My top games of 2019, and a few others that came close.
Apex was a bit of a surprise for me. I didn’t even know it was in development until it was just released. I never really had the patience for PubG, so Respawn’s take on a Battle Royale game with quick movement and power sliding and Titanfall’s art direction style got me instantly hooked.
Where Apex really shines is its ease of communication. I hate playing with randos with a headset, ever since my Counter-Strike days. In our squad of three, it's easy too communicate with their built in commands/gestures that allowed my squad to achieve victory several times, all with out having to hear a 13 year old scream homophobic slurs into the mic at me. The only thing missing are the double jumps and giant mechs…But maybe that’s for the best.
Outer Worlds feels like a game from a decade ago. And Im pretty happy with that. From the makers of Fallout New Vegas, Outer Worlds was the Fallout game Ive been itching for. And unlike similar Fallout RPGs, it felt like a quick play. I wrapped up the entire game in about a week, finishing the majority of quests. Unfortunately, the story falls flat pretty fast. Your options and story paths aren’t as complex and diverse as it originally teases, and its formulaic gameplay quickly rears its way in.
Despite that, being a captain of your own ship, flying through a solar system with a preacher and tomboy mechanic while just trying to survive and make a buck is exactly the Firefly game I always wanted.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
I got sucked back into Destiny hard this year. Before Bungie split with Activision, the two groups shared a lot of story telling techniques, and it finally shows. Both sides benefited from the merge, but I can’t help but feel Bungie more so. Between the season pass grinding and new PVE content, restructured matchmaking of nightfall strikes and the almost endless supply of quests, I’ll keep returning for every season to come of the foreseeable future. Especially with new merch from their online store I get the privilege to buy after completing a quest. No, seriously, its becoming a problem with how much time I wasted on Halloween for a long sleeve shirt.
Death Stranding is exactly what you would expect from Hideo Kojima. It’s weird, it’s kinda brilliant, and it’s real dumb. It’s also a game I have a really hard time recommending to anyone. Most of the time the game does make sense, and the the gameplay was just annoying for the first five hours or so. 😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀😀
And then something just sort of clicked. I figured out the button to optimize carrying so I wasn’t falling over every 3 steps, and the story started to hook me. It’s a game is about making connections, wrapped in a goofy metaphor for how toxic the internet has become, and how we as humanity can still make meaningful connections if we’re willing to make he effort. It was super cheesy, and probably the most pretentious thing I’ve ever played. But it also resonated with me in a strange way. A lot of games leave me with a sort of nihilistic view of “its fine to just watch the world burn.” But Death Stranding’s bizarre story telling made me really care about reuniting the people of the fictitious future tiny America. I could even feel for the protagonist’s demeanor that slowly changed to determination and caring. I doubt I’ll ever pick up the game again, but it’s story will leave me with a warm fuzzy feeling I don’t get from entertainment too often anymore. 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍
I’m a sucker for any Remedy game. Their brand of weird, paranormal Twin Peaks style bullshit is something I can never get enough of. When Remedy released Alan Wake a decade ago, I felt like it was a game made just for me. I didn’t quite get that same level of excitement for Control that I did for Alan Wake, but it was a blast of nostalgia. Control brings the same level of paranormal kookiness as Wake, a genre Remedy has almost mastered now. Between feeding a giant, talking furnace some toxic waste with my Jedi-like mind powers, visiting an outside(?) rock query with a night sky in the middle of a building, FMV of of scientist’s desperate attempt at a kid’s show, and listening to a certain rock band while traversing a maze with some head phones on, I felt engaged every moment. The UI is simple, but beautiful, the typography is gorgeous. The brutalist design gives the game a timeless (and even an out of time) vibe, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next sets of DLC that launch in 2020.
Other Games that caught my attention through out 2019:
Im not sure Ive ever played a truer remake of a game before. While frame rate issues persisted through the entire game, I couldn’t get enough of the cute art style that was placed over a classic game. I hope Nintendo brings back other games (or creates new ones) in the same style.
Sayonara Wild Hearts
I loved, loved, loved Amplitude and Frequency as a kid. Sayonara Wild Hearts is finally a game that does more of that, with even better music. The playlist has even made it into my regular rotation on Spotify. I didn’t care much of the way it handles failing, but the quick retries still kept me engaged, and the art style and story made me wanting to see what was next.
What The Golf
Besides Pokemon Go and Hearthstone, I don’t play too many mobile games on my phone. If I want to play any games on the road, I usually just bring my Switch with me. But before that, I did play nearly 1000 holes of Desert Golfing before I switched phones and lost my save. I normally don’t play sports games, but I have a fascination with weird, arcadey golf games ever since Mario Golf on the original NES. What The Golf falls into that, and then some. Its puzzle-y, unexpected, and occasionally, it’s golf. With it’s daily challenges and well designed campaign, its great for my short or longe commutes. The only downside (for some) it i’s still only available for Apple Arcade. But, even Apple needs to have some exclusive titles for that platform, I suppose.
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a perfect sandbox game for being an asshole to humans…As a goose. The story is left up to your interpretation as to why this goose is messing with an old man and his garden, or knocking over kids and stealing their glasses. It can get repetitive, but each new area adds just enough puzzles to keep things interesting. This game lived up to every expectation I had, but where it really shined, were the memes and community that came out of it.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
confession time. I’ve never played a Fire Emblem game before Three Houses. But I’ve played the style of game before. Ogre Battle 64 and Final Fantasy Tactics used to be my jam, so I had no trouble jumping in. The game also doesn’t rely on you having any knowledge with previous games, so it was the perfect time to get into the series. And clocking in at almost 120 hours played, this was a great game I could pick up and play short amounts through out the entire summer.