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Now that 2019 is coming to a close, gamers everywhere are looking towards an annual awards show to send the year off on a high note – The Game Awards. 

Geoff Keighley and the countless industry members responsible for gaming’s most prominent awards show are once again promising big reveals and shocking announcements. But most importantly, several honors will be given out to the best titles released in 2019 across a myriad of genres. Best Action Game, Best Fighting Game, and Best Role-Playing Game are just a sample size of the categories listed for this year’s showcase. Among those categories are the ones that delve into the world of eSports, VR/AR projects and the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing a quality video game.

But as we all know, the most important award that’s handed out each year is Game of the Year. This is the sole category that garners the most attention and creates a fiery debate amongst passionate gamers everywhere. For 2019, those arguments have certainly reached a fever pitch. We certainly have a dog in the race as well. But we’re going to be fair and look at all the nominees for Game of the Year and see which one has the best chance of taking the big Game Awards trophy home.

Control

Remedy Entertainment is highly regarded for its third-person shooters that tend to feature an engrossing narrative, memorable characters and otherworldly elements. Their best work in that particular area has to be 2019’s Control, a trippy supernatural experience that took place in one eerie building.

There were several aspects that made Control such a standout release – its chaotic gunplay, fun use of psychic abilities, engrossing story and trippy visuals are chief among them. It was certainly rough around the edges, though – the checkpoint system was a practice in frustration and the map layout could be a big confusing. But overall, Control delivered a worthwhile trek through a building full of wonder and terror. This nominee is definitely a dark horse pick for Game of the Year.

Death Stranding

To say that Hideo Kojima’s latest work is divisive would be an understatement. Death Stranding elicited amazingly positive responses from some and a whole heap of hate from others. The love thrown upon this quirky PS4 exclusive mentions its gorgeous graphics, deeply emotional cinematics, and unique gameplay concept. 

Walking around the game’s broken world and trying to bring society back together again through a collection of surprisingly engrossing fetch quests was shockingly fun. Not everyone agrees with such high praise, however. A lot of gamers felt the central gameplay hook of Death Stranding was boring, found the story confusing and noted that the pace was entirely too slow. Death Stranding certainly deserves some love for its graphics and overall art direction. But winning Game of the Year is quite the stretch.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

It might be a bit odd to some to see this 2018 fighting game on the list of 2019’s best games of the year. But it missed last year’s deadline and dropped the day after the 2018 installment concluded. And that’s why it’s here. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is certainly an amazing fighting game. It features a massive roster, the best version of the party brawler’s gameplay mechanics and a nice array of worthwhile single-player/multiplayer gameplay. 

And since it’s launch, the game has added even more characters, costumes, modes and balance adjustments worth coming back to. But we’ve got to keep it real here, folks – a fighting game taking Game of the Year honors (which released in 2018, no less) just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Fighting Game of the Year, though? That sounds a bit more feasible.

Resident Evil 2 Remake

Can a remake of a game released in 1998 win Game of the Year in 2019? In this case, yes…yes it should. Capcom retooled one of the greatest survival-horror games of all time and simply perfected it. The over-the-head viewpoint made the control scheme much easier to comprehend and enjoy. The gunplay and gore were even more visceral than its predecessor. And most of all, this remake altered parts of the experience and freshened up an already amazing campaign. 

Resident Evil 2 Remake starts hot and ends on a very strong note. And after completing it, you probably hopped back in just to see how much faster you could navigate the undead horrors of Raccoon City. Resident Evil 2 Remake delivered pure perfection, which makes it the most likely to earn The Game Awards’ biggest prize.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Once again, FromSoftware gave “Soulsborne” fans with another fascinating take on the difficult sub-genre formula. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice transported gamers to the late 16th century, the Sengoku period of Japan for some katana clashes against rival swordsmen and vicious demons. 

It featured everything fans have come to appreciate from Soulsborne games – a mysterious plot, an engrossing world, nail-biting boss encounters, and a deep combat system. Sekiro’s unique swordplay mechanics helped it stand apart from previous FromSoftware titles in the best way possible. By the end of its intense campaign, Sekiro managed to wow fans and place it high amongst the comparable games within its field. All in all, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice makes a very strong case for Game of the Year.

The Outer Worlds

Bethesda and Fallout fans finally got the game they’ve been waiting for since the disappointing release of Fallout 76. And it wasn’t even developed by Bethesda, funnily enough! Obsidian Entertainment took everything they created with Fallout: New Vegas and refined it with their latest release, The Outer Worlds.

This first-person action RPG was simply a breath of fresh air for frustrated Fallout fans since it did everything so much better than Bethesda’s latest Fallout blunder. The gunplay felt better, the characters were that much more enthralling and the planet-hopping adventures managed to be a lot more interesting than having to trek across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The Outer Worlds’ themes of capitalism and futuristic space travel gave it plenty of personalities and made it an experience worth completing multiple times through. It was a bit rough around the edges, but The Outer Worlds largely succeeded at what it tried to do.

Our Verdict

So from the looks of every game within the Game of the Year category, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Sekiro: Shadows: Die Twice, Control and The Outer Worlds have the best chances of winning. We’d swap out Death Stranding and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for Gears 5 and Devil May Cry 5, but it’s too late to make such major changes at this point. 

If we had a say though, Resident Evil 2 Remake would nab the Game of the Year award. Like we mentioned before, they took something that was already amazing and perfected it even more than before. It may have launched earlier in the year, but it remained on gamers’ consciousness long after they completed it. And that sounds like an award-winning experience to us.

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