The Best Games of 2019

We’re a few days away from a new year, which makes this the best time to look back on 2019 and pick out our favorite games of the year.

To make things simpler, and a tad different from the plethora of annual compilations floating about on the web, we’ve sorted our picks by genre or category. Of course, this means we had to leave out several major releases. We’re hoping, however, that our relatively focused compilation will make it easier for you to choose what games to add to your wishlist.

The following picks were made based on a mix of first-hand experiences, critical reception, and player reviews.

Let’s jump right in!

Game of the Year – Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Hidetaka Miyazaki proved his genius yet again this year with Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a Souls-like action/adventure title with incredibly refreshing, fast-paced combat, an excellent aesthetic, and a rich story to boot. The game’s difficulty sparked a divisive debate about accessibility, though that didn’t stop it from bagging awards left, right, and center. If any 2019 release deserves to be called a masterpiece, it’s this one.

Best Multiplayer Game – Apex Legends

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite may have spearheaded the battle royale movement but if any title has truly refined the genre’s core mechanics since then, it’s Respawn Entertainment’s Apex Legends. Many would agree that the character-based BR game has the most satisfyingly fluid movement in the genre and its innovative pinging system inspired its peers to improve their communication mechanics.

Best RPG – The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds became an instant hit following its release, capturing hearts with its relative simplicity, excellent ensemble of characters, and flexibility of its player-controlled narrative. Above all, the game gave us the loveable NPC Parvati Holcomb.

Best Action/Adventure Game – Devil May Cry 5

The Devil May Cry franchise returned to its roots with the fifth installment in the original series, adding a unique new playable character to the mix. The game retains the iconic hack-and-slash, combo-heavy combat and goofy, machismo-laced cutscenes that made players fall in love with the series, rounding things out with an unexpected twist in the story.

Best Fighting Game – Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat made a triumphant return this year with a fresh narrative, new characters, and a “Flawless Block” mechanic that raises the skill cap for the 2.5D fighting game.

Best Horror Game – Resident Evil 2 Remake

Capcom may be onto something with its plans to remake its classic titles, or so the success of this year’s Resident Evil 2 would suggest. The studio recreated the original game from the ground up, with the visuals being brought up to par with the help of its new RE Engine, which also powered 2017’s Resident Evil 7. The over-the-shoulder perspective added an extra layer of dread to the gameplay while story tweaks kept the narrative fresh for franchise veterans.

Best Indie Game – Disco Elysium

With a mind-bending narrative and stellar dialogue to match, Disco Elysium is easily one of the most memorable games of 2019 both in and out of the indie space. In fact, it may very well be among the best works of fiction released through the course of the year – a roughly 50-hour mystery set in a world that is a twisted reflection of ours, experienced from the perspective of a police detective who has lost his memory. While the top-down game does offer a taste of open-world exploration as well as a progression system, it is more an interactive story than a modern role-playing game – one that gets its hooks in you and refuses to let go.

Best Strategy Game – Total War: Three Kingdoms

With Three Kingdoms, the Total War series ventured into ancient China. The turn-based strategy title’s fleshed out campaign, a significantly improved character system, a new Duels system, and stunning visuals made it the year’s best selling game in its category on Steam.

Best Mobile Game – Call of Duty: Mobile

Activision finally brought the full Call of Duty experience to iOS and Android this year with COD: Mobile, amassing over 100 million downloads in the first month following its release. The game offers classic Call of Duty multiplayer modes as well as a fleshed out battle royale experience in addition to the mandatory progression system and a store for cosmetics and other microtransactions. Since its release, Call of Duty: Mobile has amassed over added multiple limited-time multiplayer experiences including the franchise’s iconic Zombies mode.

Do you agree with our picks? Would you have Control, Death Stranding, Outer Wilds, or Gris in your list instead? What are your favorite games of the year? Sound off in the comments below!

Sameed Khan

I write, game, design at times, and revel in sarcasm. You can find me on Twitter.