This past year was different. Normally, I strive to get into the teens with the number of games completed in a year. This year, I only completed five. To even get close to the teens, I would have to count games I played for just a little bit, mobile games, and tabletop games. Still, if I included all of those games, I think I would fall short.
For the past couple of years I have created posts that highlight all of the games I have completed in a year. Lately, I have been prefacing the title of these posts with “Games of.” Really, these posts go back as far as 2007. The titles of the posts have changed, and the format of the content has evolved over the years; but they’ve always been about games.
The origins begin with a series of posts I titled “Games to the Video…” followed by a number. You can find them on my archived HTML site. Here are the links to “1,” “2,” “3,” “4,” “5,” “6,” and “7;” you may have to scroll, since I am too lazy to add HTML page anchors. These posts mostly highlighted upcoming games – at least at the time – but at the end of the posts I gave a brief summary of what I played from the previous list.
The current format started taking shape with the launch of a now-defunct website, Your Personal Gamer. I’ve imported the posts from Your Personal Gamer into this blog. Here is my post for the year of 2010, “Level 1 – 2010.” The post was just a list of games with a very small blurb about my thoughts on the games. I finally started to use the title “Games of …” with the year for the year of 2011, “Games of 2011: What I played.” I played around with the format, and tried to space out the posts by doing a multi-part series throughout the year. This part only covered the first half of 2011. Unfortunately, I never did do a part two for the second half of 2011. I also skipped 2012, which means I have lost a year a half of my gaming history.
In 2013, I came back strong with “Games of 2013.” The post format was solidified, screenshots added, and I became consistent with creating a post every year. I continue to slightly tweak the format, including adding different statistics, with “2014,” “2015,” “2016,” “2017,” and “2018.”
With the coming of 2020, another “Games of …” post comes to fruition. For those new to the series, this is not a “game of the year” post. No, this is merely a list of games I completed in 2019. The games do not have to have been released in 2019; in fact, none of them were. The order of the list is the order I played the games. This introduction has gotten longer than the list, so let’s jump into the games.
More Bugs – The Insect and Glitch Kind!
Earth Defense Force 5 (PS4)
Release date: 12/11/2018 Number of hours played: 83.75 Number of achievements earned: 9/40 (22.5%) Number of screenshots taken: 71 Acquisition date: 1/3/2019 Acquired from: Playstation Store Purchase price: $59.99 (List $59.99)
In the end, Earth Defense Force 5 is just more EDF. It does have new features from EDF 4.1, like better graphics, more physics, blood spray, and weather. Surely, the game runs better, right? No, you just stop being a silly bitch with your silly questions! These improvements make the game run worse.
Even though the game performs poorly, has a ton of glitches, and doesn’t look the prettiest, I still love this game. The amount of mayhem on screen – mostly caused by my friends and me – is fun and satisfying, and the developers should be commended. Yes, things like physics or AI do not behave properly. However, it is a huge accomplishment of the developers to have hundreds of enemies on screen at one time, while explosions go off and buildings collapse all with four player coop. I don’t think I will ever not like an entry in the mainline series of EDF.
Taking It For Yet Another Spin
Burnout Paradise Remastered (PS4)
Release date: 3/16/2018 Number of hours played: 44 Number of achievements earned: 70/95 (73.68%) Number of screenshots taken: 152 Acquisition date: 10/9/2018 Acquired from: Playstation Store Purchase price: $8.99 (List $19.99)
I mentioned in “Games of 2016” that I like to replay Burnout Paradise every so often. Burnout Paradise Remastered was an easy excuse to do just that in 2019. I love so much about this game. I love the adrenaline rush of weaving through the city at high speeds, the sound and visuals of crashing, and the satisfaction of taking down an opponent. I would love to platinum this game if there weren’t so many trophies related to online play.
I played the Playstation 4 version of the remaster, but I also bought this game on PC, since I could upgrade The Ultimate Box for cheap. With the release of the remaster, the Big Surf Island DLC is finally available to the PC version. One of these days I’ll play the PC version just to have another excuse to play.
Maneuverability with Loot
Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition (PC)
Release date: 11/5/2015 Number of hours played: 44.25 Number of achievements earned: 39/50 (78%) Number of screenshots taken: 69 Acquisition date: 6/11/2015 (Upgraded on 11/5/2015) Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $11.99 (Darksiders Pre-2015 pack. List $59.99)
After replaying the first game last year, I wanted to play Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition. Normally, I write down my thoughts on a game after completing it. I forgot to do it on this playthrough, so I don’t have a lot of things to say about this game. It kind of sucks, because I also lost my thoughts on playing Darksiders II the first time, because it was back in 2012/2013. I’ll give a try now though.
The original Darksiders II came out in 2012. Death’s combat definitely feels like other action games from that era, but I was used to it since I replayed the first game a few months before playing this game. Death has a lot more finesse than War, which makes exploring the world a lot more fun. The developers added a loot mechanic to the game, which is relatively simple compared to other loot-based RPGs, even from that time. However, it is still fun to find new and exciting weapons and armor. I really enjoyed the upgrading mechanic for possessed weapons, and it is a memorable feature from the game. Overall, I like this game, and the series. I’m looking forward to playing Darksiders III.
Yes! I Feel It!
Borderlands Game of the Year Enhanced Edition (PC)
Release date: 4/3/2019 Number of hours played: 63.25 Number of achievements earned: 63/80 (78.75%) Number of screenshots taken: 144 Acquisition date: 9/6/2016 (Upgraded on 4/3/2019) Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $7.49 (List $29.99)
In preparation for Borderlands 3 releasing on Steam in 2020, I wanted to replay all of the games in the series, including the first Borderlands. Getting upgraded to the new Enhanced Edition was also a good excuse to replay it. The critical hits are so, very satisfying. The sounds, blood and gore, explosion of loot, and your character’s voice over makes everything come together. Surprisingly, so few games are able to replicate the visceral feeling.
I had already put hundreds of hours into this game and its DLC’s, but I did a full playthrough, including playing through the main game twice, and all of the DLCs once. Playing through it again reminded me of how much I love the loot in this game. There’s a lot of garbage weapons, but when I found something special – like a volcano sniper rifle – I could use it for several levels. The story of the first game is pretty bland, but Gearbox really spread their wings with the DLC. The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned started the trend, but Gearbox hit their stride with Secret Armory of General Knoxx. They made such a good villain with the character Knoxx. Part of the reason why he is interesting, is because he communicates directly with the character throughout the DLC, and he is relatable. Gearbox must have realized how special they made the story in this DLC, because they basically copied the villain’s format for Borderlands 2, which is a great thing. I really enjoy the Borderlands series, and replaying the first game reminded me why.
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PC)
Release date: 10/14/2014 Number of hours played: 88.25 Number of achievements earned: 38/63 (60.32%) Number of screenshots taken: 195 Acquisition date: 6/9/2019 Acquired from: Steam Purchase price: $4.32 (Borderlands: The Handsome Collection. List $59.99)
This was the first time I played Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. I skipped over it for a few reasons. The oxygen (O2) mechanic sounded burdensome. It sounded like just another meter to keep track of without adding anything to the gameplay. Reviews were a little cold on the story. Two of my friends played a little bit of it, and they stopped playing it after a few hours; they didn’t enjoy it. I got it for cheap, and decided to at least go through the story.
I was surprised by it. Pandora’s moon, Elpis, is such an interesting setting. It gave the developers reign to add interesting mechanics, like low gravity and O2. Both of these mechanics refresh the Borderlands formula. Combat had more verticality, allowing me to jump to dodge bullets, and snipe an enemy before touching the ground. Gear also took advantage of this by giving boosts to killing enemies who were airborne, or killing enemies while airborne. The O2 mechanic, which I thought I would hate, was actually pretty easy to ignore. It is easy to get O2 by killing enemies, looting the environment, or finding an atmosphere. At the same time, O2 is not a throw away mechanic. Again, gear had stats that would give you different bonuses if you were in an atmosphere environment, or not. Also, shooting an enemies O2 mask would make their health slowly drain. This mechanic works very well in practice, and I would frequently take out an enemy’s mask, see it only had a sliver of health left, and move on to another enemy, because I knew the first enemy would die soon. O2 and low gravity comes together with another new mechanic: the butt slam. Jumping into a large group of enemies, and performing a butt slam to damage all enemies with elemental damage was a frequent tactic of mine, and I never got bored with it.
Elpis is more than just new mechanics. It also allowed the developers to experiment with the color palette of the series, and inject their own culture and humor into the game. 2K Australia used Australian voice actors, and slang to create a very distinct setting. The developers also created some very unique characters, like Janey Springs, Pickle, and Nurse Nina. I hope we will get to see more of these characters in future games and DLC. The story is mostly fine, but nothing outstanding. It was interesting to get a little more backstory on Handsome Jack, but I didn’t really feel it added too much from Borderlands 2. There were a few standout moments like a certain AI, and the ending of the DLC Claptastic Voyage. Overall, I enjoyed my time with the game.
Total number of games played: 8 (Borderlands 2, Horizon Chase Turbo, and Gears 5 did not make list) Total number of hours: 365 Oldest game played: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PC) Newest game played: Gears 5 (XOne) (Did not make list) Total number of gaming sessions: 168 Game with most achievements earned: Burnout Paradise Remastered (PS4) Favorite game to Platinum: No games with Platinum Game with most hours played: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PC) Total spent: $92.78 Personal game of the year: Borderlands GotY Enhanced Edition (PC)
It is a short list for 2019. But, I did put in a lot of hours; about 85% of 2018’s hours. I did not get around to very many games that I wanted to, but I still had fun with the games I did play. I got some ambitious plans for 2020, so we’ll see how I do over the next year.
I don’t have any new thoughts on the game industry. I think it is healthy, and more and more games are coming out all of the time. I think it is difficult to find new games that do not get a lot of attention by the game’s press; there are a lot of hidden gems buried in the depths of Steam, and several other PC storefronts. I also think my preferences have shifted as I get older. I used to be more willing to try a game on a whim, but now I put in a lot of effort to research a game before buying it; many times I’ll wait for a sale, or even a second and third sale before buying a game, just because of time constraints. I’m hoping I can play at least one surprise in 2020.
Because of the short list of games for 2019, I want to try something old, but new. I just want to list games that came out in 2019 that I did not have a chance to play. Here is the list in alphabetical order.
Beatsaber. This is one of the first games I played in VR. I think VR is still in its infancy, but I think Beatsaber pushed it closer to the mainstream. Being a rhythm game makes it really easy for people who aren’t gamers to pick up and play. VR is still expensive – although getting cheaper – and there’s issues like motion sickness, and the bulkiness of the equipment.
Borderlands 3. I love the Borderlands series, and have put in a lot of time int he universe. I haven’t gotten Borderlands 3 yet, because it is not on Steam. I’m indifferent on the Epic Store, but I don’t really trust the security of it yet. Epic is fairly new to handling money transactions, and being a game studio focused on creating games. I won’t go into more detail, but I do look forward to Borderlands 3 coming to Steam, and playing it right away in March.
Control. This game is everywhere on game of the year (goty) lists. It’s pretty, has a strong story, looks fun, and has a very experienced developer behind it. I’m hoping I can play this in 2020.
Darksiders Genesis. It’s made by some of the same people who made the original Darksiders and its sequel. It’s a different take on the series, with a fixed camera, and coop, but it does look like a lot of fun.
Death Stranding. I don’t know how I feel about this game. It’s on a lot of game of the year lists. I’ve never been the biggest fan of Kojima’s games, but I am glad he is creating games in the industry. The gameplay sounds like it would be either really frustrating to me, or really fun. The story just sounds weird. I don’t know. It’s hard to say if I will ever play it.
Disco Elysium. Another game on several game of the year lists, mainly for it’s narrative and story. I plan on playing this in 2020.
Far Cry New Dawn. It’s been awhile since I’ve played a Far Cry game, and this one looks fun. The setting sounds interesting for a Far Cry game.
Gears 5. I played some of the new Horde mode with friends, and I had a lot of fun. They streamlined some things, making it a lot better than Gear 4‘s rendition of the mode. I’ll most likely be playing through the story sometime in 2020 since I now have XBox Gamepass Ultimate.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. Link’s Awakening was my first Zelda game, and is one of my top three games in the series. I just got a Switch recently, so I will be playing this remake soon.
Outer Wilds. Also on a lot of goty lists. I wasn’t going to put it in this list, until I watched NoClip’s documentary on the game. It looks right up my alley.
The Outer Worlds. This basically looks like Fallout in space, and it is made by the developers of Fallout: New Vegas. I’m looking forward to playing this.
Pistol Whip. I first saw Pistol Whip when Markiplier played it on his channel. It looked like a lot of fun, and then I got to play it. It is fun. You feel like John Whick, even though you actually look like a dumbass. It’s a fun concept: a rhythm game meets shooting.
Rage 2. Avalanche (Just Cause series) and ID (Doom) teaming up for Rage 2 sounded like a good idea. The game looks fun, and I do plan on playing it some time.
Resident Evil 2. I am a big wimp when it comes to scary games, but I did watch Markiplier play Resident Evil 2 remake. The RE Engine is so gorgeous. I’ll never be able to play it, but it was so much fun to watch someone else.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. There’s a lot of talented people this game. It sounds like it is a solid Star Wars adventure title. I’ll probably pick it up at a discount and play it down the line.
Wolfenstein: Young Blood. This game was made by Arcane. It sounds like fun, but I need to play Wolfenstein 2 first.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. 2019 was a great year for games, and I am sad that I didn’t play very many of them. I’m hoping 2020 will be a better year, personally, for gaming. I hope you will find your new favorite game in 2020.