As we sink deeper into the second half of 2019, it is hard to ignore the drought of hard-hitting and excellent games over the past couple of months. That said, we do have some truly great games that came out earlier this year, some of which were highly anticipated and one that nobody saw coming. Here’s a look at the 5 best games that were released in the first half of 2019. Please do note that this list is based on my experience with the games. So, if you do not see Kingdom Hearts 3 or Mortal Kombat 11, it is probably because of my lack of hands on time with those games. Without further ado, here we go.
No.1 Resident Evil 2 Remake
Easily one of the best survival horror games out there, this year’s Resident Evil 2 is more than just a remake of a classic. Being a re-telling of one of the best games of its generation and the fact that it was coming hot off heels of the equally excellent RE 7, Resident Evil 2 had a lot to live up to. Capcom not only lived up to the lofty expectation of fans but exceeded them by a large degree.
With stunning visuals which only made all the gore that much more disturbing, and a shift in style to third person with RE 4 style over the shoulder perspective, and the decision to stay faithful to some of the story beats from the original, RE2 Remake was a triumph through and through. It was a great way to start the year.
No.2 Metro Exodus
Metro Exodus is one of those rare games that goes out of its way to distinguish itself from the games it follows. While Metro 2033, and Last Light’s dark tunnels and tight corridors with the occasional outdoor sections were effective in inducing fear, tension and claustrophobia, Exodus somehow keeps all of those qualities and improves upon all of them while the game itself evolves in to an expansive, quasi open sandbox like structure. The deep customization options, gorgeous graphics, excellent world building and fantastic sound design all contribute towards an experience that gratifyingly supersedes the first two games.
Undoubtedly the best in the series, this game could have easily followed upon the footsteps of the first two games and would have still faired well. But developers 4A games did not stick to the “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” route and have delivered something far more special. Typically, one would be saturated by a franchise by the end of the third game, especially in the FPS genre. But Exodus left me wanting more, and in the best way possible.
No.3 Devil May Cry 5
Capcom strikes again by delivering one of the most fun games of the year yet. Devil May Cry 5 is everything a DMC (original numbered series) fan was hoping for and so much more. The game is equal style and substance, something that is very rare to come by in modern games. The game’s three playable characters offer enough variety to keep the game fresh and interesting throughout the its runtime, and the ever-present style ranking system only pushes the player to try again and perform better.
Whether you are familiar with the previous DMC games or not, DMC 5 is an undeniable thrill ride from start to finish. Easily one of, if not, THE best Third Person hack and slash action games, this is a must play for anyone who even remotely likes video games. The shenanigans on screen are totally worth anybody’s time.
No.4 Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
From Software’s latest is also their best work yet. With Sekiro, From Software delivered something that not only checked all the boxes that you would expect from a game from that studio, but also managed to keep the formula fresh and exciting. The emphasis on stealth definitely works in the game’s favour by keeping the tension alive, and the posture-based sword play is as punishing and deep as you would expect from a From Software game.
The game also looks great with its refreshing use of colours rather than the studio’s signature 150 shades of grey. Sinking dozens of hours learning your opponent and mastering your own moves and delivering that final blow after a handful of deaths is just as satisfying as ever if not better somehow. Sekiro demands patience and skill, and is an experience unlike any other for the ones willing to invest in it. This is easily one of this year’s Game of the Year contender.
No. 5 Apex Legends
Well, who saw this coming? EA and Respawn just did the impossible with Apex Legends. Not only did they manage to keep a high-profile Battle Royale game under wraps until it’s reveal, but they also managed to make Battle Royale genuinely fun, and more importantly made a BR sceptic like me warm up to the genre. Apex Legends blended overwatch style heroes with squad based tactical multiplayer thrown into refined first-person action with emphasis on mobility. It’s robust ping system meant that you could play it without a mic and oh so refreshingly avoid all gibberish that people talk during online matches.
With frequent updates and new heroes to unlock each season the game does do a god job at keeping things fresh (Here’s hoping a new map is introduced in the next season). Apex Legends is a game that should not exist, given its roots and the choice of its genre. But I am so glad that it does, and it made 2019 all the more better.