The nominations for 2019's Game Awards have been revealed and there are some predictable yet reasonable choices included in the Game Of The Year category. Control, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Resident Evil 2, The Outer Worlds, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate all have legitimate claims to being called the best game released this year - although Smash technically came out last December. There's also Death Stranding if you really like melodramatic hiking simulators.
But much like the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys, or any other prestigious entertainment award, there are some incredible titles that have been left out of the conversation. 2019 has been a truly great year in gaming, so while it's not surprising that some great games have been omitted, it is very disappointing. It's hard to narrow it down to just a list of five, but here are the games we feel should have been on the ballot for Game Of The Year.
Devil May Cry 5
It's possible that the jury would only allow Capcom to have one spot on the Game Of The Year list, which is a shame because that means the exclusion of the other banger of a game they put out in 2019. Devil May Cry 5 is the answer to every DMC fan's prayer - unless they're fans of the DMC reboot - and gave players another full-fledged adventure with Dante, Nero, and the rest of the cast and crew of the Devil May Cry enterprise.
The combat in DMC5 is arguably the best it's ever been in the series and having the ability to play not only as both Dante and Nero, but also the new and mysterious V gave us three different and unique combat styles to switch between during the different chapters of the game. It also gave us a typically bonkers DMC story to sift through and another stupid-hard edition of the Bloody Palace. RE2 may be getting all the accolades, but DMC5 doesn't deserve to be left sitting in the shadows.
For God's sake, they gave Dante a shiny cowboy hat as a weapon! It should win Game Of The Year for that alone.
One of the most trivial yet confounding problems in 2019 was the irritating similarity between the names of The Outer Worlds and Outer Wilds. No doubt if you've played and enjoyed both of these games you've probably mixed up the titles and needed to correct yourself over and over. It could even be the case that The Game Awards meant to nominate Outer Wilds but added The Outer Worlds by mistake, or they decided to only include one of these games because they didn't want whoever was reading out the names on stage to have an aneurysm on live TV.
Regardless, it's a shame that Outer Wilds isn't on the ballot because it offers a level of exploration and discovery that even The Outer Worlds can't quite match. This science-fiction tale with a Groundhog Day-esque twist tells an excellent story that allows the player to uncover some shocking revelations about a dying universe. We don't want to go into too much detail because you should experience the various mind-boggling events for yourself. Once you do, you'll see why it should have been considered for Game Of The Year.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
This omission was truly baffling as it seemed like the kind of game that's tailor-made for this show. A Nintendo produced RPG in a long-running series with multiple narratives, tons of characters and hours upon hours of gameplay? That should be a no-brainer.
Yet, for whatever reason, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is not up for the vote. Nintendo is instead represented by Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which is obviously the more mainstream and popular title, even though it doesn't offer the same deep experience that this tactical RPG can. Smash Bros. is the safer choice, but Fire Emblem is a beloved franchise and many consider Three Houses to be the best game in the entire FE series. Its absence on the list is staggering, especially since it has a better chance of winning than the game where Pac-man can beat up Bayonetta with an umbrella.
Expecting something like Disco Elysium to be included in this category was probably pretty naive of us to hope for. A text-heavy CRPG with little to no combat where you play a drug-addicted, alcoholic, amnesiac, dirtbag cop is not the type of game that's bound to get much traction in the mainstream gaming world.
Still, Disco Elysium is a truly marvelous game with a rich world and some wonderfully bizarre writing. You can wind up spending 20 to 30 minutes wrapped in a conversation with an NPC talking about cryptozoology or romance novels. You can become a hobo-cop, a communist, or a flat out misogynist. You can get into a fight with a teenager, sing drunken karaoke, investigate a haunted building, and anything else you might expect a superstar cop to do. It's one of the most original games released this year, and while it is nominated for other awards, it's sad that the committee over at The Game Awards didn't feel like it belonged here.
Finally, the one game that we're completely stunned to see left off the Game Of The Year ballot, Apex Legends. With its high octane action, unique twist on the battle royale genre, and immense popularity we assumed that the game that briefly knocked Fortnite off of its pedestal would be a sure thing to make this category.
Yet, here we are heading into The Game Awards season, and EA's top release this year has been snubbed. Perhaps it's because of recent changes that many fans have deemed as detrimental to the game's quality or because it's just another first-person shooter at its core. Even if it is due to these reasons, it's still ignoring the fact that many gamers have spent hundreds of hours on Apex this year and it has emerged as one of the best games of 2019. It might just be another game about shooting people in the face, but no one in the industry does face-shooting better than the folks at Respawn.
These are the main games that should have made the list for Game Of The Year, however, there were so many high-quality games in 2019 that we have to throw in a few honorable mentions.
Astral Chain was another Platinum extravaganza with an insane premise and the best character action gameplay you could find on the Switch. A Plague Tale: Innocence told a harrowing tale set in 14th Century France where you had to dodge some horrific and impressive rat swarms. Telling Lies was another excellent FMV game from Sam Barlow that managed to build upon the storytelling and game mechanics that he showed off in Her Story. If you love Final Fantasy XIV, the Shadowbringers expansion offered up so much new content that it was practically a new game. And of course, Untitled Goose Game is the best game ever made that stars a mischievous waterfowl.
Any of the games on our list could easily be substituted in place of the ones that made the ballot. In fact, if Geoff Keighley wanted to switch Death Stranding with one of these titles, I don't think many people would complain (unless they're big fans of peeing in jars.) No matter who wins this award, it's undeniable that 2019 was an amazing year in gaming.