25 Best Games of 2019

Ask anyone how they felt about 2019 and you may get a different answer from every person. 2019 was that kind of year for video games. So many good-to-great titles that all have their absolute highs, but are also flawed in one way or another. This variety rang true even amongst our staff as only two people had the same game as their best game of the year. In years past it has been a battle between the same two or three games. However, in 2019 you could make the case for over 10 titles and they’d all be justified as the top game for the year.

A General Look at 2019
Best Games of 2019
Katana Zero/Devolver Digital

2019 also marks the final complete year of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One era. Both companies already announced their next-gen intentions for holiday 2020. Microsoft even went a step further and showed off their console at the 2019 Game Awards. Microsoft also fully cemented the status of Xbox Gamepass having several of the year’s most talked about games on their service from day 1.

Nintendo continued to chug along setting sales milestones with the Nintendo Switch and releasing a slew of titles, with many of them making our list. While other publishers like EA and Activision had their usual fare, but also can thank Respawn and From Software respectively for major critical successes as well. But we’ll have more to say on those three games later. Plus, Capcom showed everyone the way of the perfect remake and released two more historic franchises to high acclaim as well.

Finally, this was another terrific year for indie titles. Although unfortunately we couldn’t fit them all on the final list. However, people should definitely take advantage of any sales going on and think about picking up: Katana Zero, Baba is You, Ape Out, Wargroove, Sunless Skies, Afterparty, Hypnospace Outlaw Void Bastards, Cadence of Hyrule, My Friend Pedro Greedfall A Short Hike, and Wattam to name a few.

The Process

The list began with each member of the staff selecting their Top 10 of 2019. After that, deliberations were had on the Video Games 2 the MAX podcast.

Only number #1’s and games that received three or more votes earned a guaranteed place on the final list. While all the other games required some debate and a little push to make the list. So, without further ado, these are the 25 Best Games of 2019 as the W2Mnet Games staff sees it.

25 Best Games of 2019

25. Judgment

Developer and Publisher: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, SEGA
Platforms PlayStation 4
Release Date: December 13, 2018 (Japan), June 25, 2019 (Global)

Judgment might not be the most innovative game on the list, but I enjoyed it plenty. It does share 90-95% of its DNA with Yakuza games, but the remaining original stuff is pretty interesting too. Takayuki Yagami is distinctly NOT like Kiryu Kazama because Yagami actually has a semblance of a personality and has some flair to him. Exploring Kamurocho is as pleasant as ever and there are new things for you to do as well. I still might say Yakuza 0 is the gold standard for these types of games, but this is honestly a pretty close second. – Marc Morrison

24. Remnant: From The Ashes
Best Games of 2019
Remnant From The Ashes/Perfect World Entertainment

Developer and Publisher: Gunfire Games, Perfect World Entertainment
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 16, 2019

Someone on a podcast described Remnant as “Resident Evil 4 (or Gears of War) mixed with a Dark Souls game” and that perfectly describes it to me. This is also, incidentally, the first Dark Souls-like game I’ve ever actually liked. The ranged combat in this game is really fun and impactful, especially once you start getting some of the higher-tier weapons. The skill system is neat, co-op worked like a charm, and I really appreciated that you could just re-roll the game world and keep a majority of your stuff on the next playthrough as well. – Marc Morrison

23. A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale Innocence/Focus Home Interactive

Developer and Publisher: Asobo Studio, Focus Home Interactive
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: May 14, 2019

22. Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
FFXIV: Shadowbringers/Square-Enix

Developer and Publisher: Square-Enix
Platforms PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: July 2, 2019

Final Fantasy XIV is the perfect example of a long-standing MMO that has a great community and constantly provides new content. Two years ago Stormblood released with the long-awaited Red Mage and Samurai jobs. The story of the Warrior of Light expanded beyond the land of Eorzea and into its Eastern regions where the fight against the Garlean empire continues to rage. After the final battle, players eagerly waited for the next expansion and what Square-Enix would offer next. And Shadowbringers delivered. New races in The Viera which first debuted in Final Fantasy XII and the Horthgar who first debuted in Final Fantasy X as the Ronso.

Along with the new races were two additional jobs. The DPS Job Dancer and the Tank job Gunbreaker. The story also expands back into the past as the majority of Shadowbringers takes the Warrior of Light into a world where the light rules and they must become the Warrior of Darkness. Epic raids, battles, and special content bring an exciting new chapter to Final Fantasy XIV. – Stephanie Diaz

21. Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara WildHearts/Annapurna Interactive

Developer and Publisher: Simogo, Annapurna Interactive
Platforms Nintendo Switch, PC, Apple Arcade
Release Date: September 19, 2019

20. Pokemon Sword And Shield
Pokemon Sword and Shield/Nintendo

Developer and Publisher: Game Freak, Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Date: November 15, 2019

Despite fans not being happy about losing the national dex, Sword and Shield are solid editions to the Pokemon franchise. The region and its region-specific Pokemon feel unique and fun. While the game serves well to keep your attention throughout. This is certainly one of the better recent Pokemon games. – Daniel Anderson

Nintendo’s classic RPG received a gorgeous upgrade and a spot on the top games of 2019. Pokemon Sword/Shield cements that imagination can go far. Favorite pokemon are still included while offering a different experience with gym challenges rivaling the Olympics and UK culture. The wild area brings a new way for players to catch and train while also introducing the exclusive Dynamax battles. The raid system also paves the way to connect trainers beyond competitions. – Stephanie Diaz

19. Apex Legends
Apex Legends/EA

Developer and Publisher: Respawn Entertainment, EA
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: February 4, 2019

This was a game that came out of nowhere to be one of the most popular games of the year. Apex Legends could have easily been written off as another Fortnite clone but succeeded in being a unique and fun Battle Royale game. Set in the same universe as the excellent Titanfall franchise, Apex Legends is a great game with some unique mechanics. – Daniel Anderson

18. Kingdom Hearts III
Kingdom Hearts 3/Square-Enix

Developer and Publisher: Square-Enix
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Release Date: January 25, 2019

The actual story of Kingdom Hearts 3, and honestly, the whole franchise, is absolutely crazy. I don’t mean this wholly as a negative, but when the chronology is “Well, it’s only after you play Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days that you see the real bad guy”, is when I officially check out. So, the story isn’t great, and the Disney worlds they use (Frozen, Hercules, Tangled, Monsters Inc) are bland. The one saving grace is the actual gameplay, which is a lot of fun. You basically can’t die in this game as you are way too overpowered and can destroy all the enemies on the screen easily. Oh, they also, finally, improved the Gummi ship, so good job on that front too. – Marc Morrison

This is my first Kingdom Hearts game so I’m the wrong person to pass judgment on its story or characterizations, but I can say that I relished its simple combat system, bombastic finishers, and stunning production values. Only Square-Enix has the guts and chops to impeccably recreate entire sequences from beloved Disney properties, only to then shoehorn its own characters into them in the most hilariously awkward way. At its best, it feels like the most expensive piece of fan fiction ever created. I swung wildly throughout between genuinely appreciating what it was doing and appreciating it ironically. Thankfully, Kingdom Hearts 3 is also dead-easy, so it’s suitable to enjoy with a controlled substance of your choice. – Jens Dietrich

17. Code Vein
Code Vein/Bandai Namco

Developer and Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: September 27, 2019

Going purely by moment-to-moment enjoyment and how quickly it made the hours pass, Code Vein would be my top game this year. It’s the closest any non-From Software title has come to the feel of the original Demon’s Souls melee combat, as well as the intricate, self-contained mazes of Dark Souls II. It’s also derivative in the best way too. A throwback to some of my favorite games of all time, but with smart and innovative systems layered on top that alleviate frustration and add playstyle flexibility unmatched in this sub-genre. Not only does Code Vein allow you to re-spec at any time, but it practically demands switching up your class and equipment regularly.

As you progress through the game, you earn new classes through collectibles, defeating bosses, or befriending party members. While using a class, you will unlock and eventually master the skills tied to it, and once a skill is fully mastered, you can “inherit” it and use it even when its associated class isn’t active. The more you experiment, the more custom-tailored and powerful you can make your build. The addition of a surprisingly useful AI companion and a map system that tracks your exact path through a dungeon (and clearly shows how often you’ve traversed it) also contributes to making Code Vein the most accessible and least stressful Souls-like I’ve played. The game’s anime aesthetic and melodramatic story, as well as the most epic orchestral soundtrack of the year (courtesy of God Eater’s Go Shiina) are the cherry on top. – Jens Dietrich

16. Luigi’s Mansion 3
Luigi’s Mansion 3/Nintendo

Developer and Publisher: Next Level Games, Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Date: October 31, 2019

This was my first Luigi’s Mansion game, and I really enjoyed it. While the first few floors of the hotel play it straight, by about the fourth or fifth stage, you are going into a fantasy castle, dense jungle or haunted laboratory floors. Battling against ghosts and sucking them into your vacuum cleaner. I find the game actually pretty challenging, as you have to figure out ways to manipulate the environment with your few abilities. Thus letting you proceed into new rooms or get the ghost to actually appear so you can battle it. Above all else, it features some really great Virtual Boy jokes, which considering I owned two of those things growing up, I can also attest that they are the greatest gaming devices anyone has ever invented. – Marc Morrison

15. Astral Chain
Astral Chain/PlatinumGames & Nintendo

Developer and Publisher: Platinum Games
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Date: August 30, 2019

Long-time fans of the developer should recognize Astral Chain as a “Best of Platinum Games” smörgåsbord. Since it is an amalgam of disparate mechanics plucked from each of their key titles. From Bayonetta through Wonderful 101. Prior familiarity with, for instance, Witch Time or Blade Mode is a serious boon when getting acquainted with Astral Chain’s combat. But no matter how you slice it, there’s always just a bit too much going on at once to get fully comfortable.

Still, every now and then it sings, instilling those same feelings of godlike badassness Platinum is famous for. Astral Chain’s maximalism doesn’t stop at its combat systems either. It is also far longer and more content-rich than you’d expect. I must have put in over 60 hours and I haven’t come close to completing all of the varied side missions. While I wish Astral Chain was a tighter, more focused experience if this style of elaborate, systems-heavy third-person combat is your particular jam, then there’s no better game in town this year. – Jens Dietrich

14. Slay The Spire
Slay the Spire/MegaCrit Games

Developer and Publisher: MegaCrit Games, Humble Bundle
Platforms All Systems
Release Date: January 23, 2019

13. Devil May Cry 5
Devil May Cry 5/Capcom

Developer and Publisher: Capcom
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: March 8, 2019

12. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night/505 Games

Developer and Publisher: ArtPlay, Inti Creates, WayForward Games, 505 Games
Platforms All Systems
Release Date: June 18, 2019

Considering that both Castlevania: Symphony of the Night and Super Metroid started the whole Metroidvania genre, it’s nice to at least see one of the important guys, Koji Igarashi, hard at work at refining the genre. While Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night doesn’t quite have the cache that Castlevania: SOTN had, it is a huge refinement of that formula.

Instead of just picking your weapons and gear, you can really customize your abilities with the shard system. You can go from wielding a drill-sword to summoning fireballs. While also jumping around like a demonic Playboy bunny. It is all up to you and how much you want to farm for specific shards. This is one of the few games I got the platinum trophy in, for 2019, and I’m glad I did. – Marc Morrison

11. Untitled Goose Game
Untitled Goose Game/House House

Developer and Publisher: House House, Panic Inc.
Platforms All Systems
Release Date: September 20, 2019

Though I like the idea of stealth gameplay, in practice more often than not it irritates and frustrates me. Not this time, though. I’ve never finished a single Hitman game, yet Untitled Goose Game makes the Hitman-style of design fun and accessible. A big part of the appeal is simply how pleasurable it is to control the goose. Though deliberately imprecise (the goose cannot turn on a dime, for instance), character movement manages to be snappy and responsive. The button layout is brilliantly intuitive. I especially enjoy toggling between low and high head positions, then watching the goose’s head whip around to focus on a newly acquired target, knocking over some object in the process. Quality of life features abound in the game as well. Every bit of progress you make is tracked and never resets unless you explicitly command it.

The game even gives you credit for objectives completed before they were received. After I finished the main campaign, I was happy to find I’d already done a third of the bonus objectives of my own accord. Besides Untitled Goose Game’s thoughtful interaction design and gorgeous art style, its inherent humor also bears mentioning. Humor – especially slapstick – is famously difficult to pull off in a video game, yet Untitled Goose Game’s clash of AI and physics never ceased to amuse me. My only complaint at all is that it’s over far too soon. – Jens Dietrich

10. Tetris 99
Tetris 99/Nintendo

Developer and Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Date: February 13, 2019

Let’s be real, this is the only Battle Royale game that actually matters. Tetris is timeless, and playing it against 98 other people is a real stroke of genius. It’s also great having the different themes to play with, from Mario and Link to Fire Emblem and Kirby. I would say the only real downside to the game is that it really prioritizes the T-Spin over the actual Tetris, which is a bad rule. The goal of the game should be you (the player) building monolith structures and just waiting to get the long piece you need to get a Tetris. Tetris 99 places higher values on getting the screwed-up T-spin spots going, which ruins the game. If they wanted that to be important, they should make “T-Spin the Game.”

Tetris 99 miraculously managed to do two things I never thought possible: it got me to play and enjoy Battle Royal-style competitive multiplayer and it improved on classic Tetris. Crossing Tetris with PLAYERUNKOWN’S Battlegrounds is like the first time someone thought to combine chocolate and peanut butter (with similarly addictive results.) The matches are quick bursts of intense struggle yet keep you coming back for “just one more” until you’ve whiled away a whole evening.

There is little shame in losing because you know nobody else is paying close attention to how you’re playing, you can get into another match almost immediately, and screw it, it’s just Tetris anyway! To me, this is a forever game that by itself justifies the Nintendo Online subscription to play. As long as it is active, I don’t see myself putting time into any vanilla Tetris. – Jens Dietrich

9. Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium/ZA UM

Developer and Publisher: ZA/UM
Platforms PC
Release Date: October 15, 2019

8. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro/From Software & Activision

Developer and Publisher: From Software, Activision
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: March 22, 2019

Sekiro: Shadow Die Twice’s concept originates from its predecessor Dark Souls but creates an entirely new experience. The first news of Sekiro was thought to be Bloodborne’s sequel. Instead, fans of the challenging Souls series received a game based in ancient japan playing as a lone wolf shinobi. Destined to save his master from the clutches of the enemy, players are forced to play smart. Unlike Souls games, Sekiro takes being stealthy on an entirely new level and one where every hit counts. Sekiro is a project of passion and dedication that leaves it high on the list of top games for 2019 and the decade. – Stephanie Diaz

7. The Outer Worlds
The Outer Worlds/Obsidian

Developer and Publisher: Obsidian Entertainment, Private Division
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 25, 2019

There is a lot going right in The Outer Worlds. The biggest thing the game has going for it is that when you pick up an object off a table, the rest of the objects on it don’t have a physics freak-out, like in the past few Bethesda games. Also, the world environments are fairly small, which leads them to be more concise with what is actually there. It’s not a sprawling world like Fallout/Skyrim, but there are like seven or eight distinct planets for you to explore that are more interesting. Also, the actual combat is quite good and melee is really viable, and shooting just works well. The only downside is that I got really disconnected from the story. It loses a lot of momentum as it goes further along. But still, if you want a first-person RPG, then Outer Worlds is about your best bet for the year. – Marc Morrison

6. Outer Wilds
Outer Wilds/Annapurna Interactive

Developer and Publisher: Mobius Digital, Annapurna Interactive
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: May 29, 2019

5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order/EA

Developer and Publisher: Respawn Entertainment, EA
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: November 15, 2019

It is amazing what a single-player only, non-Frostbite engine, Star Wars game can do. This is the best Star Wars game since Star Wars: Republic Commando, which was circa 2005. I really wish there was a fast travel or waypoint system to help find things on the map easier. Fallen Order is filled with good combat, nice action sequences and solid acting from Cameron Monaghan too. The game stands as a tremendous achievement and I applaud that it’s the most un-EA game in years. – Marc Morrison

This is the Star Wars game that people have been waiting for since EA got the license. This game gets described as Star Wars meets Dark Souls and while that is true to an extent, it doesn’t quite encapsulate the full game. This game has a wonderful story, polished gameplay, and great links to Star Wars canon. I hope we get more Star Wars games like Fallen Order in the future. – Daniel Anderson

4. Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
Resident Evil 2/Capcom

Developer and Publisher: Capcom
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: January 25, 2019

That first Resident Evil remake, almost 17 years ago now, was neat but still suffered from issues like retaining tank controls. Resident Evil 2 really is a modern game, and feels as such. The gunplay is fantastic, and it never gets old shooting zombies in the head. The game itself is gorgeous, and one of the best looking games on the market.

The best thing though is actually the map. It annotates basically everything, not just what type of locks there are for doors, but ammo and other key items you may need to forage for. Opening up the map and going “Hey, I finally got the Diamond Key, now to start opening up all these Diamond-locked doors and making progress” is such a good feeling. – Marc Morrison

3. Control
Best Games of 2019
Control/Remedy Entertainment

Developer and Publisher: Remedy Entertainment, 505 Games
Platforms PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: August 27, 2019

A bit like with The Outer Worlds, I think Control is a fantastic game, but the narrative started to lose me after a while. I did make it fairly far into the game, so I can comment on it. The plant boss is weird. Poets of the Fall are always cool. The world-building, setting and characters are all great. And the combat is fairly varied with the powers you have, and whether or not you want to shoot enemies with guns or just throw huge rocks at them. – Marc Morrison

Control is a game that is fairly unique. The game has a very deep storyline that has lots of options to explore. It is fun and captivating, pushing you to keep playing a little longer to see where the story is headed next. Control is one of the most entertaining games that came out in 2019. – Daniel Anderson

2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Best Games of 2019
Fire Emblem: Three Houses/Nintendo

Developer and Publisher: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo Games, Nintendo
Platforms Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 26, 2019

Fire Emblem: Three Houses marks a welcome evolution of the long-running and beloved tactical JRPG franchise. The rock-paper-scissors-like Weapon Triangle system at the core of its predecessors is replaced by the more flexible Combat Arts: special attacks learned through both combat and focused schooling. The protagonist is a teacher at a Monastic school, so you’ll spend just as much time on curricular and extracurricular activities with your fellows and students as you do waging battle.

The result is a cross between Fire Emblem and Persona. Social Links take on greater importance than ever before too. When war finally breaks out a third through the epic 60+ hour story, you are forced into utterly heartbreaking situations and tough choices. The result is a Strategy RPG for the ages that will tempt you into replaying it for years to come. – Jens Dietrich

Honestly, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is the best strategy game I’ve ever played. While there is some class stuff, flying units aren’t great against arrows or knights are weak against axes, almost everything is on a fairly level playing field so that even disadvantaged units might have a shot against stronger ones. You can also get ridiculously overpowered, even like four or five missions in, so that your main character can never die.

I literally got to a point where I could do side missions, just with the main character, and destroy every monster I came across with ease. Aside from the strategy aspect, there is a social one too, which is almost directly copied from a Persona game, in a brilliant fashion. If you’re going to take something, you might as well take from the best, and that is what is at play here. With the school filled with interesting and unique characters that you actually want to spend time with. This is the best game on the Switch without a doubt. – Marc Morrison

1. Death Stranding
Best Games of 2019
Death Stranding/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Developer and Publisher: Kojima Productions, Sony Interactive Entertainment, 505 Games
Platforms PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: November 8, 2019

There is no other game quite like Death Stranding, and nothing at all like it in the AAA space. At its core, it feels like the kind of physics-based traversal sim you’d find in the indie section of Steam. A game about inventory management and encumbrance where every bit of extra weight on your back affects your momentum. Call it, Rucking Simulator 2019. It’s also about building infrastructure to ease your journey.

This is the communal layer of Death Stranding and perhaps its most fascinating aspect is an evolution of the player hints system Demon’s Souls invented, but which prevents trolling and incentivizes positive interactions. Getting Likes from other players for building a bridge in a pivotal location is more lucrative for leveling than any S-ranked delivery.

Coming across another player’s helpful structure when you are in a bind will fill your heart with gratitude and make you fiercely mash that Like button. Death Stranding’s lowest points are its misguided stealth and combat encounters, which make me wish Hideo Kojima had gone all the way and made the environment the only antagonist. All of this is wrapped up in a heart-wrenching story and world-building which seems utterly insane on its face but is surprisingly consistent and well-explained by the time the credits roll for a third time. – Jens Dietrich

Hideo Kojima is an absolute legend and players eagerly wait for his projects. And 2019 received one of Kojima’s most genre-defying works of art. Death Stranding is not a simple game to comprehend and it is a consensus among the community that it is a game meant to tap into the metaphysical world while connecting humanity. Making players think and connect with each other as they journey to connect one strand at a time.

Players play as Sam “Porter” Bridges, a porter who travels all of America in an effort to rebuild humanity on the brink of extinction. Traveling through lands plagued by the B.T. and avoiding anarchist terrorist groups, players discover the other side while creating the bridge to connect. Death Stranding is a work of art by Kojima that will be talked about for many years to come. – Stephanie Diaz


Well, we hope you enjoyed our look back at 2019. Let us know what your best games of the year were, and get ready as 2020 looks to be one of the best year’s of gaming yet.

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