The "Waiting For Ocelot To Review It So Your Opinion Can Be Validated" Award:
I promise I'm going to! I really want to finish Astral Chain and Death Stranding before the end of the year, but I took a break from DS because it was murdering my PS4, and Astral Chain kind of fell by the wayside when I put the Fire Emblem Three Houses cartridge into my Switch and then didn't take it out again for like three months. Speaking of...
Most Unexpected Game That Took Over My Entire Life: Fire Emblem Three Houses
Where did this come from? Why did I buy a turn-based strategy/waifu simulator in the first place, and, next question, why did I love it? I played eighty hours of this thing this year, which was only enough to complete one of the THREE-ISH, KINDA FOUR campaigns on offer, and I genuinely want to go back and play through the other ones. I started an Edelgard run immediately after finishing my first playthrough with Punished Dimitri, and I'm itching to get back to it. I've never played a Fire Emblem before this, didn't follow this one at all, hadn't even seen so much as a trailer, but I bought it on a whim after hearing some interesting stuff about it on a podcast and now here we are. I'm pretty sure this is going to be my runner-up GOTY for 2019. How did this happen?
Game Where It Feels The Best To Kill A Dude: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
So I loved Jedi Fallen Order, but one thing its very Sekiro-inspired combat system makes clear is just how important visual and audio feedback is to a sword-based combat system. Fallen Order is a wonderful game, but it isn't the best about telling you when you're successfully hitting a guy, or when that guy is hitting you. Sometimes you'll be bonking away at a fellow with your lightsabre, only to have him block your combo and starting hitting you, and you won't realise it for a second or two because it's all just kind of a blur of snap-hiss-crackle noises.
But Sekiro? Oh boy, Sekiro. I can still hear that game ringing in my ears. Sekiro's combat has such distinctive audio design to it that you can almost play it with your eyes closed; sword-clashes, enemy barks, music, and this booming CRASH you get when finally break an enemy's posture entirely and can go in for the kill. The game has clearly defined sound effects for a badly-timed parry, an OK parry and a perfect parry, so defending is almost more fun than attacking, and the RUSH of endorphins you get when you finally land that last deathblow on the FOURTH phase of a hard-as-nails final bossfight is just incredible.
Sekiro also has this thing called the Mikiri Counter, where any time an enemy does a lunging, thrusting or charging attack at you you can hit the B button to just stomp the tip of their weapon into the ground, and it's the most wonderfully disrespectful thing. Just UNGH, have a bit o' that, mate. That's what I think of you. UNGH.