The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!



  • Once I started playing this I couldn't put it down. I beat it in two sittings. The game is beautiful & horrific within minutes of each other. The game plays pretty simple but kept me on the edge of my seat at all times. Gets a bit weird towards the end but didn't bother me that much as I like my games to be gamey. (you know what I mean if you've played it). It's on gamepass now so no reason not to check it out.



  • Loved Plague Tale. Beautiful art direction, locations feel real, cool dynamic between characters and nice escalation of conflict. My issue with it is that certain sections of the game are easy to break. But no doubt one of the coolest surprises if the year.



  • @bam541 Oh you're right, I double-checked and it's the post that's wrong, Bigdude1 and Lotias actually voted it #3, not #2.

    So it's correct, 13 points, I'll fix the post! Thanks :)



  • Finally one of my votes made the list and it's A Plague Tale: Innocence.

    I mentioned before that this is my biggest surprise of 2019. That's because I had a friend recommended it to me. I actually thought this was The Sinking City game that eventually released in June. So I had no expectations going into this game. We started playing on PC and both of us were like, "wow, this looks pretty good for an indie game." After a few hours of playing we were hooked.

    My favorite thing is the characters and their performances. I also finished The Last of Us for the first time last year. The relationship, conversations and the journey of Amicia and Hugo remind me of Joel and Ellie. A Plague Tale is a game that I thought about long after finishing and I'll probably remember for a long time.



  • A Plague Tale: Innocence is my #6 of 36.

    Life is Strange 2 was a huge disappointment for me this year (I liked first episode, and hated the rest), so I wasn’t too interested in another game about sibling children. Then they released a free demo and I played the first chapter. It was good. No, it was great. I still had other games to play and it was too pricey at that moment, so I added it to my “to play list”. Then it joined Origin Access Premiere which I got in November, so I finally played it. And I loved it!

    Even through visuals are important to me (and they are great here), the characters are the most impressive thing for me. Amicia is the perfect lead – she is smart, she is resourceful, she is determined, but at the same time she is very vulnerable. And excellent VO makes you believe that Amicia is about to break and fall apart, but each time she manages to find inner strength to keep going against the harsh world that tries to kill her. It’s so easy to get attached to such non-superhuman character and it’s so easy to get inspired by her actions.

    Amicia’s brother Hugo could easily be the most annoying part of such game, but he isn’t because even when he acts “stupid” you can always understand why. Also he helps you many times during the game, so he never feels like a cargo you have to carry, nor like a princess waiting to be saved. The bond between him and Amicia doesn’t develop as much as it could, but it only helps during certain story parts.

    There are some other great characters, but the next thing I want to talk about is the story. It’s dark, it’s grim, sometimes it’s shocking, but these shocking moments always have a purpose. The pacing is great and there’s some optional lore if you interested in this period of history. I agree that the ending could be better, but I really liked the Epilogue, so I was still satisfied.

    So why it’s only my #6? It’s because of gameplay. It’s good, but there’s a skill tree with very good abilities that can be unlocked with materials you find in the world. Well, I explored a lot, I got a lot of resources and I unlocked pretty much everything. And when you get every skill your character becomes so powerful that the gameplay no longer fit for the story this game tells. So my advice to anyone will be to go a bit faster than your gamer heart wants.

    And yes I recommend this game to almost everyone. It’s not long (7-8 hours), it’s accessible (Origin Access Premiere, Xbox Game Pass) and it has a free demo if you still hesitant.



  • I absolutely love Plague Tale. One of the best surprises of 2019 and my #3. It's both beautiful and sad at the same time, damn grim as well with its setting and story. Amicia is a lovely main character, she's vulnerable yet still pushing forward all the time, even through the darkest times and spaces. And that voice actor of hers... I couldn't get enough of her, truly convincing and fitting, that casting. All in all this is like some medieval The Last of Us, or at least it has lots of those echoes. That's propably one of the main reasons I fell in love with the game as badly as I did. Do check it out!



  • Outer Wilds

    #14. Outer Wilds - 14 points

    Votes

    #1: 0
    #2: 1 (Phbz)
    #3: 3 (tokeeffe9, MiserablePerson, Capnbobamous)
    #4: 0
    HM: 1 (Sazime)

    Information

    Release date: May 29 [US/EU]
    Developer: Mobius Digital
    Publisher: Annapurna Interactive
    Genre: Action-adventure
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    Don't Skip



  • Outer Wilds is on Xbox Game Pass so I played it for an hour. And I achieved nothing during that time. It doesn't guide the player, you can die and it's not easy and not fast to return to where you were. I don't like when games waste my time, so I stopped.

    P.S. Ian's passion in Don't Skip convinced me to give it another try, so now I'm looking for a good non-spoiler guide for this game. Any suggestions?



  • This game is so wonderfully different. I love that passion projects like this get made by dedicated people. Such a wonderful gem.



  • @ffff0 I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't love Outer Wilds. I started it multiple times throughout the year. Thinking, "maybe this time I'll enjoy it." Unfortunately I never did. It was the same thing with Disco Elysium. I completely failed Ian last year.



  • The Outer Wilds is a game that didn't appeal to me, but I watched the NoClip documentary and while I enjoyed the video a good deal, there wasn't a better showpiece about selling me against the game. Personally, while listening about it during the deliberations AND the Don't Skip, I was happy to hear the passion and points about it from Ian, but it hit all the points that reaffirmed why it isn't for me.

    All of that said, I believe this and another game we should be seeing a little while are up there for, pun not intended, "out-of-nowhere" hits of 2019. I especially love this was a school project that became something more, proving if you have a good idea and the dedication, you can go far.



  • This game is beautiful. Uncovering everything is an absolute treat, and the quest-tree is a great way of pointing you in the right direction. I'll admit it can be a little tedious at times, but the joy of discovery definitely make a up for that.



  • I'm gonna get this as soon as I clear up a few more of my backlog. Ian's passionate love for this sold it for me, and it sounds like the kind of game that's right up my alley too.



  • @ffff0 It would help to know how you've been dying before recommending where to start... but I'm not sure what a spoiler-free guide would be exactly. Information is so interwoven between the planets, and you'll personally adapt to planets differently than others that an individual guide seems pointless. Maybe your home planet and moon holds some information while being a relatively safe area to explore...

    I've been surprised to hear people have been frustrated by the time it takes to return to any location after death. There are a few situations where I feel this could happen, but most any place you'll think to go early on can be returned to within 5 minutes. There was rarely a time I died where I didn't understand how to avoid that same fate on my next attempt. If I ever felt annoyed, I would typically just take off somewhere else during the next loop.

    At the same time if the game doesn't elicit your own curiosity to explore, I don't see the point in forcing yourself further than an hour or so. The narrative is interesting, but so much of my enjoyment came from uncovering how to get everywhere. The drive to investigate each strange planet, and overcoming what seem to be very large hurdles were my reason to play.



  • @miserableperson I think I traveled to some planet with tunnels and ran out of oxygen.

    A perfect spoiler-free guide for me would be "go here, do this" - essentially quest markers. I played Minit last year with such guide and had a great time, so if I could have similar experience with Outer Wilds, I would probably like it too.

    I understand that this game is about discovery and I like discovery (I love The Witness), but I don't like discovery on time limit. For me 5 minutes to get back is still 5 minutes wasted, and when you have to do it multiple times I just want to stop walking around to avoid unnecessary resets. It feels like game the tells me opposite things simultaneously (explore/don't explore), which isn't good.



  • This game seems awesome. I want to try it because I want to try any game that is allegedly pushing the medium. And from what I understand, this is truly pushing the medium forward in ways that the classics have in the past.

    That said, if the saying goes, you should see the budget on-screen, I almost see the lack of budget on-screen for this game. The art style doesn't do anything for me. It's kinda hard to look at for that matter. I don't hold it against it, but knowing that a game like this is allegedly pushing things forward, yet, doesn't have the gloss of a big-budget game is sort of a missed opportunity.



  • Oh, that's disappointing, but not surprising. Was hoping it would be higher in our top.

    Was lucky enough to play Outer Wilds knowing absolutely nothing about it, and before all the hype around it, and it was one of the most wonderful experiences I had with a game. Incredibly well designed.

    I love exploration and discovery and this game nails it. No arrows pointing the way, just curiosity as the sole motive to keep going. Getting confused the first time the world resets (I didn't even knew this about it), then realising what was happening on a very basic level and have my mind blown away by the beauty of the event, then unveiling layer by layer. What a joy the whole journey was. Never felt (seriously) stuck or lost or not motivated to know more. This is gaming at its best.

    I'm just not a fan of the art style. At times it works for me but overall not my cup of tea. And although superbly designed, the opening/tutorial section doesn't work quite as well as the other 90% of the game. To the point that although it will most probably remain on my "GOAT" list, it almost lost me during its early minutes.

    It's really about the journey, not the destination... but oh boy, such a rewarding ending for those willing to explore.

    Edit: And by the way, a shout out to Annapurna Interactive, one of the most interesting publishers around.



  • Disco Elysium

    #13. Disco Elysium - 15 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (TokyoSlim)
    #2: 0
    #3: 2 (Crepe, Hidz)
    #4: 0
    HM: 4 (Nimbat1003, Hazz3r, bard91, GageBlackW23)

    Information

    Release date: October 15 [US/EU]
    Developer: ZA/UM
    Publisher: ZA/UM
    Genre: Role-playing
    Platform(s): Windows

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia



  • So as l intimated when discussing Outer Wilds, this is the other game that felt like it came out of nowhere. Everything I've heard about Disco Elysium is how it's absurd in nothing but good ways. While it would take less to convince me to try it than Outer Wilds, this is still a PC exclusive, so much like Return of the Obra Dinn, unless it gets ported, I don't foresee myself trying.

    But like I said earlier: The enthusiasm this game had during deliberations, especially considering it won the most awards from TGAs, shows games will continue to have unique ideas across a variety of genres and platforms.



  • Disco Elysium is my #23 of 36.

    When some unknown game won the best narrative during The Game Awards I decided to try it. So I looked at the trailer on Steam page, saw some exploration with some dialog and bought it.

    This wasn’t the game I expected. I even wanted to return it, but I already passed 2 hour mark when I realized that this game isn’t for me. But I have “If buying then finishing” rule (which saves me a lot of money), so I found a walkthrough and kept playing it.

    The middle part of the game was probably the most interesting – you already know what to do and can both follow the path and explore. Although most of the time you just find some other dialog, and I can’t say that I love the writing in this game. It gets its job done, but most of the time there’s too much of it.

    The ending was disappointing for two reasons: it was too long and, most importantly, it came out of nowhere. And this is the biggest problem of this game – it lacks player guiding and has no progression feedback. I’m not saying that it should have quest markers and missions labeled as priority/secondary, but it need to have something to tell you where to go and what to do (your companion can easily do that and it will not be out of his character). And most certainly the game has to tell you that you are passing the point of no return. I didn’t know that I’m locking myself out of many quests and wasn’t happy with it.

    At least it (and Baba Is You) helped me to understand that I should be very cautious when buying an indie game. Small teams are more prone to having tunnel vision for their game. If you think the same then you’ll probably have a good time, if you not, then you’ll be frustrated because the game will not speak your language and will not help you to breach the gap.