By Gangway 0 Comments
My 2019 Top 5 Games of the Year List
Thanks to my new Daily LongPlay stream format I have been able to play through quite a few more games this year than I normally would. A large number of these games were releases from previous years such as Horizon: Zero Dawn, Doom 2016, Marvel's Spider-Man, Dark Siders 3, and even Super Mario Galaxy. I was also able to play through 7 games that actually came out this year (2019) and I have decided to make a list of my top 5 games of the year for 2019 with a couple of honorable mentions. I am also listing separately a handful of game released this year that I started but have as yet to finish. Overall this has been a pretty good year for games. I feel like I had a better time playing games this year than I have had for many a years. I will be doing a separate post talking about my 2019 year in gaming in a more general manner, including equipment and systems I have purchased as well as some of the new experiences I have had in gaming. Now on to my 2019 Top 5 games of the year list.
2019 Top 5 Games of the Year List
It should be no surprise that the latest from one of my favorite developers (Remedy) finds its way to my top 5 list but in this case I was surprised by how good Control is. To put it bluntly, it is as if Remedy took all of the best lessons and ideas from their previous games and out put them into this one with some additional wackiness and some light Metroidvanina elements and made what is probably their best game ever.
At the game's most basic (and reductive) level it is a more open and better playing version of Remedy's previous game Quantum Break. Control is a 3rd person shooter (like all of Remedy's previous games) and it stars Jessie Haydon as she explore the strange out of 1960 government style Federal Bureau of Control in what is called the Oldest House. Here Jessie seeks to uncover her past and her missing brother as well as try to find answers to what is going on here in this Federal Agency of the Paranormal. Control has tight shooting, a story with plenty of characters and character and a whole lot of style, flavor and dry humor. This is a game where you want to read the flavor text and watch every video (done by a certain Darling character) and the more weird it gets, the more you want to dive deeper. Control is a well made game that I would whole heartily recommend to everyone.
2. Devil May Cry 5
Ever since the game's announcement back at E3 2018, Devil May Cry was my most anticipated game for 2019. Given Capcom's recent history I had no reason or right to expect another DMC game to come from the company but thankfully I was proven wrong. Deveil May cry is a direct sequel to both DMC 3 and DMC 4 in terms of story as it picks up with Nero as the main character but it feature bot Dante and a new character V as a giant demon tree appears in the middle of the city. The trio take different paths to the center of this threat and they uncover the truth of what is really going on here. Devil May Cry 5 has three distinct characters with 3 very different fighting styles with plenty of separate upgrade paths for all three of them. The game feels very different depending on who you are playing as in the moment. One thing DMC 5 has plenty of is style as every cut scene, every fight, and every quip by every character is oozing with style at every opportunity. DMC 5 is also a good looking game as it runs on the same RE engine that powered both of the most recent Resident Evil titles. The reason Devil May Cry 5 is only second place is mainly due to how good my number one pick Control is. This may be a very personal preference to me but the at the end of the day Control being perhaps the best game from perhaps my favorite developer was enough to secure it my top pick for 2019.
3. The Outer Worlds
My 10 month or so trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $1 has result in me getting to try quite a few games that I wouldn't normally give the time of day for and I know I am much the better for it. One such game is a little Fall-Out Style Action RPG called The Out Worlds. This game made by Obsidian is set in a solar system far from earth where you are a colonist from an abandoned space ship called the Hope who is rescued from hibernation by a seemingly mad man trying to overthrow the current system of government in this star system called Halcyon. You get a ship and eventually a crew and ytou can choose how or even whether to help this individual in his goals. The Outer Worlds plays in a first person shooter perspective and uses a time slowing mechanic to allow for more precise aiming. The game also features the usual collection of hacking, lock picking, speech crafting, and stealth options as well as character customization one would expect to see in a Fall-out style RPG. What makes the Outer Worlds different (and much more appealing) is its much shorter length. It took me about 25 hours to do a play through from when I created my character to seeing credits role. The Outer Worlds is also much more focused with fewer areas to traverse (a hand full of land-able planets and ships) and fewer factions to have to worry about. This game seems like the perfect introductory course for those who have been interested in Bethesda's Action RPGs but have for what ever reason been to intimidated to give them a try. The Outer Worlds is not without its faults as there are far too many load times that are too long, inconsistencies with what is and is not stealing, and for how streamline the game is it is still far too easy to miss large amounts of content (as I did in my play through). I still very much enjoyed my time with the Outer Worlds even with this not being my normal kind of game. I guess I owe it to Microsoft's Excellent Game Pass Service for giving me the encouragement to give it a go.
4. Mortal Kombat 11
I have to start by saying that Mortal Kombat 9 (2011) was my favorite fighting game and MK game altogether. I was very disappointed with MK X and had no expectations that Mortal Kombat 11 would be any better. I am glad to say that I was wrong. MK 11 might be the best of the series and my new favorite fighting game. The story actually redeems the problems with the story in MK X (to a least some extent) and it was very entertaining and enjoyable in its own right. The game has a really in depth tutorial mode that actually does a decent job of explaining and showing hard and obscure fighting game concepts like attack and defense frames and the like. I never tried to play this game online or even local split screen as I really only got it for the story mode. The story seems to pull a lot of ideas from Avengers: Endgame as it features time travel and an omnipotent foe trying to alter the universe to their own benefit. If you have ever been interesting in trying a fighting game, I believe this is the one to get.
5. Gears of War 5
For me, the decision to give Xbox Game Pass was made easier knowing that I was going to get Gears 5 in the process and that alone made the deal worth while. Gears (of War) 5 is a solid 3rd person shooter with a decent enough story and probably the best graphics on this side of the console generation (assuming it is played on a high end PC or Xbox One X). It is not just all greys and browns either as it has plenty of colors as well. Gears 5 features a couple of larger over world areas in the middle that give a different look and game play style that will likely return for the eventual sequel. I was not really looking forward to this game but having finished it I very much want to see what a Gears 6 has to offer. Gears 5 won't do much for new comers to the series but if you have played and enjoyed the other gears game, this one is worth a go.
Since I only finished 7 games that came out this year I decided to make a top 5 list with a couple of honorable mentions. These two games are ones that did not quite make the cut but were still good, for the most part.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
I did not play Castlevania: symphony of the night (and still have not) but I did play the first Bloodstained this year as a Games with Gold game and when this came out I took a chance and bought it. I enjoyed it as a hack and slash exploring game with plenty of atmosphere and silliness. Bloodstained has good visuals and a strong score that made me want to continue. I think the game would have hit me harder if I had played the game for which it was heavily influenced by but as it stands it did not leave much of a lasting impression on me. It is available on Xbox Game Pass as of this writing so if you have it, you might want to give it a try.
Yooka-Laylee: and the Impossible Lair
I bought the first Yooka-Laylee for $8 on a black Friday deal and thought it was okay. It was not a game I was looking forward to and thus was not disappointed in. When I heard that a second game was being made and it was a Donkey Kong Country style 2D Plat-former I knew I was going to get it. On the whole Yooka-Laylee: and the Impossible Lair in every way over the first game. It looks and it plays better and it even has a better sense of humor. Perhaps this is because I never really got into 3D Plat-formers that I was going to be more drawn to a 2D one. Regardless I really like this game, right until the Impossible Lair itself which is way too hard for a game of this kind. The difficulty of this last level highlighted the problems of the controls being a little too loose and the hit box being to off and inconsistent as both of those need to be dead on for a level like that to be fun and they are not. If the Impossible Lair was an optional thing that was not necessary to finish the game this would be okay but you do not see credits role until to finish it. There is enough enjoyment in this game before the last level is you go through all 40 of the regular ones and as such it was still worth playing but I was more relived to finally beat the Impossible Lair than I was happy. As such, Yooka-Laylee: and the Impossible Lair is on the outside looking in of my top 5 list.
2019 Games I would like to finish
I wanted to mention a few games that I started but did not finish in 2019 but would like to or that I am actively playing so here is that section.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
My first From Software game is the subject of my current efforts and it is tough. I have played over a dozen hours and I am still in the early area. I am very much enjoying Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice but it is going to take me a good long time to finish it, assuming that I can. Sekiro seems to me like a Ninja Gaiden (on the OG Xbox) with some stealth elements mixed in as well as some of the usual Dark Souls stuff. I bought this game on a Black Friday deal and I hope to write up something about it when (and if ) I finish it.
The Outer Wilds
The Outer Wilds is another game that I tried because I have Game Pass. It is almost like a Rouge like first person adventure game where you explore a small had crafted solar system in a spaceship that is basically a wooden crate landing on different planets a learning about some ancient species that lived a long time ago all before the sun goes Super Nova and causes you to die and wake up to do it all over again with only the knowledge you picked up to carry on with you. It has a nice visual style and a good sense of humor as well as a whole lot of mystery to uncover. This is a game I want to go back to and try to finish as at some point and I have to thank Game Pass for introducing me to it.
Another game that I got to play because of Game Pass, but this time it was a Game that I knew I wanted to try from when I first heard of it. Wargroove is basically a new Advance Wars in that it is a turn base strategy game that has colorful visuals and is really good. The difference is that Wargroove is in a medieval setting and it has hero characters. It is a really nice looking (with a strong Retro 2D style) fun playing game that I want to find time for next year. Also, thank you Game Pass.
This has been an awesome year for me in gaming. I got to play more great games that came out this year than I have for a long time. I feel like I can recommend my all of my top 5 games to everyone (almost) without qualifications. This was also the year of Game Pass for me as I tried this service for dirt cheap and now I feel like I need it, even at full price. That is an outcome that I did not expect. Even setting that aside, this was an awesome year for gaming at 2020 will be hard pressed to follow up to it. I'm not worried because I still have plenty of 2019 stuff waiting just in case.