2019 was a most excellent year for sequels, remakes, and new entries in existing franchises. Unsurprisingly, this is reflected in our staff’s individual Game of the Year picks. Read on to see which games we enjoyed most this past year!
Vincent’s GOTY pick: Super Mario Maker 2
Super Mario Maker 2 is chock full of ways to keep players occupied. The robust single-player campaign organically introduces players to the game’s course-building tools. The wide array of obstacles, themes, and playstyles really lead to an incredible amount of variation. Of course, it is full of endlessly creative and surprising user-created courses. Nintendo’s continued support is also fantastic to see. The new Ninji Run Mode as well as the recently added Pokey, Spike, and the Master Sword will undoubtedly continue to entertain players into the new year and beyond.
Devil May Cry is back. Devil May Cry has never left. Devil May Cry is forever. Run through its paces, Devil May Cry 5 has an astounding soundtrack, a sprawling world on fire, and three devil hunters ready to earn a paycheck. As I combed my library for GOTY contenders, the addictive lyrics rang out in my head: BANG – BANG – BANG, PULL MY DEVIL TRIGGER.
Out of all of the games that I played on my personal list, Fire Emblem: Three Houses stands above the rest with its fantastic gameplay, likable characters, and incredible story. What separates this game from the others is its level of replayability. Each route will take you hours upon hours to complete individually. The fact that you must beat the game a grand total of three times before getting access to the final route, makes it the only game on my list that I’m still playing even months after release. I’m still discovering new things that I hadn’t seen before.
Runner-ups: Pokémon Sword and Shield, VA-11 HALL-A (Switch)
My pick for game of the year is easily AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES. Visual novels and adventure games get seriously overlooked by most players. AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES is a game that is not to be overlooked with its well-paced story filled with twists and turns, stellar voice acting, and great use of audio. AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES is the best visual novel to be released in 2019.
What can I say? I have fallen for Falcom. It started with Ys VIII, then Trails of Cold Steel II. Trails III is a perfect example of a series that thinks about its own evolution. It takes further steps with a great new art style, an improved combat system, and the continuation of a great story, all bolstered by an excellent soundtrack. I had a VERY hard time putting this one down for all the right reasons. The Trails series is great but the third entry has proven to be my favorite so far. Looking forward to part IV!
Kotaro Uchikoshi has a stellar pedigree when it comes to crafting amazing visual novels (Zero Escape series, Ever17) and doesn’t disappoint with his latest game, AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES. Uchikoshi’s latest masterpiece blends mind-bending scenarios with unforgettable characters in dramatic fashion. Check out our interviewwith Uchikoshi and our review for more details on why this is one of the best games of 2019!