Holiday gift guide 2019: Best video games of the year

Looking at the best video games of 2019 so you can choose the right gift for the gamer on your list.


It’s never fun to step outside your realm of expertise and try to buy a gift for someone when you aren’t sure what they want. Therefore, buying video games for gamers can be a stressful task. Thankfully, we are all about video games at Shacknews, and this list will provide you with a list of the best games of the year across the major platforms. If you’ve got a gamer to shop for, one of these games will be just what they’re looking for.

Resident Evil 2 Remake (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Whether you played the original Resident Evil 2 years ago, or are just hearing about it now, the Resident Evil 2 Remake is high on everyone’s must-play list for 2019. It has an ESRB rating of Mature 17+, so it’s not for younger kids on your shopping list. This survival horror game offers great replay value in that there are two protagonists. Players can choose who to play as, then return later and complete the game from an alternate perspective to get the true ending. Read Shacknews’ Resident Evil 2 Remake review.

Buy Resident Evil 2 Remake on Amazon

Metro Exodus (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia)

Metro Exodus is a first-person shooter that blends survival horror with some stealth elements. Players must scavenge materials to create and customize hand-made weaponry. The game features a dynamic  weather system, day and night cycle, and takes place over an entire in-game year. Our own Josh Hawkins scored the game an 8/10 in our Metro Exodus review, praising the game’s tension and story pace. Metro Exodus is rated Mature 17+, so not something you’d buy for younger children.

Buy Metro Exodus on Amazon

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

If you’re buying for gamer and have heard them talk about Dark Souls fondly, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the game you’re looking for. This is a video game that demands attention to detail and mastery. Players will fail dozens of times, but that’s the appeal. Grinding and learning to overcome tough boss fights. The game is rated Mature 17+, so keep it out of younger hands. If you want a more in-depth look, read our Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review by Sam Chandler.

Buy Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice on Amazon

MLB The Show 19 (PS4)

If you’re buying for a sports fan who owns a PS4, MLB The Show 19 might be the game you’re looking for. I would ensure they’re a baseball fan, but this is regarded as a great entry in the series. The thing to watch out for is the timing, as MLB The Show 20 will be out in March, so this game is nearly a year old and gets a new release before each baseball season. MLB The Show 19 has an ESRB rating of Everyone, so you can safely buy it for all ages. Read Chris Jarrard’s MLB The Show 19 review where he gave it a 9/10.

Buy MLB The Show 19 on Amazon

Mortal Kombat 11 (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia)

Most people who know anything about video games have heard of Mortal Kombat. It’s an iconic series that even casual gamers are familiar with. Well, in 2019 we got Mortal Kombat 11, and it brings all the fast action fighting and gore that fans expect. It’s rated Mature 17+, so keep that in mind, but it did come out on almost every platform, which means it’s a safe choice. We scored it a 7/10 in our Shacknews Mortal Kombat 11 review.

Buy Mortal Kombat 11 on Amazon

Super Mario Maker 2 (Nintendo Switch)

If you’re buying a gift for someone who owns a Nintendo Switch, you can’t go wrong with Super Mario Maker 2, unless they already own it, which you should check. This game sees players enjoying a full campaign, but also building their own levels for friends and other players to enjoy. Browse through thousands of player-made levels, meaning there is no cap on how much value this game brings. It’s got an ESRB rating of Everyone, and our own Asif Khan gave it a 9/10 in our Super Mario Maker 2 review.

Buy Super Mario Maker 2 on Amazon

Remnant: From the Ashes (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Remnant: From the Ashes is another game that fits loosely into the Dark Souls vibe. It’s a game that can be played solo or with up to two other players. It features clever mechanics around its boss battles and lots of interesting places to explore. It has an ESRB rating of Mature 17+, so it’s not for young children. We love this game at Shacknews, with Sam Chandler giving it an 8/10 in the Remnant: From the Ashes review. If you’re looking show your video-game knowledge, this is a good one.

Buy Remnant: From the Ashes on Steam

Control (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

Control is a single-player game in the action-adventure genre. It’s played from the third-person view and takes place inside a New York City skyscraper with an enormous interior. The setting is a constantly shifting supernatural realm that defies the laws of spacetime. The ESRB rates the game Mature 17+, so it’s not a game for younger children. Kevin Tucker gave it an 8/10 in our Control review, praising the combat and the number of side quests and activities.

Buy Control on Amazon

Gears 5 (PC, Xbox One)

If you own an Xbox One, Gears 5 should be high on your list of video games to play. If you’re buying for someone who owns an Xbox One, the same applies. Just make sure they haven’t already picked it up for themselves. It carries an ESRB rating of Mature 17+, but if the person you’re gifting this to is older it should be high on your list. Our own Chris Jarrard spent some time with it, praising the PC graphics in our Gears 5 review on Shacknews.

Buy Gears 5 on Amazon

Borderlands 3 (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia)

Borderlands 3 is a third-person shooter that falls into the looter-shooter genre. It can be played solo or co-op, so if you’re buying for several people, maybe pick up more than one? The Borderlands franchise is known for its one-liners and humor, something Josh Hawkins praised when he played it for Shacknews. He also enjoyed the number of weapons and character customization options. It carries an ESRB rating of Mature 17+, but if that’s no concern your can read our Borderlands 3 review for more.

Buy Borderlands 3 on Amazon

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Nintendo Switch)

If you’re buying for a gamer with a Nintendo Switch, there is no way you can go wrong with The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening. If this game sounds familiar, it’s because it originally came out in 1993, but has been reimagined and updated for the Nintendo Switch. It carries an ESRB rating of Everyone, so you can safely buy this game for players of all ages. To dig further into if this is the gift you’re looking for, read the Shacknews review of The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening.

Buy The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening on Amazon

Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville (PC, PS4, Xbox One)

I’ll stop short of calling this one of the best games of the year, but if you’re shopping for a younger player and want to give them that third-person shooter gameplay without all the gore and violence, this is the game you’re looking for. Its ESRB rating is Everyone 10+, so you can buy it for younger gamers and know the content their consuming is suitable for their age. We didn’t review this at Shacknews, but 95 percent of Google users liked the game.

Buy Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville on Amazon

The Outer Worlds (PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch)

The Outer Worlds might win Game of the Year. It’s that good. It’s a first-person action role-playing game that allows players to build and customize characters, offering complete freedom with how they play. It features extensive dialogue and has an ESRB rating of 17+, so it’s for mature gamers, but it’s simply one of the best games to come out in 2019. The Outer worlds review at Shacknews scored a 9/10, where I praised its replay value, voice acting, and environmental storytelling. 

Buy The Outer Worlds on Amazon

Luigi's Mansion 3 (Nintendo Switch)

This is the third Nintendo Switch exclusive we’ve included on the list and for good reason. It’s an amazing console with incredible games for players of all ages. In Luigi’s Mansion 3, players will need to solve puzzles and defeat bosses as they make their way through the varied environments. The game has an ESRB rating of Everyone, so it can safely be gifted to any Nintendo Switch owner. Josh Hawkins wrote a Luigi’s Mansion 3 review for Shacknews, praising its beauty and fantastic sound design, among other things.

Buy Luigi’s Mansion 3 on Amazon

Death Stranding (PS4)

Brittany would give me major side eye if I didn’t include Death Stranding as a game to consider as a gift for a video game fan. It’s only available on the PS4 for now, but everything about the game seems like a big win. It has an ESRB rating of Mature 17+, so it’s for mature gamers, but it’s a close to a must-own game as you’ll get in 2019. Brittany scored it 9/10 in her Death Stranding review, which you should absolutely read if you’re thinking of snagging this for the gamer on your list.

Buy Death Stranding on Amazon

Pokémon Sword and Shield (Nintendo Switch)

We’ll finish our list off with another Nintendo Switch exclusive, Pokémon Sword and Shield. It has an ESRB rating of Everyone, so it’s safe to buy even if the player in your life is younger. Donovan Erskine played it for Shacknews, and his Pokémon Sword and Shield review praised the games Wild Area, PvE raids, gyms, and easy to use online features. Like most Nintendo Switch games on this list, you can’t go wrong if this is your choice.

Buy Pokémon Sword and Shield on Amazon

There are dozens of games we could include here, but our goal is to give you options for the gamer in your life, whether they like sports, shooters, puzzles, and no matter which platform they play on.

Managing Editor

Bill, who is also known as Rumpo, is a lifelong gamer and Toronto Maple Leafs fan. He made his mark early in his career through guide writing and a deep understanding of editorial SEO. He enjoys putting in the work to create a great content, be it a wild feature or grinding out an in-depth collectible guide. Tweet him @RumpoPlays if you have a question or comment about one of his articles.

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