2019 was an exhausting year. So much so that I’m making this bold claim with a full month still left to go. That’s how writing works! And still, with thirty days still left to go, I’m dead tired. This past year really took it out of me in many different ways, but one thing helped make things a little better: you guessed it, videogames!
Then again, we, the people who care about this silly hobby, also got to see some of the worst side of gaming in 2019, mainly through hilariously bad decisions made by gigantic publishers who should’ve known better. I doubt that things will be much different moving on, and I can’t wait to see what 2020 holds in regards to that.
Will this coming year be equally as tiring? I certainly hope not! One thing I know for sure, though, is that I’ll always have something to say about games that I played and (mostly) covered for Entertainium. Here are some of my favorites from these past 335 *ahem* 365 days, as well as the ones that I hope to get to in the next!
See you in 2020! o/
By the time A Plague Tale came out in the middle of the year, I felt like I’ve seen it way too much. After having appointments for previews at E3 on three separate occasions, I thought I knew exactly what to expect about this game. Luckily, I was proven wrong, and it turned out to be one of my favorite games of the year. It delivers a heartwarming story that’s made better by the incredible writing and performances by the two lead child characters. It’s a very dark game for sure, but the devs at Asobo really nailed the atmosphere without going too overboard.
Like A Plague Tale, I didn’t give much for Control, but for a different reason: I got a terrible demo of it at this year’s E3. Even though it had been announced for quite a while up to that point, I didn’t really know much about it, and being dropped into the middle of the whole thing during the demo didn’t help. When I finally got to review it, I got the chance to enjoy it the way that it was meant to be, and it totally blew me away. Remedy’s in their own field when it comes to delivering narratives in games, and Control managed to surpass earlier games from their catalog that I once considered to be my favorites. Quite a feat for sure, given my absolute adoration for Alan Wake.
For as much as I was disappointed by the implementation of the ‘side B’ game mode in this version of Resident Evil 2, something that even the original version got right, I have to give it to Capcom for their brilliant overall work with this remake. It took me back to the day when I first played the original Resident Evil and was scared by the idea of having to confront the living dead, thanks to how they changed up how they behave when shot, not to mention the absolutely disgusting gore that permeates throughout the game. Hoping/dreading that 2020 will bring a similar remake of Resident Evil 3 Nemesis! (Editor’s note: Your wish has been granted!)
My lord, playing this game felt like I found a long-lost friend and everything about them was exactly like I remembered it. It’s absolutely beautiful and easy to play, plus Luigi is so damn charming. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did, and buying it was a gamble on my part after not knowing for sure that my early impressions from E3 would convert to the final game. But they did. I love being surprised like this!
Ubisoft took me by surprise when they made this my favorite game out of their 2019 catalog. I’m dead serious! Anno 1800 is a gorgeous sim that took me for a ride in January, and months later, it’s still fresh in my mind. I admit to being a terrible strategy game player, hence my checkered history with the genre, but there’s something to this that made me persist, and I’m glad that I did.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
It took me more time than I liked getting to the newest expansion to Final Fantasy XIV. I was only able to sign back up a little while back, and since then Shadowbringers has been my favorite out of the three expansions by far. The thing about it that makes it special is that it’s a development of the story that’s been slowly built over the years, culminating in one of the most emotional MMO series of cutscenes, quests, raids, and dungeons I have ever played. I’ve really grown to care for the cast of FFXIV over the years, and seeing where they go with this new content has been something else. There’s much more to go for me in terms of content since I’m far behind on everything, so don’t be surprised to see it pop up in an article or two during 2020.
Stories about family members playing games along with friends of mine have always garnered a lot of envy on my part. Outside of a handful of moments playing with my brother as a kid, I haven’t really been able to share my favorite pastime with anyone other than friends, and it’s always been something that made me pretty bummed. Thankfully, Devolver put this little game out, and with it I was able to convert my significant other to the dark side of living! All thanks to Heave Ho’s deceptively simple and totally hilarious gameplay which captivated her so much.
Ape Out is straight to the point in its approach, and for that, it earns a lot of points. It also helps that it does not overstay its welcome in any way whatsoever. It’s musical and it’s violent without having to resort to portraying it too graphically. Never since the many Donkey Kong games have I enjoyed brawling out as a gorilla as much as I did in Ape Out, that’s for damn sure.
While I’m not the world’s authority in Contra, I can safely say Blazing Chrome was the best Contra game to come out in years, hands down.
I’m particularly fond of this one, but not enough for it to make it into my favorites list. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful and certainly well made, but the overall gameplay were the biggest hurdle that stood in my way when trying to get through the gripping story bits I so desperately wanted to see.
I really debated having this on the top list, but I decided to make it an honorable mention because of how hard of a time I’ve had coming up with an excuse to go back to it. A few of my favorites this year were strong enough experiences that compelled me to go back to them after being done the first time, but DMC 5 so far hasn’t given me reason to jump back in, for as much as I loved playing through it for review.
Judgment made great use of the setting from the Yakuza games, but I felt like it rethreaded the same locales way too much, and it didn’t get far enough from the overall gameplay of the main series enough to make it its own thing. Still, it’s a fantastic adventure that I had a great time getting through this past year for sure.
I can’t think of many RPGs these days that are in any way original in their delivery of combat, but Indivisible has something going for it that might not be entirely its own thing, even though it comes pretty close. Plus, I love its characters!
You might be thinking of how I would dare not put this expansion up there as one of my favorites of 2019. I would turn around and tell you why in three words: The Guiding Lands. Ugh. What a slog of an endgame Iceborne has. Capcom is already deep into adding more to Monster Hunter World as this article goes up, but as is, I still don’t feel the urge to come back to this one yet. Hopefully that will change in 2020.
There really isn’t much to the core idea of this game if you think about it rationally, but there’s something to Sea Salt that really sank with me and made me appreciate how such a small twist can turn a game. Having basically demonic Pikmin landed Sea Salt a spot in my top games list, for sure.
Okay, I admit that I made some promises in my review that ultimately did not pay off. I didn’t keep up with this game throughout the year, and I’ve yet to partake in the changes brought by its newest patch. Still, it’s in my honorable mentions because the forty hours that I spent playing this before and after review far surpassed my expectations for someone like me playing a military shooter, let alone one that’s online all of the time. Maybe I should’ve added this to the next category instead… Eh, let’s keep the list the way it is. I don’t want to make more promises, I’m in enough trouble as is!
There’s no way talking around how much of a shit show the entire thing with Telltale was, and how bummed I was at seeing people lose their jobs and a company such as them to see their end the way that they did. I had no expectations that I would eventually see The Walking Dead’s finale, but things eventually worked out and the final episodes managed to see the light of day, and to many’s surprise, they were pretty darn good. I’m glad that we got to see Clem’s story to the end.
Stuff I’m hoping to play more of next year
Damn, I really wanted to have played more of Bloodstained this year, but I utterly failed. The little of it that I did, though, was fantastic. I’m happy to see that at least one of the Kickstarter projects that I contributed that saw its release this year turned out okay. *cough*
I’ve been getting through this very slowly ever since I got a review code a few weeks ago. By the time this list is live, I’ll hopefully have some sort of progress journal up, but I know for a fact that I won’t be done with this game in 2019.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Yeah, I’m cheating by having this go in two separate categories, but it’s an MMO for crying out loud. I never ends. And differently from most, I’m having enough of a good, casual good time that I want to keep going. We’ll see once I get to the endgame grind if things change, but regardless, I’m only going to get there in 2020, so it’s technically a game I will be playing more of then. There we go!
Game Pass PC: Gears 5, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and The Outer Worlds
Games Pass on PC proved to be one hell of a service for me in 2019, and that’s mainly due to these games, mainly Gears 5. Even though I haven’t played much of it yet, the little of it that I did brought back a lot of memories from the days of trying to beat the original on the hardest difficulty setting in co-op over crappy wi-fi with my friend Dave from Scotland. I’ll sign back up and tie a bow on all of these in 2020. For sure?
Red Dead Redemption 2
Shamefully adding this to the year end list once again. I’ve had a good TV to play this for a while now, but thanks to a pretty busy 2019, I probably played about an hour of this since January. Hope to slow down and get back to the Old West in 2020. I should have no excuse not to, right?
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I’ve been hearing wildly different takes on this one. Having only played the first couple of worlds, I’m curious to see where it all leads within the new canon of Star Wars which I admit I’m not particularly fond of — movies included.
I finally made the plunge into this series in 2019 when I started part one back in July, and even though I failed to finish it and its sequel before reviewing Trails of Cold Steel III, I had a great time playing the latest localized entry. I hope to get through all of them by the time the latest (and final!) game gets released in English. I probably won’t.
Upcoming games that I’m looking forward to in 2020
It’s a new game by the guys who made my favorite RPG of this generation. Come on. Then again… Oh, we’ll see how it turns out. Please don’t get delayed again!
This was supposed to already be out, but it’s not, so I’m holding on to hope it won’t take long for me to be back in my beloved real-time tactical Commandos-y wheelhouse in 2020 with this.
Please be good! Pleeeeeeeeease be good! The demo was good, so the final version has got to.
Will this be the big hit of the coming year? What I saw of it back at E3 looked very promising!
Like with Desperados III, this is another unlikely sequel to a game I really loved way back, and it has a lot going for it. Fingers crossed.
I went from zero to sixty after a single demo at BGS 2019 and hopefully I’ll be able to play more of this in 2020. It’s looking pretty darn good!
Ghost of Tsushima
The other Sony AAA title that I’ve got my eye on in 2020.
Resident Evil 3 Remake
It’s finally happening! I can’t believe it!
The Last of Us Part II
I replayed the first TLOU in hopes of getting to this in February. Ooops!
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV
Will 2020 be the year I get this saga done and dusted? I’ll try!
Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2
Okay, there already seems to be a running theme in my 2020 list, apparently…