We’re about halfway through the year now, so it’s time again to review the best games of the year so far. You can find my first quarter update here, but I’ll repeat the grading criteria once again:
Contender: I’m 80-90% confident these games will be included in everyone’s year end “Top 10 games of 2019” lists.
Pretender: They look like contenders, but over time as better games are released, they will fade. Also, as better games are released throughout the year, some contenders will have to drop to this category.
Nice Try Bro: These are the games that had the hype of a GOTY candidate, but ultimately didn’t live up to the expectations. Like dating the hot college sorority girl everyone wants to get with just to find out she’s a psychotic bitch who makes your life a living hell. Edit: I’m going to include all triple A games that had the potential to be nominated from here forward, since that’s the goal of each of the big studios. Not to be a GOTY canidate per se, but to be an excellent title worth the money they pump into it.
Once again, we will start at the bottom:
Nice Try Bro
Anthem (Metacritic Score 60)
Crackdown 3 (Metacritic Score 57)
Days Gone (Metacritic Score 71)
Yea, the Metacritic score is kinda high to be in this category, and it’s no where near as bad as Crackdown 3 or Anthem, but the hype surrounding this game justifies its place. Sony has done an excellent job making excellent exclusive games over the last 2-3 years, but this just fell flat. Open world games have to be engaging, and many times the world of Days Gone just felt empty. Big letdown for PlayStation gamers.
Rage 2 (Metacritic Score 71)
It’s a damn shame that Avalanche Studios can’t seem to make a good narrative, because they make some of the most fun shooter gameplay outside of Borderlands. I predicted this earlier this year: Rage 2 would be a really fun game to play but the story and characters would fall flat, and that’s exactly what every review says. It doesn’t make sense to me why Bethesda didn’t realize this when Avalanche was brought into this project. At least hire someone who can craft a great story to work with this team, because then it would have been a decent game.
The Division 2 (Metacritic Score 82)
Metro Exodus (Metacritic Score 82)
Resident Evil 2 Remake (Metacritic Score 92)
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Metacritic Score 82)
DEMOTION: Apex Legends (Metacritic Score 88)
The hype has dropped drastically. The Season 1 Battle Pass was a complete flop, and Respawn did nothing really at EA Play to convince me that they will be changing enough to bring the player base back. This should have been the game to reduce Fortnite’s influence; instead it’s just another tumbleweed in the desert of failed battle royales.
DEMOTION: Tetris 99
Yea…I may have been a little too hype about this. I still think it will be in the bottom of some Top 10’s, but Tetris 99 never really got the hype it deserved. I will say I played about 40 hours of this game and still didn’t get a win, and sometimes late at night I still cry a bit due to the suffering I experienced. But at the end of the day, it will be lost in the shadows.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Metacritic Score 91)
Devil May Cry 5 (Metacritic Score 88)
Slay the Spire (Metacritic Score 87)
Indie games never win the big GOTY awards, but this should be included in most people’s top 5, and might be the indie nomination for GOTY at the moment. Slay the Spire is a roguelike deck building game for PC, PS4 and Switch, published by Humble Bundle. The combat is similar to games like Heartstone, but the rogue-like elements make the gameplay loop hard to stop playing.
Cadence of Hyrule (Metacritic Score 86)
I wrote about this game last week, but Cadence of Hyrule has lived up to the hype. The rhythm based combat brings a fresh spin on the classic Zelda gameplay. The question is how much “Zelda” has an impact on the title. Any time a Zelda title is released everyone owning a Switch has a micro-orgasm. If the nostalgia was taken away, would this still be worth the nomination? We’ll see in the next quarter if everyone is still talking about it…
Yep, Q2 really didn’t add a ton to the overall GOTY watch. We didn’t get an Overwatch or a God of War this year that made a huge splash between April and June. But that’s OK, because we have plenty to look forward to. Games that are on my radar for Q3 (July-September) include:
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
- Wolfenstein Youngblood
- Rad (indie)
- Astral Chain
- Gears 5
- Borderlands 3
That’s a hefty load to swallow. I think at least 2-3 should be contenders, with Borderlands 3 having the best odds. If it were up to me today, I would say Sekiro is still the top contender for 2019 GOTY, but with these titles and other games like The Outer Worlds, Death Stranding, Doom Eternal, and Pokemon Sword and Shield still coming in Q4, it will probably be a very close race.