Fanbyte’s Games of the Decade: Missing the Cut Part 1

Hello and welcome to Fanbyte’s extremely labored and entirely correct weeklong celebration/discussion of the best games of the decade 2010-2019! We’ll have a podcast every day this week, with the first three being discussion about what should make the top 50 and two days of counting down our list. We deliberated all the way back in November, before several of us had played a certain PC game that’s on a ton of end of year lists.

Here’s the pod! Enjoy merritt’s new way of saying “hey,” me saying there should be a Threes Two, Dillon showing his entire caboose about Saints Row 2, and an immediately contentious conversation about immersive sims and the idea of excluding Dishonored from our list! You can download it directly here, if that’s your fancy.

To kick off the week, I thought we’d look at three 2019 releases that didn’t make our Top 50 (nor were discussed much on our podcasts).

Resident Evil 2 (2019)

If you’re going to remake a late 90s video game, you couldn’t do it much better than Capcom did it early this year with Resident Evil 2. Capcom seemed to learn a lot from Game of Last Decade contender Resident Evil 4 and skipped all the stuff that didn’t work with 5 and 6. Though somewhat surprising they didn’t jump whole hog into 7’s first person camera considering the relatively close quarters of Racoon City PD, this rebuild of the PS1 classic is both a loving tribute and stiff correction of things that wouldn’t work today that did in 1998.

Why it didn’t make the cut: Stiff Competition

Our staff likes this game a lot, but looking at the bangers that came out over the past year, it was tough to say a remake was really better than 50 other stellar games. Still, we highly recommend it if you like scares and throwback survival horror.

Control

Remedy’s cryptid-a-thon combines the sensibilities of their beloved IP Alan Wake, slick telekinesis-twinged combat, and killer visual style. Control has been on our collective radar since around the time Fanbyte first started. One of the things I like the most about Control is the smart use of redactions in collectible memos to force the player to read more closely into the world around them. In any other game it would be a cheap tactic, but here it’s a perfect in-universe piece of a bigger puzzle. Jesse Faden’s journey into the bowels of The Oldest House is certainly going to make it onto a few of our GOTY lists, but it ultimately didn’t move us to put it on our GOTD top 50.

Why it didn’t make the cut: Little Gripes (and not enough of us had played it)

For the most part, Control didn’t make our top 50 because not enough of us had played it. Still, if we had to gripe about Control (and we do), we might say that the platforming is loose, the boss fights are pretty bad, and the “plug in the battery” puzzles are pretty forgettable. Metroidvania design could use a bit of facelift at this point. That said, I think Control is one of the best games of the decade, but we hadn’t put enough time into it to fairly assess it.

Disco Elysium

Here’s the big one. The obvious one. The one that we’re all slapping our foreheads about. Disco Elysium is correctly at the tippy top of a lot of GOTY lists, and you can pretty much guarantee it’ll be on top of a couple of ours. This CRPG focuses less on combat and more on dunking you into an ocean of choice, both external and internal. Amnesia is a tired gimmick in games, but there’s a reason for the season in ZA/UM’s instant classic. Your alcoholic detective can get lost in thought, enough to fill a cabinet, in a mechanic so fascinating it’s inspiring multiple playthroughs to see all possible combinations.

I haven’t played a game like Disco Elysium. It’s a game that caused a few of us to go “oh wow games can be really, really good, huh?”

Why it didn’t make the cut: Late to the party

Quite simply, the three evangelists on staff had not played it until after our deliberations. Pobody’s nerfect, amirite?

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John Warren

I miss Texas sometimes. Wheelchair person. Professional wrestling is humanity's greatest achievement. He/his, y'all.

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