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.

Comic books

3.) Batman

No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight? (#)

Tom King’s Batman has been a slow burn leading up to this year’s epic finale in issue #85. It’s a little tough to recommend to people just getting into comics or the character simply because of the connective tissue from the first issue of King’s run (#1) through to the finale. That said, if you’re willing to make the leap, the book takes Batman to places he’s never been and features the art of some of the best artists in the business including Mikel Janín, Mitch Gerads, Jorge Fornés, Lee Weeks, and more.

2.) Money Shot

In the near future, space travel is ludicrously expensive and largely ignored. Enter Christine Ocampos, inventor of the Star Shot teleportation device with a big idea: She’ll travel to new worlds, engage—intimately—with local aliens, and film her exploits for a jaded earth populace trying to find something new on the internet. (#)

There’s only been a handful of issues of Money Shot so far but I’ve been really impressed by the artwork and the depth of the book’s story—given it’s marketed as a comic about people streaming their sexual encounters with aliens online. The relationships between characters and the hilarity that ensues during their travels has been a nice change from the endlessness superhero stories from Marvel and DC. Plus, as mentioned, Rebekah Isaacs’ art is on point.

1.) Criminal

Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son – and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems. (#)

Few things in this world are as consistent as Brubaker and Phillips’ ability to tell gritty crime stories. The art seems to get better and better and the stories intertwine without feeling overly connected or dependent on the arcs that preceded it. New fans have plenty of opportunities to get into the series too because arcs typically only run for a handful of issues and often feature new characters.

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.