This one’s a real tough one for me this year because there have been so many standouts. Usually there are a couple of easy picks but this year there has been such a variety of games I’ve enjoyed. The quality level overall has just been excellent, even without the typical odds-on Game of the Year favourite.
After much head scratching, here are my top three, in no particular order.
I wasn’t particularly keen on either Quantum Break or Alan Wake so it certainly came as a surprise to find out how much I’d enjoy Control. If you were to draw a Venn diagram of my interests, Control pretty much sits slap bang in the middle. There’s the supernatural setting, X-Files vibe, Twin Peaks flavour and the Max Payne combat. It is a remarkably well crafted game with a captivating aesthetic, impressive visuals, a gripping narrative, and an excellent-paced adventure which just about doesn’t outstay its welcome. Pop in an RTX graphics card and Control will also totally melt your eyeballs as well.
One of my favourite games of all time, Capcom quite simply made one of the best survival horror games even better. This is a template for how remakes should be. The very core of the game is intact yet expanded and retooled for a modern audience. There are plenty of nice touches such as a heavily annotated map that remove any lingering frustration from the middle, smoothing out the rough edges to deliver what is pretty much the perfect survival horror romp.
This game really is one-of-a-kind, yet almost impossible to describe even its central conceit without somewhat tarnishing the experience. What Mobius Digital has put together is nothing short of magical. It’s an entire solar system turned toybox, a clockwork marvel which needs to be prodded, poked and toyed with to unlock its multidimensional secrets. Few games are as oblique as Outer Wilds. It just dumps you out there with practically no explanation. You never earn new skills and you never get new equipment. The only barrier between you and finishing this game in 20 minutes is knowledge. Knowledge of how this solar system works, what each planet does, and why everything is happening. The initial hurdle of the absolute unknown can be a little daunting but once I was in, I was all the way in.
I’d like to throw in some honourable mentions, as well, because trimming these games out of my top three was a really tough process. Some of them only narrowly missed out and I think these are all absolutely worth playing, for various reasons.
Over to you now then, what were favourite games of 2019? Anything in particular that stood head and shoulders above the rest? Or was it a disappointing year for new releases? Let us know!