GameCentral readers reveal which video game they enjoyed most last year, that wasn’t actually released in 2019.
The question for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Franky and comes just before we run our annual Reader’s Top 20 of the year. Was your favourite non-2019 game something that’s been in your backlog for a while, a game you’ve played before that you’ve returned to, or an ongoing online title that you’ve been playing for a long time?
As you can imagine, we had everything from games that were released at the tail end of 2018 to retro titles from the 80s, but the only commonality was that many insisted they never bought new games until they were a little older and went on sale.
Like a dragon
The best game I played last year not released in 2019 was also the best game I played last year period, and that was Yakuza Zero. After hearing a lot of praise for the game, and because I wanted to try something different to what I was used to, as GC always recommends, I picked it up for only £15 and had an absolute whale of a time.
The combat was fun, even if some of the random battles got slightly annoying at times. But what made the game so special was the depth of the characters, engaging storyline, interesting side stories, the humour and fantastic setting filled with detail that has made me put Japan on my list of places I’m eager to visit. After playing the game I picked up Judgment recently, which I will be starting soon and will most likely play through the other Yakuza games via the collection over the next few years.
Shout out also to Celeste, which I utterly adored.
Now playing: Disco Elysium (PC) and SteamWorld: Heist (Switch)
I’m wiling to bet the majority of people never play games in the year they’re released. If you think about it you’d have to be pretty hardcore to pay full price straight away and then actually have the time to play it, and maybe multiple other games, straight after.
I will do it for certainly really big games I’m looking forwards to, because gaming is important to me, but I didn’t feel that way about any games last year except for indie games. That means all the AAA games I played last year were at least a year old, and I’m fine with that as I managed to buy twice as many as normal by just waiting a year or two.
My absolute favourite though was Dishonored 2. I’d never played the original, but knew roughly what kind of game it was. I wasn’t prepared for the sequel to be quite this good though. The amount of detail in the levels, and the options you’re given in how to deal with situations, and the lore behind the world is just fantastic. I’d say it’s probably the best choices-based game I’ve ever played. Which ironically means I’ve got no choice but to name it my favourite of 2009.
My favourite non-2019 game last year was Astro Bot: Robot Rescue. An incredible, groundbreaking game that I didn’t get to play the first time round for the simple reason that I didn’t have a PlayStation VR until I got one last year in the Black Friday sales.
Astro Bot has got rave reviews, so I was expecting something good but I assumed the low resolution of the PlayStation headset would limit it quite a bit. But the PlayStation VR is surprisingly good given the price and Astro Bot is just phenomenal.
I urge anyone who’s on the fence to give it a try, by either getting it in the sales or finding a friend with a headset because it is hands down the best 3D platformer I’ve played in years and the first game to make me feel it’s a breakthrough moment since the N64 days. Easily my favourite game of last year and probably the whole generation to be honest.
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Revengeance for all
After to loving NieR:Automata I went on a bit of a PlatinumGames binge last year and kind of fell in love with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. That’s odd from my perspective as I’ve never really liked the Metal Gear games before, but then that’s probably because Rising isn’t anything like those.
It’s a straight action game where you get to play as Raiden and I think I’ve ended up preferring it to Bayonetta. The way you control the sword is really clever and allows you to be both very precise and get up to some absolutely insane moves. And I mean that in the sense that they’re both really cool and really dumb, if you think about it from a realistic point of view.
A shame there’s never been a sequel but I was very happy to go back and try it despite it being quite a few years old.
On the list
I am discounting Divinity: Original Sin 2 because I played the 2019 Switch port and The Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild because I wrote a Reader’s Feature on it. Therefore, I am going to nominate SteamWorld: Heist instead.
SteamWorld: Heist is essentially a side-scrolling tactics game where you pirate procedurally generated spaceships. The game tasks you with aiming your guns manually and allows you to bounce bullets off walls and it is always great when you pull off a shot a professional snooker player would be proud of. I absolutely loved this game and it managed to usurp Advance Wars 2, Valkyria Chronicles, Disgaea 4 and XCOM to be my all-time favourite tactics game. Getting full stars on every mission was very rewarding for me.
I did not actually play that many games released in 2019 in 2019 and my backlog is not too bad at the moment. Instead of rushing out and buying a game when GC sings its praises, I now put it in on my watchlist. Then when I finish a game I look at my watchlist to see if any of those games are on sale. Similar to D313R1UM, I have also found that buying games digitally has made it easier to control my backlog. I have stopped buying rarer games as soon as I see them in a shop because I no longer fear missing my chance to play those games.
Bloodborne. Can’t believe I completed it, can’t believe I enjoyed it so much. Definitely goes into the all-time favourites. Just trying to finish off Dark Souls 3 now.
Almost everything I play is an older game, typically picked up cheaply (£5-10 sweet spot) a long time after release. Huge backlog, still quite a few PlayStation 2/GameCube things I want to go back to.
Great Hot Topic for me, as I’ve found myself playing a lot of older PlayStation 3 games recently to challenge myself to obtain the harder Trophies. Highlights of last year were:
Spec Ops: The Line – a very atmospheric third person shooter with an unusually dark performance from Nolan North. Mind you, the squad AI was awful on the hardest difficulty but I struggled my way through it!
Just Cause 2 – very cheesy game but the only Just Cause game I’ve actually managed to complete and I think I must have spent the best part of 70 hours earning the Platinum!
Far Cry 4 – more open world action, my favourite part was taking out an enemy outpost with only one throwing knife. I hit a nearby elephant in the butt with it (sorry jumbo!) and it went absolutely crazy and cleared the whole place out for me!
Dishonored – a nice change of pace as you need to play it through never being detected and never killing anyone to get the Platinum!
Dead To Rights: Retribution and X-Men Origins: Wolverine – two games I enjoyed playing on release and had fun going back to Platinum them.
And finally, my firm favourites that I always find myself returning to: Devil May Cry 1, Resident Evil 4, Konami’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the Game Boy Advance, and Uncharted 1 to 4.
I’m still playing PlayStation 3 games now, currently working through Deus Ex: Human Revolution again, so maybe I might finally move on to PlayStation 4 games by the end of the year when PlayStation 5 is out!
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