The Best Action Adventure Games Of 2019 By Score
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Nothing is more thrilling than an exceptional action-adventure game. There were plenty this year across all the major platforms, including critically-acclaimed experiences like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and more. With such amazing new games in the genre, you might find yourself struggling to narrow down which ones you want to try out, but we've got you covered.
Below you can find a comprehensive list of every action-adventure game that scored an 8 or above on GameSpot's review scale in 2019 across all major platforms. If that sounds limiting, then you might be surprised by the number of excellent games in the genre that released this year. Seriously, check it out.
If you're curious about what we've highlighted in our annual Best Of awards, be sure to jump over to our Best Games of 2019 hub. And while you're there, keep your eyes peeled for our most anticipated games coming in 2020.
A Plague Tale: Innocence -- 8/10
Powerfully ghoulish depictions of the plague and rats aside, Innocence is ultimately an emotive story of resilience against harrowing odds. The game’s title is an obvious nod towards the loss of innocence the endearing young cast faces throughout their journey. But more than that, it also speaks of the depths of human depravity and the agonizing cost of survival in the midst of war. Despite the unremitting horrors of Innocence’s beginnings, the game occasionally lets in a faint glimpse of hope. One of my favorite moments is when Amicia spots another wildflower in a lone trek across the city, nestled among the decay of the rats’ revolting nests. Without her brother around, she picks it up, and places it gingerly in her own hair--a personal reminder to keep trudging on amidst the hardships, and a testament to her growing strength and tenacity. Despite flashes of predictability, moments like these will bring a lump to your throat, as it did mine. -- Khee Hoon Chan [Full Review]
Astral Chain -- 8/10
Astral Chain's shortcomings don't overshadow what it does best. It's an incredible execution of a fresh take on Platinum Games' foundation, standing among the stylish-action greats. And its own anime-inspired swagger makes fights all the more exhilarating. You'll come to appreciate the calmer moments in between that add variety and offer a second to relax before jumping back into the superb combat. After 40 hours with Astral Chain, I'm still eager to take on the tougher challenges, and I'll be grinning from ear to ear as I hit all the right moves, one after the other, while watching it all unfold. -- Michael Higham [Full Review]
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night -- 8/10
It’s that sense of comfort in its own skin that makes Bloodstained such a treat. This isn’t a bold modernization of the genre or a departure from its roots. It is exactly what it set out to be: a return to the style of a bygone era, with a few modern improvements. Its perception was always going to be affected by how well it invoked the feeling of a classic Castlevania game, but Bloodstained does that and better. With more flexible combat and level design that always beckons to check just one more room, Bloodstained shows that a modern Metroidvania can stand alongside its predecessors as an equal. -- Steve Watts [Full Review]
Borderlands 3 -- 8/10
Borderlands 3 has a few stumbling blocks when it comes to bosses, but these fights are overshadowed by the game's rewarding gunplay and over-the-top humor. The game's character-driven narrative acts as a satisfying finale for the loot-shooter franchise, and the new mechanics and features--especially the reworked skill trees and weapon manufacturer effects--give you plenty of agency in how you want to play through it. If you've never been a fan of the franchise, it's unlikely Borderlands 3 does enough things differently to change your mind, as the game best excels at continuing what the series has always done: deliver a humorous tall tale of misfits looting and shooting their way to heroism. -- Jordan Ramee [Full Review]
Cadence of Hyrule -- 8/10
Cadence of Hyrule is a fantastic Zelda game in its own right, even though it adopts the gameplay mechanics of another series. Beyond the aesthetics, it nails the satisfying sense of exploration and increasing power, and it revels in the joy of discovery, as all the best Zelda games do. It's an extremely successful melding of two great game series and an experience that makes you feel eager for Nintendo to do more interesting things with their major licenses. -- James O'Connor [Full Review]
Control -- 8/10
It's not often that a game invades my thoughts the way Control has. I'm at the point where I want to consume every last thing it has to offer. And if I'm honest, it also makes me want to go back and replay Remedy's past games, too. Sure, it's a faulty metroidvania in some respects, but there are so many exceptional qualities afoot that Control handily deflects any momentary ire. I can't wait to take part in discussions about the game, to see what others have figured out, and to better understand where it all fits into Jesse's story. -- Peter Brown [Full Review]
Creature in the Well -- 8/10
Creature in the Well manages to inject the geometry-focused experience of pinball into the frenzied gameplay loop of a dungeon crawler to craft a unique puzzle action game. On occasion, the game's hands-off approach to conveying information is a hindrance, but the well-structured dungeons and monstrous antagonist more than make up for it--producing an engaging hack-and-slash experience that allows for satisfying experimentation. -- Jordan Ramee [Full Review]
Available digitally on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam.
Death Stranding -- 9/10
Death Stranding is a hard game to absorb. There are many intertwining threads to its plot, and silly names, corny moments, and heavy exposition belie an otherwise very simple message. That comes through much more clearly in the game's more mundane moments, when you find a desperately-needed ladder left behind by another player or receive a letter from an NPC thanking you for your efforts. It's positive without ignoring pain; in fact, it argues in both its story and its gameplay that adversity itself is what makes things worth doing and life worth living. It's a game that requires patience, compassion, and love, and it's also one we really need right now. -- Kallie Plagge [Full Review]
Destiny 2: Shadowkeep (Expansion) -- 8/10
Shadowkeep represents a shift in the fundamentals of Destiny 2, and that has only improved the game. Returning to the moon is full of spooky fun, and while Shadowkeep might not be as huge as Forsaken, it still provides some impressive additions to the world that will take time to fully explore. More meaningful choices in Shadowkeep are pushing me to think beyond just packing my most powerful guns and shooting everything in my path. These are improvements that represent a giant leap forward for Destiny 2. -- Phil Hornshaw [Full Review]
Devil May Cry 5 -- 9/10
DMC5 thrives on the stylistic and mechanical prowess of its predecessors. It sticks to tradition above all else, pursuing a few ambitious new ideas along the way, but mostly maintaining the series’ focus on intricate fighting systems and campy bravado. Rarely does the game stumble, consistently leveraging its spectacle and mechanical depth to push aside any small frustrations. All the while, the story exudes a charismatic charm that keeps you constantly intrigued as you’re refining your skills. DMC5 proves the series can still be brilliant and imaginative without compromising its longest-held traditions. -- Matt Espineli [Full Review]
Eastshade -- 9/10
By giving you a paintbrush (and a kettle) instead of a sword, Eastshade is a rare first-person open world game that's not about killing but rather about doing good deeds, helping people see the error of their ways, and bringing communities together all through the power of art. It's a breath of fresh Eastshadian air and a genuine, unironic feel-good game. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to put the kettle on. -- David Wildgoose [Full Review]
Available digitally on PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.
Falcon Age -- 8/10
Like deflecting a bullet with a knife in Superhot, looking down the sights of a sniper rifle in Killing Floor Incursion, or slashing a block in half in Beat Saber, interacting with your bird in Falcon Age has a tactile pleasure that is truly satisfying. The bird itself, meanwhile, looks great, behaves believably, and feels on the whole like a coherent, fully realized character; more than a sidekick or ally, you come to think of it as a companion, like a cat or dog at home. The highest compliment I can think to pay Falcon Age is that it evoked the same feeling I get caring for my real-life pets--including the real wince of bone-deep alarm I felt anytime my bird was at risk of injury. This is about much more than a cute animal. It's about a bond, and one Falcon Age nails. -- Callum Marsh [Full Review]
Available digitally on PS4 and Xbox One.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order -- 8/10
But especially as it wears on, Fallen Order becomes perhaps the strongest conception of what playing as a Jedi Knight ought to really be like. It's true that Fallen Order borrows liberally from other action games, but those elements work together with Respawn's combat and environment design, and a story that finds humanity in the Force and in its characters, to hone in on what makes the world of Star Wars worthy of revisiting again and again. Even with some rough edges, Fallen Order represents one of the most compelling game additions to the Star Wars franchise in years. -- Phil Hornshaw [Full Review]
Katana Zero -- 8/10
The uncertain future of the story that Katana Zero so brilliantly sets up is concerning, but that shouldn't deter you from diving into this compelling introductory chapter. Its combat provides an exciting challenge that tests both strategy and reflex, while also giving you clever abilities to make it as stylish as possible. The narrative contextualization of both your abilities and role within Katana Zero's world is expertly written, with a clever dialogue system letting you inject personality into character interactions. Katana Zero is bloody and brutal, but it's also a heartfelt tale that you shouldn't overlook lightly. -- Alessandro Barbosa [Full Review]
Kingdom Hearts III -- 8/10
But the story of Keyblade wars, time-travelling villains, body-hopping also-rans, and world-ending darkness isn't what I'll remember about Kingdom Hearts 3 or the series as a whole. What sticks with me is the exciting battle against elemental titans with Hercules, taking Rapunzel out into the unfamiliar wide world for the first time, snapping selfies with Winnie the Pooh, and going toe to toe with Davy Jones. In 2002, as Sora, I left Destiny Islands to travel across the universe and make new friends. In 2019 I brought old ones home, and I had so much fun doing it. -- Tamoor Hussain [Full Review]
Kirby's Extra Epic Yarn -- 9/10
Extra Epic Yarn brings new life to a Kirby game that's nearly a decade old. Everything there is to love about Epic Yarn is still here, but the addition of traditional transformation abilities and challenging Devilish mode provide options for anyone looking for a different or more difficult platforming experience. The two new minigames aren't game-changing additions, but they're both fun to complete and provide a change of pace if you ever need a break from the campaign. Whether you're looking to relive Kirby's adventure into Patch Land or want to pick up the game for the first time, Extra Epic Yarn provides hours of good fun, all wrapped up in charming, craft-influenced visuals. This 3DS port is the best version of the game, hands down. -- Jordan Ramee [Full Review]
Knights And Bikes -- 8/10
Knights & Bikes was created by a small team featuring several people who worked on LittleBigPlanet and Tearaway, and you can feel that all these games share a similar creative vision. There's a kind of wide-eyed, rough and tumble spirit of adventure running through all three games that is hard to resist. Knights & Bikes is a wonderfully warm, effortlessly inviting experience that'll make you feel young again. -- David Wildgoose [Full Review]
Available digitally on PS4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam.
Luigi's Mansion 3 -- 8/10
But while the multiplayer modes may not hold your attention for long, the strength of the Luigi's Mansion series has always stemmed from the satisfaction of exploring its carefully constructed settings, and in that regard Luigi's Mansion 3 certainly succeeds. The game may not radically diverge from the series' formula, but it offers up another meticulously crafted set of challenges to overcome while smoothing out some of the issues that held Dark Moon back, and the sense of accomplishment you feel when you clear a particularly head-scratching obstacle is just as potent now as the first time Luigi unwillingly strapped a vacuum to his back and stepped into a haunted mansion. -- Keven Knezevic [Fire Emblem]
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order -- 8/10
More so than its predecessors, Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order excels because of its character diversity and the ways its disparate heroes work together. For this reason alone it's an ideal co-op game, whether you're playing with another friend in the same room or with three friends online, but the AI more than holds its own if you're playing alone, too. It falters in places, but there's still nothing quite like the Ultimate Alliance series, and this long-awaited third entry makes it a triumphant return for a superhero brawler that feels more relevant than ever. -- Richard Wakeling [Full Review]
Metro Exodus -- 8/10
At first glance, Metro Exodus gives you that wide-open, free, and dangerous world unbound by tunnels, though the scope of its tale focuses on what drives you personally and the lengths you're willing to go to protect what matters most. The open sandboxes may not be strongest addition, but the game still embraces the sense of vulnerability and post-apocalyptic terror alongside impactful weapons used in refined combat and stealth scenarios. You may miss the mystery and intrigue of the previous games, but Exodus puts together a charismatic crew of friends and family that you'll want to follow to the ends of the earth. -- Michael Higham [Full Review]
No Man's Sky Beyond (Expansion) -- 9/10
The drastic improvements made to No Man’s Sky in its Beyond expansion are the new gold standard for how to gracefully cope with a game’s flaws post-release. The game laid the foundation with its release, but it took Beyond to elevate it into something magnificent. Successfully transitioning to VR is a creative victory on its own, but realizing just how full and vibrant and rewarding an experience this game has now become is almost poignant. Beyond represents the courage of convictions, a concept that has not only met the lofty expectations it set forth, but transcended them. -- Justin Clark [Full Review]
Outer Wilds -- 9/10
Outer Wilds’ deeply captivating narrative and plentiful mysteries push you further into exploring its richly varied and stunning solar system. The time loop you’re trapped in lets you craft bite-sized expeditions that all end up telling their own stories, irrespective of whether you make a monumental discovery or simply encounter a playful interaction. Having a tool to neatly document your discoveries helps you slowly piece together a tale filled with charming writing, and one that presents its own open-ended questions that add emotional heft to the numerous exchanges you parse through during your travels. By letting you chart your own course and piece together its mystery at your own pace, Outer Wilds makes each of its expeditions feel incredibly personal and absolutely unmissable. -- Alessandro Barbosa [Full Review]
Pikuniku -- 8/10
While Pikuniku is a light experience, it's got enough charm and verve to stick with you well beyond completion. From Piku's weird wobbly gait and looping jumps in the opening right through to the game's funny, bizarre ending, Pikuniku is more gripping than its simple aesthetic and playful tone would suggest. It'll make you feel like a kid again. -- James O'Connor [Full Review]
Rebel Galaxy Outlaw -- 8/10
There is a lot to do in Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, so much so that it's easy to lose yourself among the myriad of activities beyond flying around and shooting things. Juno is a great character despite her sometimes jarring movements, as are much of the rest of the charming cast. The combat is fast, frenetic and consistently challenging, although that challenge can sometimes feel impossible without stepping back and grinding out some progress elsewhere, which quickly gets frustrating. Thankfully the core of the game--its combat, trading, and space flight--are all superb and had me launching into the stars for many hours of galactic trading and explosive firefights. -- James Swinbanks [Full Review]
Available digitally on PC via the Epic Games Store.
Resident Evil 2 -- 9/10
Resident Evil 2 is not only a stellar remake of the original, but it's also simply a strong horror game that delivers anxiety-inducing and grotesque situations, topping some of the series' finest entries. But above all, the remake is an impressive game for the fact that it goes all-in on the pure survival horror experience, confidently embracing its horrifying tone and rarely letting up until the story's conclusion. Though Resident Evil 2 has its roots firmly in the past, it reworks the familiar horrors into something that feels brand new and all its own. -- Alessandro Fillari [Full Review]
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice -- 9/10
The orchestration of intense one-on-one boss encounters that truly test your mettle, and slower-paced stealth sections that let you take on battles at your own pace, is masterful. More so than in previous games, From Software has honed in on the inherent tension found in the challenging nature of its games, and uses it to incredible effect. Sekiro marries the developer's unique brand of gameplay with stealth action to deliver an experience that is as challenging as it is gratifying. -- Tamoor Hussain [Full Review]
The Eternal Castle Remastered -- 8/10
The Eternal Castle is more than a mere nostalgia trip for aging gamers still hanging on to their 5.25-inch floppy drives. In many ways, it's just as modern as it is retro and more than capable of holding its own against its more illustrious contemporary peers. Luckily it's just my memory that isn't as good as it used to be. -- David Wildgoose [Full Review]
Available digitally on PC via Steam.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening
Though the remake has a couple of blemishes, it's still an easy game to recommend. People speak of Link's Awakening as the secret best Zelda game. That's a tough call to make, but it's definitely one of the best. If you haven't touched a classic Zelda game in a while, Link's Awakening will almost instantly transport you back to the '90s. It's simple, in many ways, but the orchestrated journey still conveys a sense of adventure, and this new version is without question the best way to experience it. And more than anything else, it will put a smile on your face. Remakes are a dime a dozen nowadays and often easy to overlook. Don't make that mistake with Link's Awakening. -- Peter Brown [Full Review]
The Occupation -- 8/10
Of course, it seems churlish to complain too much about a game I'm enjoying enough to willingly replaying it again and again to explore every facet of its story. The Occupation is the sort of game you'll find yourself thinking about when you're not playing it, that gets under your skin in ways you didn't even realize. I'm going to play it again. Maybe this time I'll completely crack the case. -- David Wildgoose [Full Review]
The Surge 2 -- 8/10
Story and sidequests aside, however, The Surge 2 is absolutely worth the effort when the combat is taken in isolation. Not only does it pack a punch, but it also channels plenty of depth in its limb targeting and deflection systems, and is ably supported by a genuinely varied collection of weapons and potential character builds. -- David Wildgoose [Full Review]