I know, I know, I’m later than everyone else doing this, but a lot posted theirs before the year ended so I win. Ahem, anyway, 2019 was a pretty good year for games, wasn’t it? The Switch continued its march for dominance, Capcom made a triumphant return to form, and the first proper whispers of the next generation of consoles began to surface. Oh, and Google released their Stadia thing with all the gusto of a wet fart.
But, that’s not what we’re here for, especially not the Stadia thing; we’re here to celebrate the games of 2019 in all their glory. So here it is – my picks for Games of the Year 2019!
Resident Evil 2
Being a remake of my favourite game of all time, Resident Evil 2 had some rotting, shambling boots to fill, which it managed to do simply in the opening segment. This game forced me to unlearn everything I thought I knew about Leon and Claire’s journey through Raccoon City. From the zombie hoard being a sizeable and legitimate threat, to Mr. X stalking me constantly, my heart rate simply never lowered. Absolutely phenomenal.
AI: The Somnium Files
Possibly my biggest surprise of the year, this title completely blindsided me and left a continued impression on me, long after I finished. A mix of visual novel, puzzle solving and investigation in pretty much equal parts, AI challenges the player to solve the puzzles of the unconscious mind to solve a murder in one of the most gripping narratives I’ve ever experienced. Visual novels have no right being as good as this.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
This had to be chosen, if only because I’m still playing it now, and likely will be for a long time. Shadowbringers is a complete revelation, with a brooding, emotional story, one of the most relatable villains in video game history, and a breathtaking musical score to rival even Uematsu’s work. If you have even a passing interest, you owe it to yourself to play XIV, if only to get to this phenomenal tour-de-force.
New Super Lucky’s Tale
Being a huge fan of the original Xbox One release, when this was announced I would have been happy with a simple port of the title to the Switch. However, what I got was essentially a brand new game. There wasn’t a single aspect of the game left unchanged; with new gameplay mechanics (like the slide), new levels, and a heavily revised game structure. Lucky’s new(ish) outing is an absolute blast.
With a decent, if trope-laden story, some interesting gameplay mechanics that allow the player to run with any build they desire, and one of the best character creators I have ever seen, Code Vein is no slouch. It initially seemed simply to be “anime Dark Souls” but quickly revealed itself to be an engrossing and flexible experience, despite its various flaws. Give me more anime vampires any night of the week.
It’s rare to find a game that has quite the emotional punch that Gris has, and even less likely for that game to not have a single spoken word. A simple puzzle platformer with the slightest amount of Metroidvania influence, Gris features some of the most breathtaking visuals and music in 2019. This isn’t a difficult game by any stretch of the imagination, but is definitely an experience worth having for any player.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi is the best brother. There, I said it. Even if he wasn’t before, he definitely is now following this enjoyable romp. Trading in the actual mansions for a high-rise hotel, the Green Machine finds himself on the wrong side of the ghostly horde (again). His third outing is easily the definitive iteration of the series, with all of the gameplay polished up to practical perfection, and enough new mechanics to keep everything fresh.
So, those were my picks for the Games of the Year 2019, and even these were hard to whittle down, especially given that the fantastic Devil May Cry 5, the thoroughly enjoyable Dead or Alive 6, and the phenomenal Fire Emblem: Three Houses also came out this year. But, what were yours? Do you agree with my list (unlikely) or completely disagree (likely)? Let me know in the comments of this article, or on Twitter (@reuthegamer), and see you next time!