2019 Top 10

It was a good year for games! I got a lot of use out of my Switch in portable mode this year, and I am consistently amazed at the value that Xbox Game Pass is providing. Here are my favorites from 2019:

List items

  • I stumbled into Outer Wilds not knowing what type of game it was, and the first few hours that I spent fumbling around the solar system were honestly pretty harrowing. I had some moments of genuine panic and anxiety in that early going, but eventually I began to understand the nuances of the tiny solar system. What followed was moment after moment of discovery, surprise, and a deep desire to unravel all of the mysteries of this world. As I reflect on the games I played this year, I can't think of a better one than Outer Wilds to be at the top of this list.

  • Alan Wake was one of my favorite games of last gen, and the folks at Remedy have hit another one out of the park with Control. The world-building in this game is such a treat. The framerate did chug along at times as I played on my base model Xbox One, but overall I found the gameplay to be fluid and unique. As always, I am excited to see what Remedy has in store for the future.

  • Man, I am so glad this game was good. I still play Battlefront 2 on an almost weekly basis (that game is actually pretty good, y'all!) but I have been desperately craving a truly narrative-focused single player Star Wars game for so long. This game had basically everything I had been craving from a Star Wars game, delivering a surprisingly lengthy campaign with great action and a strong story. Is it basically Space Uncharted with Jedi? More or less; however that is precisely what I have been craving for years since EA took over the Star Wars license. Only thing missing from this game for my tastes is a solid new game plus mode.

  • When it comes to horror movies and games I am a huge chicken, and I can honestly say that I hated every second of this game. Yet I also loved every second. Much like when I played the Dead Space games, for whatever reason my urge to complete this game was just barely stronger than my feelings of terror. I was scared the entire time, yet I kept powering through. One of my favorite games this year, that I will happily never play again. I am dreading the RE3 Remake this year.

  • I enjoyed Black Ops 4's multiplayer last year, but the fact that it was sans campaign was a bummer. It was nice to get thrown back into a nice Hollywood Blockbuster COD campaign with Modern Warfare. The multiplayer gunplay feels great too, although I think the maps are some of the weakest in the franchise. Overall, as far as COD games go, this is a good one of those.

  • This might sound strange, but I don't think I would have liked this game at all if it weren't for the portability of the Switch. Well, I probably would have still liked it, but I definitely wouldn't have found the time to play it had I been tethered to my TV. I probably put more than 80 hours into this game overall, and 99% of that time was spent with my Switch in handheld mode, playing in bed for an hour before going to sleep each night. I found this game to be perfect in that setting, almost like a TV show, where I was able to jump in, interact with my students or run a battle or two, and then put it away and pick it up again the next night. The tactical aspect of the game wasn't the strongest challenge, but I appreciated the great story and memorable characters.

  • I learned something about myself in 2019: I don't think that I like Battle Royale games that much. I think that I like the idea of them, and they have provided me with some amazing gameplay moments, but I realized that I don't really care for the minute to minute action of them that much. Spending 10 minutes focused on looting, hoping to find something good, running around for a long time, and then getting shot from some random direction by someone with a superior weapon has started to become more of a drag that even a clutch victory can't outweigh. I am finding myself appreciating the quick action and constant encounters in a Call of Duty more than the slower, methodical pace of a Battle Royale. All that said, I still really like Apex. Respawn does an amazing job of making their shooting mechanics fun, and they added a lot of smart things to this game that set them apart from other games in the genre. I play this game more or less because it's what my friends are playing, and I have my fun with it, but give me a COD or a Halo instead any day.

  • I had a great time with this ingenious little puzzle game. It was head-scratchingly difficult at times, but it always felt fair, which I appreciated. I also found it to be a surprisingly good couch co-op game, as it is easy for others to watch and offer suggestions for how to crack a tough puzzle. Baba is Fun.

  • HONK!

  • This is the perfect example of a game that I would have probably never gotten around to playing were it not for Game Pass. I enjoyed the shooting AND the looting, and the humor/writing was pretty entertaining. If you've got Game Pass, check this one out.