A new year is here, and that means we have an entire twelve months of new games to look forward to! It’s going to be an odd year for gaming, with the life-cycle of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One winding down, and rumors of the next console generation already picking up steam. However, if tradition holds true, that means we are in store for some of the best and most ambitious games we’ve seen on these systems yet as developers push this generation of hardware to their very limits.
January 2019 looks like it’s going to kick this year in gaming off on a high note. With some tremendously anticipated sequels, a good number of ports and remakes, and some of the most talked about games in recent memory, there are going to be plenty of games to play and discuss. Set your 2019 gaming resolutions now — once January begins there will be loads of great games to play right out of the gate.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe
- Release Date(s): January 11
- Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
- Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
- Genre: Platformer
Here it is, the game that spun Super Mario lore on its head with the introduction of Peachette, and inadvertently spawned countless amounts of gender-bent fanart, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe! Continuing the trend of any remotely good Wii U game getting a Nintendo Switch Port, this platformer will receive a few added features, like new playable characters, in its migration to the portable console. As the third best selling game on the Wii U, Super Mario Bros. U definitely deserves a place on Nintendo’s latest, and maybe greatest, hardware.
While there’s no shortage of 2D Super Mario platformers, New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is likely to be one of the best ones. The original had a staggering amount of content, and this port is set to have even more to do over the course of its Mushroom Kingdom adventure. At the very least, this is going to be one more incredible couch co-op game on the only console that seems interested in continuing that aspect of gaming.
The Walking Dead: The Final Season Ep. 3
- Release Date(s): January 15
- Developer(s): Telltale Games, Skybound Games
- Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Genre: Adventure
Telltale’s The Walking Dead will premiere the third installment of the game’s final season this January, following a good amount of development turmoil and controversy. With the abrupt bankruptcy and imminent closure of Telltale Games, it seemed like the final two episodes would never come out. That is, until Skybound Games announced that they were talking over the project. Moreover, it seems like Skybound Games brought on most of the original staff behind the project, so purchasing this game will, in fact, benefit those who put countless hours into creating it.
It’s fair to say that the quality and fan reaction to The Walking Dead games are not what they used to be, but this is still the series that brought adventure games back into the mainstream. With just two episodes to go, this macabre and morally ambiguous adventure is drawing to a close, and it’s definitely worth seeing this piece of gaming history through to its conclusion. We can only hope that this former powerhouse of a franchise manages to sprint to its conclusion, rather than limp to the finish line.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes
- Release Date(s): January 18
- Developer(s): Grasshopper Manufacture
- Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
- Genre: Action
After almost nine years to the day, a new No More Heroes game will have players once again take control of the lovably insufferable Travis Touchdown as he fights to escape from a deadly video game. Even if it’s closer to a spin-off than a proper sequel to No More Heroes 2, Travis Strikes Again is likely to be a bizarre blast of a time. With apparent influences from Hotline Miami and an even more bizarre premise that its predecessors, Travis Strikes Again is on track to be one of the most distinctive games on the Nintendo Switch.
The No More Heroes series is definitely a more niche collection of games, which is a shame considering how much these games have to say about gamers and the gaming community. Just barely underneath the extravagant battles against superhuman assassins is a story about a man reluctantly leaving his own isolated lifestyle. If TSA commits to and executes its bizarre premise as well as the first two games did, it will definitely be worth checking out.
Resident Evil 2 (2019)
- Release Date(s): January 25
- Developer(s): Capcom R&D Division 1
- Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
- Genre: Survival Horror
The original Resident Evil 2 is considered by many to be the best installment in the long-running horror franchise, which is probably why it has so many ports. More than twenty years after its initial release, the classic horror game is getting a proper remake that promises to make full use of the affordances of modern hardware. Especially following the critical and commercial success of 2017’s Resident Evil 7, there are a lot of reasons to be excited about this REmake.
It’ll be fascinating to see how Resident Evil 2 translates into a modern horror game. The original game used the clunky controls and delayed inputs common at the time of its release to play up its horror and really drive home how powerless the player was against its undead foes. Hopefully, this remake manages to hold onto the fear and tension of the original while making the game more approachable to new audiences.
Kingdom Hearts III
- Release Date(s): January 29
- Developer(s): Square Enix Business Division 3
- Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One
- Genre: Action RPG
After more than a decade since the launch of Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts III will finally premiere at the end of January. Even with several canonical side games and numerous collections premiering in the interim, Kingdom Hearts III is still one of the most anticipated games in recent memory. Featuring numerous classic cartoon characters and themes that most people can relate to, it’s no wonder that this series means so much to so many people.
Fans of the Kingdom Hearts series were always going to play this game, but newcomers shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try either. While the series’ complex lore and numerous entries may seem like a hurdle, the Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far collection contains just about everything players need to know to get caught up. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going into this game fresh and then checking out the previous titles, either. If it lives up to its predecessors, there’s sure to be something worthwhile in Kingdom Hearts III for everyone who plays it.