Game Infinite's Top 10 Games of 2019

This year has been an amazing send off for this console generation with new consoles rolling up next year, and just over all an amazing year for gaming. While recent years had so many obvious heavy hitters that were on every single gamers "top lists", this year I have read so many top 10 games of 2019 from major outlets that differ more than in years past. This year, no one's list are all the same, and I don't think that means there were no amazing games. 2019 just had so much diversity and an incredible lineup of games that no one person could play all of them. I previously talked about how unique a year for gaming 2019 was when my pending top 5 games were completely different than the GOTY nominations for the Game Awards, something that had never happened before.

There are a few recurring games on many people lists that I just played little or nothing of that I hope to get to eventually. Some games received much praise such as Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Disco Elysium, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Maker 2, A Plague Tale Innocence, and many more. The list of games I want to play from 2019 is almost as long as the long list of games I did play, let alone this top 10 list. I always have a huge backlog in December of games I want to circle back to; but while I feel 2019 has the longest backlog ever, I actually played more games in 2019 than any previous year for Game Infinite so far!

This is also a unique year in that for the first time there are two games I really personally disagree with several critical outlets that these games were any good at all. Many major platforms had Control and UPS Walking Simulator 2019-er I mean, Death Stranding on their lists, and I will not. I don't like to be too negative on here, so all I will say is I found both games lacking and just can't see the positive they saw. If you enjoyed Control or Death Stranding, great, comment on social and tell me why you like them.

If a game you really enjoyed didn't make the list make sure to comment on this article's social media posts to tell us your favorite game of 2019! This list is "mostly" focusing on AAA games with a few exceptions, as I already made a list detailing the top indie games of 2019. Since any of those amazing indie games could easily make it on to this list, and since I only have 10 spots, I decided to focus on some of the biggest titles of year. There were still a few indie that just had to be on here. Check out the list below.

10. Dead or Alive 6 - "Best Fighting Game" Gi Best2019 celebration winner

Dead or Alive is one of my favorite fighting game series alongside Soulcalibur, and it just narrowly beat out MK11 for best fighting game in our Game Infinite Best of 2019 celebrations. Everything about Dead or Alive 6 is just a visual and fun gameplay treat. The fighting is buttery smooth; the visuals are gorgeous; and overall just a fun experience. The only thing keeping DOA6 from farther up the list is a average story and average item management system. However it does include some bonus features like a photo-mode (albeit somewhat hard to use). The character models in DOA6 are also quite impressive and one of the many beautiful examples of characters modeling in 2019, a year already filled with gorgeous human rendering. I can't wait to see what the DOA6 will look like running on the PS5.

9. Astral Chain

Astral Chain is weird and beautiful, and I loved it. It was one of my most anticipated titles of 2019 and the title I was looking forward to most on Nintendo Switch. The game is set in a sci-fi universe where Earth is under constant attack from extra-dimensional beings, and one organization has found a way to literally harness these dimensional creatures and strap them to a elite group of police officers to fight crime and other beings. That is the kind of crazy sci-fi plot descriptions that makes me love games like this. More than the over the top premise, the game is also one of the best examples of a fast paced action adventure game for the Nintendo Switch we rarely get to see. Also, Astral Chain has an absolutely gorgeous art style that makes you feel like you are inside an Anime Blade Runner. My biggest complaint keeping Astral Chain from being higher is a lack of a voice actor for the main protagonist. At the beginning of the game you choose between playing as the brother or sister of the duo, and whichever you don't choose is still with you for the rest of the game with full vocals. This means there is a full audio file for both characters which just makes the decision to go with a silent protagonist all the more strange. If you already have two voice actors, WHY NOT USE THEM? Personally, I would rather have had a talking protagonist instead of a choice of gender. The female sister character was way more interesting anyways than her brother. That being said the story is fun, the combat is smooth, and the art style with delight your eyes. I feel like could easily be one of the most underrated games of the year as I feel like it just flew under the radar. It makes me hope for a Switch Pro or something in 2020 that can really beef up these beautiful visuals.

8. World War Z

World War Z is a game that breaks all the rules.

If you have been playing games long enough, or someone like me who reviews games, we know there is this unofficial rule: Movie License games always suck. I could sit here all day and list off terrible awful games that were rushed projects meant to capitalize on an impending movie. From the awful "straight to game" Thor or Green Lantern games, to the more recent Fast and Furious games, or that awful, just awful Rambo game

These games come with warning signs. They are often given to small inexperienced dev teams along with small budgets. These games are never meant to be good, they are just to meant to abuse an IP to make money. They often use the same promo art as the movie (again to save money and to capitalize on the brand) They are also made in very little time periods often to coincide with a movie launch.

These games are also sometimes sold at sub-60 to attract bargain hunters. Every year there is a list of what I call "B-games", games sold at launch sub-60 by medium sized developer/publisher teams who can access larger IP's, but fall way short of AAA quality. They are rarely anything other than average to bad.

World War Z is also a zombie game, and I can't express enough how tired I am of zombie games. They are the most saturated genre that I just wanted banned for a decade for us to miss them. After being just disappointed in the utter trash that has been several recent zombie games, I was also ready to swear off zombie games as well.

World War Z is a movie license, sub-60, zombie game. And it is a completely amazing.

Not only did WWZ rekindle a spark of hope in the zombie genre I thought gone forever; it also managed to not just overcome the fact that is was based on an ok meh movie and establish itself into an amazing GAME. It avoids some obvious potential blunders the developer could have made like making it a free-to-play micro-transaction cash vacuum but instead it is very consumer friendly. It also had every excuse to go pure multiplayer, but instead they added a simple story campaign that I felt added to the experience nicely.

On top of completely overcoming the complete trash pile every rule book said it should have been, it also managed to impress with a technical achievement. It managed to re-write the rules of just how feasible it would be to have that many assets on screen. The developers actually made a new engine, what they called the "swarm engine" to manage having hundreds and hundreds of zombies on screen at once without crashing everything but the beefiest gaming pc's. It is quite a sight to see a flood of hundreds of zombies swarming towards you like a incoming tidal wave.

Read full review here.

7. Gears 5

I have never played much of Gears of War. I have played a few minutes of the very first one, so I will admit that playing the story for Gears 5, at first I had absolutely no idea what was going on. However, one thing they do well is making the story approachable to new comers. I was able to be brought up to speed with very little exposition needed: "Big bug creatures bad, shoot 'em".

For what I expected to be a cheesy exaggerated starship troopers experience turned out to be a more mature military experience and story about a futuristic sci-fi war ...well in between the chainsaw killing of monsters.

Kait is a very likable character and seems likes she brings a sense of realism and humanity to what my distant impression of Gears was before (Massive muscular soldier dudes). They do a great job at humanizing these super soldiers in a way that makes them more believable. I also really enjoyed having a robot companion follow us most of the game which added a layer or strategy to combat.

On top of a engaging campaign that game offers so many fun modes for multiplayer. Some modes are incredibly long if you want to play one mission for an hour, while others are more bite-sized. I really enjoyed both the horde and traditional modes. My only complaint about Gears 5 is the reload system. I have played shooters for my entire life, and putting the "reload" on the bumper instead of "X" is just blasphemy.

6. Call of Duty Modern Warfare

Say what you will about the call of duty franchise. This series may be the popcorn film-michael-bay-movie of the gaming world, but no one can say this year's installment doesn't try hard to be a "real" game; something considered for greatness outside of pure gun-toting fun. Call of Duty Modern Warfare's campaign, while not as controversial as promised, still maintained a mature, gritty, and dark feel worthy of a great war epic. It delivered by far some of the best visuals of the year, along with just absolutely stunning character models, environments, and amazing audio technical achievement. In addition to giving us a deep dark story, Call of Duty Modern Warfare delivered a fun, fast, and crazy multiplayer experience that was second only to one other game this entire year. While not a perfect game, you can't deny the AAA polish of this game. It also gets a huge fun X-factor boost as some of my best times this year were playing with some of my friends Blake and Deadlymouse late into the hours. I also give Activision credit for learning from its past mistakes, and getting with the times by abandoning map packs, season passes, or any-playerbase-splitting monetization systems; instead going for a reasonable cosmetic focused Battle-pass system popularized by Fortnite. How can a game look this good, play this good, try this hard, and not be called great?

Read our full review here.

5. My Friend Pedro - "Best Art Style" Gi Best2019 celebration winner

A game that gave me huge one more level syndrome was My Friend Pedro. I took this game with me on my summer vacay and enjoyed having it on the go with my Switch. This game brought a massive amount of fun matrix-inspired gameplay as you run and gun in slow-mo. I am very hard on 2D platforms in general and my rule is they have to offer something MORE just to pass. They have to kill it on art, gameplay, or story in order for them to appeal to me, and My Friend Pedro slays it on all fronts. Plus it has a talking Banana, so there's that.

Read our full review for My Friend Pedro Here.

4. Borderlands 3

I have never really played Borderlands. I played a little of 2 in preparation for when 3 came out but I really went in cold. I have always heard of Borderlands and 2019 was a year that introduced me to many new franchises I never grew up with. I loved Mortal Kombat 11, Gears 5, and now Borderlands 3. Borderlands 3 did a great enough job introducing new characters to the universe as I never felt lost. Second only the one other game upcoming on this list, Borderlands 3 has some of the best gunplay of the year, and definitely wins in pure volume. I never knew there could be such a thing as "too much loot" and Borderlands 3 takes the cake. There are so many freaking gun variations and loot everywhere on the ground. I constantly felt this weird feeling of dread caused by leaving piles of glowing loot behind because I could only carry so much. If you love loot, this game will make you feel like you are walking through the cave Aladin found the genie lamp.

In addition to super polished gunplay and loot systems, the game offers a compelling entertaining story, a vast ensemble of playable and companion characters. Not too mention the game offers great humor: cheesy, goofy, and wonderful. I was also blown away at how the gorgeous the traditional "borderlands" art style cell-shading looks in modern 4k systems. I never liked the look before back in the 360 era, but damn does it look beautiful on my One X. I almost considered it for best art style, second only to My Friend Pedro.

New to Borderlands 3 was also the concept of planet hopping as we now got to explore multiple planets in the Borderlands universe. This gave me major Destiny feels as Borderlands now offered such a variety of the maps. We even get our own spaceship to command and travel with! Anytime a game puts me in space and lets me explore different planets is a huge bonus for sure.

I can't wait to keep playing Borderlands 3 and explore more of the lore and characters in this game. My favorite characters were More, Moxxi, Maya, Claptrap, and Zero!

3. Outerwilds - "Indie GOTY" Gi Best2019 celebration winner

Outerwilds, (not to be confused with The Outer Worlds) is an space exploration game that came out of no where, literally showed up on my xbox and blew me away. I don't event remember buying the game, and was in my new installs, a gift from either my faulty memory or the Xbox gods. I played it not knowing much about the game, and I became infatuated with this pure work of art. The more I played the more I wanted to learn. I wanted to know ever secret hidden in the small solar system. The game has a beautiful art style, beautiful soundtrack, and a facisnating story. It was the first 10/10 we gave out for the year, and not only is it the best indie game of the year it is definitely an instant classic I will be mentioning, replaying, and recommending for years to come.

I remember reading titles like "a game we can't review because you just have to play it" and it is truly difficult to describe without spoilers. Even for players that don't usually like space games or slower exploration games I tell them try it because it is such an incredible experience. The game offers up a mystery about the mini solar system you occupy very early into the game that throws a unique spin on how you must explore. It offers a mystery to solve that gives some purpose to your exploration. And while some exploration games can feel vast and empty, Outerwilds gives us a dense and quality experience with each planetary destination being not just incredibly creative but vastly different from each other. While you wake up on a forestry planet, you will soon discover an ocean planet, a black hole, a white hole, a gas giant, a ice comet, and EVEN stranger places. My childhood dream of flying a ship around the solar system exploring planets in a space suit was fulfilled in this game. As a physics nerd who enjoys a good conversation about space was thrilled by the floaty physics meant to mimic the realities of space travel so often ignored by science fiction like the fact that you have to put as much thrust into slowing down as you do to speed up in space. If you are not careful you might find yourself flying right past your destination.

While mindless exploration and a quiet zen nature of floating around is 10/10 amazing in this game, it takes it farther by making you want to solve the mystery presented early in game. If you want to read our full review check it on our reviews page, but I just highly suggest getting the game yourself and trying it.

Full Review Here.

2. Apex Legends - (Personal overall favorite)

"Best Shooter",

"Best Multiplayer",

and "Best Community Support"

Gi Best2019 celebration winner

Apex Legends pretty much came out of nowhere. EA and Respawn Entertainment broke all traditional rules for game marketing. There was no year of hype or over the top trailers leading up to a final release. The game had no preorder or massive reveal at E3. EA and Respawn announced, revealed, and RELEASED the game all on the same day. Only a couple days before was there a tease of some kind of "Titanfall without the titans" game coming from EA. (what a horrible way to describe the game). I even wrote an article right at release at how baffling it was that this game was coming before I played it. Don't games that get rid of their main selling points (no titans) get shot down in pitch meetings? Did EA not learn their lesson with Apex coming so close to Anthem (Battlefield 1 vs Titanfall 2 release window debacle) I had so many doubts and questions and mostly I was angry that I wasn't getting Titanfall 3 because gosh I loved that series.

Apex Legends was like being set up on a blind date you begrudgingly agree to go to and then falling in love at first sight. Apex Legends was not the game I wanted but it turned out to be something even better. Apex Legends quickly took its throne as the biggest game of the year, at times even doubling the twitch viewers of then king Fortnight Apex Legends because the multiplayer experience of the year. It came out at a perfect time with little else truly competing against it. I put more hours into Apex Legends than any other game this year and I'm not even sorry. It even squished out games I wanted to play because I couldn't shake just wanting more Apex.