The best games of 2019 (so far)

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May was slim pickings for additions to our list of the best games of 2019, but we finally landed on two standouts: PSVR shooter Blood and Truth and the sibling adventure of A Plague Tale: Innocence. One lets you embody a London gangster, while the other puts you in the ragged shoes of a teenager caught in a rat-infested Dark Age - either way, it's enjoyably grim stuff. May gave us a few slightly disappointing titles that seemed to fizzle out on arrival: Rage 2's chaotic combat is the bright spot in a largely aimless open world lacking a meaty story, while Team Sonic Racing suffers from unresponsive controls and a limited track selection. In happier news, Life is Strange 2: Episode 3 is the best yet, putting the focus on great character moments. 

At the end of every month, we comb through all our recent reviews to find the two games that qualify as must-plays, slowly amassing a list of the best games of 2019. Consider these to be the highlights of the year thus far - and if you're looking for something to play while you wait for the other new games of 2019 (and beyond), these standout titles are a sure bet. 

May Game of the Month (Runner-up): A Plague Tale: Innocence 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 3.5/5  

A Plague Tale: Innocence might not set your world on fire, but it damn sure will make you seriously think about your relationship with your siblings. Telling the tale of the teenage Amicia and her toddler brother Hugo as they flee from the Inquisition and man-eating rats, it's gritty as hell and doesn't pull many punches, with one-hit deaths that really makes you feel like Amicia is being put through the wringer as there's not much room for error. Although you don't really get the quiet moments that the game really needs to make Hugo and Amicia stand out as siblings, it's a great chill Sunday evening game to play thanks to its linear structure and relatively easy puzzle-based gameplay. Zoe Delahunty-Light 

May Game of the Month (Winner): Blood and Truth 

Platform(s): PS4
GamesRadar+ review score: 4/5  

Blood and Truth offers all the thrills of life in London's gangster underworld, with none of the increased life insurance premiums. The PSVR shooter makes the most of its immersive medium, from shootouts taking place in a DJ booth - complete with lasers and pyrotechnics - to small but immersive details like reaching to your chest for ammo before slotting it into your weapon. The special attention that developer SIE London Studio has put into motion capture and voice artists stops the cutscenes sliding to the bottom of the uncanny valley, and there are nice little breaks between all the firefights - like picking locks, climbing towers, or wrecking an art exhibit - to stop it all just feeling like a shooting gallery on steroids. Rachel Weber 

April Game of the Month (Runner-up): Mortal Kombat 11 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 4/5  

Mortal Kombat 11 has everything you'd expect from the series, polished to perfection: fast-paced 2D fighting, a surprisingly engaging story mode, plenty of unlocks, and Fatalities that can make even the most desensitized gorehound wince. The cast is a great mix of old favorite fighters (like the return of Kabal and Skarlet) and some intriguing newcomers in the time-manipulating Geras, elemental elder god Cetrion, and an avaricious fiend known as The Kollector. Getting to see past and present MK timelines mashed together in the story mode is a treat, and the comprehensive tutorial does a great job of getting fledging fighters up to speed on some high-level terminology and strategy. You can spend ages duking it out and endeavoring to unlock all kinds of gear in Mortal Kombat 11 - just be ready for a major grind if you hope to one day have every costume and cosmetic item. Lucas Sullivan  

April Game of the Month (Winner): My Time at Portia 

Platform(s): Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 4.5/5  

My Time At Portia is one of those games that makes grueling manual labor - woodcutting, mining, carpentry, farming - feel like a vacation from all your IRL responsibilities. You inherit a home and workshop and start from scratch, building a business as you make things for your neighbors and improve your little homestead. There's a whole bunch of lore about religion versus technology and an inexplicable number of cutesy monsters, but the real satisfaction comes from putting together increasingly elaborate inventions, raising livestock, and winning over the people of the town. If you reached your Stardew Valley peak and need some new challenges, this is the perfect way to kill time without resorting to buying your own tool bench and pet llama. Rachel Weber 

March Game of the Month (Runner-up): Devil May Cry 5

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 4.5/5 

Sure, the story is mostly going to be hot nonsense for those unfamiliar with the series, as it references and pays off on a surprising amount of Devil May Cry lore - though enough is unique to this adventure and explained to the point where it makes a certain amount of thrilling sense. Even so, this latest installment of emo violence is a wild, exhilarating ride from start to finish, with bright sparks, spurts of blood, and raging fires. Devil May Cry 5 is an absolutely stunning return to form that builds on improvements Ninja Theory's spin-off and reimagining DmC. Oscar Taylor-Kent 

March Game of the Month (Winner): The Division 2 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC  
GamesRadar+ review score: 4.5/5 

On the surface, The Division 2 is more of what came before. It's a solid third-person shooter, focused around co-op shootouts with three different factions (and later, a fourth) and developing skills, abilities, and a loadout that compliments your play style. Keep playing though, and you realize that Ubisoft has absolutely nailed this sequel, with a gameplay loop that keeps on giving, and an endgame that will keep you playing for months (or years) to come. Sam Loveridge

February Game of the Month (Runner-up): Metro Exodus 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 4.5/5

Metro Exodus is the best entry in the criminally underrated Metro series. It's far more open-ended than the first two games, but it's also more focused than sprawling sandbox games like Fallout 4 and Far Cry New Dawn. It gives you just enough freedom and space that you can discover things on your own and chart a personal course, but it's not so massive that you ever lose track of what you're doing. Missions and areas get more linear as you progress, and it quickly becomes clear that nothing was sacrificed in exchange for the game's openness. It's amazing how well the structured missions hold up, considering how much work must've went into the open worlds. The final area is especially brilliant, not only for how it brings the game back to the series' tunnel-crawling roots, but also how it caps off Exodus' powerfully human story, which still occupies my thoughts weeks later. Austin Wood 

February Game of the Month (Winner): Apex Legends 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 5/5

Not long ago, nobody had even heard of Apex Legends, but now it's going toe-to-toe with Fortnite in the battle royale market. The Titanfall community is understandably disappointed that Titanfall 3 is much further away than expected - if it's even coming at all - but the game we've received instead is the most enjoyable battle royale experience ever seen. An array of characters enable unique playstyles unlike anything else in the genre, and with an upcoming battle pass and expected challenges, we can see ourselves playing Apex Legends for years to come. Ford James 

January Game of the Month (Runner-up): Kingdom Hearts 3 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One
GamesRadar+ review score: 4/5

Whether you've been waiting almost a decade for a new entry to the series, or you've never played one before, Kingdom Hearts 3 improves upon the previous games in every aspect. Sure, the story is complex and the amount of characters feels like a follow up to Too Many Cooks, but there’s nothing better than teaming up with Goofy, Donald Duck, and the vast array of beloved Disney characters that inhabit every world. When you’re done with battling Heartless, you can hop in the Gummi Ship and search for constellations in space, or collect ingredients to use with Remy from Ratatouille in his little bistro. Every world has been crafted with that tender loving care we were all expecting, which makes Kingdom Hearts 3 easily the best game in the franchise. Let’s hope it’s not another decade until Kingdom Hearts 4. Ford James 

January Game of the Month (Winner): Resident Evil 2 Remake 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
GamesRadar+ review score: 4/5

If you remember the first time around or this is your introduction to Raccoon City’s zombie fun, Resident Evil 2 Remake is an essential horror game. Back in the day, the 1996 version set a standard for the genre, and this total remake only raises the bar further. It’s an atmospheric and tense exercise in terror using its scant resources and undead threats to create a tactical and engaging fight to stay alive, as you manage what you have and what you need to do on the fly. It’s also got some of the best dead in the business. Mr. X might be the meme star, but it’s the rotting, disintegrating corpses that shine here. They moan, shuffle and fall apart under gunfire in a way that’s up there with the best of their film and TV contemporaries. But above all, it honors and recreates what made the original great in a way that makes sense today, and on that front it’s a success on so many levels. If you’re thinking of diving in, check out our Resident Evil 2 Remake guide to make life just that little bit easier. Leon Hurley