Gill’s Favorite Games of 2019


(Courtesy of Alexey Savchenko | Unsplash)

By Ray Gill, Arts Writer

Warning: There may be mild spoilers for the following games.

This year was a limited yet spectacular year for games. I had a hard time putting some of my favorites down. I couldn’t rank these titles in any particular order, but I can give you my top ten favorite releases from 2019:


“Untitled Goose Game” (Sept. 20)

For such a small indie game, ”Untitled Goose Game” took players by surprise for how fun it was. Almost everywhere online, there is a reference to the game in memes, apparel, popular cartoons and YouTube videos — there are even crossover pictures of the goose with another game, “Death Stranding.” The community surrounding “Untitled Goose Game” is just one of the reasons that the game is relatable. 

The other reason is that I couldn’t get enough of running around as an insidious goose causing mayhem. The game gives simple instructions to follow and releases the player to accomplish the tasks by their own means. Eventually, like others, I found myself steering from trying to complete the tasks to teasing the townspeople by stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down. For a game that lacks a narrative, I enjoyed its simplicity and freedom of gameplay. 


Amara is a character from “Borderlands 3” (Courtesy Flickr)

“Borderlands 3” (Sept. 13)

After a long wait, “Borderlands 3” was everything that I expected. With advancements in graphics and new additions to its gameplay, I never wanted to play a game as badly as this one. Every time I jumped on, I found myself instinctively running through area after area with friends to level up my character and in order to obtain better gear. With an almost unattainable amount of weapon combinations and many missions and side quests, the game has kept me busy for a while. 


“Death Stranding” (Nov. 8)

Though this walking simulator has been given some harsh criticism, I have absolutely fallen in love with it. Kojima Productions created a game like no other — a game where the action is the thing you’re actually trying to avoid, and the strategy to achieve that goal is the complete enjoyment of the game. As I delivered each requested shipment, I had a hard time not getting sidetracked with building new structures to help my fellow players or picking up lost packages to deliver them to their destination. The incredible story of this game paired with its unique gameplay makes it hard for me to think anyone couldn’t find themselves enjoying it.


“The Outer Worlds” (Oct. 25)

The Outer Worlds” was another stand-alone game. Meshing the feel of “Bioshock,” “Borderlands” and “Fallout,” this game brought me something different.  I’ve had a very hard time not trying to obtain every dialogue option or side quest. With each new area, it’s hard to put the game down. The worlds come alive with beautiful graphics, well-written characters’ stories and an intriguing narrative. The game mixes a first-person shooter with heavy dialogue choices that ultimately change the stories’ outcomes. Some of the decisions I had to make weighed heavily on me because “The Outer Worlds” makes you truly care about the characters. 


Characters from “Apex Legends” (Courtesy Flickr)

“Apex Legends” (Feb. 4)

One of the most unexpected releases of 2019 was “Apex Legends.” This title was released earlier this year with no prior marketing to release — which is unlike EA — and has exploded in popularity. The game fixed what other battle royales failed at. Nothing is more important than communication when you’re randomly assigned partners and cannot exactly talk to each other. This is where “Apex Legends” excels. Their system was noticed and adapted into similar games by other developers. This title is honestly the only battle royale game that I’ve been able to enjoy playing with strangers that I wasn’t in a voice chat with.

“Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” (Sept. 20)

Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakeningwas a game from my youth. The inspiring game is packed with an amazing story while making use of its small world, with plenty to be explored. I remember spending hours playing this game, and nothing could be better than a revamped version. 

Nintendo kept the game exactly as it was but completely redid the visuals. Not only does the revamped title resemble its original, but the art style is a befitting clay-like texture that I’d like to see other game developers explore.


“Reventure”  (June 4)

Reventure” was a small game with not much to offer in the beginning, initially seeming like another “The Legend of Zelda” copy. However, I was taken aback when the game turned out to be a comical adventure redo with 100 different endings. I went through trying to get every ending possible. The game didn’t let my efforts go unnoticed. The narration would poke fun during play, and after death the main character would change with references related to how you previously died. 


Sam, a character from “Metro Exodus” (Courtesy Flickr)

“Metro Exodus” (Feb. 15)

“Metro Exodus” isn’t the first in its series, but it’s my favorite so far. Since I saw the trailer during last year’s E3, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. “Metro Exodus” is similar to “The Outer Worlds” — both are story-driven first-person shooters set in post-apocalyptic worlds, though “Metro Exodus” is more down-to-earth. The series is based off novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky. This edition in the game series happens more above ground, rather than traversing through the metro. From the difficulty of trying to make my way through dangerous territory to following the mature relationship of Artyom, his wife Anna and their allies, the game was a breath of fresh air.

“Cadence of Hyrule” (June 13)

Cadence of Hyrule” brought a different feel to “The Legend of Zelda” title. This game was a collaboration between Nintendo and the developers of “Crypt of the NecroDancer,” a very different type of rhythm game. “Crypt of the NecroDancer” is a standard dungeon crawler that incorporates rhythm into the movement of every character. The addition of “The Legend of Zelda” gave way to a new way to play a familiar franchise and another way to enjoy its beautiful soundtrack. The game was a tantalizing way to think and react to monsters and the environment. 


“My Big Sister” (May 10)

I hadn’t heard about “My Big Sister” until it was advertised on the Nintendo eStore, which I purchased when I was in the mood for something retro. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting to be so drawn in. The game is a quick play, and I couldn’t put it down because it was so suspenseful. Like “Layers of Fear,” I expected “My Big Sister” to turn into horror at any moment. Though the game is placed in the horror or thriller genre, it was pleasant in tone and plot, with only a few scary moments.  


There you have it — a list of my personal favorite games of 2019. All of the games made my list for a reason. Though these weren’t the only ones I played this year, they were the ones that stood out. With the many titles that came out —  some that were long-awaited for — I was amazed by those that made such an impact. After what this year brought, I can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store.


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