Picking one game from any year and calling it the Game of the Year is rarely an easy task. With such broad genres, release schedules, team sizes, and budgets, it almost feels unfair to throw a full year’s worth of games into a big pile and sort through it to name one of them the best.
This is true for most years, but not this year. This year the decision was easy.
But before we get to that, we’ll run through a few of the best games to arrive on our PCs this year, then reveal our pick for the best PC game of all.
Apex Legends shook up the battle royale genre at the beginning of the year with a surprise, free launch that seemed to come out of nowhere. The game’s frenetic movement and gunplay rapidly won it a loyal fanbase, and the developers adopted a healthier attitude toward maintaining a free-to-play life service game that was, frankly, refreshing. It’s that core gameplay that gets it onto this list of standout games of the year that could, if things were just a little different, be a GOTY in their own right.
Slay The Spire
While Slay The Spire was in early access for quite some time, it has an official release date in 2019, so it makes this list. A superbly addictive rogue-like and deck-building game, it is almost impossible to stop playing when you start. Planning your route through the titular Spire, building your deck, and weighing risk versus reward make this a superb experience. New characters to unlock, and the ever-shifting nature of the game, will keep you coming back time and time again.
The Outer Worlds
In The Outer Worlds, Obsidian delivered an RPG that wasn’t groundbreaking in how it challenged us, but was certainly appreciated for its polish and attention to detail. With some of the best NPCs we have seen in a game in quite some time, The Outer Worlds kept in mind that the people you interact with are what make an RPG stand out. With smooth combat, colorful graphics, and some hilarious dialogue, this game was a cut above similar RPGs that we have seen over the years.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice managed to be very much a From Software game, while also doing plenty of new things. The ideas of stealth and agility were fully explored, while combat was pared down to a brutal essence. While the story lacked much of the depth that we have come to associated with something like the Dark Souls series, the game still presented us with an exciting world, and one of the most demanding combat systems we have seen in some time.
PC Game of the Year:
While we don’t think a game of the year needs to be a flawless execution of the possibilities of the medium, we do think they should provide a singular experience that you simply will not get from any other game. Disco Elysium does this by combining elements of a pen-and-paper RPG with a noir detective story and asking you to examine how you react to self-loathing.
You play as a cop who doesn’t remember that he is a cop—everything about your life before you wake up at the start of the game is a half-remembered blur. When a man is found hanging from a tree nearby, it is up to you to solve the case. The game centers around what your character thinks and says, and NPCs remember conversations you have with them, so you need to be careful about the questions you ask people.
You also need to decide what kind of person you are; just because you awoke in the wreckage of what feels like another man’s life doesn’t mean you need to stay on that path. Disco Elysium is the most unique experience of the year, and is beautifully crafted and expertly thought out.
We have never played a game quite like this before, making it an easy choice for our PC Game of the Year. With some of the most beautifully crafted writing we have seen in a game in years, Disco Elysium is a gaming experience that everyone should have.
For more of our Year in Review 2019 series, head to our hub page.