Processing The End of One Journey and Beginning a New One. Covering My Favorite Games of 2019
By Corey Dirrig
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This year has been an interesting one, not only in the world of video games, but in my personal and professional life as well. I closed the door on Nerds Gone Rogue, the show and channels put countless time, effort, and love into, and one that many of our followers were disappointed in ending. I gained new friends and lost old ones, as well as learning a lot about myself and how to grow from that experience, hopefully becoming a better leader here on Boss Rush Games. On a more positive note, my wife and I moved into a new home, one that we can grow our family and create new memories in. I started a new position at work and making progress there. In a year that I will remember as a strange roller coaster of events, one thing stayed consistent throughout the course of it: great video games. Here is a list of my top ten games of the year, as well as some fun honorable mentions.
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep – Bungie
Destiny has been a consistent comfort food of sorts for six years now, delivering fun mechanics and cool characters. The game has had it’s own roller coaster of consistency over the years, but since their split from Activision, Bungie has made the right moves and showing us what they can do with no corporate strings attached to their product. Shadowkeep delivers an awesome mix of nostalgia and new content, exploring the past through the eyes of Eris Morn, time traveling with Osiris and Saint-14, and more fun experiences with my friends. Shadowkeep delivers on what Destiny has always promised. Even if I’m not as invested as I used to be, Destiny will be a game that has a permanent home on multiple consoles and hard drives.
Boss Rush Games has a Destiny 2 Clan. Search Boss Rush Games on Bungie.net to join our Fire Team.
Destiny 2 Shadowkeep Trailer
Destiny 2 Season of Dawn Trailer
Super Mario Maker 2 – Nintendo
As someone who loved the Wii U, the one game I never got into was Super Mario Maker. With so many great games to play and a less than stellar online sharing system, I never felt the need to engage with the game with any real meaning. When Super Mario Maker 2 was announced, I initially felt the same way, but with a community as strong as ours is/was, I wanted to at least give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised and delighted by even the simplest things in the creation mode. I was able to build complex and crazy levels out of that simplicity which gave friends and fans a hilariously difficult time. Super Mario Maker 2 is a delight and a must own for Mario fans.
Super Mario Maker 2 Trailer
My Friend Pedro – DeadToast Entertainment
As someone who appreciates the indie game scene from afar, it really takes a special one to keep me playing. My Friend Pedro hooked me from the start with a ripoff Deadpool-like character mixed with creative platforming, cool weapons, and witty writing. Also, there’s a talking banana. My Friend Pedro is an awesome addition to GamePass and to anyone’s Switch library.
My Friend Pedro Trailer
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order – Team Ninja
When Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 was announced, there were a lot of mixed reactions. A lot of people said it looked worse than the mobile game, some said it was a bad version of Marvel Heroes, and others thought that it’s time had passed since it had been about a decade since the second game. To my surprise, as well as many others, MUA 3 was a surprisingly fun addition to the series that captured the imagination of the original while using the popularity of the MCU to it’s advantage. As I hacked and slashed through enemies and trying different combinations of heroes, I found myself totally invested in the over-the-top story and loving some of the characters that I normally wouldn’t have thought twice about. MUA 3 is a welcome title on my Switch, even if it is just dumb fun.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order Trailer
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark – 6 Eyes Studio
In a world where XCOM and Fire Emblem rule the strategy genre, it’s always nice to see games like Tiny Metal, Wargroove, and Valkyria Chronicles find their way through. One game that deserves the same attention is Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark, a love letter to Final Fantasy Tactics in every way. It’s wrapped in a unique art style and has a lot of characters with distinct personalities and abilities. Though I am not very far as of this writing, the game oozes charm and is quickly rising to one of my favorite indie strategy games.
Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark Trailer
THE TOP TEN GAMES OF 2019
10: BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! – HAL Labs
BoxBoy! + BoxGirl was a great treat on Switch this year. In a world where games try to become more realistic, more immersive, and more complex, it’s nice to have a small game that does the complete opposite. I have loved the BoxBoy series since it’s inception, and this fourth entry does not disappoint. It’s really amazing how they can create such complicated and crazy puzzles with such simple mechanics. BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! delivers a surprising amount of puzzles, none of which feel lazy or duplicated, which is why it deserves the tenth spot on my top ten list this year.
BoxBoy! + BoxGirl! Trailer
9. The Outer Worlds – Obsidian Entertainment
The Outer Worlds takes everything I don’t care about in the Fallout experience and totally throws it in the garbage. It has been, at least so far, a straight forward role playing experience with choices that really affect how you want to play the game. With an interesting story, fantastic characters, and some really hilarious writing, it’s definitely a game worth it’s merit.
The Outer Worlds Trailer
8. Apex Legends – Respawn Entertainment
As someone who really enjoys Overwatch and what Black Ops IIII’s Blackout Mode had to offer in 2018, Apex Legends was a great surprise. Merging the hero elements with the Battle Royale genre, Apex created the definitive battle royale for me. Whether I was playing with my friends, strangers, or just taking a stab at it solo style, Apex delivers the goods.
Apex Legends Trailer
7. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – Grezzo/Nintendo
Zelda has always held a special place in my heart, especially the original Link’s Awakening on the GameBoy. As my first Zelda game, I remember running around the island killing dumb monsters and roaming the beach before I even knew what a dungeon was or why they existed. I finally finished that original game when it came to the 3DS eShop via Virtual Console and appreciated the game even more. When the remake was announced, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Fisher Price look of the characters mixed with the wonderful environments instantly had me excited for an updated version of one of my favorite games of all time. Though the game is far from perfect and some of the dungeon designs showing their age, I couldn’t help but enjoy the charm and fun that transported me back to 1994.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
6. Control – Remedy
Remedy’s third person action game is just plain awesome. With a really capitative world and a large arsenal of powers, Control quickly became one of the more interesting worlds to not only fight in, but explore. The depth of the lore in the different collectibles hidden through the world makes it that much more compelling. What really blew my mind is how they were able to get the tech running so well on the Xbox One X. Control is truly a one of a kind experience that you should definitely play.
5. Shovel Knight: King of Cards – Yacht Club Games
Shovel Knight: King of Cards proves why Shovel Knight is still the King of the indie world. Though not quite as good as Spector of Torment, the latest game in the series has some really interesting movement mechanics combined with great level design and a fun, surprisingly deep card game. The swan song to the masterpiece of Shovel Knight Treasure Trove is a wonderful sendoff… for now.
Shovel Knight: King of Cards Trailer
4. Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair – Playtonic Games
Yooka-Laylee was one of those games that I really wanted to love. It had the crew of ex-Rare developers (Playtonic Games), Grant Kirkhope was back to compose, and it even used the fonts and sounds from games like Donkey Kong 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and other favorites. While I quite enjoyed the game for what it was, there was something that didn’t feel fully fleshed out. With this second entry, they made the right move in taking the series into 2D. Everything I wanted from that first game has made the full transition and for the better. The way the characters move, the enemy placement, and the level designs all feel like they could have been developed by Retro Studios themselves, developers of the new Donkey Kong Country Returns series. I am not only surprised with how much I love Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair, but it is one of the best experiences I’ve had on the Switch this year.
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair Trailer
3. Gears 5 – The Coalition/Xbox Games Studios
This is the game the Xbox One desperately needed three years ago, but it’s better late than never. Gears 5 has placed the series as the platform’s best exclusive with it’s superb writing, engaging combat, and a squad of characters that feel unique in their own right. Kait’s story unfolds in a fantastic way, making me want more Gears as soon as possible. Though not quite on the level of a God of War style reimagining, the series seems to be tiptoeing that way, and it’s something I am definitely looking forward to in entries to come. Aside from a few technical connection issues for co-op gaming, it runs flawlessly, even in combat heavy competitive online modes, which are also top tier. Gears 5 is a must play for any true Xbox fan.
Gears 5 Trailer
2. Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order – Respawn Entertainment
As someone who appreciates Souls games from a distance, enjoys the occasional Metroid style adventure, and is a casual Star Wars fan at best, I was blown away by how much I loved Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. I loved every moment of the story. The character performances were outstanding, especially Deborah Wilson as Cere, Elizabeth Grullon as Trilla, Daniel Roebuck as Greeze, and Tina Ivlev as Merrin. Cameron Monaghan also deserves a shoutout for bringing Cal Kestis to life. What really pulled the whole story together was the chemistry of the actors, because in a story that ultimately doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the Star Wars universe, it would have been difficult to be invested otherwise. Combine that with fun combat, nice level design, and surprises within, it was a very solid experience. Though not the most technically sound game I played this year by any stretch, Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order definitely was the most fun I had playing a game this year.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order Trailer
1. Fire Emblem Three Houses – Intelligent Systems/Nintendo
Fire Emblem Three Houses is the best experience I had this year on multiple levels. In a series that has always defined itself by it’s strong gameplay, adding a story and characters that I really cared about was something I did not expect it to have. I built relationships with all of these characters on one level or another throughout the first half of the game, seeing friendships form and personalities evolve. But as I made my way through the second half of the game, I really felt a lot of sadness. I watched friends kill each other for what they believed in, even if in some way they weren’t entirely sure what they were truly fighting for. It was really difficult to watch, mostly because as they were fighting, you could still see their friendships bleed through the battle, creating an internal struggle as well. I never expected a Nintendo game of all games to make me feel the way I felt during the final battles of the campaign, and for that, Fire Emblem Three Houses is my personal game of the year. It is also my second favorite Nintendo Switch exclusive behind The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.
Fire Emblem Three Houses Trailer
Though not the greatest year in games by any stretch, 2019 still saw a lot of fantastic, fun, and interesting ones, from Nintendo’s complimentary first party line up to a lot of niche games shining through that may not have otherwise to experimental indies. In a whirlwind year for me in terms of ending a long running show and turning my focus on a lot of new things, I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my top ten list and supporting Boss Rush Games, Nintendo Pow Block, and our upcoming shows. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season and 2019. See you all in 2020 and remember: Play Games, Be Better.