2019, A Year In Gaming
By Justin Matusiak
What I continue to find shocking as we head into 2019 for video gaming is that it was not too long ago that we were singing the praises of games like Persona 5, Final Fantasy XV, Monster Hunter and Smash Bros Wii U’s DLC Characters and yet in that same notion, only one of the games on the aforementioned list came out just this last year. Monster Hunter: World came out in the very beginning of 2018 while Persona 5 was in 2017, Final Fantasy XV in 2016 and Cloud Strife for Smash Bros was announced in 2015. I’ve referred to this period as a video game apocalypse but this is not to be taken in a negative connotation (except in the case of your wallet) but rather one that shows no sign of slowing down. On the contrary I believe titles like Breath of the Wild, Persona 5, Dragon Ball FighterZ and many more pushed the envelope for entire genres and because of this we have been propelled into another video game renaissance and if you think that this pace is stopping in 2019, you will be sorely mistaken. Here is a list of games to look forward to in 2019!
Doom (2016) was an amazing game, graphically beautiful as it was gory and filled with all the things that made people love the original Doom games back in 1993. Doom Eternal plans to take all of that and turn it to 11 with more weapons (as well as addons to returning favorites), more types of enemies, and a focus on larger open world sort of map to fit in all these new baddies and weapon upgrades. While not exactly free-roam Id Software has confirmed that the maps will be on a much larger scale and because of this introduce a grappling hook for the use of getting around the tattered remains of planet Earth. This game will surely be on the minds of old-school veterans and first person shooter fans around the world with its fusion of arcade style shooters and more modernized epic first person shooter campaigns.
After its lack-luster reboot in 2013 and its occasional updates to the PC release of Devil May Cry 4, Devil May Cry 5 is finally back to fight a whole new slew of demons and baddies with Smokin’ Sick Style! In the game you will play as and switch between the game’s three central protagonists: Dante, the original devil hunter who boasts the traditional sword and gunplay mechanics we’ve come to know and love while also being shown to have a motorcycle he can tear in two and wear like gloves to slash things with(source in case you think I’m joking), Nero returning from the 4th game and focusing on his unique sword style that allows him to rev the chamber like a motorcycle and swing for increased velocity as well as a robotic arm to grab and pummel opponents and lastly V, aptly named for the 5th entry into the series, who relies on his mastery over demons to pit monster against monster and then sneak in for the finishing blow. With rumors of an online coop mode on the horizon and an inventive combo building system, this game is sure to be talked about all the way up to the end of 2019 and beyond.
The Ultimate Alliance games have always been beloved due to their extremely massive roster and knack for extremely accessible couch coop gameplay, and it looks like there is plenty more to come with Ultimate Alliance 3. Launching exclusively for the Switch, play as all the heroes from the MCU as well as some that maybe haven’t gotten their time on the big screen (yet that is) and take on The Black Order as well as a slew of original villains such as Green Goblin, Ultron, Sentinel and many more in this sure to be favored party game for gamers and movie-goers alike.
I wasn’t going to include this one on the list because by the time you’re reading this article, its probably already out, or you’ve already got your pre-order for it, but, Kingdom Hearts 3 is still a very big phenomenon in the gaming world right now as it is another game series that is receiving a sequel after a 10+ year break. Granted, there have been several spin off games launched on hand held gaming devices and it may not be the best game to jump into as your first Kingdom Hearts (especially since it will act as the conclusion to the series) but for long time players, Kingdom Hearts 3 will finally deliver on the conclusion of the Keyblade War and Xehanort’s plans to claims Kingdom hearts for his own. Join Sora, Donald and Goofy as they travel through familiar Disney themed world such as Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Monsters Inc, Toy Story and many more to fight off the denizens of darkness one last time(maybe).
Back in one of my first articles I ever wrote, I mentioned how this game really deserved a remake and that they should add an online feature and guess what? They did! Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles will release on the Nintendo Switch and Playstation 4 later this year. This game, which focused so heavily on team-based exploration will now have its real shot at fame with the convenience of adding people to your party with a click of a button. Create your character from one of four races (though there may be more in the future) and protect your home from the encroaching Miasma that drains the life from all it touches. Using your chalice, you and your friends will make a pilgrimage every in-game year to fill the chalice with fuel for your hometown’s Crystal to stave off the Miasma with the ultimate goal of becoming strong enough to drive off whatever is causing the miasma to affect the planet. RPG players will love the amount of customization in both your character, town, family, combat style, and ability to approach danger at your own pace.
Towards the end of 2018, Netherealm Studios put out an intensely brutal trailer for their newly announced Mortal Kombat 11 game. Not much is known about the title at this time, however it seems that the goal is to incorporate both modern and old school aspects of all the Mortal Kombat games. In the trailer we see a vicious fight with Raiden and series favorite Scorpion redesigned for the new game. Scorpion gets obliterated by Raiden, but Raiden is in turn taken out by another Scorpion, this one donning the gear from the original arcade games and using his signature move to burn away Raiden’s flesh. If you haven’t seen the trailer, I would definitely check it out to form your own opinion but uh…hide the kids for this one.
I know a lot of people are making jokes about this, but the jokes are based mostly off of truth. Anthem more or less is a game where you play as Iron Man with your Iron Man friends to shoot baddies a la Destiny or Halo. Interested yet? Slated to release in February you can count on you and three of your buddies to get their own customizable “Javelins” Iron Man Suits and take on an expansive team-based campaign featuring huge open world levels to explore, conquer and be turned into dust in if things go south. While the game does feature a solo element to it, beta players have reported that without a squad, players may find themselves easily overwhelmed by the world of Anthem. If you think you have what it takes to man up or shut up, Anthem will be the game for you.
Just looking at this title triggers something in my head to start playing the iconic theme song and grit my teeth for another attempt at this brutally brilliant beat em up. We have scarce details out about this game presently, only that it is planned for release this year, features 3 player couch co-op, a focus on genre mashup style game play and hand-drawn 4k 2.5HD graphics that will attempt to dethrone Cuphead’s claim to superior hand-drawn modelwork. This one will be another to look out for because of how few games we get from RARE studios these days which sets the bar very high for this re-imagined classic.
From software has always delivered in the terms of brutal difficulty, realistic swordplay mechanics and expansive unknown worlds to explore but Sekiro seems to take all of those things to the next level. We saw this briefly with Bloodborne, where familiar aspects of guarding were removed, and the dynamic was focused to more offensive based gameplay but what is different here is the developers departure from their more distant narrative style to one of direct storytelling. This shift in soul is going to be very divisive for original players of Dark Souls and like but that may be the breath of air the series needs to thrive. We shall see when we all get a turn at this metal armed samurai this coming March.
Metroid Prime 4
We still don’t have a confirmed date on this one is the only reason I didn’t put this higher. This classic sci-fi exploration shooter game that gave birth to an entire genre of gaming will be celebrated from east to west coast on its release.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
This is another one I don’t have a release date for yet. We got Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon last year which was a near perfect creation of the 2D Castlevania style of game-play we have come to know and love, but the kickstarter, started by former Konami employee Koji Igarashi, also promised a 2.5 Castlevania game more in the form of something like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. And if that isn’t enough to sell it, I don’t know what is.
Jumpforce is one of those games that you will either really really like, or really want to steer clear of. Focusing entirely on Shonen jump anime characters, Jumpforce pits iconic heroes such as Goku, Naruto, Yami and even Light Yagami from their respective series in a 3 on 3 fighting game format. Feedback has been mixed around the game, some saying there are too many particle effects while others seeing its praises for its technical ingenuity.
Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers
Having just been announced recently, the new expansion of Square Enix’s ongoing MMORPG shows a great deal of promise both in its story developments and its quality of life system changes that will make the game smoother for everyone. There are also talks of a new class being added focuses around the Garlean technology, the Gunblade which players have been asking for a long time about. Become the Warrior of Darkness!
Resident Evil 2 (Remake)
After all the success the first Resident Evil remake had, it was only a matter of time before Capcom decided to make a second one. Doing away with the outdated tank controls and fixed camera angles, this remake will breathe new life into a cherished game for many. But my question is…Will secret character Tofu also receive the HD treatment? Only time will tell…
Admittedly not on everyone’s radar, Spelunky has had a very good run from its initial 2008 release. Priding itself on rogue-like gameplay and physics much akin to a familiar video game plumber we all know, Spelunky 2 is sure to capitalize on what it did well and revamp its difficulty and content for players of the modern age. It’s the kind of game that you can lose hours to without realizing, which most of the fans did before realizing the game did in fact come out in 2008.
And there are plenty more where this came from. This list does not include all of the games to look forward to, just the ones on my list. Who knows what game developers have in store for us as we head into this exciting new year for gaming?