Editor’s Note: There are no previous winners listed since this was not a category we voted on last year.
Rather than give a separate award for each platform this year, we’ve opted instead to rank the best console exclusive games. 2018 offered us a large host of exclusive titles on both the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 platforms. Nintendo alone set the bar high with titles like Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Octopath Traveler, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Eevee!, and the Torna ~ The Golden Country expansion for Xenoblade Chronicles 2. Sony had a solid year as well, dishing out titles like Yakuza 6, Shadow of the Colossus, God of War, and Ni no Kuni II. It should be no surprise then that of the 4 top titles, one of them is a PlayStation exclusive and the other three are Switch exclusives.
God of War
I’m quite sure that if you were to ask any PS4 player what their top games of the year were for the system, the answer would more often than not include God of War. Building on the existing franchise of games while daring to be something new and unique, God of War was arguably one of the biggest games to hit the PS4 this year. This newest installment in the series takes place long after the events of God of War III. It follows an older Kratos who must both protect and teach his son Atreus how to fight and survive. Alongside its impressive visuals and amazing soundtrack, this latest entry also features the largest world presented in the series thus far. If you missed the opportunity to play it in 2018, consider giving it a look this year.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
We’d be remiss to leave the latest Super Smash Bros. title absent from this list. With a character roster that blows every other entry in the series out of the water, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is just that – ultimate. With each passing day leading up to its release, we saw more and more characters being brought back into the mix. From old favorites like Metal Gear Solid’s Solid Snake to debut fighters like Animal Crossing’s Isabelle and Metroid’s Ridley, there are over 74 fighters to choose from now. amiibo support also saw a return and has resulted in the creation new amiibos for the newly added characters. This time around, there’s a new single-player option which is referred to as the “World of Light” mode. It essentially fills the space of Brawl’s Subspace Emissary, albeit with some noticeable differences. As one of the most anticipated Switch releases of last year, we feel that its nomination for this award is well-deserved.
Square Enix decided to test the waters with an exclusive title for the Nintendo Switch. The result was Octopath Traveler – a traditional, turn-based JRPG that blends 2D character sprites with stunningly realistic 3D backgrounds. This game was actually in such high demand upon release that Square Enix was forced scramble to back to the manufacturer to supply more units. What they thought would sell marginally well at best turned out to be a huge success. The game’s story is told through the eyes of eight different adventurers, all of whom have a different class and skill set. Secondary roles can also be assigned to these characters later on, adding a large variety of options for customizing your primary party. Each character has his or her own story to tell, some of which are lighthearted and some of which are surprisingly dark. For those who enjoyed Octopath Traveler, Square Enix has shown interest in making more games like it moving forward. It was certainly a unique experience for the Switch and one that we believe deserves your attention.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 won our award for Best Nintendo Exclusive award last year, so it’s not surprising to see its ambitious expansion show up on our list of Best Console Exclusives this year. Being practically large enough to qualify as a standalone game, Torna ~ The Golden Country was indeed a stand-out release for the Switch in 2018. It takes place roughly 500 years before the events of the base game and follows several new characters as well as a few more familiar ones. While we didn’t formally give this expansion a review, we feel that its presence on this list is more than warranted given its sheer amount of content. Introducing over 25 hours of additional playtime and a completely new kingdom to explore, we highly recommend that fans of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 pick up this expansion.
And this year’s Best Console Exclusive is…….
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
Whether you own a Nintendo Switch or not, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a release that everyone should be aware of at this point. It’s the most recent release on this list and it helped largely define the 2018 holiday season. The Switch was due to receive an entry for this series and the folks at Nintendo and Bandai Namco delivered a real winner this time around. If you currently own a Switch or are planning to pick one up at some point in the future, this is a title that our staff doesn’t want you to pass up.
Thanks to Brandon and Brodie for the awesome Featured Images