2019 was the year that new IP truly shined. In a market that's largely dominated by sequels and remakes, this was a welcome breathe of fresh air. We all want to see the industry move forward and try new and exciting ideas, even if they don't always stick the landing. Whether you're looking for blockbuster AAA experiences or want to sit back and relax with an indie title, 2019 had no shortage of fantastic games.
These are our picks for the best games of 2019.
Best PlayStation 4 Games of 2019
Remedy weaves weird horror and action-packed gameplay together for a mind-bending trip through an eclectic universe.
Remedy came out of (seemingly) nowhere and surprised all of us with Control. It's a game that blends corporate satire, unknowable cosmic horror, great characters, and varied gameplay into one of the most unique AAA titles we played this year. Plus, with free upcoming DLC, some great Alan Wake tie-ins, and incredible animation that pushes the boundaries of what the PS4 can do, it'll have longevity long past the initial launch. We're excited for the future of Control, and we don't get to say that about single-player games much.
We finally received that Fallout: New Vegas sequel we've been waiting for in the form of a spiritual successor of sorts.
Obsidian didn't reinvent the wheel with The Outer Worlds and it certainly didn't have to. The Outer Worlds provides a comfortable, warm role-playing experience for anyone nostalgic for older Fallout titles and other RPGs. With a branching narrative that encourages replayability, a compact 20-30 hour story, rampant capitalism, ferocious wildlife, a cast of great companions (with special mention for Parvati) and all the laser guns you can grab, Obsidian delivers one of the finest games of 2019.
Best Action Game of 2019
The Force is strong with this Star Wars adventure.
Respawn nailed the Star Wars experience with Jedi: Fallen Order. Not only is it a single-player game that fans have been clamoring for, but it perfectly captures the feeling of wielding a lightsaber and becoming a true Jedi. Its combat is immaculate, the level design is gorgeous, the exploration is rewarding, the characters are lovable, and it expands on the universe in new and exciting ways. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order blends our favorite elements from Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Metroidvanias, and Dark Souls to create an unforgettable action experience.
Become a psychic superhero in this supernatural brawler.
Who doesn't love psychic powers in games? As you level Jesse, our protagonist, up you begin to feel like a superhero. You can fly, use telekinesis to launch enemies, slam into the ground, and even take control of the Hiss to do your bidding. The only thing that holds Control back from being the best in this category (as it is for a lot of others) is that the combat can get repetitive, especially when you're grinding side missions to get more points for your skill tree. Even then, there's joy to be had since launching an enemy into the air and slamming it into another enemy is always a blast.
Best RPG of 2019
Giving the Fallout series a run for its money.
The Outer Worlds provides a welcome experience for RPG newcomers and genre veterans alike, blending elements of games like Fallout, Mass Effect and more into a streamlined title that seriously encourages replayability. Whether you aid the colonists or become a ruthless corporate enforcer, you're sure to find something to like. Obsidian didn't make many risky choices in designing this game -- and at a time when veteran RPG studios are fumbling, that's exactly why it's so enjoyable.
The Borderlands series is bigger and better than ever in its third main entry.
Gearbox lovingly describes the Borderlands series as "role-playing shooters." Its shooting aspects are obvious, but its role-playing elements can't be understated. Borderlands 3 combines the best of both worlds: fun, hectic shooting and the character customization, skill trees, looting, and mission choices we all know and love from RPGs. This time around Gearbox made it so that no two Vault Hunters will play the same thanks to its complex skill trees and billions(!) of guns. That it has such an iconic art style, a memorable cast of characters, and signature sense of humor doesn't hurt, either.
Best Indie Game of 2019
Absolutely gorgeous and surprising.
Not to be confused with Outer Worlds, this indie by Mobius Digital slowly captured the hearts and minds of many of us here at Android Central. We wouldn't blame you for thinking it was gimmicky — you get stuck in a 22-minute loop and have to figure out the mysteries of the solar system to stop the sun from going supernova — but it's more than its premise. It's a melancholy but beautiful journey through a world that feels rich and full. The ancient cultures had beings with rich inner lives, the planets are varied and huge, and the end of the mystery is satisfying. For players who don't mind some tough flying controls and love exploration, this game has just about everything.
The weirdest game that took the internet by storm and quickly became a beloved meme.
Geese are jerks and only live to annoy people. That's exactly the fantasy that you get to live out in Untitled Goose Game. Your job is to mess up everyone's day. It's quirky and charming and addicting. It's perfect for our current state of pop culture and memes. Untitled Goose Game took an idea you wouldn't expect and turned it into a full-fledged game that somehow just works really well. Developer House House proves that sometimes the simple things can be the best, and you don't need to create an elaborate AAA experience to please the crowd. There's even a dedicated honk button!!!
Best New IP of 2019
Obsidian takes us to the Halcyon Colony and its capitalist dystopia that we can't wait to see more of.
With The Outer Worlds, Obsidian's worldbuilding chops were put to the test, designing a world with wacky hijinks like Fallout, talking points that are relevant right now and a space-western setting that feels right at home with Firefly or Cowboy Bebop... just with far more laser weapons. This new IP debut has been extremely successful so far and lays the steady groundwork for further entries.
It may be set in the Alan Wake universe, but Control still manages to create a new world all on its own.
Remedy seems to be making its own cinematic universe for games with the release of Alan Wake. It's clearly set within the same universe as the aforementioned franchise, but you wouldn't know it unless you dug deep into Control's audio logs and other collectibles. Control is its own wacky world that lays the groundwork for potential sequels or even further tie-ins with Alan Wake. The sky is the limit for Remedy.
Best Game Narrative of 2019
If David Lynch made a video game, it would look a lot like this.
Control had some of our favorite story moments in games this year. Where else can you traipse through a constantly-shifting maze while listening to metal music in a way that not only makes sense in the plot but is also cool as hell? This game is equal parts hilarious, confusing, horrific, and fascinating. Not since David Lynch and Twin Peaks: The Return have we been excited to see what confounding, mysterious thing was waiting around the next corner. Not only that, but Remedy managed to tie it in with its previous IP, Alan Wake, in a way that revitalizes the decade-old game for future audiences.
A time loop rife with possibilities and stories you create yourself outside of the larger picture.
Outer Wilds is mysterious from the get-go. You're exploring the solar system, but get caught in a supernova. You're then stuck in a 22-minute time loop, which you need to use to stop the sun from exploding. Luckily, you get to do this by exploring the previously unseen solar system, taking in long-gone alien cultures and walking around distant planets and planetary bodies. It's a gorgeous game aesthetically, but what makes the game worth playing is how you interact with what you find. It's both sad and uplifting, dire but hopeful. It's an experience you won't want to miss.
Best Multiplayer Game of 2019
Battle royale games never looked so good.
If you harken back to the early days of 2019, it felt like Apex Legends came out of nowhere. This battle royale by Respawn just dropped one day and was immediately appealing for players who wanted an alternative to other multiplayer games like Overwatch and PUBG. It also had a diverse, entertaining cast with varied abilities, which made for some addictive gameplay. Nearly a year later, and the game has grown immensely with more characters, a new map, a ranking system, a Season Pass, a challenge system, and so much more. Sure, there's been controversy with microtransactions, but this game continues to surprise us, and we're betting it'll continue to do so.
Infinity Ward proves once again why the studio is known for its multiplayer games.
Not to be confused with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) acts as a reboot to the subfranchise. As always, it features top-tier gunplay in its multiplayer that just can't be outmatched. It doesn't have the famous Zombies mode we all know and love, but it makes up for it with a Special Ops mode that melds the single-player and multiplayer narrative together.
Best Mobile Game of 2019
The best FPS shooter ever released on Android.
Call of Duty: Mobile had the near-impossible task of living up to the reputation and hype that surrounds its console and PC counterparts. Somehow, it managed to surpass expectations and deliver an outstanding and authentic CoD experience for mobile gamers. It's one of the best looking games released in 2019 and includes the standard team deathmatch fare you'd expect along with a robust Battle Royale mode and fan-favorite Zombie mode.
A beloved farm simulation that finally made its way to Android.
What hasn't been said about Stardew Valley? The game originally came out in 2016 and continues to get ports and is now one of the most popular mobile titles for a good reason. The gameplay is relaxing, the story is fulfilling, the world is expansive but not overwhelming, and it's just cute. The game was released on Android this year, so of course we couldn't resist including it here.
Best Game Accessory of 2019
Swappable thumbstick modules are the way of the future.
Astro made one of the very best controllers for PlayStation 4 that you can get your hands on. There's a weight to it that feels good in your hands, it sports hair-trigger locks and two extra back paddles, and it allows you to swap the placement of your D-pad and left thumbstick. Since it uses a USB dongle to connect to your console, you can enjoy the freedom of wireless gaming without worrying about Bluetooth connection issues or resyncing it each after you charge it up.
The Razer Junglecat takes mobile gaming to the next level.
Mobile gaming is here to stay, and the Razer Junglecat gives people one more reason to take it seriously. Instead of buying a cheap phone mount for your controller, the Junglecat effectively turns your phone into a Nintendo Switch by attaching to each side of the device. Using Razer's integrated Gamepad app you can customize the button mapping however you'd like, including sensitivity adjustments.
Best PlayStation VR Game of 2019
It comes as close to a killer app for PSVR as it can.
It's a music game. It's a fitness game. It's a brilliant exercise in making you feel like a Jedi without having to actually license anything from Disney. Beat Saber checks all the boxes for a lot of people in the way it makes you feel great while playing and everyone watching you can't help but stand in line to play next. And with massive song additions to the library including hits from some of the most popular bands on the planet, it's not difficult to see why this title has captured our hearts.
Proves that a game doesn't need to be specifically designed for PSVR to be one of the best.
No Man's Sky Beyond was one of the biggest relaunches of a game we've ever seen, and the addition of VR elevates it way beyond anything we have seen in VR before. VR makes every aspect of the game better, especially the visuals. No Man's Sky is stunning wherever you look when you don a headset. This is the way the game was meant to be played, and the way I'll be playing it for years to come.
Best Game Expansion/DLC of 2019
No Man's Sky is almost unrecognizable from the game that launched.
No Man's Sky has gone through several drastic overhauls in its life cycle, but the latest expansion, called Beyond, has transformed the game into a masterpiece beyond our wildest expectations. With an all-new multiplayer system, Virtual Reality support, and hundreds of small changes, No Man's Sky Beyond is the perfect expansion. And the best part? It's completely free to everyone who owned No Man's Sky.
Shadowkeep took community feedback into account and gave players another reason to stay hooked.
For Destiny 2 to continue on as a massively multiplayer game it needed to change. The Shadowkeep expansion brought with it a huge armor overhaul, new game modes, and new playable areas. More importantly, it laid the groundwork for the next year of Destiny 2 content, and the year looks great, thanks to Shadowkeep. Bungie's continual support of the game keeps getting better.
Best Game Developer of 2019
Respawn knocked it out of the park this year with some amazing game launches.
Respawn Entertainment launched some of the very best games this year with Apex Legends and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, two games on opposite ends of the spectrum that were wonderful additions to their respective genres. Apex Legends quickly became a favorite amongst battle royale fans for its selection of characters with unique abilities, not unlike those found in hero shooters. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order bucked the trend of EA games riddled with microtransactions and multiplayer elements and delivered on a great Star Wars game after years of disappointment from franchise fans. The studio has certainly earned the goodwill and trust of its customers by treating them well.
Microsoft's recent acquisition looks to be a huge success as it launched the RPG everyone was waiting for.
Obsidian has been put to a test and passed with flying colors. As steadfast RPG developers such as Bethesda and BioWare have stumbled with their latest games, Obsidian delivered a title that can appeal to RPG fans everywhere, mixing the first-person combat of Fallout with a cast of companions like in Mass Effect, all in an original setting. While Obsidian has received past success, its latest game truly proved that it doesn't have to work in the IP of a larger company, such as with Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords or Fallout: New Vegas. The stars are the limit and Obsidian is soaring.
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Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.