The Best 5 Survival Games of 2019

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by Yaneki

The end of the decade is here, and what a decade it was. The 2010's brought in a host of the fairly new survival genre of games, each for the most part with it's own unique flavor.

From dinosaurs to zombies, to barbarians to just some random naked guys on the beach, here are the top five survival games that held our attention in 2019 and are sure to dominate our libraries well-into 2020 that won't be forgotten with the tick over to 2020.

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5. DayZ

It's 2019 and DayZ finally launched it's full release, a feat many thought would never happen.

The game had been in Early Access since forever, and honestly, not a whole lot has changed over the years. Loot is painfully scarce, everything is deadly, and you'll probably starve to death before you get munched on by a zombie. Overall, it's pretty average and boring but sets the standard.

But it's once you get the ball rolling that DayZ picks up, once you have your first precious cache of stuff, a backpack, a gun, some clothes, that's when the game hooks you with this nerve-wracking tension of losing everything in an instant if you aren't careful.

Players are constantly hunting or even abducting each other in DayZ, making it one of the most tense games to play alone or even with a small group.

4. ARK: Survival Evolved

I would love ARK: Survival Evolved and probably play it way more than the over 2,000 hours I already have in the game if it weren't made by studio developer Wild Card.

The game has literally always had severe gameplay problems and bugs and extremely poor optimization. The base game itself takes up way too much HDD space, which for many just isn't worth it.

I say all this but, again, I've played 2,000 hours of it. So that counts for something.

ARK offers beautiful, enormous maps filled to the brim with plenty of unique environments just begging to be explored, each with their own host of prehistoric animals, mutants, and even robots players don't just have to slap to death -- they can tame them, too.

With so much to explore and so much to actually do, it's easy to get hooked on hunting down Ascendant and Tek tier loot. Plus, dinosaurs are just really really cool.

3. Conan Exiles

Conan Exiles has managed to fill in a niche void for players who not only want something more comprehensive and substantial in their survival MMOs, but also for fans who are just missing the good old days in Age of Conan.

The game successfully creates a living, breathing world with multiple biomes and societies, each filled with various tribes of NPCs, while still keep a massing wasteland, tundra, and jungle area to explore and build in. Combat feels good, building is fun, and players can even tame animals or summon gargantuan avatars of the gods to smite their enemies.

2 - Rust

Rust offers players the tension of DayZ combined with a unique charm to it, along with the best building system out of any survival game in the market. Seriously, every building system should just copy Rust, please.

Player interaction is what makes and breaks this game.

Rust offers a massive playerbase, so you'll come across all manner of friendly encounters, roleplayers, screeching children and memesters, but for every group like that, there's about 5 more that will cave your skull in with a rock or put a bullet between your eyes for legitimately no reason. Except maybe cannibalism. But hey, that just makes it extremely entertaining to watch on YouTube.

PvP is exceptionally intense as well, with raiding and skirmishes being extremely prominent given how hostile most players are.

More than anything though, Rust's Achille's heel is time itself. With most servers operating on weekly wipes, Rust encourages players to log in en masse on Wipe Day so they can quickly acquire the boots needed to stomp on any players unfortunate enough to attempt joining in after them.

1. Subnautica

Subnautica strands players on a vast alien ocean world absolutely teeming with life, and not all of it is friendly. Plenty of fish in the sea may be right when some of them want to eat you. Subnautica is an unrivaled joy to explore, as it rewards you with beautiful scenery and haunting creatures the deeper you go, all the while offering players a story and goal to follow.

While some games like ARK or Conan offer underwater experiences, none of them really come close to Subnautica or the terror of being besieged or chased by alien sea monsters and leviathans.

The Sub Zero DLC is supposed to be even more terrifying and oppressive, with constant blizzards on the surface and much more monstrous foes to contend with. Though I've yet to play the DLC myself.

The only thing some would say is really holding the game back is the lack of multiplayer. Subnautica is a solo experience, so you'll be going it on your own and that leaves out any human interactions that make other games so fun. But it still manages to take the cake in our opinion.

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What do you think were the best games to survive in through 2019? With the new decade being rung in, who knows what's to come with 2020 and beyond's survival game offerings. Let us know which survival titles you're awaiting in the comments below!

Published Dec. 12th 2019

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