Game On: The biggest gaming releases in 2019
Nathan Warby rounds up the hottest releases coming to a console near you…
Release date: 22 February
If there’s one thing that Bioware has a knack for providing vast worlds to explore. This time out, the brains behind the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series are going even bigger with Anthem. You assume the role of a Freelancer, a chosen member of humanity who ventures beyond the walls of the civilised hub world and takes on dangerous environments. The game can be played on your lonesome or with three mates, as players tackle daunting missions and huge boss battles in what the developers describe as a “contiguous open world”. What makes this game unique is that you do your traversing in customisable Iron Man-esque armour called a Javelin – that should add a bit of style to your shootin’ and lootin’.
Release date: 14 May
It’s fair to say that a few eyebrows were raised when Bethesda announced they were reviving a presumed dead franchise. The original showed great promise when it was revealed back in 2007, even scooping a handful of awards at different conventions.What was eventually released, however, it was a solid yet shallow experience. The one thing that stood out amongst the mediocracy was an underlying sense of fun and light-heartedness. The sequel dials this up to 11, abandoning the bleak environments in favour of a steampunk vibe that’s splattered in colour, like the love-child of Mad Max and Borderlands. Doubling up on the fun factor, whilst giving us the vintage ID software beautiful map to tear across, could help produce 2019’s most adrenaline-fuelled mash-up.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Release date: 25 January
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You get yourself a dozen hours deep into an action RPG and you think: “Wouldn’t this be so much better if Donald Duck was here?” Well, you’re in luck! The long-awaited third instalment in the mainline Kingdom Hearts series is upon us. After nearly a decade of rumours and speculation, the legendary Square Enix are delivering an ambitious adventure which touts its biggest roster yet. Beloved characters from iconic Disney titles new and old are on hand to assist Sora in his quest, including staples from Big Hero 6, Toy Story and Monster Inc. However, don’t be fooled by its childish aesthetic and popping colour palette; Kingdom Hearts boasts enough deep combat and challenging encounters to satisfy the hardcore player.
Release date: 26 April
Since the launch of the PS4, Sony has a released an extensive and impressive line-up of first party titles that have elevated its library to near unrivalled territory when it comes to its competitors. Their latest attempt to add to the big-hitters in their locker is Days Gone, a twist on the tried-and-tested third-person zombie game formula. The talented people at SIE Bend Studios decided that walking around an open-world is far too mundane, opting instead to give the player a powerful motorbike to run from – and over – the undead. We’ll also be taking part in robust third-person combat against the desperate remains of humanity. Think of the Walking Dead’s Daryl Dixon trying to survive against creatures you’d see spilling out of Corp at 3am. Sold.
Pokemon Generation 8
Expected late 2019
Unless you’ve been hiding out in a cave for the last two decades, you’ve probably heard of a little franchise called Pokemon. If you were in the dark previously, the recent astronomical success of Pokemon Go! should have propelled it into the forefront of your mind. The one thing the diehards have been craving is a new generation Go! – and 2019 appears to be the year, with Nintendo hinting at a new RPG title coming to the Switch with none of the oversimplifications introduced in recent spin-offs. Details are sparse, but in June Tsunekazu Ishihara did drop a few hints that got the fans pumped, alluding to the new game having the best graphics in the series’ history and an experience tailored to veteran pokemen and pokewomen.