These are the December 2018 releases you need to play
© Avalanche Studios
As a stellar year comes to a close, December offers up plenty of gaming treats to see out 2018.
From God of War to Red Dead Redemption 2, to Forza Horizon 4 to Spider-Man, it’s safe to say that 2018’s been a pretty solid year for games. But before we sink into the holiday season and begin casting our eyes ahead to 2019’s slate, there’s still plenty of titles yet to arrive that are well worth checking out. Here are the best games for picking up this December.
Just Cause 4 (December 4, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC)
Grappling hooks, more explosions than you can wave a stick of dynamite at, and some of the most ludicrously overblown action committed to consoles. It can only be one man: Rico Rodriguez. The character who spends more time in the air than most birds returns once again to soar through the skies in a wingsuit or dangle off the underside of helicopters, in Just Cause 4. This instalment sees Rodriguez leading a rebellion against a dictatorial military organisation, and searching for the truth about his father.
If this all sounds like more of the same (and that would by no means be a bad thing), developers Avalanche Studios have thrown in a few extra tricks to offer up even higher octane action and a wonderful new playground for you to blast your way through. The South American country of Solis is now the setting for your own overblown style of chaos, with each region offering up its own unique climate. This also results in some extreme weather effects, including tornadoes that tear up the landscape and, of course, you can leap into.
With flying tanks, a whole host of new missions and a rogue’s gallery of characters to assign you some truly bonkers missions, Just Cause is back, and not a moment too soon.
Subnautica (December 4, PlayStation 4, Xbox One)
Released earlier this year on PC to much fanfare, Unknown Worlds’ Subnautica is a survival game set in an alien ocean, where your weary traveler must reassemble the wreck of his spaceship by diving into the unknown depths to scavenge for materials that’ll get you off the planet, all while uncovering the mystery of what happened there. Thankfully, this wonderful premise is equally matched by the almost-flawless execution.
Subnautica is both awe-inducing and genuinely terrifying, as you glide beneath the surface of vast, opaque waters where all manner of things – both beautiful and beastly – lurk. Offering a balanced blend of survival and story, Subnautica is one of the best games of 2018, and now console players get a chance to take a dip in its brilliant, black waters.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (December 7, PlayStation 4)
It’s fair to say that, over the last two years, the Battle Royale genre has made a significant impact on the video games landscape. Aside from the enormous success of PUBG and especially Fortnite, 2018 saw the genre flooded with imitators all trying to get their hands on gaming’s fattest cash cow. These imitators never reached the same level of either of those genre-defining staples, and now, the daddy of the genre is finding itself back in the headlines, with PUBG Corporation recently announcing that the game is coming to PS4.
Competition, however, is stiffer than ever. Even beyond Fortnite, Call of Duty’s Blackout mode is raking in players hoping for some of that frenetic, BR action. However, PUBG still offers something very different from the competition: a unique, almost 'realistic', slow-paced nature. The fact that it’s finally coming to PS4, coupled with new Sony-exclusive outfits (Nathan Drake’s garb and Ellie’s backpack from The Last of Us, so far), will surely be enough to see genre veterans and newbies alike dive into the game that sparked the hottest trend in gaming.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (December 7, Nintendo Switch)
It’s been a long time coming, but it’s almost here. From the moment the Switch started flying off the shelves, you can bet that a significant number of Nintendo fans were dreaming of battling away in a new instalment of the flagship brawler, Super Smash Bros. Lo and behold, the Japanese giants have delivered, with Ultimate soon to be upon us and boasting new stages, the promise of loads of DLC, and an enormous roster of fighters. Indeed, a whopping 70 brawlers in total, including all your favourites as well as some left-field choices (hello, Piranha Plant) will surely make for some epic, and enormously unpredictable brawls.
Not only that, but a glut of modes – including a deep-looking single player component called World of Light, modes that switch up the variety like Smashdown and one that lets you collect Spirits – mean that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate may well be the best in the series. We can’t wait to get back in the brawl.
Gris (December 13, Nintendo Switch, PC)
Over the past few years, we’ve been treated to a number of amazing indies heavy on emotion, but light on plot. Journey, Flower, Unravel – all these games offer ‘story’ in the loosest sense of the world; instead placing emphasis on beauty, movement, and well, moving you, the player. Gris very much belongs to this school of game, though it may well be the most beautiful of them all.
Telling the story of a young girl struggling to overcome devastating loss, you must traverse a mysterious world in a bid to deal with her grief. The world you explore is absolutely stunning, with Nomada Studio, a Spain-based team founded by two ex-Square Enix and Ubisoft developers, Adrian Cuevas and Roger Mendoza, as well as artist, illustrator and painter, Conrad Roset, delivering a setting that’s as immersive as it is gorgeous. With incredible artwork, a haunting score and a simple, melancholic story steeped in sadness, Gris could well be considered one of 2018’s great indies. And in a year that’s welcomed Celeste, that’s no mean feat.