Let me get this out of the way to begin with. I have a backlog problem. I’m notorious among the Fanbyte team since I’m still trying to work my way through 2017 gems like Prey, Hellblade, Nier: Automata, and a whole lot more. Turns out there were a lot of really good games that year, y’all.
Because of this I’m really, really terribly bad at actually keeping up with the games as they come out. Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Death Stranding, Control, the 2019 list goes on and on. I so badly want to play those games but I’m very far behind. And it certainly doesn’t help that the only games I do pick up as soon as they’re out are games as a service titles or grindy looter shooters. I’ve spent so many hours playing Destiny 2…
As a result, I’m fully taking advantage of Steven’s proclamation that our game of the year lists can include titles that were not from this year. Here they are!
10. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator (TABS)
I’ll be honest, I haven’t even played TABS myself, but I’ve watched so many people play it. I’m not even sure it’s such the game itself is great, but it is absolutely hilarious to watch people funnier than I try to overcome the game’s silliness. CoryxKenshin’s playthrough above literally had me crying.
9. No Man’s Sky: Beyond
For many, this year’s No Man’s Sky: Beyond update was the true realization of what the game should have been from the start. True multiplayer alone was enough to inject some real life into the game. Combined with a new power system and better base building and the game truly shined. One of these days I really do need to go back and work on some of the endgame systems.
8. MTG Arena
I definitely fell into the camp who didn’t believe Magic: The Gathering could be simplified enough to be an electronic card game. Yet Wizards of the Coast managed to pull it off. MTG Arena is by far the most fun I’ve ever had playing Magic. I fell off a few months back, but it’s way more affordable than either paper MTG or MTG Online and that’s honestly been one of the biggest blockers for the franchise as a whole.
Devotion falls into a similar category as TABS for me. It’s a game I never touched — in part because by the time I had caught on to how good it was it was removed from Steam and basically everywhere else. That said, the playthroughs I’ve watched have been fantastic. The game does an incredible job of keeping things unsettling and creepy while also somehow having a really sad and touching story?
6. Oxygen Not Included
In a certain podcast you will hear me say that Oxygen Not Included was my game of the year. I may have jumped the shark on that one a little bit, but I’m not entirely sure. I didn’t want to include expansion packs and I also didn’t want to nominate anything that didn’t actually come out in 2019. Also, is Teamfight Tactics really its own game? It’s technically just a game mode instead of League of Legends. All of those things considered I guess it really is my highest rated game that came out in 2019.
The game itself is super simple yet intricate with all kinds of in game systems you need to balance. From available oxygen, to other gases and their effects, to atmospheric pressure. There are just a ton of awesome mechanics that need to be considered less your Duplicants die in the horrible confines of a space asteroid.
5. Teamfight Tactics
I might be biased here since I needed to play Teamfight Tactics to write guides, but I do genuinely think I had fun playing it. Even if it was basically a three month rush of gameplay and then an absolute cliff. Not only was it a return to the League of Legends client which I’ve spent hundreds of hours on (and possibly love) but it was also a new system to understand and solve. I haven’t kept up with the game since the launch of Set 2, but it still stands as one of my most played games this year.
4. Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
For a game that ranks so high, I really haven’t played enough of Iceborne. I’m only a handful of missions through the new main quest and haven’t even unlocked the Guiding Lands. That’s the new endgame area that Capcom introduced. So many of the improvements and systems sound so, so good and I’m a systems guy through and through. For the past week or so I’ve been chipping away at the assigned quests with my wife and I’m really excited to finally see what the game has to offer over the holiday break.
3. Yakuza Kiwami
My relationship with the Yakuza series is a little strange. Having watched about 75% of Yakuza 0 on YouTube, I set it aside and committed myself to playing the title myself late last year. It was great though not as good as it would have been had I been going into it blind, but I still really enjoyed it.
Just a few months later I dived into Yakuza Kiwami. With so much Yakuza in the recent past, I didn’t exactly take my time with Kiwami which is a shame. Unlike Yakuza 0, I didn’t bother with every sidequest or every activity. But the story was so damn good. I can’t even imagine what my coworkers — who have played most Yakuza games — were thinking as I made my way through Yakuza 0. That game sets up Kiwami so well, giving you an actual attachment to characters it could do a better job of fleshing out and helping it reach new heights. It’s absolutely one of the highlights of my year.
Danielle will straight up die on the hill that is defending Prey and I found myself wondering if it could possibly be as good as she says it is. I’ve played both Dishonored titles and while they were good, they weren’t revolutionary in my books. But Prey, Prey is on another level.
More than anything, I can’t remember the last time I sat down to play a game and kept going for more than five or six hours. Usually I bounce around from title to title after a few hours, unable to play too much of one thing or another. But Prey pulled it off and I think that says a lot about the quality of the game.
1. Destiny 2: Shadowkeep
In our Game of the Decade podcast I picked Destiny 2 as the best game released since 2010. And honestly, I can’t shake it. I’ve put in nearly 200 hours since Shadowkeep came out just a few months ago. I love the game, the lore, and its systems — yeah, still on the whole systems thing. I can never manage to do enough but I also can’t manage to stop playing it. And anytime I put it down, it’s realistically only a matter of time until I come back.