2019 has been a spectacular year for gaming. Not only have there been spectacular new IPs launched, but some of the most beloved console and PC franchises have gotten new entries.
With all the great games, though, it can be hard to figure out exactly what to play. If you're only going to play ten games from this year, it should be those on the list below.
If there's an award for sheer, bloody-minded refusal to leave the public consciousness, it almost certainly has to go to this game. While the Untitled Goose Game is a quick, somewhat basic mayhem simulator/puzzle game, it resonated with audiences this year.
it's just beautiful to run around as a devious goose
Perhaps it's something to do with the ability to cause some generally cheeky mayhem or maybe it's the fact that it's just beautiful to run around as a devious goose. Whatever the reason, this game is one of the most important to release this year and one that earns its spot as one of the best of the best.
While 2017 and 2018 might have been the years of Fortnite, Apex Legends was the first game to threaten the reigning king's crown. Though it might not have kept up its initial level of popularity, it did prove that there were still twists on the battle royale genre that could make it viable outside of its biggest name. Apex Legends took what should've felt like a cash-in on a leading genre and turned into something that has helped move the type forward.
Apex Legend's team-based approach split the difference between Fortnite and Overwatch, with its unique characters bringing something more to the table than simple skins. Fortnite has already lifted its resurrection mechanic, and its ping mechanic has been the talk of the gaming world. Apex Legends is a winner.
Gears of War was one of those series that was definitive for the Xbox 360 generation but didn't quite find its footing on the move to the Xbox One. Though the fourth entry in the series moved the timeline forward and introduced new characters, it wasn't until this year's iteration that the game defined its original mission statement.
The combination of an excellent single-player story and some great multiplayer modes made this the best iteration in the series since Gears of War 3. There are plenty of ways to play and even more ways to progress, making it an excellent look at what Microsoft can do with one of its leading franchises.
The Outer Wilds came out of nowhere to surprise players in 2019 with not only its charming atmosphere but also with its fantastic gameplay mechanics. A game in which time is not only an element but a significant mechanic, The Outer Wilds tasks players with preventing a catastrophe through a Groundhog Day type loop.
The great part about The Outer Wilds is the feeling of discovery. Every new cycle will teach you a little bit more about the world and about what's going on. You'll come incredibly close to victory, again and again, only to find out that a new mechanic or a new challenge is in your way. Figuring out how all the pieces work together is a fantastic experience.
Roguelikes are a dime a dozen these days, but the very best of them are still worth talking about. Void Bastards was another game with a reasonably low profile upon release, but anyone who tried out this game quickly found it to be an addictive and entertaining journey through the genre.
the dark sense of humor is what makes this game shine
The game takes a reasonably cynical spin on the roguelike genre, placing players in control of a series of expendable prisoners while they take on a series of dangerous - and often stupid - tasks. Learning how to balance the various needs in the game, along with improving your arsenal, is fun, but the dark sense of humor is what makes this game shine.
There's no good reason why Tetris 99 should've been a particularly good game. Tetris games have been playing to a core constituency of hardcore players for years now, with any causal offerings merely being more of the same game that's graced virtually every gaming platform for decades. Tetris 99 gets a fantastic amount of credit just for doing something new - and the fact that it's fun is the icing on the cake.
A surprisingly quick and competitive multiplayer game, Tetris 99 puts a lot of joy back in the tried-and-true formula. Though it can be fiendishly hard actually to win, virtually any player can be competitive. It's one of the best competitive games released this year.
Just barely considered a game of 2019, this game is perhaps as much a contender for game of the year because of what it represents as it is for its actual content. Death Stranding is nothing short of a magnum opus for Hideo Kojima, a vindication of his exit from Konami and a fantastic look at what games can be like when one creator's vision is allowed to breathe with relatively few constraints.
Though not perfect, the game is undoubtedly unique. It has a handful of excellent features that should make their ways into other games, while its atmosphere is one of a kind. Though there's a certain sense of disappointment that comes with the reality of games like this, Death Stranding nonetheless managed to be something exceptional.
Fire Emblem has always been a top-notch strategy series. Its first entry on the Switch, though, was something that blew its previous efforts out of the water. Not only does the game managed to ensure that all of its mechanics are as tight as ever, but it manages to weave a host of intriguing stories along the way.
Fire Emblem has always had some standout characters, but this year makes it clear that there's so much more you can do in that general universe. The relationship sim elements are the real reason to come to this game, giving you a reason to care about the massive cast of characters.
When Remedy releases a game, it's guaranteed to be ambitious. Even the games that have misfires at least try to do something new and Remedy always learns from its mistakes. It feels like the pinnacle of this learning process, at least in recent years, was reached with the development of Control.
It's a fantastic third-person shooter, a tremendous story game
Control manages to do a lot of things well. It's a fantastic third-person shooter, a tremendous story game, and a great demonstration of the level of weird that you can get from the company that made Alan Wake and Quantum Break. Control takes everything you've loved about Remedy's other games and perfects them, creating an experience that just can't be missed.
With its fantastic pedigree and long track record, you'd think that Obsidian would get a free pass when it came to games. Unfortunately, some bad partnerships and rushed games have made players wonder if Obsidian could craft something great when standing on their own. After playing The Outer Worlds, the answer to that question is a resounding 'yes.'
A solid mix of Fallout type mechanics and dark sci-fi humor, The Outer Worlds is as close to perfection as you're going to get in the genre. Funny, full of heart and still fun to play, this is one of Obsidian's best.