Top 10 Games I Played in 2019
I played a lot of games in 2019, but only few of them came out this year. I’ve been doing a lot of catching up on the backlog, and that’s a really good feeling! With all the excellent games I played in 2019, it was tough to pick my ten favorites!
After reflecting back on the experiences I had, I managed to narrow it down to the ten in this list. Of course, these are my personal picks based on what I played. These are by no means objective choices!
To keep things interesting, I decided to limit my choices to one game per series. This really only affects a few games in the list, but I didn’t want the list to get stale if a series popped up on it more than once. Also, I’m only including games that are primarily single player experiences. Even though I really enjoyed playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate this year, it doesn’t really fit that criteria, so it won’t be on the list. All that said, on to the list itself!
I went in not really sure if I would enjoy Bayonetta. Largely due to her inclusion in Super Smash Bros., I wanted to learn more about the character and series, and decided to play it based on that and the fact that the first game was available on Steam and I was able to get it on a really good sale. I was blown away by how fun this game was. The combat flows incredibly smoothly, and it’s fun to slowly get better at it. The irreverent tone, sense of style, and humor add onto that to create a truly unique experience, one I’m very glad I found time for this year.
9. Parasite Eve
When I heard about how Parasite Eve blends some survival horror elements with a sort of action turn-based battle system, I was intrigued. When I played it for myself, I was hooked. Why hadn’t I played Parasite Eve sooner? The plot and battle mechanics are hugely entertaining, and I recommend anyone with access to this game give it a shot! Buying it digitally shouldn’t break the bank, and it’s a relatively short experience that is well worth the time.
Just like Parasite Eve, I don’t know why I didn’t play through Earthbound sooner. Unlike Parasite Eve though, I’d started Earthbound a few times in the past, but never made it further than Threed. This year, I finally stuck through to the end with Earthbound, and I am so glad that I did. I few months after finishing the game, and I still think back on the playthrough fondly.
7. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc
Danganronpa’s writing impressed me time and time again. It did so while painting a very engrossing mystery, while pumping out great music the whole way through. Given its nature as a mystery visual novel, it doesn’t really have replayability. But playing through it was just so enthralling that it easily earned its spot on this list!
6. Castlevania: Symphony of the Night
Honorable Mention: Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Prior to 2019, I had never played a Castlevania game. I was really interested in the Metroidvania games in the series, since I’ve really enjoyed the Metroid series in the past. I finally took the plunge and played Castlevania: Symphony of the Night this year, and I was blown away but how good it was. It was basically a Metroid game if Metroid was a vampire legend instead of a futuristic space adventure. I enjoyed the experience so much, that I played Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow not long after, and really enjoyed that game too, just not as much as I enjoyed Symphony of the Night!
5. Super Mario Odyssey
There hadn’t been a Super Mario 64 styled “collect the Stars” 3D Mario game since Super Mario Galaxy 2. Super Mario Odyssey released a few years back to great reception, marking the return of the 3D Mario formula, but also evolving that formula significantly. I went in expecting a good game, but I had forgotten just how fun 3D Mario games are. I loved Super Mario Odyssey, and it’s so much fun that I just might get 100% completion in it someday. I just can’t help but keep playing it and collecting more Power Moons!
4. The World Ends with You
The World Ends with You is such an impressive game. It’s really interesting to see how Neku’s attitude and motivations change over the course of the story. The music is simply phenomenal, and the gameplay has a number of unique aspects. That all of this runs on the original DS is even more impressive. The battle system makes full use of both screens of the DS, and demands multitasking that is tough to master, but never stops being fun.
3. Valkyria Chronicles
Valkyria Chronicles was just so good! The ups and downs of this game got me more emotional than any other game in recent memory. It does all this while fully immersing you in a tale of war set in a fantasy world embroiled in its very own World War II. I really enjoyed the unique painted aesthetic the graphics have as well. The tactical battle system you use to wage war takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of things it becomes second nature, and is super fun! If the sequels shape up to be similarly fun experiences, this may turn out to be a new favorite series of mine.
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Honorable Mention: Fire Emblem: Awakening
Fire Emblem: Three Houses had a lot to live up to in my book, since it was the first console Fire Emblem since Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn. It absolutely lived up to my expectations. The introduction of more social sim mechanics via exploring the monastery definitely work for me, but aside from that, there’s more flexibility and options in battle than ever before. The strategic battle systme has been refined yet again, and it’s better than ever! I had an absolute blast playing Three Houses this year. As far as 2019 releases go, it’s definitely my Game of the Year! Although, I did only play three games released in 2019…
1. Persona 3 Portable
I’ll take basically any excuse to praise Persona, and since I played Persona 3 Portable for the first time earlier this year, it’s fair game for this list! There’s just something magical about Persona 3 to me. Even shrunken down for the PSP in this portable edition, it’s still magical. Something about the entire package, from the setting, themes, characters, music, and dungeon crawling gameplay, really captivates me. While the PS2 FES version is better in some ways, in other areas I feel Portable actually excels. Mainly, its battle system is more enjoyable. Being able to Guard in battle and having the ability to directly control your teammates change the battle experience in very good ways. Plus, the top down presentation of the overworld areas is pretty charming as well.