So here we are again, another year is coming to a close along with the decade and every other news outlet out there is preparing a review of the year article or a “best of 2019/Decade” article giving you their impressions of what is the best and worst of the year/decade… But what fun is that? Year after year you see the same lists with the same games on them being given the same top 10 style listing or just a single game that was over-hyped and under-delivered as “Game of the Year”. Well I like to do things a little different… Kinda. I’m going to give a “Game of the Year” at the end of all this, but at the same time I want to give more to you as the reader and the industry that keeps my shelves full of new games year after year. So without any real planning or design, here are my personal Video Game Awards for 2019.
1. The game I most watched on Twitch (and the Streamer who played it) Award
Winner: Dead by Daylight, streamed by GhoulBagle on Twitch.
Dead by Daylight, the 4 vs 1 survivial game featuring just about every horror icon (and a batch of original content based on other country’s myths) that isn’t called Jason, has been one of those games that has grown over time. When it first came out there wasn’t anything much to talk about, but as time went on and more killers and victims were added the game has exploded as one of the constant top games on Twitch. Now with all the streamers out there you could choose from, I stumbled upon a weird one called “GhoulBagle” first on TikTok and then saw her on Twitch. Her TikTok offerings are amazing and worth checking out if you like creations based on horror using make up, but as a Twitch streamer she is one of the more genuine nice people on the platform. Always willing to play with fans, answers questions quickly and is just all around weird. Ghoul herself is worth a watch and she is pretty good at the game.
2. This Would Win An Actual Award 10 Years Ago Award
Winner: Shenmue III
There is something about a game that waits over 10 years to get a sequel or final entry into a series that just makes things dated. Like Duke Nukem Forever, Shenmue III us one of those games that seems to be stuck in the past and does very little to entertain modern gamers. The graphics, game play and even the story itself feels like it is something that should have been produced back in the Dreamcast days. With action sequences full of quick time events to the point where watching the fights as a cut scene would be preferrable, Shenmue III just feels dated. What makes this worse is that this was a Kickstarter project which broke over $3 million in 24 hours, only for stupid moves to be made at the end by making the game exclusive to the Epic Game Store for the PC version and Playstation for the console version, leading to backers demanding refunds after years of waiting for the game to be completed. Shame.
3. Franchise Savior Award
Winner: Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order
If there is one thing I will openly admit, it’s that I’ve become one of those jaded Star Wars fans who HATES just about everything that has been produced since Disney took over the Star Wars brand… Except The Mandalorian because Baby Yoda is the cutest thing on the planet right now. However, the movies aside, Star Wars games had become one of those franchises that when something was in concept, you got excited for and really wanted; only to have that game either cancelled or abandoned because some idiot at Disney or EA didn’t think it would sell. What we would get instead was back to back games specifically designed to take every last dollar from our wallets in the form of the Battlefront series, something that I personally still use the free review copy disc as a drink coaster, I hate it that much. But things began to change not only when we saw the concept and trailers for Jedi Fallen Order, but we actually got the game we were promised as a completely single player video game with no microtransactions at all in sight. Was this some sort of apology from EA games about Battlefront II? Or did someone manage to sneak this one past management? Who knows. But at the end of the day we have a game that is really well done open world Star Wars right at the time when the whole franchise needed it the most.
4. Overly Expensive Cash-In Award
Winner: Disney Classic Games – Aladdin and The Lion King
$60… Sixty Australian Dollars… That is what we are meant to pay for what is really a bunch of emulated games from the Super Nintendo, SEGA Genesis and GameBoy eras. Sure one of each title has enhancements like improved pixel quality, the ability to skip around the games and play where you want to, or fix mistakes, and a bunch of behind the scenes extras. But at the end of the day it’s still 6 emulated games which are easy to find on the internet with an almost full retail price tag. I know Disney love playing with out nostaliga since they own just about everything from our childhood nowadays, but to release something so cheap and demand full retail for it is criminal.
5. I Regret Not This On PC Award
Control is a great game, amazing graphics, top story that keeps you wanting to go on and on to see what’s next, decent enough game play thanks to a mix of gun play and telekinetic powers that are at your disposal. If there is anything I regret about Control is that I got my review copy on Playstation 4, which suffers from some slight frame rate drops and issues coupled with the fact that I’m currently running one of the best graphics cards on the damn planet with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti and thanks to the good people over at Nvidia, I was shown exactly what I was missing with the RTX enhancements enabled when I played a PC version at PAX Aus 2019. Ever since then I can’t bring myself to go back to the gimped console version after playing that sweet sweet PC Master Race one… Damn my console loving soul.
6. Over-Hyped Under-Delivered Award
Winner: Death Stranding
Wow Kojima, you really had a lot of people going there for a while didn’t you. With over 2 years of really weird trailers that did nothing to explain plot, characters or even game play. You spent millions on advertising while hoping that the credibility of Norman Reddus and your name would be enough to sell copies of your game Death Stranding… And it fucking worked! You’ve made a lot of return on what is a god damned delivery simulator and the sheeple fell for it. But not I sir, oh no, not I sir.
Death Stranding is just a bare bones game where Kojima has once again learnt nothing from the mistakes he made with Metal Gear Solid 3 & 4 about long ass cutscenes talking about current geopolitical matters in a context that has less game play than ever before. But this “amazing innovator” get’s away with taking people’s hard earned money hand over fist because he’s Hideo fucking Kojima damn it!! Death Stranding is Kojima without editorial restraints and no oversight, and since this is what we got after 2 long years of waiting and teasing… Well I think Konami did the right thing taking him off Silent Hills and kicking him out of the company. $100 Australian Dollars for a fucking walking delivery simulator where we have “innovative” things like Norman Reddus peeing and drinking Monster Energy drinks… Miss me with that bullshit. I’ll wait till this game is $10 in the second hand bin at EB Games.
7. We Should Have Played More Of This With The Outerhaven Crew Award
Winner: Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
One thing that people don’t get to see when reading what we do here on The Outerhaven is things that go on behind the scenes. The Nintendo Entertainment Podcast crew get together to play Fire Emblem and other games together. At times, other groups of people here get together and spend days or months playing games together and having a good time. Going back to the original The Division game, at least when the complete version went cheap, Keith, Josh, Clinton and myself all got together and played the hell out of the game and we enjoyed it. Now when the sequel was announced and came out, we all pre-ordered the game and got it at launch… Only to stop playing within a month. I’m not too sure if it was the more of the same gameplay or the weirdly difficult jump in AI intelligence or something else like not enough time, but we all gave up. A few of the crew moved onto Destiny 2 when it went free and grinded through that, but I didn’t join them. It’s a shame when a gaming group falls apart due to a game not living up to the hype or something else, but yeah, this was what was left aside when those times stopped happening.
8. I’ve Waited So Long For This That I Have No Time For It Award
Winner: Kingdom Hearts III
Much like Shenmue III mentioned above, sometimes a game take so long for it to come out that it is either too old for audiences or the fanbase has forgotten about the story. I’m in the forgot the story boat and there is too much to go through in the Kingdom Hearts series for me to do a complete replay of the games before playing Kingdom Hearts III. I did get a chance to play some of Kingdom Hearts III at PAX 2018, and I got a review copy from Square-Enix, but after playing the intro of the game I turned it off and just couldn’t find time to go back to it and play the game properly. To this day I still haven’t given the game a second go because I just don’t have time. With my job and study loads being very stressful at the best of times, mixed with home duties and my general lack of energy at the end of the day; not to mention my weekend being taken up with things I used to do during the week, I just don’t have the time to go back and finish the story of Sora and crew.
9. Can’t Even Give It Away Award (Aka The Worst Game of The Year)
Winner: WWE 2K20
A game so bad that after 4 patches it still isn’t fixed, and also so bad that we here at The Outerhaven refuse to review it; WWE 2K20 is something that I own, but plan on never playing. After recently going back into gaming past and buying up as many older wrestling games for collectors sake, I bought WWE 2K20 recently when it was over 50% off just for it to sit in the collection and gather dust. Like I said in my article about WWE 2K20’s missing review, I might be willing to give a game a go if 2K Games actually manages to release enough patches to make everything function the way it should have at launch, but till then I’m going to leave this glitchy mess to gather dust on my shelf.
10. Game of The Year That I Played Award (Aka Game of The Year 2019)
Winner: Resident Evil 2 Remake
If there was any game that had me hyped to hell and back and also was worthy of the hype it was Resident Evil 2. It was one of the first ever games I have personally given a 5 star review on here at The Outerhaven, and actually had people agree with. After dealing with the over blown VR Horror Jump Scare Simulator that was Resident Evil 7, I was really wanting something more traditional, and not only did Resident Evil 2 deliver, but it kept on giving. As someone who played the first version to death on the Playstation, I was hoping for more than just a shot for shot remake of the game, and that’s exactly what I got. Resident Evil 2 not only remade the original, but added to it in ways that expanded the story and characters much like the Resident Evil remake did back in the Nintendo Gamecube era (Which I later played on Playstation 3 & Playstation 4). I’m not too sure what else to say about this masterpiece of gaming except to tell you all to go and play it yourself, but given that we are getting a Resident Evil 3 remake in early 2020, it seems a lot of you already did. Fuck what The Game Awards say, this is the true and only Game of the Year.
Alright then, I’ve spent waaaaay too long on these games and the weird awards for you to possibly be awake by now. So from me to you, no matter what you think of my list, I hope you have had games that you love, regret, sitting in the pile of shame, etc. But most of all I hope you have enjoyed gaming in 2019. Things these days have become so political and pandering to specific groups that I think a lot of people tend to forget that this hobby is meant to be about having fun, and that’s what I hope you take away from this: Have fun gaming. So till things pick up in 2020, I wish that you have a save and happy holiday season no matter your race, religion, sexual gender, gender gender, made up whatevers you do with you. I look forward to bringing you more content in 2020.