Following on from yesterday’s award for best soundtrack, today we’re judging a category that few would have considered up until a few years ago. If there’s one thing the current console generation will be remembered for, it’s the proliferation of “live service” games that continue to cater to player communities long after their initial release date.
That traditional cycle of developing and launching a game then immediately diverting all focus to a sequel has rapidly fallen out of style. Instead, we now see these games with years-long plans, supported by a steady stream of both paid and premium content as well as new features and fixes.
Here we present the best ongoing games of 2019, judging titles from previous years and assessing how they’ve grown these past twelve months.
It’s fair to say that some were a little miffed when No Man’s Sky made its debut on the PlayStation 4 back in 2016. The sheer scale and depth that was promised – with millions, no, quintillions of planets to explore – sent the pre-release hype train into overdrive, but soon after fans were unleashed upon this ambitious sci-fi sandbox, No Man’s Sky was picked apart and developer Hello Games went into hiding.
When they re-emerged months later, the first of many major post launch expansions was revealed. Since then, No Man’s Sky has been constantly evolving and growing, adding fully-fledged online multiplayer, base building features, and the overhaul/addition of entire new systems. Go and dust off that day one copy and you’ll be shocked at how much No Man’s Sky has grown, Hello Games having gone from being labelled a bunch of space cowboys to becoming one of the industry’s most celebrated studios.
2019 has been yet another stellar year for their flagship game. The recent Beyond update has continued to expand on just about every aspect of No Man’s Sky, revolutionising its multiplayer, story, and missions, while making the game fully VR compatible. The best thing about all of these landmark changes? They’re all completely free.
Rainbow Six Siege – Runner Up
We couldn’t get away with running an award for best ongoing game without Rainbow Six Siege making an appearance. The tactical Tom Clancy shooter isn’t for everyone, though it has played a huge part in popularising the “live games” trend and become one of the biggest names in competitive gaming.
2019 has been yet another exciting year for Siege fans despite some wrinkles starting to appear here and there. Ubisoft has persistently focused on making the game as enjoyable and accessible as ever, alongside Year 4’s quarterly dollop of fresh content. Eight new operators, one new map, and three map reworks are the main highlights though you only have to dig a little deeper to see just how much work Ubisoft has put into balancing and improving Siege, sculpting it into a frontrunner for the FPS genre.
Monster Hunter World – Runner Up
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne honestly took us by surprise. Seeing Capcom announce an expansion for it’s all time best-selling game was hugely predictable, of course, though we failed to anticipate just how much content they’d be able to cram into Iceborne eighteen months later.
At first glance it doesn’t appear to offer much beyond a new area inhabited by a shortlist of cool new beasties to track down and kill, but Iceborne quickly opens up, showering players with fun content alongside a vastly enriched web of mechanics. This expansion helps to improve Monster Hunter World as a whole. With that said, it’s Capcom’s continued support that secured Iceborne a spot on our list, laying out a roadmap of upcoming features and events that will carry the game well into 2020.
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Beat Saber
- Destiny 2
- For Honor
To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list:
What was your personal favourite of the year? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to stick with us through the rest of this month as we tick our categories off one by one. Next up? Best Multiplayer.