New year. New games. But hold on! Before we look forward to what is coming in 2020 (there is a lot!), let’s take a look back at what we thought were the 5 best games of 2019 and the 5 games that didn’t live up to the hype.
5. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Where to start with this one. After a great beta with only a few grumbles about map design and the lack of mini-map, things were looking up for the new Modern Warfare game. When the game finally hit it had a whole host of issues with multiplayer. The Special Ops mode was all but broken and the only redeeming thing was the wonderful campaign. So what was wrong with multiplayer? Terrible spawns, view glitches, head glitches when using the new mounting mechanic, louder than loud footsteps and a camping epidemic because all the maps now feature doors and many, many windows. All in all a terrible situation. This was the first Call of Duty where most team deathmatches would end in the timer running out because everybody was sat in rooms, too scared to actually run about as there were too many corners and windows to cover. Not to mention the fact people could here you running towards them from across the map. Infinity Ward has patched it several times since, but the multiplayer is still not in a great place. Hope 2020 brings some changes.
4. Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
Who doesn’t like a bit of Ghost Recon? The gadgets. The co-op. The A.I squadmates. Most of that is not here. Gone is the biggest feature that makes Ghost Recon stand apart from other shooters. Your A.I squad. Gone. Vanished into thin air. Never to be seen again. Sadness. Couple that with a new loot mechanic that makes the tactical and realistic gameplay all wonky, you basically have The Division 2 on an island. That’s not what we wanted. Rumours of a patch coming soon with huge changes and where A.I squads will be back gives us hope. Right now, stick to the Division if you want a loot-based third-person shooter. It does it way better.
3. Rage 2
Rage was a great game. It looked absolutely fantastic back in the day on an Xbox 360. Truly jaw-dropping. Rage 2 came along out of nowhere and managed to disappoint on just about all levels. The gunplay was great and it looked pretty good but it was just so….boring. The open-world was just dull. The story was not much better and the whole thing has this weird single player live service mechanic type setup that was undercooked and still is. Certain content was gated off if you didn’t pay up real money and yeah, that sucks. Especially in a solo game. Wasted.
2. Borderlands 3
Now now. Settle down. Borderland 3 is not a bad game. It’s a lot of fun. Just like the previous games, and that’s where it disappoints. A 2019 game shouldn’t feel and look like a 2009 game. Nothing has really changed. The mechanics. The systems. The loot. It’s all there from the previous titles and it’s all good stuff but come on, they could have dragged this franchise into the future with some cool stuff no? There are better loot shooters out there now. Doing bigger and better things.
What can you say about this mess? We could have seen it coming? Sure. But who wasn’t excited for an online loot shooter from Bioware in the mould of Destiny with big ass armour suits and the ability to fly? It looked great. It played ok. But what killed it? Two things. No great content in the game and Bioware having no idea on how online service games work. They messed up loot drops. They messed gear stats. They messed up the endgame content. They messed up…just about everything. That meant only one thing. This game died quicker than you ever expected. Players left in droves leaving the online with hardly a player base to support it. We pray for the state of Dragon Age 4 now. Gulp.
5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars games under EA have been pretty dire. The first Battlefront was light on content and then Battlefront II came along and killed us all with loot boxes and microtransactions. However, the state of that game is pretty damn good now. It took time and outcry though. But over the past few years, EA killed single-player Star Wars games citing multiplayer is what gamers wanted and the biggest casualty from all of this being Project Ragtag from Visceral Games and Amy Hennig. When Fallen Order was revealed. We all grumbled. It didn’t look good but at least EA was releasing a single-player game right?
Well, Respawn have knocked it out of the park here. It’s a Soul-like game in terms of combat and saving but it is only punishing if you play on the hardest difficulty. Instead of bonfires, you have meditation points. If you decide to rest…boom! All the enemies respawn. The characters are great, the level design is complex and rewards exploring and heck, even the story is good. Lots of twists and turns. It’s the best-reviewed EA game in a long time and that’s because it’s a good game. Simple. It’s not trying to fleece you with DLC and loot boxes or trying to constantly sell you in-game items. Sales are great too. See EA, we know what we want.
4. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
FromSoftware can do no wrong. Sekiro appeared when fans were baying for Bloodborne II but in the end, we got something so much better. It’s a more focused and appealing game. Gone is the character creation and loneliness and instead, you play as Wolf. A man with a history. A background. A story. Combat is different from Dark Souls and Bloodborne. This time it’sall about posture. When the posture bar is full the enemy will open itself up for an instant one hit kill. It’;s an extemely tactical and rewarding system. Death is also not the end. With the resurrection system, it alows players to continue but the more resurrections you do the more impact on the world it will have. You have been warned! As with all of FromSoftware’s games, this is not for everybody. It is hard and that will turn many off this game. However, it is the most accesible so give it a shot. Take your time. Learn. Adapt. enjoy.
3. The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds is Fallout in space and that is a good thing. The Fallout series has been on a decline over the past few years. Fallout 4 was meh and let’s not talk about Fallout 76. So when the designers of Fallout and Fallout 2 decide to make a game that takes all the best bits of Fallout, polishes them up and makes it all nice and shiny and puts it all in space….you have a winner. If you have played any of the first person Fallout games, then you know what you are getting here. Just without all the bugs and glitches. Character creation. Branching dialogue. Questing. Side missions. Companions. You know the deal. It’s fantastic and never outstays its welcome. Clocking in around 25 hours this is a role-playing game that is tightly crafted with no bloat. Go play! Now!
2. Disco Elysium
What a game. An isometric RPG that in a way plays like the old Lucasarts point-n-click games. Nostalgia! Being an RPG, the game is full of stats and equipment you can pore over. But! Instead of fighting the usual guards or monsters….you have conversations. Instead of combat, your characters get into Trials. These are then resolved through conversations. Many of the dialogue options are locked behind dice rolls, so for example, if you fail a test you might not understand what is being told to you. But the biggest aspect of the game – and this is where it might put off most people – is the vast amounts of text you need to read. It’s funny, deep and very different from what you would normally play.
After the brilliance of Alan Wake, we all wondered what Remedy would do next. A sequel? We can only hope. Instead, we got the strange misstep that was Quantum Break, a game that wanted to be a TV show and vice versa but didn’t work on any level at all. When Remedy announced Control, who didn’t roll their eyes a bit and say “this looks like Quantum Break“. Come on. Don’t be shy.
Anyway, Control is amazing from beginning to end. It starts slow. In an office. Nobody around. You meet a janitor and well things escalate from there in a manner that will you keep you on edge for the rest of the game. It’s almost Lynchian in its execution. There are collectables to find that expand the lore wonderfully and there are of course power to learn that will let you reap destruction like never before.
But we don’t want to delve into the details of this game here. Go buy it. Play it. Discover. You won’t be disappointed.
What a great year for games and it seems 2020 is only going to be bigger and better. New consoles. New games.
Oh, yes. you are probably wondering where Death Stranding is. It is an amazing experience but as a game, it’s average at best. 🙂