The end of the year is upon us, so it is time to celebrate the best in gaming. While this year was no 2018, I still had plenty of great experiences. The AAA titles disappointed for the most part with some gems in the mix, but the indie games held it all together. Big or small, I had a ton of variety in my playtime this year and plenty of developers to thank for some phenomenal creations.
#9: Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
The reason Sekiro is lower on the list is that I never beat it. I played enough to fall in love, but damn, it is hard. I am terrible at FromSoftware games. I hop on every time because my friends convince me, and this company knocks it out of the park with each masterpiece, just look at Bloodborne or Dark Souls 3.
The main issue with their games is an unaccessible story and clunky movement. Sekiro is arguably the best release yet from the Japanese developer due to these improvements. If it had co-op, then I would be able to complete it and have more fun with friends.
#8: The Outer Worlds
Obsidian scratched my Fallout itch with The Outer Worlds. Enough is done to stand out from the company’s work on New Vegas and the rest of Bethesda’s RPG franchise to not feel like a copy.
This is an RPG that is both accessible and easy to digest. Rather than spending hundreds of hours in this universe, completionists can smoothly accomplish every side quest while casual players and stroll on by at their own pace. This sci-fi adventure would make for an excellent introduction into the genre without having to go through a massive, intimidating world. A must-play for newbies and die-hard fans.
#7: Resident Evil 2
The remake of Resident Evil 2 balances being a ground-up rework and paying homage to the original title while making it work in the modern landscape of action-horror titles similar to more recent RE entries. I missed out on the initial release as I was too young, but this was the perfect way to go in to experience something new and vintage.
Additional content to keep players engaged along with the multiple playthroughs that are required in the 1998 release and the 2019 edition make this have some of the most replayability of the year. That does not even count all of the secrets to find in the main game.
This is how remakes need to be done.
#6: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Easily one of the best stories ever told within the Star Wars universe, regardless of its medium. Fallen Order delivers a remarkable, swashbuckling adventure that fits well in the canon.
The gameplay may seem too familiar as it is essentially Uncharted, Sekiro, and Dark Souls in a Star Wars costume, but it is also great to make me care. It feels too satisfying to use the lightsaber and the force. I never truly had a game make me feel like a Padawan growing into a Jedi, which is something I think any fan would want out of a game like this.
#5: Mortal Kombat 11
I may be one of the worst fighting game players around, but I love Mortal Komat. Its brutality, cheesy story, and loads of content is irresistible. The metalhead in me cannot get into the genre, but MK is the one exception as it is metal as fuck.
The cherry on top comes from the cameo fighters that appear. The talented men and women at NetherRealm are already kings and queens of these arena-based action games, and they make it better with characters like Terminator and Spawn.
#4: Borderlands 3
The Borderlands games are some of my favorite shooters around. I adore this universe and its wacky characters and even goofier weapons. The long-awaited third title gave me everything and more I could possibly want. It may not have as memorable of a villain like Handsome Jack, but every other element is golden.
This retro-styled platformer is insanely challenging and addicting. Its mesmerizing visual aesthetic comes straight out of the 90s in all of its indie glory. It oozes color, blood, and guts in all of the right places.
To top it off, this is right up there with some of the best music ever in a video game. What’s not to love than old school graphics, solid gameplay, and a heavy metal soundtrack? Nothing is the answer.
#2: My Friend Pedro
It may lack much replayability, but this short 2D platforming shooter is beyond fun. Adding to this deliciousness within Valfaris is some of the best music in recent memory. That combination of electric beats that go with a night out to the club mixed with the fluid movements makes for an action-packed experience that took me by surprise.
For a AAA title, this has the experimentation to expect from an indie release. Remedy went above and beyond with this creative endeavor that gets an A+ in every category from its graphics, acting, story, and gameplay. I can only hope other juggernauts in the industry can look to Control and get ballsy with imagination to deliver something truly unique.
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Images via Remedy Entertainment, FromSoftware/Activision, Steel Mantis/Big Sugar, Obsidian Entertainment, Respawn Entertainment/EA, Deadtoast Entertainment/Devolver Digital, Gearbox Software/2K, Capcom