The year may have ended on a low for open world adorers thanks to Bethesda's poor decisions, but taken as a whole, 2018 has been the best yet for sandbox lovers and would-be adventurers. Capcom got the party off to a riveting start with Monster Hunter: World and its inescapable addiction of killing and skinning man-eating monsters in the name of Hunter fashion, a fantastic war against nature followed in the spring with Sea of Thieves and Sony Santa Monica's award-winning God of War.
While the latter attracted instant classic status, Rare's swashbuckling adventure needed a few extra months to reach peak condition, but now it stands proud as a must-have Xbox exclusive alongside Forza Horizon 4. But it's not just Microsoft and Sony's first parties to have yielded the juiciest fruit. A slew of multi-platform delights, some built on eye-watering budgets, others through gracious crowdfunding campaigns, have spent the last 12 months competing for life's most precious resource, forcing the difficult choice: 'which one do I play first?'
Personal taste dictates that not all of 2018's best and brightest will be loved by all, but appreciating the absurd number of man-hours that went into the creation of every sprawling world gifted to us in 2018 is something we can all celebrate. Here's to you, 2018.
Joe is a freelance games journalist who, while not spending every waking minute selling himself to websites around the world, spends his free time writing. Most of it makes no sense, but when it does, he treats each article as if it were his Magnum Opus - with varying results.