DualShockers' Favorite Games of 2019 -- Tanner's Top 10
While my list includes a couple familiar favorites, 2019 still had a bunch of other great games that I got to enjoy all throughout the year.
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.
Come one, come all. Gather ’round kids, it’s finally time to listen to Tanner’s tale about what he thinks were the best games of the year. This year was a bit of a slow year for games, to be honest, as 2019 really only picked up right at the tail end of the year. Like many, I feel like this year will have a lot of variety of opinions between people, rather than just the usual lists like every other year where a couple games dominate the conversation.
While you’re reading, please keep in mind two things: one, this is just my opinion of the games I had the most fun with this year. Some of these titles weren’t released this year, so I want to make that clear right from the get-go. Secondly, this is not comprehensive of every game released in 2019. I still have yet to play Resident Evil 2, Devil May Cry 5, and The Outer Worlds, among other titles. If your favorite game isn’t here, that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. It might mean I just didn’t play it. Unless your name is Apex: Legends, which I did play, and hated.
Honorable Mention: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I started Fallen Order only a few hours ago as of the time of this writing and, honestly, I already wish I could put it higher on my list. Given the fact that I just started it though, I felt that was cheating a little bit.
That being said, Fallen Order‘s gameplay feels absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to see where the story goes from here. Despite a few graphical issues and bugs here and there, I feel like if I were to have played the game earlier, it would be very high on my list, possibly even my Game of the Tear. Sadly, I must keep pressing on.
I’m kicking off my list with a couple of repeats from last year because I feel like they both, once again, deserve shoutouts. For as many problems I have with the game (mostly in terms of the building aspects), Fortnite had an absolutely killer year. Between its insane The End/Chapter 2 event and its surprising Star Wars crossover that added freakin’ lightsabers, the battle royale game garnered my attention too much for me to not put it on the list.
Something about the Chapter 2 event changed my opinion on this game and while I can’t put my finger on it, I’ve been having a great time with it ever since the update. For that, I feel it deserves a spot on my list.
9. Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links has been on my top 10 lists at DualShockers for three years now and, honestly, I don’t feel bad about it one bit. This game is absolutely phenomenal. Konami just keeps on adding content to the game and it’s rare that it’s not good.
In the past couple of years we’ve been getting content based on the anime spin-off series, but in 2019 Konami decided to change it up a bit by adding cards and characters based on The Dark Side of Dimensions anime movie (which was funnily enough released in America the same time that Duel Links originally was back in 2016) and, once again, it’s mostly all solid content. I still play this game on a weekly basis and don’t plan on stopping any time soon. Until that happens, I feel like it deserves a shoutout on every top 10 list.
8. My Friend Pedro
So this was a very late entry, only getting my hands on the title a few weeks ago after The Game Awards. My Friend Pedro is just pure fun. Plain and simple. It feels, control-wise, what the Deadpool video game should have been. The controls feel great and slowing down time while blasting enemies is so much fun; I legitimately get goosebumps every time it happens.
Do I care about the story? Nope. Do I have any ideas what’s going on in the world? Nope. Am I have fun doing flips, pulling off trickshots, and jumping on walls? Absolutely. My Friend Pedro needs to come to more platforms so more people have a chance to play it. Hell, bring it to Vita. It’ll probably feel right at home there.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for My Friend Pedro.
7. Trials Rising
Trials Rising, besides Yu-Gi-Oh!, is probably the most niche title on this whole list. Its gameplay is certainly not for everyone, but as a huge fan of the series over the years, I loved my time reviewing the title. Completely and utterly failing a level and still having fun at the same time is why the Trials series, in my opinion, really shines.
It’s ridiculous, and this game is absolutely no exception. It doesn’t try and take itself seriously, and that’s totally fine. For god’s sake, you can even use a tandem bike in Rising and it’s hilarious to struggle with controlling, even though you are quantifiably failing the level each and every time. Plus, the user-generated content allows for even more fun, ridiculous times.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Trials Rising.
6. John Wick Hex
Well, I’ll be honest, I never thought I would put a strategy game in my top 10 Games of the Year list, and yet, here we are. John Wick Hex is a title that completely took me by surprise earlier in 2019. When it was announced, only the fact that it was being made by Bithell Games got my attention. But after playing it at E3 2019 and reviewing the whole thing in October, it quickly became one of my favorites of the year. The gameplay is tight, the art style is awesome, and it feels both authentically Bithell and John Wick.
Now, bring the title to consoles so I can play through it again!
Check out DualShockers‘ review for John Wick Hex.
5. Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution
I know what you’re thinking to yourself: “Two Yu-Gi-Oh! games on the same top 10 list? That’s a little cheap, don’t you think?” Honestly, I felt the need to put both on here because I liked both equally in 2019. While Duel Links does have a lot of content, it is a more condensed experience. That’s where Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution comes in.
This Switch title includes the full card lineup, full five-card field, as well as story and character missions for the first five Yu-Gi-Oh! series. Plus, since it’s on the Switch, I can also take the game on the go, just like Duel Links. And with more content coming in 2020, I’ll be playing Link Evolution even more as time goes on.
4. Ori and the Blind Forest
After not being able to get my hands on Ori and the Blind Forest for years due to it being exclusive on Xbox One, I was finally able to sit down and play it thanks to the game’s Nintendo Switch release earlier in 2019, and I absolutely loved it.
Between the game’s stunning locales and tight platforming, I adoring my time with the game. And the fact that I got to play it on Switch and take it wherever I went made it an even better experience. Now I just need Moon Studios to port the upcoming sequel Will of the Wisps on to Nintendo Switch, and all will be right in the world.
3. Super Mario Maker 2
I have to say, I’m not a Nintendo first-party fan. I didn’t grow up with these properties, so I have no affinity for them whatsoever. I’m only saying that because if I think a Nintendo first-party game is one of the best of the year, that’s really saying something. I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Super Mario Maker 2‘s “story” mode (if you can even call it that). However, I am a huge fan of user-generated content, and in that regard, the game absolutely delivers. I spent hours just diving into the various user-created levels, in awe by the creativity that members of the community have.
Games with UGC included will always gain my attention to their–essentially–unlimited replay value. I could easily see myself coming back to the game in a year or so and seeing just how much the community has come up with.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Super Mario Maker 2.
2. Death Stranding
Ok, so Death Stranding easily became my most anticipated game of 2019 when the release date was announced. I personally didn’t think it was hitting at that time, so when that got announced I was incredibly excited. Finally, we would be able to dive into the crazy world that Kojima had built for us.
After the first few hours of the game, I was hooked. I was ready to learn more. And then Chapter 3 showed up and that feeling went away after I realized I was going to be spending an insane amount of time in this one section. My friends and co-workers encouraged me to keep pushing forward, that the grind was worth it in the end. And once I saw the credits rolling, I found myself agreeing with that sentiment.
The story and performances found in Death Stranding are phenomenal. While Mads Mikkelsen and Tommie Earl Jenkins definitely deserve praise for their performances, I feel like Troy Baker’s performance as Higgs was also one of the best of year. I constantly found myself on the edge of my seat every time he would show up in the world, wondering what he would do next.
And there’s no way I can talk about Death Stranding without mentioning how gorgeous the game looks, even on a base PlayStation 4, which is where I was playing. Regardless of how you feel about the overall game, you have to respect how well-polished and visually stunning Death Stranding is. Was it worth the hype? In my opinion, yes.
Check out DualShockers‘ review for Death Stranding.
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
In my opinion, no other game had a better overall package than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Everything in the title was top notch. The campaign was absolutely exceptional, leaving behind Call of Duty‘s traditional, action movie feel for a more nuanced, thoughtful experience. In addition, new life was brought to Captain Price, making him a more sympathetic and relatable character than his previous incarnation, while at the same time introducing new characters with their own unique personalities.
On top of that, the multiplayer is also incredibly solid and, beyond some balancing issues with claymores and shotguns at launch, continues to be the most fun experience I have had in a game all year. I may be in the minority on this, but I feel like Modern Warfare‘s map design is some of the best and most unique we’ve had for the series in years. Of course, I don’t like every single map in the game, but I feel like overall there are way more great maps than bad maps.
While I’ve put the least amount of time into Spec Ops, the little I’ve played seems to be a ton of fun. These are more akin to raids than anything else, which requires extreme coordination. While I haven’t really been able to sink my teeth in the mode, the little I’ve played of it is extremely fun and I could see myself spending hours in there when I get some raid buddies.
Is Modern Warfare perfect? Nope. But my top Game of the Year doesn’t have to be that. It has to be the game that I enjoyed the most this year and, in that regard, this title certainly takes the cake.
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