Game Misconduct – Year in Review
2019 was a decent year for games, with surprises like Apex Legends, overachievers like Outer Wilds and Untitled Goose Game, and a few disappointments. Here’s a list of my highs and lows from the last 12 months.
Control (developed by Remedy Entertainment) gives gamers a gun that can be almost anything, a slew of psychic abilities, and an inspired story to work their way through. Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, this is just a super solid single player game with a ton of secrets to find.
I also considered A Plague Tale: Innocence, an early title this year that I loved. Either game is absolutely worth a look for gamers who want a solid single-player experience.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Infinity Ward) is a soft reboot for the franchise and easily the year’s top shooter. A campaign with several outstanding levels, coupled with the franchise’s trademark silky-smooth MP fun, should give this one incredible longevity. Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Mordhau (Triternion) epitomizes ‘dumb fun’ where you can just jump into a medieval slugfest and create a handful of ‘did you SEE that’ moments that have turned this game into a YouTube sensation. Available on PC.
The Outer Worlds (Obsidian Entertainment) offers more ways to play than any other game I tried this year. After completing it as a character that used rifles and a high hitpoint pool to get through, I jumped back in to try it as a slick-talking, combat-avoiding character and found a totally different experience. Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and planned for Nintendo Switch at some point.
Top Indie Game
My Friend Pedro (DeadToast Entertainment) is incredibly weird, but the ultra-slick combat keeps bringing me back. The game is open to trying to set up high score runs, speed runs, or just trying something cool you think you can pull off over and over until it finally works. Available on Nintendo Switch, PC, and Xbox One.
Wreckfest (Bugbear Entertainment) is the destruction derby/racing game I needed in my life and didn’t realize. Good controls and physics that lean towards the side of ‘fun arcade action’ without being too over the top help make this a memorable racing experience. Great post-launch support has added to an already fun package of racing lawnmowers, couches, and even the occasional car. Available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Top Co-Op Game
I really thought hard about giving this to Borderlands 3 but kept going back to how much fun the group hunts in Dauntless (Phoenix Labs) are. Getting together with some friends and heading out into the wilderness to hack down a giant beast just so you can make yourself a newer, better – and probably bigger – sword or a helmet proved incredibly compelling. Available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Apex Legends (Respawn). On February 1st, there was no such thing as Apex Legends. February 4th it was one of the biggest games on the planet across the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. A surprise launch, fueled by streamers EA paid to switch over and give the new game day one visibility, turned this newest entry into the Battle Royale genre into an instant contender. The top-notch gameplay didn’t hurt either…
Also deserving of serious recognition here is Untitled Goose Game, which took the world by storm on PC and is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. Gamers gravitated toward being a real jerk of a goose in a way nobody could have expected.
Death Stranding (Kojima Productions) promised to be an all-new style of adventure and I found it an incredibly boring slog of a game that made all the things I grudgingly tolerate in other games into the primary mechanics. Running a close second is the incredibly buggy WWE 2K20, which probably only missed the top spot because of super low expectations going into it.
Most Anticipated: 2020
New consoles! The Xbox Series X is already announced, and we’ve seen what the hardware will look like, even if some of the hardware specs are still a mystery. The Series X arrives ‘Holiday, 2020’ which, judging by the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, means November 22nd. Microsoft has committed to backwards compatibility again, meaning you’ll be able to play Xbox, Xbox 360, and Xbox One games on the new console as well as use your old accessories like controllers with it.
The PS5 has been announced but is shrouded in a bit more mystery with no idea what the hardware will look like or even a window for when it’ll arrive. I’d expect it to be in the same ‘Holiday, 2020’ timeframe. Sony has said there will be backwards compatibility on the PS5, but it’s not clear if that means just PS4 games, or if they’ll be expanding to include PS3 games.
I would expect to hear more – a lot more – on these consoles at E3 this year, and possibly at some dedicated events as well.