As this decade comes to a close, we may very well be seeing the end of this gaming generation. With the reveals of both Sony’s and Microsoft’s new consoles, we are now currently living the twilight of the Xbox One and the Playstation 4. We’ve also experienced some serious mea culpas (with Bungie re-gaining it’s independence and ownership of the Destiny IP), and we’ve also realized that the emperor really has no clothes (looking at YOU, Bethesda).
But ultimately, this year was about the games, and we got some real winners this year, not only in quality experiences, but also some serious steps taken forward in the art of game design.
10. Control – PS4, Xbox One, Windows
After the ambitious yet controversial Quantum Break, Remedy Entertainment returned to speed with this mind-bending cinematic action game. Granted, they had to essentially mine the SCP wiki to do it, but if it works….
9. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows
Five years after it’s successful kickstarter, Koji Igarashi gave us this spiritual successor to Symphony Of The Night, with all of the exploration action and insane art design you’d expect.
8. Metro Exodus – PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Google Stadia
After spending its first two entries mostly in the cramped Metro system of Moscow, 4A Games takes the experience out into the nuclear wastes of Russia for this storied survival horror series. The original novels by Dmitry Glukhovsky are also highly recommended.
7. Astral Chain – Switch
The game director of NieR: Automata steps into the creative seat to create this stylish action game, heavily inspired by cyberpunk anime and filled with great world-building.
6. The Outer Worlds – PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Windows
The developers of Fallout: New Vegas go it solo and create a new IP that not only eats Bethesda’s lunch, but they also manage to craft a brilliant RPG that gives one of the most deep critiques of Capitalism ever programmed.
5. Kingdom Hearts III – PS4, Xbox One
Yes, the wait was worth it. The story may still be convoluted as all hell, but the experience is no less fun for it. The Toy Story level alone is worth the price of admission.
4. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – PS4, Xbox One, Windows
I guess Disney managed to scare EA straight. They decided to let the company that basically saved their collective asses (Respawn Entertainment) do their Star Wars game without meddling in their affairs. The result is a game that cribs several elements from other franchises, and somehow manages to create something new.
3. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – P4, Xbox One, Windows
From Software creates a spiritual successor to Tenchu, and in the process manage to create what is arguably their most accessible game. Don’t think that makes it any easier.
2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Switch
The people at Intelligent Systems shook things up this time around for the stories Simulation RPG series, and in doing so manage to produce the most successful game in the franchise’s history. Teaching your students and fighting with them on the battlefield really packs an emotional punch.
1. Death Stranding – PS4, Windows
Kojima Productions produced a game that can genuinely be considered art and manage to create a brand new genre in the process. Call it pretentious if you wish, but in this day and age any game that heavily bases its design around altruism is something to celebrate.