The EZA Community Top 25 Best of 2019!



  • Death Stranding is my #16 of 36.

    I can’t say that I’m Kojima’s fan: I think that he creates cut-scenes like no other, but gameplay and story of his games aren’t that memorable for me. But my favorite aspect of Death Stranding is its traversal. It just feels great to plan the path on the map and then adapt on the fly when you actually reach these places. Yes, it is tedious, but it’s a very relaxing tedium. My closest comparison would be No Man’s Sky at launch where going through motions was also a great way to relax after work.

    I didn’t mind that there’s no meaningful progression in this game: the motorcycle is OP and you get one early on. I even stopped looking at the stuff you unlock and I stopped carrying any traversal cargo or weapons – you can always just drive away from enemy encounters and drive around environmental obstacles. And when you forced to fight a boss, there’s always stuff lying around. It almost feels like the game wasn’t designed around the motorcycle. And the music absolutely wasn’t – 30 seconds after a new track starts playing you reach your goal and interrupt it.

    Online features are the most interesting case. Certainly there were some good online components (like roads and charging stations), but most of them were absolutely useless to anyone. There were bridges over flat surfaces, speed-up signs on roads and inside bases where you can speed up as much as you want and stuff like that. And they were clearly placed there just to gather likes, because they were always on your path. It was very annoying and while I was playing the game I was wishing it was an offline game with all useful staff just appears when you unlock new region. But after the fact I decided that this was a good social experiment that showed how useless online interactions can be when they are driven by likes.

    Other aspects weren’t that memorable. I had no attachments to game’s characters (even to BB) and its story. And music is better outside of the game. But as I said, I enjoyed going through motions which is why it’s my #16.



  • Ever since the Konami fallout, I had been fascinated for four straight years about what Kojima would do next. I've never played a Metal Gear game, so I can't claim to be a fan of either the franchise or Kojima himself. That E3 moment at Sony's show back in 2016 still holds up, and I watched each new trailer, becoming more and more flummoxed as to just what on earth this game is.

    Up until about the next to last trailer before launch was enough for me to say, "you know what, this is too weird and obtuse for me." And listening to reviews reiterated I made the right decision for me to pass on it. But Death Stranding will always be unique, both the game itself and its development, and while I didn't predict it to be as critically divisive as it turned out to be, at least plenty of people enjoyed it, and not only Kojima, but his studio, found success.

    I saw a synopsis of the story, and while I am positive so much must be experienced instead of recapped, this is a game that I would need to be blindly in on from the start to appreciate. And to be honest, I have other interests I'll invest my time into.

    With the final five, I'm predicting the following: Outer Worlds, Control, Fire Emblem, Sekiro, and Resident Evil 2 Remake in that order. That said, I could a shock snub of one three games: Outer Worlds, Control, and Luigi's Mansion 3.



  • I only spent 5-6 hours so far, so I can't say much other than it's weirdly engaging. It just feels so much like Kojima, from the writing style to the little silly things the game proudly does, and a lot of this is what I missed when playing MGS V.

    Seeing the BTs for the first time is so memorable, I'll never forget how I almost hyperventilated when I accidentally walked too fast to a BT and narrowly dodging it by holding my breath and backing up ever so slowly.

    The other thing I really enjoy so far is that this game just feels so straightforwardly wholesome. The outpost guys get so excited when you finally come visit them and deliver their orders, and they message you mails later on too, which helps build the sense of your connection with them. There's also the act of liking structures made by others and making structures to help each other, of course.

    Anyway, I hope to play more of this soon. I probably can't, but I really want to. I won't be surprised if I only managed to finish this by the end of this year, lol. Gonna take this game real slow.



  • Such a weird game of simple things being done very, very well. I spent a lot more time playing it than I thought I would.



  • I had to give DS an honourable mention because it's a daring game. I don't think it's overall better than some games I didn't vote for but it is quite unique and willing to take risks.

    I hated most of its characters, it has horrible pacing problems, the music is way overdone, it has obnoxious product placement, bad writing and narrative structure. But at least the writing gets so silly that towards the end of the game it made me laugh out loud for how bad it is.

    It's also a shame that the world on one hand has fantastic level design but on other very few times felt rewarding to explore.

    But its emergent gameplay many times during the more than 100h delivered great, amazing moments. And online elements while underdeveloped are at times really rewarding. Good sound design and art direction.

    Pretentious it's a fitting word but at times it does meets its pretentions. But ffs, someone please force Kojima to, at least once, totally give up writing to someone that's really talented on that.



  • I ended up cancelling my pre-order when I saw the split reviews, came across the game a month later on a suprise sale in a local supermarket, went for it and HOZAAH! Now it's my GOTY for 2019. You need to play this to know if you'll love it.


  • Global Moderator

    I absolutely love Death Stranding. Sure I can see why its not everyones cup of tea and why it has gotten such a broad range of reviews. I just found it so rewarding to help people, plan routes and be on this cinematic experience of traveling the world. It really had that "kojima" feel over it and the characters really touched me. Can't wait to see what they will do next.



  • Personally the most overrated game this generation. I was at first excited because I love the Metal Gear Solid series, but when I saw gameplay I knew immediately this was not my kind of game. But hey, I respect those who like it and found enjoyment in this game.



  • I am still waiting the summer to finally play this one. I don't have high hopes but I should experience it to have a say about it.



  • Easily my game of the year. I was entranced. I dreamt about the game. It was full Tetris effect. The ending is a bit too long, but other than that. Masterpiece. We’ll be talking about it for years.



  • Control

    #5. Control - 41 points

    Votes

    #1: 2 (Phbz, Sazime)
    #2: 3 (BullToad, Gurrzilla, ffff0)
    #3: 2 (bam541, Scotty)
    #4: 3 (paulmci27, kevboard, MiserablePerson)
    HM: 7 (TokyoSlim, iboshow, Shoulderguy, Inustar, DemonSwordsman, Sentinel Beach, Capnbobamous)

    Information

    Release date: August 27 [US/EU]
    Developer: Remedy Entertainment
    Publisher: 505 Games
    Genre: Third-person shooter, Action-adventure
    Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows

    Links

    Trailer
    Wikipedia
    EZA Review



  • Control is a case where it didn't get much attention at the time of release, and is a personal surprise to was received so well because not only did I hear pre-release coverage be somewhat ho-hum, I had a friend get to try the game pre-release himself and he told me it was rough.

    Good thing those last few months were put in, because it apparently paid off.

    Like I said above for Death Stranding, this one is a little too out there for me. However, it's gameplay is more appealing, so I wasn't as turned off, nor as immediately, as DS. I remember this getting announced at Sony's last... well... anything if you don't count State of Plays, and how it was one of the real mood pieces of the night.

    On the whole, when people got their hands on post-launch, all I heard was mild negativity: The map is frustrating, there's no design language on where to go, certain skills/gameplay feel unneccesary, and so-on. Thankfully, it appears this is a minority, as it clearly shows here, it made a tremendous impact, and Remedy has yet another hit on their hands. With Alan Wake, Quantum Break, and now Control under the belts, I'm curious what the next IP will be, though I have a strong feeling it'll be a third person action adventure dealing with the supernatural in some sense.



  • Control is my #2.

    You can easily disagree, but I think that Control is the first next-gen title. The amount of destruction with realistic physics for every piece of debris is mind blowing. The visuals are stunning even without ray-tracing – there are projectors that actually project! And when you enable ray-tracing the image becomes even better. I’ve spend $1200 on a new PC to play this game and it was 100% worth it!

    But even if you can’t run this game the best way possible, it’s still an amazing experience. The combat is great – a chaos of explosions, sounds and enemies pushing from all angles. It’s easy to get swallowed by this chaos, but you also have so many tools to control it. Movement feels great, shots feel impactful and abilities are a joy to use. Even if there was nothing else in Control it would be worth playing.

    But there’s more! Exploration in Control is also great. Sure, the map isn’t a winner and there were times when I was running in circles trying to understand how to get somewhere, but each room in The Oldest House is so distinct and meticulously detailed, that I didn’t mind going through the same places again and again. Even when I played the game a second time it still felt new and exciting.

    World building is also top tier. I love how weird and unexplainable stuff slowly becomes just another day on the job. When you read some documents in the beginning of the game it all sounds crazy, but later it all makes sense even though it really doesn’t. Trying to communicate with the duck toy sounds crazy and it is crazy, but in The Oldest House it’s a reasonable thing to do. Also many lore pieces are interconnected and sometimes you read about on object of power before you see it, which is always nice since it makes you feel like you know what you’re doing.

    Such fascinating narrative is supported by a great cast. Jesse Faden is a great lead with a great balance of relevant history and lack of experience. She is perfect avatar in this strange world, but she never feels like just an avatar – you want to help her with her goals and want to unravel her own story. The rest of the characters are also distinct and interesting and some of them you can never meet.

    For a long time Control was my GotY, but it ended up being my #2, because Borderlands 3 (my GotY) made me emotional like no other game in 2019. Control is fascinating and rewarding journey, but it doesn’t have an ending that sticks with you. And that’s why it got my second place.



  • Next-Gen is something that can't run on the previous Generation. Compare the Witcher 2 to Witcher 3 or TLOU to Uncharted 4 or even GTA V(this game ran at sub 30fps just like Control) to RDR2. The games we are getting today are the pinnacle of Current generation which we will probably have to wait years for again.



  • I wasn't sure if I was going to pick up Control right away, but after hearing enough positive feedback from the types of people that share my tastes, I sat down and played right through it in a few days. So happy I did. Can't wait for more.



  • I make @ffff0 words my own.

    Then for my actual words:
    Quantum Break was a deeply flawed game but it had my favourite 3rd person combat this gen. Control pushes it even further making it more varied and dynamic. Then in terms of world and story it's a game tailored to my tastes - weird, dark absurd and funny. Reminiscent of stuff like X Files and Twilight Zone with some David Lynch thrown in there.

    Visually it's my favourite game ever. It mixes a clean and strong architecture with surprising "rooms" that are always gorgeous.

    Really good level design, very similar to a 3d Metroid. The map it's not very clear, but that's deliberate. It's enough to give you a sense of where to go but forces the player to use visual cues in the world for orientation. And it's SO rewarding to explore!

    Remedy is a very unique voice in gaming and I'm so glad to see them back.



  • Control is a game that looked great from the day it was shown first, and only got cooler as I began to know more of it. And when it released, It met my high expectations.

    I love being lost in the Oldest House. It's such a fascinating place in every way imaginable. The intentionally confusing layout of the places, the otherworldly vibes, and all the weird shit that is happening inside it. It's definitely one of the reasons it took so long for me to actually finish it. I had so much fun exploring every nook and cranny in the House, finding secrets, pieces of lore or other interesting things. I just wish that the map is not the useless trash that it is. I also remember being annoyed by the random enemy spawns later on in the game.

    For a game made by Remedy, the combat certainly stands up to their standard. It's fast, frantic, dynamic and a sight to behold. There's multiple enemy variants that requires you to be aware of all the spaces around you, and many times you can be cornered if you're not careful. The abilities provided will not only help makes killing them easier, but also make you look cooler while doing it. Not to mention the adaptability of the Service Weapon. My favorite combo is running straight at them while softening them up with the pistol mode, then switching to shotgun or melee, and dashing away to cover. There's also these really cool effects when you hit the enemies or when they die, it's these fancy red sparks and haze that help make the combat more satisfying. I imagine the combat would feel wonderful on mouse and keyboard, but on PS4 the aiming feels a bit too stiff to my liking. I know shooters on gamepad isn't the best choice, but there's a lot of games that I have played on gamepad that feels way better than this. It doesn't help that it doesn't have extensive control settings, which is ironic (or fitting?).

    Story wise, this game excels at not only building an fascinating world filled with interesting characters, but also in the way of presenting many of them. The projected videos are all fun to watch and full of personality (especially ones featuring Darling). Trench's narrations are wonderfully acted by James McCaffrey (Max Payne's actor), and they also feature this really cool loop of Trench standing around looking cool as heck while being colorfully lighted. I got a lot of chuckles from the Board's ridiculously obtuse subtitles. I also like how well the things in the lore is interconnected, like the radio show made by Federal Bureau of Control (I remember it having good reasons to exist, I forgot what that reason is exactly). The one big thing that I don't like is the ending, or lack of it.

    Overall, this is a game that left me craving for more of it's ilk. I'll definitely keep an eye on the DLCs.



  • Control was almost an HM from me but there was so much janky bullshit in the PS4 version that I found it inexcusable. There is a lot to like in Control but also a lot of frustrating things. All the games I voted for are all GOTY material and I don’t feel as though Control was pushing boundaries in any way.

    It’s the ultimate 7/10. Fun but also kinda generic at the same time.



  • @iboshow The current gen can't run ray tracing without using workarounds (like GT Sport having it, at the price of losing dynamic time of day) and, having seen games like Control and BFV running with ray tracing, and fully confident in saying that next gen is already here.



  • @el-shmiablo Just for clarification, when we talk ray-tracing we're talking in real time RT not pre-rendered effects like GT uses.