DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2019 — Logan's Top 10
While 2019 didn't have one, major standout game, it ended up being one of my favorite years in recent memory based on my own personal tastes.
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.
I kind of fell out of love with gaming to a certain degree this year. Believe me, I still spent countless hundreds of hours over the course of 2019 playing a variety of different games, but unlike past years, I didn’t feel an inherent obligation to try and get my hands on every hot new release. While you might be questioning my gamer status because I say this, I feel like stepping back a bit and not feeling a responsibility to play every major release was really healthy for me. Not to mention, I actually got physically healthier as a result of limiting my time playing games because I focused a lot of my newfound free time on activities like going to the gym. I feel better here at the end of 2019 from a physical standpoint than I have in quite a while, which is nice.
I also just had a really difficult 2019 when it came to my personal life. As a result, spending my free time playing games was something I didn’t always want to do. I mentioned this in my Sekiro review earlier in the year, but I had some health issues in the early portion of 2019 that dragged on up until a few months ago. Even though I didn’t let on much about it to close friends, the whole situation really stressed me out quite a lot and took up a lot of my headspace.
With all of this being said though, I really just want to express love and gratitude to our team here at DualShockers and to our community who follows the site. Even in the midst of a variety of personal hardships, our staff really helped pick me up this year when I was down, whether they knew that or not. I’m forever grateful for the crew we have at DualShockers and to you–yes, you–if you’re reading this. Running a website is actually a pretty hard gig but I feel continually #blessed because of who I have the pleasure of working alongside here. I’ll never take that for granted.
Anyway, of the games that I did spend time with in 2019, here are my ten favorites. Merry Christmas to you all and best wishes in 2020.
10. League of Legends
If 2018 was the year I fell in love with League of Legends, 2019 was the year in which I was exposed to the dark side of the ever-popular MOBA. Elo hell, toxicity within the in-game chat, and players running it down mid seemed to be present constantly when I was playing. To be honest, I have no idea how I’m still playing the game after such a terrible year in solo queue.
Despite all of this, I played over 900 games of League in 2019 and it was my most-played game of the year by a mile. Heck, it’s hands-down the most-played game of my entire life at this point as well and I don’t really see myself stopping moving into next year. I didn’t want to put League of Legends very high on my list this year since it has become such a staple of my gaming diet at this point, but with how much I still play it on a weekly basis, I needed to at least mention it. Hopefully, 2020 will prove to be a more positive experience for me with League. And, uhh, I should also probably stop playing it as much, too.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for League of Legends.
9. Halo 2 Anniversary
For some reason, myself and fellow DualShockers writer Michael Ruiz decided about a year ago that we wanted to replay all of the Halo games before Infinite releases next year. We’ve still got quite a bit of ground to cover before late 2020 (we’re about halfway through Halo 3 right now), but we did end up playing through the entirety of Halo 2 Anniversary, and it was some of the most fun I had this year.
When The Master Chief Collection released back in 2014, I actually never ended up playing through the remastered version of Halo 2 for one reason or another. In hindsight, I’m actually glad that I waited because it allowed me to revisit the second Halo entry with an Xbox One X and a 4K TV, two things that I didn’t own five years ago. 343 Industries really did a great job of bringing this classic to the present day and my experience was made all the better because I played through the whole campaign with one of my good pals. I’m really looking forward to finishing our playthrough of the series in the coming months.
8. Devil May Cry 5
I’ve been wanting to play the Devil May Cry series for years at this point. In the lead up to Devil May Cry 5, I told myself that I would play through every other entry (yes, even DMC2) before diving into this year’s release. Once Devil May Cry 5 launched back in March though, I threw all of those plans out the window and just decided to jump into the latest entry in the series. All in all, I’m really glad I did this.
Devil May Cry 5 is one of the more enjoyable games that I played this entire year, which says a lot considering that I probably didn’t get the most out of the story like others surely did. While it definitely has a fair number of problems by my own estimation, the combat is unrivaled and never gets stale at almost any point throughout the entirety of the experience. Plus, hacking demons up as Dante while screamo music plays in the background is just a joy in every sense of the word. I haven’t spent much time dwelling on Devil May Cry 5 since I saw it through to completion, but I definitely loved my time with it in the moment.
7. Gears 5
Following an outing that I didn’t care for all that much with Gears of War 4, I was shocked by how much I loved Gears 5. I said this in my review of the game earlier this year, but The Coalition really blew me away with the strides they took in this entry in the long-running shooter series. All of the new elements such as the open-world style areas, the addition of Escape mode, and the other minor refinements seen throughout Gears 5 made it my favorite installment in the saga since Gears of War 2. Not to mention, I also think it’s the best first-party game Microsoft has released this entire generation.
If there’s one thing about Gears 5 that I’m saddened by, it’s that I haven’t played the game more this year. Obviously, I’ve spent my free time on other games rather than playing Gears 5, so that’s my own fault. Still, I think about returning to Gears 5 very often and I might end up diving back in over the holidays.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Gears 5.
6. Apex Legends
I ended up bouncing off of Apex Legends pretty hard only a few months after it released, but I also cannot deny how much pure enjoyment I got out of it when it stealth launched. In a time where I didn’t see myself playing battle royale games much anymore, Apex Legends spiced up the genre in inventive, fun ways that brought me and my group of battle royale friends back together.
I also have to credit Respawn for creating such a polished, tight experience and continuing to push this relatively young subgenre forward. The idea of playing as characters with different abilities sounded a bit odd to me at first, but Respawn proved with Apex Legends that this scheme can work in the battle royale space. Not to mention, I think Apex is just flat out the best shooter of the year in terms of controls. I might not play it too often anymore, but Apex Legends is very good and I’m so glad that it exists.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Apex Legends.
5. Death Stranding
Death Stranding is such a weird game. On one hand, I love many aspects of it such as the world, the story, and the characters. On the other, I think the gameplay is incredibly one-note and the full experience could’ve been tightened up so much. Hideo Kojima was essentially given a blank check from Sony to make this game, but he also was in dire need of an editor. Death Stranding just drags on for far too long at certain points.
Despite my complaints though, Death Stranding could very well be the most memorable gaming experience I had all year long. It’s a grind to get through, but it’s unlike anything else in the gaming space right now and tells a really touching (albeit insane and confusing) story. The Metal Gear saga is still Kojima’s magnum opus, but I liked the famed director’s follow-up despite its flaws. I cannot wait to see what he and his team decide to create next.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Death Stranding.
Judgment is the most slept-on game of the year, and this is coming from someone who isn’t a longtime Yakuza fan. Judgment ended up being my first foray into Ryu Ga Gotoku’s world of Yakuza and I loved every minute of it. The journey of the game’s main character Takayuki Yagami and his cohorts in the city of Kamurocho is filled with laughs, drama, and boss fights with people named Ass Catchem.
Pound for pound, I don’t think I had more pure enjoyment with any game this year more than I did with Judgment. The game is filled to the brim with content and just when you start to get burnt out with what it’s throwing at you, something new and exciting shows up. Play Judgment — I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Judgment.
3. Resident Evil 2
I love Resident Evil; it might very well be my favorite franchise in all of gaming. As such, it shouldn’t come as a shock whatsoever that I adored the remake of Resident Evil 2. Capcom masterfully took the story and main beats of the original, adapted it for the RE Engine, and created a final product that felt like a great mix of RE2 and RE4. In the process, they also turned Mr. X into likely the most popular character in any video game this year. I love that bowler hat-wearing monster.
Resident Evil 2 is probably the best video game remake ever made and it might be the best RE game to boot. A few years back, it felt like Resident Evil as a whole was nearly a dead franchise, so to see it come back with such a vengeance has warmed my cold, dead gamer heart. I absolutely cannot wait to see what Capcom does with Resident Evil 3 next year.
2. Return of the Obra Dinn
Yes, Return of the Obra Dinn did release last year, but I didn’t get a chance to play it until January of this year. It’s a true shame that I didn’t get around to it in 2018, either, because I really think it was in dire need of some Game of the Year consideration.
Regardless, better late than never, I did get around to playing Obra Dinn and it enraptured me more than any other game did in 2019. From the opening moments that I climbed aboard the remains of the good ship Obra Dinn, I was mesmerized; not just from the game’s wonderful art style, but from the mystery surrounding this eerie tale. What happened to this ship’s crew? How did everyone aboard it disappear? And how exactly am I going to tie all of these threads together?
I played Return of the Obra Dinn in one fell swoop and didn’t turn it off until I had seen it through to its conclusion. In my old man age of 25 years, it takes a lot for me to stay up until around 3am solely to keep playing a game, but I just couldn’t put Return of the Obra Dinn down. It’s not just one of my favorite games that I played this year, it’s one of the most unique experiences that I have ever had with a video game and I cannot recommend it enough.
1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is far and away my favorite game of the year, which shouldn’t be a shock whatsoever if you’ve talked to me at any point since I first played Bloodborne back in 2017. I was a late convert to the Church of FromSoftware, but now, the developer is likely my favorite in the entire world.
Sekiro has a lot in common with the Souls games that came before it, but also feels like such an evolution and advancement of all of the ideas at the root of the genre. The gameplay, specifically, is what makes Sekiro stand out to me so much in this year’s crowded slate of releases. FromSoftware created a system of combat mechanics that make sense at a baseline level right out of the gate, but takes hours upon hours to fully learn all of the intricacies. The boss fights, which I specifically think are the best of any FromSoftware game ever made, continue to throw new things at you throughout the entirety of the experience. You’re always learning new things in Sekiro and then are quickly asked to take everything that you have learned and apply them within the context of a new challenge.
I know Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice might not be for everyone, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s a very hard game and not everyone may want to spend their gaming time screaming at their televisions. If you stick it out though and learn the ins and outs of what Sekiro tries to teach you, you’ll have an experience that is unmatched compared to anything else that released in 2019.
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