This year has FLOWN by. We’re over 3/4 of the way through 2019 now. So, like I do at the end of every quarter, it’s time to review! Here are my first two GOTY watch posts:
And since we’re approaching the end of the year (and the following has almost tripled since the first GOTY review), allow me to clarify the categories:
Contenders: These titles will be in everyone’s Top 10 of 2019 list. They’re highly polished titles with minimal flaws. These are the elite games of 2019.
Pretenders: They look like contenders, but over time as better games are released, they will fade. They’re not bad games per se, but they’re clearly inferior to the contenders.
Nice Try Bro: These are the games that had a ton of hype and promotion surrounding them but they ultimately disappointed. 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.
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)
Rage 2 (Metacritic Score 71)
Control (Metacritic Score 83)
Don’t let the above 80 rating fool you; this game is an all-around catastrophe. The gameplay and powers are cool, and the visuals are awesome, but the cons greatly outweigh the pros. First, the game launched horribly for anyone not owning a state-of-the-art gaming PC. I have absolutely no fucking clue who was responsible for porting Control to the base consoles (Xbox One and PS4), but they should be fired. The rendering was horrible, the game crashed a ton, and even the upgraded consoles (Xbox One X and PS4 Pro) had technical issues. On top of that, the story is an incomprehensible mess and the human animations are a huge downgrade from Quantum Break. Swing and a miss Remedy.
Wolfenstein Youngblood (Metacritic Score 67)
The only reason this game is even slightly enjoyable is the co-op feature. I never expected it to be a GOTY contender, but I didn’t expect it to be a complete money grab. The story is bland, the gameplay feels hollow, and it’s virtually unplayable on its own due to companion’s AI . On top of all of this, the addition of microtransactions just shows that Bethesda had no intention of this being a good game. They basically just slapped the “Wolfenstein” name onto a pile of garbage and said, “buy this”. And we did. And we want our money back, Bethesda.
The Division 2 (Metacritic Score 82)
Metro Exodus (Metacritic Score 82)
Resident Evil 2 Remake (Metacritic Score 92) – see bottom of page for update
Kingdom Hearts 3 (Metacritic Score 82)
Tetris 99 (Metacritic Score 83)
Gears 5 (Metacritic Score 84)
Borderlands 3 (Metacritic Score 82)
I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. Is this game worth $60? Yes. Did it live up to its potential? Absolutely not. Every time I start this game up I can only play it for like an hour before I get pissed off. This was not only my most anticipated game this year, but my early prediction for 2019 Game of the Year, and it flopped on nearly every level. It’s still Borderlands, but all the charisma, the funny quests, the interesting and unique guns; they’ve all been stripped away. And the villains just suck. They’re nowhere near as funny, evil, or entertaining as Handsome Jack. Most of the time they bombard you with boring unintelligent rambling that I have trouble even paying attention to anymore. I’m still gonna play this with my friends, but I’ll be gritting my teeth the entire time wishing for what could have been. Sigh.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (Metacritic Score 91)
Devil May Cry 5 (Metacritic Score 88)
Slay the Spire (Metacritic Score 87)
Cadence of Hyrule (Metacritic Score 86)
PROMOTION: Apex Legends (Metacritic Score 88)
I have no fucking clue where to put this game, but color me optimistic. It had what might have been the best launch in video game history (in terms of marketing and promotion), then skidded to a halt with the horrible Season 1 Battle Pass. Now? They’ve just released a new map, we’ve got 3 new heroes, and the play base from February has returned. The question is for how long? I’m still not a fan of some of the things they’re doing, like the Iron Crown event which was clearly influenced by EA’s bullshit, but this new season may put them back on the right track. Also, there hasn’t really been another competitive shooter released this year that’s come close to Apex. So consider this game on the fringe of contender/pretender.
Astral Chain (Metacritic Score 87)
I had this game on my radar earlier this year, but I never thought it would be this good. I mean, this game was fucking awesome. The general consensus is that Astral Chain is Platinum Games’ best title to date, and that’s saying a lot when you have games like Bayonetta 2 and Nier: Automata on your resume. The world that they have built for Astral Chain is highly engaging, with excellent bosses and a wide variety of standard enemies. It’s almost like a hack and slash version of Borderlands 2, except with anime characters and giant demon dogs. Very well done and worth your time if you own a Switch.
Quick note on Remakes
The Resident Evil 2 and Link’s Awakening remakes are in a weird spot. They’re absolutely incredible titles, but I’m not sure they are eligible to count toward GOTY since they’re, well, remakes. So, I’m going to eliminate these titles from this column altogether, and when I release my game awards for 2019 this December, I will have a Remake/Remaster category to cover these types of games.
Three quarters down, and only one to go! And Q4 might be the biggest quarter yet, with the following titles being released:
- Ghost Recon Breakpoint
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
- The Outer Worlds
- Death Stranding
- Pokemon Sword and Shield
- Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
- Doom Eternal
I think there’s still at least one or two contenders sitting in that mix, and Afterparty especially has a chance to get into the Indie of the Year discussion. Stay tuned for updates on each of these titles and any other hidden gems that might pop up!