This has been a wild year for the gaming community. Bungie ended its publishing deal with Activision; Microsoft announced a new Xbox project and the release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on personal computers (PC); and after 15 years without a new game, Kingdom Hearts Three reignited a fandom that was begging for a conclusion to the series. There were a lot of wins, and now that the year is coming to a close, it’s time to answer one daunting question: Who came out on top? And what should fans expect next year?
If this is you right now, no worries. Here’s a list of the top 10 games of the year, plus a list of what we should start getting excited to play next year.
Top Games of 2019
Divinity Original Sin Two: Definitive Edition
“Abandoned by the gods, … defiled by sin, … Rivellon awaits you.” Jump into the highly anticipated sequel to the award-winning role-playing game (RPG) Divinity Original Sin with Larian Studios’ Divinity Original Sin Two: Definitive Edition. This RPG has been regarded as one of the best role-playing epics released this year, and for good reason.
Players can choose from six unique origin heroes with their own backgrounds and quests. If a player wants a more custom game, they can design their own hero from five different races: human, dwarf, elf, lizard, or undead.
Go anywhere, talk to anyone, and interact with everything! Kill any non-playable character (NPC) without sacrificing your progress, and speak to every animal. There’s no limit to what you can do in the game. Players can join up to three other players on their quests to become gods of the vast and multifaceted world of Rivellon. You can even make or download your own fan-made campaigns with the Game Master mode. Basically, it’s Dungeons and Dragons in video game form — all exploration and 100 percent awesome.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Blast back to the year 1899 and put on your cowboy hat once again with Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2. Nine years after the release of Red Dead Redemption (2010), Red Dead Redemption 2 was a hit among fans of the original game because of its stunning graphics and heartfelt storytelling.
The sequel follows Arthur Morgan, an infamous outlaw and a high-ranking member of the Van der Linde gang, and John Marston, the main protagonist in the original game. Red Dead 2’s plot follows Arthur Morgans’ struggles to survive the decline of the Wild West as government forces, rival gangs, and other enemies threaten his home and way of life. The game focuses on a player’s moral decisions and includes old-school shootouts, heists, hunting, horseback riding, interacting with NPCs for all your cowboy-dream needs. Red Dead Redemption 2 broke several records and had the second-biggest launch in the history of entertainment; it’s currently one of the best-selling games of all time. If you don’t have it yet, I’d suggest investing for a ride in the wild west.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From the creators of Bloodborne and the Dark Souls series, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an all new adventure that takes place in late 16th century Sengoku Japan. Check out our review of this incredible game here.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has won over 50 awards and nominations since its release in March. The game also won Game of the Year at this years’ Game Awards (if that doesn’t convince you it’s worth playing I don’t know what will).
Resident Evil 2
Originally released in 1998 by Capcom, Resident Evil 2 made a comeback this year with completely reimagined characters, environments, and an updated storyline to refresh the game’s legendary hype. The game centers around rookie cop Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield who must fight to survive a mysterious zombie outbreak in Raccoon City. This game is not for the faint of heart; with horrifying zombies and gut-wrenching graphics at every corner, players will be on edge the entire time they play. If blood, guts, and consistently sweaty palms are your thing, then this reimagined masterpiece is for you. As of March, the game was still among the top-20, best-selling video games in Japan, with more than 352,000 copies sold.
Final Fantasy 15: Shadowbringers
“Hope is not yet lost, for where there is light there is shadow”. Square Enix released Final Fantasy 15: Shadowbringers in July as a new expansion to Final Fantasy 15. The expansion is one of Square Enix’s finest stories so far and introduces Ala Mhigo, a country free of imperial rule that must combat the Empire as they move to reclaim both the nation and control all of Eorzea. In this expansion, players must take on the role of a villain and embrace the darkness of oblivion as they embark on an epic adventure that transcends space and time.
Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition
Here’s a Switch game to change up the lineup! Players will engage with a band of adventurers in well-balanced, turn-based battles and embark on quests across the kingdom of Erdrea. This recent version of Dragon Quest includes new, character-focused stories that will pull you into the game. In typical RPG fashion, players can forge gear, increase party members’ skills, and change their outfits. Gamers who love options can change between high-definition or 16-bit visuals, symphonic or synth music, and English or Japanese audio.
The classic worlds are reimagined in retro style and mesh perfectly with the main game’s 2D graphics.
Dragon Quest 11: Echoes of an Elusive Age’s character designs and personalities, dialogue, fierce enemies, and new quests fully immerse you in the magical world of Dragon Quest. It’s a lighthearted, adventurous game that offers a refreshing experience compared to the other emotionally taxing releases from this year.
The Outer Worlds
Jump into the colony of Halcyon, humanity’s farthest colony on the edge of the frontier. Lost in transit while on a colonist ship bound for the furthest edge of the galaxy, you awake decades later than you expected only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the Halcyon colony. Explore the furthest reaches of space and encounter diverse factions all desperate for power. As the unplanned variable, who you decide to become will determine the fate of everyone in Halcyon. Meet unique characters, survive the farthest reaches of space, and develop a community of space explorers to fall back on in times of need.
As of November, The Outer Worlds has been nominated for four game awards. It’s well-developed art style, beautiful graphics, and diverse characters set this RPG apart from other sci-fi-inspired stories. It’s immersive, inspiring, and a world that encourages getting a little lost.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne
Iceborne is the most recent expansion to Capcom’s award-winning RPG Monster Hunter: World. The expansion added an all-new storyline and explorable world to the huge, pre-existing Monster Hunter universe. Venture into the freezing, undiscovered realm of Hoar Frost Reach with the Research Commission. After a flock of Legiana was spotted fleeing from the Ancient Forest, the Commission decided to board the Third Fleet’s airship and cross the sea in pursuit. Past the rough seas, they found a new landmass hidden beneath snow and ice. Dive deeper into the world of Monster Hunter World, and do your best to survive the freeze.
Return to the battle-hardened world of Titanfall with Respawn Entertainments’ Apex Legends. The Frontier War is over after years of conflict between the IMC and the Militia, and the Frontier can finally experience a short period of peace. However, liberation comes at a cost; the worlds of the Frontier are left barren and without aid. With no way to support themselves, those who remain must leave their homes. The bravest survivors relocate to the Outlands, a remote cluster of planets on the fringes of the Frontier. Pioneers, explorers, and outlaws settle their differences in the Apex Games, a bloodsport in which fighters from across the Frontier compete for money, fame, and glory.
Take on the role of 11 different legends, and compete for power with your team of hardened survivors.
Devil May Cry 5
“Not bad. … Let’s see what this can do!” Several years after the Order of the Sword incident, an unusual phenomenon suddenly appears in Red Grave City. The gigantic tree Qliphoth, a demonic entity planted in the city, pierces through the middle of town, attacking with roots that drain the citizens of their blood. The Young Devil Hunter Nero races into Red Grave City with his partner Nico, an “artisan of arms” who provides Nero with new weapons. Nero, brandishing his beloved Red Queen sword and custom Blue Rose revolver, plunges into Red Grave City to route demon hordes as he makes his way to the menacing demon in the city’s center.
Legendary Devil May Cry (DMC) action returns with Capcom’s fifth installment of the popular series, Devil May Cry 5. The new game carries on the legacy of DMC to new generations with fast-paced gameplay, stunning visuals, and unique lore.
Games to Look Forward to in 2020
Final Fantasy Seven Remake
The world has fallen under the control of the Shinra Electric Power Company, a shadowy corporation controlling the planet’s very life force of mako energy. In the sprawling city of Midgar, an anti-Shinra organization calling itself Avalanche has stepped up its resistance. Cloud Strife, a former member of Shinra’s elite warrior unit, has gone rogue and now lends his aid to the group, unaware of the consequences that await him. Final Fantasy Seven is finally making a bombastic comeback next year, 22 years after its original release .
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
If the hustle of modern life gets you down, then Tom Nook has a new business deal he knows you’ll adore: the Deserted Island Getaway Package. You’ve crossed paths with colorful characters near and far, had a great time in the city, and may have turned a new leaf and dedicated yourself to public service. You love your new life, but deep down there’s a part of you that longs for freedom. A long walk on the beach of a deserted island, where a rich wealth of untouched nature awaits, is just what the doctor ordered!
Roll up your sleeves and make your new life however you want. Collect resources and craft everything from creature comforts to handy tools. Set up a homestead, make friends with new arrivals, enjoy the seasons, and pole-vault across rivers as you explore in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
“The real you is not enough”. Welcome to the massive world of Night City, a megalopolis obsessed with power, glamour, and body modification, in Cyberpunk 2077. Play as V, a mercenary outlaw going after a one-of-a-kind implant that is the key to immortality. Customize your character’s cyberware, skillset, and play style as you explore a vast city where the choices you make shape the story and the world around you.
Marvel Realm of Champions
Pick up your mobile device, because next year Marvel Realm of Champions is on its way to combat the evils of the known universe. This real-time, mobile, action RPG allows players to align with Marvel-inspired factions known as Houses. Team up with your friends for real-time combat against enemies and other players in a war of the ages.
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Two
Link and Zelda return in a sequel to the award-winning Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Not much has been shared about the sequel. The official trailer hints at a darker story than fans have seen thus far, with Link and Zelda unleashing a dark power. We may not know much, but if it’s anything like the first game, it’s sure to be amazing. Check out the trailer to see for yourself!
Whew, thus our comprehensive list draws to a conclusion. So many games, so little time to play them all…
Photos: Activision, Capcom, CD Projekt Red, Marvel, Nintendo, Obsidian, Respawn Entertainment, Rockstar Games, Steam, Square Enix