2019 Community Game of the Year

My dear Goodjers, the time has come, December is already here... That means 2020 is just around the corner, and it's time for the 2019 Community Game of the Year thread. Third time's the charm right, so hopefully, I'll get this right. Sending ClockworkHouse a nod and a hug after all the hard work they put in before I barged in and took over. Despite what naysayers would have you believe, this has been an amazing year for gaming (again), and I'm very much looking forward to reading all your wonderful lists. Each year, you never fail to mention so many different games, it truly sparks joy for me.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, but quick rundown on how this works. Each year, GWJ community members vote for their favorite games of the year. Since we're all busy and can't always keep up with new releases, we're opening it up to all games you played for the first time in 2019. Doesn't matter if it's one year, five years, ten years, or thirty years old, what matters is that it's new to you. If you change your list, don't edit your post, make a new one and tell me you've changed your mind.

Polls are closing on January 1st, 2020, 9am GMT+1 (that's 3am EST, or midnight PST).
Complete guidelines in Q&A form in the post below, and final results will be posted on the Front Page!

Below are the Official Rules of the 2019 Community GOTY Voting Thread, Q&A style.

  • What games can I vote for? Any game you played for the first time in 2019. Say every one had been telling you how awesome Mass Effect 2 is and you picked it super cheap and loved it? You can absolutely put it on your list. But if you're into your third playthrough of God War and already made it #1 on your list last year, then you don't get to vote for it again. Voting this year is still open to any game on any platform from any year.
  • How do you know if I really played it for the first time this year? Despite all evidence to the contrary, I don't have psychic powers. That'll be between you and your conscience, so we're on the honor system. But really, why would you try a forum poll?
  • What if I didn't finish it yet? That's fine. If you feel you've played enough of this game for it to surpass others you've played this year, go ahead and put it on your list. Sometimes, we don't have to play more than 5 hours of a game to know we're going to love it (not to mention that some games are really suuuuuuuuuuper long: you might not have finished it, but still know it's awesome).
  • Why are we doing it this way? Because we're all busy and free time is a precious commodity. GWJ is a community mostly populated with mature, adult gamers with jobs (it's right there in the name of the site), family obligations, hobbies, and other things that take up our time. And we can't all afford the new hotness as soon as it's released. Most of us have piles (see m0nk3yboy's 2019 thread), and though we try to play through them, we don't often get a chance to say that we really love something even if it's a bit older.
  • What if the top game ends up being from 2009 or something? In over ten years, that's never happened. I'd like to see you all try (not really, though, please don't rig this).
  • So how are votes counted? Games in the top spot on a list get ten votes, second place gets nine, et cetera, et cetera, with tenth place getting a single vote. If your list is out of format (lists that aren't ranked and/or lists that go over ten), games on your list will get one vote each for the first ten games only. If you do not abide by the format, I'll make an executive decision and sort it all out.
  • Can I vote for an expansion pack? For the purposes of vote counting (and my sanity), votes for expansions are folded into votes for the base game. So for example, a vote for XCOM 2: War of the Chosen is counted as a vote for XCOM 2.
  • I played a game before, but this year I played the remastered Director's Cut with new content on a new platform. Can I vote for it? Nope. Again, the spirit of this thread is to vote for things that were new to you this year, and replaying a game you love with spiffier graphics runs somewhat contrary to that. On the other hand, some remasters and re-releases significantly change the original game, and sometimes replaying something can feel more revelatory than playing something brand new. In the end, it's up to you (see the above, "but how do you know..." question).
  • Can I list a game multiple times so that it gets more votes? No. That's annoying, a dick move cheating.
  • When does voting open? When does it close? Voting is open when this thread goes up, so: you can vote now.
    Go ahead, knock yourself out! Post your list! Voting will close on January 1st, 2020 (9am GMT+1, 3am EST, midnight PST). That should allow you to wrap up some of those late November games and/or sample whatever you might receive as a gift during the holidays.
  • Are you going to do anything really neat and special with the results? Quite likely! You can look for the traditional community's top ten list & special mentions for each platform. Additionally, the results will be analyzed to award other "best of" titles such:
    • Best-Loved Game of the Year and Most Loved Game of the Year - These are given to the games with the most #1 votes and most unranked votes, respectively.
    • Classic Game of the Year - Given to the game with the most votes that wasn't released this year.
    • Darksiders of the Year - Given to the game that's maybe good. Better ask just to be on the safe side.

    Stay tuned for more, I'm trying to keep these a surprise.

  • What if I change my mind after I posted my list? By all things holy and unholy, for the love of the Goodjerbot, if you do decide to change your mind (it happens!), then pretty please, be sure to put up a new post that lets me know you changed your list. It'll seriously mess with the thread-tracking if you don't.

If you are so inclined, you can check out previous years!

It's been a good year for games.
1. Heaven's Vault
2. Disco Elysium
3. Pathologic 2
4. Untitled Goose Game
5. Bad North
6. Where the Water Tastes Like Wine
7. Outer Wilds
8. Six Ages: Ride Like the Wind
9. Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky
10. AI War 2
(Honorable mentions:)
-. Telling Lies
-. Slay the Spire
-. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
-. Eastshade
-. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
-. Knights and Bikes
-. Frostpunk

(Fire Emblem: Three Houses will have to count for next year, because I'm only going to have time to play it over winter break. )

I never come close to finishing or even reasonably playing 10 games a year but appreciate all the hard work Eleima puts into this for the community.

This year has been a busy one, so didn't play many games besides ones that I continued off last year.
Plus I'm usually pretty late to the party so most of the games I played weren't released this year.
But those that I did manage to play in order of lingering impression:

  • Return of the Obra Dinn
  • Hitman 2
  • Baba is You
  • Sunless Skies

Thank you for organizing this Eleima!

This is the one year I can't do a list early, as I might actually play a bunch of stuff for the first time in December.

Gremlin wrote:

1. Heaven's Vault

I totally missed out on anything to do with this one. It seems like something I'd enjoy.

And there we have the first new game I must have.

I love these threads to an unreasonable degree. My list is mostly set and I'm eager to share, but I've barely started one particular game that has GotY potential. I should figure out what I think of it first.

A lack of money has limited my access to games this year, but i got a few crackin' titles under my belt regardless..

1 Return of the Obra Dinn
2 Observation (EGS)
3 Control (EGS)
4 Operencia : The Stolen Sun (EGS)
5 Outer Wilds (EGS)
6 We Were Here Together
7 The Sinking City (EGS)
8 Whispers of a Machine
9 Dark Pictures Anthology : Man of Medan
10 Telling Lies

---------------------------------------------------------

1 Return of the Obra Dinn

Spoiler:

i LOVE "investigation" games but so often they are hamstrung by the fact they are video games. Obra Dinn is probably the first real detective game where the detective elements don't feel contrived and limited by the game's systems and where you actually feel like a REAL detective (or, insurance invesigator, i guess) thanks to it's lack of background hand-holding or prompting, and it's unique way of confirming if you are correct or not (It will not confirm a correct answer until you have three correct answers in a row). Putting aside it's amazing aesthetic and increasingly surreal, fantastica elements it was an absolute blast sleuthing my way through this to determine the fate of the ships crew down to the last man and woman. I felt super smart by the time i finished playing it, and it comes highly, HIGHLY recommended.

Highlight : The dramatic reveal of the (spoiler) shortly into the game.

2 Observation (EGS)

Spoiler:

I ALSO love what i'm kinda tentatively calling the "Space Disaster" genre. Pseudo-realistic depictions of space travel where something goes horribly wrong (natural or supernatural) and it's up to a plucky crewmember to save themselves or others from disaster. Couple that with an almost lovecraftian alien presence that evokes 2001 and the grungy aesthetics that made the developers previous game (Stories Untold) so compelling. oh and BY THE WAY you are playing the space station' AI. Not the plucky crewmember. Plot twist! Seriously though, go into this one as blind as possible (don't even watch the trailer below if you think it's of interest).

Highlight : The wonderfully natural voice acting of the AI's human companion.

3 Control (EGS)

Spoiler:

Would have been higher if it didn't have some frustratingly difficult boss battles and combat set pieces, but the fact that Control is still WAY up on my list despite that means that everything ELSE is really, REALLY good. The setting is a gloriously indulgent mess of brutalist architecture, non-euclidean geometry and SCP weirdness that had me hooked from beginning to....end? Technically it doesn't really have an "ending" per-se (par for the course for a Remedy game, really) which is probably another criticism, but as i'm sitting here counting the days until there's some DLC to jump into...probably not a serious one.

Highlight : Feeling like the baddest of bad-asses in the Ash Tray Maze
Highlight 2 : The graphic design is On. Point.

4 Operencia : The Stolen Sun (EGS)

Spoiler:

This was a TOTAL gamble, and a wonderful surprise. One of the first exclusive games I grabbed from the EGS and it was a good 'un. Tile-based RPG without random battles (everything you fight is on the map and doesn't respawn), a MASSIVE amount of secrets in each map (and the ability to fast travel later to unlock more, metroid style) and a story that's got more of an eastern european fairy tale feel than your bog standard western tolkein-em-up. Not to mention some really inventive environments to explore. This was a really, really pleasant surprise. Oh and the character art for women in the game is fantastic and avoids all the usual fantasy cliches, and one of the main NPCs is a married lesbian, so bonus points, obvs. Only real downside is that progress is gated at one point behind a classic sliding tile puzzle...oh how i loath silding tile puzzles.

Highlight : Climbing vertically up the side of a massive world tree.

5 Outer Wilds (EGS)

Spoiler:

Outer Wilds let itself down for me only in the last few runs of the game, where i eventually had to give up and youtube the ending because of reasons I don't want to say since it's a big ol' spoiler. Everything BEFORE that however, is pure gold. Another excellent detective game, only this time you're ground-hog daying your way into trying to figure out what's causing the star system to go nova every 20 minutes. There's a disturbing, melancholic fatality to the game which is in stark contrast to it's cheery colourful aesthetic and i love it. Plus some really clever environmental puzzles and an exceptionally clever approach to the "metroidvania" formula, in which it teaches YOU, the player the mechanics you need to uncover new areas which, technically you could have been doing from the start had you the knowledge...if that makes sense.

6 We Were Here Together

Spoiler:

Technically this is mostly the whole series of short games to date, not just the most recent one. While this is a good "escape room" puzzler, it's mostly on here because it was made all the more fun being an asymetrical co-op puzzler which i played through with Eleima, which was a blast. I'm crossing my fingers the idea of these sorts of games take off because I need MORE dammit!

Highlight : jolly cooperation and frantically sounding like a contestant on the Crystal Maze.

7 The Sinking City (EGS)

Spoiler:

It's clunky, over-long and continues the video game tradition of completely missing the point (tm) of cosmic horror (protip : it's not just about big monsters). But it kept me playing right through to the end, and the setting and it's use of investigation mechanics were interesting enough to keep me...well, interested. It's by NO means a "good" game, but it's the sort of janky mess I can tolerate to get to the good stuff buried inside it. If Frogware can take this and maybe ramp up the detective stuff (and ramp DOWN the clunky combat with rubber monsters) then i'm super interested to seeing what they do next. Also they got totally screwed over by their old publisher so, cut them some slack!

Highlight : Sleuthing important locations rather than having them hand-fed to you by a hovering arrow in the air.

8 Whispers of a Machine

Spoiler:

Not a huge amount to say, it's a neat, short little cyberpunk adventure game with some branching puzzles based on what "upgrades" you pick for the main character. It's not all that challenging, but has some nice visuals and the story was engaging.

Highlight : The protagonist's undercut is... *chef's kiss*

9 Dark Pictures Anthology : Man of Medan

Spoiler:

So this was interesting, as a HUGE fan of Until Dawn i was interested to see how well this would translate to a lower budget game and...it does ok? It's a LOT rougher around the edges (very poorly "edited" and confusing in places), and obviously MUCH shorter experience (but then, it's planned as a short story anthology, so that would be a given anyway). The story was pretty good (albeit a bit predicable - i'd figured out the twist pretty early on) and the characters were, mostly, likeable. I'm keen to replay it now that it's been patched a bit.

Highlight : That opening track over the opening credits. Love it! Also the soothing tones of the dapper fellow introducing the stories.

10 Telling Lies

Spoiler:

This very much seems to be the year where I played a lot o games in which you are an investigator of some sort While not as good as Her Story (mostly because it's a much more straightforward A-B story without much room for individual interpretation), it was still pretty good (and very well acted).

Highlight : Seeing *spoiler*'s world deservedly collapsing around them.
Content Warning : A lot of gaslighting, emotional manipulation and serial psychological abuse in this one - approach with caution if that's a problem.

ACTUAL GAME OF THE YEAR WHICH DOESN'T COUNT FOR THE LIST.

While technically I started playing again last year, this is the year Tabletop Role Playing games became a big part of my life again, especially 5e Dungeons and Dragons.

MOST DISAPPOINING

Darkside Detective

Spoiler:

I spent most of the year struggling to finish this. Aesthetically it's great, but i just found it incredibly boring and unfunny (I don't like pop culture references or 4th-wall breaking humour and this game is basically those two things for several hours. It was exhausting).

Lowlight : did i mention I HAAAAAATE 4th wall breaks. 'Cause i do.

The Outer Worlds (EGS)

Spoiler:

Good things in the Outer Worlds : Parvati (<3), the setting. Most of the opening planet. The Music. The ship's AI.

Boring, under-cooked things in the Outer Worlds : pretty much everything else.

This feels...really disappointingly empty across most of it's play area. Though it keeps getting compared to fallout, it has none of Bethesda's attention to detail when it comes to world building. There's nothing to really explore beyond the main track (and if there is, it just leads to more generic containers and monster fights), the main story is pretty bland, recruitable NPCs run out of stuff to do a few hours into the game and most of the side quests are of the fedex variety. Not to mention the fact that character development is shallow and often pointles (while I always appreciate a character generator - what is the point if you never, ever see your character's face again after the fact?)

I'm keen to see if they can improve on this setting in the future, but i have to say...not Obsidian's best work.

Highlight : Parvati's writing (having an Ace Bisexual writer shows exactly why you should "own voice" character writing in video games).
Lowlight : The fact that the final plot twist sets up a far more interesting mystery than the game you just spent dozens of hours playing through.

ONES TO WATCH
(mostly 'cause i kickstarted them and they'd better be good *shakes fist*)

*** Nighthawks ***
AKA : Vampire: Bloodlines style vampire RPG with a visual novel aesthetic, delivered through the lens of Wadjet Eye and Adventure Game writer and all round entertaining chap, Richard Cobbett

It's certainly something i'll probably have more luck running than Bloodlines 2 on this laptop!

*** In Other Waters ***
It shows that this game has a skilled graphic designer as it's lead creative - it's gorgeous.
Exploring the ocean of an alien world with a lady xenobiologist searching for her missing girlfriend, but from the controls of an AI operated radar screen, so audio plays the biggest part. I've played the demos provided in the past and they have been super engaging. REALLY looking forward to this one.

*** Tell Me Why ***

Dontnod's next game after Life is Strange 2 (which i've still not played). Notable because one of the main characters is Trans and it *sounds* like they've done their homework. Time will tell, but i'm cautiously optimistic to see how this plays out. I will probably cry. A lot.

...notable observation - i realised that the vast majority of the games i've enjoyed this year have been exclusive to EGS (some, like Borderlands 3 aren't on this list because i'm not finished them yet). Make of that what you will.

Other games which would probably be on this list but for technicalities :

- Heaven't Vault : Extremely up my alley, i've just not gotten around to it properly yet.
- AC: Odyssey : I left it about 30 hours in and I've not gotten back to it yet. Technically it's probably never going to qualify for this list at this rate, but it's a notable mention because it's by far my favourite AC game and i crush the hardest of Crushes on Kassandra and her muscles.
Blackguards : Enjoying it, on Clocky's recommendation, but i've barely scratched the surface. Maybe next year!
Icewind Dale : Enhanced Edition : Not valid for the list, being a re-release, but i just wanted to note it since i actually FINALLY saw the end credits roll on this a ridiculous number of years since it was first released.

1. Fire Emblem Three Houses
2. Beatsaber
3. Steep
4. Children or Morta
5. Hand of Fate 2
6. Devil May Cry 5
7. Astral Chain
8. Door Kickers Action Squad
9. Code Vein
10. My Friend Pedro

It was a hard year for me to come up with a full list of of ten games. I only beat 1-3 but I enjoyed them all.

Thanks for doing this, Eleima! GOTY time is one of my favorites in the community, both as a celebration of what people have enjoyed this year, and also a stealth time to find hidden gems I may have missed that I should wishlist for later.

I think I have my list mostly together, and I don't plan to play any other big games this year that would shake up the top 5 or so, but I plan to play a bunch of smaller things that have been lying around on steam before the end of the year, so there could still be some shuffling on the lower end. And I've gotten in the habit of tracking what games I play each year now in a word document, plus copying my thoughts on each game from the Games Finished thread, which makes putting my list together much easier than in past years.

I look forward to seeing what everyone's lists are, and I'll post mine later in the month.

Here is my meager list..

1. Control (PC). Easily the GoTY for me. I'm a huge Remedy fanboi and they delivered their best effort overall to date. Sure Alan Wake had a better story and atmosphere but Control combined a creepy environment that while limited in overall scope was still varied enough to keep things interesting.. combined with their best combat to date and its my new favorite Remedy game. Can't wait for the DLC.

2. Division 2 (PC and Xbox) Great first 100 hours which lets face it makes the $50 or so well worth it. The engine is amazing and the environment they created is really cool.. Having lived in DC it was cool to wander around and see the landmarks and how everything fits properly. These MMOG's all fizzle out eventually at the end game but you know I'm ok with that these days.. give me that much entertainment and I'm good. Square needs to rip this off or just partner with Ubi to make a Deus Ex version of this type of game.

3. Gears 5 (PC and Xbox) Feels like the inevitable Xbox Scarlett remaster will really show off how cool this engine is and the effects it produces. This was a good finish (start?) to the Gears franchise. I think the next release in this franchise will probably shake things up in a major way depending on what the flavor of the year is. As it stands its my favorite Gears since the first two.

4. Dauntless (PC and Xbox) F2P done really well.. I always wanted to like Monster Hunter but the complexity of gearing and preparing for a hunt was off-putting.. I though the co-op nature of the World title would help but a few nights of frustration trying to even group up with some friends killed it for me. Dauntless distills all that into a nice repeatable formula that was just what I needed for about a month and a half. Looking forward to the Switch release to get back into it.

5. Outer Worlds (Xbox) Simplified version of Fallout 4 in Space, which again with my current situation worked fine. Good combat, great dialogue and enough story to keep things moving. Not a AAA or $60 title but with GamePass it was perfect. Hopefully it returned a profit and keeps this developer moving into more complex and bigger worlds/stories.

6. Slay the Spire (Switch) I was surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did.. I wasnt very good but it was really fun and I had hours of time with it... came nowhere to a successful run but in the end it was a great game.

7. Rage 2 (Xbox) Perfect Game Pass game.. great combat, great explosions, gameplay loop that kept things going long enough for me to hit a game breaking bug where I can't actually complete the final mission. Looks like I'm not alone but no fix other than re-install or hope you have an old save. I'm fine with leaving this unfinished.

GOTY threads are always my favourite!

I have my top 10 already chosen, but I'm finding it impossible to rank them. Aside from number one - that's been decided for a long time now. But the rest, that's going to be tough.

Loves me some GOTY season.

Still waiting on Transport Fever 2 (Dec. 11th) before posting.

Been anticipating the heck out of it so I have a feeling it might rank.

Just to make sure I don't fumble something here, we can vote for an expansion even if we've played the game prior to this year? In which case it'll just be added to the base game's vote tally?

I spent most of my game time in Crusader Kings II, Destiny 2, and Elite: Dangerous, all of which have out for a while. But... here's what distracted me, at least...

1 - Control
2 - The Outer Worlds
3 - Dragon Age: Inquisition (Yes, I only got around to this one this year.)
4 - Occupy White Walls
5 - Metro Exodus
6 - Mutant: Year Zero
7 - Close to the Sun
8 - Encased
9 - Stygian
10 - Moons of Madness

I'll maybe give my takes on them later, if I get time to think on it.

Yes, I love this time of year!

I'm going to hold off for a bit until I finish Jedi: Fallen Order, but once that's done I'll have to see where that and the 4 AC games I've finished this year end up. I already know my #1 though and it surprised even me.

I'm really struggling with my list this year. There's 4-5 games that need to fit in the bottom 2 spots. I'll probably get through another game this year and add it to the list as well. I played so many smaller great games this year.

TheGameguru wrote:

4. Dauntless (PC and Xbox) F2P done really well.. I always wanted to like Monster Hunter but the complexity of gearing and preparing for a hunt was off-putting.. I though the co-op nature of the World title would help but a few nights of frustration trying to even group up with some friends killed it for me. Dauntless distills all that into a nice repeatable formula that was just what I needed for about a month and a half. Looking forward to the Switch release to get back into it.

Stop reading my mind! Down to the Switch release part, too! Hoping it hits real soon after the current season ends on the 10th, since they've said 2019 release.

For me, I've got 2 games I left near the end I need to finish prior to posting my list.

beanman101283 wrote:

Just to make sure I don't fumble something here, we can vote for an expansion even if we've played the game prior to this year? In which case it'll just be added to the base game's vote tally?

Horizon: Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds deserves it!

RnRClown wrote:
Gremlin wrote:

1. Heaven's Vault

I totally missed out on anything to do with this one. It seems like something I'd enjoy.

And there we have the first new game I must have. :grin:

And now me too! Thanks Gremlin. So far, so good!

I was thinking I was going to have trouble putting together a list because I played a lot of Switch games. Then I realized that Switch games count as video games. That's how PC focused I've been for probably the last decade.

Probably worse, I have to stop myself from saying Wii every time I mean to say Switch. I think I might be an old.

1 - Kind Words
I can't say how much this game is important to me. Every week or so, I go on for 15-20 minutes to simply send out kind words and get them in return.

2 -Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I am only about 4 or 5 hours in, and this game is just so much fun. Yes, another generic white dude (although he is a Ginger, so that's something), but it is a good Star Wars game so far

3 - Dark Souls 3
Dark Souls. So much fun. When you fail, you generally know why you fail. Plus, I liked the community, where you have to actively put yourself out there to help others.

4 - Destiny 2
Just a lot of fun. A decent FPS/MMO hybrid that I can play solo for 95% of the game.

I know this is the GOTY thread, but I have to just quickly say that anyone who enjoyed Obra Dinn should strongly consider picking up Heaven's Vault.
I'd say there's a fair amount of similarities between the two games.
In both, you are dropped into a world that has a history, but you know nothing about it. Over time, you must, via the mechanics of the game, learn more about that history by piecing together fragments, based on clues.
In Obra Dinn, you're using a ship's registry, artist's painting, and flashbacks. In Heaven's Vault, you're using words from a long dead language. In both cases, the more pieces you can firmly fit, the clearer the rest of the pieces become.
Both games are as much about the discovery of the story as they are about enjoying the process of discovering.

Taharka wrote:

I know this is the GOTY thread, but I have to just quickly say that anyone who enjoyed Obra Dinn should strongly consider picking up Heaven's Vault.
I'd say there's a fair amount of similarities between the two games.

That's enough to pique my interest. Will have to check it out soon.

I'm hoping Phoenix Point takes a place on this list

1. Nier:Automata
I don't know if I have anything to say about this that people haven't already said. I tend to rank these end of year lists based on how memorable I found a game, not necessarily on how compelling the gameplay was. And while I liked the gameplay in Nier:Automata, that's not why this game is going to stay with me for a while. It's the world that was so alien, and yet so human, the credit sequence that shouldn't have worked but somehow did, the soundtrack that never wore thin after 60+ hours of gameplay. It was an experience in a way that not many games are.

2. Mafia III
Err, yeah, I got this one for $5 on a Steam sale a little while back and fired it up when it got a mention on Waypoint a few months ago. I remembered hearing positive buzz about it at the time, but nothing really sold me on it. And to be honest, there's nothing super exceptional about it except for its setting. You know, it's sort of rare in video games that you get to fight actual Klansman or other modern (e.g. post WWII) racist organizations. So I don't know if it was just great to set a Klan rally on fire, or if the combat systems were better than I give them credit for, but I was engrossed through the end. It had a much more cohesive story and theme than any of the other Mafias I've played, or really any other GTA-alikes I can name. It's also sporting what has to be the absolute best soundtrack ever compiled in a video game. All of the sound, in fact, is top notch. The production values in this game are just over the top. The driving model is kind of amazing. It doesn't feel great, because all of the cars handle like the sixties appliances that they were, and you can tell when you're not driving on pavement, or when it starts raining. I'm on a bit of a stream of consciousness here, but I initially wrote this off as something of an uninspired sequel, but it's really worth playing. Four years later, it still looks pretty great, albeit not up to the latest graphic standards.

Side Note: I spent a lot of the game taking turns being impressed/horrified with the voice actor playing notorious sh*tbag Remy Duval. Duval's character spends a very long time being racist on the in-game radio, and it's very convincing. Turns out it's Nolan North, so good job Nolan I guess?

3. Disco Elysium
This is basically the spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment. The setting is somehow weirder than Planescapes even though it's technically a little closer to our world. Somehow, the setting of this game also goes way underremarked, and it's kind of mind-blowing. It's sort of an analogue to our world in the late 80's-early 90's, except the technology doesn't really match up right, and sometimes you get the sense that it's thirty years ahead, and other times you get the sense that it's a hundred years behind. If you ask me what this game is about, I'm still not 100% sure, but it does it in a way that's more engaging and more innovative than anything I've seen from an adventure(? I think this is technically an adventure) game in a while.

4. Return of the Obra Dinn
This was also on my list from last year, but it deserves a better ranking than it got, and since it came right at the end of last year, I played it this year, too. One of the most innovative games to be released in the past few years and one of the only detective games that makes you feel like you're detecting.

5. Battle Brothers
Battle Brothers is a tactics/mercenary management sim. I think the reason I like it so much is that the world really doesn't care about you or your ultimate fate. You're not the central figure, or even a particularly important one (especially given how most playthroughs turn out). Your best and most trusted fighters can drop almost by accident, and you can have milkruns that go very bad very fast. A lot of games are "grimdark", without really committing to the themes that drive a lot of that movement--like, you're still a hero's journey figure who saves the world; the only difference is the color pallette is way darker and everyone is more overtly sexist. Battle Brothers walks the walk, and uh, also talks the sexist talk. Speaking of which, Battle Brothers is a bit problematic on that front. There are no Battle Sisters, and in fact, there are no Brothers of color. AFAIK, Overhype Studios hasn't said anything overtly awful, but there's also the sense that they're probably not entirely down with the modern multicultural agenda.

6. Yakuza Kiwami
This was the year of Yakuza for me, and though I ended up playing three or four of these games in the past year, this is probably the best of the ones from the recent Kiwami re-release era (not including Yakuza 0 which I played last year). The Yakuzas that I've played to date have all had surprisingly successful plots, which always seems odd given that your protagonist is kind of a giant, warm-hearted dumbass who mostly stumbles and punches his way through the world.

7. Motorsport Manager
Just a great little management game for open wheel racing. It's another game from a few years ago, but it's got a very robust modding community, and the underlying game play is just really addictive. At the same time, it's not over-simplifying the world of Formula One that it's simulating, and is really capable of surprising you sometimes. Though the AI is really not good at managing its tires in the rain.

8. Yoku's Island Express
Short and sweet. Yoku's Island Express is a pinball platformer (metroidvania?) with a lot of personality. It's sort of a palette cleanser. It kind of feels like it comes from a different era, albeit without the jankiness and ugliness of a different era's unlearned game design lessons.

9. Persona 5
Finally got a Playstation and finally got to play this. I think it might be my favorite Persona, or at least the one with the most coherent plot. It also didn't do anything terribly new or different. Still haven't finished it yet, though. I feel like it was harder to set up social links in this game than in previous incarnations.

10. Control
I'm a little torn on Control. On the one hand, I love the care that went into its setting. On the other hand, the gameplay was mostly just okay, and most of what I found enjoyable was more of a side puzzle type thing than the main gameplay.

This is a weird list. Not a lot of games from 2019, which sort of matches my memories of games in 2019, which haven't been that inspiring. Feels like a lot of disappointments and a lot of okay-but-not-great entries.

beanman101283 wrote:

Just to make sure I don't fumble something here, we can vote for an expansion even if we've played the game prior to this year? In which case it'll just be added to the base game's vote tally?

Yes, absolutely. You defintely can vote for an expansion if you wish to.

kazooka wrote:

4. Return of the Obra Dinn
This was also on my list from last year, but it deserves a better ranking than it got, and since it came right at the end of last year, I played it this year, too. One of the most innovative games to be released in the past few years and one of the only detective games that makes you feel like you're detecting.

As much as it pains me to say it, the bolded part de facto disqualifies it. As it is, I've left your fourth slot blank. Either reorder your list or pick a replacement.

Alright, here we go!!! Thank you Gremlin, Azapa, pyxistyx, Stealthpizza, TheGameguru, tanstaafl, mudbunny and kazooka for your lists! So I've been away from the thread for a few days, because it's been super busy on my end, and most importantly, GWJ has been blocked at work (teehee!). Nevertheless, I want to thank you all for your kind words, and I'm so super duper excited that this has been kicked off. So one thing is now abundantly clear: I'm gonna have to be SUPER careful about people voting for Outer Wilds or Outer Worlds, because I almost mixed them up.
This is why I'm checkin' it twice.

Keep 'em coming, folks, and thank you all so much.

Tagging in to read others. Won't post mine until near the deadline. Not sure if I have 10 games yet.

Oh no no no, it's much too early.

Man, where has the year gone?

Gesh, in only a few days There are already so many lists to read through.

I have a list but its not in any kind of order. Really just commenting to put in recent.