Hello and welcome to Rock Paper Shotgun.
As the weather outside gets frosty, we takethis opportunity to sink into a warm bath and remember all the great games we’ve playedthis year.
It’s been a busy twelve months, so we’velimited each member of the Rock Paper Shotgun video department – that’s me, Alice andAstrid – to four games each, and a bunch of highly recommended picks at the end.
They’re not in any order – they are justgames we personally adored.
Hopefully you’d have a good time with anyof them.
A quick plug for Displate, whose metal postersfeature designs from many of these games – visit our store in the description for some of thebest.
And why not share your top ten PC games of2019 in the comments.
And we’d love it if you subscribed to RockPaper Shotgun.
If you do subscribe we share a nice toastedmarshmallow with you; and if you don’t, you’ll be the toasted marshmallow.
Now onwards! If you had told me that the first game I playedin 2019 would end being one of the best of the year, I would have said you were pullingmy leg.
Or shooting off my leg.
And then the other leg.
And then my arm.
And my head.
Yes: it’s Resident Evil 2, which spoke tomy inner 13 year old with its total disregard for limbs; and then scared the living pissout of my outer 34 year old with the slow stomping horror of Mr X.
Okay, so the creepygiant in the flasher mac is slightly diminished when you discover his weakness to sofas, butfor the most part this was a relentless chase down memory lane.
Aside from the stunning visual makeover, thisremake’s smartest move was to give Racoon City a memory: zombies can be knocked downeasily enough, but remain a threat on future trips, forcing you to weigh up every journeyand pray to land a headshot with every bullet.
Or just force them onto this new grenade dietthat health blogs have been talking about – just pop one in the mouth and lose halfyour body fat in a second.
If 2020’s Resident Evil 3 remake is halfas good as this, we are in for a treat.
Rats, kids, and the Inquisition.
I wasn’t expecting to love a game aboutall of these things as much as I did.
I mean, I like rats in real life, but thenrats in real life don't tend to do stuff like this: INSERT CLIP OF HORRIBLE RAT DEATH.
To be fair to Plague Tale's rattos, they'renot actively evil, just very enthusiastic about eating, a habit you can put to gooduse as you use them as a weapon against the inquisition.
Using light and shadow to shepherd rats towardsthese religious meat mountains is one of 2019's gooiest treats.
Alright, sometimes they were Plain Bad, andwould eat either our hero, Amicia, her small brother Hugo, or any of their rag tag alliesthey meet along their journey, from the ground up.
Imagine that death.
I expect my boss Matthew will also ask meto reference that disgusting bit where the rats all burst and bleed out of that deadhorse so here you go.
I hope you aren't watching this after Christmasdinner.
I won’t lie to you, I'm not a big fan ofkids and I especially dislike escort missions with annoying children.
So imagine my surprise when I ended up lovinga game that is 80% escort mission.
Hugo is a little cutie really, and he shouldbe protected at all costs.
So I’m glad I did my best for him.
Even if he did get eaten from the ground upa few times.
Control is as strange as it is gorgeous.
As Jesse Faden, the newly-declared Directorof the Federal Bureau of Control, you’re clearing out the Hiss – an otherworldly forcethat has come to our planet to glue middle management to the ceiling.
Really, it’s just an excuse to explore theshifting Brutalist hallways of The Oldest House where you find visually breathtakingand spatially incomprehensible sights, like the Hotline Chamber suspended in an ominoussphere like Cerebro in the X-Men, the endless stretching void of the Firebreaks betweenOldest House sectors, and the inverted black pyramid of The Board that forever looms overyou in the isolating white expanse of the Astral Plane.
Everything in Control feels like an uncomfortableand abstract dream.
The people you meet are as distant as theyare aware, rooms and hallways will shift and distort when you’re not looking, and themonotone colour palette of The Oldest House becomes drenched in thick bellows of starkblue and red light in places where the Hiss has taken hold.
The game itself is a relatively standard third-personshooter with some cool powers thrown in, like telekinesis which tears chunks of concreteout of the architecture that you use as deadly projectiles, and a lightning-fast dash tododge enemy attacks and clear large distances.
It’s a stunning blend of cosmic mysteryand extreme violence against office furniture.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
Or as I like to call it: Sekiro: Shadows Die856 Times.
Much more than Dark Souls in a ninja outfit, FromSoftware’s trip to feudal Japan strips away a lot of the RPG meat to focus the actionon the precise moment that sword meets sword.
It’s an absolutely ferocious combat systembuilt around breaking your enemy’s posture with quick chops and even quicker parries.
Yes, you can use your ninja skills to grappleaway to safety or even start with a stealth blow to gain the advantage, but at the endof the day there’s no escaping the fact that the game’s nastiest horrors need tobe faced face on and close up if you’re going to stagger and pop their arteries likea bottle of bloody champagne.
Also deserving of a special mention on PCfor it’s beautiful optimisation – giving slick performance on even the more humblemachines, which, given Dark Souls shaky track record on PC, is a step in the right direction.
Oh and two special shout outs: one to screaminghang glider guy for this year’s best gaming entrance.
and another to the giant chickens, for being the one enemy that didn’t humiliate me again and again.
Of course, if you prefer your animals liveand kicking, Alice’s next pick might be better for you.
I love animals.
That won't surprise our regular viewers – butif it does, I love animals.
And I loved Planet Coaster, so Planet Zoohas been on my radar since it was announced, and it didn’t disappoint.
Sure, I have a tiny problem of inbreedingred pandas – but if your species was going extinct you'd be less picky on dating apps, too.
Aside from that I’m doing ok.
My zoo is even home to an albino zebra.
As amazing as it is to see the animals strollaround, make friends, and have babies, I mostly keep my game paused, if I’m being totallyhonest.
I prefer building, and making my enclosuresthe best they can be.
Unpausing is stressful.
I like learning about the animals, and I thinkthe vast expanse of knowledge and love that’s gone into this game is absolutely phenomenal.
Just like Planet Coaster before it, there'sclear expert knowledge in every inch of this game.
And better yet – it shares it with you.
Planet Zoo encourages you to learn, helpsyou understand things about animals you probably never would have learned.
But the worst bit of it all is, it encouragesyou to get rid of your animals, for conservation’s sake.
I suppose it would also solve my inbreedingproblems but they are just sooooo cute.
Metro Exodus removes you from the claustrophobicand oppressive series mainstay of the Moscow Metro system and plonks you on a great bigsodding steam train as you chug it across the Eastern European wasteland, through thefrosty swamplands of the Volga, the sandy craters of the now-dry Caspian Sea, and theforested, communist summer camp of the Taiga.
But it never loses a feeling of desperation, or a sense of dread, or even that familiar claustrophobia the previous games are bestknown for.
It just supplements that all with an overarchingcurrent of hope.
Metro Exodus is dire at many times throughoutits duration.
It shows you, through the faces you meet asyou journey on the railways across the wastes, that people can still be monsters.
At times, it’s still able to plunge youinto suffocating bunkers and corridors, and even make use of the) vast spaces of its open-worldareas to make you feel isolated.
It also, somehow, manages to incorporate survivalmechanics in a way that doesn’t make it f**king unbearable, which it gets major, majorkudos for.
Oh, and it has a sniper rifle so meaty thatshots I took back in March are still reverberating now.
Outer Wilds is one of the best adventuresI’ve ever had.
Technically, it’s one of the shortest: nosooner have you taken off the universe decides to explode.
But a handy 20 minute time loop gives youa chance to try and fix it, by dashing round the solar system, harvesting information that’llhopefully help you in your next life.
I like to describe it as a Metroidvania, butinstead of collecting upgrades to get further, you’re collecting facts: these might beclues about where to head next or local gossip about how to survive giant nightmare fishor a world that’s 99% hurricane.
In time you get to know this cluster of planetsin intimate detail: where you need to be at what time to achieve a certain outcome, orhow ancient alien tech can be turned to your advantage to finally pull ahead of your stickyfate.
But as smart as it is, it also never forgetsthe importance of simple wonder: of planets slowly being gobbled up by black holes, ordeserts sucked from one planet to the next by gravitational pull, or the magic of a hauntingmelody heard across the depths of space.
This isn’t just a world you get to knowinside out; it’s a world you’ll want to know inside out.
It’s not just my personal game of the year, but one of the greatest of any years.
Disco Elysium is a game about an alcoholiccop picking up the pieces of his shattered psyche, apologising to those he’s wrongedas he trudges along, all while trying to solve a murder.
Or, it’s about a detective with a radicalsocialist view of the world that perhaps contradicts his profession, trying to find out how a mandied while spreading the word of the late Communist philosopher Kras Mazov.
Or, it’s the tale of a drug-binging superstarwith disco trousers on a quest to find the perfect karaoke ballad.
Perhaps developers ZA/UM put it best: in manyways, Disco Elysium is a personality test.
Disco Elysium is introspective to the max.
Its world, ravaged by a failed revolutionand barely held together by gaffa tape made of violence and narcotics, is awe-inspiring, but some of the most fascinating parts of the game are the conversations you have withyour skills inside your own head.
It’s dark, funny, existential, and it hasa wealth of things to say about the human condition and about the world.
You can also stuff a three-day-old corpseinto a giant freezer that looks like an evil polar bear, and spin-kick a racist, if allthat didn’t already convince you to give it a go.
I was not expecting a game like Tangle Towerto make it into my top 5 games of the year – I haven't played many point and click adventures, and I don't gravitate towards detective games.
To be honest, Astrid and Matthew have mentioneda few of my other favourites, like Control and The Outer Wilds, but Tangle Tower wassuch a pleasant surprise I had to include it.
Everything about it is charming.
Detective Grimoire and his sidekick Sallydeliver entertaining bickering that's incredibly well voiced.
In fact, for a small indie team, the productionvalues – the art, music and animation – is amazing throughout.
Unravelling a murder mystery is fun too, asthe game blends the deduction of a whodunnit with more hands-on puzzles that you mightexpect from a Professor Layton game.
The way you build accusations as sentencesis such a good way of getting us to think like detectives.
Tangle Tower really felt quite like a comfortableplace to be in after a while, if you ignore all the murder and death and shady alibies.
I’m now going to have to go back throughthe SFB back catalogue and do some catching up with Grimoire.
I nor any other human being on the planetknows what it’s like to be inside the head of a gorilla.
But, if I’d hazard a guess, then I thinkmy grabby, smashy, galumphing existence probably would be accompanied by a procedurally-generatedfree jazz drum solo soundtrack.
Ape Out has been compared quite a bit to HotlineMiami.
It’s got a top-down perspective, twin-stickcontrols, fast-paced and violent room clearing, and quite a simple–but striking–artstyle.
In a lot of ways, that balls-to-the-wall ultraviolentspeedrunning is here too.
But Ape Out is even simpler than that, withstark primary colours, very basic environments, and only four controller inputs: move, aim, grab, and YEET.
It’s simplicity with a purpose, though.
Two, in fact: the first being it makes thegame immediately quite easy to grasp for those who have only feverishly sampled twin-stickgames, and the second being that it ensures the genuinely quite brilliant simulated jazzdrummer’s reactionary and freestyle beats at the forefront of the experience, as thevinyl album presentation suggests it should be.
Ape Out would still be bloody buckets fullof fun without this music, but with it, the game becomes something truly special.
Red Dead Redemption 2 takes the awkward honourof being one of my favourite games of the year and one of my least favourite game launchesof the year.
What a shame to see this incredible landscapegated behind a launcher that did anything but launch the game and an online mode whereyou were more likely to be robbed by a server hiccup than another player.
Look past that though, and this a trip ofvirtual WestWorld – a playground that lets you enjoy violent delights, but is also happyfor you to observe everyday life: pat a dog, feed a horse a carrot, make snow angels inthe mud using corpses, or just enjoy the warm glow of the campfire.
Sorry, I can’t get enough of that clip.
As a huge fan of western movies, I love thefeeling of trying to create my own adventure and seeing how far I get – hopping on a train, plugging the driver, going for a joyride and then getting rid of any unwanted passengers.
For me, this will always be better than thescripted missions, and is sure to keep me playing well into 2020.
Well, as long as I avoid any more barbequedisasters.
What do you mean The Sims 4 doesn’t go onthis list? It bloody well does.
I play The Sims 4 more than any other gameyear on year.
I go through phases of loving it dearly toabsolutely not being able to look at it for a few months.
And, yes, The Sims 4 may have come out fiveyears ago now, but there have been some amazing developments this year.
For example: we finally got our universityexpansion! Yeah, ok, The Sims 2’s University expansionwas its first expansion, but Discover University is only the Sims 4’s 8th expansion, so… Uh.
It was highly anticipated, let’s put itthat way.
And it hasn’t disappointed.
Between that, Strangerville, Realm of Magic, and Island Living, we’ve been pretty spoiled for choice with this year’s Expansion andGame packs – and the really not highly anticipated Moschino stuff pack wasn’t even that disappointing! It has some really amazing windows.
Nice one, The Sims 4.
Over the years I’ve become more of a builder, so the recent updates of being able to put in twisty staircases, and using loads of previouslyinaccessible set design have been absolutely chef kiss this year.
The builds you can make are out of this world, and thanks to Discover University we can now have NPC roommates, which means building terracedhouses is finally a thing that can happen! But really, nothing beats the highlight thatis Casters Alley, and the whole of the Magic Realm, to be honest.
Of course, these were only a fraction of theawesome games we played this year, so here’s a lightning fast rundown of other gems weenjoyed… Inspired by cult favourite Valkyrie Profile, Indivisible is part brawler, part turn-based RPG: it’s all about unleashing moves tocombo enemies into oblivion, but the huge range of characters and movesets availablegives you so much room for experimentation.
Blasphemous is Castlevania with severe Catholicguilt: as a man with a hat full of blood chops and climbs through a nightmare landscape wherehe’s attacked by some of freakiest bosses we’ve seen in years and, er, giant incenseburners.
It’s gory, it’s gooey, it’s great! Flotsam is Waterworld: The Management Game, and has been keeping Alice busy in its early access form.
The world is wet and it’s up to you to rebuildsociety from the trash you pluck from the ocean.
Good to get in some early practice beforeit happens to us for real.
Devil May Cry 5 is the only game that letme ride my own rocket arm as a surfboard, which should really put it at the top of mylist.
Man alive, was this a cool game – whethermastering the sublime combat styles of Dante, or just mashing demons with giant shadow pets.
An indie passion project, Horace looks likea 16-bit throwback but throbs with modern ideas as a lonely robot embarks on a trashcollecting adventure that is full of retro minigames, some brutal platforming challengesand one of the year’s best soundtracks.
Gears 5 was another big surprise this year:a really inventive campaign that found constant new twists on hiding behind cover as you exploreddeserts and ice fields, and gave your robot pal instructions to fry anyone who came close.
Absolutely gorgeous too.
In They Came From A Communist Planet you playas a citizen incited to revolution by Communist aliens and get down bringing down your oppressorsone bit of graffiti at a time.
Our resident revolutionary Astrid loves it, and even I, resident Centrist Dad, admit to tapping my toe to its banging soundtrack.
And those are just some of the games we’veloved in 2019.
Thanks for sticking with the list all theway to the end.
As a little bonus for all of you made to theend, here’s a bonus video of my dumb cat trying to rub its head on my hand throughglass: If you enjoyed this video, you can supportthe channel through our Displate store – please do use the link to check out our personalpicks.
There’s over half a million designs andDisplate’s unique metal posters are built to last and use a magnet mounting system thatdoesn’t involve drilling into your walls with power tools.
Which is always good.
And not only will you be supporting the channelbut you’ll be supporting the environment – for every Displate sold, a tree gets planted.
Finally, I’d love to hear your top gamesof 2019 in the comments – go on, give us your lists of top five or ten.
Then we can see how much you all disagreewith us.
It’ll be fun.
I really hope you’ll join us in 2020 towatch more wonderful PC games – we’ve been having loads of fun on the channel in 2019and we’d love for you to subscribe and join us for more.
Hopefully see you soon.
Bye for now!.