The beginning of a new year signifies the rebirth of a whole new cycle of console gaming. With 2018 filled with top quality titles such as God of War and Sea of Thieves, 2019 is sure to have its own batch of must-have titles. It seems unlikely that with a market flooded with three major market selling consoles, fans will receive little love this year. January alone is a killer month, as both Capcom and Nintendo lining up with their own top-notch post-holiday releases. Regardless of company allegiance, consumers are going to be glad that they saved all their cash and gift cards for these 2019 titles.
Resident Evil 2
To top off our list, the sequel and remake to one of the greatest survival horror experiences are coming as early as January 25. Resident Evil 2 is not so much as a remake but an entire revisioning of the original that debuted 20 years ago on the original Sony Playstation. Capcom realizes the importance of rehashing some of its benchmark franchises, and brand name recognition goes a long way in the modern era. Resident Evil 2 will feature, once again, protagonists Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield in their quest to escape the horrors of Racoon City following a zombie outbreak. Utilizing full 1080 P textures, and a complete graphical overhaul that incorporates new character perspectives during action sequences, RE 2 epitomizes everything that made the original PS1 such a monolithic console. Director Kazunori Kadoi and his team seek to dethrone the original Resident Evil’s remastering on the Gamecube back in 2002, and with RE 2 receiving the “Best of Show” award from the Critics Choice awards in 2018, it appears Kadoi’s team will do just that. From simple tank controls to creating an integrated background system with an over the shoulder action perspective, Resident Evil 2 is the must-have game of 2019, even if its source material is two decades old.
New Super Mario Bros U. Deluxe
Yet another Wii U port on the Nintendo Switch, New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe is the first party title worth revisiting in 2019. Not much has changed since the previous generation in this port, with the exception of Princess Peach and the inclusion of New Luigi U’s expansion pack, but this does little to detract from this much-deserved trip down memory lane. Not that this game is without its flaws, right from the outset fans are greeted with a full price tag and little revisionism of the game’s core gameplay mechanics. But even for those who played the living hell out of it on the Wii U, it seems sad that such a great 2D throwback would be relegated to the ash heap of Nintendo’s forgotten follow up to the Wii. More of perfecting of an already brilliant formula than a complete reimagining, New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe is definitely the perfect way to start off this year in style for Nintendo. Much like other ports on the Switch, Mario’s traditional platforming adventures seems appropriate when one considers how little attention its previous console received when compared to its competitors. January 11th, 2019 is nearly a week away and thus it seems Nintendo is off to great start following the holiday carnage.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Unlike its predecessors, Kingdom Hearts 3 (KH3)is not relegated to being a Sony exclusive. Truly odd when one considers the plot holes Xbox fans will have to deal with in this conclusion to the dark seeker saga. Tetsuya Nomura heads the director’s chair for Square Enix, and the third entry in this beloved Disney cross is sure to be full of surprises. A hack and slash RPG true and true, KH3 will incorporate a diverse array of Disney locations from 100-acre woods in Winnie the Pooh to the world of Toy Story’s 2 and 3. Nomura and his team will also utilize 1080 P graphical engines running at 60 FPS, which goes far beyond the graphical limitations of the series’ predecessors. If this is truly the apex of Sora’s story arc, then Square Enix is concluding the character’s journey in grand fashion. With a plot that has been maligned as much as it has been praised, Kingdom Hearts 3 is the pivotal RPG of 2019 and a treasure for Xbox owners who have not yet had the pleasure of venturing into the different worlds of Disney.
Final Fantasy 7
More like hopeful wishing than hard facts, but it finally seems as if Final Fantasy 7 (FF7) will be making its mark as a PS4 and Nintendo Switch platform release in 2019. With a gestation period of nearly 5 years, FF7 is the sought after PS4 exclusive fans have been clamoring for since it debuted atE3 2015. Only a handful of screenshots and some gameplay footage have teased fanboys since then, and with a fully voiced cast and high definition graphical upgrades, FF7 is the single most important game this year. Not because it is necessarily better than anything being released, but because it symbolizes a time when JRPG’s were a novel genre in the West. For a game to have come out over two decades ago and still be revered represents something as to the significance of its breadth of scope. Nothing before or since has driven the Western World towards JRPG madness as Final Fantasy 7 had done on the PS1. Single-handedly undermining the original Playstation’s competition, FF7 is by far one of the greatest games ever produced and not because of graphical specs. The story is what is put to the forefront of any RPG, and FF7 utilized the brilliance of great plot structure above anything else. Just imagine the combination of epic story exposition combined with modern day graphics. Thus the maddening craze for a FF 7 remake grows ever stronger with each year that passes. Capcom understands the importance of connecting modern day gamers to past franchises, let us hope Square Enix knows the same.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
With the Marvel Cinematic Universereaching ever greater heights in the past decade, many have left to wonder what is the fate of the Ultimate Alliance video game franchise. Now, these questions have been almost completely answered in this Nintendo Switch exclusive coming in the summer of 2019. Heavily inspired by the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy’s hero lineups, Ultimate Alliance 3 will pick up right where its predecessor did back in 2009. A dungeon crawler style hack and slash RPG, the Alliance series has been absent for almost nearly a decade which is bewildering when one considers how much the comic book art form and gaming parallel each other. A true Nintendo third-party exclusive, it appears that Alliance 3 will feature a shell shaded graphical style that runs at 60 FPS even when the system is not in dock mode. With little known about its plot, it is still exciting to see such a grand cinematic universe brought to life on the small screen and Nintendo is truly wise in revisiting this much-beloved franchise. With new screenshots detailing such beloved characters as The Hulk and Wolverine returning to the fray, Ultimate Alliance 3 is the heartwarming title of 2019.