Feature Article

Best Games of 2019 - Outer Wilds

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In space, no one can hear you squeee

Over the next few days, we will reveal what we believe are the 10 best games of 2019, organized by release date. Then, on December 17, we will reveal which of the nominees gets to take home the coveted title of GameSpot's Best Game of 2019. So be sure to come back then for the big announcement, and in the meantime, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best Games of 2019 hub.

Much of the joy to be found in the wonderful Outer Wilds is tied to discovery, and as such, the game should be experienced with as little foreknowledge as possible. So go. Go play it, if you haven't already, and be prepared to experience one of the most poignant, affecting, and surprising game experiences of 2019. Go. You won't regret it.

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Now Playing: Outer Wilds | Best Games Of 2019

Still here, huh? The whole 'GameSpot thinks this is one of the best 10 games this year and that in and of itself should convince you of its worth' not doing it for you? Need more convincing?

How about this? Outer Wilds is the game 2019 so badly needed. The world we're all living in now has never felt more overwhelming, and at times it's hard to see past all the division, bile, negativity, and pessimism that surrounds us. Outer Wilds is pure, a welcome haven in the way it emphasizes connection over conflict. This isn't a game about mastery, about conquering the odds, about imposing your will over your enemies by shooting bullets or swinging swords or executing the perfect parry. Outer Wilds is about the pursuit of knowledge purely for knowledge's sake. It's about the pure bliss that can come from the discoveries you make when you let curiosity get the better of you.

The game is filled with such moments of bliss. Every planet and moon (and every corner of those planets and moons) holds fragments of Outer Wilds' overall story, and the awe and realization you feel as you connect what you thought were disparate strands of knowledge together is immensely rewarding. Outer Wilds rewards your every curious whim. What's behind this waterfall? Why is this planet hollowed out? What's that strange, solitary light in the distance? Following what intrigues you in Outer Wilds almost always leads to a surprising new insight.

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Of course, you have to be open to letting your curiosity get the better of you. I'll be honest: Outer Wilds didn't gel with me at first. The game's controls felt unwieldy, its pace slow, and outside of the Groundhog Day-like conceit of reliving the same 20-minute period over and over again, it didn't seem to feel special. But then the most curious person I know joined me: my 10-year-old son. He sat next to me, and started asking questions. What's over there? What happens when you do this? Do you think there's any way someone can land on that thing? As we played together--me at the controls, my son following his imagination--I got swept up, too. Outer Wilds reminded me that there are few things more amazing than a child's imagination, while at the same rekindling my own. In this game, discovery is both the goal and the reward--and it's remarkable how much joy that can make you feel.

*You can also purchase Outer Wilds digitally on PSN, Steam, and the Epic Games Store.

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Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is GameSpot's Editorial Director, and needs more time to play games.

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