Well, 2019 was a trash fire for so many reasons, wasn’t it? I’m sure it was a great year for some – nay, a lot – of you, but 2019 for me isn’t the greatest, and I plan on kicking 2020’s ass better. Or instead, I can just ask 2020 to take it easy on me so I can, I don’t know, have a lighter year.
But you know what wasn’t a trash fire in 2019? The steady stream of games that I played. 2019 was an amazing year for games, but since I only have a Nintendo Switch and a PC that can’t play AAA titles post 2015, I missed out on some of the most amazing releases. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t play some great games, though. This means that my favorite games aren’t necessarily released this year, but this is my list and I will be arbitrary, dammit. Check out my favorite games that I played, and sunk so many hours in this 2019.
What can I say about Warframe that I haven’t talked about already? This is a great timesink where I go into all of the planets – and some – of the solar system, shoot and blow up most of the enemies you meet along the way.
You play as a member of the Tenno, a warrior race gifted with so many abilities that they can only be described as “OP.” The Tenno Warframes zip and fly through any given map, tearing through obstacles and other hostile races like it was nothing, all in the service of collecting loot. It’s addictive, and the temptation to go on one more mission to be able to finally get all the components needed for that shiny new gun is overwhelming.
I’ve talked about Dead Cells on length on my blog multiple times already, and my feelings on the subject haven’t changed. It’s a smooth and fast roguelike that punishes you if you underestimate your enemies. The levels change every time you die just enough to make everything feel different, but not overwhelmingly so. The enemies are well-designed, and the combat is satisfying.
This is a game I pick up every now and then when I’m looking for a palate cleanser for the huge, sprawling RPGs I found myself playing, and I find myself sinking a couple of hours into it almost every time.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Speaking of sprawling RPGs. I’m still not finished with Witcher 3, but I’m entranced by the world of Geralt of Rivia. Well-developed characters living in a world that feels so inhabited, teeming with monsters – human and otherwise – in every corner.
I’m actually reading the Andrzej Sapkowski books now, thanks to this game, and I really enjoyed the Netflix show. I have so many games in my backlog, but I’m in no hurry, because I have so many Witcher Contracts to take out of my list.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
It’s been a while since I played a Final Fantasy game, and I picked up XII when I hankered for a JRPG. I was quickly enthralled with the world of Ivalice and the wars that tore the land apart, and how it affected the people living in it.
Sure, Final Fantasy XII talks about manifest destiny, and how one anointed monarch is the key to saving the world – as with most Final Fantasy games go – but we’re seeing the war play out through the eyes of Vaan, a street rat whose life has been ruined by the endless wars monarchs play out against each other.
The localization work on this game is astounding – a staggering amount of the english dialogue was written in iambic pentameter, giving the game a Shakespearean, almost ethereal/distant feel. Sure, the game falls apart in the third act when it just… ends, but everything else before it is wonderful and is an amazing experience.
I can’t wait to play it all over again.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Although I had a Gameboy and played the shit out of it back in the day, I never got to play this masterpiece of a Zelda game. Sure, I only truly fell in love with the franchise when Breath of the Wild came out, but it feels like a crime to not experience one of the greatest handheld games of all time.
So when the Link’s Awakening remake came out, I got it day one and got the special edition, because I am a sucker for shiny things like that. And I damn fell in love with it promptly. The cute character designs coupled with the tilt-shift effect gave Koholint Island a dreamy, hazy, vibe. Dungeon exploration is a joy. The puzzles are challenging and fun. The combat is… well, as good as combat on an early Gameboy game could be.
This game may be too short, full of framerate issues, and may ultimately not be worth the full $60 price, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Link’s Awakening is a wonderful experience and I only wish I played it earlier.
So what about you? What are your favorite games of 2019? Let me know about it in the comments!