We’ve reached the end of 2019, and what a year it was. Plenty of great games released between and January and December, and plenty of ones that are better off worth forgetting. While everyone has their own opinions on what their game of the year is, in this article we’re going to list the top 10 best games according to aggregated critic review scores.
10. Manifold Garden (87% Critic Average)
We’re kicking things off with an indie first-person puzzle game called Manifold Garden, which is definitely an interesting take on the genre. The game has you navigating an abstract series of structures that seem to repeat into infinity, while also solving a series of puzzles. The game’s world uses a different set of physical laws than our own, with gravity being manipulable and walls can be turned into floors and vice versa. Those who have played have remarked that is both beautiful to look at and challenging to beat, and is worth checking out for any puzzle game fan.
9. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (87% Critic Average)
While Nintendo is hard at work on the sequel Breath of the Wild, in the meantime we got a remake of a Zelda classic, which is Link’s Awakening on Nintendo Switch. The game originally launched for the Game Boy in 1993 and then for the Game Boy Color in 1998, but this release on Switch brings it into current gen with vastly improved visuals and some quality of life improvements. The original game was already great, but this new version is now the go-to version for anyone interested
8. Astral Chain (87% Critic Average)
Next up we have another Nintendo Switch-exclusive, with Astral Chain being the latest from revered developer PlatinumGames. AC is an action-adventure hack and slash game where players take control of a detective from the “Neuron” special police task force, who are tasked with dealing with problems in the game’s main world called “The Ark.” The game’s intense combat system received lots of praise, as well as its side characters and world-building. It ended up winning best action game at The Game Awards 2019, and should not be missed by any PlatinumGames fan or action aficionado in general.
7. Super Mario Maker 2 (88% Critic Average)
The #7 spot on this list is taken by *yet another* Nintendo Switch exclusive, though this one shakes things up considerably in terms of genre. Super Mario Maker 2 is exactly what it sounds like: a game that lets you create your own Mario levels with tools that have been expanded upon from the first game on Wii U. Lots of new tools and assets are included, while also featuring a new single-player campaign called Story Mode that has players rebuilding Peach’s Castle. There are over 100 Nintendo-created courses included, which, along with the endless supply of user-created levels, ensures that this one will keep you coming back for more for a very long time.
6. Devil May Cry 5 (88% Critic Average)
The Devil May Cry series was thought to have been in limbo for many years, as many were unsure if it would ever make a return. Developer Ninja Theory’s DmC: Devil May Cry was disliked by manylongtime fans, which resulted in the series disappearing from discussion for several years. However, with Devil May Cry 5 Capcom took back development duties, and the results were fantastic. Dante and Nero return as playable characters and are joined by newcomer V, who each have their unique playstyles. The game continues on where Devil May Cry 4 left off, though it fixes that game’s faults and ends up delivering what many are calling one of the best installments of the entire series.
5. Fire Emblem: Three Houses (89% Critic Average)
We’re back to Nintendo Switch games taking over this list, and this time it is the latest installment in the beloved Fire Emblem series. After making a big comeback with 2013’s 3DS-exclusive Fire Emblem: Awakening, Three Houses serves as the first time that the series has appeared on a home console in over a decade. It is a tactical RPG that has players controlling a character that is soon asked to teach at Garreg March Monastery, which includes three school houses. The narrative will change depending on which house you choose, though each path will consist of the series’ tried-and-true SRPG combat and engaging character interactions. It seems like the Fire Emblem series can no wrong these days, and now that it’s on Switch it can be enjoyed by an even bigger audience.
4. Slay the Spire (89% Critic Average)
Next up is another very unique title compared to the others, with Slay the Spire being a combination of both roguelike and deck-building card game gameplay. Players can choose from one of three predetermined characters, each containing their own unique starting relics and an initial deck of cards. The game originally released into Early Access in late 2017, though it finally officially launched this year and most seem to agree that it is an engrossing experience that is hard to stop playing.
3. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (90% Critic Average)
FromSoftware has developed a reputation for creating some of the most challenging games on the market, which began with their Souls series back in 2009. While they have (sadly) moved on from that series, their new IP keeps that same level of challenge while adding some new twists to the formula. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has gameplay that includes stealth, exploration and combat, with a great emphasis on challenging boss battles. This game received universal acclaim, and even ended up winning game of the year at The Game Awards 2019.
2. Disco Elysium (92% Critic Average)
This next entry is a game that snuck up on a lot of people, as it came from a relatively unknown developer named ZA/UM. Disco Elysium is a role-playing game featuring an open-world and dialogue-heavy gameplay mechanics, with the game itself being presented in an isometric perceptive. Players control a detective who is currently on a murder case, but is also suffering from alcohol-induced amnesia. It is an incredibly unique experience that left a lasting impression on all who played it, so don’t let this one go under your radar.
1. Resident Evil 2 (92% Critic Average)
Even though this year was packed with lots of unique experiences that were truly unlike any other, at the end of it all the best game ended up being a remake of a classic from the 90s. The game is none other than Resident Evil 2, a game considered by many to be the best of the series, though now its remake has taken that mantle. Capcom has lovingly taken everything great about the original game and improved upon it, with a graphical overhaul and a switch to an over-the-shoulder camera angle more reminiscent of Resident Evil 4. The tense gameplay and sense of fear that players face as they explore Raccoon City and its countless deadly zombies is remarkable, which is then heightened tenfold by the massive and horrifying Mr. X. It goes to show that a framework that is over two decades old can still wow modern gamers, setting a new standard for all remakes going forward.