My 2019 in Gaming

2019 was probably one of the most prolific years for me, at least when it comes down to the number of games I played.

Back in December 2018, I was gifted my first non-Nintendo console: a PS4 Pro. When I was a child, I used to play a lot on my SNES, N64, GameCube and Wii... and the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance. Consoles other than Nintendo's were a unknown territory for me. Furthermore, during this past decade I spent much more time on PC games.

If my PlayStation 2019 Wrap-up is to be believed, I played about 471 hours across 175 days of PlayStation games alone. Also, I supposedly played 40 different games; although I'm a bit sceptical of that number, to be honest.

PlayStation 2019 Wrap-Up
Check out your personalised 2019 Wrap-Up #MyPSYear2019

From what I can recall, the number is just shy of 30 games – across different platforms: PS4, Nintendo Switch and Steam. Maybe it counts games I received because of PS Plus (but didn't launch?), I don't know.

Given that I was basically discovering this unexplored territory, most of the games I played were on PlayStation. Some because they were exclusives, others because there's so much my laptop can handle right now (at least for a smooth experience).


Game of the Year

Resident Evil 2

This is easily my Game of the Year 2019. Being able to play not just a classic but a remake done with such detail and mastery... well, it's a wonderful feeling.

I wasn't too much of a fan of the character redesigns but overall the game looked beautiful and had me at the edge of my seat around every corner. Inventory systems in horror games tend to be a bit restrictive but here it was handled masterfully, adding much more tension to the game. Also, the over-the-shoulders third-person camera was excellent.

What I loved the most about the game is what I called organic jump scares.

On the downside, I think the game does suffer a bit after leaving the police station; but still, it was a wild ride nonetheless.

After finishing both the A and B runs, I stopped when I found the 4th Survivor mode impossible to beat. This is definitely a game I want to revisit soon.


La crème de la crème

These are the games I enjoyed the most. They are not necessarily the best games around but I fancied playing them thoroughly and some of them even had me hooked up until late at night.

Read Dead Redemption 2

One of my main highlights and my Game of the Year 2018. Not only it's such a great game, I also worked on it during its last 2 and a half years of development.

It was a bit hard to enjoy the game, having had it spoiled the core experience during development. But, at the same time, playing it as a normal player instead of as a developer made me enjoy it even further. The game is full of places and moments that trigger some of my best times at Rockstar North.

This game had it all. The voice acting probably the best around, the writing is witful and the gameplay was fun and it was full of content.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

For a couple of hours, I briefly tried one of the GBA games and, later on, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn on the Wii. That makes this my first proper introduction Fire Emblem experience.

What surprised me the most was how hooked I was, despite the game being above average – at least compared to other games in the market.

The combat sections were engaging but, by the end of the game, they started to become a bit tedious. My main disappointment was the fact that flanking the enemy troops didn't result in any advantage at all.

In terms of the other half of the gameplay, I enjoyed life at the Academy. But that one grew thin very fast as well. There was just a handful of interesting things to do there and at some point it started to feel meaningless.

Despite having finished this, I only played 1 out of 4 possible branches in the story. I was part of the Blue Lions. I'd try to give this one another go in the future and perhaps finish one of the other branches.

Pokémon Sword

I haven't played any main Pokémon game since Diamond/Pearl. And even then, I'm much more familiar with Yellow, Silver and Emerald. This was basically because I stopped playing handheld games after the Game Boy Advance.

When I first saw the announcement of Sword & Shield, I was a bit sceptical and overall uninterested. I'm one of those people who don't actually like the new designs for the "mons".

However, as the release approached I became hyped by this game. When I finally got to play it (a few weeks after the release), I actually stopped playing Death Stranding (which I barely had played for one day) and focused full-time on becoming the best, like no one ever was.

I finished the game and even spent plenty of time breeding my creatures to find the offspring with better IVs. I even unintentionally hatched 3 shinnies!

After ~150 hours, I started to lose interest in the game and haven't picked it up since the start of the year.

With the recently announced Season Pass, I got interested in giving the game a second go in a few months.

God of War (2018)

Considered by plenty of people as Game of the Year 2018, I still believe that distinction should have been for RDR2 instead. However, I can see why this sequel/reboot so popular. The gameplay is tight, the atmosphere is pitch perfect and the story was also meaningful.

I had played God of War 3 earlier in the year and this game's departure from canon felt necessary and made it feel fresh and much more engaging.

I liked the gameplay so much that I went for its platinum trophy.

Devil May Cry 5

Back in the day, I played the hell out of Devil May Cry 4; I actually finished it in all difficulties. I also liked (to a much lesser degree) the DmC reboot that so many people despised.

The fifth instalment of this series is fully packed with action and cheesy lines. The three protagonists play very differently and even then, each one feels great to control.

I wanted to go full platinum with this game but at some point I stopped playing due to a lack of time; I never got back to it ever since.

Spider-Man

The first game I played and finished on my PS4 –well, actually it was Gravity Rush, platinum trophy and all. It contained everything I hoped from a Spider-Man game and even more. The acting was on point. I didn't like character models that much but it didn't ruin my experience at all.

Gameplay-wise, it was fun but started to feel repetitive half-way through the game. Furthermore, the streets on New York just felt dull and boring. The DLC were also interesting but they started to feel a bit stretched out.

I unlocked the platinum trophy for this one.

The Last of Us

The Last of Us was an acquired taste for me. Visually, it looks extremely bleak and sometimes boring; however, as the story unfolds, I started to care for the characters and the world.

Perhaps what charmed me the most was was a sense of voyeurism, for a lack of a better word. The game did a great job in immersing me in the setting, while I was exploring ruined and desolated spaces the journey takes you to.

After finishing it, I can finally understand why everyone loves this game so much.


Honorable Mentions

These games I either fully completed them or left them unfinished but enjoyed nonetheless.

Divinity: Original Sin II

Truth be told, I have played this for hours and, so far, I have only finished the first chapter.

I have been wanting to play D&D for a long time and this was the closest I have been to do so. The game seems to be very flexible and offers a plethora of ways to advance the story.

My main problem with this game is its art style; the 3D models look awful. I'll probably continue playing it this year.

Transistor + Pyre

Bundling these two games from Supergiant Games perhaps isn't fair, since both are unique games on their own.

I played and enjoyed Bastion, their previous game, more than 5 years ago. Last year I gave the Steam Link a try and played these two games on the TV.

Their art is spectacular and voice acting is spectacular, I love it. However, I believe their games suffer too much from their vague narrative. Most things aren't explained during the main story line. The story is mostly explained through environmental storytelling and logs/emails/recordings.

Their gameplay is pretty smooth, though. I ended up preferring Transistor's but Pyre's was unexpectedly welcomed.

Talking about good remakes, this was a wonderful treat for any Zelda fan. It was a welcomed return to the classic formula – from which Breath of the Wild diverged. Even though I was a bit sceptical of the art direction, I ended up thoroughly enjoying this game.

There were also reports of frame drops, especially when playing in handheld mode, but overall I didn't notice them enough to have my experience be ruined by it.

Bloodborne

This was perhaps one of the games I was most interested in playing when I got my PS4. I tried playing Dark Souls 1 on PC but I dropped it after a while because it felt its UX was raw, unpolished and unorthodox.

I think Bloodborne improved some of my main concerns and was a bit more approachable. Despite having stopped playing it after getting too much frustrated with first two bosses, this is a game I'd like to revisit in the future.

Heavy Rain

This one I fully played on PlayStation, just before they announced the remaster coming to PC. Also, this was one of the first games I played after moving to France. Overall, I despised the controls so much and some of the UX decisions, but enjoyed the story. Its plot twist took me by surprise, I never saw it coming.

Mortal Kombat 11

It was fun, although fighting games are definitely not my thing. I didn't bother getting the DLC, though.

God of War 3

I don't think God of War 3 aged very well, it just felt too "videogamey" for me. Nevertheless, it was overall fun and I beat it twice in order to grab the platinum trophy. I'm glad the creators decided to depart from this and the other prequels.

Uncharted 1, 2 & 3

The first three Uncharted were... OK; I enjoyed them for what they are but I grew weary of each one of them pretty fast. Also, they drag for so long that replaying them in order to get the platinum trophies is not worthy for me.

Dicey Dungeons

Developed by Terry Cavanagh, the same developer that made one of the first indie games I played, VVVVVV and, later, Super Hexagon.

I loved the concept, gameplay and the art style. However, difficulty does ramp up a bit too fast and sometimes it's tough.


Hall of Infamy

I have personal issues with most of these games, despite having enjoyed some to a certain degree. Others were just uninteresting.

Borderlands 3

I had Borderlands 1 & 2 on Steam but never got to play them, mainly because of my terrible internet connection back then. It also didn't help not having someone else to play this with. Well, technically, I played the first one for about 2 hours on LAN, several years ago, but it's was insignificant.

This game is not my cup of tea. The world and characters were totally unappealing and the gameplay was uninteresting. The story was too chaotic and, actually, playing this with friends with audio chat makes it very difficult to keep track of what's happening.

Batman: Arkham Knight

I have more negative feelings than positive towards this game.

Deciding to play it, right after having finished God of War (2018), was a mistake. While one had sublime gameplay, the other one feels clunky. I hadn't been playing for 15 minutes and the sheer amount of stuff happening on screen was so distracting.

My major complain was one of the selling points of the game: the Batmobile. Despite understanding why they added it and even enjoying it in some places, the reality is that it felt shoe-horned and invasive. Most puzzles depended on it, even though it made absolutely no sense; this is specially true for the Riddler challenges.

Speaking of the devil, in order to unlock the full ending you need to beat all of the Riddle challenges and trophies. I don't play Batman for the trophy hunting; don't gatekeep the full ending behind something that is not part of the core gameplay and breaks the immersion so hard.

Star Wars: Battlefront 2

Back in the day, I loved the original Battlefront games from Pandemic.

By the end of 2015, I was starting my masters studies and DICE's reboot was about to launch. I got to play the beta and loved every single minute of it. There were no words for the visual and sound design, it was the ultimate Star Wars experience. However, I didn't buy the full game since I was living on a student budget.

When the sequel was release, my interest in playing it almost instantly disappeared after the huge backlash from the community towards EA. I did, however, end up buying this a few years later on PS4, after seeing it heavily discounted.

The single player mode, despite having some nice moments in the story, was annoying and frustrating. The multiplayer, I only played a handful of times; I don't like the cards mechanics and most of my peers heavily outmatched my starting character.

FIFA 20

I used to play FIFA on my PC, when I was younger. From 2000, up to 2008, I played them all. While people complained that the franchise was stagnating, I found it alright since it was the first one I played since many years ago. The game is plain alright but I don't see myself playing future instalments, at least not in the recent future.

Looking back, I'm not too happy about purchasing this at full retail price.

Jurassic Park: Evolution

There are two things needed to know about me for this one:

  1. As a child, I was a huge dinosaurs fan.
  2. One of my favourite GBA games was Jurassic Park III: Park Builder.

When I saw this game announced, my inner child jumped out of joy.

In the end, this game ended up being shallow and, despite looking and sounding absolutely perfect (for a Jurassic Park fan), nothing could save it from becoming a shadow of other park builder games. The customisation options were very limited and I felt that the game was forcing me to play it wanted me to play.


And that's it. My list of games from 2019. The last does have a few more entries but I didn't play them enough to make them count as "played".

Last year I mostly caught up with old games. This year, I need to play all of last year's releases that I have queued up.