Hardcore’s Picks: Best and Worst Games of the Year

Welcome back for part two of my epic grand finale as I cruise towards my retirement. As I mentioned last time, I am going to jump ahead a couple of weeks and give my choices for the best and worst games of this year. As always I will follow the usual rules that I have applied to in years past, such as no easy targets (including motion control games, mobile games, pay to win cash grabs, etc.) and the actual rankings will be based on games that I have played over the course of the past year.

However, I am going to add two dishonorable mentions for this year. Granted I did not play these titles, nor do I have any intent on doing so, but the way they failed so badly, there is no way they could be ignored unless you write for a mainstream gaming site.

The first dishonorable mention of course goes to the failure that is Google Stadia. Yes, I know I am cheating and going after a complete service rather than a single game, but we know all the issues: input lag, overheating Chromecast Ultras, losing access to your “purchased” games. It just keeps getting worse and worse for the service, and yes I’m still tracking how soon it will be before Stadia gets its inevitable spot on the “Killed By Google” web page.

The second dishonorable mention goes to the bug-ridden WWE 2K10.  Sure I moved on from the WWE 2K series after 2K17 and my own personal dislike over the way the WWE has been run the past few years, but the fact that 2K allowed a game this buggy to be released is inexcusable. Even with getting constant patches the game is not meant for sale. This might have been the first year the game was not developed by Yuke’s, and having Visual Concepts do all the work in just under a year was too much of a task. They should have taken a year off to make a much better product, but with recent news of next year’s game being on a much smaller budget and most of Visual Concepts’ staff leaving, I seriously doubt that will happen.

But, as I said I didn’t play the game so it doesn’t count for my worst of the year, but what does count is…

#1 Worst Game: RBI BASEBALL 19 (MLB Advanced Media, played on Xbox One X)

While we’re on the subject of games not being fixed, when I reviewed RBI 18 I came up with a list of flaws that needed to be fixed for the following year, some of which were even considered fundamentals in baseball. Guess what? NONE of them were fixed in 19, and it just felt like 18 all over again.

Talk about the laziest way to make a game. Sadly it was the only way to play an MLB licensed baseball game unless you owned a PlayStation 4, but now with news that the far better MLB: The Show series is going multiplatform, we won’t be stuck with just RBI titles anymore!

What about the best games that I played this year? Well you don’t need to ask any more because I’m also going to give them to you.

#5 Best Game: RIVER CITY GIRLS (WayForward, played on Xbox One X)

Once again, WayForward takes a series I played a lot of back in the NES days and makes it awesome. Based on the Kunio-Kun series (and more specifically, based on the NES classic River City Ransom,) River City Girls turns the tables around and this time makes Kunio and Riki the kidnapped victims and it’s up to their girlfriends Masako and Kyoko to locate them Not only does this game play truly like a modernized version of those NES classics, it also includes guest characters from the Double Dragon series. Hearing Abobo say that he needed the work is just hilarious, and having both the Game Grumps (Arin “Egoraptor” Hanson and Dan “Danny Sexbang” Avildan) as both Jimmy and Billy Lee respectively was nothing short of perfect. But most importantly, the game is just plain fun, and helped to crave my 2D side scrolling beat em up action, at least until Streets of Rage 4 comes out next year.

#4 Best Game: MORTAL KOMBAT 11 (Netherrealm Studios/WB Games, played on Xbox One X)

Speaking of fighting games, I still can’t get over how good Mortal Kombat 11 turned out. Even with all the usual “this game has microtransactions and you need to pay to unlock everything” whining we get from the mainstream press (most of which I countered in a Didn’t Spend a Dime episode,) the Mortal Kombat series never got old and with the constantly updating Towers of Time (which have also been made easier after initial complaints) I keep going back to it. Add to it the six new characters released in the Kombat Pack (despite still waiting for the Joker and Spawn) and I know I’ll be going back to MK11 for a long time.

#3 Best Game: DEVIL MAY CRY 5 (Capcom, Played on PC via Steam)

Again, this was a huge surprise. I wasn’t a fan of Devil May Cry 4, but 5 more than made up for it. Three characters to play as, a ton of moves to unlock, and one of the most amazing opening sequences in gaming history helped to make this game so much fun to play. Plus with all the difficulty levels, it gives anyone a chance to play, even those who never played a Devil May Cry title before. But of course, there’s always the “Hell and Hell” levels for those who are truly sadistic.

#2 Best Game: STAR WARS: JEDI FALLEN ORDER (Respawn/Electronic Arts, Played on Xbox One X)

Be honest, who saw this one coming? After all, EA has not had a proven track record with Star Wars games. In fact, Battlefront 2 was my pick for the worst game of 2017 because of all the forced pay to win microtransactions. But here we are two years later, we now have a single player EA Star Wars title, and an extremely good one at that! Sure many are going to claim it as a Tomb Raider meets Dark Souls rip-off, but they really shouldn’t! Exploring all of the planets is quite the task, and some of the Force based combat can be very challenging, but in the end the results are well worth it. I am very happy to see this game be as successful as it is, because it proves once and for all to Electronic Arts that people DO want single player games, and huge props to Respawn for sticking to their guns and making sure this was released!

#1 Best Game: THE OUTER WORLDS (Obsidian/Private Division, played on Xbox One X and PC via Xbox Game Pass)

Speaking of epic single player games, why don’t we post one that was developed by the same studio that worked on Fallout: New Vegas and set it in a corporate themed sci-fi planet hopper setting? All of the elements that worked in New Vegas are made even better this time around and I couldn’t have been any more happy with playing a new IP that is as engrossing and enjoyable as the Outer Worlds was. I will admit though in my first playthrough on the Xbox One X that I didn’t explore as much nor did I unlock all the crew that was available, but that is being rectified with my PC playthrough, and even going through it’s a second time, it feels just as good as the first long play. I can’t wait to see what the future brings to this amazing game series.

And with that out of the way, there’s only one thing left: my most memorable moments of my tenure here at GiN. The true end of an era comes in two weeks!

Currently Playing: Jedi Fallen Order

Waiting For: DOOM Eternal, Cyberpunk 2077

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