Game of the Year 2019

Due to several things happening in 2019 (mainly earning more money and Xbox Game Pass) I was able to play a lot more games than usual this year. In prior years I usually struggle to even get 10 games on my list. This year I played nearly 30 with plenty more in my back catalogue. This was also the year I finally invested in a virtual reality headset (which bricked a day later) so yeah, big ups to Oculus for that.

Anyway here is my definitive list of my top ten games of the year. Once again shout out to Control, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers and Judgment as games I wished I played but had no time to do so. Also World of Warcraft Classic and Blood: Fresh Supply for being games that technically came out this year but also technically did not come out this year.

List items

  • Everything in Death Stranding just clicked with me.

    I honestly do not know how it did it but it did. There was something about walking the wasteland of the United States, carrying cargo on my back trying to avoid BT's that hit every part of my brain that makes me love video games. The graphics were amazing with the best performance capture this generation. The soundtrack made me a fan of multiple artists. The story was intriguing right until the very end.

    But the thing that made Death Stranding special for me was that I truly believe that a game like this has never existed before and possibly will never exist again. A game with a big budget, a huge marketing campaign and A-List Hollywood talent that is all about walking from A to B with a bunch of ceramics. In an industry filled with sequels, remakes and rehashes, Death Stranding is the first truly original game in I don't even know how long.

    I don't think I have ever felt about a game the same way I feel about Death Stranding. It is my Game of the Year without a single doubt

  • I don't know what I was thinking in July when I thought to myself 'I'm going to play all the Kingdom Hearts games for the first time'. But here we are 9 games later and Kingdom Hearts III being my second favourite game of the year. Kingdom Hearts III is not just my second favourite game of 2019, it might be my favourite Kingdom Hearts game. They made the combat enjoyable without weighing it down with gimmicks (Chain of Memories and Dream Drop Distance comes to mind), they made exploring the environment worth it for the first time in franchise history all while having the best graphics of any game this year. Kingdom Hearts III was so good it is making me excited for the DLC Re:Mind. No game has done that since Mass Effect 3.

  • I don't think there has ever been a game that fused two gameplay philosophies better than the remake of Resident Evil 2. They took the horror and puzzle focused games such as 1, 2 and 7 and combined it with the action and gameplay of 4 and 5. They almost made the perfect Resident Evil game. Even the smaller things like how the map tracks your progress and the zombie damage system goes beyond a simple remake. Resident Evil 2 Remake is one of the best games in a franchise which games are considered the best ever.

  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is exactly what you think it is. It is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night with all the IP removed. There is no twist or a different take on that formula but that was exactly what I wanted. The things they do change fit the game perfectly. The shard system is broad and allows for experimentation, the quests and cooking system gives player goals to set themselves for great rewards. Not every game needs to reinvent the wheel and that's what Bloodstained did, they made a really nice fucking wheel.

  • It has been a very long time since I played an RPG that I was more engrossed in than Outer Worlds. It took everything I love about the Bethesda/Obsidian-style RPG, condensed it and polished it. It doesn't have the sprawling world of a Fallout or character systems of an Elder Scrolls but that precisely why I love it. They made a tight 25 hour RPG experience with all of the excellent writing and exploration you would expect from Obsidian with none of the bugs and mediocre content. It is a textbook example of 'all-killer, no-filler'.

  • Those bastards at Respawn did it. They made a battle royale game that I love playing. Apex Legends does everything I want in a battle royale game. It allows communication through its revolutionary ping system without a microphone, makes character skills work in a battle royale setting and all while fitting it into that Titanfall 2 gameplay formula. This might be the tightest controls for a game this year. Apex Legends made me play a Battle Royale in an era where I thought Battle Royale was dead. That is quite an accomplishment.

  • Untitled Goose Game just makes me happy. That's really it. It does not wow me with intricate gameplay systems, mind-blowing graphics or emotionally gripping stories. It is simple and bare-bones as you can get but god damn it do I love it. I just love waddling around town, honking at children and stealing gardening tools. Untitled Goose Game is a great way to ground yourself from the larger video game picture. To get way from multiplayer patch notes and decade-spanning sagas, just to be a goose for 3 hours and enjoy.

  • Cadence of Hyrule was a great surprise this year. I have not played Crypt of the NecroDancer so I was little apprehensive on playing Cadence but once I got into the rhythm (ha!) everything just clicked. It is basically a condensed Zelda experience with a neat music mechanic with also the nostalgic beats (ha!) one would want. A killer soundtrack, gorgeous graphics and a perfect length, Cadence of Hyrule should be in any Zelda fan's collection.

  • Fuck Baba is You straight to hell. I don't think I have ever spent so much time staring at one screen while my brain starts to have a meltdown. It's logic puzzles and solutions are ingenious, its ruleset is so simple a child could understand however it still managed to break me in a way that only the best puzzle games can. Baba is You is definitely part of the higher tier of puzzle games released this decade and I hate it because of it.

  • Outer Wilds did not click for me as it did for so many. I thought the freeform exploration was a bit too aimless, flying controls weren't as tight as I would have liked and I was screwed over by the time loop more than a few times. Still, no game in years has imbued in me the sense of discovery and wonder quite like Outer Wilds. Blasting through the solar system finding planets filled with amazing sights and stories were enough to ease its way into my top ten list for 2019.