2019 was a great year for games. And while 2020 is looking to be a great year, too, I thought we’d take some time and take a look at some our favorite games we played through 2019. This list is in no particular order.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Coming from now legendary From Software, maker of the Soulsborne games comes a mechanically great game that’s challenging in a way that even Dark Souls fans haven’t played before. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice takes the formula that was established in the Souls series, and changes it up just enough to make it completely unique. Parkour, and the use of the prosthetic limb made for unprecedented movement, and whole new ways to die.
With great bosses, levels, and enemies, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is easily one of the best games of the year. And if it is any indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait for Elden Ring.
Call of Duty Modern Warfare
How can Modern Warfare not be on this list? From its amazing, bombastic single player campaign to its world class multiplayer—you really can’t go wrong. Rebooting Modern Warfare was a risky move, but it really paid off. The Season One content drop was huge—weapons, maps, and more. If this is the kind of support Modern Warfare will receive in the near future, it looks like the premier multiplayer FPS.
VR Perfection. Some people used to say most VR games are just tech demos, and that the technology isn’t quite there for a AAA experience…well, Beat Saber won’t be changing any minds in that way, but it certainly does a great job utilizing standing VR to its full potential. Part rhythm game, part lightsaber training, Beat Saber is not only fun, but it feels empowering. And it’s a great workout.
Slay the Spire
When Slay the Spire was in early access, my friend kept insisting I play it. I kept saying, “nah, I’m going to wait until its full release.” I have regrets that I denied myself almost an entire year of Slay the Spire before finally deciding to play it. Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding card game with roguelike elements. You dungeon crawl, and build a set of skills from one of three starting characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Not only is the gameplay addictive, the card combos that are possible are utterly satisfying. I’ll be playing Slay the Spire for the foreseeable future.
Resident Evil 2
Ah yeah, the remake that spawned one of my favorite memes of the year: (examples here and here) But it was also an amazing game. Whether you played the original or not, Resident Evil 2 Remake is essential, and now what I consider the definitive version of the game. We can’t wait for Resident Evil 3 Remake.
Baba is You
Baba is game. Game is Good. Baba is Game and Good.
Baba is You is one of the most unique puzzlers I’ve ever encountered—and one of my favorite games I’ve played all year. Deviously simple mechanics lead to extremely clever puzzle solutions.
Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries
Probably one of the least perfect games on this list, I can’t help but add it as a personal favor to myself.
Since I got my review copy at the beginning of December, Mechwarrior 5 has completely ruled my life. It’s exactly the game I wanted when I was getting sick of Mechwarrior Online.
Playing as a stompy robot never felt so good, looked so good, or was so fun.
UI, story and production issues aside, Mechwarrior 5 manages to eke onto this list for its gameplay alone. Addictive, and satisfying while full of visual treats and attention to detail. This is one of the few games I find myself wishing for a DLC—and soon.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add A Plague Tale to the list this year, but the more I thought about it, the more it deserved it.
A Plague Tale: Innocence features a great, scary and twisty story that was supremely well acted as well as visuals that I haven’t gotten out of my mind since I’ve played, and a pants-on-head insane final boss fight that, while not perfect, was a perfect cap to the story.
Outer Wilds is one of those treasures of a game that I feel was overshadowed by much-lesser games. I mean, move aside Outer World, Outer Wilds is the best “Outer” game of the year by a long shot.
While Outer Wilds has its personal pan-sized star system to explore, it manages to cram more wonder and beauty into the small (ish) space than space games billions of times larger (lookin’ at you Elite Dangerous.)
Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game is a no brainer for this list. Simply put–it’s pure joy to play. You’re in a storybook world that’s perfectly scored, full of flowers and villagers, lakes, ponds, rivers, pubs and parks and your only job is to wreak havoc. Be a sneaky goose and steal yourself a picnic, be a rotten goose and frighten children or trap gardeners, perform, terrify–and hear the satisfying sound of the pencil crossing your objectives off one by one until you get to the final, mots ridiculous task. Untitled Goose Game is great for people of all ages and experience, and it’ll absolutely make you laugh–but it’ll also make you think. There’s a reason this game took off, and you should make sure you don’t miss it, or some of the cool Tshirts that have been floating around the internet since its release.
Children of Morta
Not often do I latch onto roguelikes like I did Children of Morta. Perhaps it’s not just its roguelike nature, but its ability to feel like you’re always moving forward—and that there’s always more story to discover—even if you’re not blazing through runs. Its combat is incredibly satisfying, and with a dodge roll that reminds me of my time with the console version of Diablo 3, it isn’t just one of my favorite roguelikes, but one of my favorite ARPGs as well.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
This is probably one of my favorite co-op experiences of the year. Luigi’s Mansion 3 is full of fun puzzles and challenges to overcome with the help of Gooigi. I found Luigi’s Mansion 3 to be the most fun with played with a friend. And who doesn’t love Luigi’s perseverance in the face of fear? While it has the DNA of a survival horror game, it is cartoonish and great fun for kids and adults alike.
For as controversial as Death Stranding is, it was a no-brainer for me to put on this list. I loved Death Stranding¬—from every strange story beat, to every kg I had to lug over nearly impassable terrain. Death Stranding incorporates near-multiplayer in a really neat way that makes the world feel alive, and Kojima’s uniquely strange brand of storytelling has a very satisfying payoff if you stick it through to the end.