2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by Flabyo » December 3rd, 2019, 12:05 pm

Outer Wilds.

Can’t really think of anything else that’s been genuinely new and interesting I played that also came out this year.

(Had a lot of fun with Obra Dinn as well, but that’s really a 2018 game)

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by stvnorman » December 4th, 2019, 7:05 pm

Baba is You currently tops my list of ten, but having just signed up to Game Pass, I’m going to sink my teeth into at least one of Outer Wilds, Bloodstained or Blair Witch before I finalise the rest... if my son lets me on his Xbox!

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by Jobobonobo » December 5th, 2019, 9:17 pm

If we are not being strict in regards to the game being released in 2019 to count as GOTY then mine simply has to be Yakuza 0. Story, characters, gameplay, music, humour, this game got it all right. This is up there as one of the best games I have played this decade, never mind the year. I am fully on the Yakuza train now and I can't wait to start up Kiwami next year.

If we are just counting titles actually released this year then Yooka-Laylee and the impossible lair wins by default as it is the only title released this year that I have actually played. Thankfully, it gets to be GOTY also due to actually being a really solid game and has shown how Playtonic has listened to the feedback Yooka-Laylee got and really refined their craft with this one. Its concept of the final level being accessible to play at any time and can be beaten early on if you are skilled enough is a genius touch and the tonic system which has a balancing act between making levels easier/harder vs obtaining less/more quills is a great way for players to modify the difficulty to whatever suits them best. It has truly captured the spirit of what made the DKC games great while also adding enough new touches to make it be its own thing. If Playtonic keeps this up, we might well be seeing something similar to a return to golden age Rare.

I did not manage to play much but with the exceptions of Furi and Gravity Rush 2, I have had a pretty good year when it comes to gaming.

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by seansthomas » December 5th, 2019, 10:50 pm

A great deal of the best games I played this year really are ports of older games, like Dark Souls, Virtua Racing, Hellblade, DOOM, Witcher 3 etc. I also put another 100 hours into BOTW with the kids. And I have Mario Maker 2 and Luigi's Mansion 3 for Christmas, which I suspect will ultimately better many of the 2019 games I played.

Off the top of my head, the 2019 games I enjoyed the most were probably Astral Chain, Ape Out, My Friend Pedro and Link's Awakening. All solid 8/10s.

Sayonara Wild Hearts was beautiful but shallow. Tetris 99 was beyond my skill level. Untitled Goose Game was alright. Bounced off of Baba is you. Ring Fit Adventure and the Labo VR kit were also big family experiences this year and titles I'll look back on fondly.

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by Jon Cheetham » December 6th, 2019, 7:33 am

I spent most of the year past April going back to older titles, and that's at least partly because of my game of the year - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

The narrative around difficulty had for years been completely misleading to me in terms of how challenge actually articulates in these games. I had briefly looked longingly at other From Software titles which otherwise had exactly the settings and features I am into, but always assumed they were for far twitchier fingers than mine. Then when Sekiro came along with a setting based in a sort of magical realism take on the Sengoku, and my brother (a big fan of From) suggested it would be fun to both get into the game and learn its systems and idiosyncrasies at the same time, I couldn't say no.

Despite hitting a two-week meatwall in the form of Genichiro and taking nearly 50 tries to get Sword Saint Isshin down, I eventually beat it and remained so addicted to what is (to my mind) a perfectly crafted system of sword combat, I just kept going up through New Game + cycles to get all the endings, ending up one-shotting both Genichiro and Isshin on NG4. By this point I had fallen in love with previously impossible-seeming boss fights and playing the game was a zen experience of familiar dances with the various enemies.

The reason it is such an important game to me is that firstly it "unlocked" the other From games - I thought, if I can do this one, then I can do the others - and I spent the next few months having the amazing experiences of first Bloodborne and then the Dark Souls trilogy. Bloodborne is now my favourite game ever. Secondly, those games ended up getting me engaged in jolly co-operation with my brother, and we've now played through all of the older titles together, which is a terrific way to have fun with them and has been unforgettable time with my bro - I live on the other side of the world from him, so meeting up in Lordran, Drangleic, Lothric and Yharnam has been really special.

So a toast of sake with a Tengu Mask-wearing grandpa in Sekiro's honour, and an honourable mention to Devil May Cry 5 my second choice (and which I played to completion in between tries while stuck on the Sword Saint).

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by Chopper » December 6th, 2019, 10:37 am

Wow, Sekiro is proving popular around here

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by JadePhoenix » December 8th, 2019, 12:18 am

It was a bit of a weird year for me, some highlights:

Kingdom Hearts 3 - PS4
It’s hard to fairly evaluate a game that was so anticipated for so long, and Kingdom Hearts 3 wasn’t a bad game by any stretch, but after waiting for it for so many years, I was hoping for so much better. The gameplay was pretty good, with nicely paced combat, though personally I think KH2’s was better, and it wasn’t nearly challenging enough.
Where it really fell apart was the story. Basically the entire story of the game, which had so much build up over the preceding games, takes place in the last ~5 hours. The various Disney worlds, of which there weren’t all that many to begin with, felt like roadblocks to clear, rather than places you actually wanted to go. When the story did actually start happening, it felt super rushed, and the decision to end on a cliffhanger after waiting all these year for a resolution felt terrible.
As I write this, the trailer for the DLC has just dropped, and while a lot of it probably should have been in the base game, at least it does look like they’re trying to address these issues, so hopefully I’ll feel differently in a few months.

Etrian Odyssey: Nexus - 3DS
I’ve loved the Etrian Odyssey games ever since the DS era, and this was a fantastic sendoff to the series in its current form. Taking the best dungeons, characters, and classes from each of the previous games, it combined them into something that was bigger than the sum of its parts. The sheer number of mazes in the game made it more than twice the size of other games in the series, and while the story did a serviceable job of holding the game together, that’s never been the focus of the series. If I had one complaint it would be the difficulty, much like previous games, it’s a bit steep. The game took me 85 hours with the DLC item that increased exp gains, I can’t imagine how grindy it would have been without it.

Yoshi's Crafted World - Switch
I had honestly forgotten that this game existed before I looked at my list of games for the year. The Crafts aesthetic was cute, but not as charming as Wooley World, and the game was quite easy and short. The biggest change from previous games was the pseudo-3D level design, which ended up being more frustrating than interesting most of the time.

Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth - 3DS
As mush as I loved getting to see the characters from the 3 modern Persona games interact, having the characters from all 3 games, including the optional characters, felt a bit crowded. A lot of the interactions between them were as entertaining as expected, but, with so many, none of them really got a chance to stand out. Also, the decision not to dub the game into English was strange, given that every other game in the series has had English audio. I didn’t think it was possible, but Teddy’s Japanese voice was actually MORE annoying than his English voice.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Switch
It feels really weird to say that I haven’t finished a game that I saw the credits and logged 100 hours in, and that speaks to how much content this game has, but also how badly paced it is. The two major draws of this game are the branching paths, and the school training, which gives you unprecedented levels of customization of your units. I like both of those things individually, but I’ve become pretty convinced that they don’t belong in the same game. The school aspect is so time-consuming that on subsequent playthroughs, which the game basically expects 3 of, it gets extremely tedious. Easily half of your time is spent running around the school giving gifts and training your students and yourself, which is fun for a while, but eventually you start to wish that you could just skip it and get on with the game. Equally, the ability to customize your units doesn’t matter all that much, since for each path you use mostly different units anyway. I still hope to finish at least one more path, because there’s so much of the story that you just don’t get from one playthrough, hopefully the forthcoming story DLC will be enough to motivate me.

Final Fantasy IX - Playstation
Partially motivated by the podcast episode, I decided to give FF IX a shot. I’ve played almost every game in the series, but for some reason, I’ve always bounced off them partway through, until 9. I don’t exactly know why, but I found the setting, the characters, and the story all extremely engaging. I’m pretty happy that, after 20 years or so, I’ve finally finished a Final Fantasy game.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - Switch
Link’s Awakening has never been one of my favorite 2d Zeldas, but I do enjoy it. Apart from the new art style, which I’m pretty ambivalent about, this remake really didn’t add much, and while I enjoyed my (all too brief) time with it, I was hoping for a bit more for my $60. It WAS nice to actually find items in dungeons again, where they belong, it’s been way too long since we’ve had a new Zelda game that had them.

Dragon Quest III: Seeds of Salvation - Switch
With the Switch port of DQ3, I was excited to finally play the only game in the series I hadn’t gotten to yet, and I was not disappointed. The game is excellent, and it’s clear how a lot of its mechanics laid the groundwork for not only future games in the series, but for JRPGs in general.

Pokemon Sword - Switch
To say that the reception of the most recent Pokemon games has been mixed would be an understatement. The thing this game does, it generally does extremely well, but there’s definitely a general lack of content. Gym battles feel awesome, they totally capture the feeling of a professional sporting event, and the wild area is a blast to explore and capture Pokemon in. Unfortunately, those are the only 2 things to do in the entire game. Routes between cites are little more than straight lines with 2 -3 trainers each, none of whom have more than 2 Pokemon. While the series isn’t exactly known for strong storytelling, this game pretty much doesn’t have one, and the single story event there is doesn’t make any sense. The “evil” team’s entire goal is to annoy you in the hopes that you’ll stop trying to become champion, and they aren’t even very good at that. When you finally find out who the actual bad guys are, it’s in the most bizarre sequence of events, and it’s over extremely quickly.
The Wild area, which is the obvious highlight of the game, is a lot of fun to explore and catch Pokemon in, but the ridiculous level-restrictions bring it down somewhat. The game forces so much exp on you that the idea of balancing the game by preventing you from catching high-level Poekmon early is quite silly. Whenever you think about going out into the Wild Area to catch Pokemon, you feel like you should go beat more gyms first, in case you run into something that’s a higher level than you can catch, and the main game is so short that you end up beating all 8 before you’ve even started. Max raid battles are definitely the best part of the game, even by yourself, challenging huge wild Pokemon in a 4-on-1 battle is a lot of fun, and when friends join in, it’s a blast.
The one other high point of the game is its music, I was constantly struck by how great it was, and it does a great job of selling the feeling that you’re a professional athlete when competing in gym challenges. Overall, the game is mechanically solid, and areas of it are very well-polished, but it feels extremely incomplete.

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark - PC
I’ve had this on my wish-list since the Sound of Play episode, and finally picked it up in a sale a few weeks ago. I’m still working through it, but what I’ve played so far is brilliant.

I have a hard time calling any of these my game of the year, none of them really blew me away, so I’m going to cheat, and call Dragon Quest XI definitive edition my GotY, even though I haven’t actually played it, and it’s a port of a 2018 game, because the PS4 version is one of the best JRPGs I’ve played in years, and I have no reason to think the Switch version is any less amazing.

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by Combine Hunter » December 8th, 2019, 10:07 pm

So here are 10 of my favourite games released this year. These aren't ranked, just alphabetical.

Astral Chain
Astral Chain feels like a return to the Platinum of 2009/2010, focusing in on action while managing to perfect and innovate in equal measure. Astral Chain takes a little too long to reveal just how deep it's two character combat system actually is, but once it does, it soars.

I think it suffers from a little insecurity about its audience's attention span, feeling the need to spawn in enemies if you linger in an area in an attempt to combat boredom (that I wasn't feeling). However, at it's peak, the combat is a ton of phyiscs fueled fun. The aesthetic is the stand out here though and I can't think another AAA game that looks and sounds this bold and different.

Devil May Cry 5
This game is pure fan service and is not breaking any new ground, but man is it well executed. Nero's robot arms are fun to experiment with and V's familiars are delightfully novel, but Dante is the star and is an intimdatingly deep action character. 3 is still my fav, but this is up there.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses
This feels like a second attempt at what they tried with Fire Emblem: Fates. Having 3 sides instead of 2 lends it's self to more compelling drama and ultimately I think the surprise strength of this game is its storytelling. That, plus they turned into a Persona game. Yay!

Katana ZERO
Very similar in style and premise to Hotline Miami, but far more forgiving and polished. Clever level and encounter design from beginning to end. Deflecting bullets never gets old even as the story kind drifts off towards the end.

Luigi's Mansion 3
Never played a Luigi's Mansion before, but now I'm a convert. Feels like classic Resident Evil style level and puzzle design if you replaced all the spooks with playful charm. The animation is best in class.

Outer Wilds
This is a masterpiece. If I had ranked this list, it would have easily been number one. It manages to simultaneously express both the beauty and the terror of space in equal measure. Must play, will be talked about for years to come.

Resident Evil 2
Unlike the 2002 remake of the original Resident Evil, I don't think this game makes its PS1 inspiration obsolete. That game is still brilliant in its own right all these years later, however this is a stellar reimagining. I adore this series and this feels like a remix of all my favourite Resident Evil has things, from RE4's combat to 1 and 2's level design. Also, this take on Mr. X is instantly iconic.

Sayonara Wild Hearts
You could descibe this as a music video made interactive, and for most of its run time I could see that, but it shows moments of mechanical inventiveness dotted through out that make it more than that when judged as a whole. "Parallel Universes" stands out as a particular creative high point.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
I love FROM Software most when they try something new and for me this game rubs shoulders with Demon's Souls, Dark Souls and Bloodborne when its at its best. Narratively it's FROM at their most simplistic, but the combat is the most mechanically tight and satifying it has ever been.

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by MajorGamer » December 9th, 2019, 5:27 am

In terms of games I've played in 2019, regardless of when they were released, my answer is easy. Celeste. It had high expectations going in and managed to exceed them. A whole bunch of platforming fun and I have no complaints at all.

If things are being restricted to 2019 releases, things somehow get easier and harder. I rarely play games in the year they are released and the only one I can think of from this year was Gato Roboto. Don't get me wrong, it is a good game but it wouldn't rank on a top 10 if the 2019 release restriction was removed.

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Re: 2019 in Gaming and your Game of the Year

Post by duskvstweak » December 9th, 2019, 3:53 pm

JadePhoenix wrote:
December 8th, 2019, 12:18 am
Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark - PC
I’ve had this on my wish-list since the Sound of Play episode, and finally picked it up in a sale a few weeks ago. I’m still working through it, but what I’ve played so far is brilliant.
Same and same.

The games I finished this year...
Spoiler: show
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (replay)
Chrono Trigger
Wolfenstein: The New Order
DOOM (2016)
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Super Mario 64
Metro: Last Light
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Shovel Knight
The Last of Us
Valkyria Chronicles
Mad Max
Hollow Knight
Dead Cells
The Messenger
Resident Evil 0
Luigi's Mansion
Sort of a slow year for me, mostly from playing too much Civ VI (Gathering Storm is the only 2019 game I played?) and tackling long games like Valkyria Chronicles and Mad Max.

DOOM (201^) was possibly the most fun I had all year in gaming, but I'm giving it to Link to the Past again! Any year I play that game, it's going to end up as my GOTY.

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