I don't have a theme this year and neither do I feel like waxing poetic about these games.
I feel like the quality of games we got this year was maybe slightly above average, but at the same time there isn't much to discuss about them, save for a couple.
And yes, I did play Death Stranding. That game is not one of the couple.

List items

  • The most unique and interesting game to come out this year. The combat is fantastic and the story and worldbuilding are top notch.

  • I dislike Soulsborne games, but I played through this one eight times. The more rigid and rhythm based combat of Sekiro is right up my alley.

  • Ace Combat is good! It's cool planes and anime. It feels good that this franchise is finally rejuvenated.

  • Judgment is basically 1:1 a Yakuza game, but the trappings from those games work much much better in the context of a detective agency helping the neighbourhood.

    The characters are much better than anyone in Yakuza and the soundtrack slaps.

    And the last few chapters fucking own.

  • This is the first mainline DMC that I've liked.

  • Fallen Order is just a competent Star Wars game. The combat is Sekiro lite and the story feels like standard fare Disney stuff, very safe an clean.

  • The original Modern Warfare is my favourite multiplayer FPS, so I like the slower pace in this one.

  • Nothing to see here. Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

  • Yeah, the writing is good, but goddamnit if I don't need more gameplay than this to keep me entertained. I almost bailed on Disco Elysium after the slow start, but stuck it out in the end.

    Eventually the story picks up enough that I got invested and could look past the monotony of fucking walking everywhere.

  • I'll be part of the broken record and say that the story of Kingdom Hearts is convoluted and poorly written,

    and after two decades of this it was impossible to wrap it up in a satisfactory way. So of course they didn't even try to do that.

    The combat hasn't ever been great either, but it's been getting better in each release.

    For me Kingdom Hearts cruises along on it's aestethic and nostalgia and Kingdom Hearts 3 has enough in both to make it onto the list.