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Thread: Your games of the year

  1. #1
    The Alpha and the Omega WarZidane's Avatar
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    Default Your games of the year

    As we're approaching 2019, it's time for a "your top games of the year" thread. Well, maybe not necessarily, but I'm making one anyway, so there.

    As the title implies, share your favorite games of this year. Be that a top 1, top 3, top 5 or any other number (I know many here don't play that many new games anymore so I figured I wouldn't force a top 10 out of you )

    I'd start off, but my own list will have to wait a bit because I'm in the middle of what has a 99.9% chance to be my number 1 game this year and I don't feel like putting a game on the list when I'm not even halfway through it.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    I'll get to this list once the holidays are over but before New Years. Funny enough, I believe I actually have ten games I can do but my list will a bit odd because I have about three or four titles that are basically old games I know really well and simply replayed this year. One of those titles would likely be my number 1 but that's not fair to the actual new titles, so I'm debating on how I want to do this.

    Sadly, I've only played one new game this year that was actually released this year. The top three I'm thinking of doing were either released last year or a few years ago. Anyway, I'll get to work on this either Wednesday or Thursday.

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    Radical Dreamer Fynn's Avatar
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    I think Iíve only played one game that was released this year, and that was Dragon Quest XI. Itís good though so at least thatís cool

    But I think the best game I played for the first time this year was overall Breath of the Wild. I still get chills just thinking about it.

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    Yossarian Lives Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    I haven't played many new games, but even if I had it would still be Red Dead Redemption 2. What a smurfing ridiculous and breathtaking piece of work.

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    I really didn't get much this year out of the release line-up, most games I played were out previous years. I got Smash Bros. Ultimate (for my partner, but I played it too), Far Cry 5, Fallout 76 and Monster Hunter World. MHW wins for me. Smash Bros. Ultimate is really good too but I'm just not into that kind of game as much as most people. I dig the co-op classic mode and the story mode, though. MHW, however, had lots going for it, single player and multiplayer, and my friends and I had loads of fun on it. I never did fight the last dude though xD
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

  6. #6

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    To only count games that I played from start to finish this year my Top 5 are:

    1) Persona 5
    2 - If I complete it this week which I think I will) Atelier Sophie: Alchemist of the Mysterious Book
    3) Nekopara Volume 1
    4) Nekopara Volume 2
    5) Nekopara Volume 3

    Special shoutouts to awesome games I have been playing but not finished: Stellaris, Parkitect, Yakuza 0 and Custom Maid 3D 2.

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    Memento Mori Site Contributor Wolf Kanno's Avatar
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    So to make this easier on me, I'm going to only talk about games I actually finished this year and to try and stick only with new games. I replayed MGS1/2 and Legend of Mana this year so I didn't really want to add them to the list.

    ***************************************************************************************************
    9: Final Fantasy Legend 1 (SaGa 1) - Back in the day, the only entry of the Legend series I ever played was Legend 2. When I finally dived into SaGa over the summer, I decided to splurge on myself and picked up the title on Amazon while getting my old GBA out of storage. SaGa is the first entry of the infamous franchise and in many ways feels a lot like the first Final Fantasy in terms of the games main strength which is high replay value. SaGa is a pretty short game, if you know what you're doing or using a guide, you can tackle the game in half a day. The different classes and the unconventional leveling and weapon mechanics made this an interesting game to play through and it inspired me to eventually pick up the rest of the game boy entries. It might be at the bottom of my list but I honestly enjoyed my time with the game and would easily recommend it for someone looking for an unconventional JRPG fix.
    8: Secret of Mana Remake - You know, if this was me from maybe ten or fifteen years ago, I would have likely ranked this entry much higher. As it stands, I still love Secret of Mana and this remake simply re-established my love of the game and the franchise. My issue is that my thoughts on remakes have evolved in that time frame and a straight port with updated graphics and added voice acting is just not going to cut it for me, especially when both are not as strong as they should be. As I mentioned in the Mana thread, SoMR suffers from feeling like a Vita Remake that was haphazardly changed to being a PS4 port but never given the resources to do it properly. As it stands the VA is serviceable but SE has throw away mobile entries with better quality, and the graphics and audio could be stronger considering the horse power of the system the game is on. Having nothing else added to the experience is also disappointing as this could have been an interesting opportunity to fix some of SoM's design problems or add back stuff from the lost scenario. I know there is a whole community of fans who feel you shouldn't mess with a classic, but if all we're doing is paying top dollar for an old clunker with a new paint job, I'd rather see some changes and pizazz added to the mix. As it stands, Secret of Mana Remake is a great game, but a lousy remake.
    7: Batman Arkham City - To give you an idea of how bad my backlog is, this was a Day One buy that I only got around to this year. I finished the first entry shortly before this game was released and pre-ordered it. The Arkham series does an excellent job of giving us the fans the true "Batman Experience", I don't feel anything has changed between entries and Batman still hits all the multi-faceted aspects of his crime fighting repertoire in satisfying ways. Having one of the strongest rogue galleries in comic books also helps to make every encounter enjoyable and a real treat with the cameos. I do feel Two-Face got the short end of the stick though. He's one of my fave villains and I feel like the other villains got way more screen time than him. My biggest beef with the title is that it suffers from the Sly 2 issue. The first entry was highly praised for being a real treat from beginning to end but fans complained that the game was too short and the level design didn't do enough to properly show off what the character could do. So what happens in the sequel? We turn the game into a heavy handed sandbox title and overload the title with sidequests and a padded out scenario, undermining the tight design of the original with bloated content. It's not bad content, but the game seriously drags in places and the open sandbox level design makes getting around tedious. I often felt a third of my game time was just me trying to get to places. As it stands, I like the first game better, but I appreciate a lot of what the sequel brings to the table.
    6: Romancing SaGa - Continuing my journey through the SaGa franchise this year, I decided to tackle what most fans consider to be the first "true" SaGa entry as many of the series staple elements debut in this title such as it's non-linear story telling, loads of characters, and the leveling mechanics. This is the entry that took the core leveling mechanics of FFII and begins to fine tune it into something interesting and less exploitable. Like most SaGa entries RS is a game loaded with interesting design choices that really break up the monotony of JRPG cliches but also brings in the series Achilles Heel of not being executed properly. As I mentioned in the SaGa thread, this is a game I would have probably appreciated more had I played it closer to its actual physical release as opposed to twenty years later. It's a game whose enjoyment really comes from having too much free time on your hand to discover and find all the games quirky design and exploit the game's heavy replay value. I'm still not sure if I'll ever get around to playing it again with a different main character. I enjoyed it overall, but things like the weapon mechanics, and the game's lopsided end-game difficulty spike were frustrating to say the least. If I didn't have Rez09 helping out, I'm not sure if I would have actually finished it.
    5: SaGa Frontier 2 - The game that started my journey into the SaGa franchise. I have been interested in playing this game ever since it was released back in the PS1 days. I didn't have the money to pick it up and it sort of fell through the cracks at the time. Years later, when I went on a nostalgic retro game spending frenzy on Amazon, I found this title for cheap and picked it up. I think I played ten minutes of it before I quit and it sat among my collection for another five years. This year, I made it a point to try and clean up my backlog and started with some of the PS1 games I had lying around. Figure it would be nice to have more of a complete picture of what Square was doing back in the day. It took a bit to get around the game's rough edges, but SF2 proved to be a fun treat and honestly, one of the easiest entries to get into for the franchise as it drops a few of the games more well known design choices. Unlike most entries, SF2 has more of a linear and heavier story focus. It deals with a few main characters but the premise is actually pretty strong and has an interesting Matsuno feel to it. The game mechanics are obtuse as is customary, but once you get used to them, the game actually becomes pretty fun to play. My only beef with the game is that SF2 has the potential to be a stronger game overall. The scenario and cast are intriguing, but the writing is too stiff to make it compelling. The gameplay is interesting but the high learning curve and randomization of the Waza system makes it a love it or hate it experience. The soundtrack and graphics are good, but pale in comparison to other titles SE was making at the time like Legend of Mana or Final Fantasy VIII. Its a strong entry for the franchise, at least in terms of as a gateway entry for fans looking for something unconventional, but it irks me that the game constantly fails to reach the full potential of its ideas.

    4: Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin
    - Oh hey the black sheep of the Dark Souls franchise that isn't hipster Demon's Souls, or weeboo Bloodborne. DS2 is an odd duck of sorts that suffers a bit of something I mentioned for Arkham City. It's another entry where the devs basically took the tight design of the original and kind of went for a "bigger is better" mentality which is often at odds with the design choices that fans loved about the original. The game suffers from a "quantity vs. quality" issue with the game boasting the highest amount of boss fights in the series of which only a fifth of them are probably worth talking about in any pleasant context. On the other hand, DS2's biggest strength is that I feel with the sheer variety of weapons and spells, you actually have the best variety of build options in the franchise, which may go a long way into explaining why the PvP community for this game is still so strong even in the wake of DS3 and Bloodborne. What I do find interesting is that the overall structure of the game for me is a reverse of DS1. DS1 has a strong first half in terms of level design and purpose before you wind up doing the Lordvessel quest and the last third devolves into a glorified boss rush with some of the most reviled areas in the game. DS2 is the opposite where I found the aimless quest of finding special souls in the first part of the game before going to Drangleic and starting the plot proper is a tedious affair while everything after feels more focused and better designed. I feel my biggest gripe with DS2, and something that became painfully apparent while playing DS3 is that DS2 has the weakest lore in the franchise. Granted, DS3 ignoring most of it probably helped seal its fate, but even while playing DS2, I felt the scenario and lore of the game felt a bit ho-hum compared to the End of the Age of Gods present in DS1, The corruption of Boletaria in Demon's Souls, and the Lovecraftiian nightmare of Bloodborne. In the hindsight of DS3, it's apparent that DS2 really lacked a strong vision for Drangleic and lore. I'm aware the game had some development hardships and even had it's scenario changed halfway through so it's understandable, but I feel this is the flaw that really sinks this game among it's peers. Thankfully the DLC is pretty incredible not counting the trolling "challenge zones" in all three. Still, if you love Dark Souls or other Souls-like games, then this is actually a pretty great game that I feel suffers more from hyperbole among the fans than any true problems.
    3: Nier: Automata - I like Yoko Taro, he's one of the quirky Japanese designers out there that I find amusing. I've been trying to get into his game for a few years now, and while I couldn't make it through the original Drakengard thanks to it's awful and tedious gameplay, I decided to give Automata a check since the whole premise was interesting and the gameplay was being handled by another party. I'm not a huge fan of Action-RPGs, in fact Mana (some of them at least) and the Souls series are the few titles among the sub-genre that I can really get behind. Nier: Automata didn't reach that list for me, in fact I actually had more fun with the bullet hell hacking mini-game than I probably did with the button mashing fighting pyrotechnics. Yet let's be honest here, these games are played for their existential plots, quirky humor, and fourth wall breaking gameplay. In those categories, Neir doesn't disappoint and I can never turn down an existential cyberpunk robot story. Japan just does them so well. I ended up really enjoying this game, not sure if it would crack my top 100 but I had a blast playing through it this year and it was certainly a highlight for me in a year of fun highlights.
    2: Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age - I'm kind of cheating on this one, I played the bulk of the game last year in December but didn't actually finish it until the beginning of this year, still I can't sing this game's praises enough. XII has always been a favorite of mine, being a nice change up in a franchise that was starting to stagnate for me. I feel XII did a lot of things right and while it was far from perfect, it's probably the last numbered FF I've actually enjoyed. The Zodiac Age is a title that takes several of my issues with the original and fixes them, creating a more focused and engaging gameplay experience from it's original. The Zodiac Jobs add a lot of replay value and focus to customization but the way Quickenings and Espers played into it is understated on how much fun they add. The new layout of items and spells changes up the game for veterans as well and thankfully tones down the obnoxious randomized treasure chests. Overall, I feel the biggest takeaway for me on this game was really seeing how ahead of it's time this game was in terms of where the genre has gone since then, and how much better XII handled it than some of today's titles. I had a difficult time not comparing this game to FFXIII and XV and not constantly feel like XII did things better in terms of tone, level design, gameplay, Mark Hunts, and frankly just blowing your expectations out of the water. The cleaner and better focused of this director's cut just helps the game even more. My only gripe with TZA is that the toned down difficulty hurts the gameplay functions as I steamrolled my way through the game and even broke my party as I was able to get access to end game stuff significantly earlier in the game due to being able to wander through high level areas much earlier in the game. Not to mention some of the exploitation fans have found by abusing Trial Mode. Overall, TZA is the definitive XII experience.
    1: Dark Souls 3: The Fire Fades - My number one pick for Game of the Year doesn't come as much of a surprise for me. Dark Souls has been one of my fave new franchises in the last few years and DS3 hits a lot of the little thematic elements that scratch all my itches. I'm an apocalyptic junkie, so setting the game at the end of the world when the prolonging of the flame has practically twisted and warped everything was pretty awesome. In terms of lore and the setting, DS3 is easily my favorite entry and the switch up from dealing with dysfunctional gods and fallen kings towards NPC versions of the player characters who linked the fire was a nice bookend touch to the series showing how it was us the players who ultimately became the important figures of the setting. The sped up combat and more generous stamina recovery taken from Bloodborne also made this a pretty fun ride of a game from a combat standpoint and I feel like DS3 brought back some of the more intricate and challenging level designs that were missing from DS2 and Bloodborne. The game has my favorite collection of NPCs in the franchise and while the bosses were all on the easy side of things, I actually liked the return to Demon's Souls more gimmicky puzzle bosses over DS2's endurance fights. In many ways, DS3 is a nice send off for the franchise and wonderful celebration of all the games including the two that really shouldn't count. I sort of knew going in I was going to have a blast and DS3 didn't really disappoint outside of being the easiest entry in the franchise.
    Last edited by Wolf Kanno; 12-28-2018 at 03:57 AM.

  8. #8

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    Most of the games I've played this year have been older titles that released quite a while ago, but here's a list of my top 5 regardless. The good news is they all have free demos for you to try on steam before the winter sale is over. They’re all visual novels since that’s pretty much my main genre these days.


    # 5 Remember, Remember

    The premise on this one is really good. You and your friends end up getting kidnapped on your way to your graduation ceremony by a man who tells you that some of them are responsible for the disappearance of your little sister years ago. You won’t be let go until someone confesses, and your job is to figure out who is responsible. The game progresses through a combination of maze mini games and the choices you make.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/6...mber_Remember/



    #4 The Letter


    While the art style definitely takes some getting used to at first, I actually really enjoyed this despite not usually liking horror games. It’s got good character development, your choices affect the story in MASSIVE ways, and there's even some mini games of sorts where you try and escape from the monster that's chasing you.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/4..._Visual_Novel/



    #3 Chess of Blades


    This one’s a boy’s love game so if you’re not really into that you’ll probably want to stay clear, but if it happens to be your thing then this definitely ranks up there for me. You play a young noble with a rather snarky personality who happens to find himself in the middle of a political scandal. You have 4 love interests to work with to help you solve the case, and all the routes are pretty different from each other.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/6...ess_of_Blades/



    #2 Break Chance Memento

    This is primarily a story about family bonds across time and involves time travel, tracking down a serial killer, and potential romance. The protagonist is also really likable and I think they managed the time travel aspect surprisingly well.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/4...hance_Memento/



    #1 Soul Set


    This might honestly be my favorite visual novel of all time. You and 5 other people all wake up trapped in a mansion with your memories missing. Your objective is to figure out how to bust out of there, but you’ll find out that the world outside the mansion is just as dangerous as the one in it. Romance is optional, but if you choose to go that route you can pursue love interests of either gender. The sprites are absolutely gorgeous; I just wish they’d had the CGs done by the same person.

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/589860/SoulSet/
    https://nobreadstudio.itch.io/soulset
    Last edited by Sarisa; 12-28-2018 at 07:13 AM.

  9. #9
    The Alpha and the Omega WarZidane's Avatar
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    Mine will just be games from this year, for the sake of not having 4 games from the same series be my top 4

    10. Pillars of Eternity 2
    Follow-up to the great Pillars of Eternity, in some ways it's even better. This would've been higher on my list, but I just wasn't a big fan of the sailing (keeping the ship stocked and repaired, fighting other ships and having a huge map where you can just go anywhere right off the bat, which sounds great but i prefer some linearity in this type of game)

    9. Darksiders 3
    In Darksiders tradition, this game is in many ways different from its predecessor. This time they went for something more Dark Souls-esque, where 1 was more like Zelda and 2 had a loot system akin to Diablo and Borderlands. I liked this game a lot, just not enough to make it higher on this list. I also would've liked it to be a bit longer.

    8. Dragon Quest XI
    Easily my favorite Dragon Quest, this has pretty much what you'd expect from a DQ game. Do yourself a favor and play it on PC though, for better performance (maybe, depending on the PC) and a mod that inserts orchestral music instead of midi music
    Great as it was compared to other DQ games, I'm still not a big fan of the basic, classic gameplay, which is why this isn't higher on my list.

    7. Assassin's Creed Odyssey
    Follow-up to last year's Assassin's Creed Origins, this one goes all the way into RPG territory. More stats on equipment, dialogue choices and branching stories in both sidequests and main quests. This is basically Ubisoft looking at Witcher 3 and going "We should make an Assassin's Creed game like that", which is not a bad thing.
    I had a blast with this game, but near the end, Ubisoft open world fatigue did set in a little bit. The branching story also felt a little clumsily implemented.

    6. Yakuza 6
    I love Yakuza games. They're basically JRPGs with "Beat 'em up" gameplay. The new engine is great, allowing more interaction with the environment than ever. It also looks pretty damn great.
    The story's on about the same level as other Yakuza games, lots of twists and turns. Sadly the new engine did mean less variety in combat than usual.

    5. CrossCode
    A little gem that came out of nowhere for me. It had been in early access for years already, I just didn't hear about it until its actual release, and it is a blast.
    Fast-paced top-down action RPG with a lot of platforming to be done, this is right up my alley. It's also a pretty huge game, probably because the setting is an MMORPG (similar to .hack and Sword Art Online games, it's not actually online but the game "acts" like it's an MMORPG)

    4. Yakuza Kiwami 2
    The other Yakuza game released this year, a remake of Yakuza 2. Made in the Yakuza 6 engine with a ton of new extra things to do.
    Not much to say here that wasn't already said for Yakuza 6, this one is ranked higher because the combat was expanded and it has some other things that weren't in 6 (cabaret club!)

    3. Celeste
    Simply the most satisfying platformer I've played in years. Every segment was stressful yet so great.
    Not sure what else to say here, my only complaint was that it ended.
    Even then, the game was pretty long for an indie platformer at this price tag.

    2. Monster Hunter World
    I have a history of trying to get into Monster Hunter and failing because the games just felt so dated, clunky and ruthless.
    Cue Monster Hunter World, the game that finally got me into it. Everything is streamlined with a lot of quality of life changes, and the game just ended up being addicting.

    1. Sen no Kiseki 4 (or Trails of Cold Steel 4, when it gets released in the west)
    I'll start here by admitting I am an utter and complete Kiseki/Trails fanboy. This year I finally got around to playing the games that weren't localized, thanks to knowing just enough Japanese to get through gameplay and menus and such, and a handy translation sheet for the actual dialogue.
    I haven't actually finished this game yet. I'm more than halfway through it, though, and that gave me enough reason to put this on the #1 spot. This game is gigantic, a culmination of not just the 4 Cold Steel games, but also of all 9 games thus far.
    Having returning characters from 8 previous games makes other people say it's bloated, but I love this kind of stuff. All the build-up, all the characters, leading up to this entry, it's the payoff that I like just as much as the slow burn.


    Games that would've been my 2, 3 and 4 if I included games I merely played this year, rather than what released this year:
    Zero no Kiseki, Ao no Kiseki, Sen no Kiseki 3 (though not in that order)

    Honorable mentions:
    Octopath Traveler and Shadow of the Tomb Raider

  10. #10

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    God catching up on Yakuza and Trails series is such a long and daunting task ahead of me lol.

  11. #11

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    Listing 10 games would mean listing all or probably more than the number of games from this year that I've played. I've probably completed about 10-12 games this year including games that were released in previous years. So, I'll just say Dragon Quest XI was my favorite - a solid classic JRPG that's probably the best in the series. I liked other games certainly, but listing more from such a small pool practically defeats the purpose of making a GOTY list in the first place.

  12. #12

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    Mine is definitely God of War. I'm not alone but it was nice seeing things i know reaffirmed by the game. You can take a stagnant one dimensional character and add realistic depth and interest. You can create a smaller more compact world and make it more interesting than the biggest of game world's. You can have a game with only five NPCs and still have very interesting and compelling dialog over a 20 or 30 hour game. You can have competent and we'll rounded AI controlled companions and non intrusive contextual skit dialog that doesn't feel like a forced lore dump. And over the top and actual challenging boss fights that don't feel cheapened in harder difficulty. The Valkyrie Queen might be my favorite boss fight in any game to date



  13. #13

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    Top single player games I played this year, not that were released this year:

    1. The Legend of Zelda : A Link Between Worlds
    I was really late to this one and 3DS ownership in general. But it's such a great experience. It feels nostalgic and fresh at the same time and the movement is so smooth that it's a joy to play from start to finish. The fact that you can rent out any of the games items almost from the start was a great move to make it feel more open. It's a very easy game and that usually turns me off, but I was having so much fun with it that I didn't care at all

    2. Hollow Knight
    I bought this on sale for Switch, played about an hour, got really bored, and didn't boot it up again for a few months. I love this game so much but I do maintain that the beginning is kind of a slog that drags on for too long. Started playing it again on a cross-country flight and became completely immersed after I picked up the airdash and the pace quickened. There's much care put into detail and it really shows. The artwork, lighting, and music of all the game's distinctive regions are so great and give it so much atmosphere. The platforming and combat are super tight and the crazy branching off of the map gives it a sense of scope you don't usually see in other metroidvanias. It's difficult but not unfair. Can't believe I got it for $10, seems like a steal.

    3. DOOM (2016)
    I don't think I need to say much about this one except I was so happy to play a game that dispenses with all the bogged-down bulltrout and just focuses on pure action, gore, and speed. It's so fun to zip around the map ripping apart the hordes of hell.

    Multiplayer has been an incessant amount of Rocket League until Smash Ultimate came out, which is currently dominating my free time.

  14. #14

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    For me, the game of the way was God of War 4 last year. Enjoyed that game immensely. It pushed the narrative limits in gaming imo. My only problem with this game is that it wasn't available on PC.

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