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 and 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. On Monday and Tuesday, we highlighted the various genres while Wednesday focused on categories around design and performance. Today we award the best games for each platform.
That Mobile Game: Sayonara Wild Hearts
Sayonara Wild Hearts’ simple control scheme makes it a perfect fit for mobile devices. You can move side-to-side across the screen and there’s an occasional single-button prompt to interact within the beautifully designed and orchestrated levels. With one of the best visual aesthetics of the year and a wonderful soundtrack, the games is great wherever you want to play it. But throwing on some headphones and playing through a couple stages on your phone during a quick break feels incredible.
Honorable Mentions: What the Golf?, Sky: Children of the Light
That Nintendo Exclusive: Fire Emblem: Three Houses
A relatively light year in terms of Nintendo’s heavy hitters that included a sequel to the Wii U’s Super Mario Maker and an admittedly charming remake of a Game Boy title with Link’s Awakening, Fire Emblem: Three Houses felt like the best complete package offering on the Switch in 2019. With the series’ trademark excellent strategy gameplay, a deep bench of character stories to explore and the titular three houses to explore and lead through the campaign, Fire Emblem was a must-have title for the Switch in 2019.
Honorable Mention: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, Pokemon Sword and Shield
That PlayStation Exclusive: Death Stranding
With the generation winding down in the lead up to the 2020 launch of the PlayStation 5, most of Sony’s first party studios have probably moved onto projects destined for the next generation. Sony Bend finally delivered Days Gone in 2019 but with heavy hitters like The Last of Us Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima pegged for 2020, a lot of the PlayStation exclusives in 2019 came from external partners like Kojima Productions. Long associated with the PlayStation through Metal Gear Solid’s lineage, Kojima’s Death Stranding was a natural fit for Sony and found an audience with its often serene gameplay of reconnecting humanity by delivering packages amidst the occasional tense encounter with creepy invisible floating monster people with umbilical cords.
Honorable Mentions: Concrete Genie, Days Gone, Dreams Early Access
That Xbox Exclusive: Gears 5
Xbox has been admittedly incredibly light on exclusive titles this entire generation but 2019 might have been the softest year yet as most of the new studios Microsoft has been acquiring in recent years simply haven’t had the time to deliver their new products to the world. The less said about Crackdown 3 the better so that pretty much only really left Gears 5 this year. Not that this is a case of the game winning by default. Gears 5 is another exceptional offering from the Coalition, continuing on the story laid out in 2016’s Gears of War 4 as Kait, Del, J.D., Marcus and the rest of their COG allies set out to restore the Hammer of Dawn network in their ongoing fight against the Swarm. Even if Xbox had a better line-up to compete with, Gears 5 would have been tough competition to beat.
That PC Exclusive: Disco Elysium
I’m not going to lie, That Nerdy Site isn’t exactly driven by PC players. Trevor played a ton of Civilization 6 in 2019 but it was the PlayStation 4 version. That said, both Trevor and Cameron put a few hours into Disco Elysium following its showing at The Game Awards and both walked away impressed and excited to continue exploring what the game had to offer.
That Multiplatform Game: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
With PlayStation and Xbox saving a lot of their big titles for 2020 and beyond and Nintendo being Nintendo, it fell to multiplatform titles to make the most of our systems this year and Respawn’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order did just that. Releasing in advance of the finale of the Skywalker Saga, Fallen Order benefitted from excitement for the franchise as well as a sense of appreciation that the audience had been clamoring for a Star Wars action-adventure title for years, especially in the wake of the canceled Star Wars: 1313 and Amy Hennig’s ill-fated Visceral game. And Respawn delivered a great game that truly nailed the Star Wars aesthetic with its look and feel, fun lightsaber combat, and enjoyable cast of characters.
Honorable Mentions: Life is Strange 2, The Outer Worlds, Devil May Cry 5, Apex Legends, The Outer Wilds, Sayonara Wild Hearts, Trials Rising
We wrap up our 2019 Game Awards with the site-wide top games tomorrow.