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2019 was both an awesome and frustrating year. Awesome because I got deeper into streaming and the Twitch communities that I love and I played a lot of games. Frustrating because I came to realize I wasn't playing anything particularly new. When I wasn't replaying actual old games like Arkham City, Borderlands 2 and Symphony of the Night, I was playing a number of games that felt like their offspring. But recently I realized, "why is that a bad thing?" There's something to be said for nostalgia and using a good old-fashioned formula as a springboard for new ideas within the same mold. 2019 was a year full of comfort food; safe games that, sure, didn't do a ton of new and out-there things, but there were many games that just looked great and played great and were pleased with just being great experiences without needing to needlessly innovate for innovation's sake. Here are a few of them:

Kinda missed the cut: Untitled Goose Game
goose game


I just wanted an excuse to use this screenshot. Fun little game. Puzzles are a bit frustrating but the goose is funny and the humans are fun to mess with. but I REFUSE to "officially" do a Top 11 so enjoy your honourable mention, goose. HONK!

10) Tacoma
Tacoma


Goose Game got pushed because I had to find room for Tacoma. A mere walking simulator on the surface, this story of tracing the path of several astronauts who once lived on an abandoned space station subverted all my expectations and realy left me thinking and relieved that the story went to all the places it did. Plus, a very easy Platinum trophy ;)

9) Far Cry: New Dawn
new dawn


Far Cry knows how polished its gameplay is and how silly and overdone its concept has gotten and does not give AF. More polished shooting, more liberating strongholds, more silly vehicles, more over-the-top villains and the first comedy-Quebecer I've ever heard in a video game left enough of an impression on me to keep the Far Cry series' "being on T-Prime's list" streak going.

8.) Everybody's Golf
golf


Previously known as the Hot Shots series, Everybody's Golf is one of my favourite chill games. It's easy to pick up and play with all the experince I've had in arcade-style video game golf going back to Mario Golf 64, and it's equally enjoyable to play numerous rounds during a gaming binge or to play for 20 minutes one lazy afternoon.

7) Borderlands 3
borderlands


Playing the stuffing out of The Handsome Collection during the summer was a blast, but in the back of my head I knew I'd have a case of "Borderlands overdose" and not love Borderlands 3 as much when it finally came out. While I proved to be correct, Borderlands 3 still contains a winning formula, even if the Calypso twins are far too annoying and the story twists itself inside out for the dumbest of reasons. BL3 simaltaneously changes too much and yet doesnt change enough, with odd UI tweaks and character trees that are somewhat strange to navigate. And yet, at the end of the day, the shooting still works (once you FIND a good gun), the characters are still the ones I remember, the humour makes me laugh and I keep getting sidetracked on a million dumb side missions. Well done, Borderlands, well done. :)

6) Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
bloodstained


I had no expectations for Bloodstained, so the fact that it just might be the best Castlevania game ever is no understatement. Every bit of Ritual of the Night has been used in a previous Castlevania, from Symphony's map, Aria and Dawn's soul collecting, Portrait's multiple loadouts and Order's side missions (and arguably glyphs). The art is gorgeous, the music is superb, the boss fights are the exact right level of challenge and Miriam is the exact right level of naive. Plus, she plays a mean piano. XD

5) Shadow of the Tomb Raider
tomb raider


I've loved the entire Tomb Raider reboot series and Shadow ends the trilogy perfectly. Tomb Raider 2013 started it, Rise went much bigger and now Shadow takes that formula and refines it just right, odd Lara flashbacks notwithstanding. Bigger environments, bigger puzzles, well-polished gameplay that still works and a large number of South Americans who've never seen an outsider yet speak perfect English. XDXDXD It's a fabulous game.

4) Control
control


I have so many conflicting feelings about Control. If I had to boil it down, take the strangeness and sense of forboding of Twin Peaks and The X-Files and mix it together with the gameplay of inFamous and Saints Row IV. Jesse's powers range from "totally kick-ass" to "dammit I forgot I had that," the open-ended environments are great to explore, the puzzles are very tricky yet deceptively simple, and it's incredibly satisfying to be able to rip chunks out of walls to use as a shield and to then throw everything at the possessed Hiss creature I'm fighting. And that hard rock / metal song towards the end...hoo boy!

3) Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
star wars


Jedi Fallen Order is one of the best "blender games" I've ever seen. Dark Souls combat, Uncharted and Prince of Persia environment platforming, Metroid Prime-style open-ended maps and enemy scanner, all mashed together into a perfect slate to inject with Star Wars. Cal's Force powers range from awesome to "WHY," the lightsaber combat is fun without overdoing it, deflecting a phaser beam back at an enemy never gets old and BD-1 is a delight. In fact, ALL the characters are quite awesome, heroes and villains alike. While the story felt SOMEwhat predictable if you know anything about Star Wars' canon, this still left me with plenty of absolutely amazing moments that will stay in my head for a long time.

2) Resident Evil 2
re2


The Resident Evil series has been one of my favourits for a long time, but even *I* must confess that it hasn't aged well. There's something to be said for the crticism that there are no good original ideas anymore and so we must remake everything, but on the other side of that coin, if something that was cool and cutting-edge at one time can be rebuilt and benefit from twenty years of learning, why not?

re2


The Resident Evil 2 remake was exactly what I knew it could be; the bizarre puzzles and cheesy moments straight out of 1998 but conveyed with the gore and fright-inducing technology of 2019. RE2 does its job too well; much like RE7 a couple of years ago, I admit to getting a bit too freaked and have wussed out on playing it more than once. Lickers are terrifying, Tyrant emerges from nowhere to smash you at the worst (and therefore best) possible time, every single zombie refuses to die no matter how many joints I blow off, and Leon, Claire, Ada and Sherry's redesigns totally work. The 2019 version of Resdent Evil 2 is one hell of an achievement.

1) The Outer Worlds
outer worlds


This one was as close a call as I've ever had, but in the end I enjoyed The Outer Worlds' style of game juuuuuust a bit more. With Fallout 76 being forced onto a world that never wanted it and Elder Scrolls VI existing as some sort of far-off legend of whispers that MAY exist someday, it's nice to know that developers like Obsidian exist to deliver experinces that people like me still long for.

outer worlds

Aside from being a silent protagonist and having no third-person mode, I love everything about The Outer Worlds. It knows exactly what game it's trying to be and asks us to play along with the paper-thin changes that are made to make it distinct from its spiritual predecessors, and it's that distinctiveness that makes it stand out. Guns are still a pain yet effective, the "time dilation" works perfectly, two-handed melee is still my way to go and I still somehow get a thrill out of looting all those damn bins and containers for all the ammo I refuse to spend money on and pieces to repair my weapons and armour.

outer worlds

Outer Worlds looks amazing and sounds beautiful, but it really shines because of its writing, its characters and the companions. Naive and caring Parvati, gruff and resourceful Max, honourable and IDGAF Nyoka, brash and in-your-face Ellie and "speak softly and carry a big stick" Felix, comic relief slogan-spewing cleaner-bot SAM and "I'm totally not planning to blow you all up" ship-A.I. ADA all have their moments. It's almost too bad that Obsidian borrowed from Mass Effect and allows you to only bring two companions outside the ship at a time, because the dialogue between any two of them always made me smile and crack up and it would only be better with more of them. But then again, that's what being on the ship is for. Nyoka teaching Parvati to shoot, Max being annoyed by Ellie while also annoying Felix and SAM "cleaning" ADA's "circuitry" if you walk in on them at just the right time endeared them all to me immensely. XDXD

parvati

In the end, The Outer Worlds isn't a very massive or wholly original game, but everything that it does do is something I enjoy. When I don't want to put my controller down to force myself to go to bed the most often because THIS is the game I'm playing, there is no other spot on my list it can occupy. The Outer Worlds is my 2019 Game of the Year. Well done, Obsidian. Very well done indeed. :)

Posted by T_Prime Fri, 31 Jan 2020 10:30:09 (comments: 10)
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Dvader said:Great list, though number 2 should be 1.I was THIS close. I really had to pull a "clear ... avatarT_Prime See comment >>
Mon, 03 Feb 2020 16:47:45
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SupremeAC said:Who knows. Some fatigue seems to be setting in.I'll take your word for it. The handfu... avatarT_Prime See comment >>
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Considering how into Sea of Thieves I know I lot of people are, that day may just never come ;) ... avatarT_Prime See comment >>
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Well hello there. Miss me? Remember me in the first place? 2019 was both an awesome and frustrating ... avatarT_Prime See comment >>
Fri, 31 Jan 2020 10:30:09
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All I know about Australian video game nonsense is the name "Michael Atkinson," the man who single-h... avatarT_Prime See comment >>
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