Skip to main content

The 25 best games of 2019

 10. Luigi's Mansion 3 

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Developer: Next Level Games
Formats: Nintendo Switch

What is it? A spooky spectacular set in a haunted high-rise hotel, with the other brother vacuuming up ghosts and calling on his slimy alter-ego Gooigi to solve puzzles to try and rescue his friends.

Why should you play it? Unless you have a life-threatening allergy to fun, this is a Nintendo Switch essential. Even then, it's probably worth the risk. The Last Resort hotel is a masterpiece of delightful visuals and supernaturally satisfying puzzles, and every floor has a new theme. Point your Poltergust G-00 vacuum at anything and everything for secrets, puzzle-solving, and sheer destructive satisfaction, or summon green Gooigi for the company or to help with puzzles that need some creative thinking. It's the sort of A+ action-adventure you expect from a big Nintendo title, but no expense has been spared on making sure it's as charming and memorable as it is mechanically marvelous. Move over Mario, because Luigi is the real star of 2019. Rachel Weber

9. Sayonara Wild Hearts 

(Image credit: Annapurna)

Developer: Simogo
Formats: PS4, Nintendo, iOS (Apple Arcade)

What is it? A new, neon spin on the rhythm-action game that's a masterpiece of sound and visuals. 

Why should you play it? You have one purpose in Sayonara Wild Hearts – follow your heart. There will be ups, downs, intergalactic incidents, and more, but one thing is clear, it's going to be a journey you'll never forget. This is a rhythm-action game like no other, with a narrative that'll take you through every swell of love and crushing heartbreak that one young woman has ever experienced in her life in one 45-minute gameplay experience. It's presented using a color palette reminiscent of '80s neon obsessions, and with a custom pop soundtrack that you'll need to have on repeat for at least a week afterward. You'll move from motorbike to sword fight, pirouetting through the stars and cosmic chasms, dancing through the neon and everything else between. It's beautifully crafted in every way to create an intoxicating loop that'll seep into your senses in a way that's akin to euphoria. Sam Loveridge

8. Disco Elysium 

(Image credit: ZA/UM)

Developer: ZA/UM
Formats: PC

What is it? An open-world RPG quite unlike any other

Why should you play it? From its earliest showing as No Truce With The Furies, ZA/UM's debut always seemed like one of those games that was too ambitious to succeed. And yet Disco Elysium stands, not only as one of the best games of the year, but as one of the best of the generation. It's a detective game built around introspective interrogation, a gorgeous isometric RPG that tasks you with deftly navigating a war inside your head, heart, and lower intestines as the weight of the world bears down on weary shoulders. Disco Elysium is bold in its ideas and magnificent in its execution of them; full of character and deeply expressive, Disco Elysium sets a new benchmark for the RPG. Josh West

7. Untitled Goose Game 

Untitled Goose Game Crown

(Image credit: House House)

Developer: House House
Formats: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4 

What is it? A stealth game where you play as a horrible goose and wreak havoc on a small village

Why should you play it? Move aside Assassins Creed and Metal Gear Solid: There's a new stealth master in the village and they just so happen to have an orange beak and a mighty wingspan. Yes, House House's stealthy puzzler stole the hearts of the entire internet for letting you become one of the most endearingly horrible protagonists in recent memory. As a goose, you go about trying to wreck everyone's day, from tripping up a resident and making them fall into a puddle, to pinching a beer glass and tossing it into a river. No task is too dastardly for the iconic feathery anti-hero. Untitled Goose Game is pure joy wrapped up in a dedicated honk button, slapstick humor, and goosey good times. Being a public menace was never so charming and fun. Honk! Heather Wald 

6. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 

(Image credit: Activision)

Developer: Infinity Ward
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What is it? A reboot of the 15-year-old franchise that's more complex and morally gray than its forerunners, powered by a brand-new engine that churns out breathtaking graphics

Why should you play it? This frenetic shooter pulls back from the massive military set pieces synonymous with its namesake in favor of tighter, occasionally claustrophobic campaign missions. These missions make you feel the weight and consequences of war far better than other Call of Duty games have, even if it occasionally teeters on the precipice of torture porn. It's the most beautiful game in the series by a landslide, with mo-cap that barely dips a toe in the uncanny valley and set pieces that are truly jaw-dropping. Play the eight-hour campaign on the edge of your seat before firing up the multiplayer search for several rounds of the best version of it yet – with top notch gunplay and myriad game types that suit whatever mood you may be in at the moment (fancy a massive Ground War, perhaps?). Alyssa Mercante

5. Apex Legends 

(Image credit: EA)

Developer: Respawn
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What is it? A battle royale with clever features that were quickly snatched up by its predecessors, complete with an engaging cast of characters and great seasonal events

Why should you play it? Apex Legends shocked us all when it took the battle royale format and improved it, dropping us into a massive shootout with the ability to ping items for our squadmates and request items as needed without having to build a dang house around us. Drop in to play a battle royale that doesn't have a gimmick, but doesn't claim to be realistic, and you'll quickly discover how easy it is to get embedded in the arena for hours. Apex Legends is consistently adding new characters, mixing in limited-time events, and gently adjusting the game as needed. With character-specific abilities, mechanics that are fluid but not floaty, and guns that feel as good as they look, Apex Legends was a surprise launch that's had a big impact. Alyssa Mercante

4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order 

(Image credit: leonid9966/EA)

Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One 

What is it? A demanding action game that grabbed the best bits of gaming's recent history and turned them into an endearing Star Wars adventure.

Why should you play it? Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is the closest EA has come to capturing what makes Star Wars so grin-inducingly special. Like the film series before it, Jedi: Fallen Order takes influences from all over the shop — a bit of From Software's combat, a pinch of Uncharted's platforming set-pieces — and mashes them together to create a game that belongs in Lucas' universe, rather than just mirroring it. It's in the moments where you feel like you're a space samurai capable of slicing through your foes with ferocious grace, as well as the little slices of lore you discover when you explore the dense planets that make up your journey across the galaxy. There are undeniable rough edges, but they don't detract from what is the best Star Wars game in years. Ben Tyrer

3. Resident Evil 2: Remake  

(Image credit: Capcom)

Developer: Capcom
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What is it? A refreshed and reimagined modern-day remake of the original Resident Evil 2.

Why should you play it? Remaking the original Resident Evil 2 was a huge risk and one that Capcom exceeded all expectations on – delivering a horror game every bit as important and influential as the original. Gone are the tank controls, static camera and cardboard dialogue and in their place is a high budget, contemporary third-person horror survival shooter with a surprisingly stern and glistening sheen of gore. It plays like something modern, from gameplay to guts, but somehow feels like classic Resi thanks to its bizarre puzzles and confidence to keep you crisscrossing its lofty police station halls for most of the game, never quite sure where the next undead threat is going to crawl from. Resident Evil 7 might have reversed the series fortunes and restated its relevance, but Resident Evil 2: Remake sealed the rotting deal. Leon Hurley

2. The Outer Worlds 

The Outer Worlds companions:

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC

What is it? A space RPG set in a future ruled by megacorporations, filled with eccentric characters, alien species, and bacon-flavored tumors.

Why should you play it? It mixes the fun and frolics of running around deep space, accompanied by a gang of weirdos carrying big guns, with complex stories about corruption and colonization. On top of that, it manages to deliver on the big RPG promises about choice. You can straight-up murder anyone you meet, ditch your team members and play solo, or try and make it through the whole game with your charm skill points alone. The tone is always tongue-in-cheek but still manages to deliver some genuinely touching moments with characters, like your introverted engineer buddy Parvati. The story doesn't shy away from forcing you to make tough decisions, so you might want to light a relaxing candle before you start, but that will only makes you desperate to play it all over again as soon as you're done. Rachel Weber

1. Control 

(Image credit: 505 Games)

Developer: Remedy
Format: PC, PS4, Xbox One

What is it? A magic and guns third-person shooter set in the 'new weird' world of cursed everyday objects and mind-bending multi-dimensional entities. 

Why should you play it? Games should be a journey, and that journey's always more fun if it keeps you guessing. From the moment you enter the Oldest House, it's unpredictable walls and cursed objects put you on the back foot with little in the way of recognizable footholds to guide you. Its mechanics are familiar, as you psychically hurl desks at enemies and polish them off with gunfire, but the shifting physical geometry and vaporous story that writhes under scrutiny, leaves you guessing at every turn. And, potentially, staring at the back of your own head. It riffs beautifully on 'new weird' mythology, which shifts familiar mythical and magical ideas on to everyday objects – building on its playable mix of powers and weapons with an amazing world of cursed fridges, spooky ashtrays, and world-altering Walkmans. It speaks volumes of Control's strange new setting that reading files to discover why it takes an entire government agency to contain a small rubber duck is almost as much fun as blowing stuff up. Leon Hurley