My Top 10 Games of 2019
Yee haw, Rayjay2 here with another annual list of the best games I've played this year. This is the 13th year that I have made this list and I always have to remind everyone that these are the best games I personally played this year and not necessarily games that came out this year. Usually I can fill out a top ten list but this year was a bit different as in I found it difficult to even come up with ten games in the first place. Part of it was being a slower year due to the end of the current generation, the other was that I played a lot of gaming compilations this year. So let's see what managed to make the cutoff this time around.
10. City Connection
City Connection is all about high scoring arcade action. You drive a car on a 2D plane where the roads turn white by driving over them. Driving over all roads in a level clears it. It's like a twist on Pac-Man in a way as each stage can be like a maze of roads. Instead of ghosts you have trucks that try to crash into you. At first you may have trouble filling in all the roads on the first stage but like all great arcade style challenges your skill will improve over time as you chase that elusive high score. Over time you'll discover secrets like hidden warps and techniques to help you fill in the roads more efficiently. And the music is just as catchy as the game is addictive.
9. Forza Motorsport 6
I never really played any of the Forza games before but I have a bunch of them that I got from Games With Gold so I decided to give one of them a shot. I'm not very good at it but I enjoy driving around and seeing the detailed graphics. The Long Beach track in particular was nice to see as it's a location I have been to before and seeing the details replicated so exactly was a treat. I also enjoyed downloading all of my favorite custom car skins that people have uploaded. This was more of a game for me to admire for it's detail rather than for any intense racing action but it was a lot of fun as a relaxing, winding down game.
8. Trials Rising
It's just more Trials but that's never a bad thing. The progression system is a bit slow but I believe they patched it. But it was never an issue for me because Trials has always been about improving through repetition. This is a true high scorers game with a touch of racing and platforming. A few new modes have been added but nothing that really disrupts the classic Trials gameplay this time around like the hook from Blood Dragon or the FMX tracks from Fusion. It's another Trials game. But when your base game is this good more of the same is always welcome.
7. Mega Man X Legacy Collection
I love compilations of classic games to the point where I can't get enough of them. Especially if it's a collection of games I haven't played before. Mega Man X Legacy Collection is a no-brainer for fans of the Blue Bomber. The Mega Man X games are faster than the classic games, with techniques and upgrades that wouldn't be out of place in a Metroid game. But the more things change the more they stay the same. In classic Mega Man fashion there are stages that can be completed in any order, bosses to beat, weapons to collect, and passwords to write down. Okay, maybe not that last one. We have save states now!
6. Tetris 99
The Battle Royal genre has really taken off these past few years with numerous games released to capitalize of the popularity of being the last player alive. Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends are the ones that first come to mind. But my personal favorite is Tetris 99. Set up like a standard versus game of Tetris where clearing lines will send garbage blocks to your opponents, but this time there are 98 other players to take down. The rules of typical Battle Royal games apply here. By defeating opponents you'll earn badges and the more you have the stronger you'll be for the endgame. While concentrating on clearing huge stacks of lines
you'll want to use the targeting system to focus on players to send garbage blocks. A set of targeting presets are activated by moving the right stick, such as going after players who are attacking you, have lots of badges, or are close to losing. A regular schedule of free updates, new events and themes keep me coming back from time to time. A thrilling multiplayer experience.
5. Castlevania Anniversary Collection
A classic Castlevania collection was one of my most wanted compilations for a long time so it was very nice to see that Konami actually released one. For the past few years I had been playing Castlevania III on my 3DS and finding it to be an excellent game. What kept me playing it for so long was because it was so challenging. The harder levels demanded near perfection so completing this game was very rewarding. Sometimes when I got stuck I would put the game down for a bit and come back to it from the beginning so I could try out a different branching path and check out new scenery. No matter what route you take the game is brutal but ultimately very rewarding as I reached the point where I could finish the game without breaking much of a sweat. Such is the nature of the classic Castlevania series. Great gameplay, great atmosphere, and a great series in general.
4. Batman: Return to Arkham
I decided to replay all the Batman Arkham games this year and they all hold up quite well. Not only did I play the remastered versions of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but I also went back to replay Arkham Origins and am currently in the middle of Arkham Knight as well. What made these playthoughs different is that I decided to actually challenge myself with the combat system and try to learn how to combo all of Batman's moves and gadgets during a fight, instead of the basic punching and countering system I always relied on. It turns out mastering this style of combat was great fun and the difficulty of the games went down quite a bit after doing so, even on the hardest difficulties. After challenging myself with combat I would unwind with some light exploration and puzzle solving with the Riddler's missions. In an age where most games seem to be one and done affairs the Arkham series is something I can see myself coming back to over and over for another replay.
3. Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fueled
The original Crash Team Racing is one of my favorite kart racers ever. At the time I always considered it better than Mario Kart 64 in every way except for multiplayer with friends, and that was only because the N64 made four player gaming simple. But in terms of gameplay I always felt CTR was more engaging due to it's system of boosting. In Mario Kart a kart's speed is determined by it's engine class. In CTR it's based on boosting. By with good timing you can chain up to three perfect boosts in a row per powerslide and fill up a hidden tank of reserve boosts. You'll want to keep these reserves going as long as you can and it's certainly possible to chain boosts throughout the entire length of the track.
The remastered version is done quite well and is a huge graphical upgrade from the PS1 version. Each month since launch there have also been Grand Prix events that feature a new track, new characters, and new cosmetics, all for free. Well, mostly for free, as you'll need to dedicate a lot of time to grind coins to get these things, but if you're going to have a game that encourages grinding then it helps to have the gameplay be the best kart racer of 1999.
2. Super Mario Maker 2
Mario Maker 2 is a big sequel. It's practically overwhelming at times with all the new themes and items. A new gameplay style was added, making for five styles (Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, Mario U, and Mario 3D World), 10 themes for these gameplay styles (Ground, Desert, Sky, Jungle, Castle, Snow, Underground, Airship, Ghost House, Underwater), plus a night variation for each theme with it's own unique gameplay twist. Then add more items and enemies to place while creating courses and a single player mode that I've barely even touched because there's an addictive online multiplayer mode that I keep coming back to. Playing Mario Maker online is something else. All you have to do is give players a ranking system and you'll see the most competitive Mario ever as four players fight tooth and nail trying to sabotage others from reaching the goal. Stealing keys, blocking doorways, all while everyone plays through a completely random level that nobody else has seen before. It's pure Mario Mania.
This is the reason why it was difficult to come up with ten games this year. Overwatch continues to take up most of my gaming time. I don't play it as much as I used to but it's still got me hooked. Overwatch is a heart pounding competitive experience. It is also a place to experiment and fool around with crazy different game modes. It even makes for a great friend hangout. It's also the second game to make this list three years in a row after the Rock Band series. And to think this is the game I put off for almost two years because Captain Falcon wasn't in it.