Game Chronicles 2019 Game of the Year Awards

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Welcome to our 16th Annual Game of the Year Awards where we celebrate the best games of 2019, or at least the games we actually played and hopefully reviewed. Admittedly, we don’t get to play everything that comes out, so our list will certainly be different from the hundreds of other end-of-the-year tallies flooding the Internet right now. If your favorite game didn’t make our list I’m sure it’s on somebody else’s.

As with our past awards lists, we’ll be keeping things simple with a summary of the top ten games spanning multiple systems and genres, along with a few specific shout-outs for Best VR games and Best Remake/Remaster games. We’re also including some Honorable Mentions for those games that just missed the cutoff.

 

TOP TEN GAMES OF 2019

10. Need for Speed Heat – This is our most controversial pick for the top ten since any of the honorable mentions could have filled this slot, but Need for Speed has been around forever and despite some stinkers in the franchise, Heat marks a return to greatness for the series with classic cops vs racers, a unique blend of day and night racing, and a mega-map loaded with collectibles and activities. Combined with a strong community, massive garage and parts/upgrade library, and no monetization schemes, this is the time to once again feel the need for speed.

9. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – Combine the design and difficulty of Dark Souls/Bloodborne with some culturally-rich themes and design, this might be one of the best games you never finish, but you’ll have an amazing time trying. This is a game that gets consistently better the better you get playing it.

8. Resident Evil 2 – Admittedly a remake, but honestly with everything that was done to bring this new version to life we couldn’t diminish it to the Remake category. This is an entirely new game that not only changes the way you play but also the way you feel while playing it. The original was fun campy horror and jump scares, but now the zombie threat is downright terrifying.

7. Concrete Genie – Easily one of the most overlooked games of the year, this PS4 exclusive (with optional PSVR support) is one of my personal favorites of the year; a game I could easily revisit in a few months given the unique premise that YOU are actually creating the game world as you play. If you have a single ounce of creativity or desire to create digital art then this is a must-play adventure for you. The VR support is an added bonus for those with a PSVR, allowing you complete immersion in this amazing world.

6. A Plague Tale: Innocence – You’ll come for the rats but you’ll stay for the gorgeous (and often disgusting) visuals and the wonderful tale of a sibling bond that will overcome oppression and carnivorous vermin. Stealth and smart puzzle design put a great twist on the genre.

5. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown – Air combat might be a niche genre but this latest installment in the epic franchise of multi-generational games should appeal to all gamers with a fantastic variety of mission designs and aircraft and a dazzling array of upgrades. The photo-realistic visuals are as close to becoming a pilot as you’ll get without enlisting.

4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – Finally, a single-player Star Wars game with a story and no monetization. An immersive upgrade tree, varied Force powers, and a customizable lightsaber all combine to create an exciting action-adventure that will entertain anyone who has dreamt of becoming a Jedi. You even get a cool little companion droid.

3. Call of Duty Modern Warfare – The franchise returns to the roots that made it great by bringing back favorite characters and creating one of the best exciting single-player campaigns in the franchise’s history. The multiplayer still has all the usual issues that eventually get sorted out.

2. Metro Exodus – If you love a novel’s worth of exposition and dialogue in your games then look no further than this epic installment in the Metro series that takes us out of the Russian underground and out into the radioactive wasteland, as our heroes look for a new home.

1. Control – Combining elements of Warehouse 13 and Stranger Things with a dash of X-Files and Men in Black agency bureaucracy, you have the perfect setting for this paranormal thriller that perfectly blends superpowers and weapons combat in one of the best Metroidvania action-adventures ever. The addition of stunning RTX support on PC easily makes this our best game of 2019.

Honorable Mentions (In no particular order)

Children of Morta, Red Dead Redemption 2 (PC), Days Gone, Tom Clancy’s The Division 2, Gears 5, Devil May Cry 5, The Outer Worlds, Mortal Kombat 11

 

TOP 3 VR GAMES of 2019

3. AUDICA – It was down to this and Beat Saber for the third pick, and as much fun as we’ve had with Beat Saber, Audica just blows it away in every facet of design, implementation, and most importantly, song library. There are so many mechanics in Audica, the potential to replay and slowly master the higher levels along with, in my opinion; a much stronger music library clearly bumps Beat Saber out of the top three.

2. Trover Saves the Universe – You don’t have to be a fan of Rick and Morty to enjoy this game (it might help) but you will have to have (or develop) a tolerance for naughty language. Trover is a great platformer, and with the clever integration of co-op mechanics and parallel gameplay, offers something truly unique beyond its excellent VR integration.

1. Synth Riders – A VR game that was clearly designed for you to experience the flow of the music with pure and instinctually body movement whether you are spiraling your hands around to match the incoming pattern of orbs or riding the waves of the curvy sustain bars. If you’re not careful you might just catch yourself dancing to this game.

Honorable Mentions (In no particular order)

Beat Saber, Vader Immortal, A Fisherman’s Tale, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets

 

TOP 3 REMAKES/REMASTERS

3. Catherine: Full Body – Featuring all new visuals, improved gameplay, brand new music, enhanced multiplayer and even a new character who has been seamlessly woven into the existing story to make things more fun than ever, there is just enough new content that when combined with the eight year lapse since the original, this game feels like something entirely new.

2. Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered – If you ever wanted that third installment then this is it. The actual mechanics of busting ghosts feel great and the script and voice acting from all the original actors makes this feel just like the missing sequel we always wanted.

1. Assassin’s Creed III Remaster – This remaster goes beyond technical improvements. Ubisoft has packed in loads of bonus content including all the original DLC; Benedict Arnold Missions, Hidden Secrets Pack, and Tyranny of King Washington; all of which will add hours to your American Revolution experience. They even included Assassin’s Creed Liberation Remastered; the 4K remaster of the PC and console HD remake of the PlayStation Vita original.

Honorable Mentions (In no particular order)

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, MediEvil Remastered

 

COMING in 2020

Even though we are getting all new consoles at the end of this year there are still plenty of awesome new games on the horizon; so many that trying to pick a single favorite is nearly impossible.  With great games like Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Final Fantasy 7 Remake, DOOM Eternal, Half-Life: Alyx, Resident Evil 3 Remake, Dying Light 2, The Last of Us Part 2, Ghosts of Tsushima, Halo Infinite, Watch Dogs: Legion, Psychonauts 2, and next-gen system launchers like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II,our most anticipated title for 2020 is…

That pretty much wraps up our picks for the best of 2019 and what we’re looking forward to in 2020. There were so many awesome video games this year and so much to look forward to next, and we’ll be here to cover it all including the launch of the new Xbox and PlayStation 5.  Stick with us for all the latest news, trailers, reviews, live shows, and more.

See you next year…