As 2019 draws to a close, we sat down to chat about our best gaming experiences this year. It’s really impossible to pick just a few names for our personal GOTY lists, but this is as close as we got. Here are SQUAD’s favorite games of 2019!
Titus loves Nintendo
This year has been full of great games, and one of my personal favorites came out right at the start of 2019. Kingdom Hearts 3 was announced years ago, and fans -- myself included -- were rabid for it by the time it actually released. The gameplay and combat were phenomenal, although somewhat divisive in the Kingdom Hearts community. The narrative was even more controversial among fans and casual players alike. The long, frequent cutscenes turned a lot of newcomers off. I myself was very frustrated and somewhat disappointed when the credits rolled, but over time I have come to appreciate what Kingdom Hearts 3 brought to the table. I am looking forward to the ReMind DLC coming early next year.
There have been several other 2019 gems that are worth mentioning. Mario Maker 2 was a fantastic continuation of the formula established in it’s Wii U predecessor. And of course there is the somewhat Souls-like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which was the last release I was able to play this year.
Kevin met Arthur Morgan IRL
My favorite game of 2019 would be Red Dead Redemption 2, hands down. I literally have no reasons for this other than what everyone has already said about the game over and over again. Red Dead Redemption 2 is beautiful, and the story is engrossing and hits you with multiple highs and lows over its run. To me, Arthur Morgan is one of the best game protagonists of the past few years, if not the decade. He doesn’t do anything super special, but he is leagues better than John Marston -- please tweet at me if you disagree. His transformation over the course of the game is absolutely lovely and if you end as a good guy, you know just how hard that ending was to stomach.
I may be super biased about it though, considering I actually met Roger Clarke himself, and fanboyed so hard that he actually had to say “You’re alright boah” to me. I died a little, but that’s besides the point.
Andrew is obsessed with Control
Control is definitely my favorite game of 2019. Scary, thrilling, mysterious, unsettling, and action-packed, it blends horror and, surprisingly enough, a superhero-like experience. Jesse Faden’s journey through The Oldest House trying to eliminate “The Hiss” and find her missing brother is an unforgettable narrative adventure that left me wanting more. I will have more to say about this game next year, too!
Asen was late to the party
I played both of my favorite games of 2019 in the final weeks of December. I discovered both thanks to Steam’s Holiday Sale -- yes, I am cheap. Katana Zero is a spiritual successor of Hotline Miami set in a dystopian, neon-bathed metropolis. That premise may sound predictable, but the game is anything but.
Earthfall is a Vermintide-like co-op shooter set in 2028. You and your fellow survivors slaughter your way to salvation through hordes of invading aliens. Meanwhile you are also trying to uncover the truth behind the crisis event which brought humanity to its knees. You also learn about Friendship and Cooperation, at least enough to make it through the campaign. The game delivers exactly the type of early 2000s SyFy channel vibes I crave. Earthfall‘s fantastic lore is tucked away in item descriptions and mission summaries. It makes for a great read as you decompress between frantic gunfights.
Stuart sticks to his guns
I know I’ll probably be banished as an apostate for even uttering this statement, but my favorite of all the games I played in 2019 was Riot’s Teamfight Tactics. I know it’s not a AAA title, or even that ground-breaking of a game. It’s just another auto-battler, but for me, just on hours spent in relation to enjoyment returned,TFT wins by a long shot.
There’s also a chance that since I’ve been playing the game since as soon as it was available to play, I feel a little more invested in it: not just playing, but also watching Riot develop playstyles and balance fixes. I loved figuring out new strategies and synergies, all the while balancing between hoarding gold for the economy or hyper-rolling for that 3-star unit. Then, with Rise of the Elements, all of those strategies and combos I had spent months perfecting went out the window and I got to do it all over again.
Finally, TFT introduced a feature I enjoy more than anything I’ve seen in a video game this year: Little Legends! I mean, who doesn’t love those little guys? Who’s a good Void-marked Furyhorn! You are!