The staff at BagoGames was tasked with compiling a list of their favorite 2018 games. I would have jumped at the chance to highlight my personal favorites any other year, but 2018 hasn’t been the same. As a follow-up to 2017, I don’t feel the same level of attachment to these releases. 2018 has been a humdrum year. Because of that, my list is a little different. Rather than listing my actual favorite games of the year, I’m only highlighting two games I feel need a little more recognition.
Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight
Despite the fact that I never played Persona 3, leaving me with a greater attachment for Persona 5‘s cast, Dancing in Moonlight captivated me more than I could have imagined. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight‘s lopsided soundtrack compounds the anemic track-list. With each game only containing around 25 songs each, there’s not much content to dig through.
In fact, it took me 30 hours total to platinum both Dancing games. Your mileage really depends on how much you love the songs. Persona 5 got praise for its soundtrack last year, but that’s because a handful of bangers stole the show. A chunk of Dancing in Starlight‘s largely instrumental only soundtrack lacks the same punch of the Persona series’ vocalized songs.
That’s where Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight comes in. Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight has a tough time competing with songs like:
- Mass Destruction
- When the Moon Reaches for the Stars
- Soul Phrase
- A Way of Life
- Light the Fire Up in the Night
- Brand New Days
- Deep Mentality
By comparison, Dancing in Starlight‘s soundtrack only has three or four songs that hype me up as much as Dancing in Moonlight.
Yakuza Kiwami 2
Yakuza 0 was my introduction to the franchise and a perfect way to start 2017. Its uncompromising tendency toward Japaneses sensibilities made for a shocking experience. Its sub-stories and optional activities like phone sex shined in an industry so afraid of having fun. The western triple-A market keeps moving closer and closer toward immersive experience whereas Yakuza remains firmly rooted in its “videogames as hell” approach to design.
The incredibly gripping narrative, which is one of the industry’s best, somehow worked even when it exists within the same space as a game that asks you to buy a porno magazine for a child. Yakuza‘s open world shenanigans clash with the serious human drama of its main narrative, but that gives Yakuza its identity.
Yakuza Kiwami 2 keeps that spirit alive. Its sub-stories aren’t as consistently funny or jarring as Yakuza 0 or Yakuza Kiwami, but it’s hard not to look fondly on such iconic moments as “I peacocked your mom” and “Let’s pacify this bitch!” coming from a muscular Yakuza boss in a diaper. I wasn’t a fan of Kiwami 2‘s simplified combat, ripped from Yakuza 6, but you still get to punch a tiger in the face AND experience a great story.