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10 Major Video Games Coming In 2019 You Need To Play –

 

The mass exodus of triple-A releases has begun.

Barring a commendable display of stoicism by EA and Bethesda, with Battlefield V and Fallout 76 respectively, the remaining few months of 2018 have been left barren by the industry’s big players to make way for Rockstar’s money-printing machine, Red Dead Redemption 2. The knock-on effect of that migration, of course, is a mad dash to try and find a vacant spot on the calendar as close to the New Year as possible, making for a jam-packed first few months of 2019.

Last-minute delays excluded, it’ll be Square Enix and Capcom kicking off the onslaught with Kingdom Hearts 3, and Resident Evil 2’s long-awaited remake. A delectable appetizer scheduled to be followed by BioWare’s Anthem and From Software’s surefire controller-killer, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and that’s all before spring has even reached full bloom.

The overcrowding won’t halt further afield, either.

The return of id Software’s Doom Slayer, Bandai Namco’s own spin on the Souls formula and, finally, a sequel 20 years in the making to Yu Suzki’s beloved Shenmue series are all on course to hit retail within the next 12 months, eager to rob you of precious sleep.

10. DOOM Eternal

Bethesda

Release date: TBA 2019

Off the back of its glorious reboot, id Software proved modern shooters have no need of contrived mechanics to add depth and ensure success – pitch-perfect gunplay and a “push-forward” attitude are all it needed to remind the world it still had the chops to call itself master of the FPS genre.

But if, at its core, Doom is already as solid as can be, how does the developer intend to iterate without introducing unnecessary fluff? Besides the obvious – more guns, gadgets and demon types to unload into – id’s adding more functionality to Doom Slayer’s suit, not just in the form of built-in weapons, but added manoeuvrability to make dodging bull-horned demons and level traversal feel that little bit more fluid.

To top that off, an optional new feature – Invasions – will allow other players to invade your world a la Dark Souls and take control of various hellspawn in an attempt to halt Doom Slayer’s crusade against Hell.

Earth might not be ready to face Hell’s fury, but the Doom Slayer is.

9. Code Vein

Bandai Namco

Release date: TBA 2019

From Software distancing itself from Souls not only left fans of hardcore RPGs with a void to fill in its absence but Bandai Namco too.

In wake of the series’ end, the publisher has been left with two options: bring in another developer and lump them with the unenviable task of putting together a sequel to the original trilogy, or begin anew with an intellectual property that wears its inspiration on its sleeve. For everyone’s benefit, it decided to pursue the latter option, the result being a contemporary post-apocalyptic world populated by ghoulish monsters and edgy vampires.

The anime-inspired character designs will absolutely be a turn-off for many, but transplanting all of the gameplay systems Dark Souls popularised into a new world not saddled with all of the series’ past baggage is the fresh-but-familiar angle that contributed to Bloodborne’s success.

Given that game’s reception, it’ll be a good day for all adorers of interconnected worlds, deliberate combat and risk/reward gameplay if Code Vein can achieve even an ounce of its success.

8. Crackdown 3

Microsoft

Release date: February 2019

Crackdown 3’s troubled development cycle has seen it drift from must-have status to teetering on the edge of meme status thanks to its numerous delays, but this time, Microsoft promises, there won’t be any last-minute disappointments.

The Agency and its superpowered agents will return, next year, to dish out justice – this time under the banner of Commander Jaxon, the new face of Crackdown 3 played by Hollywood BFG (no, not the gun from Doom) Terry Crews – and, as before, the concrete playground Agents are let loose upon will be under the control of various gangs and their kingpins, mimicking the lauded non-linear approach to progression present in the originals.

The big selling point, however, has – and remains – to be the introduction of cloud-based gameplay systems, though it remains to be seen whether destruction on a city-wide scale so boisterously demoed at E3 2014 will make it in for launch.

Crackdown 3’s success ultimately hinges on whether it feels like a game that’s floundered in development hell for half a decade or one that lives up to the promises originally made on-stage four years ago.

Fingers crossed for the latter.

7. Devil May Cry 5

Capcom

Release date: March 8

Capcom’s pulling no punches next year.

Less than two months following the arrival of its opening act with Resident Evil 2’s long-awaited remake, the legacy of another beloved iconic franchise is to be celebrated following a prolonged timeout. Having proved too divisive for fans of the original canon, Capcom has decided against greenlighting a sequel to Team NInja’s terrific reboot, though it’s far from forgotten.

Dante is back to his original – face fuzz excluded – demon-hunting incarnation, there’s no mistaking that, but Capcom has clearly taken inspiration from Ninja Theory’s spin-off, not just in Nero’s design, who looks remarkably like nu-Dante, but the world itself. So far, the blending of both interpretations shows no signs of splitting: Devil May Cry 5 is shaping up to be the most fluid, photorealistic entry in the series to date, packed with more content than any other entry to precede it.

The ugly introduction of microtransactions remains a concern, but who knows, with enough backlash, Capcom could end up backtracking on its decision.

6. Metro Exodus

4A Games

Release date: February 22

4A Games’ cult series is going open world next year, throwing Metro’s established rulebook right out the window in the process. Artyom once again returns in 2019 to serve as protagonist and mediator between the remnants of mankind and the Dark Ones, but his quest to find sanctuary will be far more complex than going from point A to B.

Formed of sprawling, non-linear sandbox areas – some of which stretch to two square kilometres in size – that funnel into more linear affairs, the critical path for Artyom is always the same, but how and when each player decides to follow that breadcrumb trail will vary wildly. It’s recommended, of course, to soak up everything Russia’s post-apocalyptic wasteland has to offer, not least because scrounging deserted villages and subterranean caves for supplies are activities paramount for surviving the year-long journey ahead.

Bandits, the Red Line, Fourth Reich, mutated wildlife and harsh seasonal changes: if Artyom’s hand-crafted gear is going to see him through, every nook and cranny will need to be stripped of valuable resources.

Good luck.

5. Kingdom Hearts 3

Square Enix

Release date: January 25

Square Enix’s worst management decision since forever means that we’ll be lucky to see Final Fantasy VII’s remake arrive this side of the 21st century, but at least one of Tetsuya Nomura’s pet projects will make it to market before we’re six feet under.

Lest we forget, Kingdom Hearts III itself has been gestating for more than a decade, and while its all too easy to bombard Square with resentment for taking so damn long to deliver the goods, the second Sora, Goofy, Mickey and the rest of the gang are reunited, all will be forgiven.

One way or another, Master Xehanort is going to get his just desserts but it won’t just be the usual suspects lending Sora a hand in putting the dimension-bending villain away for good.

Thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Pixar in the years since Kingdom Hearts II’s release, new worlds centred around the animation studio’s franchises are in for the ride. Characters from Toy Story, Big Hero 6, Tangled and more are confirmed to appear, as are their respective worlds, all brimming with authenticity, thanks to direct input and collaboration by Pixar itself.

4. Shenmue III

Sega

Release date: August 27

Not in this world or the next, will Yu Suzuki and Ys Net be able to deliver a satisfying conclusion to Ryo Hazuki’s quest for revenge. It’s an impossible task that requires the developer to not only pander to fond rememberers of the original games but new audiences that will have no idea who or what a Lan Di is.

Not to mention that Suzuki hasn’t directed a game of this calibre since 2001’s Shenmue II – a lifetime as far as the fast-advancing games industry is concerned – a revelation that should be fostering quiet doubt that Shenmue III will be stuck in the antiquated age of tank controls and quick-time events.

With questionable early tech demos and multiple delays piled on top, Shenmue III exhibits all the qualities of a potentially catastrophic disaster but look around and you’ll find not fear, but faith and excitement.

Shenmue III and ‘release date’ being used concurrently in the same sentence is a marvel in itself, so even if the third part in Ryo’s journey fails to make an impression on modern audiences, so what?

Ryo’s journey will have an end in 2019 and, really, two decades later, that’s all that matters.

3. Anthem

EA

Release date: February 22

BioWare’s first foray into the realm of live services has a giant, Destiny-shaped shadow looming over it, one that, no matter how hard it tries to shake, will follow it all the way up to launch.

In a reductive sense, the comparisons are fair – Anthem’s always-online, open-world hijinks and loot-driven reward structure parrot those systems that Bungie popularised, but the Mass Effect creator shouldn’t be reticent toward showing more of the game its been nurturing for the last five years for that reason – digging just an inch deeper only serves to showcase each game’s superficial similarities.

If anything, Anthem borrows most heavily from BioWare’s own famed RPG series, its co-op focused skirmishes and ability systems more akin to Mass Effect’s oft-overlooked multiplayer component, one that allows pilots of the former’s Stark-approved Javelin suits the opportunity to compliment each other’s abilities with their own to devastating effect.

Really, the only major worry anyone should have leading up to launch is the seemingly generic nature of Anthem’s admittedly gorgeous environments and the potential narrative compromises BioWare may have to make in order to accommodate for a multiplayer-enabled title, but as it stands, Anthem earns its spot through sheer potential and beauty alone.

2. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

FromSoftware

Release date: March 22

Dark Souls is done. Dusted. Finito. It’s sad news for any Chosen Undead that holds Lordran close to their heart, no doubt, but From Software desires not to rehash an ageing formula. It, along with studio head and budding auteur Hidetaka Miyazaki, wants to wipe the slate clean and begin anew with games potentially as revolutionary as the series that made its name.

The first fruits of that labour have revealed themselves in the form of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, an action-adventure set in 16th century Japan that eschews RPG leanings in favour of streamlined action and an emphasis on player skill.

Min-maxing stats and gear, farming Souls to brute force bosses and other workarounds for Souls’ crushing difficulty won’t be possible here. It’s you, katana in one hand, weaponised prosthetic limb in the other, against an army of well-trained samurai and a whole lot worse.

You’ll die much more than twice, that’s for sure.

1. Resident Evil 2 Remake

Capcom

Release date: January 25

You crafty sod, Capcom, you had us all conned into believing Resident Evil 2’s long-awaited remake had turned into vaporware, what with the three-year stretch of radio silence that followed its original announcement. Then, even in spite of the customary pre-E3 spoiler season outing its presence at this year’s show, as soon as Leon’s baby face appeared on-screen, the crowds went wild with astonishment.

On precedence of REmake’s quality alone, Resi fans were expecting something truly special for the return visit to Raccoon City, but this? This is a remake on a scale we’ve not seen before; a from-the-ground-up reconstruction of William Birkin’s stomping ground with every alley, landmark and quirk present in the original faithfully recreated for the modern age.

If Resident Evil 2’s rebirth proves to be the perfect marriage of Resi old and new, then Capcom may well reinvent the survival horror wheel yet again come the new year.

 

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