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8 things to catch up on this holiday season

It's been quite a year. Throughout 2018, we've almost been bombarded with great content, whether you're a movie lover, TV series binger, or serial games player. The best PS4 exclusives have been astonishingly good, the rise of Nindies continues to grow, Xbox showed that it thinks about all players with its Adaptive Controller, while the list of TV shows that we all really binge watched this year (opens in new tab) proves that there was insanely good stuff on your tellybox too. Of course, that's without even touching the movies 

1. Which games defined 2018 for the PS4?

I'll give you a clue. He's big, he's bald, and he could do with a touch of bronzer. That's right, Kratos' triumphant return with God of War (opens in new tab) on PS4 was one of those true masterpieces that made every cent you spent on the console worth it. Plus, we go treated to the sheer joy that is swinging around New York in Marvel's Spider-Man PS4 (opens in new tab). There are plenty more too, and our 30 best PS4 games (opens in new tab) list is the perfect way to make sure you haven't missed out. As well as exclusives like Detroit: Become Human (opens in new tab) you'll find funky indies like the melancholy mystery Night In The Woods (opens in new tab) and blockbusters you just might have missed, like Horizon Zero Dawn (opens in new tab). Basically, if you have a PS4 you need to check out this list, or risk skipping some of the greatest games of the generation. Rachel Weber

2. How did 2018 go for Xbox One games?

When asked how 2018 has been for Xbox at The Game Awards, Phil Spencer gave an awkward half shrug, before admitting “we could do better.” Ever since the last minute cancellations of Scalebound and Fable Legends, Xbox One fans have been bereft of big Xbox One exclusive games (opens in new tab) to match those found on the PlayStation 4. 2018 saw the release of Forza Horizon 4 (opens in new tab), Sea of Thieves (opens in new tab), and State of Decay 2 (opens in new tab), all fine when judged on their own terms, but a poor showing in comparison to PlayStation’s offering of Spider-Man PS4, God of War, Detroit: Become Human, and Yakuza 6. Xbox is still suffering for the sins of the Don Mattrick era, but where it’s struggling in the games department, Phil Spencer has made an earnest push towards user friendliness that puts Sony to shame. Xbox Game Pass (opens in new tab), Xbox One Backwards Compatibility (opens in new tab), and cross-play have all helped to turn the console into an attractive entertainment package, while Microsoft’s recent acquisitions of Obsidian, Ninja Theory, and InXile have put Xbox in a strong place for the next generation. 2018 may have been a bit of a write-off for Xbox One owners, but the future is looking mightily bright. For now though, check out our pick of the best Xbox One games for everything you need to catch up on. Alex Avard

3. How did the Nintendo Switch do during its second year?

A debut year that brought us Zelda: Breath of the Wild (opens in new tab) and Super Mario Odyssey (opens in new tab) is the very definition of 'a tough act to follow,' but the Nintendo Switch continued to soar in 2018. The best Nintendo Switch games (opens in new tab) of this year were definitely Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (opens in new tab) and Pokemon Let's Go (opens in new tab), both of which perfectly iterate on their respective series to make old frameworks feel shiny and new again. There were also plenty of worthwhile ports that are must-plays if you missed them the first time around, like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (opens in new tab), The World Ends With You: Final Remix, and the one-two punch of both Bayonetta games. And though we haven't heard much about them as of late, the many Nintendo Labo (opens in new tab) kits are still a fascinating, imaginative way to play with your Switch beyond the normal confines of what you'd expect from a game console. Lucas Sullivan

4. The golden age of television continued in 2018 - but what REALLY stood out from the crowd?

With so much good television flying around, it really is a full time job keeping up with it all, but hey - that’s a nice problem to have, right? With TV getting better and better every year, it’s harder for shows to stand out, so what were actually the best watches of 2018? Well, everyone was talking about BBC drama Bodyguard, which saw Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden try to protect the Home Secretary played by Keeley Hawes, while having a steamy affair with her. It was watercooler television at its best and proved that in the day and age of bingeing, a nation (and a world) can still get swept away in a weekly drama. Similarly, Killing Eve took the world by storm as Jodie Comer’s psychopath Villanelle scared (and secretly impressed) us. It wasn’t the only series that sent chills down our spine though as Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House reminded everyone just how terrifying ghost stories can be, and The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 was frightening in a whole other way as it turned in a second season even more powerful than its debut. Of course, there were other shows of note this year - GLOW, Better Call Saul, Bojack Horseman, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and a rebooted reality TV show called Queer Eye which made us all fall in love with four gay guys - but to list them all would be impossible! The best you can do is start bingeing our best TV shows of 2018 (opens in new tab) and hope you can get caught up before 2019... (spoiler: you won’t!) Lauren O’Callaghan

5. Which of 2018's movies are too good to miss?

Horror, humor, the ground-breaking thrill ride of Black Panther (opens in new tab), and the most perfect teen romantic comedy since John Hughes put down his pen, 2018 has been a wild ride for movie fans. While the real world gets weirder, the films get better, tackling everything from the dangers of social media in a town gone mad in Assassination Nation (opens in new tab) to family trauma and secrets that ripple - horrifically - through the generations in Hereditary (opens in new tab). Whatever your movie predilections, you have to check out our best movies of 2018 (opens in new tab) list, and then take to Twitter to tell us what we missed. 

6. 2018 was secretly the year for indie games

Though it sucked by many other metrics, 2018 was a hell of a good year for games from smaller developers. Starting with games like Celeste in January and rolling all the way through the year with more chef-kiss-worthy titles like Moonlighter (opens in new tab), Into the Breach, Donut County, and - just last week - Gris, there was something to suit every kind of taste. Our guide to the 15 best indie games (opens in new tab) you've probably missed in 2018 is your shortcut to the cream of the crop. Make sure you have at least a few of them loaded up on your device of choice before you head into the thick of the holidays. Connor Sheridan

7. What went on in the world of sports games this year?

It hasn't been the best year for sports games, but there are still a few presents under the tree, although 2018 won't exactly go down in history as a vintage year for sports games. Although we've had some excellent titles, which you'll find ranked in our best sports games (opens in new tab) of 2018 compilation, it feels like we're reaching the end of the console generation and the leaps and bounds we've seen in previous years in terms of tech and graphics just aren't happening this year. Thankfully it hasn't been as bad as England losing out in the World Cup, as we've had titles like Football Manager 2019 (opens in new tab) coming back stronger than ever, Mario Tennis Aces (opens in new tab) reviving the long slumbering series, and even AO International Tennis arrive with very little fanfare. Of course, we've also had PES 2019 (opens in new tab) struggle with its licensing loss, FIFA 19 (opens in new tab) deliver a glorious farewell to Alex Hunter in The Journey: Champions, and even Out of the Park Baseball prove to be a better sports management sim than FM2019 itself. All of our picks of the best sports games of the year are worth checking out, and even include some you may have never heard of. Treat yourself this Christmas - or even in those glorious January sales. Sam Loveridge

8. And last, but not least, whether you’ve gotten a PS4, Xbox One, or Nintendo Switch, we’ve got guides to help you buy games and extras cheaper

Christmas is the season for giving, and chances are we all know someone who is getting a new games console during the holidays. Often, that person turns out to be YOU. Yes, you, poking at your presents when you think everyone else isn’t looking. We see you. Anyway, if you’ve gotten hold of a new console, you’ll want to stock up on games, new controllers, online subscriptions, headsets… basically anything that makes your gaming life that much better. But, with it being December, you’re probably broke from buying everyone else cool stuff. Luckily for you, then, we’re rounding up the best deals for PS4, Xbox One and Switch every day, to help you save a little cash and get the best stuff possible for that new console, which is looking a bit sad with only one bundled game to play on it. And, if you’re the generous type, you might find something here that works as a stocking-stuffer for a friend, or a late Christmas gift for someone else in the family.

8 Things to Watch This Week picks the best games, movies and shows of the next seven days every Friday at 9am PDT / 5pm BST.

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