2018 wasn't a good year as far as the world was concerned, but it was a pretty great year for games, much like the year before it. Yes, there were some low points, I'm looking at you Fallout 76, but the high points are some of the highest we've seen. Red Dead Redemption 2 came out and did everything it was expected too and then some. Sony continued to knock it out of the park with high quality exclusives. The Nintendo Switch released a new Smash Bros. game, and I found my old Game Boy Advance and have begun scouring the internet and used game stores for the classics. Even Microsoft stepped up its game, purchasing new studios to make exclusive games for the Xbox. I'll be sticking with PlayStation next gen, but I'll give Phil Spencer this, he's done a LOT to turn around the prospects of the Xbox One, and I must respect him for it.
2019 is shaping up to be another great year, and I'm super excited. This isn't going to be a Top 10 List, and it's not saying these will be the best games of next year, there's never a guarantee *cough*FALLOUT76*cough. Sorry, something in my throat. I'm going to list these in order of release date, except for the ones that don't yet have a release date. And yes, I'm fully aware that some of these aren't guaranteed to come out in 2019, but I'm putting them on here because I'm desperately hoping they will be.
Before we do that though, I'm giving my pick for game of the year, as well as worst game/biggest disappointment. Now I have to say up front that I did not play every major game this year, I don't get paid for these reviews (yet) and have to make choices. I did receive Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin's Creed: Odyssey for Christmas, but I haven't played them yet, and if I had, it definitely wouldn't have been enough time to evaluate them fairly. That said, I've heard nothing but good things, and I'm excited to play both.
Game of the Year: God of War
Runner Up: Marvel's Spider-Man
I've already gone over both in explicit detail; you can read my reviews here and here. This was a tough call, because both games were phenomenal. Spider-Man is the best easily the best Spider-Man game ever, and in all likelihood, probably the best superhero game ever. In fact, check back here next week where I discuss what a sequel should entail. But God of War just edges it out, the story was incredible, and Christopher Judge as Kratos was fantastic. What's more, they took a character and did a 180 on his world outlook, while making it feel completely natural. This is an older, wiser, Kratos, who has taken responsibility for his sins and is trying to move on in life. Personally, I felt it made him a much more interesting character.
Worst Game/Biggest Disappointment: I don't actually have a worst game this year, because there's nothing I played that was genuinely terrible. I have two biggest disappointments though. One of which I played, and one that I didn't.
Disappointment 1: Death's Gambit. Okay, this was not a bad game, I enjoyed it, but it could have been so much more. A marriage between Metroidvania and Soulsborne games that didn't quite click the way it should have, though I really I wish it did. The 32-bit pixel art is gorgeous, and as I said elsewhere, this was clearly a passion project for the Devs. But the stamina bar really makes this game unnecessarily frustrating. I realize Soulsborne games are supposed to be difficult, but the good ones feel balanced and fair; Death's Gambit did not. Removing the stamina bar would have vastly improved the game. You can read my full review here.
Disappointment 2: Fallout 76. Just everything. Bethesda royally screwed the pooch on this one: from the broken game, to the lies and disrespect to the customers. With one game, Bethesda managed to take a decade's worth of goodwill and flush it down the toilet, right next to the game box Fallout 76 came in.
Most Anticipated Games:
February 15. Metro: Exodus - I haven't played the first two, but this game still has me interested. I love the Post-Apocalyptic Russia setting, the gun customization looks great and I love the whole train ride to nowhere idea. Hopefully this will scratch that Fallout sized hole in my heart. Far Cry: New Dawn, also a Post-Apocalypse shooter, comes out the same day, but Metro: Exodus looks like the more interesting game.
March 22. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice - The new game by From Software, the sadistic studio behind Dark Souls. Trading in the gothic European-style fantasy setting for Medieval Japan, Sekiro sees you as a Shinobi (Ninja) on a mission to rescue your Lord from the Samurai who cut off your arm and kidnapped him. Along the way you're given a prosthetic arm to help you take on an army of Samurai, demons, and Japanese monstrosities. The combat looks like a faster paced Soulsborne style. Unlike Dark Souls however, I don't think Sekiro is an RPG, but I don't care. I'm a huge fan of From Software, and this is easily the first game that I know for 100% certain I am getting on day one.
April 26. Days Gone - Another Post-Apocalyptic Open World zombie game. Normally I'd have no interest in this; however, the trailer and the gameplay have sold me on it. While the idea itself is nothing new, it looks to have an interesting take on the apocalypse. You play as a biker in the Pacific Northwest, running dangerous missions for the handful of communities that have sprung up in the wake of the apocalypse. The "zombies" in this game aren't really zombies; they're called Freakers and appear similar to the "rage zombies" of 28 Days Later. Also, the first game play demo ended with a zombie bear, and really, what else are you playing games for if not zombie bears?
May 14. Rage 2 - The new first-person shooter by Id Software and the fourth game on this list to take place in a Post-Apocalyptic Open World. What separates this from the other three is the tone. It looks like complete and utter insanity, Mad Max meets Doom (2016), and I am all on-board for this. Like Sekiro, this is a day one purchase for me.
Release date TBA. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - A new Metroidvania game by Koji Igarashi of Castlevania. You had me at hello.
Release date TBA. Hades - Already available in early access for Steam, the new game by indie developer Supergiant Games. It looks like a cross between their earlier games Bastion and Transistor, but with a Greek setting. So, I'm sold.
Release date TBA. Doom Eternal - The sequel to 2016's Doom reboot. You play as a Space Marine shooting demons in the face after the forces of Hell have invaded Earth. This looks like everything awesome about the first game turned up to 11. Definitely a must-buy. There was some controversy because a few folks online thought a joke in the game play reveal was making a statement on illegal immigration. All I'll say is this, if you're honestly looking for political commentary in frickin' DOOM, you have too much time on your hands.
Release date TBA. Ghost of Tsushima - An open world Samurai game made by the studio behind inFamous. Set during the first Mongol Invasion of Japan in 1274, you play as Jin, the last Samurai left alive on the island of Tsushima. This is a historical action game inspired by the films of Akira Kurosawa. Shut up and take my money.
Release date TBA. Nioh 2 - Okay, this more than likely won't come out in 2019; it will probably be 2020 or 2021, which means it could very well be a game for the PlayStation 5. But I'm putting it here because this is my blog and I want to talk about it. Nioh is my favorite of the Soulsborne style of RPG, with fast paced combat and a Japanese setting. You play as a Samurai. Nioh had what was probably the tightest combat of any game I've ever played, and I expect that will continue with Nioh 2. According to the Devs the protagonist will be customizable, which means we probably won't be playing as Williams Adams. Being a student of history, I liked William as the protagonist, but it's not like this is a type of game that will suffer if he doesn't return. I generally like being able to customize a protagonist in RPGs, but since Soulsborne games don't tend to have a ton of cut scenes or decisions that change the story, I don't find it as important as in say, Fallout.
Release date TBA. The Last of Us Part 2 - The sequel to Naughty Dog's masterpiece, I don't expect this to come out in 2019, but I can dream.
Release date TBA. Cyberpunk 2077 - My most anticipated game, period. I've discussed it at length here. This is rumored for late 2019 or early 2020, and if it manages to pull off half of what CD Projekt Red is claiming, it's still going to set a new standard for RPGs. If it actually pulls off everything CD Projekt Red is claiming, they will inarguably be the best RPG studio on the planet.
Honorable Mentions: I have the following listed as honorable mentions because I think they're worth taking note of, but they aren't my personally most anticipated. Some of them I am interested in, just not to the degree of the others on this list, and a few are remasters.
January 15. Onimusha: Warlords - Onimusha, literally "Demon Warrior," is a remaster of the classic PS2 game. Onimusha is an action-adventure series from Capcom that hasn't had a proper game since 2006. You play as a Samurai, fighting demons and solving puzzles. I never played the original game or any of its sequels because I didn't have a PS2 back in the day, but it's a game that always intrigued me. I've spoken before of my desire for more Samurai games, and as someone who loves Japanese history and culture, I'm excited to get the chance to finally play this. The reason this is an honorable mention, despite my high excitement, is that it's a remaster and not a new game. However, as with a lot of remasters, I'm hoping this is Capcom gauging interest in the series to see if a new game is warranted.
January 25: Resident Evil 2 - A ground up remake of the original game, I'm sure this will be a big hit. I don't particularly have much interest in this. Maybe the reviews will change my mind.
January 29. Kingdom Hearts III - I've never played a Kingdom Hearts game and don't really care about this. I place it here because this is a game people have been waiting for since I was in High School. I'll believe it's real when I hold a physical copy of it in my hands and not a second before.
February 15. Far Cry: New Dawn - I mentioned this above, it looks like fun, I still think $40 is a bit more than I'm willing to pay for it. I'll probably grab it on sale at some point down the line. I do want to play it though; Far Cry is one of the best FPS series out there, especially in a world of Call of Duty and Battlefield.
February 22. Anthem - This is the first BioWare game that I haven't pre-ordered in close to a decade. Graphically, it looks gorgeous, but based on the trailers; I'm just not feeling it. It's a giant MMO, the story is all on your home base, there's none of the usual BioWare love interests, etc. For BioWare's sake, I hope it does well, because if it doesn't I fear for the future of the studio. But unless this gets phenomenal reviews, I'm going to pass.
Release date TBA. Death Stranding - The new game by Hideo Kojima, I've mostly lost my interest in this. We still know pretty much nothing about it and based on the trailer it looks like a giant walking simulator. I'm sure someone is typing up an angry email right now, but I need to know more before I can get excited for a game. As it currently stands, I feel like I know less about this game now than I did when it was announced.
Release date TBA. The Outer Worlds - A new RPG by Obsidian Entertainment. We've only had one trailer so far, and I didn't learn enough from it to put this on my most anticipated list. That said, Obsidian is one of my favorite studios and responsible for some of the best RPGs out there. So, this is a game to watch.
So folks, that's my list. What games are you most looking forward too? Let me know. I'd love to hear your thoughts. See you next week.