As interactive technology tries more and more to catch up with the narratives of film, gamers are getting to enjoy better interactive storytelling than ever before. These are the finest examples of interactive stories that graced our television screen in 2019.
12. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
This years winner at the annual Game Awards show would have been much higher on my list if it had characters I cared about a bit more and there had been a way to adjust the difficulty. Despite these little issues, this game has some of the finest gameplay of any samurai game in history.
11. Luigi’s Mansion 3
With extra multiplayer modes, improved graphics, a fun new sidekick, and improved controls, this game was a perfect reason to take the beloved Luigi back into another haunted mansion (or hotel).
10. Kingdom Hearts 3
There is no more convoluted story than the sprawling tale, but there is also no better game to take you into the worlds of Disney and let you have fun. From ‘Frozen’ to ‘Toy Story’, this game made taking Sora, Donald, and Goofy our for another adventure well worth the wait.
9. Borderlands 3
Its fair to argue that this game didn’t change much from its predecessors, but that’s because the formula is so much damn fun. This was the best first person shooter of the year and the best multiplayer game.
8. Resident Evil 2
The original ‘RE2’ is one of the best zombie games of all time, and this just made it better. I can’t wait to see what they do to ‘Resident Evil 3’.
7. A Plague Tale: Innocence
This heartbreaking tale of the dark ages is a beautiful example of what an indie game can be. The graphics are fantastic, the gameplay is intense, and the characters are unforgettable. This is one of the best stories in any medium in 2019.
6. Gears 5
After a decade of hits and misses, Microsoft finally made a great ‘Gears of War’ game this year. The biggest reason for this is that they took lessons from games like ‘Uncharted’ and concentrated more on delivering memorable characters that build deeply over time. Combining these characters with a few variations on tried and true gameplay mechanics, delivered an epic action adventure title.
5. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
You could actually just copy my review for ‘Gears 5’ and fill in ‘Star Wars’ on this one. Game manufacturers are finally seeking to realize that consumers have always wanted to be engaged with characters when they are experiencing a narrative based art form. Dare I say, I may have enjoyed this ‘Star Wars’ story a little better than the latest film.
4. Shenmue III
18 years after the previous game, you would think that Yu Suzuki would have transformed the gameplay to meet the expectations of modern gamers. Instead, he delivered the game that he would have made nearly two decades ago, and gave fans of the series a time capsule that is quite unlike anything I’ve experienced. I have been playing this game on and off for weeks. I barely get anywhere in the story because I love just living in the world and sharing my love of this game with my children (who were not even born when the last game came out and they will be adults next year). The whole thing is just magical.
3. The Outer Worlds
The team that brought us ‘Fallout’ decided to branch of into a new world and what they’ve delivered is an absolute blast. All the things that make ‘Fallout’ a fantastic series are here, but in a more fantastical and expansive world. You can tackle this game guns blazing or try to handle everything politically, and the dynamics of both are truly engaging. Great writing, gameplay, and characters across the board.
2. Days Gone
This would be one of the best games of the decade if it weren’t for all the unforgivable glitches, occasional slow down, and surprising load times. Yet, none of these issues can overshadow the quality of the characters, storytelling, and the expansive open world gameplay. Most of this game is like a post apocalyptic version of ‘Red Dead Redemption II’. Which is easily one of the finest games of the decade. Add the ridiculously fun horde gameplay, and this is nearly the most compelling experience you can have in a sandbox title. I can’t wait to see what happens to Deacon Saint John next.
1. Death Stranding
Easily the best game of the year, and one of the most unique experiences of the century. Director Hideo Kojima’s masterpiece of a game, both blows your mind with its narrative and it’s unique gameplay. It seems simple to just take packages across the United States, but the complications build from one section of the country to the next. Complications that include everything from killer weather to ghosts, and bandits. As complications build, so does your world. As the game goes on you get vehicles that can expand your inventory, breakdown, have to be repaired, and cut your travel time tremendously. You get roads and bridges that connect you to a wider world of players. Yet, it’s the story of an America that is fractured and divided that rings the most true. Connecting the country together is insanely fulfilling in this politically polarized time. Add unforgettable performances by Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelson, Lea Seydoux, Margaret Qualley, & Guillermo Del Toro, and you have one of the finest pieces of art this year.
Best of the Rest
Devil May Cry 5
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Super Mario Maker 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare