Alongside our staff-voted Game of the Year awards, each of our writers have crafted their own personal lists, covering their top five PlayStation 4 titles of 2019. Today, it's the turn of reviewer Christian Kobza.
Impossible Lair deserves recognition for taking a doomed franchise and making something great out of it. I hated the original Yooka-Laylee largely due to its rickety replication of an already-antiquated formula without moving it forward in any meaningful way. Impossible Lair does just that - moves things forward. It may be heavily inspired by Donkey Kong Country, but its novel overworld puzzle-solving and surprisingly unique structural gimmick that makes the final level available from the outset give it a suitably sturdy and unique foundation to stand on. It’s an impressively substantive 2D platformer that’s more than just vapid nostalgia bait.
Sekiro is an eminent example of From Software’s staying power. Despite Team Ninja beating it to the punch with the legitimately fantastic Nioh (which was also set in Sengoku Japan - go figure), From set out to make something different with Sekiro. More action than RPG, Sekiro’s superb combat stands out as one of the best sword-wielding melee systems I’ve ever experienced in a video game. Add to that a startlingly fast pace and a diverse assortment of well-designed locales, and Sekiro illustrates how far From Software is from being a one-trick pony.
It took Capcom a good while to get to finally get to the second entry in the franchise, but this Resident Evil remake is so good that it almost justified the wait. Despite the shift to a third-person perspective, the pacing, scares, and dreadful tone are all kept intact. Things are tweaked just enough to provide returners to the police station plenty of fan service while still packing in lots of surprises. Whether you’re a newcomer or a Resident Evil veteran, this remake remains riveting and sets a new bar for the franchise.
After I was left disappointed by Quantum Break’s lacklustre narrative and depthless shooting mechanics, I’m all the more awestruck by how legitimately great Control is. Its stark hallways drip with a tangible sense of foreboding, its sci-fi inspired setting is incredibly well utilised, and its intelligently-designed combat offers up a smart synthesis of traditional shooting and paranormal abilities that never wears out its welcome. It’s not an experience that’s inundated with modern sensibilities or needless open world traversal - Control is just a rock-solid third-person shooter in a world where such a thing is becoming increasingly rare.
1. Outer Wilds
Just like every narrative-driven classic, Outer Wilds takes advantage of the video game medium to tell a story that couldn’t have been told anywhere else. Unravelling its spellbinding narrative is eerily enthralling, but Outer Wilds also contains the best space-faring exploration I’ve ever experienced. Its simplicity and accessibility makes poking around each of the eight celestial destinations both effortless and exciting. Add to that the lack of overly-complex crafting mechanics typical of the genre, and what you’re left with is a journey that’s easy to recommend to anyone in search of a discovery-fuelled adventure in outer space.
Do you agree with Christian's personal Game of the Year picks? Whatever your opinion, feed us your thoughts in the comments section below.