Top 10 games of 2019 by eGaming Desk
The best year for video games is a hotly-debated topic and while 2019 might not necessarily be in contention, it has certainly seen many brilliant releases.
As the final hours of 2020 dwindle away, this list is eGaming Desk senior writer Jordan Heal’s top 10 games of the year, ranked in order.
In truth, it has taken some time to determine which games should rank where and what criteria should be used to appropriate them accordingly.
In the end, this list boils to down to several factors. I have decided, in large, to avoid sales figures if only because certain games sell like wildfire but aren’t necessarily ‘good’.
In particular, sports games fall into this. While the likes of FIFA, NBA and WWE sell well year-on-year, all three have been persistently buggy and less-than-smooth experiences.
In the past, I would have also categorised Call of Duty into this bracket, but, the Modern Warfare reboot is truly something special – at least by COD’s most recent standards.
The aspects I looked for most related to how well the narrative was delivered, how big the scope was, how well it took the world by storm but most importantly, how fun were they.
With this out of the way, here is the top 10 games of the year:
10. Devil May Cry 5
This was my first entry into the Devil May Cry franchise, so I still don’t have the foggiest idea on whether the previous ones led into the most recent game.
With that said, this one was an absolute blast. I thoroughly enjoy games that focus around intuitive combat, weaving together combos and figuring out the best strategy for taking down a foe.
While some of the above points don’t fit the mould of Devil May Cry 5, its combat was as enthralling as it was gripping.
It also won the ‘Best Action Game’ at The Game Awards.
Its story was sufficient enough, despite not having an extensive (or even basic) knowledge of previous events, I was able to plod through and enjoy every moment.
Its biggest pitfall was undoubtedly the length of the story, but historically action/adventure fighting games scarcely boast a long campaign.
Overall, I feel pretty confident this game belongs in a top 10 list because even a complete newcomer could enjoy it – I’d imagine series veterans love it.
— Devil May Cry (@DevilMayCry) December 13, 2019
9. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
First of all, I have nothing but praise for this game. I have been around Call of Duty since the original Modern Warfare back in 2007, though several years ago I stopped purchasing them altogether.
This time around, it felt as though Infinity Ward had endeavoured to make this one appealing to both old fans and new.
Rebooting the ‘Modern Warfare’ timeline encouraged those who were playing back in 2007 to return because fan-favourite Captain Price’s storyline has changed.
The campaign is short – but this is stereotypical of CoD games – and you wouldn’t want it to be much longer. The pacing of shooter games can fall flat if they are prolonged.
The multiplayer, likewise, is phenomenal. There has been some balancing issues, such as the over-powered 725 shotgun, but across the board it feels more realistic than the more recent iterations.
To top it off, the ultra-realistic gun sounds has enabled Modern Warfare to win ‘Best Audio Design’ at The Game Awards 2019.
Tic, Tac, Toe https://t.co/ecPbDy4iVp
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) December 10, 2019
8. Code Vein
I reviewed this game back in October and honestly, Code Vein deserves so much more praise than it received in the media.
It took much inspiration from Dark Souls and too often do games that try to emulate this formula appear lacklustre.
This game does the opposite, it takes the fundamentals from the formula but turns it into its own. Admittedly, if you can’t stomach both anime and anime tropes, this game isn’t for you.
If you can, you’ll find Code Vein has one of the most robust and fun character creations to date. Taking this further, the build customisation and optimisation is likewise fun offering frenetic and visceral combat.
Many might argue its story is quite weak and while I didn’t detest the narrative, I was more interested in the gameplay. This becomes particularly noticeable when lengthy cinematic cutscenes play out for an absurd duration of time.
Honestly though, if you find yourself having a Dark Souls-shaped hole longing for a new video game, but want something that stands firm on its own feet – Code Vein might be for you.
Players and critics alike are praising the apocalyptic world of Code Vein.
Tell us, Revenants – what is your favorite part of the journey?#CodeVein is out now on PS4, XB1 and PC: https://t.co/BuVfrywlTY pic.twitter.com/mMp0x8bl0G
— Code Vein (@CodeVeinGame) October 23, 2019
7. Kingdom Hearts 3
It’s truly a shame the third numbered title in the Square Enix / Disney crossover franchise couldn’t rank much higher than seventh.
The game is as brilliant as it is breathtaking but it was far too common to find yourself questioning the pacing of the narrative.
Upon finishing the story, it is clear to see what mastermind Tetsuya Nomura’s vision was for the end game was, but that doesn’t detract from the apparent issues leading up to Kingdom Hearts 3’s final act.
Perhaps what is worse is this title was meant to be the culmination of Xehanort’s story and yet the final moments felt like it was more preparing for the future of the franchise.
I’m in the hopeful mindset that the downloadable content (DLC) expansion Re Mind will remedy much of this, but that much remains to be seen.
Despite its pacing issues, the game is incredibly fun and is far from a bad one – it just pales in comparison to Kingdom Hearts 2.
Pre-orders start in just under an hour. pic.twitter.com/LYuLRS4h7Q
— KINGDOM HEARTS (@KINGDOMHEARTS) December 10, 2019
6. Disco Elysium
Well, I think it would be quite fair to say Disco Elysium is one of the year’s biggest surprises.
It’s not uncommon for indie games to receive a lot of mainstream praise, but this one has seen nothing but rave reviews since its release.
Adding to that, it also won four categories at The Game Awards 2019 including ‘Best Narrative’, ‘Best Role-Playing Game’ ‘Best Independent Game’.
The player dons the role of a detective who suffers from alcohol-induced amnesia while observing the events through an isometric perspective. Rather than fighting using traditional combat, it has heavy emphasis on dialogue.
Without a doubt, indie-lovers will see Disco Elysium as a shining light for video games in 2019.
— The Game Awards (@thegameawards) December 13, 2019
5. The Outer Worlds
I – and presumably many others – were somewhat sceptical of this one, mainly because it looked like a carbon copy of Fallout with background and thematic changes.
This is to be expected given Obsidian Entertainment did develop Fallout: New Vegas, arguably the best or second-best game in the franchise.
One aspect that allowed New Vegas to be the gem that it is was the ability to do almost anything you desired and still be able to complete the game, without being punished for making bad choices.
The Outer Worlds boasts a similar design to its narrative and, despite looking like Fallout, it certainly it is more than a clone.
Admittedly, you will persistently finding yourself thinking it is just Fallout in space, but it encapsulates the magic of Fallout beautifully.
Fellow eGaming Desk senior writer, Sam Webb, wrote his review on it and sung its praises on how it escaped the orbit of Fallout.
I’ll end this segment with a quote from him:
“All the hallmarks are there, such as stealth, combat with a slow-motion shooting mechanic, a dark sense of humour, moral quandaries, over-the-top (OTT) weapons, factions who become friends and enemies, and evil corporations with ridiculous mascots.
“But it forges out its own identity thanks to a new-yet-familiar sci-fi setting.”
So get out there spacers and vote!
🏆Best Performance – Ashly Burch
🏆Game of the Year
— The Outer Worlds (@OuterWorlds) December 9, 2019
4. Death Stranding
This one is bound to attract some controversy – this game was tipped to be the best of the year, but succumbed to incredibly mixed reviews upon release.
Death Stranding, by far and large, had the biggest scope of any game released this year. That much is apparent from the hype in the run-up to its release.
It marked Metal Gear Solid genius Hideo Kojima’s first venture into developing a game without any restraints within his own studio, Kojima Productions.
It brought in renown actors like Mads Mikkelsen and Norman Reedus into the fold – with the former winning the ‘Best Performance’ at the Game Awards 2019.
Likewise, the game also received the ‘Best Game Direction’ and ‘Best Score/Music’ awards.
It certainly didn’t appeal to a lot of Western audiences because it didn’t feature non-stop action shooting scenes, plus, its narrative is a slow-burner.
Nonetheless, it heats up toward the end and will always be remembered as the most bizarre and unique releases of the year.
— Mads Mikkelsen Official (@theofficialmads) December 13, 2019
3. Resident Evil 2
Once again, we could be strolling into controversial territory with this entry to the list.
But, if we’re being honest with ourselves here, the Resident Evil 2 remake is one of the most complete games to be released this year and one that I can’t recall having an abundance of negative reviews.
I didn’t experience any bugs throughout my time with this, and having been too young to have played the original, my first encounter with Tyrant was quite shocking.
Perhaps some would consider it unjust to rank a remake this high, but it wasn’t as polarising as Death Stranding; it was a literal copycat of the original only better – but it wasn’t shown to be any different and its pacing was on point.
All in all, I can scarcely think of any criticisms for it. Maybe this would be different had I played the original, but even seasoned fans seemed to love it.
I’m confident in saying most would rank Resident Evil 2 in their top 10 games of the year, though I feel less confident on speculating where others would rank it.
All in all, a must-play for Resident Evil enthusiasts.
This is the big one, and we're not just talking about Mr X. Resident Evil 2 is officially the Golden Joystick Awards 2019 Ultimate Game of the Year. Congratulations to @RE_Games @Capcom_UK for scaring us all to death in 2019. #GoldenJoysticks pic.twitter.com/nsBXeNHsk0
— Golden Joysticks (@GoldenJoysticks) November 15, 2019
2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Without meaning to sound like a broken record, its controversy time again. I may even be crucified for this particular ranking.
Respawn knocked it out of the park with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.
“Another Star Wars game published by EA? I’m not expecting anything great,” is what many naysayers exclaimed prior to release.
What we received was the exact opposite, EA allowed Respawn to follow their untrammelled desires with this, and it resulted in a game that I never knew I wanted, but one I’ve needed all my life.
I’ve seen several reports and players complaining about bugs, though this isn’t something that personally affected me. It would also seem many of these issues have since been patched.
Its combat is reminiscent of Dark Souls and Sekiro, which is why I’m such a big fan. Add to that, it’s insanely fun to parry blaster bolts using a dual-bladed purple lightsaber, the gameplay is extremely gripping.
Its narrative is far superior to the new trilogy of films and I’d honestly rank this as one of the best new-age Star Wars story.
I can understand how some may feel it leaves much to be desired, but this game ticked all the boxes I look for in a video game.
— EA Star Wars (@EAStarWars) December 6, 2019
1. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
You’ll likely have heard me screaming Sekiro is game of the year from every rooftop in the world and that is because FromSoftware’s latest IP is a masterpiece.
The swordplay is unparalleled by any other game on the market right now. Many were hoping for something akin to Dark Souls, but this isn’t Souls.
The learning curve is steep, so steep that no doubt many were put off before they made it to the half way point. If you are one of the people to have made it all the way, I’m confident that you’ll share a similar outlook to me on the game.
It won’t be everyone’s game of the year, because it is still a niche game but nonetheless, its approach to combat shines brightly, so bright that, for me, it eclipses any other game’s chances at becoming game of the year.
Dark Souls instilled a philosophy in me that no other video game franchise could have; persevering paves the way to the greatest pay offs.
The same approach rings true throughout Sekiro, without the willingness to adapt, to learn patterns and to overcome, you are going to struggle.
The Souls series, more often than not, had methods that allowed for tougher bosses to be felled more easily; there are less opportunities to exploit in Sekiro.
Its narrative may be less interesting than FromSoftware’s other titles, but its gameplay far excels above any other. This experiment is one to not be missed.
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) December 13, 2019
Interested in reading more eGaming Desk reviews? Discover more about why Code Vein is more than a Dark Souls clone.