It’s our favorite time of year again when all us fine people (and a couple other “unsavory types”) at Gaming Respawn take a fond look back at the games we played throughout the last 365 days and decide what that one game is that beats the crap out of all the other ones. We had some big titles this year, not all of them successes, but a good number of them were worth playing through. Join us now as we go over the best of the best in the first part of Gaming Respawn’s Game of the Year 2019.
This was another relatively uneventful year for me as far as playing new games goes. I spent the majority of my time replaying older games I own and playing other older games I hadn’t gotten around to yet. Plus, a couple of games I was hoping would release this year, namely Doom Eternal and Darksiders: Genesis (on consoles), were pushed back to next year, which left me sort of lacking in games that I considered to be “must plays” for 2019 (a special sorry to any uber fans of games like The Outer Worlds or Death Stranding, but I’d rather wait on trying those games out, assuming I ever get to them). There were only two games released in 2019 that I played: One was a game I had been hoping we’d get for years, and the other game was one I sort of took a chance on but that looked pretty interesting. The respective games in question would be Devil May Cry 5 and Control. As much fun as I had with Control, it lacks the frenetic, high-speed action and dazzling spectacles that permeate every level of Devil May Cry 5, and that is why Capcom’s latest (and LONG overdue) game in their demon-slaying series is my game of the year for 2019.
Sure, DMC5 was basically just more of the same stuff we’ve come to expect from the series with a few extras here and there, but given that a couple of the extras were unnecessary and pointless microtransactions and a “sort of co-op feature” that didn’t add to or take anything away from the game, DMC5 felt like a slight step forward rather than a bounding leap forward compared to its predecessors. But so what? I just wanted more of the high-speed, frenetic craziness of classic Devil May Cry (not another unnecessary reboot), and that’s exactly what Devil May Cry 5 gave us. We had three playable characters, new challenging enemies, and most importantly, a bunch of crazy powers and weapons for the three playable characters…especially our boy Dante. HO-LEE-CRAP, does Dante have a f@#k-ton of abilities and weapons to make use of in this game. Plus, seeing the unsolved story threads from Devil May Cry 4 finally receive some resolution was very welcomed.
I sometimes struggle with this group feature. It can be so hard to try and pinpoint one game out of the many over the last year to be the favourite. Well, not this year, sister, no way. My game of the year was released right at the start of the year, and it is a full remake of one of my favourite games of all time. I am, of course, talking about Capcom’s incredible Resident Evil 2.
Resident Evil 2 did everything a successful remake should do. It should honour the original but also have enough new features to make it feel fresh in the modern world. Running around the halls of the RCPD, you start to remember where certain things are, only this time they are in gorgeous HD. The graphics were truly incredible in this remake, from the lighting, to Leon and Claire themselves, oh, and the zombies with bits of flesh falling off their rotten bodies also looked, um, great?
Resident Evil 2 truly felt both familiar and fresh at the same time. The new control scheme brought Leon and Claire’s adventure into 2019, but that didn’t make their missions any easier. Sure, it was easier to shoot the living dead as they stumbled towards you, but the zombies here were extra tough, and there was always the looming threat of Mr. X coming around the corner to keep you on edge. As you constantly run away from the terrifying Tyrant, the police station and lab were as bonkers as they were back in 1998 with the crazy puzzles you need to solve to get a gem to put in a statue to get a key for a drawer, which has a password for a computer inside that will unlock a door. It’s mad, but I bloody love it.
Resident Evil 2 could be classed as the perfect remake, and it is easily my game of the year for 2019.
Devil May Cry 5
In recent years, the video game industry has taken a shine towards narrative-driven games with the philosophy of having gameplay dictated by narrative. While this dipped its toes into the late PS3/Xbox 360 era, it really began to take off this generation with some of Sony’s most popular first-party outings, namely 2018’s God of War. Coming from the fast-paced, action-focused series that was rather similar to Capcom’s Devil May Cry, many others praised God of War for its narrative and gameplay, but I was personally disappointed to see Sony Santa Monica make a game that felt like a dramatic contradiction of the high-octane, generally light-hearted adventures in the hack n’ slash genre that the original God of War series was part of, almost as if the studio was ashamed of what it once was.
In comes Capcom with Devil May Cry 5, a game so confident in itself, so proud that it feels like a direct F-YOU to most of the modern video game industry, and it seems like the only reason it has microtransactions is so that it would be given the greenlight at all. DMC 5 brings back the series’ slick and hardened visual style with some of the best visuals I have ever seen (all at 60fps), a beautifully refined combat system, with each of the playable characters’ fighting styles completely reinvented, along with the best story the series has seen yet (yes, even better than DMC 3’s) that is in equal parts hilarious and tragic but overall just so full of heart. Devil May Cry 5 is the definition of a ’10/10′ game, the most refined and polished action game Capcom has ever made with almost endless replay value, and it is easily one of the best games of this console generation, let alone 2019.
When I thought of my game of the year for 2019, there was one game that came straight to mind. Then a second game came to mind. Then there was a bit of a back and forth. But after a long pondering session, I have finally come to a decision. The game I have chosen for my game of the year is The Outer Worlds. Not to be confused with the similarly named Outer Wilds. The Outer Worlds is a first-person action role-playing game. It was released on 25th October 2019 and is available to play on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. It is also free to play via Xbox Game Pass. The game was developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Private Division. There are also rumours of the game set to be released for Nintendo Switch in 2020.
Just to provide a bit of a background, you are awoken from stasis in outer space by a crazy looking scientist named Phineas Welles. He reveals that you have been stuck in space with a colony of people for a really long time, and he needs your help to save everyone else in the ship. You will travel across space to different planets and cities, taking an active role in whether they thrive or fall. The game includes a lot of decision-making and adventuring. The reason that I have chosen The Outer Worlds as my game of the year is because of how much fun it is to play. When the game was released, I reviewed it and gave it a score of 9/10, and I stick to that score to this day. I can play the game over and over again, making different decisions each time, or I can even stick to the same decisions I have made in the past, and it still never gets boring. Each place you visit in the game is unique, bright, and colourful, and every person you meet has their own personality. The game as a whole is extremely creative.
Whilst I enjoyed the game and played it for hours and hours on end upon its release, my husband was away from home, and he had to wait until he got home in December to play it. When he started playing it, I found myself feeling excited for him because he got to experience the game for the first time. I would give him little hints on where to find certain items, and I would still laugh at some of the jokes and banter in the game. I would also sing along to some of the game’s cheesy theme tunes, which I think he found quite annoying.
Another reason why I love The Outer Worlds are the weapons. There aren’t many different types of weapons, but the ones that are available are fun to use, especially the science weapons. The game is retro and futuristic at the same time. The best way that I can describe The Outer Worlds is that Fallout and Mass Effect had a beautiful baby, and it has the best parts of both series of games.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty has always held a special place in my heart for numerous reasons: the stellar single-player campaigns, top-notch multiplayer modes, stunning graphics, the list goes on. The original Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare released in 2007, and it blew my mind: The beginning assault on the ship, actually repelling down with Captain Price and your crew and, of course, that iconic “All Ghillied Up” mission, which is stamped on every Call of Duty fan’s mind. I was stoked when a remake was on the cards. The outlandish direction co-developers Treyarch continued to take the series with the Black Ops games really got to me. Call of Duty wasn’t about robotics, boosting and wall-running, it was all boots on the ground, the gritty nature of events that occur in the real world, that’s how we like it. Well, this year the reboot of the Modern Warfare franchise released, and it blew my mind once again.
I hadn’t felt this good about a Call of Duty game since the absolutely brilliant Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. It’s not hard to see that Infinity Ward are my favourite Call of Duty developers. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2019 took everything you expected from a reboot and tore it up in your face. This wasn’t a revamp of iconic missions that fans love; this was a retelling. Apart from Captain Price returning, every other cast member is new. It gave us experiences that we all hope will never come to fruition. Suicide bombings, gas attacks, capture and evade, it was all here, and with the amazing graphical fidelity that today’s generation of consoles bring, it was simply stunning. Playing through missions akin to the likes of brilliant war movies, such as Zero Dark Thirty and 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, was something to behold. Then there were the new multiplayer features. The movement, more refined and rock-solid gunplay, more down-to-earth killstreaks, old and new modes and maps, it is a game I refuse to quit playing. It is my new go-to game for when all others are done with; I can’t stop playing, it is THAT good. My game of the year without a doubt.
That’s the end of Part 1 of our Game of the Year 2019 feature. Join us tomorrow for Part 2 to see what other games we all personally honored with the title of GOTY.