This year has been an amazing send off for this console generation with new consoles rolling up next year, and just over all an amazing year for gaming. While recent years had so many obvious heavy hitters that were on every single gamers "top lists", this year I have read so many top 10 games of 2019 from major outlets that differ more than in years past. This year, no one's list are all the same, and I don't think that means there were no amazing games. 2019 just had so much diversity and an incredible lineup of games that no one person could play all of them. I previously talked about how unique a year for gaming 2019 was when my pending top 5 games were completely different than the GOTY nominations for the Game Awards, something that had never happened before.
There are a few recurring games on many people lists that I just played little or nothing of that I hope to get to eventually. Some games received much praise such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Disco Elysium, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Maker 2, A Plague Tale Innocence, and many more. The list of games I want to play from 2019 is almost as long as the long list of games I did play, let alone this top 10 list. I always have a huge backlog in December of games I want to circle back to; but while I feel 2019 has the longest backlog ever, I actually played more games in 2019 than any previous year for Game Infinite so far!
This is also a unique year in that for the first time there are two games I really personally disagree with several critical outlets that these games were any good at all. Many major platforms had Control and UPS Walking Simulator 2019-er I mean, Death Stranding on their lists, and I will not. I don't like to be too negative on here, so all I will say is I found both games lacking and just can't see the positive they saw. If you enjoyed Control or Death Stranding, great, comment on social and tell me why you like them.
If a game you really enjoyed didn't make the list make sure to comment on this article's social media posts to tell us your favorite game of 2019! This list is "mostly" focusing on AAA games with a few exceptions, as I already made a list detailing the top indie games of 2019. Since any of those amazing indie games could easily make it on to this list, and since I only have 10 spots, I decided to focus on some of the biggest titles of year. There were still a few indie that just had to be on here. Check out the list below.
10. Dead or Alive 6 - "Best Fighting Game" Gi Best2019 celebration winner
Dead or Alive is one of my favorite fighting game series alongside Soulcalibur, and it just narrowly beat out MK11 for best fighting game in our Game Infinite Best of 2019 celebrations. Everything about Dead or Alive 6 is just a visual and fun gameplay treat. The fighting is buttery smooth; the visuals are gorgeous; and overall just a fun experience. The only thing keeping DOA6 from farther up the list is a average story and average item management system. However it does include some bonus features like a photo-mode (albeit somewhat hard to use). The character models in DOA6 are also quite impressive and one of the many beautiful examples of characters modeling in 2019, a year already filled with gorgeous human rendering. I can't wait to see what the DOA6 will look like running on the PS5.
9. Astral Chain
Astral Chain is weird and beautiful, and I loved it. It was one of my most anticipated titles of 2019 and the title I was looking forward to most on Nintendo Switch. The game is set in a sci-fi universe where Earth is under constant attack from extra-dimensional beings, and one organization has found a way to literally harness these dimensional creatures and strap them to a elite group of police officers to fight crime and other beings. That is the kind of crazy sci-fi plot descriptions that makes me love games like this. More than the over the top premise, the game is also one of the best examples of a fast paced action adventure game for the Nintendo Switch we rarely get to see. Also, Astral Chain has an absolutely gorgeous art style that makes you feel like you are inside an Anime Blade Runner. My biggest complaint keeping Astral Chain from being higher is a lack of a voice actor for the main protagonist. At the beginning of the game you choose between playing as the brother or sister of the duo, and whichever you don't choose is still with you for the rest of the game with full vocals. This means there is a full audio file for both characters which just makes the decision to go with a silent protagonist all the more strange. If you already have two voice actors, WHY NOT USE THEM? Personally, I would rather have had a talking protagonist instead of a choice of gender. The female sister character was way more interesting anyways than her brother. That being said the story is fun, the combat is smooth, and the art style with delight your eyes. I feel like could easily be one of the most underrated games of the year as I feel like it just flew under the radar. It makes me hope for a Switch Pro or something in 2020 that can really beef up these beautiful visuals.
8. World War Z
World War Z is a game that breaks all the rules.
If you have been playing games long enough, or someone like me who reviews games, we know there is this unofficial rule: Movie License games always suck. I could sit here all day and list off terrible awful games that were rushed projects meant to capitalize on an impending movie. From the awful "straight to game" Thor or Green Lantern games, to the more recent Fast and Furious games, or that awful, just awful Rambo game
These games come with warning signs. They are often given to small inexperienced dev teams along with small budgets. These games are never meant to be good, they are just to meant to abuse an IP to make money. They often use the same promo art as the movie (again to save money and to capitalize on the brand) They are also made in very little time periods often to coincide with a movie launch.
These games are also sometimes sold at sub-60 to attract bargain hunters. Every year there is a list of what I call "B-games", games sold at launch sub-60 by medium sized developer/publisher teams who can access larger IP's, but fall way short of AAA quality. They are rarely anything other than average to bad.
World War Z is also a zombie game, and I can't express enough how tired I am of zombie games. They are the most saturated genre that I just wanted banned for a decade for us to miss them. After being just disappointed in the utter trash that has been several recent zombie games, I was also ready to swear off zombie games as well.
World War Z is a movie license, sub-60, zombie game. And it is a completely amazing.
Not only did WWZ rekindle a spark of hope in the zombie genre I thought gone forever; it also managed to not just overcome the fact that is was based on an ok meh movie and establish itself into an amazing GAME. It avoids some obvious potential blunders the developer could have made like making it a free-to-play micro-transaction cash vacuum but instead it is very consumer friendly. It also had every excuse to go pure multiplayer, but instead they added a simple story campaign that I felt added to the experience nicely.
On top of completely overcoming the complete trash pile every rule book said it should have been, it also managed to impress with a technical achievement. It managed to re-write the rules of just how feasible it would be to have that many assets on screen. The developers actually made a new engine, what they called the "swarm engine" to manage having hundreds and hundreds of zombies on screen at once without crashing everything but the beefiest gaming pc's. It is quite a sight to see a flood of hundreds of zombies swarming towards you like a incoming tidal wave.
Read full review here.
7. Gears 5
I have never played much of Gears of War. I have played a few minutes of the very first one, so I will admit that playing the story for Gears 5, at first I had absolutely no idea what was going on. However, one thing they do well is making the story approachable to new comers. I was able to be brought up to speed with very little exposition needed: "Big bug creatures bad, shoot 'em".
For what I expected to be a cheesy exaggerated starship troopers experience turned out to be a more mature military experience and story about a futuristic sci-fi war ...well in between the chainsaw killing of monsters.
Kait is a very likable character and seems likes she brings a sense of realism and humanity to what my distant impression of Gears was before (Massive muscular soldier dudes). They do a great job at humanizing these super soldiers in a way that makes them more believable. I also really enjoyed having a robot companion follow us most of the game which added a layer or strategy to combat.
On top of a engaging campaign that game offers so many fun modes for multiplayer. Some modes are incredibly long if you want to play one mission for an hour, while others are more bite-sized. I really enjoyed both the horde and traditional modes. My only complaint about Gears 5 is the reload system. I have played shooters for my entire life, and putting the "reload" on the bumper instead of "X" is just blasphemy.
6. Call of Duty Modern Warfare
Say what you will about the call of duty franchise. This series may be the popcorn film-michael-bay-movie of the gaming world, but no one can say this year's installment doesn't try hard to be a "real" game; something considered for greatness outside of pure gun-toting fun. Call of Duty Modern Warfare's campaign, while not as controversial as promised, still maintained a mature, gritty, and dark feel worthy of a great war epic. It delivered by far some of the best visuals of the year, along with just absolutely stunning character models, environments, and amazing audio technical achievement. In addition to giving us a deep dark story, Call of Duty Modern Warfare delivered a fun, fast, and crazy multiplayer experience that was second only to one other game this entire year. While not a perfect game, you can't deny the AAA polish of this game. It also gets a huge fun X-factor boost as some of my best times this year were playing with some of my friends Blake and Deadlymouse late into the hours. I also give Activision credit for learning from its past mistakes, and getting with the times by abandoning map packs, season passes, or any-playerbase-splitting monetization systems; instead going for a reasonable cosmetic focused Battle-pass system popularized by Fortnite. How can a game look this good, play this good, try this hard, and not be called great?
Read our full review here.
5. My Friend Pedro - "Best Art Style" Gi Best2019 celebration winner
A game that gave me huge one more level syndrome was My Friend Pedro. I took this game with me on my summer vacay and enjoyed having it on the go with my Switch. This game brought a massive amount of fun matrix-inspired gameplay as you run and gun in slow-mo. I am very hard on 2D platforms in general and my rule is they have to offer something MORE just to pass. They have to kill it on art, gameplay, or story in order for them to appeal to me, and My Friend Pedro slays it on all fronts. Plus it has a talking Banana, so there's that.
Read our full review for My Friend Pedro Here.