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2019's Played Games

As you can probably tell by the title, this is a list of the hottest, sexiest nostrils in gaming. Chime in with your own love of booger-holders.

Or just read this for the games I played in 2019. Whatever.

List items

  • I've yet to finish a great big chunk of Into the Breach, mostly because I keep farting around between easy and normal. Even if I'm not particularly good at it, this feels like a game I should be knocking out of the park because of its basic strategic nature. There's a good amount of challenge to it, though, and I'm deeply enjoying learning a new rock-paper-scissors-shotgun type game.

  • Odyssey feels like it fulfills the promise that I didn't realize Origins was setting up. Everything feels just a touch smoother in Odyssey in terms of plot. It's also, like that one, a remarkably fun game, though it definitely could have done a bit more with the formula.

  • Yes, I didn't play Hotline until 2019. The reasons aren't the fault of the game - I thought it looked a little hard to see with my eye problems and I was right. I do like the basic concept, though I think the default controls are bizarrely mapped. The basic flow seems really neat and I might check out the rest of the game via YouTube videos.

  • New Dawn did what it needed to do to make me like it, and that's namely further Joseph Seed's story, which is all at once horrific and strangely compelling. He's a terrific figure in video games, fulfilling a strange spiritual mysticism we just don't see a lot of in games, particularly associated with Christianity. I hope to see people expand upon this idea and run with it.

    The new antagonists are surprisingly decent too. There's a hint of swagger to them I really like. Unfortunately, no one else in the game is given the kind of attention they deserve to live or die in meaningful ways. Same with the side characters, and really, the world at large. It's a shame, but not unexpected, given how fast this thing was rushed out the door.

    So yeah. Solid, but wildly unspectacular in just about every way. Had this been given a few years in development, a new map, and a more fleshed-out world told through organic storytelling rather than in-game notes, Ubisoft could have potentially stumbled into a classic. As it stands, it's merely passable.

  • A fun diversion I'll never be great at. I either rank in the 30s or the 80s, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of in-between.

  • Y'all ain't got shit on King Sparky! BOW TO THE MASTER OF TRIALS, MOTHAFUCKAAAAA!

  • One of the most surprisingly intelligent stories I've come across in a game, and definitely a must-play in my opinion. This one tells the story of an WNBA player facing down scandals in her personal and professional life. Pretty crazy stuff for a game, but it is sharp.

  • Cute, but the dialog didn't do it for me in the same way it didn't with Night in the Woods. But if you liked that game, sure, you'll find a lot to like here. Just not for me, I guess.

  • In a lot of ways, this feels like a subpar Rise of the Tomb Raider. It's not bad, mind you, and in fact, it's a pretty fun way to kill some time. But at this point, I'm kinda wondering why we can't see Lara Croft on a fun adventure or something that doesn't relate to her family at the very least. Good grief, I'm tired of the mommy/daddy issues in these games.

  • Labyrinth of Refrain feels like diet Etrian Odyssey, and that's certainly not a bad thing, especially if you found the EO games as intimidating as I did (and I'm an old M&M "expert"). The good aside, though, that comes with a lot of luggage, namely that you're going to be traversing samey-looking dungeons, fighting samey mobs, and doing the samey things for your stay here. And that's totally fine in small chunks, but inhale more than an hour or two at a time, and boy, the cracks in this one show themselves hard. As with just about every game of this type, I wish there were something to break up the formula.

  • Just Cause 4 somehow manages to still feel perfectly fine while stripping out what made Just Cause 2 and 3 good - namely the town and fortress takeovers. With the spring patch, you're still blowing thigns up to create chaos, but they no longer count towards taking over a specific town. Instead, you're now doing it to take over large areas, but the act of doing that is buried in menu after menu and frankly, it's a mess. That's not even getting me started on the needlessly complex process of equipping different abilities for your tethers, which feels like it was either playtested by Einstein's clones or way undertested by anyone approaching human.

    That said, this is all still a good game. The core mechanics all feel fine. There's a very pretty world to explore and have fun with. But there's just this pervasive feeling that no one really had a clear grasp on Just Cause 4's design philosophy or what resonated with fans in previous games, and as such, it feels wildly disjointed and half-assed.

  • Having been surprised by how much I liked Gears 3 five or six years ago, I picked this up expecting to have a blast. I still like the gameplay, and I might have been able to forgive the junior-high levels of awful writing, but what I can't deal with is a game this technically problematic on PC. It's crashed several times on me, the graphical hitching is constant (and my PC should be more than enough to handle it on medium), and the whole thing seems to have this sheen of ugliness to it I'm not sure should exist. I've fiddled with the options enough to know everything on my end is good, but for whatever reason, Gears 4 doesn't want to work. That's a shame. I'm in a mood for a big dumb shooter.

  • Imagine your favorite comfort food. You've got all the ingredients, you've got your pots, your pans, your... I don't know, egg timer and your baster. Whatever. Now imagine that meal cooked to damn near perfection, except you go to take a great big bite and you realize there's absolutely no seasoning in it whatsoever. No salt. No pepper. No garlic. No onion. Nothing. It's just a combination of those ingredients you like in the very specific manner in which you like it cooked, but it will be the most bland version of that comfort food imaginable.

    That's Dragon Quest XI.

  • The Shivah shows a lot of its age, particularly when it comes to a groan-inducing pirate-insult homage fight scene at teh end, but the version on Steam - which I think has been remastered - is a pretty solid, quirky story. I mean, it's an adventure game about a Rabbi solving a murder, so right there, it gets points for originality.

  • In a strange way, Horace gives me a lot of the same feelings as I had with What Remains of Edith Finch. The narrative isn't quite as strong here. Horace relies on references at times to prop itself up and some of its elements are going to feel familiar to anyone who's read or watched "robot plays Pinocchio" stories. But the way the story is doled out along with its clever jokes and genuinely heartfelt and strange moments, it's an astoundingly well done job in narrative gameplay. Absolutely superb game and highly recommended.

  • Simple, addicting, and remarkably painful when I make a dumbass mistake. I love this game.

  • Cute, charming bite of a story with some really fun dialog.