The holiday season is traditionally when gamers look back on the amazing and wonderful experiences that defined the year. However, looking back on 2019 feels like surveying a landfill; all of the games that everyone told you were good were, in fact, not good. From bloated, big-budget blockbusters to desperation-fueled indie darlings, this was another year of universal disappointment. You are free to disagree with me – but you’d be wrong, and I’m going to explain why. Here are the many ways in which this year’s popular games were bad, removing the factual basis for your enjoyment.
10. Resident Evil 2
Resident Evil 2 is a reimagining of an old PlayStation game, but with major changes and innovations. For example, the bad guy wears a hat now. However, fans will still find beloved elements intact, like clunky controls and cheap scares. Those legacy “features” aren’t diluted by the gritty atmosphere or gameplay strides that helped Resident Evil 7 revitalize the franchise and renew fans’ interest. Naturally, Capcom scrapped that approach and went back to the formula that made Resident Evil stagnate in the first place.
Anyone who tells you they like Control is lying. The story is impossibly weird and incoherent, but people are afraid to look stupid, so they pretend to understand it. Enemies called “the Hiss”? Brilliant! An ashtray maze? Yes, moment of the year! Transforming weapons? Sure, makes sense! Control is basically what the Men in Black movies would be if no one edited them – and all of this strangeness serves as a diversion to distract players from the lackluster gunplay and budget-grade Jedi mind tricks.
8. The Outer Worlds
This game doesn’t blow your hair back with good graphics, inventive quest design, or a massive world. Instead, the team at Obsidian focuses on one thing: avoiding catastrophic failure. As long as The Outer Worlds didn’t actively alienate players with technical disasters and bad ideas (like Mass Effect Andromeda and Fallout 76 did), it could have scraped by as a mere archaic echo of better games and still be celebrated as a savior – which is exactly what happened. “It didn’t poison my love for sci-fi RPGs” is the highest praise The Outer Worlds deserves.
7. Disco Elysium
Among the many forms of entertainment available today, only games offer a unique interactive element that makes stories come alive. No title illustrates that like Disco Elysium. Truly, what other media allows you to sit quietly for hours as you read text? Well, okay, books do that … but when have you ever seen a book weave a compelling murder mystery? Oh, right, that’s a whole literary genre. At least Disco Elysium stars a damaged, drug-addicted detective – good luck finding that character type anywhere else!
6. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Do you get mad when too many other people enjoy the games you also enjoy? Then you will love Sekiro because hardly anyone can tolerate its obtuse design and punishing mechanics. If you can convince yourself these are actually good things then Sekiro may be your favorite From Software game ever. Trimming away boring elements like cool gear and flexible character progression, this adventure requires pure skill, determination, and a gnawing hunger for validation from strangers online.
5. World of Warcraft Classic
World of Warcraft originally launched over 15 years ago. In the time since then, the team at Blizzard has been working to improve the experience with a multitude of updates and expansions. And yet, players ignored those and flocked to WoW Classic – an ancient snapshot of MMO history full of generic quests and grindy progression. The lesson here is this: Developers should stop trying to iterate and improve their games. Instead, they should just release one thing, then release the same exact thing 15 years later while cowering behind nostalgia.
4. Apex Legends
This popular battle royale (no, not that one) is full of quirky characters who team up to claim victory. After making an initial splash after its surprise announcement and release, people eventually realized that Apex Legends is not Titanfall 3, and then the hype dwindled. But if your favorite battle royale is having a black-hole event or something, well, then you should probably play PUBG or Call of Duty’s Blackout mode instead. But if those servers are also down, Apex Legends is a game that works.
3. Pokémon Sword & Shield
Look. It’s Pokémon.
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
As a new professor at an elite military academy, your time in Fire Emblem: Three Houses is all about strategy, character development, and having creepy tea parties with your underage students. The game tells an epic tale that you need to play through three times if you want to see the story from all angles. However, if you have 100 hours to spare for that, maybe you should volunteer for your local school district instead of trying to make a difference in the lives of fake students.
1. Untitled Goose Game
People just will not shut up about how charming this game is. Don’t be fooled. You stumble around colorful and cartoony worlds, but that’s where the fun stops. The story makes absolutely no sense and is prohibitively complex for a game that’s just supposed to be a romp about a mischievous goose. Plus, this so-called “goose” is actually a duck, and he isn’t even the main character. Instead, you control some spikey-haired doofus who – while still very annoying – is not the hilarious kind of annoying. Kids might think it’s a good game, though.