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Best F2P Games 2018 – Best Free to Play Games of the Year!

So, 2018 is almost over! New Year’s Eve is here and so it’s time to talk about our favorite games from the past year. In the past, we’ve done this as a countdown list, but this year we’re changing things up a bit. Instead of trying to rank them, we picked a favorite from each genre. So without further ado, here’s our Best of 2018 Showcase.

Best New MMORPG: MapleStory 2

I have to be honest: both myself and Jason were never huge fans of the original MapleStory. I personally tried several times to immerse myself in it, but it just never really grabbed onto me. There was something about everything being in two dimensions that made it feel, well, flat. I think this is a big part of why I was so blown away by MapleStory 2. The jump to 3D really worked out well, and the visual style of the characters and enemies blends super well with the voxel style environments. Most importantly, though, MapleStory 2 is fun. The dungeons are the perfect length and offer decent rewards, and the quests are engaging despite not being the most interesting thing the game has to offer. My favorite thing the game offers, as little as it might be, are the exploration objectives for each area that incentivize getting to know and interacting with your environment every time you hit a new area. There’s just something about MapleStory 2 that has a little bit of that old MMORPG magic to it that’s been missing from a lot of genre entries of late. Will it last? Who can say? All we know is that it’s stuck with us enough to be our favorite new MMORPG of 2018.

Best New Card Game: Magic: The Gathering Arena

If you follow this channel, you knew this was coming. It almost feels unfair, saying that the best new digital card game of 2018 is a card game that’s been in print since 1993 and has had roughly 8 digital releases in the last decade. Wizards finally got it right though with the newest attempt, MTG Arena. The free to play model works wonders for Magic, especially since Wizards has put in the extra effort to ensure that players who can’t afford to spend a ton of cash can remain competitive by giving lots of packs and cards as quest rewards. The only major drawback that Jason and I were able to come up with is the lack of penalties for players who waste turn timers. Even that wasn’t enough to turn us off it, however. If you’ve ever been interested in Magic the Gathering, there’s never been a better time or method to jump in. Magic has always been the king of physical card games, and with this release, it looks poised to take its rightful place as king of the digital card games, too.

Best New Battle Royale: Realm Royale

This was a hard genre to call, but we had to give it to Realm Royale. There’s something to be said for how hard and how fast the game has grown and evolved. What began as an additional mode in Paladins has become its own game with its own character designs and mechanics that offer something truly different in the overcrowded Battle Royale genre. Class based gameplay, abilities as equipment, and of course the forges which can be used to upgrade items at the risk of giving up your position all add a ton to a genre that falls prey to its formulaic nature all too quickly. Realm Royale is in closed beta now on Xbox One as well, with plans to move to other consoles in the future, and the game is also part of the cross platform initiative Hi-Rez is pushing forward in January so players certainly won’t be hurting for matches or opponents. Realm Royale also looks sharp, as well. I’m a big fan of bright, colorful games, and Realm Royale takes the Paladins aesthetic and cranks it up a notch or two. In short, Realm Royale is a nice change of pace in a genre where everyone and their sister is rushing to copy Fortnite and PUBG wholesale without offering anything new.

I also want to make mention of BattleRite Royale in this spot. BattleRite Royale really impressed for a lot of the same reasons as Realm Royale. In Battlerite’s case, it takes two genres, the MOBA and Battle Royale, and combines them in a way nobody had done before and it works brilliantly. There’s not a ton I could say about it that I didn’t already just say about Realm Royale, but I wanted to give props where they were due. I couldn’t decide if these should be tied or not, or if Battlerite Royale was enough of a Battle Royale game to count, so I’m just going to squeeze it in here with Realm Royale and call it a day. If you like Battle Royale games, go play both of these. They’re both equally worth your time.

Best New Console MMO: World of Tanks: Mercenaries

There aren’t too many “new” MMOs making their way to consoles, or at least there weren’t in 2018, so this was a bit of a narrow field. Even still, World of Tanks: Mercenaries was easily the standout. This version of World of Tanks has features and content that are exclusive to consoles, like the titular Mercenaries faction, which employ a wild blend of parts from various tanks to create elaborate monstrosities. There’s also a new story mode which is exclusive to the console version. New features aside, Mercenaries offers the same high-octane tank combat that fans of the PC version have been enjoying for ages, but without having to drag yourself off the couch and over to your PC to boot up. So if you’re on the hunt for something new and free to play on console, World of Tanks is worth a look.

 Best New Action MMORPG: Closers

So it’s important to note that here I’m using Action MMO to refer to the Dungeon Fighter Online style Beat-Em-Up genre, and not the tradtional Action RPG genre that games like Path of Exile fall into. With that in mind, Closers is, in our opinion, easily the best of this year’s offerings. As I said in my original first look, this is arcade beat-em-up action done to near perfection. Back then, in the game’s alpha, I praised the game’s combat system but was incredibly harsh on its decision to include a mobile-game-style stamina system to govern gameplay. Part of the reason Closers takes this spot is because of how well its developers have listened to fans’ feedback. The stamina system was removed when fans were vocal about it detracting from the game, and that’s not the only major change that’s been made. Plenty of new characters have been introduced alongside new stages and events that give players a ton of new things to see and to try. There’s also a companion anime, so if you’re into anime, then that’s a bonus as well.

Best New MOBA: Heavy Metal Machines

This was another narrow field, as genres go, but we had to give it to Heavy Metal Machines. In a genre that’s overcrowded with games trying too hard to be League of Legends or DotA, it’s nice to see a developer try something radically different, even if it means bringing back a decades old SNES racing game to do it. Widely considered by our staff to be a spiritual successor to Rock ‘n’ Roll Racing, Heavy Metal Machines offers an insane blend of weapon based car combat, racing, and football. Players fight over an orb that can be passed between members of their team and try to run it down a race track and into an enemy’s base. Tracks are littered with traps and enemy cars are loaded with powers to try and stop you. It’s fast, frantic, and most importantly it’s fun. The game’s heavy metal aesthetic also reminds me a lot of the Xbox 360 game Brutal Legend, which isn’t a bad thing either. There’s a sizable roster of drivers and new things are being added regularly. If you’re a fan of MOBAs and Racing games, or if you’re just in the mood for trying something different, Heavy Metal Machines is for you.

Well, that’s all for our Best of 2018 spotlight! Let us know what your favorite new games were this year down in the comments below.

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