The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!
#11. Kingdom Hearts III - 17 points
#1: 1 (Brannox)
#2: 1 (DemonSwordsman)
#3: 1 (FF7Cloud)
#4: 1 (Sheria)
HM: 3 (Shoulderguy, Kristen Rogers, Lotias)
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
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.
Shoulderguy last edited by Shoulderguy
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.
Brannox last edited by Brannox
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.
#10. Metro Exodus - 22 points
#1: 2 (paulmci27, Terence369)
#2: 1 (TokyoSlim)
#4: 2 (Ksomic Wolf, ffff0)
HM: 4 (Shoulderguy, Brannox, Sheria, GageBlackW23)
Release date: February 15 [US/EU]
Developer: 4A Games
Publisher: Deep Silver
Genre: First-person shooter
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Stadia
Brannox last edited by
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.
TokyoSlim last edited by TokyoSlim
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.
paulmci27 last edited by
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.
ffff0 last edited by ffff0
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:
Phbz last edited by
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.
DemonPirate last edited by
I'm starting to think none of the games I voted for are in this list lol
Hidz last edited by
Metro Exodus is one of those games I hope to get around to play. I've read and love the books, but I keep postponing the Metro games, hopefully one day.
Nimbat1003 last edited by Nimbat1003
yeah metro is on my backlog, i even have it installed through game pass but who knows if i will ever get to it...
in terms of my votes, it's very likely my top 4 are still coming(except one possible exception) only game that i voted on (HM)that didn't make the cut(most likely) was Ai:The Sominium Files, i couldnt give it more than 1 vote since i didn't play it. instead just watched a livestream, even so i loved it.
#9. Devil May Cry 5 - 25 points
#1: 1 (Ksomic Wolf)
#2: 4 (Nimbat1003, Tearju Engi, Hidz, Bigdude1)
HM: 4 (Gurrzilla, bam541, tokeeffe9, Lotias)
Release date: March 8 [US/EU]
Genre: Action-adventure, Hack and slash
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows
Capnbobamous last edited by
This one narrowly missed my list, but it's great! Now, I'm gonna preemptively mourn Dragon Quest Builders, because it definitely didn't beat DMC 5. I failed you, sweet prince.
Hanabi last edited by
I didn't really play a ton of new games last year but this is the only one I actually feel bad about missing. Really need to get around to it one of these days.
bam541 last edited by bam541
I enjoyed this game quite a bit. The combat is ridiculously good, especially when you get to play as Dante and use his crazy weapons. I like that Nero, V, and Dante so differently to each other, and each have their own qualities that I appreciate. Obviously I like Dante the most, but there's some really fun things you can do with Nero's Buster Arm, and seeing V's animal minions trash the heck out of demons is pretty great.
The story is pretty standard for a Devil May Cry game, but I really can't get enough of the final few levels of this game, where the tone of the story changes and leaves me smiling ear to ear. Not to mention, the ending is pretty satisfying.
My one big problem with this game is that the environments felt samey and very boring to look at, especially when you get past the city areas and into the big tower. Gameplay wise they're designed well, but man, I get the same feeling I had playing PS3-era brown shooters, even though this looks nothing like that. Exploring through the second half of this game can make me feel so sleepy at times.
Brannox last edited by
DMC has been a franchise that I've appreciated from afar, but not one that's interested me in trying. The best things I can say about DMC 5 without having played it are two fold: 1.) I will always enjoy going back and see the Allies lose their minds when it was announced at Xbox's E3 2018 show. Plus, ya know, seeing the developers onstage having a good time was wonderful. and 2.) Devil Trigger is a good song. When it isn't being memed to all hell that is.
Devil May Cry 5 is my #28.
The good thing is that Easy difficulty is actually easy and you ca go through the game without learning all that combos. And even on Easy playing as V is fun. The bad things is that there's no reason to play this game if you aren't interested in its battle system. Levels look the same, story isn't interesting (at least for the newcomers) and even Devil Trigger becomes boring because it plays too often. I liked DmC, but Devil May Cry is definitely not for me.