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 John Cal McCormick.
Observation was one of the unexpected gems of 2019, for me. The unique selling point for this story-driven space adventure is that you don't actually play as any of the main characters - you're the ship's A.I. and it's your job to help your buddies after a routine mission goes terribly wrong. The puzzles can occasionally get a bit frustrating, but the way the A.I. grows from code-based space-butler to an endearing protagonist over the course of the game is impressive, and the central mystery is compelling throughout.
I had pretty low hopes for Bloodstained, if I'm honest. After Mighty No. 9 crashed and burned as a spiritual successor to the Mega Man franchise, my gut was telling me that Bloodstained might be the crummy Castlevania clone that nobody wanted. After four or five hours I knew we'd dodged that particular bullet, but I wasn't prepared for how much I was going to love the game. It's a superb Metroidvania title that truly rewards exploration, and one that no Castlevania fan should miss.
I was over zombies back in 2009, but Resident Evil 2 is intense thanks in large part to Mr. X. He's a fantastic, Terminator-style villain, and hearing him stomp around keeps you constantly on edge. You never know when he's going to walk round the corner and batter you. What's weird is that he's built like Thanos but dressed like a hard boiled detective from the '30s. Still scary, though. Anyway, it's a fantastic survival horror game with a wonderfully campy story, grim creature designs, and just the right amount of bullets so that you never feel safe.
Sekiro was harder than a coffin nail for me, mainly because it's an action game built around parrying and I am unequivocally awful at parrying. When I play Dark Souls I get through the whole game without parrying anyone and that's fine by me. Still, I really liked the more straight-forward approach to storytelling from From Software here, and some of the duels are breathtakingly tense. It's a brilliant samurai-'em-up. The last boss is cheap as hell, though. I don't care what anyone says. I'm not having that.
I actually can't believe how much I love Death Stranding. The people that hate it - I totally get where you're coming from. I mean, it's just a game about delivering comically oversized packages for sixty hours, isn't it? But for some reason I just found myself completely enamoured with this game. The story is Kojima at his most Kojima, the characters are fantastic, the music is a delight, and yes, making deliveries across increasingly perilous terrain using hi-tech gadgets kept me coming back for more. Special shout-out to Heartman who is officially the best character of 2019.
Do you agree with John's personal Game of the Year picks? Whatever your opinion, feed us your thoughts in the comments section below.