Matt Soellner’s Favorite Games of 2019
That picture of me is how I brought in 2019! Hungover and full of regrets from the previous year. OK, maybe not from the entire year, just the night before. It’s hard to pick a picture of yourself when you take zero selfies and your girlfriend is in 99% of your photos. I don’t regret taking zero selfies this year. On to video games now and with that, let’s start with a number.
15! I spent only 15 hours with my Nintendo Switch this year. It’s a statistic I don’t like to see but reflects the amount of change to my gaming habits. PC has become my primary place to play video games. I also bought an Xbox earlier this year. Combine that Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and it makes turning on my PS4 difficult nowadays. 2019 has been fun and it seems times are only going to get better whenever I look at the release schedule for next year.
As great as 2020 looks I’m here to talk about my 2019 with video games. I may even throw in a movie or two. I’m feeling ambitious writing this while watching some top tier WWE wrestling involving a kayfabe marriage storyline…(and we think FCW is ridiculous). This year’s list only includes games that have been brand new experiences for me this past year. These games could be older or brand new but I have played them for the first time in 2019. With that, let’s start the list right with some honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention WWE 2K19
I do not like playing this game. It is not fun and the controls are horrendous. However, I had the time of my life making FCW a thing on the website this year. That enjoyment came to be because of the amazing community the WWE games have. FCW wouldn’t be possible without them. I made an error by not making record of who made who during season 1. That is something I will correct in our inevitable season 2.
Honorable Mention: Resident Evil 2 Remake
It is hard to put a game on this list when I only played 3 hours of it. This is to the game’s credit though. Resident Evil 2 is so good at setting the tension in these dimly lit hallways. It’s probably not healthy to play a game that makes my heart rate stay above 100 BPM. From far away in an incredibly well lit room though, I have no problems calling this game The Free Cheese’s Game of the Year for 2019.
Honorable Mention: Dota 2
I can’t not talk about this game this year. I had a whole freaking summer playing pretty much this game alone. Then, while not playing the game, I would watch streams of the game. I love Dota 2 so much and will continue to play it in future years. I doubt I will be able to spend as much time as I did this year on Dota 2 next year but I will be sure to carve out some time around TI at the very least.
Now on to the list…
The Apple Arcade game that I primarily played on my iPhone. This game easily made the $5 for a month of Apple Arcade worth it. The core gameplay is simple enough but addicting. The RPG elements give this puzzle game some depth and differentiates itself from many other puzzle games. The icing on the cake is the animation of the kills that add an immense amount of satisfaction to a good streak or Jerk kill.
12) Untitled Goose Game
A simple, relaxing and hysterical experience from beginning to end. The carnage a single goose can bring to a small town had me laughing throughout the entire experience. Anyone can enjoy this because of its simplicity and not ever having a game over screen for doing something wrong. Because of this, the game encourages you to wreak havoc in all kinds of ways imaginable.
11) Super Metroid
I’m happy I was finally able to get to this classic this year. I didn’t beat the game as I did end up falling off of it to go to something else but I was close. Despite that I highly enjoyed my time and completely understand why it is the classic it is. I’m happy this made it into The Free Cheese Hall of Fame during our GotY 2019 deliberations.
10) Tetris 99
I don’t know how this works. A battle royale Tetris game sounded crazy this time last year. I never would have thought it would be the only reason to own a Nintendo Online subscription. Tetris is Tetris but the battle royale mechanics put into the game work so well. The continued support is a nice bonus as well.
9) Konami Pixel Puzzle
My first time ever with a Picross type game. I’m sad that it has taken me this long. These types of games are so addicting and fun. This one is great being for free on mobile platforms with very little ad intrusions. The soundtrack is great as well. My one complaint is no cross save across iPhone and iPad but its a very minor and selfish thing.
8) Death Stranding
I came down on the side of really liking this game. I also completely understand everyone’s complaints with this game. The gameplay isn’t revolutionary but it works within the world of the game. I also think about 10 hours can be trimmed from this game but it’s easy to get over that with the bonkers story line Hideo Kojima presents. I enjoyed the payoff at the end and overall enjoyed my time with the game.
7) Shenmue / Shenmue 2
I never understood the appeal of these games. I had always seen random bits of gameplay but they never seemed interesting. If you fall into that category of people as well my suggestion is to just launch the first game and give it an hour or two. The game pulls you right into its world and mechanics. Those mechanics definitely have some age on them but I think they only increase the charm of these games. They are Sega classics for a reason and in 2019 i finally understand why.
6) Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software’s latest game did not disappoint. The new combat system works really well is highly satisfying like any of their other titles. While it doesn’t wow like some other stories this year, the narrative focus this game has is refreshing and does offer some good twist and turns. I would love to see a sequel from this IP.
5) Gears 5
I can’t explain why I liked Gears 5 so much. It’s just a lot of fun to play. It didn’t end all that great but there are some possibilities on how they approach future titles and I’m eager to see those in the future now unlike before.
4) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty is back big time. This reboot/reimagining of the Modern Warfare franchise hits hard with a morally ambiguous campaign. The levels in the campaign are short and very well paced. I never was bored of a mechanic because of this level design. Multiplayer is great as well. The added weight to all the guns feels nice. Most importantly, cross play works really well and hopefully this title can be a pioneer for more major AAA games to embrace it.
This game would have still made the list if it was just a walking simulator through The Old House. The game holds that vibe of an X-Files episode throughout the adventure with Jesse Faden. I’ve never wanted to learn more about a world than I did when playing through this game (this includes Death Stranding). Then throw in, wait I mean pull a chunk of cool powers out of a nearby wall and throw them in to make incredibly fun gameplay. I’m eager for the next chapters of this game to hopefully expand upon the lore and universe Remedy is building.
2) Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
I like Star Wars more than I probably care to admit so that is a huge reason why I loved this game so much. However, the game does so much right. Map design, enemy design and combat all work together so well. I know Star Wars is in the title and you may want to know what Order 66 is but this is a must play for anyone that likes a good action adventure.
Before we get to my favorite game of 2019, I need you all to give this video a like, mash the subscribe button and be sure to ring that bell as well…
I’m kidding of course. But I am going to throw out two must see movies that need to be seen immediately.
Must See Movie: Midsommar
Despite never seeing Ari Aster’s Hereditary, I was anticipating the release of Midsommar since I saw the first trailer. The movie did not disappoint my expectations. The movie is flooded with imagery relating back to the first scene of the movie. Watching Dani struggle with her emotions is a struggle you go through as well. I left the theater that night feeling gross but impressed with this film. Definitely my favorite movie of the year…that’s in English
Must See Movie: Parasite
I’m going to tread carefully here. The less you know the better. A dream scenario happened where I had no idea what the movie was about, knew none of the actors, and all I kept hearing were fantastic things. I bought a ticket to go by myself randomly one evening and it turned out to be a great decision. The subtitles and language barrier became afterthoughts once in you became invested with the narrative so please go and watch this movie.
1) Dota Auto Chess / Dota Underlords
Something about this new genre of games clicks with me so well. I spent extensive time in each this year. My favorite thing about these games are the flow at which they go at. Knowing how to adjust your economy to the way a game is going makes each and every game unique. The constant balancing was a nice touch so the meta never remained the same. I look forward to what Underlords continues to do and what other developers begin entering this market as well.