Compared to Microsoft, Sony has enjoyed a more varied and exciting lineup of games in 2019. However, there’s no ignoring the fact that in less than twelve months we’ll have two new ultra-powerful consoles on the market and both platform holders trying to make sure their shiny new box is the one that wins that initial sortie.
Keeping one eye on the future and another on the present, Sony still has a couple of hugely anticipated PS4 games in the pipeline. Instead of going all out in 2019 and riding the next-gen hype wave into the next holiday season, both The Last of Us Part II and Ghost of Tsushima have been pushed back to summer 2020. As a result, there have been noticeably fewer must-play PlayStation exclusives this year, though a few of them still happen to rank among our favourite games of the past twelve months.
Bankrolling Hideo Kojima and giving him the freedom to pursue his next big project seemed like a no-brainer after his acrimonious split from Konami. Metal Gear is still one of the most revered gaming franchises on the planet and even P.T. – a tiny taste of Kojima’s cancelled Silent Hill game – has its own cult following.
However, when Death Stranding slowly emerged from the fog, we were equal parts concerned and intrigued. At one time it seemed like the visionary creator was more interested in getting snaps with his celebrity pals and selling Kojima Productions merch than actually making a video game. There were also his grandiose claims that Death Stranding would genuinely spark a new video game genre.
Regardless of how true those statements really were, there is something so unique about the finished product and how it tries to shape the player’s world based on interactions with strangers they’ll never get to meet. While the moment to moment gameplay fails to break new ground, the complex social layer of Death Stranding combined with incredible presentation and captivating performances helped it soar to the top of this list.
Judgement – Runner Up
Since Yakuza 0 made its way overseas in 2017, Sega have been fending off ravenous fans wanting more of Kiryu, Majima, and the ever-changing streets of Kamurocho. At the same time, the development team at RGG Studio have been looking to do something different. Next year’s Yakuza 7 will feature new characters and turn-based combat, whereas 2019 saw the western release of sleuthing spin-off, Judgment.
Viewing the city’s seedy underbelly from a new perspective definitely worked and although some of the game’s investigation mechanics weren’t fully fleshed out, Yakuza fans soon found they had a soft spot for Takayuki Yagami and his companions. Needless to say, Judgment was one of our favourite imports of 2019.
Concrete Genie – Runner Up
Sony’s San Mateo studio, Pixelopus, doesn’t have the same clout as a Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, or Insomniac, but their future looks very promising. Concrete Genie may have sadly been lost beneath a barrage of new releases but is definitely one of the more interesting games you’ll find among the PlayStation 4’s extensive catalogue.
Although smaller in scale, Concrete Genie has the same nuance and soul we see elsewhere in Sony’s first party lineup. It’s a fairly relaxed adventure and one that leans more on the player’s own creativity rather than skill, reflexes, or problem solving, as they attempt to bring the glum town of Denska back to life with their magical paintbrush and some intuitive DualShock motion controls.
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Blood & Truth
- Days Gone
- Dreams Early Access
To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list:
- Best Remaster/Remake
- Best Visual Design
- Best Soundtrack
- Best Ongoing Game
- Best Multiplayer Game
- Best Gameplay
- Best Narrative
- Best Single Player Game
- Best Indie Game
- Best VR Game
- Best PC Game
- Best Nintendo Switch Game
- Best Xbox One Game
How did you top PS4 games list of 2019 compare to our staff picks? Let us know in the comments below and make sure you stick around for our overall Game of the Year 2019 announcement.