3. Outer Wilds
Dark horse number 2 on our game of the year list is here! Outer Wilds is an ambitious, beautifully constructed game that completely does away with any indication of what you’re supposed to be doing. That sounds intimidating, but Outer Wilds is incredibly good at teasing out your next course of action. The sense of mystery is really second to none, and the music does a great job of indicating points of interest nearby.
The solar system feels massive despite being quite small physically, and that’s critical to the success of a game depending on your curiosity to keep you pressing forward.
Perhaps most amazingly, you can complete the game in around 5 minutes once you figure the mysteries of the solar system out. Our only regret is that we can’t forget everything about this game and experience it again from the start.
Control very nearly grabbed the top spot on this list. It won or ranked highly in a ton of our categories, but fell just short overall. A rocky console launch contributed to some sour feelings about it, but it was universally praised for its great narrative and outstanding characters like Ahti and Dr. Darling. The world building is marvelous, and exploring the Oldest House is really fun.
But Remedy Entertainment has long been known for telling some of the most intriguing and bizarre tales in games. With Control they finally married that magic to a flexible and exciting combat and traversal system. There’s almost a Metroid like structure to the world, and battling the Hiss – though they themselves aren’t super diverse – is constantly entertaining thanks to Jesse’s awesome powers.
The physics engine in play here is oh so good, and just breaking stuff in the world would be enough to push Control to the brink of victory. But only one game could top this list. Do you know what it is?
1. Death Stranding
This will be a controversial decision – no doubt – but we couldn’t ignore the facts of the matter. Death Stranding is one of the best looking games of all time. The music is haunting and beautiful, Kojima’s direction and shot selection is outstanding, and taking such an unprecedented risk with the direction of the game is quite frankly ballsy.
The minutiae of managing your cargo and planning out your route are engaging if you let them be so, while the online components help build a connected experience where you still feel utterly alone.
Not everyone loves the heavy handed and direct narrative, and arguably the game drags in the midsection, but if you can forgive the lack of meaningful combat and realize that the environment is your main adversary, Death Stranding is an experience that can change perceptions. It goes out of its way to tell you exactly what it’s about, and in doing so opens itself to interpretation.
The performances on hand here, highlighted by Mads Mikkelson and Tommie Earl Jenkins, are killer. We dare you not to feel some feelings in the endgame cutscenes. We’re very proud to name Death Stranding COGconnected’s game of the year for 2019.
There you have it – the ten best games of 2019. What did we miss? Have we gone mad? Hit us up on Twitter and let us know. Keep it locked to COG for all 2020’s biggest games, and be sure to check out our other game of the year content from our hub.