Game Infinite's Top 10 Games of 2019
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.
4. Borderlands 3
I have never really played Borderlands. I played a little of 2 in preparation for when 3 came out but I really went in cold. I have always heard of Borderlands and 2019 was a year that introduced me to many new franchises I never grew up with. I loved Mortal Kombat 11, Gears 5, and now Borderlands 3. Borderlands 3 did a great enough job introducing new characters to the universe as I never felt lost. Second only the one other game upcoming on this list, Borderlands 3 has some of the best gunplay of the year, and definitely wins in pure volume. I never knew there could be such a thing as "too much loot" and Borderlands 3 takes the cake. There are so many freaking gun variations and loot everywhere on the ground. I constantly felt this weird feeling of dread caused by leaving piles of glowing loot behind because I could only carry so much. If you love loot, this game will make you feel like you are walking through the cave Aladin found the genie lamp.
In addition to super polished gunplay and loot systems, the game offers a compelling entertaining story, a vast ensemble of playable and companion characters. Not too mention the game offers great humor: cheesy, goofy, and wonderful. I was also blown away at how the gorgeous the traditional "borderlands" art style cell-shading looks in modern 4k systems. I never liked the look before back in the 360 era, but damn does it look beautiful on my One X. I almost considered it for best art style, second only to My Friend Pedro.
New to Borderlands 3 was also the concept of planet hopping as we now got to explore multiple planets in the Borderlands universe. This gave me major Destiny feels as Borderlands now offered such a variety of the maps. We even get our own spaceship to command and travel with! Anytime a game puts me in space and lets me explore different planets is a huge bonus for sure.
I can't wait to keep playing Borderlands 3 and explore more of the lore and characters in this game. My favorite characters were More, Moxxi, Maya, Claptrap, and Zero!
3. Outerwilds - "Indie GOTY" Gi Best2019 celebration winner
Outerwilds, (not to be confused with The Outer Worlds) is an space exploration game that came out of no where, literally showed up on my xbox and blew me away. I don't event remember buying the game, and was in my new installs, a gift from either my faulty memory or the Xbox gods. I played it not knowing much about the game, and I became infatuated with this pure work of art. The more I played the more I wanted to learn. I wanted to know ever secret hidden in the small solar system. The game has a beautiful art style, beautiful soundtrack, and a facisnating story. It was the first 10/10 we gave out for the year, and not only is it the best indie game of the year it is definitely an instant classic I will be mentioning, replaying, and recommending for years to come.
I remember reading titles like "a game we can't review because you just have to play it" and it is truly difficult to describe without spoilers. Even for players that don't usually like space games or slower exploration games I tell them try it because it is such an incredible experience. The game offers up a mystery about the mini solar system you occupy very early into the game that throws a unique spin on how you must explore. It offers a mystery to solve that gives some purpose to your exploration. And while some exploration games can feel vast and empty, Outerwilds gives us a dense and quality experience with each planetary destination being not just incredibly creative but vastly different from each other. While you wake up on a forestry planet, you will soon discover an ocean planet, a black hole, a white hole, a gas giant, a ice comet, and EVEN stranger places. My childhood dream of flying a ship around the solar system exploring planets in a space suit was fulfilled in this game. As a physics nerd who enjoys a good conversation about space was thrilled by the floaty physics meant to mimic the realities of space travel so often ignored by science fiction like the fact that you have to put as much thrust into slowing down as you do to speed up in space. If you are not careful you might find yourself flying right past your destination.
While mindless exploration and a quiet zen nature of floating around is 10/10 amazing in this game, it takes it farther by making you want to solve the mystery presented early in game. If you want to read our full review check it on our reviews page, but I just highly suggest getting the game yourself and trying it.
Full Review Here.
2. Apex Legends - (Personal overall favorite)
and "Best Community Support"
Gi Best2019 celebration winner
Apex Legends pretty much came out of nowhere. EA and Respawn Entertainment broke all traditional rules for game marketing. There was no year of hype or over the top trailers leading up to a final release. The game had no preorder or massive reveal at E3. EA and Respawn announced, revealed, and RELEASED the game all on the same day. Only a couple days before was there a tease of some kind of "Titanfall without the titans" game coming from EA. (what a horrible way to describe the game). I even wrote an article right at release at how baffling it was that this game was coming before I played it. Don't games that get rid of their main selling points (no titans) get shot down in pitch meetings? Did EA not learn their lesson with Apex coming so close to Anthem (Battlefield 1 vs Titanfall 2 release window debacle) I had so many doubts and questions and mostly I was angry that I wasn't getting Titanfall 3 because gosh I loved that series.
Apex Legends was like being set up on a blind date you begrudgingly agree to go to and then falling in love at first sight. Apex Legends was not the game I wanted but it turned out to be something even better. Apex Legends quickly took its throne as the biggest game of the year, at times even doubling the twitch viewers of then king Fortnight Apex Legends because the multiplayer experience of the year. It came out at a perfect time with little else truly competing against it. I put more hours into Apex Legends than any other game this year and I'm not even sorry. It even squished out games I wanted to play because I couldn't shake just wanting more Apex.
From 2016 to 2018 my default game to play when I only had a short period of time or wasn't in the mood to play something new was Overwatch. Now don't get me wrong, I still play Overwatch on rare occasions, but Apex Legends even de-throwned Overwatch from my regular routine.
We as Game Infinite also have Apex Legends to thank for something more local with our Gi Channel system. I was inspired to make theme specific sub-pages that would attract gamers with the same laser focus Apex was attracting to me. I didn't want to oversaturate the main Game Infinite page with too much Apex content or news (as I sure accumulated a lot of it) potentially scaring away gamers who didn't care for it. Therefore Apex Infinite was born as our first channel with 100% Apex content.
I had Apex Legends slated as GOTY for 2019 for the longest time, and I still would probably say it was my favorite game from this year and definitely the one that occupied the most of my time, love and energy. If I was purely listing my "Favorite games" it would easily be number one. When I write the top 10 I consider taste and technical greatness, a blend of objective and subjective qualities. However, Apex is definitely the one game that will follow me the longest and have the biggest impact on my long term gaming experience.
Apex Legends gave us so many fascinating characters, had the best gun play, and gave us the best multiplayer experience of 2019. I had a blast playing with Blake, Flash&Clear, and IzzyIvy during many streams. I also listed it as best community support because Respawn has done an amazing job supporting the game with multiple seasons of new content, characters, skins, maps, and events!
Full review here.
1. Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order - "GOTY 2019" Gi Best2019 celebration winner
2019, the year of star wars. 2019 is a year I re-found a love for Star Wars that I didn't know I needed. Don't get me I always loved Star Wars since I was a small child. I showed up to the Last Jedi 4 hours early just to get seats. But 2019 was my favorite year for Star Wars. I was able to attend Star Wars Celebration 2019 in Chicago where I got to see or meet some incredible actors like Same Witwer (Starkiller) and
It was also there that I got to meet John of Nerdherder Podcast who eventually became GiFriends Mods and mod for Star Wars Infinite. Their passion for Star Wars inspired me and also helped boost our Gi Channel Program!
Star Wars Celebration was only the beginning to a year of amazing things for Star Wars. The first trailer for Rise of Skywalker caused me and a sea of nerds to jump for joy when we learned of the title during that week. Later in the year we got to see the actual movie, and (screw what the critical minority thought) was the most absolutely amazing end to a sage I have spent my life so far watching. Disney+ gifted us with not just the first live action Star Wars shows, but also broke the internet with Baby Yoda and other amazing memes and amazing art. The Mandalorian has become a massive hit and is the amazing Star Wars show I never knew I needed.
Lastly we arrive at a gift that gifted us not one but two gems this year, Respawn Entertainment. EA's golden goose and the only developer they have right now that can do no wrong. I feel less bad about bumping Apex Legends to #2 spot on this list because we have another first for Game Infinite. The #2 and #1 spots on this list were not just made by the same publisher but also the same developer as well. I can't say enough how much I would love the opportunity to meet the amazing team at Respawn. They granted us two of the greatest games of the year and they show no signs of stopping. Apex Legends is a live service consistently supported and early rumors already show Respawn is hiring for help on Jedi Fallen Order 2. They have made four games, Titanfall, Titanfall 2, Apex Legends, and Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order and all 4 are amazing groundbreaking and instant classics.
All I can hope is EA releases what they have and gives Respawn a blank check and no leash on any project they want because they can do no wrong.... (except make a 300$ Axe)
Now let me get to Jedi Fallen Order itself. I knew this game would be good, and I told my friends as such claiming Respawn was 3/3 so I trusted them. I also love Star Wars so it couldn't be that bad right. We knew early this was a single player game with no micro-transactions so we knew going in we were avoiding the mess that was Battlefront 2. What I didn't know was just HOW good this game was going to be, and it wasn't until the final act of the game that I knew just how amazing it was. Some games are weighted so heavily on their ending you can't appreciate them unless you finish them. So if you don't understand why this game is at the top of the list you maybe didn't finish the game.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order is one of the best Star Wars video game we have seen so far, up there with greats and personal favorite such as Republic Commando, Jedi Academy, and Force Unleashed. However, it is not just a great Star Wars game, perhaps that would not be enough for GOTY, it is also an amazing game outside of the franchise.
I understand the bias and weight that is the Star Wars brand, but it stands alone from that as well. It tells an intriguing story of oppression. It is one of the few times we get to see what it is to trully have lived under the Empire much like in Rebels or Rogue One. It gives us an entirely new ensemble cast of characters and does not rely heavily on cameos or known characters. The few cameos it does have are incredible. The main character Cal Kestis is an amazing lead that is believable as a Jedi but not an unstoppable wrecking ball like in the Force Unleashed games. You feel challenged because of his inexperience. Even the way he levels up abilities is explained in story.
Another quality of the game is its vast difficulty curve. Jedi Fallen Order is and can easily be described as Star Wars: Dark Souls both in its difficulty and combat. The combat feels thoughtful and tactical. It is some of the most detailed and realistic combat we have ever seen in a Star Wars game. Timing matters for parry and deflecting blasters. How you attach matters. The game will punish you for charging recklessly. You will die, a lot, and Boss battles will make you rage hard. However, unlike Dark Souls or even this year's Sekiro, it offers lower difficulties to make it approachable for all. Games should be open to everyone but also willing to challenge seasoned gamers.
The game introduces us to amazing characters like Merrin, a night sister witch who is stoically funny, and gives us a incredible insight to a part of Star Wars little seen. We also get to meet a new droid BD-1, Cal's companion who also is an incredible part of the games traversal giving the droid real importance to the story. We also get to meet a new Inquistitor, the Second Sister, and she is incredible acted. She is believable and more than a masked villain. In fact, she is one of the better female villains in recent gaming history.
Where this game trully landed itself in the GOTY territory was in it's last act. The game could have been good as the Tomb Raider Dark Souls game it was, leading us a quest across several worlds and tombs, and it could have had a simpler ending, but it shot for true excellence. I don't wish to spoil it, I will copy this commentary with a spoiler ending in a full review.
I will say who you meet and what happens is the ending we don't deserve and made this game 10/10 amazing. I am still blown away by the experience the last act brought and can't recommend enough you give it not just a try but honest effort to finish. Jedi Fallen Order goes up there with some of my favorite endings such as Bioshock Infinite or Halo Reach.
For more gaming news and the rest of our mega End of 2019 Celebration Event make sure to stay tuned here on Game Infinite or on our social media!