Home Features The Critical Hit Best of the Year Awards 2019 – Best ongoing game

The Critical Hit Best of the Year Awards 2019 – Best ongoing game

7 min read

With an industry that’s obsessed with getting the most bang for buck with any new game, few live service games truly manage to rise above the obvious cash-grab trap and find themselves settling into a groove of establishing a community and then toiling away to create new content on a consistent schedule. That’s not to say that one such game doesn’t exist. In fact, there are several of them out there, heavyweight in the always-online space who make the most of their platform and use it to build inspiring new worlds that are constantly evolving. Here’s a look then, at some of 2019’s best ongoing games.

Fortnite: Battle Royale

We might as well kick off the nominations with the biggest name in freemium live service action: Fortnite! The biggest battle royale on the block, Fortnite was in a comfortable place this year but was well aware that complacency breeds failure in this digital day and age. Not wanting to get stuck in a rut, 2019 saw Fortnite make an effort to prepare for something…big.

The end result? An event that the world watched with baited breath, as Fortnite’s lore collided with dangling threads to hit the reset button. Fortnite was reborn, its systems gently altered and its world was forever changed as what was old began to feel brand new again. Combined with a never-ending onslaught of events, challenges and new gadgets to try out, and Fortnite is still mainstream gaming at its very finest.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

It’s the start of a new era for Bungie as Destiny 2 charts a path away from Activision, a future that so far is a magnificent return to form for the franchise. Without Activision’s deep coffers or their various studios to lend a hand at the eleventh hour, Bungie’s focus for Destiny 2 was simple: Think small, but big. Returning to the Moon this year capitalised on that new school of thought as the humble patrol zone may not have been the biggest swathe of land with which to pop Fallen heads in, but it certainly was dense with mystery and new ideas.

Grabbing the baton passed on to it from 2018’s Forsaken expansion, Shadowkeep is a dark and focused dive into Destiny’s most hidden corners, a remix of ideas on top of an already stunning game that has just opened much of its borders to new players with its free to play slice of action. It layers this intrigue on top of ideas that are by now polished to a mirror shine, creating a path for the series that all can enjoy whether they’re hopping in for the low low price of nothing or supporting the series by chipping in to its expansion.

Bungie has proven that they can not only survive without Activision, they can also thrive in a market with very little room for error.

Rainbow Six Siege

Four years after it first launched, Rainbow Six Siege is the pinnacle of Ubisoft’s current game design philosophy. It’s a world of multiple opportunities within its singular cops ‘n robbers FPS framework, one that keeps building upwards and forwards to create a precise game of teamwork that will leave even the most battle-hardened of armpits drenched in the sweat of tense firefights.

Even if you happen to hav clocked hundreds of hours within Ubisoft’s shooter, there’s always something to do. Whether it be a new operator to try out or a new map to explore, Rainbow Six Siege is a constantly changing metagame that demands a level of focus that sets it apart from many games who allow for players to coast by through its established systems.

It is teamwork that combines to deliver golden moments of joy when all the pieces fall together, and even with half a decade of action clocked in so far, it feels like Raimbow Six Siege’s tour of duty is far from over.

No Man’s Sky Beyond

There was a time when No Man’s Sky was seen as a cautionary tale, a warning to take a shot of reality with any pint of hype, but recent updates, changes and a sweeping overhaul of redesigns have created a game that is nothing short of superb in the experience that it seeks to deliver. No Man’s Sky in 2019 is an absolute marvel of redemption and making good on promises.

A grind of note? Absolutely, but one whose core mission of charting new planets and working your way across the cosmos is an exercise in ambition that has been fueled forward by the recent Beyond update. There’s an actual sense of fun in the grind that propels every humble spaceship in No Man’s Sky right now, one whose social experiences are magical and whose galaxy seems to have unlimited potential.

Is there any real purpose in playing No Man’s Sky? Absolutely, but it’s a modus operandi that you’ll have to find for yourself as you dig deeper into a universe that seemingly knows no limit.

Final Fantasy XIV

In the vast history of MMORPGs that have risen, fallen and faded into obscurity, it’s amazing just how well Final Fantasy XIV has done over many years of being on the block. Stumbling out of the gates when it first launched, Final Fantasy XIV is a testament to hard work, passion and listening to the fans. In 2019, the game is better than ever thanks to the recent Shadowbringers expansion which not only fleshed out a massive new narrative for the online game, it created a story that easily stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the more famous games in the series.

More than that, Shadowbringers cements Final Fantasy XIV’s legacy as one of the best MMORPGs of all time. It is both an epic odyssey across new terrain and a story that brings the focus back to the player, the most epic of boss fights and a fantasy of the highest order. Shadowbringers sets the bar incredibly high for Final Fantasy XIV, and whether it’ll ever be able to live up to its own expectations and those of fans, is a question for another day. But for now? This is Final Fantasy XIV’s finest hour.

And the winner is… Apex Legends

Back in February, Apex Legends came out of nowhere. In an industry whose ship is leakier than the Titanic at an iceberg festival, it’s amazing that Respawn Entertainment kept the lid on this project for as long as they did, before influencers ruined the surprise. Like the best RKO, this was a game that came out of nowhere and delivered with minimal hype behind it.

Here was Respawn’s best first-person shooter mechanics, running with all cylinders firing to deliver a silky smooth experience through the Unreal engine. It was a battle royale with a difference, favouring teamwork and throwing in a good dollop of hero shooter medicine for good measure. There’s no denying that Apex Legends just feels immensely satisfying to play thanks to its chunky action and assorted roster, but the real triumph here is how Respawn has kept this ship sailing on smooth waters.

It may not have the frequency of new events to partake in that Fortnite does, but whenever Apex Legends adds something new to the mix it feels fresh and exciting instead of a simple retread of established gameplay.Apex Legends is still an infant, but this tot is a revolution in communication, Polish and putting fun back into squad-based action.

Last Updated: December 2, 2019


  1. Warframe is lyf


  2. Incubus

    December 2, 2019 at 14:43

    I nearly said something nasty and then remembered the “Don’t be a jerk” request above.


    • MaSeKind

      December 2, 2019 at 14:57

      I’ll be a jerk for you. This category is stupid, and only exists because companies want to still try and stay relevant in the awards scene with their live services and other crap they released years ago.


  3. Pariah

    December 2, 2019 at 14:43

    There was another update to NMS this last week. The Synthesis update.


    • GooseZA

      December 2, 2019 at 15:10

      How is NMS? I’ve been so tempted to pick it up on a number of occasions but I’m worried that I’ll have to spend hours shooting my laser at rocks to build x so that I can build Y so that I can fly to Z so that I can shoot more rocks to get ….. and so on.


      • Pariah

        December 2, 2019 at 15:35

        There is a bit of an element of that at the start, but it honestly never feels like a chore. The world exploration is great. I found this beautiful world with a view of another planet in the system, I took a screenshot and that’s my wallpaper now. The base building system is powerful, and the new update expanded on that even further.

        The drive to improve your stuff is entirely based off of what you want. The drive to acquire materials is entirely based off what you want. So if all you want is to explore new planets, then there’s basically no real resource collection needed. You just need to stockpile a few basics and you can explore for hours, and can maintain while collecting a few things on your way, literally.

        For base building you need a lot more, depending on how complex you want to build your base. I like building farming bases just for materials and money for upgrades – and those take a while to set up and can get expensive, but the end result is massive payouts and an endless supply of materials. Though the new update lowered the costs of building so that’s nice.


        • MaSeKind

          December 2, 2019 at 15:52

          What always kills the experience for me is the fact that the game never stops feeling like a tutorial. Every time you buy a new tech in the Nexus it closes the buy screen and starts a damn tutorial on how to fabricate or equip this piece of technology. The same goes for the general quest system, which I don’t think you can turn off. Also you don’t want to cause you get the tech you need from the damn quests. And then the fact that everything has to have some animation and it wastes your time while doing simple things like opening the galactic market.

          I also don’t want to play creative mode cause it then loses all the fun for me. In the end I just can’t get myself to play this anymore. There are things wrong with the core of game that makes it more frustrating than fun and I just can’t anymore.

          I really loved the Beyond update or whatever it was. The previous big one. The increased inventory size made a huge difference and I was really having fun (for about 30 hours) till I realised the issues that made me uninstall is still here. And if you don’t mind these things, good for you. It just takes away all the fun after awhile for me.


          • Pariah

            December 3, 2019 at 08:08

            I don’t get the tutorials any more. And after you’ve got the recipe for warp fuel, you don’t need to follow the quests for anything important. You can literally just get the rest by playing. In my current playthrough I just stopped doing the quests so I could explore and set up farming bases and so on. It’s really been quite chill.

            Also that galactic trade annoyance was fixed in this latest update, apparently. I haven’t played the update just yet – but holidays are coming up end of next week. 😀

  4. CrAiGiSh

    December 2, 2019 at 14:57

    Um … no …


  5. Guild

    December 2, 2019 at 15:30

    Perfect. Couldn’t agree more….also where does Anthem sit on this list? Or is it not considered ongoing anymore?


  6. MaSeKind

    December 2, 2019 at 13:51

    Surely WoW has to win the category by default every year by just being the biggest, longest ongoing game??? Or is this category more for things that really shouldn’t still be going, but they refuse to die? Okay wait, that does actually sound like WoW then. Nevermind


    • For the Emperor!

      December 2, 2019 at 15:16

      No no no, WoW is dead. WoW has been dead ever since Mist of Pandaria happened….


      • Son of Banana Jim

        December 2, 2019 at 15:16

        lol, Mist of Panderia killed it for me too, although to be honest, I was hanging on a thread since Lich King.


        • For the Emperor!

          December 2, 2019 at 15:30

          Not only did they mess with my classes, they made The Horde the bad guys. And now with Battle for Azeroth they did the same. Played Legion for a bit, but ran into the ‘we don’t want arms warriors in our raid’ nonsense even though I was on par with their dps…


  7. Son of Banana Jim

    December 2, 2019 at 15:13

    Just…nope! Nope… nope… NO!


  8. Mark Treloar

    December 2, 2019 at 16:21

    I nominate Star Citizen for Best Ongoing Game with no end in sight


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Manchester United Sues Football Manager Over Use of their Name and Fan Mods

Manchester United, that massive global football brand whose fans are as equally annoying a…