10 video games you should have played during 2019

Photo: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in-game screenshot.. Courtesy EA Press
Photo: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order in-game screenshot.. Courtesy EA Press /

This year was a fantastic one for video games. If you’re looking to pick one up after the holidays, we have 10 of the games you should have played in 2019.

Video games help us escape our reality for hours at a time — or for as long as we need to. Last year had its fair share of solid games, and 2019 still came through strong on the gaming front. Every system had great offerings.

With all the time off that typically accompanies the holiday season, there are plenty of opportunities to spend your holiday money on a few games and find time to play those games.

So if you’re looking for recommendations or a quick, concise list of the best games you should have played during 2019, look no further than this one (in alphabetical order!).

Apex Legends

If you played Fortnite and got sick of Fortnite but still want something similar, look no further than Apex Legends.

It checks all of the boxes that you want it to check: the sandbox-style setting, starting by falling from the sky and landing in a place that keeps shrinking its borders, and playing to be the last man or team standing.

And despite their similarities, it still feels different enough from Fortnite to keep you coming back and playing it over and over again.

Cadence of Hyrule

Cadence of Hyrule the first non-Nintendo Legend of Zelda game, and it’s honestly amazing. It’s a very easy casual play, but it still has its moments of frustration, especially if you have issues holding a beat.

See, it’s a Crypt of the NecroDancer crossover, so everything is set to the music of each land. The layout is a randomized map, and you have your choice of two characters to play. It’s just enough Zelda to draw you in and even more fun when you can jam out to the ridiculous techno music. (My favorite is the Gerudo Valley music.)

The game is far too short, but it’s also the perfect length to make you want to replay a time or two and see how the map generates a second time.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is not the remastered version from 2016. No, this is the remake of the 2007 original Modern Warfare. And it’s so good.

The single-player campaign is a return to basics while twisting it up with new gameplay moments. The multiplayer can be very hit or miss, but the variety and options are enough to keep things interesting.

It’s the campaign in Modern Warfare that is the game’s strength. Every detail — the missions, the weapons, the mechanics — just fits together so well. It feels like a return to basics and a step in the right direction for the franchise.

Death Stranding

Any Hideo Kojima fan most likely bought this the day it came out or had it on pre-order. His first game since parting ways with Konami and the Metal Gear games, fans knew Death Stranding would be just as weird and crazy as ever — especially when pretty much none of the previews gave us any inkling as to what the heck was going on in the game.

The actual game itself has an interesting storyline, albeit one that’s a little slow at times. You can certainly get bogged down by all of the side quests and spend too many hours in every “Chapter” of the game. But everything is just weird enough to make you keep going to see the final payoff.

My recommendation: Make it to Chapter 3 as fast as you can. The game picks up its pace significantly once you hit this milestone.

Kingdom Hearts III

How long did we wait for this game? Too long. Years, decades, eons. Kingdom Hearts III had a lot of hype to live up to — and plenty more creative properties in which to send our main characters.

For the most part, it lived up to the excitement that 14 years of waiting builds. The graphics are movie quality compared to the 2004 sequel, and it’s almost more fun to watch someone play the game.

The overarching storytelling may not be as great as prior iterations, but it still pulls at our nostalgic heartstrings. One of the best improvements, however, has to be the combat. Mixing past moves with new ones makes for more quick-thinking actions and more calculations on your part.

Plus, all of the Disney makes our hearts sing.

Magic: The Gathering Arena

Okay, it’s a PC game online through a website and it’s technically been around since 2018, but Magic: The Gathering Arena was still in beta until this past September, when it officially launched and became available to everyone.

And yes, Magic: The Gathering has been around since 1993 in physical, tabletop form. And yes, there were plenty of PC games for it back in the 1990s and early 2000s. But Arena itself is a great way to get into the game for a minimal price (or even for free if you’d like).

If you’ve ever had even a remote interest in playing or learning Magic: The Gathering but saw the price of some cards (those aren’t even the worst ones), Arena is a great way to learn without much of a financial investment where you can quit anytime you’d like and not be bogged down by hundreds of pounds of physical cardboard.

The Outer Worlds

If you’re looking for a fantastic RPG sci-fi exploration game, look no further than The Outer Worlds. If you’re a fan of the Fallout series, you’ll feel right at home playing this new offering from Obsidian Entertainment.

The main storyline itself takes around 30 hours to complete, and one of the more fun things is the NPC characters you can recruit as your companions and help balance out your skill wheel in situations; their skills get added to yours. It’s a cool idea.

Plus there’s a DLC coming next year! There are no details yet on how much it will cost or when it will arrive, but keep your eyes peeled for it.

Resident Evil 2 remake

Sure, this might be the year of “remakes” of “old” games, but dang if those remakes weren’t some all-out fun when it came to reminiscing.

I mean, let’s be real. It’s been twenty years since the first Resident Evil 2. Technology and specs have improved so exponentially that I’m surprised remakes haven’t happened more often. (Looking at you, Ocarina of Time.)

But it’s not just the graphics that have been updated and upgraded. It’s a ground-up remake, meaning updates to controls and other things that are just smart changes, like maps automatically updating to let you know if you’ve missed something in a room. Save points. A lack of loading screens.

It just makes everything that much creepier and that much more of a survival game.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Say what you will about the state of Star Wars and its current movies, but the video games seem to be faring quite well lately.

Or maybe that’s just Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. You’re playing between Episode III and Episode IV when the galaxy is at its darkest. The game takes you from the sterile interiors of Imperial ships and facilities to familiar planets, and some that are brand new with plenty to explore within.

It’s the perfect single-player Star Wars experience, from the story to the gameplay to the visuals. If you’re having mixed feelings after Episode IX, it may not be a bad idea to pick this one up and give it a try, returning to a simpler portion of the timeline.

Untitled Goose Game

My friends, if you have not played Untitled Goose Game and have only seen the silly memes on the internet, you are doing yourself a terrible disservice.

Untitled Goose Game was the weird, semi-sleeper hit of 2019. When the trailer came out, it was an instant hit, but no one knew what to expect. Well, what you saw was basically what you got.

It’s such a silly concept, but the game itself is adorably animated, the music cues are perfect, and I don’t know … there’s something so cathartic about being a goose who does not care and gets to mildly inconvenience people. And honk.

The game itself is maybe five or six hours long, with the potential for another playthrough with additional tasks in each section. It will make you wish it was three times as long.

Just don’t forget to press Y to honk.

Honorable mention

A last-minute honorable mention to the Nintendo Switch remake of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, the updated version of the Gameboy game from the early ’90s. It updated the handheld format and the graphics, making everything incredibly adorable, and it made you re-train yourself after all those hours of playing Breath of the Wild.

Next. Cruella de Vil, Voldemort and the 25 greatest movie villains of all-time. dark

What games did you play in 2019 that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments!