It’s hard to choose only five games that I enjoyed this year, but that’s exactly what I have managed to do here. This may not have been the best year in games, but looking back at everything as a whole, I had a ton of fun and there were definitely some gems that made for a really memorable year. These 5 games and some honorable mentions are what stuck with me in 2019 as standout experiences and I really enjoyed my time with them.
5 – Resident Evil 2: Remake
Resident Evil 2 is one of my favorite horror games of all time and when I found out Capcom was remaking it, I was incredibly excited. The end result is incredible, the graphics, the mechanics and the overall presentation have been completely modernized and I am still amazed every time I see it in action. The tension and fear for jump scares around every corner is still there and better than ever. The puzzles are still relevant and have even been upgraded or refined in the Remake for a better overall experience. I am happy to see that they are giving RE3 the same treatment next year, and I can’t wait to dive into that one as well.
4 – The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
The original Link’s Awakening is one of my favorite handheld Zelda games, and I thought I would never see it modernized due to its unique gameplay mechanics and odd blend of Nintendo characters. Sure enough Nintendo surprised us all with an incredible remake that is the same core game with an all new coat of paint. This is not just your typical up-res but a brand new game built from the ground up for the Nintendo Switch. The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening is a great change of pace from the likes of Breath of the Wild and the old school Nintendo charm really shines through in this one.
3 – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software games are special to me. I love the challenge and the world building that the developers give the players. Bloodborne is amazing and the Dark Souls games created a genre of their own. Sekiro Shadow’s Die Twice is a unique take on the formula that fans of the games welcomed with open arms. This is a more action oriented game that presents challenges in new ways, and providing players with a more fast paced combat system kept this game feeling fresh start to finish. I love Sekiro and would love to get a chance to go back through for a second play through.
2 – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem is one of my favorite video game franchises and I was incredibly excited to play Three Houses and it did not disappoint at all. It manages to blend some lifestyle mechanics in the form of a day to day schedule of a teacher that takes to the battlefield when things get rough. This Fire Emblem game feels incredibly fresh and substantial with each of the three houses providing a different take on an incredibly deep story. The characters were all interesting and trying to improve relationships with the most important one’s proved to be not only important but incredibly fun.
1 – Death Stranding
Death Stranding is a unique game that does things that no game before it has done. Hideo Kojima took risks and they seem to have paid off for the most part. The lore in this world, the acting by the likes of Norman Redus and Mads Mikkelsen, the depth of the game mechanics all combine to make a gaming experience I will never forget. All that aside, the story itself is gripping and kept me going to see what would happen next.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding this game and I still find myself quite surprised with how much I understand the game when trying to answer the one question everyone asks me when they find out I’ve played it. “What is it?”. While it’s a complicated answer, I know what this game is and it’s a true testament to my investment in the world itself. Death Stranding is my favorite game of 2019 without question and I can’t wait to see what Kojima’s studio does next.
Astral Chain is a Platinum game at it’s core, and it shows. The mechanics of many of their previous action game shine through here, but with a new concept and mechanic that presents interesting challenges. The Legion that is chained to you creates some unique combat sequences and stylish finishes. Overall the game rewards skilled players in new and interesting ways and I loved every minute of it.
Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker is a game that I wish I was better at. I find myself to be a bit of a perfectionist so creating levels can sometimes take weeks, while I go back and tweak things a little here and there and play through it to find one small flaw that needs some restructuring. It’s almost like work to me but I love it. Super Mario Maker 2 takes that to a whole new level. I got into the first game but I was hooked on this one for months. I haven’t tried the new Zelda content, but I love seeing some support and new content around this game.
This was a fun year for games and there are a lot of games that I haven’t had a chance to play yet and may have made this had I been able to. I still need to play Control, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order, Luigi’s Mansion 3, and many more. The games on this list really reflect the fun I had this year and I can’t wait to see what 2020 has to offer.