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Top 10 Games of 2019

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Photo: GQ

With the end-of-year rush now behind us, we’re looking back at the best games of 2019. this list encompasses all platforms to provide a more complete look at this year’s top reviewed games. Below you’ll find all 10 games released in 2019. (Games aren’t in order from best to worst.)

Kingdom Hearts III

Score: 9/10 | Developer: Square Enix | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One

In the long-awaited Kingdom Hearts 3, Square did a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of these Disney worlds while giving us a massive toolbox for battles and exploration. It’s so cool seeing so many characters from throughout this series interact in new ways and rekindle old bonds. Kingdom Hearts 3 is full of heart and is a fulfilling evolution and resolution of the franchise.

Apex Legends

Score: 9/10 | Developer: Respawn | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

Apex Legends makes squad-based battle royale work better than thought possible, even when playing with a randomly matched team. Its intuitive communication system makes strategic teamplay achievable without a word, and the eight unique legends each have cool abilities that are rewarding. The fascinating sci-fi map leads to tense encounters filled with all of the pristine gunplay and polish from the Titanfall series, and its free-to-play setup doesn’t pressure you to pay to keep up.

Borderlands 3

Score: 10/10 | Developer: Gearbox | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia

If Borderlands 3 is what happens when a modern looter shooter doesn’t concern itself with the longevity of its item economy and daily quests, then you can sign me up for Borderlands 4 right now. Being untethered from persistent servers and able to trade loot at will is a refreshing change of pace, but that’s hardly the only reason why this such an amazing co-op FPS. The sheer magnitude and diversity of its arsenal of fun and surprising weaponry are unmatched, and the striking amount of loving detail and variety packed into its energetic and replayable 30-hour campaign is what makes Borderlands 3 a high-point for the series – and the genre as a whole.

Resident Evil 2

Score: 9/10 | Developer: Capcom | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

Capcom did a fantastic job of resurrecting all the best parts of the classic Resident Evil 2 and making them look, sound, and play like a 2019 game. If you’re of the mind that the series had lost its way for a while there, this game is very much a return to form. The zombie combat is satisfying and exploring the dilapidated ruins of Raccoon City is a thrill. This establishes a new standard for remaking classic games.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Score: 10/10 | Developer: Respawn | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

It’s been ages since we got a great single-player Star Wars action game, but Jedi: Fallen Order makes up for a lot of lost time. A strong cast sells a dark story while keeping things fun and loyal to Star Wars lore, and fast, challenging combat mixes with energetic platforming, decent puzzles, and diverse locations to explore for an all-around amazing game.

Pokemon Sword and Shield

Score: 10/10 | Developer: Game Freak | Platform(s): Switch

Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are closer to my dream Pokemon RPGs than anything that’s come before. I’d still like better cutscenes, companion Pokemon, the complete Pokedex, and a more visually interesting Wild Area, but nitpicks are just not very effective when everything else was such a complete joy to play. The way they respect my time is wonderful, and the removal of monotony from random encounters and other odds and ends distills it down to only the pure and charming fun of capturing, training and battling wonderful creatures. And hey, if I’m missing any tedious repetition, I can always get back into breeding.

The Division 2

Score: 9/10 | Developer: Massive Entertainment | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC

The Division 2 is a refined and intuitive shared-world shooter. Its wonderful recreation of Washington, D.C. is a pleasure to explore thanks to a generous amount of chests, collectibles, and dynamic open-world activities. Plus, the campaign is full of great gunplay and missions. The Division 2 was one of the strongest launches the shared-world shooter genre has seen yet.

Gears 5

Score: 9/10 | Developer: The Coalition | Platform(s): Xbox One, PC

To be clear, it’s not surprising at all that Gears 5 is an excellent third-person action game. This iconic series has never really had a misfire, even when changing hands from original developer Epic to The Coalition, and the hot streak remains unbroken. What was unexpected is just how effectively it doubles down on story with a character-focused, consequence-filled tale that plays to one of the franchise’s most underappreciated strengths and backs it up with fun, welcome additions to both its gameplay formula and flow. And that’s just the campaign: add in a heavy-hitting multiplayer lineup of Versus, Versus Arcade, Horde, and Escape and it makes Gears 5 one of the best and most versatile action-game packages in recent memory.

Super Mario Maker 2

Score: 9/10 | Developer: Nintendo | Platform(s): Switch

It’s hard to decide where to begin when talking about all the things we love about Super Mario Maker 2. It does nearly everything better than its already excellent predecessor, introducing some incredible new ideas, building items, and so much more — all while maintaining the charm of Mario games we know and love. It’s the most accessible game design tool ever created and the Story Mode is a great excuse to play through hundreds of novel, professionally made levels.

Mortal Kombat 11

Score: 9/10 | Developer: NetherRealm | Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PCMortal Kombat 11 is as good as it is gory. Everything from its methodical and deep combat to its fantastically absurd story mode and its rock-solid net code, right down to its extraordinarily comprehensive tutorial is exceptional. This series continues to prove that there’s real fighting depth beyond its notoriously gory Fatalities, and this one, in particular, stands out as a spine-ripping good time.

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