The Best Videogames of 2019

  • Publish Date: January 3, 2020
  • Comments: ↓ 1 user comment

Resident Evil 2 is the best new game of 2019

Red Dead Redemption 2
2019 Resident Evil 2 (XB1/PS4/PC) 93
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2
(XB1/PS4)
97
2017 The Legend of Zelda:
Breath of the Wild

(Switch)
97
2016 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
(PS4)
93
2015 Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
(Xbox One)
95
Metacritic's Game of the Year
(Highest-scoring new title, min. 7 reviews)

A year ago, we talked about the wealth of great games that had been released in 2018. Well, with a pair of next-generation consoles now looming on the horizon, that supply appears to be drying up. In 2019, only nine titles scored 90 or higher, compared to 17 such games in 2018. It was also the first year since 2016 that no game scored above 93.

And several of 2019's highest-scoring releases were new ports of previously released titles, including the year's #1-ranked release, Divinity: Original Sin II (reaching the Switch in 2019 after prior releases in 2017 and 2018 on other platforms), as well as the #2, which was the belated PC version of Red Dead Redemption, arriving a year after its console brethren.

So, what was our best new game of 2019? The year's #3-ranked release, Resident Evil 2. Obviously, a game with that title was released in the past—nearly 22 years ago, as it happens. But 2019's next-next-next-generation version of RE2 is different enough in every aspect to merit calling it a new game rather than just another port.

Perhaps you disagree with that classification. In that case, what was 2019's best wholly original release? That honor falls to our overall #4-ranked title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which is definitely not a port of any previous game. It's not even a sequel, for that matter, but is instead that rarest of things: a terrific new IP (in this case, by FromSoftware, the team behind Dark Souls series and Bloodborne).

Rounding out our top 5 highest-scoring games of 2019 was the latest Final Fantasy XIV expansion, Shadowbringers.

Now, let's take a look at the best games of 2019 by platform ...

PS4

With the PlayStation 4 entering its final year, just two of its games scored 90 or higher in 2019—down from seven the previous year. Neither of those games were exclusive to Sony's console.

Best PlayStation 4 games of 2019

PS4 Game of the Year
Resident Evil 2

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It's no mere graphical remaster. Arriving nearly 21 years to the date after it was originally released (for the very first PlayStation console), Capcom's survival horror classic returned for the modern era in this remake that reimagines nearly every aspect of the game. Significantly, the camera is no longer in a fixed position—and the moving viewpoint makes playing through RE2 an entirely different experience even if you are very familiar with the original game. (The placement of everything has also been tweaked, so the element of surprise remains.) In another change, each playable character (Leon, Claire, and Ada) will also have a distinct campaign, which should help minimize repetition. Obviously, the graphics (and audio) have been significantly upgraded, but they have also been given a new sense of realism. In other words, the title might be old, but this is effectively a brand-new game.

PS4 Exclusive of the Year
MLB The Show 19

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While Death Stranding may have been (by far) the buzziest PS4 exclusive of 2019, Sony's annual baseball franchise scored the better reviews. MLB The Show's box cover curse may have returned—we're looking at you, Bryce Harper—the 2019 release of The Show may have been the best one yet. New features include a "March to October" mode that lets you speed through the regular season to get to the good stuff. Interestingly, the franchise will no longer be exclusive to PlayStation consoles after the upcoming 2020 installment, though it will continue to be made by Sony.

Highest-scoring PS4 games of 2019
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Resident Evil 2CapcomAmazon91
2Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceActivisionAmazon90
3Monster Hunter: World - IceborneCapcom89
4Apex LegendsElectronic ArtsAmazon89
5Devil May Cry 5CapcomAmazon88
6Slay the SpireHumble BundleAmazon88
7Frostpunk: Console Edition11 bit studios87
8Sid Meier's Civilization VI2K GamesAmazon87
9Dragon Quest Builders 2Square EnixAmazon86
10Steins;Gate EliteSpike ChunsoftAmazon86
11Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered Bandai Namco Amazon86
12Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark1C Entertainment86
13MLB The Show 19 Sony Amazon86
14The Outer Worlds Obsidian/Private Division Amazon86
15VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender ActionYsbryd Games85
16DiRT Rally 2.0CodemastersAmazon84
17WargrooveChucklefish84
18F1 2019Codemasters84
19Sayonara Wild HeartsAnnapurna Interactive84
20FAR: Lone Sails Okomotive83
21Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night505 GamesAmazon83
22Kingdom Hearts IIISquare EnixAmazon83
23Crash Team Racing: Nitro-FueledActivisionAmazon83
24No Man's Sky BeyondHello Games83
25WreckfestTHQ NordicAmazon82
26Outer WildsAnnapurna Interactive82
27Tom Clancy's The Division 2UbisoftAmazon82
28GRIS Devolver Digital/Limited Run 82
29Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible LairTeam 17Amazon82
30Death Stranding Sony/Kojima Productions Amazon82
31Sairento VR Perpetual/Mixed Realms 82
32eFootball PES 2020KonamiAmazon82
33Mortal Kombat 11 Warner Bros. Interactive Amazon82
34Control505 GamesAmazon82
35The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive SeriesSkybound GamesAmazon82
36The Messenger Sabotage Studio/Special Reserve 82
37The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IIINIS AmericaAmazon82
38A Plague Tale: InnocenceFocus Home InteractiveAmazon81
39Life is Strange 2: Episode 5 - WolvesSquare Enix81
40Samurai ShodownSNK Corporation81
41Catherine: Full BodyAtlusAmazon81
42Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition Bandai Namco Amazon81
43Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced EditionsSkybound Games81
44L.A. Noire: The VR Case FilesRockstar Games81
45Final Fantasy VIII RemasteredSquare Enix80
46Five Nights at Freddy's VR: Help WantedScott Cawthon80
47Blood & Truth Sony 80
48Torchlight IIPerfect World EntertainmentAmazon80
49AVICII InvectorWired ProductionsAmazon80
50Arise: A Simple StoryTechland80

Only games with 7 or more reviews from professional critics are included in this and every other list that follows. All Metascores are from January 2, 2020. Games are ranked by Metascore prior to rounding.

Xbox One

Much like the PS4, Microsoft's console is heading for replacement by the next generation of hardware in 2020. But the Xbox actually had one more title scoring 90 or higher in 2019 than the PS4 did, though that total (three games) was similarly a decline from the number of great Xbox games in 2018 (seven).

Best Xbox One games of 2019

XB1 Game of the Year
Resident Evil 2

movie still

(See comments for PS4 version, above.)

XB1 (Console) Exclusive of the Year
Gears 5

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There were no good Xbox exclusives released in 2019, but the highest-scoring console exclusive (i.e., it was also available on PC, but not on PS4 or Switch) was this fifth main entry in Microsoft's bloody third-person shooter series and first to feature a female protagonist. Developed, like its 2016 predecessor, by The Coalition, Gears 5 finds you playing as returning character Kait Diaz, who begins investigating the origins of the Locusts (and her family). Once again, you can play solo or with another player via local or online co-op, including in an aggressive new "Escape Mode" featuring a three-player "suicide squad." The Ultimate Edition of the game adds a pair of characters from Halo: Reach, because why not.

Highest-scoring XB1 games of 2019
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Resident Evil 2CapcomAmazon93
2Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceActivisionAmazon91
3Monster Hunter: World - IceborneCapcom90
4F1 2019Codemasters89
5Apex LegendsElectronic ArtsAmazon88
6Devil May Cry 5CapcomAmazon87
7NHL 20Electronic Arts85
8Guacamelee! 2DrinkBox Studios85
9The Outer WorldsObsidian Entertainment/Private DivisionAmazon85
10Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD RemasterSquare EnixAmazon85
11Age of Wonders: PlanetfallParadox Interactive85
12The Walking Dead: The Telltale Definitive SeriesSkybound GamesAmazon85
13Trials RisingUbisoftAmazon85
14Outer Wilds Annapurna Interactive85
15Crash Team Racing: Nitro-FueledActivisionAmazon84
16Gears 5Microsoft Game Studios/Xbox Game StudiosAmazon84
17Frostpunk: Console Edition11 bit studiosAmazon84
18Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night505 Games84
19Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible LairTeam 17Amazon84
20Control505 GamesAmazon84
21Arise: A Simple StoryTechland84
22WreckfestTHQ NordicAmazon83
23A Plague Tale: InnocenceFocus Home InteractiveAmazon83
24Operencia: The Stolen SunZen Studios82
25Blazing ChromeThe Arcade Crew82
26Tom Clancy's The Division 2UbisoftAmazon82
27Borderlands 32K GamesAmazon82
28BlasphemousTeam 17/The Game Kitchen82
29SNK 40th Anniversary CollectionOther Ocean Interactive82
30eFootball PES 2020 KonamiAmazon82
31AVICII InvectorWired ProductionsAmazon82
32DiRT Rally 2.0CodemastersAmazon82
33Indivisible505 GamesAmazon82
34Metro ExodusDeep SilverAmazon82
35DauntlessPhoenix Labs82
36Star Wars Jedi: Fallen OrderElectronic ArtsAmazon81
37Remnant: From the AshesPerfect World Entertainment81
38Stellaris: Console Edition Tantalus81
39WargrooveChucklefish81
40Trine 4: The Nightmare PrinceMaximum Games/Modus GamesAmazon81
41Call of Duty: Modern WarfareActivisionAmazon81
42Tales of Vesperia: Definitive EditionBandai Namco GamesAmazon80
43Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney TrilogyCapcom80
44Castlevania Anniversary CollectionKonami80
45DarkwoodCrunching Koalas80
46Kingdom Hearts IIISquare EnixAmazon80
47Borderlands: Game of the Year EditionGearbox Publishing80
48Salt and SanctuarySka Studios80
49NBA 2K202K GamesAmazon80
50Ace Combat 7: Skies UnknownBandai Namco GamesAmazon79

Nintendo Switch

Though only two Switch games scored 90 or higher, a total of 193 positively reviewed games were released for Nintendo's console in its third year on the market—a higher total than for any other platform in 2019.

Best Switch games of 2019

Switch Game of the Year
Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition

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First released in 2017 for PC (and then in 2018 for PS4 and XB1), Larian's massively acclaimed sequel to the 2014 RPG Divinity: Original Sin finally landed on the Switch this fall. Reviewers once again raved about the game, which can't match the visual quality of the earlier versions but runs well enough on the Switch and retains the same breadth of content.

Switch Exclusive of the Year
Fire Emblem: Three Houses

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If you wanted to play a new Zelda game in 2019, you had to settle for a remake of the old Game Boy release Link's Awakening. If you wanted a new Mario game, you had to make one yourself. So it fell to another Nintendo franchise to pick up the slack. After a decade as a handhelds-only property, Nintendo's long-running tactical fantasy RPG series moved back to consoles for the first time since 2007's Radiant Dawn, making its first appearance on the Switch in the process. The move to better hardware means more combat and complexity, though some found the result intimidating.

Highest-scoring Switch games of 2019
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Divinity: Original Sin II - Definitive Edition Larian Studios Games93
2 Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Def. Ed. Nintendo Amazon91
3Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive EditionXbox Game Studios89
4Fire Emblem: Three HousesNintendoAmazon89
5What Remains of Edith FinchAnnapurna Interactive88
6Super Mario Maker 2NintendoAmazon88
7Downwell Devolver Digital 88
8CupheadStudio MDHR87
9Astral ChainNintendoAmazon87
10The Legend of Zelda: Link's AwakeningNintendoAmazon87
11Assault Android Cactus+Witch Beam86
12AI: The Somnium FilesSpike Chunsoft86
13Star Wars PinballZen StudiosAmazon86
14Luigi's Mansion 3NintendoAmazon86
15BlazBlue: Central Fiction - Special EditionArc System Works/PQube86
16Slay the SpireMega Crit GamesAmazon85
17The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Complete Edition CD Projekt Red Amazon85
18Cook, Serve, Delicious! 2!!Vertigo Games85
19Blaster Master Zero IIInti Creates85
20Dragon Quest Builders 2Square EnixAmazon85
21Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac AgeSquare EnixAmazon85
22Steins;Gate EliteSpike ChunsoftAmazon85
23Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD RemasterSquare EnixAmazon85
24Disgaea 4 Complete+NIS AmericaAmazon85
2580 DAYSinkle84
26VA-11 Hall-A: Cyberpunk Bartender ActionYsbryd Games84
27Tangle TowerSFB Games84
28WargrooveChucklefishAmazon84
29Alien: IsolationSega84
30Baba Is YouHempuli Oy84
31Ape OutDevolver Digital84
32Sega Ages: OutRunSega84
33Tetris 99Nintendo83
34Tales of Vesperia: Definitive EditionBandai Namco GamesAmazon83
35Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret HideoutKoei Tecmo GamesAmazon83
36Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White WitchBandai Namco GamesAmazon83
37Duck GameAdult Swim83
38Killer Queen BlackLiquid Bit/BumbleBearAmazon83
39TimespinnerChucklefish83
40OlliOlli: Switch StanceGambitious83
41Collection of ManaSquare Enix83
42Sayonara Wild HeartsAnnapurna Interactive83
43Katana ZERODevolver Digital83
44ReventurePixelatto83
45Shovel Knight: King of CardsYacht Club Games82
46Sega Ages: Virtua RacingSega82
47Final Fantasy VIISquare Enix82
48Terraria505 Games/Re-Logic82
49Swords & Soldiers II: ShawarmageddonRonimo Games82
50Hotline Miami CollectionDevolver Digital82

PC games

It looks like 2019 was a pretty good year for PC gamers. The number of positively reviewed PC titles in 2019 increased to 185 (from 171 in 2018). And five of those releases (including one with just 6 reviews and thus not listed below) scored 90 or higher, compared to just one great game the prior year.

Best PC games of 2019

PC Game of the Year
Red Dead Redemption 2

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It's not much of a surprise that our 2018 Game of the Year turned out to be rather excellent yet again when ported to PC a year later. Rockstar Games' prequel to their highly acclaimed 2010 open-world western Red Dead Redemption may not have scored quite as highly on PC as it did on consoles, but at least it made it to computers—the original never did.

PC Exclusive of the Year
Disco Elysium

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The best indie game released for any platform in 2019, this truly original open-world RPG/adventure finds you playing as a drunk detective as you work your way through a very funny, noir-ish story with an impressive number of choices awaiting you at every turn. (And it's not like any other RPG you may have played; "combat" is mainly conversation.) The award-winning game, which features an original soundtrack by British Sea Power, is a PC exclusive for now, though it is expected to be ported to PS4 and XB1 in 2020.

Highest-scoring PC games of 2019
Game Publisher Buy It Metascore
1Red Dead Redemption 2Rockstar Games93
2Final Fantasy XIV: ShadowbringersSquare Enix91
3Disco ElysiumZA/UM91
4Tetris EffectEnhance Games90
5Resident Evil 2Capcom89
6Devil May Cry 5Capcom89
7Slay the SpireMega Crit Games89
8Unity of Command II2x2 Games89
9Asgard's WrathOculus Studios88
10Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceActivisionAmazon88
11Apex LegendsElectronic ArtsAmazon88
12Baba Is YouHempuli Oy87
13Dragon Quest Builders 2Square Enix87
14F1 2019Codemasters87
15Sunless SkiesFailbetter Games86
16ValfarisBig Sugar Films/Big Sugar86
17Control505 Games85
18Devotion Red Candle Game/Indievent85
19Life is Strange 2: Episode 5 - WolvesSquare Enix85
20AMID EVILNew Blood Interactive85
21Total War: Three KingdomsSega85
22Outer WildsAnnapurna Interactive85
23DiRT Rally 2.0Codemasters84
24Manifold GardenWilliam Chyr Studio LLC84
25ElizaZachtronics Industries84
26Football Manager 2020Sega84
27WHAT THE GOLF?Triband/Fig/Figment, Inc.84
28Tom Clancy's The Division 2Ubisoft84
29Telling LiesAnnapurna Interactive84
30Shovel Knight: King of Cards Yacht Club Games84
31Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night505 Games83
32Trials RisingUbisoft83
33Ape OutDevolver Digital83
34Katana ZEROAdult Swim/Devolver Digital83
35Age of Empires II: Definitive EditionXbox Game Studios83
36Hypnospace OutlawNo More Robots82
37The Outer Worlds Obsidian Entertainment/Private Division82
38The Sims 4: Discover UniversityElectronic Arts82
39Mortal Kombat 11Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment82
40Pistol Whip Cloudhead Games ltd.82
41Yakuza Kiwami 2Sega82
42Metro ExodusDeep Silver82
43Life is Strange 2: Episode 4 - FaithSquare Enix82
44StormlandInsomniac Games/Oculus Studios82
45WargrooveChucklefish82
46Children of MortaDead Mage82
47Gears 5 Xbox Game Studios82
48Halo: Reach RemasteredXbox Game Studios82
49One Finger Death Punch 2Silver Dollar Games82
50World of Warcraft ClassicBlizzard Entertainment81

What do you think?

What were your favorite games of 2019? Let us know in the discussion section below. And be sure to check out our list of 2019's worst-reviewed games.

Comments (1)

  • ItsAllOgre5  

    How come this year doesn't show the average score breakdown for all the platforms?

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