On the 6th episode of the Keep It Nerdy podcast we went into great detail on the best games of 2019, and even from the past decade 2010-2020. If you missed out on that episode, you can listen to it on most streaming services like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts, TuneIn, and more.
In previous years, we’ve broken down the best games by each editor from the NRDY team. As this year we were extremely aligned with what games hit their marks, we’re going to do a collective list of the Best and Worst Games from 2019. So without further ado…
2019: The Year Of Battle Royales and Redemption
So Battle Royales probably makes sense. Games like Fortnite (not released in 2019) and Apex Legend dominating the game space this year, both in their online presence and also across every streaming platform. But redemption, what? Yes. EA and Gearbox saw a massive turn around for their brands with 2 key launches this year. More below.
APEX LEGENDS – February 2019
If you’ve been a fan of us on Facebook, you can tell that we (well, mostly Dustin) love Apex Legends. Since launch Dustin has been rocking out on stream as Octane, running full speed towards Apex Champion each match.
Each of the characters in this game has passive, tactical and ultimate abilities that bring a unique playstyle to what would otherwise be a simple battle royale game. The game also brings a significant amount of quality of life features that other games have lacked, such as a robust ping system to notify your teammates of things, the ability to revive fallen members of your squad, and story-rich character profiles online that provide not only make them a part of the game but relatable to the outside world.
CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE – August 2019
Dustin calls this “The best Call of Duty game so far” and given that other publications are running with similar headlines for their reviews, he may be right. The game mechanics turn it into a more realistic shooter once again, something that hasn’t happened in the franchise for quite some time. Double-jumping, wall-running, are now a thing of the past. At least in COD MW. The story itself is mediocre at best, but the gameplay and action sequences don’t fail to amaze.
Our favorite looter shooter debuted Borderlands 3 near the end of 2019 and did not disappoint. With over a million new guns thanks to a random generator, the excitement never ends as you’re on a quest beyond the limits of Pandora to recover a map to Ancient Vaults and prevent a universe-destroying power from getting into the hands of the baddies. With 4 new characters to play and a cult to destroy, Borderlands 3 was a decent redemption arc for Randy Pitchford’s drama all throughout 2019.
Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order
Speaking of redemption arcs, EA may have started to turn themselves around while snagging the publisher position for the masterpiece that is Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order. Taking place shortly after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, it truly parallels the fear and uncertainty Jedi’s across the galaxy faced during this dark and bleak time. The characters have deep and complex stories to tell that unfold through the training, travels, and action across different worlds. The only thing that could hold this game back from being absolutely perfect would be the mechanics themselves. At times, it feels like a button-mashing frenzy to accomplish what should be simplistic maneuvers, and the environment leads to occasional pathing errors that force your character to make a slight turn before proceeding on the route. Despite these minor and occasional inconveniences, it didn’t stop us from enjoying this monumental treasure from the team at Respawn and EA.
Jackbox Party Pack 6
Jackbox Party Pack is something that we’ve previously skipped in our “Best of” reviews, and honestly, that was a huge mistake and oversight on our part. Jackbox has been such a vital part of our years, each and every year since the first one released. It’s brought our friends together in person and online to play fun games like Trivia Murder Party, You Don’t Know Jack, Quiplash, and Fibbage, to more complex and unique games such as T K-O, Drawful, Role Models, Mad Verse City, Split the Room, Patently Stupid, and more.
Jackbox Party Pack 6 has 1 sequel and 4 new games that we’ve already enjoyed countless hours of playing since it’s late 2019 release. Trivia Murder Party 2 brings a unique trivia experience with mini-games to save yourself if you guess incorrectly. But even if you die, you can still make it out alive at the end by swapping places with the living in a flash round of trivia fun.
Role Models is also a great addition to the Jackbox line-up, as you are granted “meat pellets” for having the most aligned placement of your friends for different categories, such as which Game of Thrones character they would be.
Joke Boat lets you live out your dream as a stand-up comedian, while Dictionarium lets you make up new words and their definitions, which can be hit and miss depending on how clever your group is.
Jackbox is available on all gaming platforms (Steam, PS4, Xbox, and Switch) and can also have timers adjusted to be more streamer friendly. This means you don’t always have to play with your friends in the room, or with friends at all! Jackbox is the perfect game for people of all ages, and with how long this “mini-review” has been, you can certainly tell we can’t get enough of it.
Worst Games of 2019
Worst might be a bit dramatic here and we’ll be the first to admit that. These games aren’t necessarily bad – but the frustrations and experiences just trying to play them for 10 minutes have put them onto this list for the year.
You might think we’re crazy for this one, and that’s totally ok. You’re not wrong. But Death Stranding was a game that filled us with such high hopes and lead us to a moment of disappointment, frustration, that caused a rage quit in the first 20 minutes of firing up the game. To start, the game drops you into a lengthy cinematic which transitions into the gameplay after about 10 ish long minutes. So when you have all these high hopes about just jumping right into the action, you watch a cinematic that may or may not taper some of that excitement. From there, the mechanics are extremely challenging as you have to use keys to continuously toggle or balance your gear while keeping an eye on your stamina levels. Even on the easiest of difficulties, this mechanic becomes too challenging for your casual to “baby” player to enjoy the storyline. This ultimately resulted in diving face-first off the cliff and after 3 attempts, the game went up for sale on eBay.
While the challenges above clearly paint the picture that the game just wasn’t for us, it’s worth noting that the game has a beautiful and immersive landscape that was truly meant for the higher-end gaming consoles that support 4K. The story itself is great from watching other players on Twitch, but for us, we just couldn’t sink our teeth into Norman Reedus and the Magic Fetus.
This game only made the list due to the extreme technical issues at launch for PC gamers. Xbox seems to have had a bit of luck, with few launch day bugs being reported.
Upon launching the game from Steam, it would instantly drop to low FPS for most folks (we’re talking under 10FPS) and constantly fluctuate. This made the game literally unplayable for many on Steam until the team at Bloober addressed the bugs. Now, we haven’t had a chance to pick it back up since it has been patched AND is now available on PS4. We have heard that many of those issues have been fixed, and it’s great to see a developer (especially a small team) work so hard to give fans the experience they deserve. We love the team at Bloober and all the games in their line-up, so we’ll be sure to pick this up on PS4 and give it a proper review in the future.