It’s time. We’ve rounded up all our best games of 2018, then followed that up with another bunch of games you might’ve missed. We’ve done plenty of retrospective to close out the year. Now it’s our chance to look ahead at a packed spring schedule (and beyond), rounding up all the games we’re most excited about for 2019.
That part is key: Most excited about. That means you’ll find some obvious picks here, like Metro Exodus. You’ll also find some smaller, more niche picks like Disco Elysium, Heaven’s Vault, and The Occupation. And it means this is not a comprehensive list. It’s just our favorites.
Sorry in advance if we cut your favorite game from the list.
Resident Evil 2 – January 25
The first major PC release of 2019 is Capcom’s Resident Evil 2 remake ($60 preorder on Humble), due to release at the end of January. It’s probably the safest possible bet Capcom could make after the bold first-person pivot of Resident Evil VII. The Resident Evil 2 remake brings back all the fans’ old favorites. Leon’s here! And Claire! And Ada Wong! And Raccoon City! Also, it’s been redone to use the over-the-shoulder camera from Resident Evil IV!
It’s like a mashup of everyone’s favorite Resident Evils. That’s less exciting (to me at least) than a proper Resident Evil VII follow-up, but it’ll be great to have this classic story playable on modern machines, and with mechanics befitting a 2019 video game. So long, fixed camera angles. Adios, tank controls. We can do better now.
The Occupation – February 5
The Occupation was supposed to release in October. Now it’s supposed to release in February. I don’t think anyone even announced a delay—it just slipped into the future as if the original date never existed, the perfect way to delay a game that’s about a corrupt government cracking down on civil liberties to keep citizens safe.
Delay or no, The Occupation‘s still one of my most anticipated games for 2019. The game takes place over four real-time hours, with characters and events sticking to a strict schedule. You play a journalist, trying to uncover the facts behind a deadly crime—but you need to make decisions about what leads to pursue and how to follow them. Do you meet with the government official you have an appointment with? Or perhaps blow them off and root through a colleague’s empty office?
I’ve played a lot of so-called “immersive sims” over the years, but none as ambitious as The Occupation. I hope the delay gave the team enough time to fine-tune the details.
Metro Exodus – February 15
Usually these lists become outdated because of delays, but not this time. The day after we recorded our 2019 preview video, Metro Exodus ($60 preorder on Humble) announced it was moving its release date up a week, from February 22 to February 15. That takes it out of competition with Anthem and puts it back up against Crackdown 3, as well as Far Cry: New Dawn.
Metro is the one I’m looking forward to most though. I loved the cramped corridor shooting of Metro 2033 and Last Light, and while I’m a bit less enamored with the idea of a pseudo-open-world Metro game I’m curious to see whether it works, guiding Artyom on some grand journey through the Russian countryside.
Far Cry: New Dawn – February 15
Metro Exodus ’s strongest competition, Far Cry: New Dawn ($40 preorder on Humble) releases the same day with a brighter and goofier take on the post-apocalypse. And you know what? I’m kind of looking forward to it. I think Far Cry’s serious numbered entries are mostly mediocre (especially Far Cry 5) but the gimmicky spin-offs like Blood Dragon and Primal are interesting experiments—even when they don’t quite work out.
So a post-apocalyptic Far Cry? One that’s set on the same map as Far Cry 5, but without all the political and religious overtones? It probably won’t break new ground for the series or for games as a whole, but it at least sounds like a decently fun time. And hey, Fallout 76 set the bar pretty low, so…
Anthem – February 22
Once upon a time February 22 was supposed to be the crowded day, but first Crackdown 3 dipped to February 15 and then Metro followed suit. Now only Anthem ($60 preorder on Origin) remains, BioWare’s take on a Destiny-style shooter—except maybe with a better story? That’s a pretty thin maybe, based on what I’ve seen so far, but I’m still holding out some hope. It is BioWare, after all.
We really don’t know though. BioWare’s been reticent about showing off Anthem’s story, instead focusing on how it plays. And I can say: It plays great. At our E3 demo I claimed Anthem plays “even smoother than Destiny,” which is high praise coming from me. Rocketing around in my little mech, strafing waterfalls and diving underwater, then exploding back out of a pool to shoot some nearby foes—it’s effortless.
But I loved the shooting in Mass Effect: Andromeda and not much else, so…well, I hope the story’s decent. Fingers crossed.
The Sinking City – March 21
Frogwares’s Sherlock Holmes series is the closest I’ve come to a gaming guilty pleasure. They’re low budget, often buggy, the cases you solve hit-or-miss, and the mechanics for finding a solution even more inconsistent. And yet they often rise above their station, delivering excellent character moments for Holmes and Watson, or seizing on a neat detective game gimmick (like Crimes and Punishments with its red herring endings).
Point being: I’m always interested in what Frogwares is up to, even if the results aren’t perfect. And with Cyanide’s 2018 Call of Cthulhu game a mess, that makes Frogwares’s Sinking City our best hope for a truly unsettling mythos experience. The cinematic trailer below gives me no idea whether this is mostly an action game or a detective game, but I’m at least excited to find out.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – March 22
Dark Souls is dead. Long live Dark Souls. If you believe From Software, the Dark Souls series is finished forever. That doesn’t mean From Software is done making that style of game though.
Enter Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice ($60 preorder on Steam). It’s not a Souls game, but Sekiro takes those ideas—deliberate combat, pattern recognition, grand boss battles, impenetrable lore—and transposes them to Japan’s Sengoku period. It is, in so many ways, recognizable as a From Software game.
And yet it’s not afraid to deviate from Dark Souls as well. Exploration is more active, as your character has a grappling hook-arm that allows him to leap to rooftops and branches or swing across gaps. That, in turn, makes stealth a viable option—either bypassing enemies entirely or leaping down on them unawares for a quick kill.
Mortal Kombat XI – April 23
We don’t know much about Mortal Kombat XI yet. Announced in December at The Game Awards, all we’ve seen is a single CGI trailer of Dark Raiden fighting two Scorpions. That means uh…well, Dark Raiden and Scorpion are in the game. It also seems like the character customization elements of Injustice 2 will make it over to this latest Mortal Kombat.
But what will the campaign look like? That’s what I’m most curious to see. The seamless cinematic-driven campaigns of Mortal Kombat IX andX were great, but after four games (including the Injustices) it seems like it might be time for a shakeup. Rumors claim Mortal Kombat XI will include a full-on adventure mode with a map to explore, a la 2005’s Shaolin Monks, but we’ll see.
Rage 2 – May 14
I still find it hard to believe Bethesda’s funding Rage 2 ($60 on Amazon), a sequel to one of the all-time blandest games, but…well, Prey was great. Maybe another of Bethesda’s weird bets will pay off. After all, Rage 2 mashes up id’s shooting with Avalanche’s Mad Max driving, which certainly sounds like a winning combination.
The question is whether the story can pull its weight as well. Lest we forget, the first Rage played pretty well. It was just boring as hell. Rage 2 seems to be shifting towards a quirkier Borderlands-lite style of humor, which might help propel the action along…or might get old quick. It’s hard to tell.
Either way, I’m looking forward to Rage 2—and that’s a sentence I never thought I’d write a year ago.