

If you were one of the few who didn’t pay attention to The Game Awards, we listed all the major news items from the show in one place for you right here. If you want to see the show in its entirety, we have an archived broadcast with Ben Hanson and Leo Vader walking you through the festivities here.

Epic has announced that throughout 2019 it is launching a suite of cross-platforming services for developers across seven platforms (PC, Mac, iOS, Android, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch) as allowable on each.

The services were originally developed for Epic’s Fortnite, and will be “free for all developers, and will be open to all engines, all platforms, and all stores.” These can be mixed-and-matched as the developer sees fit.

Epic has released a 2019 roadmap for the services, which involve cross-platform login, ID-ing of friends, voice comms, parties, matchmaking, data storage, achievements, and more.

Recently the company unveiled its own digital store to try and compete with Valve’s Steam storefront. You can also read our interview with founder Tim Sweeney on that topic and look at a list of some of the store’s first titles.

[Source: Epic Games]

ZeniMax has settled its lawsuit against Oculus and Facebook which claimed that Oculus took ZeniMax’s proprietary tech for Oculus’ Rift VR headset. Terms of the settlement are undisclosed.

Back in 2017 a jury found Oculus guilty and awarded ZeniMax a $500 million settlement based on a breach of a non-disclosure agreement and misuse of copyrights and trademarks. This was later reduced to $250 million this summer.

“We are please that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome,” said Robert Altman, ZeniMax chairman and CEO. “While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties.”


A message popping up for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate today confirms that a new update coming in the next few days. The version 1.2.0 update is the first since the game’s release last week and will be making actual balance changes to the game’s fighting. While it’s not clear what exactly the update will contain, that does mean the existing replays you have saved will become unusable.

Luckily, unlike previous games in the series, this time Nintendo is giving warning that that an update is coming and you can convert your replays into videos, keeping them from being affected by balance changes.

The way Super Smash Bros. saves replays is by recording the timing and order of button presses. So it knows when you punched Samus as Little Mac, but it doesn’t save an exact image of that moment happening. Thus, when a balance change happens like nerfing that punch to do 10 percent instead of 12 percent, it breaks the log. Now that recorded button log playing out in the actual game can’t keep up with the way it was supposed to work.

The way most other games handle this was to just have a flag in replays keeping the old balance in place for those specific fights. Still others just save replays as videos to begin with. Before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Nintendo and Bandai Namco didn’t do either of these things, but now they at least do the latter. Before the balance changes take effect, you can record a replay by converting it to video. Keep in mind this must be done before it applies the new update.

So if you have some replays you want to keep for posterity, head to it.

Overland, a survival game and roguelike we highlighted as one of the best indie games coming out of E3 back in 2017, will fully release sometime next year.

Overland is currently in “first access” on PC (though it’s over at the developer’s official website and not on Steam), where players can play the game and offer developers feedback.  However, developer Finji recently tweeted the game was “real close to getting out of first access,” and would release next year.

Back when played Overland, we thought “the road trip themes and aesthetics are reminiscent of Kentucky Route Zero mixed with XCOM-style gameplay,” a concept we thought worked well.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has a big update today on PlayStation 4. Operation Absolute Zero adds a bunch of new things to Blackout, including a new armored vehicle, a fancy new yacht, and more. Dan Tack, Andrew Reiner, Ben Hanson, and I check out some of the changes (autumnal colors!) in today’s NGT.

In addition to that other stuff, players will be able to earn several critically important emotes for their characters. You like sandwiches? How about rock/paper/scissors and/or dad dance moves? Watch today’s episode for all this and much more. 

Operation Absolute Zero is available on PS4 today, and the free update will be arriving on Xbox One and PC on December 18.