It’s that time of year again. I’ve got some chestnuts roasting somewhere, and my stockings are hanging from a fake fireplace that is controlled by my good friend (or evil nemesis, I haven’t decided yet) Alexa. It’s also that time of year when I get to sit down and compile my favorite PlayStation games of the year. It’s actually a fun process, but it inevitably makes me feel like an imposter. I say this because I look at the list of games that came out over the year and marvel at the amount of them that I didn’t get to play. I’ll get over it, and I hope you do too. I mean, even if I liked every – or even most – genre of video games, I still wouldn’t have time to play them all. So my list is void of several big hitters. Some of them I would probably love if and when I get around to them, but when your gaming time is spent between your favorite console and the world of PSVR, computer VR and the Oculus Quest, sacrifices have to be made. These next ten games survived my sacrifices and provided me the most gaming enjoyment of the year. A few PCVR games would have made my list, but I decided to keep it PlayStation and PSVR specific.
Before you go looking through the list below, here’s the rest of our Game of the Year content so far:
A FISHERMAN’S TALE
I love a good indie game. They don’t have to be packed with hours of sidequests and massively large open worlds, but they do need a great story, and if they take a few chances, that’s even better. A Fisherman’s Tale is a unique Russian doll of a puzzle game that makes great use of Virtual Reality. It’s short, but that’s okay, ’cause it’s cheap and worth every penny.
Audica is a rhythm game from Harmonix, who you might remember as the developer of Guitar Hero. So in other words, they should know what they’re doing when it comes to gaming to the beat of the music. Audica replaces guitars with a pair of pistols, and although that may sound strange, it really works. It’s not going to dethrone Beat Saber as the king of VR rhythm games – it doesn’t have that visceral thrill of wielding a lightsaber to the beat of the music – but until the great Pistol Whip arrives on the PSVR, it’s the best new rhythm game on the block.
TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION 2
The sequel to the Tom Clancy franchise 3rd person shooter fixes a lot of went wrong in the original Division. The end-game content still doesn’t live up to what most were hoping, but the gameplay and story leading up to that point is great. If you like your shooters with a ton of gear, a sprawling story inside a giant world, and a butt-load of RPG elements, then you probably already played this and I’m preaching to the choir. I got a late start on this one, so it might have been even higher on the list if I had had more time with it.
If you read my review of BoxVr then you already know I love it. I bought a second version of it on the Quest so I can work out where ever I want. It is a fitness game, but like all good fitness games, it doesn’t feel like a workout. It’s one part boxing game, one part fitness, and one part rhythm game, and it’s good at all three. It has a ton of music, some great preloaded fitness routines and a ton of customization. I still play this one all of the time and you should too. Read why it’s such a great workout in my BoxVR PSVR review here.
Golem is an adventure/exploration game that features the most rewarding and exhilarating sword/based combat I’ve ever played in VR. Plus, it looks beautiful and the music score is phenomenal. The story was good too, although I didn’t love the way they told it. The last thing I’ll say about Golem is if you played it in the first week and didn’t like the controls, please give it another go. The developers listened to player feedback and made significant changes that made it a blast to play. Patching in optional Nav controllers for locomotion and removing the head-based turning was a brilliant move. If “Patch of the Year” was a thing, this would be it. If you haven’t already, read my Golem PSVR review here.
Borderlands 3 is like the great Borderlands 2, only bigger and better in most ways. I don’t really know what else to say here. We all know what to expect from a Borderlands game and this one didn’t disappoint. A cool story full of hilarious dialogue? Check. Enough guns and loot to satisfy even the most voracious ammosexual? Check. An epic journey to partake with the crew you played Borderlands 2 with? Checkmate. You can read our glowing Borderlands 3 PS4 review here.
BLOODSTAINED: RITUAL OF THE NIGHT
It turns out that famed game designer Koji Igarashi doesn’t need Konami or the Castlevania brand to make a dope Metroidvania game. I suppose the 5 plus million dollars raised via Kickstarter didn’t hurt, but either way, the game is exactly what I was hoping it would be: a classic side-scroller that looks great and plays just as good.
CALL OF DUTY MODERN WARFARE
I know it’s cool to hate on Call of Duty and I’m fine with that. They deserve much of it, and even if they didn’t, they could just check their bank account balance whenever they feel sorry for themselves. I myself haven’t purchased a Call of Duty game for quite a while, but I did play the remaster of the 2007 Modern Warfare when it was free via PS Plus, and I remembered how much fun that game was. When the marketing blitz began for the 2019 reimagining of Modern Warfare, the nostalgia was just too much for me to ignore, and I bought it on release day, and I’m glad I did. It didn’t become an obsession for me as the original did back in ’07, but it was still a great time. The campaign was fun and intense (and over-the-top), and the multiplayer still had me addicted for a couple of weeks. It turns out COD is more fun when you skip it for a couple of years (or a generation). Chris didn’t find it as fun, and you can read why in his Call of Duty Modern Warfare review here.
STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER
Admittedly, I’m the type of Star Wars fan that isn’t too hard to please. I don’t care what gender or color the protagonist is or what their hair color or sexual preference is. I just want a cool story, with fun characters fighting evil in a galaxy far, far away. And if it’s a Star Wars video game featuring Jedi’s, then add all of that story stuff and make it fun to be a Jedi. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order does that. It isn’t easy to be a Jedi, but it is fun, and it feels great when you get the hang of it. I was going to say when you master it, but I’m not sure you ever master being a Jedi in this game. I’ve finished the game and while I am a badass Jedi, I always feel like I’m in danger. I like it that way. You can read why in my Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order PS4 review here.
BLOOD & TRUTH
I didn’t set out to make a PSVR game my game of the year for three straight years, but here we are. I was not overly excited for Blood & Truth, initially. I’m a big fan of VR, and I have run out of patience with games that don’t make full locomotion a priority. When Blood and Truth initially went into production, teleportation was still the normal form of locomotion in VR. So as the years passed, and us VR veterans graduated to free locomotion thanks to games like my 2018 game of the year Firewall Zero Hour, the idea of going back to any other form of movement felt like a giant mistake. I thought that Blood & Truth’s use of node-based movement was going to be a letdown. Instead, the node-based movements didn’t just surpass my expectations, it blew them out of the water. The gunplay is so exciting, and the writing and storytelling is so good, I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t care what style of movement they use in the sequel, as long as the sequel gets here, and gets here fast. You can read my Blood & Truth PSVR review here.