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For your consideration: Monstress by Marjorie Liu, it's pretty amazing.

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Game of the Year 2019

Pretty sure I only managed to finish this due to the C19 lockdown. Can't remember too much of 2019 but it had some amazing games. A selection of which are below:

List items

  • In a year of some very well written games Sunless Skies takes it for me with its wild imagination on top of its elegant and often hilarious prose. Layer some unique and gorgeous visuals, music and a refined rework of Sunless Seas' smart survival adventuring on top and you get the black forest gateau of gaming.

  • Every year demands new ways to placate my tyrannical megalomania and 2019's Total War outing was my pick of the bunch. The setting isn't as immediately compelling to me as Warhammer but its just as good and as compelling as any Total War game to date.

  • Came out of nowhere thanks to duder and wordsmith SparkyBuzzsaw. A short but affecting neon adventure through the eyes of the last human cabbie. Amazing characters, compelling conversations and intrigue held me from start to finish in one unforgettable sitting.

  • After two games worth of grim underground hiking Metro heads overground and for all the (eventual) colour and brightness it remains a engaging and moody march through a hostile wilderness punctuated with some of the best moments in the series.

  • Fire Emblem combat has always been excellent, and with Three Houses' superlative character building and class mechanics it was always going to be the story and characters that made the difference between being merely good and being special. It nearly gets there with some of the best characters of the series but let down a touch with some wonky storytelling.

  • Beating The Surge 2's finishers for my 'psychotic yet oh so satisfying' award. It helps that MK is such utter nonsense that its Bathorific proclivities are glorious and only so slightly disturbing. Shame about the Krypt though, a blight in an otherwise fun orgy of violence.

  • As a big RPG lover 2019 felt a quite barren year. Having resigned myself to the death of the Pillars series after the infuriatingly good Deadfire, The Outer Worlds at least managed to scratch a similar itch for me. I'm not always a big fan of Ashly Burch but Parvati was something else.

  • Stands alongside Dusk as one of the great FPS titles of recent years. The speed and freedom of movement is absurdly fun and brings into focus my best friend's lament of the classic old school shooter. Also a big fan of the ever more psychedelic levels as you progress.

  • Classic point and click loveliness; engaging characters, a unique setting, interesting themes and puzzles that don't turn my teeth to dust. The power of AGS in full effect and another great adventure game to add to the now dizzying pile from the last few years.

  • I was a big fan or the original RE remaster and RE2 felt a lot like that but brought into the third person. Intricate level design, secrets, atmosphere and a nice balance between action and more traditional survival horror. That being said, it's not scary, but is a whole lot of fun.

  • Cemented my thoughts that I much prefer the Vania side of the Metroidvania equation. Enjoyed the relatively straightforward combat, the dash of RPG elements, exploration, the atmosphere, music etc. Destined to struggle beneath Castlevania's shadow but a very good time in and of itself.

  • A smart and addictive mash-up of Civilization and X-Com, integrating quests and story beats into its vast and sprawling empire management. Unique factions and customisation also fit nicely in an experience that does a great job in marshalling all its many elements.

  • Beautiful and serene, such sumptuous visual and audio design. Like the world's most majestic nature hike hiding a tense and challenging downhill biking simulator.

  • By dint of being a sequel it was never going to be a revelatory as the first Dirt Rally, that being said it's still pretty much the best rally game on the market. Could have done with more content from the off but the gameplay is still as tough, as tense and as rewarding at it ought to be.

  • Despite a conservative approach to story and gameplay Fallen Order is a beautiful and very well designed adventure. What it lacks in innovation it makes up for in great performances (big fan of Cere and the Second Sister) and a fun mix of combat, puzzles and platforming. Plays it safe but is far from pedestrian.

  • Perhaps the best escort mission game ever made, largely because it isn't an escort mission in the way that makes them so infuriating. Great atmosphere, smart puzzles, decent stealth. Shakes a bit at the end but imaginative and unique nonetheless.

  • Remedy are clearly fans of Jeff VanderMeer it seems. Combat overstays its welcome and its weirdness is a very safe sort of weirdness yet still an engrossing and atmospheric adventure.

  • Along with its Spellforce 3 predecessor Soul Harvest blows the dust clean off a series that has spent far too long in its seemingly perpetual death march. Looks great, plays great and the added role playing elements add that little extra fun to an already enjoyable RTS.

  • A satisfying end to what The Cat Lady and Downfall started. Dark, melancholic and at times stark in its brutality. Not everyone will be sold on the art but the writing is decent and the atmosphere well worth the effort. Alas, some of the music choices (or rather the lyrics/vocals) could have done with a revision.

  • Great pixel art (although not quite at the level of Children of Morta, but then again, who is?) and some slow, tense, soulslike action did it for me. Rough round the edges but very much in my wheelhouse.