Ok, it's the Best 2019 Games

Look, I'm still playing some 2018 games like Valkyria Chronicles 4 and Yakuza Kiwami 2. I only just finished Red Dead 2 in October of this year! I take a long ass time to get through games, and that's how I like it. Eventually I'll play Pathologic 2 or Luigi's Mansion 3 or Judgement or something and realize they should have been on this list all along, or maybe I'll finish something here and realize it shouldn't have been there, but for now, let's dwell on the past.

List items

  • It's way too easy even on hard, but maddening mode made me appreciate the game on another level. Its a bit cheap, what with reinforcement spam and every enemy being like 7 levels above even your highest level unit. But, for example, using Sylvain's "+3 to strength when adjacent to ladies" ability to irk out just one more point of damage and land the kill on an enemy unit that would clearly fuck up your whole day if you didn't manage to get it THAT turn is so satisfying.

    The quality of life stuff is also amazing, the new gambits system adds an entirely different layer to attacking, and the fact you can just see which of your units the enemy is going to attack and how much damage they'll do and the hit rate they'll have while doing it is a brilliant move.

    Every character is great and the voice acting is invaluable to this point. They're all likable and interesting, even the ones that don't seem that way at first. I even found the political warring and noble squabbling got really compelling by the end, if only because it was all accented by the relationships between the characters from these factions.

    Only thing that sucks is the conversation animation is really cheap looking. It's not like you *need* very fancy and smooth animation for the supports and story scenes cause most of them are just two people standing around talking, but its still bad enough to notice.

  • Yeah I'm one of those guys that loves Remedy and thinks Alan Wake is a gem of the generation. Yeah yeah the art design and combat and the collectibles and yeah I bet the graphics and ray tracing on your 10,000$ computer is nice. I played it on a base PS4 post-patch and it's totally fine, so don't let that scare you. You've read about this game. It's amazing in almost every way so stop fucking around and just play it.

  • Everything in this game just felt so great, and the abilities are BONKERS. Some of them subvert what you're expecting from a Symphony of the Night game, like the ability to just flip the fuckin castle whenever you want. Some of them make you feel like you're cheating, like the ability to run so fast you can whiz past any screen in about a quarter of a second.

    Symphony of the Night holds up don't get me wrong, but it's a little slow and clunky in ways Bloodstained cranks up to a satisfying degree. Add on to that the character of Miriam, who is probably one of the best Castlevania protagonists behind Richter and maybe Netflix Trevor.

  • This is the multiplayer game I played this year. Every year has one. I played a bit of Tetris Effect but other than that my main experience with Tetris is some knockoff on my dad's Blackberry from 2007. This game made me way better at Tetris. Now I'm a fuckin speed demon dropping blocks telepathically like a wizard (I'm not).

  • It plays like a dream, and I think this is the best post-Hotline Miami one-hit-one-kill gorefest with a story about a serial killer thus far, at least that I've played. But, like Hotline Miami and it's sequel, I found the story stuck with me more than I expected. It was partly written by one of the guys who wrote the Orwellian masterpiece of our time Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden, but this isn't a lot like Barkley other than the references to anime. Its a gripping, fucked up drama from beginning to end, and its only like 4 hours. Play it in a weekend.

  • Not quite as New Vegas as I expected. The wanderlust element isn't nearly as strong, which did make me a bit disappointed, but maybe in order to make the game so technically solid they couldn't go huge with it? i don't know. The combat kinda sucks. The conversations and choicing are still as satisfying and fascinating as ever, though, (and in ways even more so than New Vegas, but not every way) which makes it much better than most games.

  • I keep crashing my ship into the tornado planet or falling through a black hole getting stranded miles and miles away but I'm having a great time. Every time I live, I chip into the universe a little bit further and it feels good. Flying is satisfying even if it controls like fucking QWOP. I'm sure that as I progress further, this will get higher on the list, but as it stands this is where I'm at.

  • I've only played this game for about 6 hours, so I feel bad rating it this high, but I think I'm right about the part where the combat and combo systems and story all start to pick up. It's got some fighting game systems, and some RPG systems, they're all simplified, but eventually you start stringing together debuffs, heals, and attacks like a combo and it never gets old. I'm anxious to get back in. Oh, and its gorgeous, every inch of this fucking thing, and on top of that the voice acting is really making the already great writing work.

    The only weird thing about the story is, this dude who you watch kill your dad and burn your village down and then invade your brain and stays there, it doesn't really seem to really traumatize this teenager or traumatize at all. You even start to become friends. I feel like I'm a forgiving kind of person, but not *this* much. Just weird. The characters and story aren't really taken seriously for any long amount of time though, so its not too jarring, but as I said, its still just, weird.

  • HONK HONK. Fuck you old man. Yeah I threw your newspaper in the lake. Eat shit.

  • I did not expect to get so invested in this game, but I did. Again I'm gonna talk about acting, but the performances from all the characters are really, really great.

    ((SPOILERS)) The side story of "JD is a dirtbag but tries so hard to redeem himself it almost costs him his life" is a good story that is kind of ruined by it being a moral choice. I got really sad looking at just the bloody state of Marcus at the end. Poor guy. Dude has lost everything. Makes me really interested to, I assume, finish up his story in the next game, even though I know what is probably gonna happen.((SPOILERS END))

    The side quest stuff was a nice change of pace, but I think in the end I'd prefer it flow from one moment to the next with more focused pacing. The stealth is so easy it may as well not even be an option. but whatever, you do it like 3 times. Traveling in the skiff was fun though.