games / Columns

The Top 8 Games of 2019: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Resident Evil 2, More

January 7, 2020 | Posted by Marc Morrison
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball! With 2019 ended, I might as well throw up my own personal “Games of the Year” list. Unlike with other years, this year didn’t really have a clear “winner”. There are some common games, Control and Star Wars, to name a few, but there wasn’t the usual game that blew everyone away. Hence, why some of the games on my list are a tad out there, but are still my favorites. Enjoy:

#8: Judgment

Judgment might not be the most innovative and newest game on this list but I enjoyed it plenty. It does share a lot of its DNA with Yakuza games, like 90-95%, but the remaining stuff is pretty interesting. Takayuki Yagami is distinctly NOT like Kiryu, because Yagami actually has a semblance of a personality and has some flair to him. Exploring Kamurocho is as pleasant as ever and there are new things for you to do, although the drone racing stuff is a nightmare of paid DLC nonsense. I still might say Yakuza 0 is the gold standard for these types of games, but this honestly is a pretty close second.

#7: Luigi’s Mansion 3

I’ll admit this is my first Luigi’s Mansion game, but I’ve really enjoyed it. While the first few floors of the hotel play it straight, by about the fourth or fifth stage, you are going into fantasy castle, dense jungle and haunted laboratory floors, to battle against ghosts and suck them into your vacuum cleaner. I find the game actually pretty challenging, as you have to figure out ways to manipulate the environment with your few abilities, to be able to proceed into new rooms or get the ghost to actually appear so you can battle it. Above all else, it features some really great Virtual Boy jokes, which considering I owned two of those things growing up, I can also attest that they are the greatest gaming devices anyone has ever came up with.

#6: Control

A bit like with The Outer Worlds, I think Control is a fantastic game, but the narrative started to lose me after a while. I did make it fairly far into the game, so I can comment on it better. First comment: Screw that plant boss. Second comment: Poets of the Fall are always cool. Third comment: the world building, setting, and characters are all great. Fourth comment: combat is fairly varied with the powers you have, and whether or not you want to shoot enemies with guns or just throw huge rocks at them (which is almost always effective). Last comment: Seriously, that plant boss is a real nightmare. It took me about 20 tries to kill it and I got super annoyed by the thing constantly belching poison at me.

#5: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Hey look, a single-player only, non-Frostbyte game engine, Star Wars game that ISN’T a hunk of trash? Who could have imagined this? This is the best Star Wars game since Star Wars: Republic Commando, which was circa 2005. While the game isn’t perfect, I *really* wish there was a fast travel or waypoint system (or the map not being garbage), it is filled with good combat, nice action sequences and solid acting from Cameron Monaghan. While I haven’t finished the game yet, it is still a tremendous achievement and I applaud that it’s the most un-EA game in years.

#4: Remnant: From the Ashes

I heard someone on a podcast describe Remnant as “Resident Evil 4 (or Gears of War) mixed with a Dark Souls game” and that perfectly describes it to me. This is also, incidentally, the first Dark Souls-like game I’ve ever actually liked. The ranged combat in this game is really fun and impactful, especially once you start getting some of the higher-tier weapons. The skill system is neat, co-op worked like a charm, and I really appreciated that you could just re-roll the game world and keep a majority of your stuff on the next playthrough.

#3: Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Considering that both Castlevania: SOTN and Super Metroid started the whole “Metroidvania” genre, it’s nice to at least see one of the important guys, Koji Igarashi, hard at work at refining the genre. While Bloodstained doesn’t quite have the cache that Castlevania: SOTN had, it is a huge refinement of that formula. Instead of just picking your weapons and gear, you can really customize your abilities with the shard system. You can go from a wielding a drill-sword, to summoning fireballs, to jumping around as a demonic Playboy Bunny, it’s all up to you and how much you want to farm for specific shards. This is one of the few games I got the platinum trophy in, for 2019, and I’m glad I did.

#2: Resident Evil 2

That first Resident Evil remake, god, 17 years ago now, was neat but still suffered from a few annoying issues…like tank controls. RE2 really is a modern game, and feels as such. The gunplay is fantastic, and it never gets old shooting zombies in the head. The game itself is gorgeous, and one of the best looking games on the market. The best thing though is actually the map. It annotates basically everything, not just what type of locks there are for doors, but ammo and other key items you may need to forage for. Opening up the map and going “Hey, I finally got the Diamond Key, now to start opening up all these Diamond-locked doors and making progress” is such a good feeling.

#1: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

I would honestly actually say that Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the best strategy game I’ve ever played. While there is some class stuff, flying units aren’t great against arrows or knights are weak against axes, almost everything is on a fairly level playing field, so that even disadvantaged units might have a shot against stronger ones. You can also get ridiculously overpowered, even like 4 or 5 missions in, so that your main character can never die. I literally got to a point where I could do side missions, just with the main character, and destroy every monster I came across with ease. Aside from the strategy aspect is the social one, which is almost directly copied from a Persona game, in a brilliant fashion. If you’re going to take something, you might as well take from the best, and that is what is at play here, with the school filled with interesting and unique characters, for the most part (seriously, Leonie is lame), that you actually want to spend time with. This is the best game on the Switch so far.

For comments, list your favorite games of 2019 and why.

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