DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2019 — Meaney's Top 10
Even as I descend into the new year as a cranky old man, I still managed to find some time for video games. Here are my favorites 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.
2019 is the year when I decided to finally own the fact that I’ve become a cranky old man. On the whole, I straight up just don’t care about most AAA console games anymore. They mostly feel so toothless and “built by a focus group” feeling. To me, at least. Whatever, it’s my list.
By the same token, I have absolutely become a devout lover of the goofy, sloppy razor’s edge of brilliance that is virtual reality. I’ve also really enjoyed digging into my backlog a bit.
Here are the games I enjoyed the most in 2019.
10. Creed: Rise to Glory
Years ago, my wife made me a special The Good, the Bad and the Ugly movie print for my wall. It was a gorgeous and extremely thoughtful gift. Long story short –mid-punch, I cocked back my elbow and accidentally smashed that treasured memory.
Later, I lost track of where I was facing and punched my bookshelf, knocking off a flower statue from a late relative. The statue lost a petal, but I guess it’s mostly fine.
My brother went full-pickle bloodthirsty trying to murder someone. He lunged forward and head-butted my Ikea TV stand, crashed the game and the PSVR visor while nearly giving himself a concussion.
Highly recommended experience. Try not to punch your grandma.
9. WipeOut Omega Collection
For those who don’t play VR games, you’ve probably heard of something called “comfort settings.” These vary by game, but basically, comfort settings are the equivalent of admitting you’re too weak and feeble to handle a little baby video game.
Choosing to enable them is the equivalent of saying “this porridge is too hot!” and then including your “opposition to hot porridge” in your Twitter profile. Obviously, I never use comfort settings.
On a completely unrelated note, I vomit hot red wine on the carpet every time I play a few WipeOut Omega races. Then I lie in bed, screaming “Just give me five minutes?! I have a headache. A headache from work!” at my wife and child for the next few hours.
The point is that WipeOut Omega totally owns. This game is excellent in both VR and flat flavors.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for WipeOut Omega Collection.
8. Sea of Thieves
I’m still loving Sea of Thieves. In the past year, they have added a tremendous amount of content to the game. This includes Goonies-style treasure hunts, a dedicated PVP mode and plenty more. In all, the free updates have basically been a full-blown sequel for Sea of Thieves. Rare should be commended for their efforts, now and forever.
Beyond that, Sea of Thieves requires you to make your own fun. That’s the point. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. We don’t get many games that give you the freedom to live without a specific required path to follow. It respects you too much to pretend a guided tour is the same thing as an adventure.
Sea of Thieves is quite possibly my console game of this generation. At the very least, it’s the one that’s provided the most laughs.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Sea of Thieves.
Make no mistake, Ultrawings is basically “a new Pilotwings.”
Confession: I never really liked Pilotwings on SNES and Nintendo 64. It seemed very boring. I just wanted to shoot things, but Pilotwings kept wanting me to care about obstacle courses and smooth flying. Today, in VR with a stick and throttle, I suddenly get it. The thrills of flying carefully through checkpoints and diving close enough to feel the spray of the ocean are suddenly very appealing to me.
It’s one of the great VR experiences that doesn’t get enough recognition. It’s a simple flight sim that anyone can enjoy. Throw on a VR visor and aim a fan at your face. Ultrawings is one of the most immersive games I’ve ever played.
Ultrawings is absolutely a must-have experience for any PlayStation VR owner, and it shows great in party settings. And let’s face it, that party aspect is pretty important for VR stuff.
6. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
Look, Bungie added more lore and added a whole bunch more PVP stuff. That’s all I asked for. I’m happy with this. At this point, you know how you feel about Destiny 2. I don’t buy video game merchandise…but I own two Destiny Ghosts and both physical Grimoire volumes. I’m in too deep. I serve in the Crucible at Lord Shaxx’s pleasure.
But I absolutely understand why you might hate it.
5. Planescape: Torment
If you’re someone who cares about story and choice in gaming, but hasn’t played Planescape: Torment, hop to it. This was my third play-through of this classic game.
Planescape: Torment is straight-up one of the best-written games ever. If you value quality storytelling, world-building and player agency: this is the game you’ve been searching for.
That’s it. It’s terrific. Play it, Chief.
4. Shadowrun (Genesis)
Back in the console wars of the early ‘90s, I bled Sonic blue. Admittedly, us Genesis fans lost that war. Sonic is now an indentured servant to Mario in his little racing/fighting games.
But somehow, in spite of my zealotry, I never played Shadowrun. Because I’m an idiot. This is EASILY my favorite RPG from the Sega Genesis. It feels like an old-timey PC game that’s been somehow smashed onto the Sega Genesis.
The main mission is to uncover the mystery of your brother’s death. BUT, to do so you’ll need to become a pro-tier hacker guy. And once you get good at this, you’ll make so much money that it will make the main mission trivial. Basically: you play as a hacker/thief/hitman. Your skills involve detective work, computer hackery and shooting people in the backery. You do what you want, when you want. When you get a free moment, you push the story of your brother’s murder, confident in the knowledge that you will eventually brutally murder those responsible.
Shadowrun is so open-ended that it’s downright heartwarming. If you’ve never played it, but enjoy retro games with a bit of jank, it’s a great way to pass the time until Cyberpunk 2077 finally arrives.
3. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
I absolutely adore the first Deus Ex. It lived in that raw “CONSPIRACIES ARE FUN!” Art Bell Coast-to-Coast space. But times have changed. I get it. These newer Deus Ex games had to tone down the red-pill dispensary stuff. I don’t blame them. Devs need to make money. That’s fair.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised by Mankind Divided. It dropped most of the global conspiracy stuff in favor of a cool cyberpunk Phillip Marlowe detective story. Surprisingly, it works without feeling like a cop-out. The conspiracy stuff is revealed in the first game, but these are prequels. In the end, I really, really loved it.
On the downside, the ending cuts off a bit too close for comfort, so I hope we get a third Adam Jensen game. That said, it wraps up the smaller mysteries and I really dug this one.
2. Death Stranding
Look, enough has been written about Death Stranding to fill a crater on the moon. Let’s cut it short and say that I’m on the supporting side. I adore this game.
Sue me, but I love Hideo Kojima, and I love that they let him run naked through the wildflowers for this one. It’s a damn solid hiking game and a fun open-world. I totally understand why a lot of people don’t like it. For me, it’s basically Dark Souls: American Truck Simulator…and that is directly up my weirdly specific alley.
1. Elite Dangerous
Speaking of trucking sims, Elite Dangerous is basically space truckin’. You get a job, then you fly for a VERY LONG monotonous time across space, pick up your cargo and bring it back. OR, you can mine asteroids for rare minerals. Or murder idiots for bounties. Or smuggle contraband like Han Solo. Or a combination of all of these.
The emphasis here is on simulation. Elite Dangerous is a painstaking recreation of what it might be like if your engine were to go on fire while you’re in deep space…but you’re not sure why, so you have to quickly dig through menus to find a malfunctioning component. When you finally stop that terrible alarm…space-pirates are outside.
I have three copies of this game. I’ve reset my character multiple times just to try out new user experiences. I love Elite Dangerous.
Hell, I bought a new chair so I could attach my HOTAS to the seat.
I bought a cheap Odyssey+ VR headset so I can look around my ship.
I purchased an onboard computer AI voiced by Brent Spiner so I can listen to Star Trek’s Data explain the cosmos while I tool around in space.
Elite Dangerous is basically a slow-moving night job that I utterly adore. It’s gorgeous. It’s complicated, and it terrifies normal people. I’ll be playing this for years.
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