The 50 best games of 2019

If your favorite didn"t make it, believe sầu me, it pained us just as much khổng lồ make the cuts. 2019"s been a hell of a year.

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Narrowing these lists down to lớn ten entries is always difficult, but I think 2019’s been one of the hardest. When I compiled our usual mid-year roundup of the best games in June, I wrote “This các mục of the best games of the year so far is already so svào, it feels lượt thích a proper end-of-2019 trò chơi of the Year danh sách.” Six months & dozens of releases later, the task of deciding what goes and what stays on the actual list is near impossible.

Some of my favorite games this year? Didn’t make the final cut. Games like Devil May Cry 5, What the Golf?, and Total War: Three Kingdoms. I wanted them to make it. I still do! But I couldn’t figure out what khổng lồ sacrifice lớn make it happen. Hell, I already had lớn cheat a bit with our “Honorable Mentions” khổng lồ squeeze in a few extra games, filling that section with any game that came out on a different platkhung prior lớn this year.

Below, you’ll find the results—nine of our favorite games this year in no particular order, plus a tenth that’s our official trò chơi of the Year for 2019. If your favorite didn’t make it? Know that it hurt me just as much to axe pháo it. This was a really, really svào year, & truth be told that fact is more important than any arbitrary award.

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Resident Evil 2

Resident Evil 2 is the Resident Evil that finally made me a fan.” I looked bachồng at our write-up in June & I can’t think of a better way lớn put it, nor a better endorsement. I’d played past Resident Evils, but none ever hooked me lượt thích this year’s remake.

Capcom preserved the spirit of the 1998 original, & even preserved some of the more iconic setpieces và puzzles from Claire và Leon’s respective adventures. But it rises above sầu nostalgia in a way few remakes ever manage. Resident Evil 2 ($60 on Humble) is a fully modern game, representing two decades of progress—in mechanics, in storytelling, in màn chơi kiến thiết, in every discipline imaginable. One of my favorite changes is also one brand-new to the series: A map that changes color depending on whether you’ve finished searching a room or not. It’s a small tweak, but indicates both how technology’s evolved since 1998 and how discussions around difficulty have evolved.

For a series this old to lớn reinvent itself? To scrape off some of the accumulated cruft? That’s incredible. Here’s hoping Capcom can repeat the trichồng with the Resident Evil 3 remake in 2020.

Heaven’s Vault

Of all the games on this danh sách, I think Heaven’s Vault ($25 on Steam) asks the most of its audience. It’s a game about history—a fictional history, of a lost galactic empire và what caused its downfall. But it’s a functional history, a knot the player needs to unravel. Heaven’s Vault is loathe khổng lồ give straight answers lớn even its simplest mysteries, instead communicating through crumbling mosaics and inscriptions on weathered walls và in chunks of wood washed up on riverbanks.

And everywhere, remnants of a lost language, glyphs the player needs lớn translate either through context or guesswork. Get a translation wrong, it might affect the way your character sees the entire story going forward. An ancient graveyard or simple garden? Religious artifact or junk? The choice is yours.

That’s what Inkle does best, of course. Studio co-founder Jon Ingold once told me their design approach is “Lots of little choices, all of which can be significant at any given moment.” Heaven’s Vault demonstrates that better than ever, even better than Sorcery!80 Days. By the time you’ve finished, the past, present, và future all bear your fingerprints, traces of where you’ve gone và what you bothered khổng lồ learn. It’s an incredible achievement in interactive sầu storytelling, made better by its faith that players will want to undertake such a daunting task.

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Only Remedy could have sầu made Control ($60 on Epic Games Store). Remedy, and its love sầu for pulp science fiction và the paranormal, for Twilight Zone & Twin Peaks and New Weird. Remedy, & its eccentric use of live action đoạn Clip, its knaông chồng for picking the right licensed tuy nhiên for the right moment. Remedy, and its talent for creating a kick-ass shooter—a talent the studio hasn’t fully indulged since Max Payne 2.

But mostly Remedy, & its willingness khổng lồ keep experimenting. Control is the culmination of two decades of idiosyncrasies, groundwork laid by Max Payne and Alan Wake and Quantum Break. All of them were flawed, but diamonds in the rough. Here, in the titular Federal Bureau of Control, all those best impulses finally came together in a game that plays as well as it’s written và vice versa, a gripping adventure that blurs the lines between mundane & menacing in ways that would make Rod Serling proud.

Also—and this didn’t factor inlớn our decision at all—but it looks incredible with one of Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards, the first truly amazing ray-tracing showcase. Real-time reflections are the real deal.

Planet Zoo

If “fun” were the only metric that mattered in Game of the Year discussions, Planet Zoo ($45 on Steam) would take trang chính the prize. Frontier’s Zoo Tycoon successor uses the same creation tools as 2016’s Planet Coaster, and I’ve spent dozens and dozens of hours building everything from enormous reptile houses khổng lồ nhái cave dens & sprawling savannahs, placing every tree & rochồng just so.

And it’s worth it because of the animals. They’re the real draw. I never cared much for the “ride the rides” feature in Planet Coaster, but Planet Zoo’s animals are a joy to lớn build for, exploring the spaces you’ve sầu crafted for them và taking advantage of cliffs, lakes, and so forth. My favorites are the bears, which will climb pretty much any tree you give them, perching a hundred feet in the air & staring curiously at your guests.

End of the day, Planet Zoo’s the game I’m most looking forward to lớn returning to—& with a steady supply of Steam Workshop items from enterprising modders? I’ve sầu got plenty of reason.

Batía is You

You know what they say: One has to lớn know the rules khổng lồ break them. In Babố is You ($15 on Steam), the rules couldn’t be clearer. They’re written on the ground in big blochồng letters, the underlying súc tích of this world made manifest. Batía Is You. Rochồng Is Push. Wall Is Stop. Flag Is Win. Rules begging khổng lồ be broken.

Or at least manipulated. That’s the key to Babố is You. The rules can be split và recombined, each word an atom you can push around a grid. If Wall Is Stop và you need khổng lồ get past? Push the Stop away so it just reads Wall Is ...nothing. Better yet, change it so you are the wall, or Wall Is You. It’s an exercise in outside-the-box thinking, with a side of programming ngắn gọn xúc tích, and the end result is more fiendish và satisfying than any other puzzler I’ve sầu played this year.

Hypnospace Outlaw

I grew up with the early Internet, with AOL & GeoCities and Netscape and Napster. It’s hard for me to remember that mạng internet, the way it worked before social truyền thông came along và centralized everything. But I did grow up with it.

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Is Hypnospace Outlaw of any interest lớn people who didn’t live sầu through the era? I’m not sure. Maybe not. It felt real to me though, and months later I still find myself humming the “Gray’s Peak” theme, a jingle for a hàng hóa that never actually existed.