The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!



  • I was very excited for Days Gone since it's reveal at Sony's E3 2016 show (The placing of it will never not be weird). Even then I felt like I was only part of a few that were interested in it. I looked forward to it all the way up to the release.

    Then the reviews dropped.

    The DAY before the game launched watching/listening to four different and trusted groups/people, all pan it for technical problems, length, and other factors. I decided to not get it. Since then, I've felt I made the right decision for me, but I've enjoyed seeing Bend stick with it post-launch, and this is proof positive that, while a majority of critics may dislike a game, there are many, MANY more people who are interested and wind up enjoying it.

    Good on ya Days Gone.



  • Days Gone is my #5 of 36.

    At first I didn’t like the pacing of this game. It starts and stops, becomes interesting then boring and again and again. But after a while I realized that Days Gone isn’t a typical fictional story – it’s a slice of life. Like in real life not every moment is meaningful and not every dream will be realized, but it only makes your highs so much higher. Once I understood that everything felt into place.

    As a game it also works well. There’s satisfying gameplay loop “gather resources – do your thing” and riding on the bike in the open world feels great. Enemy AI isn’t particularly smart, but since odds are stacked against you, particularly near the end, abusing its weaknesses was fun and satisfying. I played it in September and there weren’t significant technical problems besides engine’s struggles to load the assets when you travel fast. But even while it was noticeable it didn’t bother me that much.

    I think that despite high marketing budget this isn’t a universally appealing game, but if its ever come on PlayStation Plus, I would recommend to check it out.



  • Days Gone is awesome. I love the story (despite it being too long), it has a lot of surprisingly great emotional moments. The voice acting performance is also surprisingly great overall, especially from Deacon's actor, Sam Witwer. The writing is solid, it never got too serious or too dumb, it's feels very grounded which is what the game is trying to be. These three things are definitely the qualities of Days Gone that I didn't expect to be so good.

    Dealing with the horde is as intense as I wanted it to be, especially at later stages of the game when there's so many of them. Running away when you're out of ammo is so scary, I had to restrain myself from looking back just to control my panic. Unfortunately the gunplay feels a bit weak, not much impact in the weapons. Still, it's so fun to use the equipments that you can craft, like the molotov. Seeing the fire spread among the horde and watching them run at you nonetheless is pretty terrifying.

    I also like to mention how beautiful this game can look at times (especially the skybox at night, so many stars!) This game is a great photo mode material, check out my screenshots at the game screenshots thread in this forum if you haven't :) too bad the game has lots of performance issues when I played it, I don't know how it is now but hopefully it's better. I didn't encounter many glitches fortunately.

    Despite all of its glaring flaws, it's still a wonderful and charming game, and most importantly fun to play. If you are still on the fence about this game, I implore you to at least check it out when it's on sale or something, I believe that the great things this game has still outweighs it's flaws by a huge margin.



  • Really looking forward to picking it up for a good price and giving it a try. It feels a little rough around the edges from an outsider perspective, but I'm very much against feeling like you should only play 9 out of 10s. And you never know, it might end up being a 9 out of 10 to me.



  • Will play Days Gone eventually. Not a fan of Zombie games, plus it's a long open world game on an universe that doesn't immediately draws me in. I'll get there eventually. Was expecting it to be higher here considering it's a Sony exclusive.



  • It's funny because I recently had a huge amount of videos pushed to my YouTube front page basically begging me to play Days Gone.
    I love seeing redemption stories in gaming like that. The game comes out somewhat busted but the dev keeps at it and turns things around.



  • Days Gone is definitely in my top 10.

    At first I was bored with the game, but after 10-20 hours I started to be really engaged in the story and I'd more fun with the game. Days Gone is a great swimmin' in 7!



  • My friend told me last night that there is a line of dialogue in Disco Elysium where somebody yells “WHERE THE HOOD WHERE THE HOOD WHERE THE HOOD AT” so now I need to download this DMX Sim ASAP



  • Days gone is something I pretty much will never play.
    I've heard redeeming things about the story(a streamer I watch almost quit it after 2 streams but ended up loving it by the end) but it just rings of the things that annoy me about modern open world games.(bloat, pacing and just busy work)

    For reference I also dropped off BOTW(20hrs honestly mostly the weapon durability and very piecemeal story) and

    horizon:zero dawn((10hrs)story bogged down after the opening and I found it frustrating to navigate the world lots of stopping to pick flowers too heal)

    Maybe it's just because I'm just such an rpg fan that I need those deepper mechanic's or story to keep me engaged.



  • Kingdom Hearts III

    #11. Kingdom Hearts III - 17 points

    Votes

    #1: 1 (Brannox)
    #2: 1 (DemonSwordsman)
    #3: 1 (FF7Cloud)
    #4: 1 (Sheria)
    HM: 3 (Shoulderguy, Kristen Rogers, Lotias)

    Information

    Release date: January 29 [US/EU]
    Developer: Square Enix Business Division 3
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Genre: Action role-playing
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • Kingdom Hearts III is my #12 of 36.

    My perspective is unusual. I know next to nothing about Final Fantasy and I never watched some of Disney classic animation films. I also never played Kingdom Hearts games before 2019. I was thinking about it several years ago, but when I saw that Sora screams constantly during battles I decided not to. But in March 2019 Kingdom Hearts All-In-One Package went on sale and the deal was too good to be missed.

    So in July I started playing all these 10 games (or 7 if you exclude movies). And almost immediately I regretted that I bought them. First of all they are insanely hard. I had to restart first game on Easy after 4 hours on Normal, but even then I was stuck on multiple bosses for hours. I even nearly gave up on Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, but then I read about EXP Walker, so I made it and left my character running circles for a night. Secondly, the worlds are small and looks old, but objectives aren’t always clear, so you go through the same rooms over and over again. Finally there is a lot of repetition in the series, so games can be pretty boring.

    After all that tedium I played the first current-gen game Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage, and it was a breath of fresh air. It was short, so when I went into Kingdom Hearts III it was still feeling fresh, new and big. And playing it was a joy, especially since almost every world in it was new.

    But Kingdom Hearts III eventually also became tedious. Many worlds and many moments felt longer than they need to be (especially Arendelle). And the ending is longer than in Lord of the Rings. I get that it tries to wrap up so many games, but culminating the game with a series of 22 boss battles is way too much.

    Still I’m happy that I took this journey. I got attached to its characters and story and I ended up liking its music. Kingdom Hearts III is definitely the second best games in the series (A Fragmentary Passage is my favorite because it’s new and short) and it’s my #12 only because there were games I’ve enjoyed more.



  • Kingdom Hearts III is my #5 of 49.

    It's interesting seeing some of the negative reactions to Kingdom Hearts III. I've never been a huge Kingdom Hearts fan (only finished Kingdom Hearts 2 before this new one) but I really liked KH3.

    This game is a big dumb fun spectacle. The great music, Disney worlds and constant new abilities kept me invested all the way through. I grew to appreciate all the characters and the big showdown at the end is epic. I think it was Brad or Huber who said "Kingdom Hearts III is basically, "bonds the game"." That made me laugh and I totally agree.



  • I love our ranking this year! So many beloved games already made their appearance and we still haven't touched the top 10. I have no idea what's coming and in what order and it's exciting.



  • I've stated on several of the Community Showcases about my fandom for Kingdom Hearts, so the fact it's my GOTY isn't surprising, but as I've said before, I'm conflicted:

    I recognize this game has some issues: the story inconsistencies, not only the actual plot points themselves but also the actual storytelling, feels like it's been shotgun blasted all over the place. All the worlds having no reason to revisit for storytelling purposes was a letdown, but understandable when factoring in the sheer scope of each world. Yet there was some areas that felt pointless (Lookin' at you Hundred Acre Wood and Twilight Town). But tying in main narrative scenes in between world visits as opposed to incorporating them WHILE in the worlds is another issue. Each Organization member being in each world felt like they were just there to be there, and didn't really do much for the core narrative, so every world felt contained and separated instead of connected.

    Plot points and revelations are left unanswered and even with the recently released Re:Mind (Don't get me started on the all the secret movies across the base game and DLC), there's too many unanswered questions. And the fact there was virtually no Final Fantasy representation outside of the opening monologue of the first world was colossally disappointing, so while it's nice to see them in Re:Mind, I wish there was more.

    As far as criticisms, my final one is regarding the loading. It felt inconsistent and lengthy quite often, and the social media post were so jarring I get a sense of whiplash every time I see one. It takes me out of it so hard.

    Despite ALL of this, it's still my GOTY. Why?

    Because when I look back at all the games I played from 2019, this is the game I had the absolute most fun with. It's so difficult for me to look at the game with a critical eye when I've had bias present for the better part of two decades, but nothing brought me more joy.

    The game is STUNNING to look at, especially when I marvel the transition from cutscene to gameplay. Several of the world designs are really cool, like exploring an ocean and its islands, a giant toy store, or a huge metropolitan city (despite the downsides the latter two being the ONLY important areas in said worlds). So many of the series' best ideas are implemented, from movement to combat. In the case of the latter, it's a spectacle to watch as Disney rides, ultimate abilities and forms flash and zoom across the screen just destroying the opposition (which I understand lends to the, "This game is too easy," issue) and unique ones as well such having multiple keyblades equipped and overhauling the synthesis system. I like how diverse the mini-games are and I got a kick out of the retro-handheld ones, but the some of the Flans and the cooking games aren't fun.

    I love this series too much, and I never, EVER want to recommend it because of all the hurdles and roadblocks it takes to get into it now as opposed to back in a simpler time without ludicrous spinoffs and tripling over itself in convoluted, make-it-up-as-you-go sense of storytelling, but for me, Kingdom Hearts III was what I wanted, what I got, and what I fight for. I'm bummed it didn't make top 10, but honestly I was expecting it to show up at every entry, so I'm happy it's this high.

    Shoutouts to @Shoulderguy, @Kristen-Rogers, @Lotias, @Sheria, @FF7Cloud, and @DemonSwordsman for liking it enough to nominate it at any point on your lists!



  • Metro Exodus

    #10. Metro Exodus - 22 points

    Votes

    #1: 2 (paulmci27, Terence369)
    #2: 1 (TokyoSlim)
    #3: 0
    #4: 2 (Ksomic Wolf, ffff0)
    HM: 4 (Shoulderguy, Brannox, Sheria, GageBlackW23)

    Information

    Release date: February 15 [US/EU]
    Developer: 4A Games
    Publisher: Deep Silver
    Genre: First-person shooter
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Stadia

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • Metro: Exodus is an interesting case for me. There are many things it does real well, and many that it doesn't. To get the negatives out of the way, there are only a couple which are moderate while the rest are minor.

    One of the minor criticisms is how Artyom never talks unless its an in-between chapter load narration. This is par for the course for the Metro series as a whole, but by now, as has been said by others, characters having a one-sided conversation is really weird. Another issue is the audio itself, as I experience several different instances of overlapping audio or just being outright cut-off. While these are annoying, it isn't as bad as the excessively long load times when starting up a save or entering one of the three open areas of the game.

    But my number one complaint is Metro's morality system and it's impact on the end. Sure, like Artyom's narration, this system and the way it's operated has been there since Metro 2033, but having a system where you don't know what actions help or hurt your morality, and when you come across said action what you think the outcome will be actually has the opposite of your intended goal is irritating. There are general rules of thumb (knock out enemies instead of killing, free prisoners you find, etc.) to help get the better ending, but arbitrarily finding items in the world your crew wants, or bypassing a spot that could help you, but it's entirely optional shouldn't have such weight in determining what ending you get unless it's better implemented or given more attention to make you aware to track down these activities, if you so choose.

    Now that I've gotten my gripes out of the way, I want to praise so much about it. The area designs are wonderful and while the second area for Summer doesn't speak to me, I was captivated with the other two. They are MASSIVE and it feels like there are so many secrets to find and all kinds of spots that hold weapons, resources, and other useful things.

    The Aurora and your companions bring a sense of heart and importance to the narrative that wasn't there in 2033, but was added a good deal in Last Light. Here it's even more refined and I loved talking with everyone and going out to do quests or favors to improve their morale. It gives a sense of family that this world feels like it needs.

    While I tried to play as nonlethal as possible on my (as of this writing, hopefully will change) lone playthrough, I can't praise the weapon customization and upkeep systems enough. Having to balance what to use, how much to use, how much ammo I have, and to loud or quiet layer so many different elements to the game in each given moment, including when I'm not in combat but am in need of supplies, maintains some form of tension that is a hallmark of Metro.

    The dynamic day/night/weather system is fantastic and it feels like a believable world and I won't forget the beauty of traveling through a rainy marsh in the early afternoon, or driving through the desert at night under a full moon. Spectacular.

    I am STOKED EZA awarded it Best Shooter, and it got as much love as it did during the deliberations. It might have only been #6 of the nine games I played, but it's a real good game, and as I'm writing this, it is one week before the second DLC, "Sam's Story" is released (The first DLC, the Two Colonels, was a bit of a letdown), and I'm excited to play it. While I may not be as into the ending as others are, I'm very happy with it, and pleasantly surprised it has placed in our top 10. Fun fact: When this was announced on Xbox's stage at E3 in 2017, that demo looked so good it got me to try the series. So as of now, I went full circle with the franchise, and I'm happy I did.

    High-fives to @Shoulderguy, @Sheria, @GageBlackW23, @Ksomic-Wolf, @ffff0, @TokyoSlim, @paulmci27, and @Terence369 for showing Metro some love!



  • I'm not really a shooter guy, but I like the METRO series because the overall narrative and worldbuilding interest me. I didn't experience any of the sound issues Brannox did, but I did freeze and lost a little bit of progress early on. It may have been a one off, or I think they fixed whatever it was with a patch, since it didn't happen after the first day or two. The score and mechanics of the game were other standout elements. I loved the tension present in parts of the game. I loved not actually knowing at first glance where the devs "critpath" through an area was. While It's not an open world really, it does reward exploration of the nooks and crannies of the map, but that can all change in a heartbeat as you find yourself being chased through those same areas. I feel like crafting and stuff you pick up is just the right amount of important in METRO.



  • You know there's always some asshole trying to tell you that you're playing a game wrong its so condisending, can't stand those guys. Saying that ranger hardcore with Russian subs or you're playing it wrong. All joking aside. I feel this game was made for me, the slow methodical pace, the heavy gunplay you're not some super hero pumping 1000 bullets into endless hordes watching numbers go up. One missed bullet can be fatal everything can go to shit in seconds. Ghosting that third open area listening to the locals chat about murdering me when you're meters away from them is the best most intense gaming experience all year. I know the games not for everyone but I'm glad to see that this community gave the game the recognition it deserved.



  • Metro Exodus is my first ray-tracing game and this was an amazing experience.

    You all know this stealth games problem: you stand right in front of the enemy, but he can’t see you just because the place you are in the “dark” section of the level. It looks unrealistic and it constantly reminds you that you are dealing with AI that was designed in player’s favor. We are used to it, but still it breaks the immersion. But with ray-tracing it’s no longer a problem – the dark places are truly dark (but unlike turning down the brightness you can still see everything if you pay close attention to the environment). And besides making this world real, it completely changes the way you navigate in this game. Since enemies can hide in the dark just as easily as you, you have to consider every step you take and be ready for anything. I’m not easily scared (I just finished Outlast 2 and it was a walk in the park), but in Metro Exodus I was legitimately afraid of dark places and listened to the sounds like never before. If you’ll have a chance to experience this game with ray-tracing (possibly via GeForce Now), please do – it’s completely different experience.

    Another nice thing for me was exploring my home environment. I live in Russia, so most of those locations and props are very familiar to me.

    It’s my number #4 because I wasn’t especially attached to the story and characters. Russian VO is OK but not great and scripted cut-scenes feel rigid and detached (partly because you can move and look away). Too bad, if they nailed those aspects, it could be my #1.

    P.S. If you wan't to look how ray-tracing look in Metro Exodus, I've submitted a couple of screenshots to the December Community Showcase:

    Youtube Video – [2:37:38..]



  • Enjoyed Metro but it is a flawed game. Really clumsy opening, weird dialogue design and not that engaging story and characters. I did like the mix of open world and linear levels. And by the end I had that satisfying feel you get by the end of a fulfilling journey. The desert section was the high point for me, great atmosphere provided by great world building, graphics and weather effects. Being caught by a storm as the sun sets and enemies jump at me was one of those gaming moments that will stick with me for a long time.

    In any other year this could get a nomination, it's just that for me, contrary to popular opinion, 2019 was a super strong year. It just didn't have any marketing driven big hitters.