2019 has been another great year for gaming. While 2020 is shaping up to be one of the best years with the likes of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part 2, it’s time to look back at what amazing games have released over the last 12 months. There was a large variety of games that I absolutely fell in love with this year, alongside some disappointments. In this list, I’m going to countdown my favourite 8 games of the year. This will be quite a diverse list with games from many genres and styles, so I hope you enjoy.
Greedfall was an unexpected game this year that I really enjoyed. I had played the developers earlier game Technomancer, but it wasn’t that great. Greedfall on the other hand is much more of an engaging and fun experience all around. The fantasy, colonial setting really set the game apart from others in the genre. While I don’t think the story and its characters reach their full potential, the great sidequests and interesting world left me wanting more, especially in a time where Bioware have fallen from grace.
7.) Gears 5
After playing through all 4 previous main games in the series, curtesy of Gamepass, I was excited to see how Gears 5 would continue the story. Graphics-wise, the game is excellent and playing on a 4K tv really showed this off even more. With a focus more on Kait and her heritage, alongside her friendship with Del, it was a breath of fresh air for the series that had gotten a bit stale. The inclusion of more open world-esque sections really helped break up the linear story, giving the game and its characters a chance to breath and develop. While I thought the ending was a bit abrupt, I’m still excited to see how Kait and her journey ends.
6.) Kingdom Hearts 3
Kingdom Hearts 3 is the best game in the series for me. While level design and pacing in particular did suffer a number of times, the overall experience was very fun. The combat was fast-paced, engaging, and thrilling right till the end. The game looks phenomenal, almost as good as Pixar and animated Disney movies today. Exploring worlds from films like Frozen, Tangled, Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean, never gets old. Seeing how the Xehanort saga of Kingdom Hearts ends was amazing to see and I’m interested to what happens next.
Control is a strange game in all the right ways. Following Jesse Faden’s story of finding out answers to her past and beating the alien presence, the Hiss, is creepy and exciting. The environments change from mundane grey office sections to eerie red-hued areas so quickly, keeping you on alert for enemy fights and when the next change takes place. The Ashtray Maze section is one of my favourite moments in a game this year and is a masterpiece in design. The combat is slick and fast pace that subverts the typical third-person shooter design. You cannot simply hide behind cover, as the enemies will quickly seek and flush you out. Keeping on the move and making the most of your supernatural powers is a must. I cannot wait to see what comes next for the game.
4.) A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a bleak game. Following the journey of Amicia and Hugo as they try to find a cure for the latter’s ‘sickness,’ whilst on the run from the Inquisition, is truly harrowing. Throughout the game, you will solve puzzles (often involving the hordes of rats), well-designed stealth sections and brief moments of combat. The gameplay never really gets boring, owing to the excellent pacing and solid mechanics. The story is grim yet engaging, where the character developments (particularly the relationship between Hugo and Amicia) are so well written. There were so many thrilling and memorable moments that will stick with me for years to come. If you haven’t played it yet, I highly recommend doing so.
3.) Outer Worlds
Outer Worlds was a game that had me intrigued quite a while before. Knowing it would be a new RPG from the incredible Obsidian, who created arguably the best Fallout game (New Vegas), despite Bethesda only giving them 18 months to complete it, meant that I had high expectations. I wasn’t disappointed. The world and its themes of Capitalism running out of control, gave the game a vibe very potent in today’s climate. The humour and writing was so sharp (sometimes too on-the-nose), that it made the game stand out in style and tone from any other game I have played for years. The characters for the most part were interesting. Parvati has to be one of the most sweet and relatable characters I’ve seen in a video game, and her storyline is so brilliant (we must protect her at all costs). The combat and customisation were al solid, with the unique science weapons leading to some hilarious situations. It also helps that the side quests are mostly interesting and rarely feel like an afterthought.
2.) Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
The thought of having another great single player Star Wars game was far from my mind with the EA of today holding the license in the video game industry. The last truly great Star Wars game for me was Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords. However, Respawn hit it out of the park with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. For me, the only real problem I had with the game was technical’s performance, where even on the Xbox One X, the frame rate would often drop, however, I never suffered from any glitches or bugs. The story of Cal trying to find a way to rebuild the Jedi Order, while battling his own inner conflicts and perceived failures was engaging till the very end. The other characters Cere, Greez and Trilla are all excellent, I only wish the Nightsister Merrin was given more screen-time, as she was great. The combat is very fluid, where your actions and movements have real weight to them. It was always satisfying and could often be quite challenging of an experience. I look forward to a sequel that will hopefully continue the amazing groundwork and narrative Fallen Order has.
1.) Fire Emblem: Three Houses
For my personal Game of the Year, it could really be no other. Fire Emblem: Three Houses had me hooked from the opening cinematic, right to the end of my 55 hour playthrough. At the game’s heart is the large cast of interesting and very varied characters. Slowly learning more about the backstories of these people and also how they all interact with one another in the support conversations never became dull to me. I always looked forward to see how they develop and grow as time went on. The combat was good strategic fun, where it could often be quite difficult in a number of scenarios, requiring you to really think out the placing/position of your allies. The school and customisation options allowed for a lot of room to breath and alter things to fit your desired play style. It is game that begs for repeat playthroughs, where you’ll get a much different story after a certain point. I never expected to like this game as much as I did as I wasn’t the biggest fan of the series, having only played Awakening and Fates, loving the former but not liking the latter. With hardly any Switch games released in 2019 that I actually liked, Fire Emblem: Three Houses stood out above the rest and proved how good the system is.
The Sinking City – This was horror-mystery game that had many great aspects, from the lore, story and detective gameplay. However, technical issues, often dated graphics and repetitive world design held back the game’s ambitions.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan – Until Dawn is one of my favourite games on the PS4. However, while Man of Medan inherits a lot of design, structure and mechanics of its predecessor, it could often feel like a skeleton in comparison. While it’s a visual treat and can be scary early on, the story and mystery is handled quite poorly that it becomes obvious pretty quickly on what’s really happening. Once you realise the twist, the game loses nearly all of its scare-factor (even for someone that gets scared easily like me), and the game finishes before you can become attached to any of the protagonists. While I did enjoy the game and a number of aspects, it never reaches Until Dawn’s heights.
Thank you for reading. Let me know in the comments what were some of your favourite games of 2019? I cannot wait for the all the incredible games I have on my radar for 2020? For all things gaming, stay tuned to Honest Gamer.
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