What a great year to be a gamer
I had a better year for Video Games than I initially thought. I didn’t realise I spent a lot more time on one platform more than the others, and by a fair margin.
Spoiler, but for the first time in a VERY long time, I haven’t really played a game on PC. It makes sense. Usually when I sit in front of the computer I am getting ready to work, and if I am playing on the PC I always have work in the back of my mind. That will change in 2020 as well 🙂
Similar to my Board Game list, I have added a couple of cheat entries. Well, I call them cheats, becuase I haven’t finished them yet! They are weighted down thr lidy becuase of this, but the small amount of play I had still put them over other entries.
Enough explaining – on to the list!
Number 10 – Astral Chain (Switch)
PlatinumGames are evil. Here I am, a mid-40’s grumpy old man that can’t play twitch reflex games like he used to. Somehow though they manage to pull me back in to play another one.
I am enjoying the world-building of Astral Chain, and the story exploration is enough without being too grindy. Well, up to Chapter 5, where I am. And that is where I got up to.
I think it was PAX Aus prep after the site redesign that derailed me on this one? I am not sure. But if you like action games at all, you need to check out Astral Chain. It’s only number 10 because I haven’t finished it.
Oh, and if you want to play on the move, the Hori Split Pad Pro controller will do nicely 😀
Number 9 – Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)
A classic game remade. I skipped a lot of the Nintendo consoles, with the original Gameboy being my only console until the DS a couple of years ago. Because of this, I missed a lot of classic NES gaming, including the Legend of Zelda series.
Now before a lot of people go berserk that Link’s Awakening is at the bottom of my list, I have two reasons. Firstly, I haven’t finished it. So it’s in my top 10 unfinished. Secondly, even though it’s my first time through the game, at its core, the game is 25 years old!
I am genuinely enjoying Link’s Awakening, and now that I have finished Pokemon Shield I intend to go back and finish it. But the older gameplay mechanics that drive the game, even though they hold up, keep it lower down on my list, most likely even if I had finished it.
Number 8 – Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch)
Fire Emblem on the DS was terrific. Huge story to explore, character interactions, permadeath – it was a turn-based RPG geeks dream. Fire Emblem on the DS was like Valkyria Chronicles for me on PlayStation – I can’t get enough!
And on a work trip, I got just far enough into it to know I didn’t have the time to invest in it just yet. I knew that the world was involved and you had to keep on top of what was happening. But in the DS version, you only had to worry about that at particular times. Quests were manually triggered, so you soon knew when to close it.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses will let you play this way, but only to an extent by what I have tasted. The between battle interactions are on track to take up 40-60 hours on their own!
If you enjoy turn-based strategy, pick up Fire Emblem: Three Houses for yourself. The casual mode will let you pick up and play no problem, and is still quite a challenge.
Number 7 – The Jackbox Party Pack 6 (Switch)
Yes, it’s a collection of silly mini-games. It also let me run and join in for a games night with zero prep time.
For those that don’t know, the Jackbox Party games are just general games where the audience votes on winners. You can be designing T-Shirts, redefining the English language, or finding evil alien stowaways!
Buying the pack on a console (or PC, Apple TV, Pretty much anything) lets you host the game, and everyone uses their own devices with a web browser to join in. Then you follow the prompts!
Setup is easy, fun is great, and there is plenty of variety, so replayability is there. If you have groups of people that appear, this is an excellent standby as a group activity.
Number 6 – Untitled Goose Game (Switch)
Proof that gameplay trumps graphics 😀 Untitled Goose Game came out last year on PC, but not they are on consoles the game’s popularity has soared, and the Switch is where I got to enjoy it 🙂
Like any great simple game, from the description, it doesn’t sound great. Be a goose and do tasks that appear on the screen. They can be anything from finding a flower, all the way to terrorise a child enough to hide in a phone booth.
And it’s hilarious.
I played it in small bouts while travelling and needed something I could turn off without consequence. I thought it would be perfect. Word to the wise – losing progress bites :p
If you haven’t seen it, play someone’s copy now. I am sure they will let you. Twenty minutes later, try to give them back their Switch/Controller without honking at them – I dare you :p
Number 5 – Pokemon Sword and Shield (Switch)
So missing a lot of the Nintendo early consoles, I only played a few Pokemon games. Yellow, Ruby, Moon, Let’s Go and now Shield.
A lot of fans are annoyed and vocal. Competitive play has already banned Dynamaxing, a new battle mechanic. Apparently, DS assets like sounds and models have been reused, which people feel ‘cheated’ by.
I had fun with it. The story isn’t really anything amazing (nothing new there). The battles are fun, and I enjoyed cooking a meal for my Pokemon. The inclusion of the Wild Area I thought was fun. Yes, online has issues, but I also didn’t need it to complete the game.
If you enjoy Pokemon, to me Sword and Shield are excellent additions to the series. If you are new to Pokemon but want more than the Let’s Go series ‘simple’ gameplay, it’s all here and more. And because Pokemon were cut, there is also the benefit of not having so many Pokemon to learn, so your learning curve is only steep instead of a vertical wall 🙂
Number 4 – Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4)
How long have I waited for Kingdom Hearts 3? And was it worth it? Mostly 😀
I love the series, but the timelines and retcons are crazy. Basically, I tell anyone trying to play the game to go with it, it’s much more manageable. What kind of timeline shenanigans are we talking about? Well at the start of 2019, the first Kingdom Hearts game is about the sixth in chronological order. It also includes movies, games, browser games and even concerts as authoritative entries.
That is not including most entries have been released and re-released with changes and story updates at least once. Usually as a full-priced game.
Bottom line though, I loved Kingdom Hearts 3. I would come home from work and work some more before going to bed just so I could get a solid 8-10 hours on Saturdays.
Everyone can play it, very few can understand it all, but a lot of fun no matter how you look at it.
Number 3 – Tetris 99 (Switch)
Well, talk about left field. Nintendo introduced one of my all-time favourite games and added Battle Royale. I thought they were mad. I thought it wouldn’t work.
Yeah, I was wrong.
With new play modes and little Grand Prix events always adding a bit of a carrot to come back, Tetris 99 still manages to be in the first few tiles of my Switch menu.
If you don’t know about Tetris 99 by now, check out my review. Better yet, if you have Switch Online, just jump on and play it. Really.
Number 2 – The Outer Worlds (Xbox One)
So my first ever platinum trophy was Fallout 3. This was after voicing concern to my gaming group at the time that I was worried about bringing back Fallout and in a new game style to boot. In my defence, the previous couple of spin-offs weren’t great. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t wrong, though.
Flash forward to the next game from Obsidian Entertainment called Fallout: New Vegas. I was playing on PC, but that is putting it kindly. New Vegas was a bug-riddled mess of frustration. A year later, and after a lot of coaxing from friends, I said hello to my favourite Fallout game of all time.
Yep, the same team that made Fallout: New Vegas made a Fallout like game in space, and it’s fantastic. The multi-branching story, unforeseen consequences, and a relevant overarching story arc make The Outer Worlds a game I basically hoovered down. And it’s on Game Pass (hint, hint).
Playing it through the first two weeks, it wasn’t perfect. But it was far from an unplayable mess. The most significant bugs I met were apparently I was supposed to be given some more quest options. Still, I didn’t notice they were missing – the story made sense, and I could continue on.
Seriously, if you have Game Pass, put this on your drive (PC or Xbox). If you don’t, play it anyway. And apparently, it’s coming to Switch this year!
Number 1 – Resident Evil 2 Remake (PS4)
Usually, as you can see with Link’s Awakening earlier in this list, I put a big negative in terms of weight for remasters and sequels. But then you get a remake that changes almost everything about the game, and for the better. This year, that game was Resident Evil 2.
You have the same characters, with some tweaks. The A/B Scenario system remains in place. And of course, item management and puzzles are still a concern.
Oh, and you still have good old Racoon City, the most magnificent collection of disasters of a city that never was.
Pretty much everything else is different though. Camera styles, combat, AI direction, even the Tyrant/Mr X – if you think you can use the same old tricks, be ready to reload your save.
I still remember playing this during the year, sitting on the couch with Rabbit reading/playing with her phone next to me. Hearing Mr X’s footsteps, she looks up to see what is making the noise. Then she sees him come through a door and lock on to me. “What the f#!* is that!” she yelled out, and it was at that point I knew just how well Capcom had nailed the remake.
If you haven’t played Resident Evil 2, then grab the new demo from your digital store of choice. That’s right – the ‘new’ demo. Capcom has started baking in Resident Evil 3 easter eggs into RE2, which is impressive in itself. Can’t wait for that to come out this year!
Tie – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4)/Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order (PS4)
So here are two very different games that share one thing in common – I played them enough that I can’t put them on the ‘I wish I played’ lists, but didn’t play enough to fairly put higher on the list.
Both games are graphically impressive (personally, Sekiro more than Fallen Order but it’s not a huge difference). Both have a control system that requires practice and gaining skill (again, Sekiro more than Fallen Order). And both games have been raved about since release.
I have played enough of both to know I want to play more. I have also played enough of both (about 3-4 hours each) to realise I need to be playing when I am fully alert. And when my joints don’t already betray me.
I honestly think at least one of these games would have pipped Link’s Awakening for number 10 except for one thing – I can’t just pick either of them after 6 months and know the timing. The controls are not brutal, but the nuances are.
So while I think I will love both of these games, when you don’t see them on my ‘I Wish I Played’ list don’t think it’s because I don’t like them. On the contrary, at least one will appear in another article soon.
If you have any interest in either pick it up. Yes, you will need to practice and ‘Git Gud’, but no one has said otherwise. All I can say is from what I have seen, I think it will be worth it.
What do you think? I couldn’t believe how much the Switch dominated my gaming this year. But with the portable nature of the console, it does make sense.
What about your favourite games of 2019? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,