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December 24, 2019 7 min read
Hi. I’m Evil Uno. You may also call me Leader. #JoinDarkOrder
It's an honor to write a top 10 list for Giant Bomb. I hope I’ve made my mother proud; she will never read this. For my top 10 games of 2019, I've decided not to put the games in any particular order. I would spend too much time trying to justify why one game is better than another, so let’s just keep things simple.
Okay, this is a hard one to recommend; I say this because I absolutely love this game and have tried to push it to my friends, but have failed miserably every single time. So, here goes nothing: Hypnospace Outlaw is a bizarre game about navigating ugly Geocities-like websites, listening to terrible music and sorting through message boards. See? Sounds like a blast, right?
Beneath the fantastic depiction of 1990s internet and an eerie tone lies a really neat puzzle game. The overall plot is interesting and is constantly driving you forward. The characters you come across are well written and I found myself actually wanting to learn more about the weird fictional topics, such as non-existent music genres and the sport of “trennis”.
I walked into Hypnospace Outlaw thinking it would just be a weird game that I could sink an hour into, but I ended up being captivated until the very end. It's got mysteries you can only unravel from careful observation and creative thinking. I’ve always enjoyed a game that makes me feel like a real detective.
Speaking of detectives, here’s Judgment! This is not a Yakuza game, but a lot of what I enjoy about this game is also present in the previous Yakuza games. The series has been a recent discovery for me and I’ve lost many hours to Yakuza 0 & Yakuza 6 in the last year. Judgment is built around the city of Kamurocho, a familiar setting to Yakuza fans, and it contains the same type of minigames, wacky side stories, combat, and melodramatic plot. It’s honestly exactly what I was looking for: more Yakuza, but about a detective!
Unfortunately, there isn’t much actual detective work to do as a player. Most of the detective work is fetching, tailing your target, and taking pictures of them “in the act”. None of this is bad, but it never made me personally feel like I was doing any of the detective work.
I will admit that the overall plot was really captivating though. I genuinely grew attached to Yagami and wanted to know what would happen to him next. I‘m curious to see if this expands into its own universe of games the same way Yakuza did.
There are certain times in the year when I just get exhausted from playing dense video games. Why does a game have to be 40 hours long? Sometimes you just need something a little shorter to serve as a palette cleanser. Enter A Short Hike--it’s literally short. This is a game that I was able to complete in one sitting (about 2 hours). It’s just an adorable, relaxing stroll across a hillside with cute characters and some light puzzling. There are also a few laughs to be had within the dialogue. In the end, I would have accepted more hours of gameplay, which is something I wouldn’t say for most games.
Here’s some surprising honesty: I don’t do well with horror games. There have been too many occasions in which I would NOPE right out of the game mid-play. I never finished the original Resident Evil 2--I was only 10 when it was released and my young brain just couldn't handle the indestructible Frankenstein man chasing me around the station. Then when the remake was released, I went into it THINKING I knew what was in store, but instead found myself just as terrified as I was at 10-years old when that damned Tyrant showed up. In the end, it was that much more satisfying to finally defeat him. The fact that I was able to finish the game this time is a testament to just how good it actually is. I have a hard time explaining what exactly it is about this game that made it so fun. I enjoyed exploring the station, solving the puzzles, and I even enjoyed the constant fear that whatever door I opened next is going to lead to another jump scare. I finally understand why so many hold a special place in their hearts for the original Resident Evil 2.
I’ve never imagined what a Zelda rhythm game would look like, but it's remarkable how well it all works together. Being restricted to moving only with the beat of the song brings a whole new challenge to Zelda’s dungeons and puzzles. It also brings new life to the combat that we know and love from previous Zelda games.
If you’re a fan of either game, it’s your duty to play Cadence of Hyrule. You will love it. The soundtrack is still a part of my daily playlist.
Do you enjoy Fallout? Cool. This is more of that, but in SPAAAAAACE! What I enjoy about this game is that it’s a bite-size first-person RPG set in a Firefly-like universe. Every planet is its own playground for you to explore and very early on, you can easily see the ways in which the story paths can split. Your decisions have legitimate consequences that make physical changes to the world: who occupies what city, how your crew responds to you, and what missions you have access to. It’s got all the same great things that Fallout offers, but in a more compact package and with a lot less Bethesda glitches (which may be a negative to some people). I can always appreciate any game that respects my time.
I recommend playing with low intelligence. The “Dumb” answers are, well, very dumb. It’s hilarious.
I’m not a big fan of golf per se. I did like Golf Story on the Switch and, well, that’s about it. So, when What the Golf? was discussed with high praise on Giant Bomb, I was skeptical, but curious. My first concern was “won’t a golf game get old after an hour?”
That just wasn’t the case with What the Golf?. It takes the sport of golf and goes in all kinds of wild directions with it. I reached a point in the game where it couldn’t even be called golf anymore; so, if you’re not a golf fan, don’t avoid it based on the name alone! The humor is what really holds this game together, I definitely chuckled to myself every few minutes while playing. What the Golf? is a silly game that you don’t need to be emotionally invested in, it’s just an assault of ridiculous course after ridiculous course.
Mario is good. This is more Mario.
Oh, and it's on my Switch, so I can play Mario everywhere. Mario everywhere is good.
Need I say more?
Every year, there's a game that makes me feel like an idiot, and every year, I make it my goal to complete that game. This game, I am sad to say, was a challenge I could not overcome. I think I managed to get through about a third of the entire game. I would regularly stare at the screen for HOURS trying to figure what the hell the game was expecting of me, but the rush and sense of accomplishment I would get when I finally beat a level, hot damn!
In its simplest form, Baba Is You is a programming puzzle game. The programming terms are their own blocks and you move the blocks around to form new rules. Those rules change how you interact with the objects in the world. It seems pretty straightforward at first, for example, “You Are Baba”; “You”, “Are” & “Baba” are their own blocks that can be physically moved around. “Flag Is Win”; move the Baba icon to the Flag icon, win. That simplicity is short lived though, as the next level flips around the rules and suddenly you are no longer Baba, you are now Wall, Baba is now win. In order for Wall to get to Baba, the surrounding Water must not be Death. How does one move the terms around so that Water is no longer death and Wall can get to Baba (which is win)? Likely none of this makes sense if you have not played Baba Is You, but these are the type of questions that left me staring at that screen for hours. I highly recommend you play this. It will mess with your mind. It will humble you.
I love you Remedy. I love you for Max Payne, I love you for Alan Wake (please make Alan Wake 2), and I've forced myself to love you for Quantum Break. You guys make great games and it is obvious that you really care about the worlds you create.
Control is likely my favorite Remedy game to date. Its tale of a government department tasked with handling paranormal and otherworldly events is something that just speaks to me, from a narrative standpoint, this game checks all of my boxes. However, it's the gameplay that really blew me away. Using your telepathic powers to tear a piece of concrete from a wall and hurl it at enemies is just so damn satisfying. I’ve always felt that as good as the stories are, the movement has always been a bit clunky in previous Remedy games. The movement in Control is so smooth, I found myself engaging with a lot more of the optional combat scenarios because I just couldn’t get enough of flying around and throwing office chairs at hovering corpses.
Now I’ll be begging for sequels to both Control and Alan Wake. Good job, Remedy.
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