the 30 must-play titles for this year

Did you think you were going to prise your bum off the sofa at some point this year? Well, think again! 2019 is another bumper year for new video games, with fresh franchises and old favourites battling for dominance in the major leagues, offset as ever by an abundance of indie titles that also warrant attention.

Also, this is going to be the year that Google enters the game-playing market in a big new way with its industry-upending Stadia platform. Apple also brought Apple Arcade into our lives this year, unleashing a whole library of new games for punters to get to grips with.

Basically, you should prepare to have numb buttocks and a well-tested credit card before the year is out. There is an unfathomable number of new releases on the way, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to 30 titles that we’re properly excited about. So, to discover what your 2019 gaming obsessions are going to be, read on…

Resident Evil 2 (25 January)

Providing a horror gaming fix is Resident Evil 2, a glossy remake of 1998’s beloved game of the same name (which remains the best-selling Resident Evil game on a single platform, with its 4.96 million copies sold for PS1).

With modern graphics and gore-levels, this highly anticipated retelling puts you back in the shoes of cop Leon S. Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield as they attempt to escape a zombie-infested Raccoon City. It’s out now on Xbox One, PS4 and Windows. 

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Kingdom Hearts III (25 January)

As the twelfth instalment of the Kingdom Hearts series, the final segment of the Dark Seeker saga and the sequel to Kingdom Hearts II that took 14 years to arrive, Kingdom Hearts III arrived on PS4 and Xbox One with a lot of hype behind it. To keep things fresh, Square Enix added Pixar universes such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc into the mix.

Attempting to avert a second Keyblade War, returning protagonist Sora teams up with Donald Duck, Goofy, King Mickey and Riku. Expect plentiful universe-hopping and loads of familiar faces in this action-packed RPG.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One

Read our review

Far Cry: New Dawn (15 February)

Ubisoft Montreal presents this fresh-faced spinoff from the Far Cry series. As you’d expect, it’s a first-person shooter set in an open world environment where vehicles and action abound. Interestingly, it’s based on the same map as Far Cry 5, albeit with some new and reshaped areas (with thanks to the nuclear war from the previous game).

You play as a new character, whose gender and race are your choice. The main plot takes place 17 years after ‘the Collapse’ that devastated the world, at a time when brave survivors are clashing with dastardly Highwaymen. You’ll also get to find out what happened to Far Cry 5’s main characters.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Metro Exodus (15 February)

4A Games brought us the third instalment of the Metro series in the first quarter of 2019, with Metro Exodus following on from Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light. As ever, stealth is key to your survival in this first-person shooter, which is set in the post-apocalyptic wasteland formerly known as the Russian Federation.

A year after their last adventure, Artyom and Anna attempt to head east to find a safer life. That doesn’t work out too well, though, as there is a year’s worth of story packed with conflict to play through.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, PC (and eventually Stadia)

Read our review

Anthem (22 February)

EA published BioWare’s new spacefaring shooter, Anthem, in February 2019. It’s another online multiplayer RPG, with third-person shooter elements sewn in, which puts players in the role of an exploratory Freelancer, part of a team that leaves their home civilisation to explore the unknown.

Part of the fun is in the fully-customizable exo-suits (called Javelins), which the Freelancers wear, enabling some epic-feeling flight mechanics and very varied battles. The game received mixed reviews, but still earned a loyal fan base.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

ToeJam & Earl: Back In The Groove! (1 March)

Don’t call it a comeback! One of the Sega Mega Drive’s most loveable oddities got a new instalment this year, with ToeJam & Earl: Back In The Groove being the fourth entry in these alien rappers’ ever-more-surprising on-going series.

Borrowing the best bits from previous games (the isometric viewpoint from the original, the Jam Out mini-game from Panic On Funkotron), this one is a real treat for the fans. It’s available through Linux, macOS, Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac, Linux

Read our review

Devil May Cry 5 (8 March)

Are you ready to get back into the hacking and slashing scene? We sure hope so, because Capcom unleashed the fifth instalment in the central Devil May Cry series on Windows, PS4 and Xbox One in early March 2019.

Fans of the franchise will be pleased to see Dante and Nero returning as playable characters, alongside a mysterious man named V. This new character sets Dante on a collision course with demons around the globe, which provides a shed-load of opportunities for action.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 (15 March)

Tom Clancy tackles the world of basic mathematics once again in The Division 2. Oh, hold on, apparently it’s not that sort of division. Rather, this is an online action RPG that will serve as a sequel to Massive Entertainment and Ubisoft’s 2016 hit, Tom Clancy’s The Division.

Jumping back into action seven months the first game finished up, this time your well-armed field agents take on some new enemies in Washington DC, while continuing to struggle in a world ravaged by a deadly virus. The co-op is great, the loot is plentiful, and the stakes are high with Washington and the world on the brink of collapse. 

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (22 March)

Following their work on Dark Souls and Bloodborne, FromSoftware now bring us an intriguing proposition entitled Serkiro: Shadows Die Twice.

This action-adventure title is set in 16th-century Sengoku period Japan, putting players in the shoes of a covert mercenary who recently lost an arm. With a katana and a new prosthetic, your main mission will be revenge. We particularly enjoyed the sword-based combat.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

The Walking Dead: The Final Season (last episode 26 March)

With Telltale Games sadly closing down, the job of finishing The Walking Dead’s choice-based video game series fell to Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment production company. The fourth and final episode arrived on Windows, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch on March 26th.

As for the story, this final season picks up several years after the events of A New Frontier, with Clementine and AJ trying their best to survive in the zombie-infested wasteland. You’ll have to play to find out if it ends in a tragic or hopeful fashion.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac

Remember the toughest decisions

World War Z (16 April)

So, World War Z became a video game before we saw a sequel to the Brad Pitt film. This game has single player and multiplayer options, with zombie-stuffed globe-trotting action that spans New York, Jerusalem and Moscow.

The developers are Saber Interactive, who had Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn and NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 last year. Paramount Pictures is handling the publishing side of things. Prepare to take on masses of hungry zombies.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Mortal Kombat 11 (23 April)

A new Mortal Kombat game is always a cause for excitement, and 2019 has an absolute doozie for us. Following on from 2015’s tenth instalment, NetherRealm Studios delivered Mortal Kombat 11 in April this year, with Dark Raiden being central to the action. They’ve since added such famous characters as The Joker and The Terminator.

Although the choice of song in the first trailer didn’t do much to win gamer’s hearts, and neither did the game’s grind-to-earn-rewards system, the fighting itself is utterly brutal and a lot of fun to play.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows

Read our review

Days Gone (26 April)

Back to the horror action now. Days Gone, which is SIE Bend Studio’s first title for PS4, is one that was a long time coming. And it also has Star Wars regular Sam Witwer in the lead voice role.

Witwer lends his voice (and his likeness) to Deacon St. John, a drifter/bounty hunter making his way in a post-apocalyptic world. He comes up against zombie-like creatures known as Freakers, and a lot of communities that he has to try and please. Plus he’ll have a cool motorbike.

Available on: PS4

Read our review

Rage 2 (14 May)

Although the first Rage game didn’t garner the best of reviews, Avalanche Studios/iD Software/Bethesda Softworks has pressed ahead with a sequel. We’re glad they did, because the striking visuals and early hype for Rage 2 make it look like a huge leap forward.

Rage 2 is set 30 years after the original, and it promises epic vehicular combat in a vibrantly colourful wasteland. It’ll be a game-as-a-service title that’s totally devoid of loot boxes. (Yay!)

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Team Sonic Racing (21 May) and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (21 June)

For the first time in a while, Mario Kart will face some serious competition in 2019. Team Sonic Racing and Crash Team Racing are both launching on all the major consoles around the middle point of the year, and we’ve smushed them into one entry in this article to save you reading the same thing twice.

Beenox’s new Crash racing game is a remaster of the classic PlayStation game, and the Sonic one is an all-new venture from the team at Sumo Digital (who previously did Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed). It’ll be interesting to see which game is better received.

Both available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch. Sonic is also on Windows.

Read our Sonic review and/or Crash review

Total War: Three Kingdoms (23 May)

Total War is back! Creative Assembly and Sega are bringing us the 12th mainline entry in this iconic strategy series, with the focus falling this time on Ancient China and a gaggle of warring warlords. Of course, turn-based tactics will be the core of the game.

Making this launch even more exciting is the duality on offer: you can choose to play the game in Romance mode (which gifts its generals with an unrealistically massive amount of strength) or Classic mode (which is based on actual Chinese historical texts and therefore takes a much more realistic approach).

Available on: Windows, Mac, Linux

Read about the next Total War

The Sinking City (27 June)

With a corker of a concept and some cracking visuals, The Sinking City is an adventure-horror that was inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and made by Frogwares (who are famous for the Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes series).

You’ll play as a private investigator named Charles, who must unearth clues and avoid mass hysteria as New England succumbs to a humungous flood. As society sinks, you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled and work out why.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows

Read our review

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order (19 July)

Intriguingly headed exclusively to the Nintendo Switch, the third instalment of Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance series arrived in summer 2019. Team Ninja developed this brawler, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe appearing to be a significant inspiration.

Although you will see not-yet-MCU characters like Wolverine popping up, expect to see a lot of fan favourites from the Avengers and Guardians Of The Galaxy film franchises. Plus, Captain Marvel pops up as well!

Available on: Nintendo Switch

Read our review

Wolfenstein: Youngblood (26 July)

There are two playable characters in the new Wolfenstein game, which picks up 19 years into the new American Revolution: you can either play as Jess or Soph, who are twin sisters that were fathered by the series’ iconic protagonist BJ Blazkowicz.

The main story sees the twins searching for their missing pops in a Nazi-occupied Paris in 1980. There was also a VR experience released this year, set around the same time, which is dubbed Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows (and eventually Stadia)

Read our review

Blair Witch (30 August)

The studio behind Layers Of Fear, Bloober Team, has served up a Blair Witch video game that is set in the 1990s. The plot kicks off two years after the original movie, starting with the disappearance of a young boy in a forest. Players will join the search as a troubled police officer.

The game launched in August, providing some later-summer scares for gamers on Xbox Game Pass and PC. The game also has a really loveable dog in it, called Bullet, who will help you on your way through the forest.

Available on: Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Gears 5 (10 September)

The sequel to 2016’s Gears Of War 4, Microsoft Studios and The Coalition’s Gears 5, freshened things up in some big ways. On a cosmetic level, they’ve dumped ‘of War’ from the title to make for cleaner and cooler moniker. And on a more meaningful plane, they’ve shifted the player’s point of view into the Kait Diaz character.

JD Phoenix sticks around as a supporting cast member, but the main action focuses on Kait attempting to uncover the origins of the Locust. There are also celebrity appearances from the likes of Dave Bautista and Linda Hamilton in the game’s multiplayer modes. It may not be one of the very best Xbox One games, but it’s still worth a look for fans of the franchise.

Available on: Xbox One, Windows

Read our review

Borderlands 3 (13 September)

The original loot-shooter series will return with Borderlands 3, with Gearbox lining up a September release for this long-awaited threequel. The game will let you blast through new worlds as one of four Vault Hunters, playing either solo or with friends.

The game launched on PS4, Xbox One and PC on 13 September, and it was preceded by a new chapter of Borderlands 2 DLC. It’s a fun one, although it is basically more of the same.

Available on: PS4, Xbox One, Windows (and eventually Stadia)

Read our review

What The Golf? (19 September)

Utterly absurd and a whole lot of fun, What The Golf is perhaps the silliest launch title on Apple Arcade. A brilliant showcase for what the tech giant’s gaming service is capable of delivering, this game from the Danish developers Triband is sure to get you chuckling.

What starts off as a seemingly simple golfing game soon descends into chaos, with the player encouraged to send houses, cars and heaps of other random objects around various golf courses with the goal of solving simple puzzles. 

Available on: Apple Arcade (and eventually Windows, Mac and Linux)

Read more tips for Apple Arcade

Untitled Goose Game (20 September)

An indie curio from the Australian developers at House House, Untitled Goose Game is a really funny game that puts the player in the role of a lifetime: that of a mischievous goose.

Playing as this prank-happy waterfowl, you’ll cause bother aplenty for unsuspecting humans in a string of stealth-based missions. It’s charming, cute and utterly hilarious, and you should definitely check it out.

Available on: Nintendo Switch, Windows, Mac

Read our review

Doctor Who: The Edge Of Time (September)

In a year devoid of a new series of Doctor Who, the London-based Maze Theory studio is serving up some Time Lord action that should tide us over nicely. This VR game promises to put you in a unique interactive ‘episode’ of the show, complete with the official title sequence and Jodie Whittaker’s voice work.

From stepping into a virtual reality TARDIS to battling terrifying baddies such as The Weeping Angels, The Edge Of Time has lots of wish-fulfilment to offer fans of the Beeb’s flagship sci-fi series. As soon as an exact release date is confirmed, we’ll let you know.

Coming to: PS4, Oculus Quest, Windows

Read our interview

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare (25 October)

2019’s addition to the Call Of Duty franchise will be titled Modern Warfare, and it sounds like it’s taking things very seriously. The highly realistic game is apparently making playtesters cry, and it will not shy away from dark topics surrounding real-life warzones.

It won’t have a zombie mode, because that would belittle the serious vibe, but it still sounds like an interesting addition to the series. Here’s hoping it doesn’t make us cry too much.

Coming to: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read more

Death Stranding (8 November)

The next game from Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is called Death Stranding, and it has an amazing cast: Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen and Léa Seydoux are all set to have roles in the game, providing their likenesses and their vocal cords to the title. Film directors Guillermo del Toro and Nicolas Winding Refn will also appear.

While we know a lot about the people in the cast, we don’t know much about what the game itself will actually be like. We know that Kojima is treading brain-bending ground and perhaps even inventing a new genre, and we know that themes of life and death will be prevalent in the story. Death Stranding will be a PS4 exclusive.

Coming to: PS4

Read more

Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order (15 November)

Respawn Entertainment (the team behind Titanfall) is set to tackle the Star Wars universe. They’ll bring us the first action-adventure, single-player Star Wars game in what feels like a seriously long time. It’ll be Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order, and we can’t wait to find out more about it.

The game is set shortly after Star Wars: Episode III‘s unforgettable Order 66 moment, with the player character Cal (played by Cameron Monaghan) being one of the few Padawan learners that survived the cull. We should find out more in the coming months, as we inch towards the game’s late 2019 release. 

Coming to: PS4, Xbox One, Windows

Read more

Pokémon Sword and Shield (15 November)

GameFreak and Nintendo have told fans to expect a brand new Pokémon game – split into two titles, Pokémon Sword and Shield –  in late 2019. Interestingly, it seems to be set in a region that is based on the UK.

Some fans are hoping this game will do for Pokémon what Breath Of The Wild did for Zelda – thrusting the graphics and the scale forward in a big way – but only time will tell exactly how the game goes down with fans. 

Coming to: Nintendo Switch

Read our preview 

Doom Eternal (22 November)

Doom is back! Or rather, it will be, on in November 2019. Bethesda Softworks and iD Software are currently preparing the next hellspawn-stuffed instalment in this beloved first-person shooter series for release on Windows, Switch, PS4, Stadia and Xbox One.

You’ll play as Doom Slayer once again and blow the brains out of demons in numerous exciting-sounding game modes, including an asymmetric multiplayer set-up where your mates can play as the baddies. 

Coming to: PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Stadia

Read our preview 

Looking for some more games to play? if you fancy some further reading, you might like to check out the latest titles on Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Plus at these links.

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