2019 has come and gone, and as we gathered for our third annual Fyxies, we here at Gaming Fyx found ourselves excited to look back upon the year that was. It was one full of surprises, laughs, and ultimately one which brought a bounty of fantastic games for fans of all genres. Narrowing our top ten down from the 76 we started with was tough – and if you’re so inclined, you can listen to the whole deliberation process (along with some other categories) at this link here – but we have done it! Here are our top ten games of 2019 as brought to you by Alex, Allyson, Andre, Pat, and Sam!
#10) Pokémon Sword & Shield
Pokémon has finally come to a Nintendo home console with its eighth generation, and the Switch feels like a worthy home for Sword & Shield. Hours upon hours of enjoyment were had filling pokédexes in the new Galar region, and it was a delight whether you were at home or on the go.
#9) Slay the Spire
Roguelikes have come a long way with the current generation of consoles, and deckbuilding games have proven to be a force to be reckoned with. Slay the Spire combines the two in a seamless way which makes no two runs feel the same. A success on all fronts, and a game we don’t hesitate to recommend again and again. And again. And a few more times.
#8) Heart of the Woods
Heart of the Woods shares a witty, tasteful, relatable romance story – all while wrapping the whole thing up in a supernatural mystery blanket. Its wonderful characters will make you laugh (and roll your eyes) with their puns, while its story will make you cry. Envelop yourself with the warmth and beauty of this unique visual novel.
#7) Life is Strange 2
One of the best forms of social commentary are when pieces of media hold a mirror up to the world we are living in. Life is Strange 2 is one of the year’s best examples of this, and does an extremely good job portraying life in the United States right now – and especially so for those familiar with the Pacific Northwest. It isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is worth your time.
#6) Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Three Houses is one of the most ambitious entries in the long-running Fire Emblem series, and was a captivating experience from start to finish. Each of the three houses have their own story, and each of them feels just as valid as the other(s). Definitely a Switch game worth adding to your shelf. Even if that shelf is digital. Also Bernadette is the best.
#5) AI: The Somnium Files
Kotaro Uchikoshi (Zero Escape) is no stranger to stories which can be described as “ambitious,” “mind-bending,” or “insanely creative.” His latest effort, AI: The Somnium Files, is perhaps his most cohesive work to date. It is a twisty story which will pull you deep into its narrative, all while falling in love with its cast of amazingly developed characters. The attention to detail is second to none, and strikes a perfect balance between ludicrous and affecting.
The latest effort from the storied studio Remedy Entertainment was a hit among the Fyx crew (mostly). Take Control of Jesse Faden as she dives deeper and deeper into the mystery enshrouding the Federal Bureau of Control. It has a distinct style and feel that could only come from the Finnish masterminds over at Remedy, and some of the Fyx crew count it among their favourite games of this generation.
#3) Resident Evil 2
More than just a remake, it’s a total reimagining of one of the most seminal survival-horror games of the late 90s. It does far more than simply doing justice to the original – in many ways it eclipses it, and that is a feat worth recognizing. It is a carefully crafted puzzlebox of a world with attention and care placed into every minor detail. The path to the true ending is also a worthwhile ride, and one which will stick in your memories. Or nightmares. (sorry)
#2) The Outer Wilds
Possibly one of the best adventure games of our time, and a story which could move mountains. The Outer Wilds is something truly special, and one which may affect you in ways beyond what may ever have expected. It will challenge your views on humanity, life, death, language, and even time. A beautiful piece of work from start to finish, and one worthy of being considered a seminal piece of work among video games. Thank you, Mobius Digital.
#1) Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is the kind of game which changes things. This thought applies in many different ways, but one of the most profound is just how high it raises the bar for RPGs going forward. While “diamond-shaped” narratives are nothing new, Disco Elysium accomplishes something that few (if any) others have ever even approached, and that is creating an experience which reacts and changes with every minor choice you make along the way. The effect of this is so strong that every moment feels as though it was carefully crafted purely for the path you foraged. But, the thing is, that care went into every possible path. Not only that, all of it is incredibly funny, smart, provocative, and challenging. It doesn’t deal with binary good-or-bad choices, it deals with a broad palate of options, each of which ultimately makes your character feel truly human. It doesn’t shy away from problematic language, taboo topics, or deep dives into politics – it revels in them, and it has a blast along the way. Disco Elysium is Fyx’s game of the year for 2019, and it is well earned.