The 9 Best Steam Games of 2019

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Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Adventure: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt at Steam, "The game offers up a massive open world, a strong narrative, and stunning graphics that hold up despite its aging status."
  • Best First-Person Shooter: Insurgency Sandstorm at Steam, "Players will select from an array of classes and then work as a team to capture an objective and hold them against the enemy team."
  • Best Role-Playing: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim at Steam, "In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you play as the Dovahkiin, a warrior destined to face down the dragons that returned to the land of Skyrim."
  • Best Battle Royale: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds at Steam, "PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) remains one of the most fun battle royale games around, especially in the realm of military-themed shooters."
  • Best Multiplayer Online Battle Arena: Dota 2 at Steam, "Two teams of unique characters take separate sides of the map and defend against the other team’s attacks."
  • Best Fighting: Dragon Ball FighterZ at Steam, "Dragon Ball FighterZ offers up a lengthy story mode that sees players fighting through the game as popular heroes, villains, and androids of the Dragon Ball universe."
  • Most Unique “Sports” Game: Lethal League Blaze at Steam, "Lethal League is something like a mash-up of a fighting game, Pong, and baseball."
  • Best Virtual Reality: Superhot VR at Steam, "In the title, you’re thrust into dangerous situations with only your quick reflexes to help you get out."
  • Best Indie: Dead Cells at Steam, "A challenging adventure with 13 levels, multiple bosses, a vast assortment of weapons and abilities, and high stakes as there's always the threat of permanent death."

Our Top Picks

Best Adventure: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Courtesy of Steam

Fans of adventures games have little other than praise for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and its pair of expansion packs. The game offers up a massive open world, a strong narrative, and stunning graphics that hold up despite its aging status.

In The Witcher 3, you play as Geralt, traveling through the Northern Realms in search of Ciri. She is more or less the adopted daughter of Geralt, and is pursued by the ultimate villain of the game, the Wild Hunt. The game’s main story alone offers a substantial breadth of content and missions that can culminate in different endings for Geralt, Ciri, and those around them.

As you explore the world, you’ll face the best and the worst of humanity and magical monsters from harpies and wyverns to giants and vampires. All the while, you’ll get to level up Geralt with new skills that suit your playing style. Even after you’ve completed the main story, the available side missions and added content from expansion packs add even more to this compelling adventure.

Best First-Person Shooter: Insurgency Sandstorm

Insurgency Sandstorm

Courtesy of Steam

The first-person shooter genre has a host of top-notch games, and many offer something to suit player preferences. Some are more run-and-gun for an adrenaline-charged experience, while others are more methodical. Steam has plenty of options, but we’ve settled on a unique title that blends a bit of everything —Insurgency: Sandstorm.

This is an indie title, but the developers have done some serious work to make it a well-polished game with strong mechanics, beautiful graphics, superb sound design, and engaging battles. It’s centered around modern military combat, with teams squaring off in highly lethal conflicts. Players are generally encouraged to play slow, but with the realistic sounds making you feel the pressure, it can be tough to stay level-headed.

Players will select from an array of classes and then work as a team to capture an objective and hold them against the enemy team. Each class has specific weapons and utilities available to them, with commanders also able to call in special strikes. All of this makes for a dynamic and thrilling FPS game.

Best Role-Playing: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Courtesy of Steam

Few games have had the staying power of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and it continues to offer a compelling role-playing experience for gamers. Not only has it seen numerous expansions, remasters, and even a VR edition, but it's remained fresh and graphically improved thanks to a modding community that added loads to the game.

In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you play as the Dovahkiin, a warrior destined to face down the dragons that returned to the land of Skyrim. Aside from that, much of the experience is left up to you. You get to design your character, decide how you want to play, and go through the game world as you see fit. While the main story is engaging, you don’t even need to play through that portion if you feel more like taking on the role of a mage, assassin, or thief. With no shortage of side quests that can snowball into lengthy narratives of their own, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is definitely a strong pick for players that want to get their money’s worth.

Best Battle Royale: PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds

PUBG

 

 

 

 

Now the most popular form of multiplayer shooters, thanks to the breakout success of games like Fornite and Apex Legends, it would be easy to forget the battle royale game that started it all. That would be a shame, however, as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) remains one of the most fun battle royale games around, especially in the realm of military-themed shooters. 

Everything you now know as standard battle royale fare was first established in PUBG — launching from the air via a giant aerial vehicle, the fast-approaching circle of death, the rush to scavenge arsenal. PUBG gave life to a whole breed of shooters. After all, can anything else match up to the experience of finally landing yourself a "Chicken Dinner," and being the last player left standing?

Best Multiplayer Online Battle Arena: Dota 2

Dota 2

Courtesy of Steam

If you’ve ever wanted to dive deep into the world of competitive gaming and gain a better understanding of what’s going on, then it’s important to get familiar with the multiplayer online battle arena genre — or MOBA for short. Dota 2 isn’t just one of the best MOBAs out there, it’s also one of the most popular esports titles. The game has a basic setup: two teams of unique characters take separate sides of the map and defend against the other team’s attacks.

Dota 2 has a large pool of characters, all of which are immediately available and free to players. Each character has a distinct set of skills that offer different approaches to combat, defense, teamwork, and overall playstyle. Aggressive players that like to jump into combat and dish out damage can find a character to love just as easily as players who like to stay on the edge and help out their teammates.

Because the game has so many different characters, all of whom slowly advance and change over the course of each match, Dota 2 doesn’t grow stale and lets players explore new tactics as they learn. And, for all it offers, it’s only made better by being totally free.

Best Fighting: Dragon Ball FighterZ

Dragon Ball FighterZ

Courtesy of Steam 

There’s no lack of great fighting games on Steam, but Dragon Ball FighterZ stands out as one of the most polished. The game offers simple enough controls so new players can quickly get the hang of it; a cast of colorful characters that fans of the show will quickly recognize; and deep combat that leaves plenty of room for players to grow.

Dragon Ball FighterZ offers up a lengthy story mode that sees players fighting through the game as popular heroes, villains, and androids of the Dragon Ball universe. There’s also local and online versus modes which allow you to test your skills against friends or opponents from around the world. With the sort of high-speed, explosive combat you’d expect from Dragon Ball, the game is truly a thrilling fight title.

The game also uses one of the most well-executed examples of cell-shading to create a 2D, cartoony style while still being 3D. Dragon Ball FighterZ simply looks stunning, whether you're an existing Dragon Ball fan or not.

Most Unique “Sports” Game: Lethal League Blaze

Lethal League Blaze

Courtesy of Steam

One of the more exciting things about video games is their ability to open worlds that exist outside of our daily reality. While you can step outside and play baseball, football, or soccer, video games can offer access to sports that could never exist IRL. Our top pick here is Lethal League, a new title that’s getting incredibly high praise from gamers.

Lethal League is something like a mash-up of a fighting game, Pong, and baseball. That sounds like a lot going on, but the core of the game sees players challenging one another in a back-and-forth, zero-gravity ball game. The ball is constantly speeding up with each hit, and the goal is to catch the opposing player off guard with a direct hit from the ball.

There are different ways of hitting the ball and each character has special moves that really change things up. In addition to local and online multiplayer, the game has a story mode and a couple of alternate game types that make the sport more like soccer or volleyball. For high-speed fun and a unique sort of sport, this is one to check out.

Best Virtual Reality: Superhot VR

Superhot VR

Courtesy of Steam

Steam has a good record when it comes to virtual reality support; tools are readily available for setting up many of the most popular headsets. Chief among Steam's best VR games is Superhot as it offers exciting gameplay, thorough immersion, and far less chance of motion sickness than other popular VR titles.

Superhot VR draws its gameplay from the non-VR version of the game. In the title, you’re thrust into dangerous situations with only your quick reflexes to help you get out. And, your reflexes will feel quick, because time in the game only moves when you’re moving, and it only moves as fast as you’re moving. Slowly turn your head, and you can dodge a bullet. Move too frantically, and you’re dead.

Few games do such a compelling job of making players feel like a badass. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like Neo in Matrix — after he learned how to dodge bullets, of course — this is the game for you.

Best Indie: Dead Cells

Dead Cells

Courtesy of Steam

For fans of retro-style video games, Steam has no shortage of indie titles that offer old-school-meets-modern flair. Dead Cells is a first-class example, with a stunning mix of sprite graphics and more modern lighting styles and effects. The use of color adds to the overall beauty of this game, but even beyond enticing visuals, the title offers rich, challenging gameplay.

The game is dubbed a “rogue-lite,” taking some cues from roguelike games that impose permanent death on your character. Dead Cells combines that concept with the MetroidVania game style, which blends the platforming, exploration, and combat of old-school games Metroid and Castlevania. The result is a challenging adventure with 13 levels, multiple bosses, a vast assortment of weapons and abilities, and high stakes as there's always the threat of permanent death.

Fans of MetroidVania games, roguelikes, and old-school art styles need look no further. Best of all, the game’s system requirements are relatively light, so you won’t need the most serious gaming computer to enjoy it.

Our Process

Our writers spent 3 hours researching the most popular Steam games on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 100 different games overall, read over 15 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 6 of the games themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.