The Top 5 Missions of 2019

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It’s the last month of 2019, and we’re nearing the festive season. So, in the run up to the XBA/PST Game of the Year Awards, we’ll be looking at some of our favourite stuff in games from the last year.

Continuing our features for the upcoming holiday season, this time around we’re giving you a run-through of some of the standout moments we enjoyed this year. We managed to narrow it down to a series of five missions that left a lasting impression on us and provided some of the game's spicy secret sauce.

We do so love a well constructed mission, and while not all of these strictly fall into that category, we're bending the rules slightly. Should we have called this 'memorable moments' or something else instead? Maybe, but we're sticking with the top five missions. Please proffer your complaints via the usual channels. Thanks!

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order - A Blistering Bracca Opener

As tutorial missions go, the planet of Bracca in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is an absolute cracker. The opening moments have you making your away around the dangerous junk planet, learning the basics of movement and traversal. Everything kicks off in a big way, however, once the Empire’s Inquisitors touch down, and the ridiculous train set piece that follows not only introduces you to the game’s combat mechanics, but it also knocks your socks off. The rain hammering down on the cargo train you’ve hitched a ride on, the glow of your lightsaber as you begin to deflect blaster bolts back at Stormtroopers, the scenery whipping past to remind you that you should not be climbing up the side of something going this fast. It’s pure spectacle, especially once the train begins to fall to pieces, and you find yourself desperately trying to climb the wreckage. It almost feels like a throwback to the cancelled Star Wars 1313 game, especially when you consider how differently the rest of the Fallen Order plays, but for this brief section we got that Uncharted-style Star Wars game that we’d been pining over for years. It’s bloody brilliant.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - 'Cleaning House' in Camden

Playing through the Modern Warfare mission ‘Clean House’ doesn’t feel good. Set in Camden Town (and much like the game’s Piccadilly mission), the whole thing hits a little bit too close to home - literally, for those of us in the London-based Resero office. But you’re not meant to feel good - there’s no glory to be had here, no flag to be planted once you emerge victorious, just a job that needs to be done. As you and your squad slowly make your way through the claustrophobic Camden residence, you’ll have mere moments to work out who is hostile and who isn’t. Some will plead their innocence while attempting to grab a weapon, and in one case a resident being used as a human shield will attempt to attack you the moment you free her. A crying baby soundtracks most of the mission, reminding players how close to the line they are walking - there is at least one innocent here, no matter what. Clean House is, ironically, about getting your hands dirty, and it is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare at its morally grey, uncomfortable best.

The Outer Worlds - Dealing with 'Slaughterhouse Clive'

Embodying almost everything that’s special about The Outer Worlds in a single mission, ‘Slaughterhouse Clive’ has you dealing with so-called ‘Boarst King’ Clive, the grotesque head of a meat manufacturer, plying his grim trade as purveyor of cystipig products. The animals in question are reared in horrible, squalid conditions, before their manky bacon-flavoured tumours are harvested, packaged up and sold. Clive is a nasty git, but how you choose to neutralise him on behalf of the SubLight company’s Catherine Malin, is entirely down to you. You can surreptitiously sabotage Clive’s operation, stealthily infiltrate the C&P Boarst Factory and kill him without being noticed, charge in and kill everyone, or perhaps even broker a shady deal with Clive. It’s this freedom of choice and player agency that made The Outer Worlds such a joy, encapsulated in a single mission. Special mention should also go to the ‘The Secret People’ mission for a similarly macabre approach to a side quest. Let it be said that The Outer Worlds has no shortage of pitch black humour.

Control - Navigating the Ashtray Maze

In the ninth mission of Control titled 'Polaris', Jesse is tasked with tearing through the game’s mysterious Ashtray Maze, an ever-shifting labyrinth that our heroine has to traverse in order to get to the Dimensional Research wing and explore the Hedron Chamber to uncover more of the weirdness residing in the Oldest House. What then unfolds is quite easily one of the best set-pieces of 2019 and the perfect example of Remedy at its finest. Over the years Remedy has made a name for itself by combining fantastical set-pieces with very appropriate musical choices to ramp up the tension, and the Ashtray Maze is exactly that. Everyone remembers the stage fight on the Anderson Farm in Alan Wake, right? Well, the Ashtray maze is an evolution of that, once again welcoming back Old Gods of Asgard to be the accompanying soundtrack. Instead of a slightly frenetic wave-based horde-style defence set-piece, Control ups the ante and has you fighting through Hiss after Hiss as you snake your way through the unpredictable maze. It’s fast-paced, it’s bombastic, it’s in your face and quite honestly it’s one of the best set-pieces not only of 2019, but of this generation.

Outer Wilds - The Hourglass Twins

Mobius Digital’s excellent Outer Wilds shocked everyone when it dropped onto consoles this year - without much in the way of fanfare too - providing players with a mystery chock-full of wonder and mystery. While the Hourglass Twins might not be a mission or even a set-piece per se, due to the nature of the Outer Wilds’ structure, but it’s inventive enough for us to shoehorn it in here. After all, it’s our list and we make up the rules! It’s effectively a set-piece, though, so we’re counting it. The Hourglass Twins are two planets near the centre of the Outer Wilds’ wondrous galaxy: the Ember Twin, which is mostly a rocky attraction; and the Ash Twin, a sandy wasteland that on the face of it is nothing but a lifeless and desolate rock floating in space. What makes these two wonderful planets, is that depending on what time you land on the twin in the 20-minute Groundhog Day-esque cycle, determines what you'll see and gain access to. Get to the Ember Twin early on and you can explore the planet’s cavernous chambers and discover the secrets that lie within, all before the end of the cycle covers it in the sand it sucks from the nearby Ash Twin. Conversely, get to the Ash Twin late in the cycle and you’ll find that the sand that once covered the planet’s surface has now disappeared, uncovering ancient structures that populate the planet’s surface. It’s these kind of unique planets that are there to explore to your heart’s content that make Outer Wilds such an incredible experience.


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Game Info
505 Games


US August 27, 2019

Price: $59.99USD
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