Elise Favis, Gene Park, Mike Hume and Mikhail Klimentov
THE WASHINGTON POST – As 2020 rolled in, and our thoughts turn to New Year’s resolutions and new console generations, we thought it useful to reflect back on 2019, and think about the games we played and enjoyed.
Our list below, of course, is not exhaustive. It’s not necessarily a list of 2019′s best games, or the games we considered most impactful.
Instead, these are personal reflections, touching upon individual likes and dislikes. We hope you learn something new about the games we’ve chosen, and through them, about the team at Launcher as well.
Elise Favis: Disco Elysium
In Disco Elysium, you aren’t just shaping how the protagonist acts, but also how he thinks and what he stands for morally and politically. Your character’s thoughts are vocal party members swirling in his head, squabbling over what he should and shouldn’t do. Every action has an audience. These thoughts can be upgraded like skill points, making even his ideas and sense of self malleable. This level of detail made me fall in love with the game.
Gene Park: Resident Evil 2
With every developer these days aiming for the next big open-world game, Resident Evil 2′s confined police station and nearby areas were like a salve for me. Capcom’s Research and Development Division 1 didn’t just graft modern camera into the Resident Evil formula. The world design – placement of enemies and puzzles – is the exemplification of how video games are a series of rewarding choices. Capcom remembered that its original survival horror games depended on resource management, puzzles and atmosphere. The RE Engine provides the most gruesome zombies ever committed to pixel, all in a high-quality, smooth package. And the unstoppable Mr X monster reminded us why Resident Evil was once considered the horror champion, with his footsteps battering the empty city as he stalks you.
Mike Hume: Vader Immortal
Even Call of Duty: Modern Warfare didn’t bring me the same levels of joy as when I first played Vader Immortal, the Star Wars Virtual Reality (VR) game from ILMxLAB and Disney Interactive.
While I didn’t think the game itself was that wonderful, The Force Unleashed wowed me when it came to the Wii because I could at least wave my hand/remote and see my hero brandish his light-sabres. Vader Immortal takes that to the next level, giving users a full on light-sabre dojo in addition to the main story.
The immersion of the VR is amazing when you see a Star Destroyer cruise over top of your ship, or when Vader himself strides up in front of you.
Mikhail Klimentov: Apex Legends
Enter Apex Legends. From the ground up, the game is built for speed and mobility.
Climbing and vaulting feels great, and the game’s slide mechanic is so intuitive that I would sometimes try, out of habit, to use the slide in other games, to no avail.
Unlike Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), the world of the game felt attuned to the game-play design: A world built for speed accommodated play that centred on speed. PUBG’s maps, by contrast, felt dense and leaden, intended for careful plotting, not Quake-like acrobatics.