The best upcoming games of 2019 (and beyond)

Dirt Rally 2.0

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC 
Release date: February 26, 2019

If you're looking for a driving hit this year then Dirt Rally 2.0 should have you covered. The classic rally series takes you on a racing adventure through tracks in New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Poland, Australia and the USA, with over 50 cars to wreck/win with. This instalment leans into the idea of playing the long game with track deformation that degrades the course and changes grip as you race. And car damage carries over from event to event meaning you'll need to really master the 'My Team' mode to hire specialists to keep you in the running, as well as tune your car to perfection. 

Devil May Cry 5

Devil May Cry 5

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Release date: March 8, 2019

Devil May Cry 5 keeps the grimy aesthetic from Ninja Theory's DmC, but ditches the reboot's plot for a continuation of the numbered games' story. Described by Capcom as a "true sequel" to Devil May Cry 4, the game puts players in control of Nero, a demon hunter with a robot arm and sword he can rev like a motorcycle engine. Yes, it's a bit silly. But who cares when your game's hero is surfing rockets like a surfboard right into a demon's face?

The Division 2 

The Division 2

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 15, 2019

As shared-world multiplayer games go, Tom Clancy's The Division has enjoyed such an interesting, surprisingly long lifespan. Ubisoft's third-person shooter, set in the snowy streets of smallpox-afflicted New York City, was a commercial success at launch, but the sparse end-game content eventually left many players cold. Undeterred, the development team kept refining the game with years' worth of improvements, leading to what is now a cult hit with a small army of dedicated players. The Division 2 aims to build on that success, taking place in Washington, D.C. seven months after the events of the first game's outbreak. With the new class system, eight-player raids, and an overhauled game engine, there should be a lot to love in The Division 2 for anyone who enjoys shooting thugs and looting their bodies for better gear. 

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: March 22, 2019

A new game from the masters of the action-RPG FromSoftware tends to be a blessing and a curse all at once. A blessing, because it means another lovingly crafted world to explore and soak up for months. A curse, because it also means we're going to be terrified, beat up, and killed over and over again by the studio's punishing approach to gameplay challenge. Set in a mythologised take on Feudal Japan, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice will continue the FromSoft hack-and-slash tradition with thematic tweaks and forward-thinking changes to suit the new milieu. The most enticing feature spotted so far? A grappling hook, which could drastically change how we traverse the expertly made zones and arenas. Get ready to die all over again. 

Mortal Kombat 11 

Platform(s): Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: April 23, 2019

NetherRealm Studios has such a good thing going, able to alternate its mastery of highly polished fighting game design between the Mortal Kombat and Injustice franchises. Following the success of Injustice 2, NetherRealm is going back to its bone-crunching, intestine-obliterating roots with Mortal Kombat 11, which debuted via a gloriously gory cinematic trailer featuring Scorpion and Raiden beating each other to bloody pulps. We'll learn more about the actual gameplay at Mortal Kombat 11's full reveal event slated for January 17, so stay tuned.

Days Gone

Platform(s): PS4 
Release date: April 26, 2019

If you think zombies have been done to death, well... you're right, but that isn't stopping the PS4-exclusive Days Gone. The enemies in this open-world post-apocalypse aren't technically undead - the so-called 'Freakers' are actually infected humans who have gone feral and seem eager to devour our hero Deacon (voiced by and modeled after Sam Witwer, who you might recognize as Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed). What really sets the Freaker horde apart is just how many can be chasing you at once; there are times when they're practically flooding out of the environment, and all you can do to survive is simply run. 

Team Sonic Racing

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC
Release date: May 21, 2019

Sonic and his many anthropomorphic pals are back for their third kart-racing competition - and before you ask, Sonic races in a car as a handicap because there'd be no contest if he was running on foot. Sumo Digital, the same developer behind the brilliant Sonic All-Stars Racing games, is back for Team Sonic Racing, which focuses solely on the Sonic universe and puts drivers in teams as they vie for a combined score rather than pole position. It's definitely a departure from the more traditional arcade racing of the previous games, and the Sonic focus sadly excludes all that wonderfully obscure Sega fan service. But the vibrant visuals and finely tuned fundamentals are still there, with all the boosting, item-blasting, and mid-air tricking you could hope for.

Shenmue 3

Platform(s): PS4, PC
Release date: August 27, 2019

The Shenmue series was never a huge commercial success, but thanks in part to Kickstarter and thousands of fans' hard-earned dollars (plus some generous funding from Sony), the project is fully underway. In Shenmue 3, you'll take the role of a martial artist named Ryo Hazuki as he attempts to uncover who is responsible for his father's murder. The game promises to have gameplay reminiscent of the previous titles, enabling players to take on enemies in hand-to-hand combat, upgrade combat abilities, and explore a living world full of villages, shops, and an active populous.

Rage 2 

Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release date: Spring 2019

If all the bright colors and Andrew W.K. jams in the trailers didn't tip you off, Rage 2 treats the post-apocalypse like one giant, raucous party. After a giant asteroid decimates most of humankind, the survivors have to fend for themselves against legions of vicious bandits and mutants with murderous tendencies. As Walker, the last living Ranger of the wasteland, you'll engage in frenetic first-person shootouts and high-speed vehicular combat, wreaking havoc across all kinds of diverse environments beyond the classic 'barren desert' setting. Rage 2 brings back the lethal boomerang known as the wingstick, and amps up the firefights with plenty of dashing and an adrenaline-pumping, neon-soaked berserker mode. It's only fitting that Rage 2 feels like an FPS take on the world of Mad Max: Fury Road - it's being developed by Avalanche Studios, which also made the open-world Mad Max game (and the famously chaotic Just Cause series). 

Phoenix Point 

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC
Release date: June 2019

Whether you played the original X-COM back in the day or love the modern reboots from 2K, there's just something satisfying about defending the planet from hostile aliens via tactical, turn-based battles full of sudden surprises and miraculous saves. If you're waiting impatiently for XCOM 3, you'll be happy to know that Phoenix Point - headed up by Julian Gollop, creator of the original X-COM - will scratch that same sci-fi strategy itch. In the desolate post-apocalypse of Phoenix Point, humanity has split into factions following a viral outbreak, and horrific aliens are terrorizing the wastes. As one of the factions fighting to protect Earth, you'll need to ally (or war) with other factions to bolster your forces, then take the fight to hordes of hideous, crab-human-hybrid mutants to ensure our species' survival.

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