Top 10 Most Wanted: 2019 Midterm Edition - ArticleEvan Norris , posted on 01 July 2019 / 3,297 Views
We've once again hit the midway point of the year. It's time to look ahead and anticipate the best video games on the horizon. This year I'm playing things conservatively and highlighting titles that are safe bets. That means a lot of Nintendo—the most reliable publisher on the market—plus sequels to known commodities and remakes of great games. This strategy worked last year, as Resident Evil 2, a remake to an excellent game, turned out similarly impressive; Guacamelee! 2 delivered the same addictive action-adventure gameplay as its predecessor; and Nintendo's marquee 2018 release Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was, arguably, the finest title of the year.
With that out of the way, please enjoy my personal list of most wanted games. I've selected games that are due out before July 1, 2020, to avoid any duplicates moving forward.
Valfaris (NS, PC, PS4, XOne)
Maybe it's because I'm on a Contra kick after playing Konami's Contra Anniversary Collection, but I need Valfaris in my life. With its grotesque enemies, busy gameplay, and tainted environments, it looks to capture the best parts of Contra and Metroid. Plus, just look at that vibrant pixel art and listen to that metal soundtrack by former Celtic Frost guitarist Curt Victor Bryant.
The Surge 2 (PC, PS4, XOne)
After watching a lengthy gameplay demo of The Surge 2, I'm even more optimistic about the sequel to one of the more underrated action games of the last few years. The game will feature similar risk-and-reward gameplay, limb dismemberment mechanics, and dystopian environments, along with new asymmetrical online features (borrowed from the Souls series), larger maps, and a character creator.
Panzer Dragoon (NS)
We don't know much about the remake to the Sega Saturn shooter Panzer Dragoon, other than it will include improved graphics and controls and remain true to the spirit of the original. That's great news because Panzer Dragoon, despite its steep difficulty, is one of the best Saturn games and one of the most outstanding rail shooters ever made.
Psychonauts 2 (PC, PS4, XOne)
In 2020, when Psychonauts 2 arrives on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, a decade and a half will have elapsed since developer Double Fine turned in the first Psychonauts—the best 3D platformer not to star a plumber or honey bear. Consequently, this selection is predicated on the hope that Double Fine hasn't lost its magic in the interim. Based on the gameplay trailer from E3, it's a realistic hope. The sequel looks to capture the same offbeat characters, cartoon aesthetic, and imaginative 3D platforming as the 2005 original.
Ys IX: Monstrum Nox (PS4)
Ys IX has actually been slipping down my list since its first reveal. Initial gameplay footage showed a grainy, empty world, and the most recent gameplay trailer—while an improvement—s
till looks far flatter and more desolate than the terrific Ys VIII. Still, this is Ys and Falcom, and I wouldn't count either out. The prison city setting is intriguing (apparently 40 to 50 percent of the total map is the city), and the new traversal mechanics look to be disruptive for the long-running series.
DOOM Eternal (NS, PC, PS4, XOne)
Confession time: I'm not the biggest fan of the 2016 DOOM reboot. The moment-to-moment gunplay is spectacular, but the generic multiplayer mode and the clear-locked-room-of-enemies-to-proceed gameplay loop dragged the production downward, especially in the campaign's second half. So it's good news that developer id dropped its traditional deathmatch multiplayer offering and replaced it with Battlemode, a two-versus-one contest with a "fully loaded" slayer pitted against two human-controlled demons. Id has also promised to tweak its reliance on enclosed spaces: "Even when you're in an arena, it's a big arena and it doesn't feel like an arena," said Executive Producer Marty Stratton in an interview with VG24/7. "It's a new level of arena for us."
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (NS)
Animal Crossing may be the most unassumingly great franchise in video game history. It's an incredibly accessible and humble series, but also one of the most addictive, rewarding, and affecting. Here's hoping the latest entry, New Horizons, will live up to the greatness of its forebears. With character customization options, a novel crafting system, and a new desert island setting, things are looking good.
Astral Chain (NS)
PlatinumGames has made a few duds—anyone remember Mutants in Manhattan?—but also several of the most extraordinary action games on the planet. Based on gameplay footage and previews of Astral Chain, it's safe to say it will fall more closely to the latter camp. Directed by Takahisa Taura, game designer on NieR: Automata, and supervised by Hideki Kamiya, Astral Chain allows players to control simultaneously the game's protagonist and a special weapon called a Legion. Expect the same stylish combos and massive boss fights that made Platinum a fan favorite.
Gears 5 (XOne, PC)
For the second year in a row—and despite the game's poor showing at this year's E3—Gears 5 earns a spot at number two. The game will include a new cooperative multiplayer mode called Escape, where three players infiltrate a Swarm hive, plant a bomb, and then escape, as well as tweaked controls, more player choice, and the "largest and most diverse Gears world ever created."
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (NS)
In Link's Awakening, a remake of the 1993 Game Boy title, players will explore a reimagined Koholint Island, brought to life via charming claymation-style graphics (the game, at times, looks like a Rankin/Bass production). With updated mini-games, a "reawakened" soundtrack, a brand new dungeon creator called Chamber Dungeon, and all the quirks that made the portable title a hit in the early 90s, Link's Awakening should contend for game-of-the-year status.
Thank you for reading about my most wanted games. As always, please leave a comment below with your own list of anticipated titles!