It’s that time of year again, where we look back at the year that was, and pick our top three games across a host of categories! As with years past we’ll reveal one award winner per day, and this year we’ve got a massive 17 different awards to share out. It was a difficult process to choose the winners this year! While 2019 might not have had quite as many spectacularly big blockbuster releases as years past, the quality of games that were released with far less fanfare than they deserves is truly incredible.
We’ve decided to launch a “publisher of the year” award as part of our 2019 awards, because every year there are a couple of publishers that truly stand out, with multiple, multiple titles released through the year that hook us in. Each of the three award winners this year had great years from the start right to the finish, making it hard at times to play games from anyone else!
Koei Tecmo’s year involved no fewer than three Atelier titles, as well as Dead or Alive 6, and Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Scarlet for the Nintendo Switch (in Japan and Asia). In some areas it was surprisingly quiet – not a single Warriors game, for example, and we need to wait until next year for the next entry in the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, but we know all that stuff is coming, so it was hardly a disappointment that we’ll need to wait for those. This year was about the JRPGs and fighting games, and when you consider all the DLC stuff, we haven’t actually stopped playing Koei’s games at any point this year. Publishers rarely achieve the kind of longevity that this company does with its output.
The quiet achiever of the video game industry in 2019, Spike Chunsoft flew right under the radar as a publisher, but consider this list of games: Conception Plus, Yu-No, AI: The Somnium Files, Crystar, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning, Steins;Gate Elite. These are all Spike Chunsoft titles, and these are all 2019 releases. If that isn’t enough to impress you, you’re just impossible to impress. That list includes some of the most important, innovative, and intelligent VNs, backed by some of the most entertaining and original JRPGs that we’ve seen in quite some time. Truly an amazing effort for a publisher that is still quite new as an independent entity in the west.
There’s far too many titles to actually list here, but as a short list of the very best: Luigi’s Mansion 3, Pokemon Sword & Shield, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening HD, Astral Chain, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Super Mario Maker 2, Yoshi’s Crafted World, Tetris 99, Ring Fit Adventure, and plenty of DLC to keep Smash Bros. Ultimate players happy. Nintendo is riding high thanks to the popularity of the Switch, and its output is a stunning blend of the company doing what it does best with beloved properties, while also taking the time to experiment with new ideas. That’s Nintendo at its best, and we’ve loved this year from the company.
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