DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2019 — Lou’s Top 10

Whether it was putting too much time into Slay the Spire or getting scared out of my mind in RE2, here are my top 10 games of 2019.

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.

Seemingly, 2019 is a year of gaming backlog regret — with less disposable time this year (thanks wedding planning), I tended to invest myself in games that just wouldn’t stick, or would disappoint massively only after getting hours into it. When things boiled down to Game of the Year 2019, I realized that I hadn’t touched most of the titles that were grabbing the gold… and so my backlog grows.

What specifically? Well, my Nintendo Switch has been building dust through the year as I side-stepped major RPGs like Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Astral Chain. Games I tended to be more skeptical about — Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Gears 5, and Devil May Cry 5 — slipped through my grasp, only to be followed by deservedly rave reviews. And I’m hoping to get Death Stranding for Christmas, so I can finally see what all the fuss was about.

With that said, 2019 was a surprisingly strong year for gaming as we lead to the swan songs of this generation. With most of the biggest names in games colliding in 2020, we are set for possibly the best year in gaming…ever. The possibilities are strong for the next generation of consoles, and boy is it great to be a gamer.

Now enough with the rant, here are my Top Ten Games of 2019:

10. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Truth be told, I’m thrilled to see that Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night managed to win Best Metroidvania in the DualShockers Game of the Year Awards for 2019. Koji Igarashi had made a lot of claims about what this game would be, and — despite an audience hungry for 2D Castlevania successors — the hype for the title seemed to fizzle. But despite some hype deflation, there is a ton of fun to be had in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night — especially its signature polish and style that only Iga can bring to a game.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night.

9. Apex Legends

After 2018, I had just about given up on the Battle Royale genre. Everyone was doing it, and seemingly no better than anyone else. Then in comes Apex Legends out of nowhere and takes the esports world by storm overnight. Introducing the ping system and being able to revive teammates — things that would eventually be lifted by other competing titles — Respawn Entertainment was able to show that they have the chops to make in impact in any genre at a moment’s notice.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Apex Legends.

8. Kingdom Hearts III

Controversial. I know. And perhaps my review for Kingdom Hearts III hasn’t stood the test of time…but I maintain that for all the game’s weirdness and quirks, it was the best PS2 game I played this year. And that’s not to be flippant about it.

There is a market for remastered games in 2019, and sure — Kingdom Hearts III isn’t that. But…isn’t it? Stunning graphics, updated gameplay, and themes and gameplay designs that feel stale in 2019. It is a blast to the past, perhaps a perfection of the Kingdom Hearts series that we’ve known so far. But without some fundamental changes, the series might quickly run its course.

Thankfully, there is a smart development team behind it, and the game is fun. The series certainly has a dedicated fanbase that will stick with it, and I earnestly that they know where the series has to grow. And as we’ve learned, sometimes wishing is just what you need to save the day.

Check out DualShockers’ review for Kingdom Hearts III.

7. Assassin’s Creed Rogue: Remastered

After the news about multiple bugs in Assassin’s Creed Unity, I gave the series a large berth — even after the brief hiatus and soft-relaunch with Assassin’s Creed Origins. With all the clamoring about the series’ comeback, I thought it was time for me to pick up where I left off.

Though I can’t say I’m the biggest fan of the Nintendo Switch port of the game, the underappreciated Assassin’s Creed Rogue is just a much better Black Flag. Where Black Flag pushed the boundaries of what an Assassin’s Creed game could be, Rogue lifts those same elements and layers in a compelling story of betrayal and personal growth.

More importantly, Assassin’s Creed Rogue Remastered feels like an old AssCreed game, and sometimes that is what you need. Relatively short, kind of like a checklist, and great to play as you have something on in the background.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Assassin’s Creed Rogue: Remastered.

6. Far Cry: New Dawn

Another controversial take, but I really liked Far Cry: New Dawn. Is it perfect? No, not by a longshot. Is it the best evolution that Far Cry has seen since Far Cry 3? Without question.

Here’s the deal: if you don’t actively follow the Far Cry series or never played Far Cry 5, what New Dawn does will probably be lost on you. Adding in RPG elements, overhauling (read as “re-skinning”) Hope County, and linking the games was excellent. But the game was also weird — not nearly substantial enough as a standalone game, but underappreciated and ignored as an expansion.

I still maintain that if Far Cry 5 waited a year and added the content from New Dawn as a late-game epilogue (similar to the ending of Red Dead Redemption 2 or Pokemon Gold/Silver), complete with the radical new tone and gameplay elements, Far Cry 5 would have revolutionized the series at large.

Instead, we have a fun experiment that critically flopped.

Check out DualShockers’ review for Far Cry: New Dawn.

5. Slay the Spire

The top five games are really where I spent most of my time this year, and Slay the Spire is probably where I sank the most time. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ve ever put more than an hour into the game in a single sitting. Slay the Spire became my handheld game of the year in 2019, offering a surprising amount of depth and an addictive roguelike structure. It’s hard to explain, but the game scratched an itch in all the right ways.

4. Judgment

I didn’t pick up Judgment until I heard rumblings that the game was in substantial consideration for Game of the Year 2019 (spoiler alert, it won our GOTY award). While it had been a game that I was hoping to play, I — like many people I’d talked to — was waiting to finish the Yakuza series before taking the plunge into a spin-off series.

And while I haven’t beaten the game, it has monopolized my playtime since I’ve started. There is something so perfectly ‘gamey’ about Judgment; it’s fun to play and an absolute joy to watch. With a bit more time, this may have topped my personal list, but chances are I will be exploring Kamurocho for weeks to come.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Judgment.

3. Tetris 99

Tetris 99 is an evil game that wants me to sell my soul to finish in 1st Place. And I’m pretty close to doing just that.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Tetris 99.

2. Resident Evil 2

Not sure if I’ve ever made this known, but horror games are my jam: both the absurdly polished and the flat out disasterpieces. Without surprise, Resident Evil 2 was in the former, being a terrific game across the board — a love letter to arguably the best game in the storied series’ history. Capcom put in a ton of love and thought into Resident Evil 2, and they should all be recognized for it.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Resident Evil 2.

1. Red Dead Redemption 2

It seems like an annual tradition for me to give a top slot to a game that didn’t come out this year — and that’s precisely what is happening again. With all of Red Dead Redemption 2 firmly under my belt, I can say with confidence that this is not only my game of the year… but probably also my game of the generation. It’s been repeated time and time, but Rockstar has reached new heights with the story and characterization of Arthur Morgan that has yet to be surpassed. While I get where the expansive open world and unintuitive gameplay may throw people from the start, those willing to stick around (much like I did this year) will be rewarded tenfold.

Check out DualShockers‘ review for Red Dead Redemption 2.

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

Lou Contaldi

Lou Contaldi is the Editor-in-Chief at DualShockers, specializing in both reviews and the business behind gaming. He began writing about tech and video games while getting his Juris Doctor at Hofstra University School of Law. He is maybe the only gaming journo based in Nashville, TN.

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