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Editorial

Dec 31, 2019

Ed Acosta’s Top Games of 2019

I want to clarify something upfront regarding my top 10 this year. I didn’t have the opportunity to play some big games I know are in my “wheelhouse.” There are a few games that I would have loved to play and would likely have included in my Top 10 if I could. Pokemon Sword & Shield, Jedi Fallen Order, Outer Wilds, and Death Stranding, to name a few.

So below is the 2019 releases that I have played:

Honorable Mention:

Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

Ancestors had something going for it. I enjoyed my time with it, but the issues I had with upgrades and moving onto the next generation ultimately held me back. I loved the idea of evolution and creating generations; I wanted to like it more. I wanted it to be more than just primates too, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the game. I thought it would be neat to have a wacky creature or like lizard people. Would look forward to seeing what improvements a sequel would bring.

 

Top 10 time!

Planet Zoo

I love the management simulation genre. There’s just something inherently fun to me about operating and managing a business in games. Planet Zoo does that wonderfully and looks gorgeous while doing so. There are a few quality of life improvements I would have liked to see, but the game still captured my attention and kept things fun. Plus there are lots of animals to take care of, and I love me some animals.

Crackdown 3

It’s more Crackdown. The last Crackdown I enjoyed was the first, and this is almost like a carbon copy of that. It has been so long since I’ve played Crackdown that everything in 3 still felt fresh and fun. I know for others, it was bland and repetitive, but for me, it was a great game to play some podcasts to and go collect orbs. I do wish they had varied up a few of the missions, though. After a while, you find yourself doing the same task just in a different part of the map. Most times, the location would look the same as well, leading to the complaint of most reviewers that it was more of the same. Things just weren’t varied enough. Still, I got a kick out of feeling superhuman again.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Oh boy, has this game been long overdue. I enjoy the Kingdom Hearts series even if I only have a slight grasp on what is going on storywise. KH3 brings some great mobility enhancements and keeps the fun combat intact, leaving us with a fun and slightly modern take on the KH formula. The biggest downside for me was the feeling that the first two games had already used up all the great Disney IP. Toy Story was fun to visit, but I could have done without Big Hero 6 or rehashes of Hercules & Pirates of the Carribean. The Frozen land felt like a vessel only to replay the hit songs from the movie and less of a fun world to explore. I don’t know what KH 4 would bring, but it feels like they’re running out of Disney properties to use. Unless they can dive into Marvel and Star Wars.

Mortal Kombat 11

Best Mortal Kombat to date. The fighting is still top-notch and fun to play. I enjoyed them modifying the loot & customization system from Injustice 2 and utilizing it in here. It gave me more personality and ownership over the characters I played and gave me something to work towards other than seeing endings. The story was compelling even if some voice acting was less than ideal. Unfortunately, the game’s currency tended to hold things back for me as they drip fed you the koinage needed to unlock items in the crypt.

The Outer Worlds

What a fun game. The writing is witty, the combat is enjoyable, and the companions are great. I think I may be done with long-form RPGs like Fallout, they just don’t fit into my schedule in life currently, yet here comes Outer Worlds who plays like Fallout, but gives me everything I want in a much tighter package. I’ve had lots of fun spending time here.

Need for Speed Heat

Need for Speed will always hold a special place in my heart, and its been crushing to see how it’s been treated this console generation. It feels like EA doesn’t quite know what to do with its premier racing franchise. Each title since Rivals has felt like a constant reboot of the series, and they never stick the landing. Payback felt like it could get things going on the right path, but the story and character acting was so bad that it actively hurt to watch. But hey, the racing was fun! So here comes NFS Heat, and they’ve improved the characters and story to the point that I feel engaged in its lore. I love the idea of the daytime/nighttime switch and having to earn your rep at night, only to lose it if you get caught. Kind of like they tried to include a Souls-Like mechanic into a racing game. I think they could have gone a bit further and had the cop who arrested you hold on to that rep so you could make a “souls run” back and take them out to regain it. There are a ton of cars in this release from a wide variety of manufacturers and disciplines, but I must give props to a game that will let me pick a Mustang as a starting car. The driving feels like that in-between of arcade and simulation that Payback and the self-titled Need For Speed before it focused on, but it feels better here. Heat is the best NFS on the current generation of consoles, and I will stick by that.

Untitled Goose Game

Some may think it’s just some internet fad that everyone jumped on the bandwagon for, but not me. I loved Untitled Goose Game. Though short, making my way around the world in what felt like Hitman-esque style pinched the right nerve for me. Something as silly as playing a goose was just so novel and being able to honk on command so satisfying. Untitled Goose Game left me wishing there was more to do after the fact, but I will say that this game respected my time. It allowed me to complete what I wanted to finish and put it away. Also, Untitled Goose Game is a fantastic experience to play on the Switch. Perfect to complete a few tasks and put down to come back to later.

LEGO Tower

This mobile game came out back in September, and it’s been my daily mobile game of choice. I’ve “prestiged” 4 times now, meaning I’ve started a new tower with new residents over 4 times. I don’t know what it is about LEGO Tower that I keep coming back for. It could be the collection aspect of getting all the pieces, it could be the attraction of trying to make as much money as fast as possible or the sheer fact that I love LEGO, but whatever it is, it has had me hooked. While typing this, I briefly checked in on my tower residents to make sure all my business floors were restocked. I find myself playing for about 5 minutes, then closing the app to play later in the day, consistently.

Tetris 99

I love me some Tetris. I love playing Tetris on my Switch. The perfect blending of on the go portability and a puzzle game. The 99 aspect was surprising to hear about during its reveal on a Nintendo Direct. A battle-royal Tetris game? Nintendo, you sly dogs you! You get this game for free with the Switch online service, but I wanted to play offline as well, so I purchased the DLC to do so. Tetris 99 is another perfect game for the players looking to pick something up and game for a few minutes before you have to put the thing down. A Tetris 99 match can last a while, but it’s a perfect portion I can dedicate my time to and not feel guilty about. Plus it’s Tetris and Tetris is fantastic.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2! (Switch)

Ok, I know CSD2 technically came out a couple of years ago, but I love the CSD series, and it was released on Switch this year. Plus, it’s my list, so there. The reason it’s my number 1, though, the Switch is the perfect platform to play CSD2 on. Utilizing the Switch’s touch screen makes the game that much more enjoyable for me. Before the Switch, I would use a gamepad on PC or if I got too lazy to plug one in, the keyboard. The game was fun then, but I would find myself missing out on some recipes just because I knew the button layout would be too difficult for me to prepare food on time. With the touch screen, I can focus on tapping the right prompts on the screen, increasing my accuracy and speed. Plus, being the Switch, I can dock it to play on my TV if I want to. The portable nature of the Switch lends itself perfectly to CSD2 as it gives the ability to play in short bursts easily. Hop into a restaurant, finish a day in-game, and put the Switch away; it’s perfect. I love that CSD2 gives you the stuff to collect to create your restaurant, but I still miss a story-like mode that ties my gameplay together. I’m psyched for CSD3 and predict that it will easily make my top 10 next year as well, even if it isn’t on the Switch at launch.