DualShockers’ Favorite Games of 2019 — Scott's Top 10
2019 for me was filled with tons of games from different genres, and even though it was hard to pick 10, here are my favorites from 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.
Greetings and glad tidings, Shockerians? DualShockese? Sorry, I’m new, but yes it is the time of the year once again to share with the internet the video games that left a particularly large imprint on us throughout the past 365 days. My name is Scott White, and let my list be my humble debut on this fantastic site and introduction to you fine readers.
2019 treated audiences to titles that have been long desired, from Kingdom Hearts 3, Death Stranding, and of course, the Resident Evil 2 remake. The time between these behemoths was filled with other stellar titles from indie studios to large developers, rounding out the year and making it one with far too many games and myself with far too little free time for them all. However: I did play a bunch, so let me tell you about some of them!
As a brief note for readers: the first nine games I will list are in no particular order, but the final entry on this list will be my favorite of the year and noted as such.
What was a random suggestion on my Steam page turned into my go-to chill game of the year. With a bright and vivid cartoon pixel art style, Forager crafted its way into my heart. I found something incredibly peaceful and rewarding as I bought up the various islands faster than a land baron who struck oil, and worked to create my autonomous empire. With my army of drones collecting precious ore and gems, while my furnaces burned non-stop crafting new items, I could sit back and admire my work.
With the inclusion of many other indie darlings that you can dress your character up as (Shovel Knight, baby!) and flow of constant updates and additions from the single-man development team, Forager is a game that I keep coming back to, being charmed all the while.
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting a dark narrative dealing with such heavy topics as PTSD, drug addiction, or child soldiers when I started playing Katana Zero. My sight zeroed *wink wink nudge* in on this game after watching the trailers with the neon visuals, the samurai who deflects bullets and mows down enemies, and the time-warping mechanic. What I ended up getting was so much more, and made me fall in love with this game.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Katana Zero.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
Yes, it’s an older game, but FighterZ has still been one of the games I’ve had the most fun with in 2019. With the drops of some of my friends and I’s favorite characters, my usual crew of friends were hopping into the lobbies and hurling beams at one another more than ever. With the recent release of the final Season 2 character with Dragon Ball Super’s Broly, there’s still no word on a Season 3 of new characters. You can count on it though, that if we do get another round of characters, there is a good chance you will see Dragon Ball FighterZ on my list next year, too.
Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of An Elusive Age — Definitive Edition
Fact: Dragon Quest XI was one of my favorite games of 2018. Also fact, Dragon Quest XI S easily adds enough content and goodies to warrant being included on my list for 2019 too. With the addition of the orchestral track, new outfits, and a new game with the 2D version of XI included with all of its unique content, I gladly jumped back into the role of The Luminary. Any fans of RPGs and that own a Switch need to get this game.
Daemon X Machina
As a longtime fan of From Software’s non-Soulsborne franchise, Armored Core, the lack of complex mech customization action titles as of late left me rabid for this game when it got announced. Fast-forward a couple of demos and a release later, Daemon X Machina fills the void left by AC’s disappearance this generation. The tense combat mixed with a visual style that separates it from the pack is just *chef’s kiss* muah. The added fact that I can now run around as Geralt of Rivia in a giant robot is just icing on the cake.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Daemon X Machina.
Resident Evil 2
Growing up, the Resident Evil series was always one that I wanted to play, as the lore and concept behind it was so intriguing to me. Alas though, it contained a foe scarier than Mr. X and more crushing than Nemesis: the dreaded “tank controls.” The releases of the remasters had solved this dilemma of mine with Resident Evil 0 and the first game, and with the RE2 remake release, I got to finally experience Leon and Claire’s origin.
This game should be placed on a pedestal with a beacon shining on it that never gets extinguished as an example of how remakes should be done. By everyone. Forever. It is simply a suburb horror title that nailed this vibe. The first time I was being chased by Mr. X remains the most nerve-wracking horror experience of 2019 for me. Bravo Capcom, bravo.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Resident Evil 2.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
With magical whip in hand, I ventured forward into the night, vanquishing all manner of demonkind, skewering myself in the chest along the way to absorb the abilities of my foes. In a similar vein as Daemon X Machina scratched my mech itch, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night gloriously scratched my Symphony of the Night itch. Plus, David Hayter is a demon-slaying samurai, so that instantly gives it +120 bonus points.
Kingdom Hearts 3
In the convening years between the releases of Kingdom Hearts 2 in 2006 and Kingdom Hearts 3 this year, I evolved from a senior in high school who had no idea what he was doing, to a full-fledged adult…who has no idea what he is doing AND paying rent! What a decade it’s been.
I may have grown out of the raging hormones and living with my parents, but it turns out I have not grown out of the wide-eyed reaction to seeing Keyblades, Heartless, and Sora+Donald+Goofy Co. teaming up and vanquishing evil with the power of friendship and deus ex machina. It’s far from a perfect game, or even a perfect Kingdom Hearts game, but when a game makes me tear up from the title screen, there’s no way I couldn’t include it on my list. I love this game, this series, and all the craziness that comes with them. I can’t wait to see what lore-f***ery comes with the upcoming Re:Mind DLC in January.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Kingdom Hearts 3.
Not relegated to a single game, but more a family of fan mods, this year saw me really dive into retro game randomizers. These nifty mods mix all sorts of stuff up inside a game–chest contents in Zelda as an example–to create new experiences in each playthrough. Whether it was having Kent in Fire Emblem rocking as Bard or Yoshi being King of Figaro with his twin brother Master Chief in Final Fantasy 6, these mods stole a lot of my time this year.
My Favorite Game(s) of the Year: Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 1-3
Spending more than 250 hours with a cast of characters, experiencing their world, their struggles and triumphs this year, I’ve found myself completely enraptured by this series of RPGs. Imagine the materia system from Final Fantasy VII, the social bonding and links from the later Persona titles, and blend them together with a constantly expanding narrative, and you have Trails of Cold Steel.
I felt I had to include these games as a single entity on my list. So many moments of these games left me aghast; they lifted my spirits with hope and pained my heart with loss. This is a series that needs to be experienced by more people. I can only hope that 2020 will see the localization of the end of this saga with Cold Steel 4.
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