DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2019 — Laddie’s Top 10
2019 was truly a wealth of gaming experiences that I loved, from Control, to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and more. Here are my top 10.
As 2019 comes to a close, DualShockers and our staff are reflecting on this year’s batch of games and what were their personal highlights within the last year. Unlike the official Game of the Year 2019 awards for DualShockers, there are little-to-no-rules on our individual Top 10 posts. For instance, any game — not just 2019 releases — can be considered.
As we entered 2019, my ever growing backlog of neglected or unfinished games had grown to epic proportions. I vowed to be better in 2019, so I made a New Year’s resolution that I would play and finish every game I acquired in 2019 before moving on to another. Well, it was a nice thought, but resolutions are meant to be broken and with only a few days left in the year, I have yet to play the very first game I purchased in 2019, Resident Evil 2.
Unfortunately this pattern continued as I found myself in a bit of a gaming funk, and for most of the beginning half of the year, gaming felt different, like I was doing it more out of habit rather than passion. Had I truly lost interest in the one hobby that has been my comfort zone for as long as I can remember?
Don’t get me wrong, there were a few bright spots throughout my despondency, but it wasn’t until August that I finally got my gaming groove back. On a whim, I bought Remnant: From the Ashes, and that old familiar feeling was back, baby! Now, that game wasn’t previously on my radar and it’s not perfect, but sometimes you just need a little unforeseen inspiration to get you going again.
After Remnant, it seemed the hits just kept coming, and it was looking unlikely I’d get to finish the previous months’ games that I skipped. With that being said, I feel my top ten would look a lot different than its current state considering I have yet to finish Devil May Cry 5, The Outer Worlds, A Plague Tale: Innocence, as well as a few other titles that went unplayed. Never the less, top 10 lists must go on, and here are my favorite games of 2019.
Anthem: it’s not only one of my favorites of 2019, it’s also one of the games that broke my heart with bitter disappointment. Early impressions of Anthem gave me the hope that BioWare was on track to release a game that would not only counter Destiny, but show Bungie how a looter shooter, live service game was to be done straight out of the release gate. Well, as you know, Anthem did not deliver any of this and released a glitchy game in a skeletal state that felt like an unfinished symphony. EA had perpetrated a betrayal that was of Aliens: Colonial Marines level and within weeks after Anthem released, the game was a ghost town as gamers went running back to Destiny.
Despite all of this, the game with the longest loading screens known to man still managed to give me a few moments of fun. First off, the game is graphically stunning, and is easily one of the best looking games from this generation. While the execution of the story was a bit bland and the characters were mostly forgettable, there was an underlying lore that could still be the impetus of a great game or even sequel. Anthem’s greatest strength was making you feel like Iron Man once you entered your Javelin, the powered exosuit that comes in three flavors to appeal to different gameplay styles. Donning the Javelin suit gives you a super fluid movement both in flight and underwater that was almost as enjoyable as Titanfall’s parkour and jet packs. This also made for super-fun gameplay that unfortunately was lost due to lack of content.
EA and BioWare have made some improvements and promise to continue making Anthem a better game, and I really hope they can turn it around, but with new games always on the horizon, even the biggest Anthem supporters like myself might be reluctant to come back.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Anthem.
9. Remnant: From the Ashes
The term “Soulslike” tends to inspire rage in me, and I refuse to accept it as a genre. Now, my experience with Souls games is very limited and consists mostly of Bloodborne. It’s not the punishing gameplay that sent me running from Yharnam, but rather the lack of checkpoints in the beginning. I grew up in a time where games were often difficult and had bad checkpoints that didn’t save automatically, I appreciated the challenge back then as I didn’t have my own money to purchase every game that caught my fancy, so anything that prolonged my interest in a game was welcome. However, as an adult who wants to play all of the games but has limited time, I prefer games with overactive checkpoints and generally steer clear of anything described as Soulslike. On a whim, I purchased Remnant: From the Ashes and fell in love.
I think the thing that appealed to me most with Remnant was the combat, which like all good Souls-inspired games has a rhythm that depends on dodging as much as it does attacking. While most Souls games are hack and slashes, Remnant: From the Ashes is a third person shooter. As you get to know me, you will learn, I like to shoot things in video games. Early on I died a lot but instead of becoming frustrated, I actually enjoyed the challenge of getting better. The game also features procedurally-generated levels where the enemies differ each time you play. Combine that with the unique look and feel of the four main areas of Remnant: From the Ashes, the game never gets boring.
8. Borderlands 3
Borderlands 3 for the most part sticks to the creed, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While there’s a few slight improvements in gameplay and graphics, the game is still the irreverent, looter shooter packed with a “bazillion” guns that we have come to expect from the series.
Featuring an all new cast of Vault Hunters, along with a few familiar friends, the most notable improvement in Borderlands 3 is the ability to leave Pandora and visit other planets. Not only does this make the game more expansive, each planet has its own look and personality which is a nice break from the somewhat drab Pandora. Borderlands 3 isn’t rocket science; it’s hours of mindless fun, and at the end of the day, that’s all I really want from a Borderlands game.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Borderlands 3.
7. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Destiny since the first game’s alpha. I always go back to Destiny but I have to admit that the constant changing of rules and its grindy disposition makes me a little crazy. I love Bungie’s dedication to the game and with Shadowkeep I feel that they finally nailed Destiny’s potential, even if it took them five years to do it.
While parts of Destiny 2 went free to play, Shadowkeep seemed to be a love letter to their dedicated community and proved Bungie can sustain this massive game even without Activision’s backing. Destiny 2 is one of the most frustrating and riveting gaming experiences I’ve had this generation, and while I’ll stray from it for weeks, even months, coming back to it always feels right.
6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
There’s not a Call of Duty game that I haven’t played, but the epitome of the series for me were the first two Modern Warfare games. Since Modern Warfare 2, I’ll admit that the series has had its shares of hits and misses, but each year I wait unapologetically for the newest iteration and hope it will be great again. Since Infinity Ward welcomed back several key members who had left for Respawn after Modern Warfare 2 and created a new engine for the aging beauty, there was hope this was the year that the series would return to its former glory.
I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Finally gone was the Treyarch imprint of the Pick 10 system in multiplayer that I hated; in its place was a more streamlined and highly customizable system which gave average players like myself a chance to actually compete. Some of the larger maps took some getting used to, but for the first time in Call of Duty there is no paid DLC, and the new maps have been correcting some of the shortcomings of the launch maps.
After last year’s Black Ops 4 decided to focus on Battle Royale instead of a campaign, Modern Warfare was back with one of the best and most poignant campaigns to date. While it never reaches the level of guilt that Spec Ops: The Line left me with, Modern Warfare does a good job of showing the horrors of war by making you question the morally grey area of who is good and who is evil. This hits you the most when you play as Farah Karim. Her backstory is heartbreaking, but necessary to show how she became the kick-ass rebel commander of the Urzikstan Liberation Force.
Modern Warfare is one of the most engaging games of the year and has offered Call of Duty a new lease on life. I’m still regularly playing (and enjoying) Modern Warfare and looking forward to what it has in store for the future.
MediEvil was a real turning point for me in gaming. Not only did it thwart my gaming habit to obsession, it also paved the way to my PlayStation fangirl-ism. For the record, my heart might belong to Sony, but I’ll play on anything you set in front of me. Up until last year’s God of War, I always credited MediEvil as being my all-time favorite game. In fact, my love of the game runs so deep, I’ve always said that if I ever won the lottery, I’d singlehandedly fund a Kickstarter for MediEvil 3.
The game looked like a scene out of Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas and featured elements of action-adventure, hack and slash, puzzle, and platforming games. The end result ended up being an irreverent story of an unlikely hero that attracted a cult following who were very vocal in getting Sir Dan Fortesque resurrected from the dead and obscurity in a newly remastered version of the beloved game. I always felt MediEvil was ahead of its time, so it’s no surprise that it still feels like a fresh concept in 2019 that I still have a ton of fun playing.
4. Concrete Genie
Sometimes a game can still be fun and entertaining while raising awareness. Concrete Genie from Pixelopus tackles the subject of bullying as experienced through the game’s protagonist, Ash. Through Ash’s eyes and paintbrush, you will escape the wrath of the bullies through a visionary narrative where your art and imagination come to life.
At first it appears as if Concrete Genie is just a glorified graffiti simulator, but as the story unfolds and Ash gains different powers and abilities, the game soon turns into something that feels like inFamous Lite. It’s a unique and charming game that I won’t soon forget. It also contains an optional VR mode that really exemplifies the concept of art coming to life. I absolutely adore Concrete Genie.
3. Darksiders Genesis
The last new game of the year I played quickly earned a spot high on my top ten of 2019. I’m a big fan of the Darksiders games, and when I heard that a prequel dungeon crawler would release so soon after Darksiders 3, I was giddy with excitement.
Darksiders Genesis lets you play as Strife for the first time, but you can also play as War, who was the star of the first game. Despite its isometric view, Genesis still looks and plays like a Darksiders game. The ability to switch between Strife and War is like getting to play your two favorite Diablo classes at once. It makes for great combat situations as well, as opens up the challenge of figuring out when to use Strife and when to use War in various situations. Surprisingly, it might be my favorite Darksiders game yet.
2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
From the moment I heard Respawn Entertainment hired Stig Asmussen and that he was going to be lead on a Star Wars game, I was over the moon. However, once I remembered EA was involved and that there hasn’t been a good Star Wars game in so many years, I started to worry that I was just setting myself up for disappointment.
You should always go with your first instinct, because Jedi: Fallen Order is so good. Everything about it just speaks to me. It feels like it’s an amalgamation of every game I have ever loved from Uncharted to God of War set in one of my favorite cinematic universes. Wielding a light saber in this game is the closest I’ll get to being a Jedi; well, I prefer the Dark Side, so we’ll go with Sith. For someone who has loved Star Wars for their entire life, I’ll be forever thankful for this game and Respawn Entertainment.
I fell in love with Control back in March when I played an early build of it at GDC; I knew then this game was something special. Remedy rarely disappoints and their games are all unique experiences, but Control is definitely Remedy at their best. I love the look of the game: it’s dark and eerie, which immediately sets the perfect mood and tone for what is to come.
What really attracted me was the gameplay. Sure, you have a service weapon that takes on various forms which is cool in itself, but once I started unlocking Jesse Faden’s psychic powers and learned how to use them all together, it was next level gaming. On consoles the game suffers from a few performance issues, but it didn’t diminish my love of Control.
The best way I can describe Control and the reason it is my favorite game of 2019 is that it made me feel like I was starring in an episode of The X-Files that was directed by David Lynch. Trust me: that’s the ultimate compliment in my world.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Control.
Check out the rest of the DualShockers staff Top 10 lists and our official Game of the Year Awards:
December 23: DualShockers Game of the Year Awards 2019
December 25: Lou Contaldi, Editor-in-Chief // Logan Moore, Managing Editor
December 26: Tomas Franzese, News Editor // Ryan Meitzler, Features Editor
December 27: Mike Long, Community Manager // Scott White, Staff Writer
December 28: Chris Compendio, Contributor // Mario Rivera, Video Manager // Kris Cornelisse, Staff Writer
December 29: Scott Meaney, Community Director // Allisa James, Senior Staff Writer // Ben Bayliss, Senior Staff Writer
December 30: Cameron Hawkins, Staff Writer // David Gill, Senior Staff Writer // Portia Lightfoot, Contributor
December 31: Iyane Agossah, Senior Staff Writer // Michael Ruiz, Senior Staff Writer // Rachael Fiddis, Contributor
January 1: Ricky Frech, Senior Staff Writer // Tanner Pierce, Staff Writer // Laddie Simco, Staff Writer