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Game of the Year Awards 2019

We celebrate the final year of the decade with some great games

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Introduction  |  Presentation Awards  |  Gameplay Awards  |  Genre Awards  |  GOTY

Best Shooter
Best Shooter 2019 Borderlands 3 winner badge Borderlands 3

"There is a lot of enemy variety, from the classic rabid wasteland psychos to organized military forces and a wide variety of beasts and mutants, each with their own weak points and behaviors. Some enemies will work together in interesting ways and figuring out the best approach to these fights adds a touch of strategy to the proceedings – but only a touch. A few improvements to core mechanics also help; you can now mantle up high objects and grab onto ledges to pull yourself up after jumping. Powerful weapons like shotguns or explosives will knock enemies around with some ridiculous over-the-top ragdoll physics that feel like a perfect fit for the action. As a shooter, Borderlands 3 easily surpasses its predecessors." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Gears 5, Apex Legends

 

Best Action Game
Best Action game 2019 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice winner badge Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

"Sekiro is an action hack-and-slash that contains plenty of Dark Souls DNA, but it streamlines and simplifies many of the sub-genre's typical mechanisms to great effect. There's no stamina bar arbitrarily limiting your capabilities, gone are the days of dumping points into inaccessible stat sheets, and weapon durability is scrapped altogether. By shedding the more convoluted and stress-inducing RPG mechanics, Sekiro feels like a much more focused experience that concentrates on its core tenants of sword-wielding combat and exploration – both of which are executed extremely well." - Christian Kobza

Honorable Mentions: Astral Chain, Control, Resident Evil 2 (2019)

 

Best Racing Game
Best racing game 2019 Need for Speed Heat winner badge Need for Speed Heat

"Just the right amount of motion blur and a subtle camera shake when going fast leads to a fantastic sense of speed; sprint races at night where you are whipping along freeways during a downpour, trying to stay ahead of an opponent, lose the cops and dodge traffic were some of my favorite and most thrilling moments in a racing game in recent memory. The handling works best when you are blasting along freeways at ridiculously high speed, using nitrous to edge past opponents - something you get to do lots of at night with sprint races." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Trials Rising, DiRT Rally 2.0, F1 2019

 

Best Strategy Game
Best strategy game 2019 Anno 1800 winner badge Anno 1800

"Despite some trepidation on my part going into a complex and well established strategy franchise in a late entry, I found the experience of getting into Anno 1800 very welcoming and enjoyable. Hours melted away as I became engrossed and invested in each successive empire, with the pace of new technologies and structures always providing immediate and distant goals to work towards, even though the story of the campaign mode doesn't quite manage the same. If you have any proclivity towards city builders or strategy games, Anno 1800 comes highly recommended." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Age of Wonders: Planetfall, Total War: Three Kingdoms, Imperator: Rome

 

Best Adventure Game
Best adventure game 2019 A Plague Tale: Innocence winner badge A Plague Tale: Innocence

"Taken as a whole, A Plague Tale: Innocence is an abundantly pleasant surprise. It's a legitimately compelling adventure with a bevy of flaws, but it does more with its historical setting than many ever attempt to. The core gameplay isn't the main draw here, but its tried and tested mechanics allow you to quickly solve the simple puzzles and get back to experiencing the game's many awe-inspiring sequences and basking in desolate 14th century France. It isn't very flashy and its replay value is limited, but those willing to overlook its shortcomings will be met with a veritable smorgasbord of standout sequences." - Christian Kobza

Honorable Mentions: Judgment, Disco Elysium, Telling Lies

 

Best RPG
Best RPG 2019 The Outer Worlds winner badge The Outer Worlds

"While The Outer Worlds doesn't have a massive scale or super slick cinematic presentation, it is a tight and very well put together science fiction RPG that offers an impressive amount of choice in character building and narrative-altering decisions. Though some aspects of the experience such as combat difficulty and resource availability could use some fine tuning, those who are looking for a finely crafted and highly replayable RPG in the vein of Fallout New Vegas or Mass Effect should definitely pick up this promising new IP from Obsidian." - Tim Reid

Honorable Mentions: Disco Elysium, Borderlands 3, GreedFall

 

Best Sports Game
Best sports game 2019 FIFA 20 winner badge FIFA 20

"FIFA 20 helps the franchise return to form after last year's slightly underwhelming outing. The gameplay has been touched up in all the right ways, and while it's disappointing not to see big progress for the offline modes, FUT and other multiplayer offerings continue to thrive. The new Volta mode is almost like a DLC in itself, offering a new way to enjoy the sport that's fully realized and well executed. The presentation is still great, with strong matchday atmosphere and great soundtrack. FIFA remains among the most steady franchises going around, and this year offers good value for both new and returning fans." - Alex V

Honorable Mentions: MLB The Show 19, NHL 20, NBA 2K20

 

Best Platformer
Best Platformer 2019 Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince winner badge Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince

"Following the ill-advised move to 3D from Artifacts of Power, The Nightmare Prince rightfully restores the series to the world of 2.5D platforming. It's very much a return to form for the franchise, as it hardly strays from what was the standard prior to the last entry. The skillset of each party member remains the same, and so does the way you approach each puzzle. You'll typically need to combine the abilities of at least two of the three heroes in order to proceed. Sometimes it involves conjuring a box with Amadeus and grappling it with Zoya. Or maybe you'll create a ramp with the wizard in order to shove a boulder off it with Pontius." - Eric Hall

Honorable Mentions: Trials Rising, Katana Zero, Super Mario Maker 2

 

Best Arcade Game
Best Arcade game 2019 Sayonara Wild Hearts winner badge Sayonara Wild Hearts

"There will be many who will want to compare this game to Rez or Harmonix's Amplitude, but that feels hollow. This game is so stylish and enthralling, it is unmatched in the genre. My only complaint is that there isn't more of Sayonara Wild Hearts to jam to. I hope that Simogo releases an extended cut of the game or some songs as DLC because this game is an absolute delight. I can't recommend Sayonara Wild Hearts enough. Even if you don't like pop music, even if you don't like music games, this is an ostentatious joy ride, I couldn't help but love it. And I believe many others will have as much fun as I did." - Josh Hinke

Honorable Mentions: Tetris 99, Tetris Effect

 

You've reached the grand finale! Our 2019 Game of the Year is revealed on the next page!

 

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Our staff was pretty fond of Plague Tale :)
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