We made it! We have all take another trip around the sun and on that journey we got some really awesome new video games! Some games are fantastic some are disappointing and every year when we reach roughly this point in space where we were one year and one trip around the sun ago a bunch of people on youtube talk about what were the best games that came out this year. I think that’s a valuable conversation to have an we will absolutely be discussing that on HardReset sometime soon but this week we will be getting a little more personal, a bit more in depth in what I played this year.
Welcome welcome welcome everyone welcome back to LegalSpeak a ColdNorth Production. I'm TheLawMorris and this is the video essay series in which I get to talk about the games I've been playing and what I think of the medium as a whole. You can see everything we do all in one spot over at ColdNorthPro.com. This week instead of doing the regular old best games of 2019 list I figured I would put a personal spin on it, so lets talk about the best games I played in 2019.
This list may contain spoilers.
I love Zelda and there are very few Zelda games I haven't played all the way through but this year I got the opportunity to tackle one of those small handful head on. Now I know you're all thinking Link's Awakening because that one came out just a few months ago and is an amazing game but that’s not the fifth best game I played this year.
The Legend of Zelda The Minish Cap is an absolutely stunning 2D Zelda adventure and one that somehow slipped past me when it was first released. Just like most Zelda games it has its own unique mechanic that makes for some incredibly interesting puzzles and does a lot to build on the lore of Hyrule. Not only is it one of the best games I played this year but I think this one might even be one of my favorite Zelda games period. And it wasn’t even developed by Nintendo. I really hadnt heard much about Minish Cap so as a result I wasn’t sure what to expect and what I got blew me away.
This past summer my wife went to visit her family and I took some PTO while she was gone. The combination of these two things resulted in my having a few days with nothing to do. I texted a friend of mine and asked if he would be interested in playing a co-op game together. We wound up playing through the entire Gears of War series over the course of several months and after all was said and done Gears of War 3 is the best.
Gears 3 is the pinnacle of the Gears of War franchise. The excellent combat and gameplay feels refined from the first two entries and combine that with a great story and the best visual aesthetic the games have had to date and what you're left with is Gears 3. Epic took all the good of the first two games and seemed to leave out all the bad then even added in four player co-op on top of it all. If you have to pick one Gears game to play make it Gears 3.
The first Resident Evil game I ever finished was RE7 on PSVR and that was enough to make me significantly more interested in the series. While I had dabled with a few of the previous games they all had something that was holding me back. Static cameras, tank controls, and in the case of RE6 just simply being a bad game stood in the way of those games winning me over. But Resident Evil 2 remake changed that.
RE2 remake is obviously exactly what Resident Evil was always supposed to be. Not only did Capcom finally achieve what they have been trying for since the late ninties but they completely changed what it means to be a remake forcing me for the first time ever to consider a remake in my game of the year contenders. RE2 remake features excellent controls, fantastic exploration, and most importantly gets the series back to the horror tone set in the first three games. THIS is the future of Resident Evil.
Video games are a medium in which anything new inherently comes with a huge amount of uncertainty. So for a developer and publisher to take a risk on a new IP and knock it out of the park is a rare sight. Earlier this year Remedy and 505 released Control a twilight zone/x-files type narrative adventure into the unknown.
Control sees the player control the main character through an atmosphere the likes of which have never been seen in any game previously. Gameplay is incredibly fun while at the same time being somewhat traditional and approachable. The story revolves around a federal beureau tasked with investigating and cataloging the paranormal keeping players guessing around every turn. Control is a game that I cant wait for more of and with it's arguably best of all time fourth wall break is easily my game of the year.
Now before we get to the best game I played this year I want to acknowledge the most disappointing game I played this year.
To change a proven formula is a monumental risk and is one that is almost never taken all at once for fear of losing an audience. While I applaud this sort of risk taking it doesn’t always work out. Like I said before I spent the whole summer playing through all the Gears of War games and in early September I couldn’t have been more excited to start Gears 5.
My excitement lasted through the first chapter of the second act then was quickly put out as the game came to a screeching halt when I entered the first open world area. Everything about the open areas of the second and third acts was so easy to hate. It was slow, empty, and felt utterly pointless to the story. And to top it all off as soon as the game got back to being a more traditional Gears experience the player is forced to make a story changing decision that sticks out like a sore thumb in a franchise that has never done this before. Gears 5 took some big risks that didn’t pay off and sadly could potentially have some dire consequences for future games in the series.
Sometimes we just aren't in the right mindset when approaching something for the first time. The reason I play games is to have fun and if I'm not having fun in some way then I don’t see it as a problem to put a game down and simply acknowledge that nothing will catch everyone's attention. This happened to me in October of 2018. One of the most anticipated games of all time was released and after putting about 10 hours into it I just wasn’t having fun. But months later I came back to Red Dead Redemption 2.
Throughout the game Rockstar tells a very slow story of a gang of outlaws who are for the most part good people doing bad things. But after the death of a moral counterweight their leader Dutch goes spiraling out of control. Red Redemption 2 is just as much about Dutch's fall into the pits of being a bad man as it is about Arthur's redemption to becoming a good man. Even knowing what happened in the end I was still incredibly invested in the story because at its core RDR2 is a character piece. In no other piece of media be it a book, movie, game, show, whatever have I ever burst into tears the way I did when Arthur went to ride back to camp to confront Dutch after giving everyone the opportunity to escape the gang. Not only do I regret not making Red Dead Redemption 2 my game of the year 2018 but it is definitely a contender for game of the generation.
So what do you think of my list? What are some of the best games you played this year and what are some games from years past I should play in 2020? Let me know in the comments down below. Don’t forget to check out everything we do all in one spot over at ColdNorthPro.com. I'll be back next week talking about something else entirely so until then just go play some games!