2019 was a fantastic year to end the decade and the final full year of this generation of games. It contained some of the most unique gaming experiences, well, ever, and saw many games reduce their skeptics to a whisper. One indie game in particular took the world by storm, showing up all over the place and giving one of the world's meanest animals a positive image. Most surprising of all, however, might just be our overall winner in 2019—a year in which so many games are worthy winners.
Here's the list of nominees (and here's the list of nominees for all award categories):
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (Our Review)
- Control (Our Review)
- Death Stranding
- Devil May Cry 5 (Our Review)
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Our Review)
- The Outer Worlds (Our Review)
- Resident Evil 2 (Our Review)
- Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Our Review)
- Slay the Spire (Our Review)
- Untitled Goose Game
Readers' Choice - The Outer Worlds
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment | Release Date: October 25th, 2019 | Game Page
Ever since Fallout: New Vegas, fans have wanted Obsidian to another game in that same style. This year, they finally got their wish with an entirely new IP that Obsidian dreamed up themselves. With a cast of characters easy to love and a strong voice in the writing, it's no surprise to see it here as our readers' choice.
Fifth Place - Resident Evil 2
Developer: Capcom | Release Date: January 25th, 2019 | Game Page
By Nick Maillet
When I got the chance to play Resident Evil 2 Remake back in E3 2018 I knew Capcom was onto something special. From the moment the game starts up, you're in for a wild ride, and as far as remakes go, developer Capcom did a great job of adding new elements to the overall game while still making sure it feels like the Resident Evil 2 we all remember from way back when.
Resident Evil 2 is absolutely gorgeous from start to finish and lives up to its predecessor's legacy with the perfect blend of scary environments, fantastic writing, and fun gameplay. Mr X is one of the most anxiety inducing mechanics I've ever experienced in a video game, and while it definitely got my heart racing a handful of times, I loved every second of it and couldn't wait to traverse through the nightmare again with Claire.
If you have nostalgia for the N64/PS1 classic, or just want to try out something scary with a ton of action, then Resident Evil 2 Remake is a must play title. Its great to see Capcom back on top of its game and hopefully we see the Resident Evil series stay in its horror roots for years to come.
Fourth Place - Death Stranding
Developer: Kojima Productions | Release Date: November 8th, 2019 | Game Page
By Nick Maillet
Few figures in the games industry can carry as much clout and respect as Hideo Kojima. So, when he announced his first post-Konami game, Death Stranding at E3 2016, the theories on what exactly a "strand" game was and general hype has only snowballed since. While Death Stranding isn't for everybody, it's definitely worth looking into solely for its unique take on the sci-fi genre, intriguing multiplayer, music, and original story.
If you're a fan of Kojima's (often weird) writing, action games, or just want to try something a little different in the third person action space, then Death Stranding is very much worth looking into. Death Stranding is definitely one of this generation's most memorable and unique titles, and totally deserves to be recognized in our 2019 game of the year list.
Third Place - Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Developer: Intelligent Systems | Release Date: July 26th, 2019 | Game Page
By Austin Suther
I’ve given praise to Fire Emblem: Three Houses multiple times for TechRaptor since its launch earlier this year, and I can’t say enough good things about it. My opinion has been reaffirmed with its inclusion on this list, and with this reception, I couldn’t be happier that more people than ever are getting a chance to experience the incredibly fun Fire Emblem series for the first time.
Where to begin when Fire Emblem: Three Houses is so massive? From a tactical gameplay standpoint, it throws in new ideas while including signature elements we know and love from previous games. Battalions, beast enemies, and crests make for a new take on the classic Fire Emblem gameplay, making it the most fun I’ve had with a turn-based strategy title possibly ever. With the ability to teach your students and tailor them to the way you see fit, there are so many combinations and possibilities that make other Fire Emblem games seem archaic in comparison.
Gameplay combined with an incredibly talented cast of voice actors, lore-rich story, and an outstanding score, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a game that’ll go down as one of the most engrossing gaming experiences not only this year, but also this decade.
Second Place - Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Developer: FromSoftware | Release Date: March 22nd, 2019 | Game Page
By Austin Suther
I can thank Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for being one of the most satisfying gaming experiences of my life. Never before have I played a game with such a rewarding finish. As with all FromSoftware games I have played, Sekiro makes you feel like a total chump at first. Hours later, after you feel like you’ve got a grasp for the mechanics, a new, extremely difficult boss fight challenges what you’ve learned. The boss designs are simply extraordinary as well. The Guardian Ape fight is one of the most memorable of 2019 and perhaps the decade. And visually, most bosses are a marvel to behold.
The brutal, Souls-like gameplay and bosses isn’t the only exceptional aspect of Sekiro. The world that FromSoftware has made is beautiful and expertly crafted, from the superb Japanese architecture of Ashina Castle to the frozen, treacherous cliffs of Sunken Valley, the interconnectivity and relative freedom of exploration is another signature aspect of the developer’s games taken to the next level. If Sekiro is this good, Elden Ring is sure to take the gaming world by storm.
Winner - Devil May Cry 5
Developer: Capcom | Release Date: March 8th, 2019| Game Page
By Robert Scarpinito
This year featured no shortage of fantastic titles, but 2019 set the stage for an absolute return to form for game director Hideaki Itsuno. Devil May Cry 5 takes everything great from its predecessors and cranks it all up to 11. Its unapologetic style gives players more than enough reason to go for that coveted SSS rank in every fight. Between the visceral, enthralling combat and the smarmy dialog from our heroes, this year’s iteration proved to be a smash hit. In Itsuno’s words, “DMC is back!”
The beauty of Devil May Cry 5 comes from the three distinct tool boxes on offer: Nero, V, and Dante. All three bring something different to the character action genre, and it’s the intricate setups and combos that keep us coming back for more. Playing with Nero’s different Devil Breakers opens up new aerial attack options, while Dante’s diverse weapon selection can keep your enemies guessing. V especially shakes up the formula with his more hands-off approach to the action. Series veterans and newcomers alike might need more time to warm up to him, but his level of mechanical depth rivals that of his two counterparts.
Devil May Cry 5 is one of the best character action games to come out in recent memory. Each stage gives players ample opportunity to test out new combos and learn slick stunts, all in the name of making this dance of death look that much cooler. Many games in 2019 made us feel a whole range of emotions, but no game makes you feel like an unparalleled action hero the same way Devil May Cry 5 does.
What did we get right? Wrong? Miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!