THE MAGIC RAIN’s Best Games of 2019

It’s been about a month into 2020, but some of us are still hung up over what to call the best game last year. 2019 was probably one of the best years for gaming within the past few years. We saw companies rise above previous trials, and others with their armour cracking, revealing the true monsters inside.

But enough of descriptive metaphors for failing game companies, what you guys want is a list. So here we are to provide.

Disclaimer: All of our picks in this list are based off of personal judgement, criteria and opinions. If you have any games that didn’t make this list, we either haven’t played enough of it, or thought other games outshined it. Let us know in the comments what your picks were!

Action Game of the Year: Devil May Cry V

When it comes to action, DMC V never runs out. In fact, you could say that it constantly ramps up throughout the game. Amazing visuals, kickass soundtrack, and gameplay that is fun for all levels, but gratuitously rewards you the more skilled you are. There is no denying that CAPCOM started the year out amazingly strong, with one of the best games ever in the Devil May Cry franchise.

And I’m not ashamed to admit I still have “Devil Trigger” playing in my car every so often.

Role Playing Game of the Year: Disco Elysium

Never have I played a game that starts you out as a completely blank slate, and provides so many avenues to build your own story that I’m still playing the game to this day. It’s basically Dungeons & Dragons in a modern setting, with skill checks determined by the passive stats you choose as well a dice roll to determine your success.

It’s hilarious, yet sombre. It’s dark, but also colourful. It’s Disco Elysium and it truly encapsulates the idea of “role-playing” in a complete package.

Strategy Game of the Year: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Three Houses takes what makes the previous two Fire Emblem games great, and then made them even better. Multiple story routes, improved mechanics, with new ones implemented very well. You can tailor your team to your own specific tastes by interacting with them in different ways, and the houses system ensures that you have more freedom in choosing who you want to work with, without restricting the amount of characters in the game itself.

Strategically, the game itself is easy to understand, but challenging enough to not baby you around. Surviving and winning a combat situation through tactical knowledge and strategy is one of the most satisfying feelings you can get, and the story itself is atmospheric and very personable. You write your own story here with what you are given, and it makes for insane replay value.

In short, we love it.

Indie Game of the Year: Outer Wilds

If you look at Mobius Digital’s website, you’ll find only 3 games they’ve worked on: Beacon 38, a mobile exploration game which creatively uses sonar, Terra Chroma, an RPG game with puzzle elements that continually challenges players, and this game right here: Outer Wilds.

For their first major outing on PC? What a game. Despite sharing an almost similar title with another game that dropped this year, Outer Wilds managed to completely blow us away with how distinct it feels from almost any other exploration game on the market. For something to create an impact like that, and to leave everyone who’s played it wanting even more? Small wonder it’s our pick this year.

Sports Game of the Year: F1 2019

I am, by nature, a massive petrolhead, whose biggest dream is to be a Formula 1 driver. Though that dreams seems incredibly farfetched now, with F1 2019, I’ve basically gotten the chance to live that dream from the comfort of my own home.

Genuinely an amazing simulation of a young prodigy’s growing F1 career, the game is a complete package front-to-back. As a rising star wanting to break into F1, you start from the bottom and slowly crawl your way up into the hotseat of the fastest racing machines on land.

You get to pick your team, choose how you want to develop your car, choose how you want your persona to be in public, and even create rivalries and narratives of your own.

In such a glorious package, the racing itself is also incredibly immersive and almost true-to-life. If you’re an F1 lover, this game is worth every single penny, and more.

Shooter of the Year: Apex Legends

It’s very rare these days that a first person shooter arrives with enough innovation to revitalize the genre. With cookie-cutter, samey-looking shooters on an overblown market, Apex Legends comes as a breath of fresh air for both battle royale and FPS games.

Slick and tight controls, fun gunplay, impressive arsenal and characters with distinct personalities and abilities, jumping into any game feels like a different experience anytime. It’s also an innovator, allowing players in a squad to seamlessly communicate with each other silently through the use of pings, each ping sending a different message to allow for easy understanding.

Despite mediocre post-launch support, Apex Legends created enough of a storm when it first released to lock in a playerbase that still actively plays the game to this day, and cements it as one of the best shooters this year.

Fighting Game of the Year: Super Smash Bros Ultimate

There probably isn’t any AAA fighting game around that has a character roster as diverse as Smash does, nor does any AAA fighting game have the longevity of Smash. It’s for good reason. Super Smash Bros Ultimate is exactly what it says on the tin, the ultimate fighting experience on a Nintendo console.

With well over 50 fighters, each with their own unique styles, impressive looking graphics that don’t falter even under high strain, frantic action with up to 4 players duking it out, and awesome post-launch DLC with new characters, there’s no denying that SSBU is the king of fighting games for this year, and may continue to be in the future.

Horror Game of the Year: Resident Evil 2 Remake

As previously mentioned in our “The Game Awards” nomination list, we had this game pegged for overall Game of the Year. However, further analysis sort of changed our perspective, as you will soon see below.

But let’s talk about RE2, which is probably one of the best remakes, ever. No exaggeration. It was a game that successfully brought an all-time great game back from the dead (no pun intended) by updating it with modern game mechanics, a more dramatic and complete storytelling aspect, and exhilirating atmosphere.

Yet RE2 still maintains that constant sense of dread, the fear of what lurks in the darkness (amplified by the incredible lighting), and the immense panic seeing Mr. X just walking towards you to mess up your day. It’s familiar enough to bring back feelings of nostalgia, but new enough to ensure that you don’t stop when the rose-tinted glasses come off.

Adventure Game of the Year: Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds just gets space exploration. The gist is you’re stuck in a time loop, and you need to study an ancient alien race that once lived in your solar system, to figure out how to move time forward. But each cycle resets after 22 minutes, a la Majora’s Mask, so you have a limited amount of time to explore as much as you can.

It magnifies the importance of each planet by making them wildly distinct, not just aesthetically but in how things function, it creates a genuine interest in knowing each location you visit front-to-back because the story continually drives you forward.

It gives incentive to exploration because you are never given goals by the game to progress forward, only by discovering clues and text, and allowing you to piece the puzzle yourself to figure out the next step. Absolutely marvelous.

Game of the Year: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

There is not one thing Sekiro sets out to do that it does wrongly. It looks absolutely gorgeous, the swordplay is one of the best ever in a video game, the atmosphere is intensely immersive, and the difficulty kicks your ass for being terrible without making you feel frustrated enough to quit.

Between this and Resident Evil 2, we had the hardest time yet deciding which one should be Game of the Year. However in the end, Sekiro being a new IP in itself brought it across the line, and it shows that there are still game developers out there who will always have fresh ideas to bring to the table, and still make the best games for the people who play them. Up to this point, From Software has yet to make a truly awful game. And it seems like they almost never will.

And we’ve reached the end of our list. Some of these choices were difficult to make, and some were no-brainers. Either way, if you have any games that you think deserve a spot at the top, let us know in the comments below!

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