2019 is almost over and 2020 has a lot of promising titles on the horizon. But before we break out the champagne and party glasses to ring in the new year, the team here at Turtle Beach wanted to reflect back on some of our best gaming moments over the last 12 months. From Marvel’s Spider-Man to DMC5, then, of course, God of War, Death Stranding, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – there’s a lot to unpack. And don’t even get us started on all of the incredible indies we’ve gotten to experience along the way.
Since Turtle Beach has always been about community, we decided we wanted to join you all in the celebration. We hear your favorite picks, your concerns for 2020, your joyous gaming moments and we love you for it. So … we decided to join you! Now that we’re all here in mutual gaming fandom, let’s dive right in with some of our staff picks!
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We’ve got the writing team here that gives you weekly news updates and deep-dive features, now we’re giving you our unfiltered fandom love.
Dan Whitehead – Untitled Goose Game
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved sandbox games. Yes, the obvious big sprawling ones like GTA, but more specifically the smaller, quirkier sandbox titles where you’re given a small densely-packed world and allowed to run riot in it. That was an experience Untitled Goose Game promised, and it absolutely delivered the goods. From its perfectly simple concept – “it is a lovely day in the village and you are a horrible goose” – it effortlessly span out dozens of hilarious scenarios in which your honking, snatching feathered alter ego could ruin the whimsy of a quaint English town.
If Untitled Goose Game only offered meme-friendly slapstick, that would make it fun but not Game of the Year material. What tips it into that category for me was the fact that it’s also a really great adventure game, packed with head-scratching inventory puzzles. Beneath the avian anarchy lies a lineage that stretches back to Monkey Island. It’s a short game, but one that keeps evolving and changing the more times you play through – tasks become harder, new and more obscure puzzles are revealed, speed runs are encouraged. It’s funny, it’s memorably silly, but there’s a beating heart of rock solid gameplay inside. No other game has delighted me as much as that horrible goose this year.
Liana Ruppert – Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Before Fallen Order launched, I was in a conundrum between Afterparty and Devil May Cry 5 as my top pick for the year. Then I joined the desecrated Jedi order in Respawn’s latest title and I instantly fell in love.
When Respawn first announced Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, I’ll admit – I had doubts. The protagonist didn’t look too special and the true beauty of this game was still well-hidden. I played a little of the game before launch during a press event and was immediately hooked and then when it launched? It was a straight-playthrough, no stops.
Cal Kestis is an incredible protagonist because he’s not incredible. He’s relatable, a little goofy, and just trying to make it day-to-day. Paired with the canon-adherant narrative rooted in familiar Star Wars lore and a cast of NPCs that were beyond memorable, it was a stunning Star Wars adventure that satiated my hardcore inner fangirl while still standing firm in its own right enough for me to feel comfortable recommending it to noobies not that familiar with the Lucas franchise. Whether you’re a veteran or a newcomer to Star Wars, Fallen Order definitely hit that sweet spot for me.
But a close second was definitely Afterparty, I mean … come on. You literally have to escape Hell by outdrinking Satan himself.
Morgan Shaver – Tetris 99
Henry Stenhouse – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
If you’d asked me halfway through the year that kicked off with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice and Resident Evil 2, I never would have thought that another release could have snatched the top spot on my personal list. Yet here I am with just a few weeks left in 2019 and I can’t stop playing or thinking about Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The series’ debut on Switch took some serious risks with the franchise, branching beyond pure battles to include visual novel style relationships, student training and monastery management as core elements to the game.
Well the gamble most definitely paid off, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ cast of characters has proven just as appealing as its battles. There’s an impressive degree of heart and depth to the stories on offer in a world filled with young adults who are struggling to deal with the faults of the previous generations. Tales of trauma or abuse are handled with surprising care, though even through dark events an air of positivity and hope for the future is always retained.
Working through the weeks of the Golden Deer campaign became the go-to evening entertainment for me and my partner in the weeks after release, gossiping over which characters we liked or hated, and more importantly who we were planning to romance (it was always going to be Claude). The distinct campaigns of Fire Emblem: Three Houses make for an extremely generous package, and I imagine I’ll be slowly working my way through the Blue Lions and Black Eagles routes for several months to come. Speaking of which, I’m late for a Tea Party with Dimitri, so you’ll have to excuse me!
Turtle Beach Core Team
The writers are just a very small part of the Turtle Beach team. From marketing to social media strategy, the group of people behind the TB name are fierce in their love for gaming and couldn’t wait to gush about their Game of the Year picks.
Erin Steel, Product Manager – Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
A sweet combination of diverse quests, awesome world/scenery exploration, and an almost “God of War” like story telling, I dub this one game of the year because of the above, and the way it fits into the Star Wars canon (in my opinion, is way more interesting and explores different worlds… unlike the movies).
Edwin Rim, Engineering – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
This may be a bit biased choice on my part since I’ve always enjoyed the Fire Emblem franchise since its first release more than a decade ago, but I truly believe this is one of the best games in the series. It has a level of story that I believe has not been reached since the first Fire Emblem, but also incorporates battle and support systems that were introduced in the later games. It also gives the player a chance to play through alternate storylines based on the house they choose to play as, and allows a level of attachment to the characters that many other games do not have these days. Combine that with the face that in the harder game modes, a character is lost forever if lost in battle, and you can find yourself starting a battle over just to keep that one favorite from being lost. If you are a fan of fantastic storytelling, beautiful art, or just the classic excitemtnt of a turn based strategy war game, I believe Fire Emblem will be one of the top picks for you too.
Ashley Gaspard, Brand – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
My game of the year is Fire Emblem: Three Houses. I wished it would have been Pokemon since I was looking forward to it more, but I had way more fun with Fire Emblem. I happily put over 100 hours in that game and got thru each playthrough. Great game with a lot of content, memorable characters and high re-playability.
Andy Ho, Product Manager – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
So many games this year……but the one that has stood out to me has to be the new Call of Duty. As much as I enjoyed running around pretending I was a cowboy (RDR2) or waving a lightsaber around working on becoming a Jedi Master, Modern Warfare is the game that has stood out to me and it has really renewed my love for the franchise.
In high school, I remember staying up late playing competitive matches with friends hoping to break into the world of esports. That never happened…but it did lead me to fall in love with Call of Duty. Since then, I have transitioned to PC gaming and have given every Call of Duty a shot with none of them really hitting the spot. Modern Warfare has finally accomplished that and brought me back to competitive years.
This Call of Duty has really felt smooth overall and seems like movements, killstreaks, perks, and shooting behavior have gone back to a good place. In addition, with adding a seamless cross-platform experience, it has allowed me to connect with all of my friends from any platform. Now back to equipping two claymores and sitting in corners waiting for people to walk by…oh wait, is that not how to play this game?
Justin Musser , Social – Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblems debut to console from its home on the handheld market made a big splash in 2019 and it is easy to see why. Combining a lot of the formula from past hits like Awakening, while avoiding pitfalls of some of the not so stellar Fire Emblems (We luckily do not have to buy 3 versions for this game to play all the story paths unlike a certain…other…FE), we got a solid entry to the long-running and much-beloved series.
Three Houses included some juicy DLC in a season pass with costumes, extra characters, new maps, new scenarios and even tie ins to its other mega-successful Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game. What more could you ask for? Multiple story paths? A completionists dream (nightmare?) in conversation/supports, characters and story. This SRPG shines in a year where RPGs were not necessarily at the forefront of anyone’s mind. Let alone one on the Switch.
PS: Golden Deers rule
Juan Jimenez, Social – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
This year was a pretty tame year for good games, in my opinion, but the best that I played was Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It’s a good enough From Software game that has enough highs to keep you going but doesn’t quite reach the same heights as say Bloodborne. Besides Sekiro, Tetris Effect in VR was pretty awesome and it’s something that anyone can try out and be blown away.
Vincent Fazio, Social – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From the very first ogre to the Demon of Hatred, and all the guardian apes in between, FromSoft’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is filled with more than enough insanely difficult boss battles to slam your shinobi head against. Fights that at first might seem like an impossible task, until you hone your skills and level up your actual real-life reflexes and ninja instincts. There is nothing quite like finally taking down a frustratingly tough boss, pulling off the final deathblow, and proving to yourself that you are now – without a shadow of a doubt – Better Than You Were Before.™
Keith Hennessey, Comms & Partnerships – Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
It probably won’t be everyone’s top pick but for me Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is my choice for game of the year. I’ve been waiting a long time for a strong story-driven Star Wars game and that’s exactly what we got here. BattleFront II didn’t quite hit the mark for me but Fallen Order is much more along the lines of The Force Unleashed – making you feel like a true knight of the Jedi Order.
Respawn has created a story and cast of characters that fit comfortably into the Star Wars universe with quirky droid BD-1 a particular favourite of mine. I’m sure he’d have seen a lot more love if the Mandalorian’s ‘Baby Yoda’ hadn’t been so damn adorable!
Not 100% flawless by any means the gameplay mechanics are solid and if you’re a fan of the likes of Tomb Raider and Uncharted you’ll feel right at home here. I’m not one for 80-hour long games so Fallen Order’s duration, pacing and focus on single-player action instead of countless online modes really appealed – plus making you feel like a badass Jedi never gets old.
If you’re looking for a solid Star Wars single-player experience that has some pleasing character cameos, satisfying action sequences and plenty of exploration of a galaxy far, far away then this is the game you’re looking for.
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