2019 Entertainment in Review: The Year’s Hottest Games

2019 turned out to be a solid year with a diverse selection of releases for all types of players, critically-acclaimed large releases, and a handful of memorable indie games. 2019, while it didn’t have generation-defining games such as God of War in 2018 or Breath of the Wild in 2017, the multitude of great releases made up for the lack of humongous triple-A releases. If this year should be remembered by anything, it should be known as the most diverse year of releases in recent history.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is an action-adventure game developed by FromSoftware (Dark Souls, Bloodborne) and was awarded “Game of the Year” at the 2019 Game Awards. In Sekiro, which takes place in the Sengoku era of Japan, you play as a vengeance-seeking shinobi, “Wolf”, and travel throughout the lands of Japan to avenge and re-capture “Wolf’s” kidnapped lord. As you travel, you’ll face a multitude of incredibly difficult bosses and enemies that stand in your way. Sekiro is considered, by many, one of the hardest games ever made, pushing the player’s skills to the absolute limit. Sekiro punishes the player for dying and is always unforgiving. If you die, you will not receive help, you have nothing but you and your skills. It is easy to see why Sekiro earned Game of the Year with its addicting and satisfying gameplay, breathtaking visuals, and well-designed bosses. Sekiro takes the formula used in FromSoftware’s previous games and reinvents it to create an experience, unlike their previous ones. Sekiro adds stealth mechanics and deathblows, which veterans of FromSoftware games will quickly have to adapt to in order to survive. Sekiro requires far more wit and care than their previous games. Sekiro is not an experience for the casual gamer due to it’s difficulty, but those who are willing to climb through its struggles are to be commended.

Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry 5 is an action, hack and slash game developed and published by Capcom. It is the first main-line Devil May Cry game in 11 years, and it was definitely worth the wait. Devil May Cry 5 pushes its narrative using 3 different playable characters: Nero, Dante, and V. Each character possesses different fighting styles and level designs to always guarantee a new experience with every play. Devil May Cry continues the story of the previous games, yet the story is simple enough for a new-comer to jump in without worrying about confusion. With a strong story, amazing bosses, and satisfying combat, Devil May Cry 5 remains one of the strongest releases of the year and won “Best Action Game” at the 2019 Game Awards.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Resident Evil 2 Remake is a remake of a horror third-person shooter originally released in 1998. The original game is considered by many to be a horror classic, but it’s undeniable that it is outdated. Resident Evil 2 Remake takes the original game and paints an entirely new coat, reinventing the original to modern standards. Remake has two story modes, Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield. While both stories are very similar, they provide different perspectives and areas to explore. As both characters, you fight zombies and solve puzzles to eventually solve the mystery of who started the zombie outbreak. As you traverse through the levels, you are pursued by the frightening “Tyrant” whom you can not kill. The only option you have is to stun him or run for your life. Resident Evil 2 Remake is Resident Evil at its best, integrating horror and puzzle elements to create an exciting and memorable experience. If you’re a fan of horror or shooters, Resident Evil 2 Remake is a must-play.

Death Stranding

Death Stranding is a video game developed and published by Kojima Productions and won “Best Game Direction”, “Best Soundtrack”, and “Best Actor Performance” at the 2019 Game Awards. Death Stranding managed to be the most unique experience of 2019, and also the most polarizing. Death Stranding, despite being one of the highest anticipated games of the year, received a mixed reception from both critics and users. The game follows Sam, a package deliverer, in a post-apocalyptic America, as he travels across the country to find his kidnapped sister. On the way, he must activate terminals to re-connect America for the hope of restoration. The gameplay consists of delivering packages, sneaking past demons, and activating terminals. Death Stranding is a trivial game to summarize without undermining the amount of content and gameplay that it really has. Death Stranding is a large game for better or for worse and is filled to the brim with moments that will be hard to forget.

See our review here: https://ucanest.org/2269/student-life/death-stranding-review/

Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 is the long-awaited sequel to the 2015 original developed/published by Nintendo. Super Mario Maker 2 takes what makes the original so lovable and ports it onto the Nintendo Switch with a ton of new features. It provides more options for level design than the original, allowing for a plentiful amount of creative levels to be played. Super Mario Maker 2 also adds a new multiplayer mode that allows you to play with or against others. It’s is the easiest game to come back to and play at any moment, there’s always something new to experience with this game, and it is fun for any demographic.

Kingdom Hearts 3

Kingdom Hearts 3 is an action RPG developed/published by Square Enix and Disney Interactive. Kingdom Hearts 3 is easily the most anticipated game of the year, being in development for over 6 years. It continues the narrative of previous games and ends the “Dark Seeker Saga”. Kingdom Hearts 3 is not newcomer friendly in the slightest, confusion will be present if one doesn’t play the previous games. That being said, it still provides enough for both returning fans and newcomers to enjoy. Kingdom Hearts 3 allows players to visit and explore their favorite Disney/Pixar worlds unlike never before, with environments packed with unbelievable detail and refinement. With worlds such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Pirates of the Caribbean, and more, players will not need to worry about repetitiveness or a lack of content. Kingdom Hearts 3 also brings completely new gameplay elements to the table, such as Keyblade Transformations, Airstep, and completely new abilities. The game does plenty to differentiate it from previous entries and ultimately builds to be one of the strongest games in the franchise. Whether you’re an inexperienced gamer or a hardcore player looking for a challenge, Kingdom Hearts 3 provides for both. It has strong and fun gameplay, one rollercoaster of a story, mesmerizing soundtracks, and magnificent worlds.

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order

Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is an action-adventure game developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA. This game is certainly one of the biggest surprises of the year, as EA and the Star Wars franchise have had mixed quality in their games for the past few years. Jedi Fallen Order, however, surprised audiences by being one of the best Star Wars games ever made. Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order takes the formula from games like Dark Souls to create its own unique world and gameplay style that fits perfectly into the Star Wars franchise. Jedi Fallen Order takes place in-between the events of Star Wars: Episode III and Episode IV, where the Jedi had nearly been completely wiped out. You play as Cal Kestis, the only know surviving Padawan, as he goes on a journey to revive the Jedi Order. Cal has to fight and hide from the Empire who had been hunting Jedi for several years. Cal travels to several different worlds to find a holocron that reveals the names of several “Force-sensitive” children who can potentially become Jedi. Jedi Fallen Order is an enjoyable ride and should be experienced by any Star Wars fan.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a first-person shooter developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the best-selling game of 2019 and won “Best Audio Design” at the 2019 Game Awards. This game is a reboot of the popular Modern Warfare trilogy, introducing a completely new story and universe. The campaign focuses on a conflict between the fictional country Urzikstan and Russia. American CIA and British SAS team up with Urzikstan rebels to combat the Russian army. The campaign impressively adds unique set-pieces and is one of the best Call of Duty story modes in recent history. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare also provides a varietal multiplayer. With modes such as Ground War and Gunfight, players can enjoy whatever style of gameplay they desire. Overall, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is a solid entry into the series and is one of the best in recent history. With constant updates and new maps, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will continue to be played for a good while.

See our review here: https://ucanest.org/1795/showcase/call-of-duty-modern-warfare-review/

Honorable Mentions

With the numerous games released in 2019, it would be incredibly difficult to mention them all without creating a multi-page article. Many games were missed in this list, and they will be recognized here in the Honorable Mentions.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening is an action-adventure game developed by Grezzo and published by Nintendo. Check out our review on Link’s Awakening: https://ucanest.org/843/showcase/the-legend-of-zelda-links-awakening-review/

Apex Legends, a free to play Battle Royale experience developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA, Apex Legends earned “Best Multiplayer Game” at The Game Awards and achieved major critical success.

Borderlands 3, a first-person RPG developed by Gearbox Software and published by 2K games, was one of the most memorable experiences of the year. Borderlands 3 is another long-awaited sequel and pleased both critics and fans for the most part. Borderlands 3 is a solid single-player and multiplayer experience.

Control, an action-adventure game developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by 505 games. Control was a critical hit and won “Best Art Direction” at the 2019 Game Awards.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a strategy RPG developed by Intelligent Systems/Koei Tecmo and published by Nintendo. Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a fan-favorite and a critical hit, landing on many people’s favorites of the year lists. Fire Emblem: Three Houses won “Best Strategy Game” at the 2019 Game Awards

Luigi’s Mansion 3, a game developed by Next Level Games and published by Nintendo. Luigi’s Mansion 3 won over fan and critics alike and won “Best Family Game” at the 2019 Game Awards

The Outer Worlds, a first-person RPG developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Private Division. The Outer Worlds takes heavy inspiration from one of Obsidian’s previous games, Fallout: New Vegas and creates an entirely new and exciting experience. The Outer Worlds was nominated for Game of the Year at the 2019 Game Awards and received exceptional reception

Disco Elysium, an indie RPG developed/published by ZA/UM. Disco Elysium was a unique experience and won 4 different Game Awards at the 2019 Game Awards including “Best RPG” and “Best Narrative”.

Pokemon: Sword and Shield is an RPG developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo. Pokemon: Sword and Shield became the best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch and received a good reception from critics.

Gears 5

Outer Wilds

Untitled Goose Game

Mortal Kombat 11

Metro: Exodus

Jump Force

Sayonara: Wild Hearts

Tetris 99

A Plague Tale: Innocence

Astral Chain

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Days Gone

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

The Division 2

Cadence of Hyrule

…and more!


2019 had an unbelievable amount of well-received and memorable releases. While it’s difficult to pinpoint games that will be considered industry staples, nearly every release in 2019 will undoubtedly continue to be played and remembered. 2019 was a solid year, and here’s to hoping 2020 will be able to reach even more incredible heights. 2020 has no shortage of anticipated releases, yet it is unlikely that even 2020 will be able to top 2019 in terms of diverse and unique releases. Despite this, 2020 will be loaded with large releases and will be one of the biggest years in the industry with the release of the new Playstation and Xbox.