For our first year as a site, we modeled our site-wide end of the year awards loosely off of the Game Awards model. Trevor, Frank, Cameron, and Logan served as the panel as submitted up to their top three games in each category. Those games were then scored and tallied, with the highest scoring game taking the top prizes and all other nominees earning an Honorable Mention. These awards will be presented throughout the week with the website’s Top Games of 2019 featured on Friday, January 17th. See Monday’s awards here.
That Action-Aventure Game: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order excels at making a Souls-like approachable. It has a wonderful cast of characters and an interesting central villain in pursuit throughout your adventure. And it nails feeling like Star Wars, especially in a lot of its design elements. Definitely worth checking out if you enjoy the galaxy far, far away.
Honorable Mentions: Borderlands 3, Resident Evil 2, Control, Death Stranding
That Fighting Game: Mortal Kombat 11
The team at Netherrealm Studios are masters of their craft, be it their work on the DC Injustice series or their bread and butter Mortal Kombat. They continue to fine tune and tweak combat and, with this installment, developed a Tutorial mode that can give anyone the basic skills used in competitive play. Perhaps the star of this entry though, was the Story Mode that paid homage to the series’ 27-year legacy.
Honorable Mention: Samurai Showdown
That Role-Playing Game: Kingdom Hearts 3
For long-time fans of the Kingdom Hearts franchise, the wait for Kingdom Hearts 3 – the first sequel in the mainline series since 2005’s Kingdom Hearts 2 – has been a long-time coming. Those who have delved into the various side stories have been treated to an ever-expanding lore and cast of characters, nearly all of whom find some role to play in this latest entry. Sora, Donald, and Goofy bounce through a handful of Disney worlds as they have so many times before but it is almost entirely in service of the game’s final few hours, where it pays off for those who have stayed with the series through thick and thin.
Honorable Mentions: The Outer Worlds, Disco Elysium
That Strategy Game: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Fire Emblem: Three Houses builds on the tried and true turn-based strategy formula that the franchise has been excelling at for years. And where Fire Emblem: Fates divided the breadth of its story over multiple games, Three Houses wisely restores the full narrative (which could have easily been sold as one game for each House) into a single title and is made all the stronger because of it. Exploring multiple playthroughs with different Houses in order to fill in the gaps that other runs might overlook is part of the fun in discovering the full story at play and the excellent strategy combat makes that a joy rather than a chore.
Honorable Mention: Wargroove
That Remaster or Remake: Resident Evil 2
Capcom put an incredible amount of care into their remake of Resident Evil 2. Far from cashing in on nostalgia with a slight visual upgrade on an old ROM file, they rebuilt the whole game with a completely modern feel to fit the modern visual redesign; so much so that you would be forgiven for seeing it on a stream or at a friend’s house and thinking it was a brand new game in 2019. It remained recognizable to the Resident Evil fanbase, while also successfully attracting a new audience that might have been otherwise turned off by attempting to play the 21-year-old polygonal version from the first PlayStation.
Honorable Mentions: The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled, MediEvil, Catherine: Full Body
Stay tuned for more design awards tomorrow, console-specific awards on Thursday, and our site-wide top games of 2019 on Friday.