2019 was quite long, over all. A full year long, to be exact. That means that a ton of games got released, good, bad, 7/10, and completely mediocre. Sifting through all of them to see what’s interesting and wishlistable would be a hassle.
So we browsed through the big-time games launched this year and picked the ones that are absolutely worth taking a closer look at. Without much further ado,
|RESIDENT EVIL 2||2019-01-25||Action||83%||Read more|
|Metro Exodus||2019-02-15||Adventure||4A GAMES||88%||Read more|
|Devil May Cry 5||2019-03-08||Action||87%||Read more|
|Sekiro : Shadows Die Twice - GOTY Edition||2019-03-22||Adventure||Read more|
|A Plague Tale: Innocence||2019-05-14||Adventure||Asobo Studio||86%||Read more|
|Total War: THREE KINGDOMS||2019-05-23||Strategy||53%||Read more|
|Control | Standard Edition||2019-08-27||Action||78%||Read more|
|Code Vein||2019-09-27||Action||83%||Read more|
|Disco Elysium||RPG||Read more|
|Untitled Goose Game||2019-09-20||Indie||22%||Read more|
|The Outer Worlds||2019-10-25||Action RPG||Obsidian Entertainment||72%||Read more|
|Red Dead Redemption 2||2019-11-05||Action, Adventure||59%||Read more|
|Baba Is You||2019-03-13||Indie||13%||Read more|
|Valfaris (PC)||2019-10-10||Indie||94%||Read more|
|Outer Wilds||2019-05-28||52%||Read more|
|Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order||2019-11-15||Adventure||Respawn Entertainment||82%||Read more|
|Hell Let Loose||2019-06-06||Indie||35%||Read more|
|JUMP FORCE||2019-02-15||Action||56%||Read more|
|DiRT Rally 2.0||2019-02-26||Simulation||62%||Read more|
Resident Evil 2 Remake
|What’s so special?||Excellent remake of a classic title|
After the warm reception of Resident Evil 1’s remake, it was just a matter of time before the second game in the series got a new version as well. And surprisingly, it was also great! It proved that good ideas age well and hold up even two decades later. Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield make for great protagonists, regardless of which one you choose to play as.
We shouldn’t also forget about Mr. X, who has become a victim of numerous mods created by the community, transforming the imposing lab experiment from a grey-skinned muscle man into Thomas the Tank Engine (inevitably), a Smurf-sized version of himself, and the famous Untitled Goose. And above all, RE2 remake is still plenty scary.
|Genre:||Battle royale, first-person shooter|
|What’s so special?||Unexpected hero-based battle royale|
It’s not Titanfall 3 many people are still holding out for, but it’s a really good game in its own right, and it came seemingly out of nowhere. Apex Legends quickly gained popularity, carving for itself a piece of the battle royale market dominated by drab PUBG and cartoonish Fortnite. With a diverse cast of Legends and Titanfall-tested great traversal, it’s quite a unique experience.
Apex also gained some respect for its excellent non-verbal communication system, using context-sensitive Pings to let the teammates know about enemies, loot, and more. If you don’t feel PUBG’s restrained aesthetic and Fortnite looks too childish and wacky, Apex Legends is something of a middle ground, with an added bonus of heroes with unique kits.
|What’s so special?||Another great adaptation of Glukhovsky’s works|
Metro Exodus’ title is right on the money, as this time the game left the Moscow Metro full-time to go on a sightseeing journey in a train instead. Artyom and his family discover they’ve been misled, misinformed, and generally bamboozled, and try to find themselves in a newly redefined reality and a really nice train.
Exodux mixed linear missions with a more open, sandboxy maps to spice up the experience and let you loose on the world to a greater degree than the previous games did, and to let you scavenge materials for its crafting system. The full journey takes an in-game year, so Artyom and friends will see several seasons and many scenery changes along the way.
Devil May Cry 5
|Genre:||Action-adventure, hack and slash|
|What’s so special?||The first main series entry in eleven years|
Devil May Cry 5 is, by all accounts, a return to form of the series. It has everything the series is loved for. Its combat system is great, with three very distinct playable characters (Dante, Nero, and newcomer V), very high skill ceiling and fancy new toys like Nero’s Devil Breakers and Dante’s ridiculous weapons. Scoring triple-S combos feels, looks, and SOUNDS greater than ever.
The storyline doesn’t fall behind, either. It’s very much a family story, confirming the fans’ long-harboured suspicions, and resolving some arcs that had been lingering since DMC4. Picking up five years after the previous game’s finale, Nero’s more mature (and angry), and Dante is more rugged than ever, and although he still has his silly streak, overall he’s less easy going.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
|What’s so special?||Combat system very different from Dark Souls|
After one Demon Souls, three Dark Souls, and one Bloodborne, FromSoftware decided to shake things up a little bit and come up a combat system that can’t really be mistaken for that of Soulsborne games. It also happens to be set in a fantastical version of Japan’s Sengoku period, rather than a fictitious setting like Lordran or Yharnam.
The key to mastering Sekiro is getting the hang of its parry system, which throws enemies of balance and opens them up for devastating killing blows. The game ditched Soulsborne action RPG elements of equipment collecting and stat improvements, replacing them with crafting and getting new toys as the story progresses.
A Plague Tale: Innocence
|Genre:||Action-adventure, stealth, survival horror|
|What’s so special?||An interesting, dramatic game with child protagonists|
A story about two siblings trying to survive in a plague-ridden 14th century France sounds like an idea for a book more than for a game. And yet it turned out to be a pretty damn good production, with heavy atmosphere, and using the historical setting to weave a neat horror story. It’s without a doubt one of the more interesting titles released by publisher Focus Home Interactive this year.
What’s the game like, though? It deals with a fair bit of stealth since the kids are no match for adult soldiers, unless they take them out by surprise or by the environment. In this case the environment comes mostly in the form of hordes of rats. The rodents, whose feral state is explained in time, devour anyone not holding some source of light or fire.
Total War: Three Kingdoms
|Genre:||Turn-based strategy, real-time tactics|
|What’s so special?||Romans of the Three Kingdoms given the Total War treatment|
The Total War franchise is pretty well-known by now. Creative Assembly’s brand of war games tests the players’ strategic planning as well their tactical acumen. It’s gone through multiple historical conflicts and eras, but it wasn’t until Three Kingdoms that it tackled the famous Chinese epic “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” that most gamers know from the Dynasty Warriors series.
The game took some hints from CA’s earlier adaptation of Warhammer Fantasy and embraced the half-fantastical nature of the epic via hero units, which while not necessarily able to win battle on their own, they make a difference. There’s also more interaction between leading characters, adding spice to often flavourless diplomacy, and making for more personal battles.
|Genre:||Third-person shooter, action-adventure|
|What’s so special?||A possible start of Remedy expanded horror universe|
Effectively SCP Foundation: The Game, Control is another step in Finnish studio Remedy’s way to creating a version of our Earth that’s full of events and entities of supernatural, extradimensional, psychic, or scientific nature. It’s a step further from Max Payne’s drug-induced visions, Quantum Break’s timey wimey experiments, and Alan Wake’s general weirdness and mythology.
Remedy even mentions events, locations, and characters from Alan Wake in no uncertain terms, making Remedy Weirdverse a thing. Gameplaywise, Control is a mix between third-person shooter, third-person psychic power’em up, and Castlevania-ish exploration of a building you unlock gradually. It’s good fun with a cool story and lots of SCP-style weirdness going around.
|Genre:||Action role-playing, first-person shooter|
|What’s so special?||A revival of the looter shooter that started it all|
After a few years of being starved of new Borderlands game Gearbox finally announced a third main series entry. And once it launched, it turned to be pretty good, the way getting exactly what you wanted is usually pretty good. It didn’t shake up the tried and tested formula, it only delivered new ways of accessing it. It’s a solid Borderlands game, is what it is.
If you don’t know anything about Borderlands, the first thing you should know is that it loves its procedurally generated guns (stats and appearance). The second thing is its…energetic sense of humour. The third is there are always player character classes, which in BL3 are: psychic(-ish) Siren, Gunner with a mechanical bear, gadgeteering Operative, and self-explanatory Beastmaster.
|Genre:||Action role-playing, hack and slash|
|Developer||Bandai Namco Studios|
|What’s so special?||A vampiric Soulslike with fantastic character customisation|
Code Vein was long in the making and it suffered a substantial delay from the original planned release date, but once it finally came in September this year it turned out to be really good. It has unmistakably anime character designs, so keep that in mind if you’re allergic to it, but otherwise it’s a solid Soulslike in a setting that looks a bit like Goth version of the original Darksiders.
In the game we play the part of a newly awakened Revenant, a vampiric fighter created to protect humanity from monster roaming the Earth after a cataclysm raved its surface. From the gameplay perspective, it’s a stylish version of general gameplay principles known from the Dark Souls game, albeit with some exciting mechanical thingies like mixing abilities of specific archetypes.
Untitled Goose Game
|What’s so special?||The sheer HONK!iness of it all|
If you follow the gaming world at all, you probably saw plenty of goose-based memes and jokes around, perhaps even one or two articles on what makes Untitled Goose Game such a memorable experience. For a little bit the internet was obsessed with geese, and it was this game’s doing. And, to be fair, the premise and execution are so fun that the small title really deserved recognition.
What’s the game about? Essentially about a single goose terrorising a lovely English village with its antics. Each area has some number of objective to complete, which mostly revolve around stealing some object or startling and annoying humans until they do something specific. UGG has a simple art style which makes it look appropriately silly and friendly, like a short comedic cartoon.
|What’s so special?||A role-playing game that makes introspection a game mechanic|
Disco Elysium was a fascinating concept from the beginning, when it was still called “No Truce with the Furies”, a beautiful title inexplicably changed to the current one. Regardless, once launched DE quickly gained a lot of popularity and publicity for being one of the most unique RPGs on the market, down to its core idea: that your skills and personality traits influence and speak to you.
Yeah. Each of your character’s skills is represented as a voice in his head, trying to nudge his decisions towards what it represents. Invest in Encyclopedia skill and you’ll suffer a barrage of irrelevant trivia in addition to what you actually need. And then there’s the system for internalising ideas, which may have your detective accidentally start representing some ideology. It’s bonkers.
The Outer Worlds
|What’s so special?||Off-brand Fallout from the original creators of the series|
The Outer Worlds is a first-person perspective science fiction RPG with a tone reminiscent of Fallout 2 and aesthetic that doesn’t look too far removed from Borderlands. It’s also a very fun action RPG in which investing into conversation skills doesn’t make you useless in combat, because they give their own martial benefits. You even get a spaceship to ferry you off to distant areas.
TOW isn’t an open world game, exactly, and uses a hub-based structure. And like in most Obsidian RPGs, there is a bunch of companions you can recruit to your team, each with their own abilities. There’s also unique slow motion mechanic, Tactical Time Dilation, which works a bit like VATS from modern Fallout games.
|What’s so special?||The first game of Kojima the Unleashed|
Death Stranding was a source of much confusion during its full pre-release marketing cycle. A barren wasteland, throat baby, buck-naked Norman Reedus and some floating apparitions? Nobody knew what to make of it, and Kojima’s occasional high concept explanations only made things less clear. Thankfully once the game launched it all became clear and reasonable, right?
It’s still a Kojima game, though, so it’s bound to be pretty weird, and being weird is what it does. The core idea is that your character is a courier delivering all kinds of stuff to settlements and bases separated by a cataclysm some years back. That, at least, is straightforward. But then ghosts, psychic powers, and afterlife come in and make things weird again. It is good, though! Weird, but good.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
|What’s so special?||The first singleplayer focused Star Wars game of the new canon|
There was quite a lot of hope attached to Jedi: Fallen Order. After the singleplayer campaign in Star Wars Battlefront 2 didn’t really manage to grab people’s attention, it was up to the Fallen Order to bring back the Star Wars singleplayer experience. Thankfully, Respawn Entertainment (of Titanfall and Apex Legends fame) was given the project, and had some useful inspirations.
The combat system shared some similarities with FromSoftware’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, with parries and quick dodges being the key to victory, especially against melee-focused enemies. The game world is Castlevania-esque, with new areas opening up as the story progresses and you get new abilities. Moving around is a pleasant Jedi parkour, mixed with some sneaking around.
Get ready for 2020
2019 is ending one day at a time, and 2020, and its massive promises, are coming ever closer. How many of them will be fulfilled? How many games will postpone their release? Will the hype be satisfied?
We won’t know any of these things until the time comes, so for now let’s dig into the good stuff that 2019 gave us, shall we?