Before we get started here, it’s important to note that I base my selections on games or books that I’ve either beaten, read, or—in some cases—spent a substantial time with.

There were plenty of great games, comics, and podcasts that were available throughout the year, many of which I’m certain do not appear on my personal list. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them or that they don’t deserve your time and attention. I simply don’t have the time to play and read everything.

Video Games

3.) Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online action role-playing video game developed by Massive Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. The sequel to Tom Clancy’s The Division (2016), it is set in a near-future Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of a smallpox pandemic, and follows an agent of the Strategic Homeland Division as they try to rebuild the city. (#)

I love the world of The Division 2. Every inch I explored felt lived in and offered something to do or to collect. While the missions could be a little repetitive at times, the gunplay, base upgrading, and exploration kept me hooked for hours.

2.) Resident Evil 2

The game is set in Raccoon City in September 1998, two months after the events of Resident Evil. There, most of the city’s citizens have been turned into mindless creatures, referred to by survivors as zombies, due to an outbreak of a viral bioweapon known as the T-Virus, manufactured by Umbrella Corporation. Resident Evil 2 is a remake of the 1998 game Resident Evil 2 released for the PlayStation. (#)

The original Resident Evil 2 has long been my favorite of the series and this remake was everything I wanted from a reimagined version of the game. It’s visually impressive, features genuine scares, and still stays wonderfully faithful to the story of the original game without feeling repetitive. I can’t wait to see what the team comes up with for Resident Evil 3’s remake early next year.

1.) Control

Control revolves around a clandestine U.S. government agency known as the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), which is responsible for the investigation of “paranatural” phenomena which defy ordinary reality, usually manifesting in the form of Altered World Events (AWEs), intrusions upon perceived reality shaped by the human collective unconscious. (#)

Control’s mind-blowing, dimension-bending visuals, brutalist style, and fascinatingly confounding story easily made it the best thing I played this year. The overall mechanics felt patently Remedy but the slew of abilities and upgrades allowed for constant surprises and excitement. As a fan of alternate realities and dimension hopping plot-lines, everything about the game just mesmerized me.

Looking ahead at the DLC planned for the game, it’s definitely the gift that will keep on giving with a deep exploration of The Foundation—one of the game’s more bizarre locales—and a story tied to another Remedy game (Alan Wake) arriving later in 2020.