Final Fantasy 9. Hoo boy. This game was not released this year, but I finally played through it this year on my Switch.
First of all: Of the Final Fantasy games that I've finished (1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 15), FF9 is easily the best of the lot. The classic turn-based battles, the amazing characters, and a world that brought "Fantasy" back to "Final Fantasy", all worked together to make one of the best JRPGs I've ever played.
Speaking of the characters... I think the subplot of the romance between Garnet/Dagger and Zidane was one of the most emotionally resonant romances I've ever experienced in a game. It felt far more nuanced than many games I've played.
The bulk of my time playing FF9 also struck during a period when I was feeling particularly lonely and isolated. I think that led to my connection with Zidane and Vivi's stories, and their quests for meaning and purpose in life. Additionally, the romance may have just hit during a particularly lonely period and affected me more than other people.
Lastly, the ending made me cry. I'm not going to lie, that happens some times when I've spent hundreds of hours playing games with a cast of characters that I'm not going to be seeing again after. I cried at the end of Persona 5, I cried at the ending of Final Fantasy 7, and 10, and I cried at the ending of Xenoblade Chronicles 2. This time though, I had some kind of epiphany on why: I spend more time with these fictional characters that don't exist than actual, real people in my life.
I don't know exactly why this game in particular stood out as the emotional gut punch of the year to me, but it got me thinking a lot about my own life and how I interact with the people around me. It exemplified a lot of the things I'd been struggling with all year, while also being a great game that also had a little hit of nostalgia tied to it as well.
For those reasons, Final Fantasy 9 is my favorite game of 2019.