Last year, I came to the realization too late that I didn’t actually play many games released in 2018. In 2019, I worked to remedy this, and did it work? I guess so.
I reviewed 7 games released in 2019 this year which is… Well, it doesn’t really feel like a lot, but it’s better than last year. I also reviewed 5 games for Destructoid, which you should maybe check out if you haven’t already.
2019 was a difficult year for me for a lot of reasons, and it perhaps stunted my ability to play new releases to the extent I wanted to. For example, I didn’t play Sekiro, and I love the Dark Souls series. I wanted to play Daemon X Machina and Astral Chain and didn’t. But I’m alone here, and I can only work with what I got, so without further preamble, here’s the Game Complaint Department’s Game of the Year for 2019:
RESIDENT EVIL 2 (REMAKE)
Back in my youth, Resident Evil 2 gave me nightmares. Nowadays, I’m too rough and tough to be scared by a video game, but that just means I can appreciate them for what they are behind the jump scares. Resident Evil 2 is a deftly executed game. It’s every bit as good as the original, while at the same time diverging, modernizing, and doing its own thing.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a remake match the quality of the original so well while deviating so far, but here we are. So congrats, Resident Evil 2. I’m hoping to see the same greatness when the Resident Evil 3 remake comes out in a few months.
RUNNER UP: LEGEND OF ZELDA: LINK’S AWAKENING (SWITCH)
Okay, so both GOTY awards this year are going to remakes. I’ll be honest with you, I really wanted Luigi’s Mansion 3 to get this award, but upon reflection, it’s just more of the same. The same can be said about The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, but the improved artstyle, whimsically redone music, and polished mechanics make it feel like a whole new game.
I mean, it still has a lot of the problems I had with the original Game Boy release, but it’s all been hidden under a glossy finish that really brings out its brilliance.
FAVOURITE GAME REVIEWED THIS YEAR: DANDY DUNGEON
This was a tough category this year because I reviewed a lot of favourites. It could have been the feelgood duo of Chulip and Chibi-Robo. Or maybe the heartbreaking introspective horror games, Rule of Rose and Yomawari: Midnight Shadows. Perhaps it should go to my childhood favourite, Earthworm Jim.
Nope. This year, I’m giving it to a game that was entirely new to me: Dandy Dungeon. Coincidentally designed by someone who worked on both Chulip and Rule of Rose, Yoshiro Kimura.
The simple reason is that I just couldn’t put it down. Its addicting gameplay may be by design — a clever Skinner-box design loop from when it was a microtransaction laden mobile game — but it’s combined with charming weirdness that makes the whole experience flavourful in a way that many mobile games fail to reach.
HOPEFULLY NEXT YEAR WILL BE EVEN BETTER
That’s 2019 in the bag. There are a lot of games that I’m looking forward to in 2020, so hopefully, we’ll have a more diverse set of games to choose from when the year comes to a close. I wish I could play everything, but instead, I have bills and a day job. Growing up sucks.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year on the Game Complaint Department. I know I’ve enjoyed writing for you, you fantastic person you. Happy New Year, and here’s to another great one!
Picks are based only on what the staff played this year, and we can’t play everything. There has been no contact between staff and publishers.