The 34 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019


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  • 2019 is shaping up to be a big year in gaming.
  • Things are already popping off with the launch of a long-awaited sequel, “Kingdom Hearts 3,” which arrived in late January, and the explosively popular “Apex Legends” in March.
  • But that’s just the beginning — major games are expected in 2019: “The Last of Us Part II” on PlayStation 4 and a brand new “Pokémon” game for the Nintendo Switch are highlights of the year.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

2018 is fading into the past, and we’re already in the midst of 2019’s major video game launches. 

The year started with a trip into the worlds of Disney with the long-awaited arrival of “Kingdom Hearts 3” in January, followed closely by the surprise announcement and release of the wildly popular “Apex Legends” in March.

And that’s just the first quarter of the year! Here’s a look at 2019 in games:

SEE ALSO: The best new game of 2019 is a free-to-play Battle Royale shooter that came out of nowhere

1. “Resident Evil 2” (re-mastered)

The long-awaited remake of fan-favorite horror classic “Resident Evil 2” arrived early in 2019.

“Resident Evil 2” introduced the world to Leon S. Kennedy (seen above) — the main character in “Resident Evil 4.” Kennedy and Claire Redfield find themselves in the middle of a surprise zombie outbreak in the fictional town of Raccoon City. It’s an action-packed introduction to many of the major themes of the “Resident Evil” franchise, and it’s getting gorgeously remade for modern consoles.

Check out our full review of “Resident Evil 2” right here.

Release Date: January 25, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

2. “Kingdom Hearts 3”

Woody, Buzz, Rex and the rest of the “Toy Story” gang moved from film to video games with “Kingdom Hearts 3,” an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 action-adventure game.

The game was the long-anticipated third entry in the “Kingdom Hearts” series — the last major entry, “Kingdom Hearts 2,” launched all the way back in 2005 on the PlayStation 2. In “Kingdom Hearts,” various Disney characters and their worlds are mashed up with characters that would be right at home in a “Final Fantasy” game.

Alongside the cast of “Toy Story” (and their Earth-like setting), “Kingdom Hearts 3” also stars Goofy and Donald Duck. You may have noticed a third character here — that’s “Sora,” the main character of “Kingdom Hearts 3” and who you play as.

Check out our full review of “Kingdom Hearts 3” right here.

Release Date: January 29, 2019

Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One

3. “Apex Legends”

On paper, “Apex Legends” sounds a lot like “Fortnite.”

It’s a free-to-play shooter centered around a Battle Royale mode! It’s available on several gaming platforms! It’s full of colorful loot!

In reality, “Apex Legends” is a very different game in the same genre as “Fortnite.”

If you’ve spent any time with the “Titanfall” games, you’ll feel at least some tinge of familiarity with “Apex Legends.”

There’s a simple reason for that: “Apex Legends” is made by Respawn Entertainment, the EA-owned studio that made the “Titanfall” games. In fact, “Apex Legends” is sort of a “Titanfall” game, albeit one without wall-running or giant, hulking robot suits.

What it lacks in that stuff, it keeps in excellent first-person shooting. Above all else, “Apex Legends” is a really, really great multiplayer first-person shooter.

Yes, it’s a Battle Royale game. And yes, it’s a free-to-play game, with all the baggage that phrase comes with. But, more than any of that stuff, “Apex Legends” is a best-in-class first-person shooter.

Check out our full review of “Apex Legends” right here.

Release Date: February 4, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

4. “Far Cry New Dawn”

A new “Far Cry” game? Didn’t one of those come out, like, in 2018?

Yep! That game was “Far Cry 5,” and it came out back in late March 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The open-world first-person shooter was set in America for the first time ever, and featured a new antagonist: a maniacal cult leader with nuclear ambitions.

“Far Cry New Dawn” is a sequel to that game, set in a post-apocalypse Montana 17 years after the events of “Far Cry 5.” The trailer alludes to a period of extreme weather following a nuclear detonation, eventually leading to a new world — a world where people shoot saw blades from crossbows, apparently.

Release Date: February 15, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

5. “Crackdown 3”

“Crackdown 3” was in the works for years, having been delayed multiple times.

As the name implies, it’s the third game in the open-world, third-person action “Crackdown” series. The series is big on mobility — allowing you to go anywhere you want — and huge explosions. The third game in the series is no different in this respect.

Check out our full review of “Crackdown 3” right here.

Release Date: February 15, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC

6. “Anthem”

Remember “Mass Effect”? How about “Dragon Age,” or “The Knights of the Old Republic”?

That trio of blockbusters came from the folks at EA’s BioWare studios — the same people behind next year’s “Anthem,” an all-new action-RPG. Like “Destiny,” BioWare’s “Anthem” is played online and focuses on players grouping up to collectively take on missions.

Each player has the ability to fly through the air, Iron Man-style, whenever they want. It adds a layer of exploration that makes it unlike anything else available.

Frankly speaking, while the game looks gorgeous, I found it to be a vacuous, aggressively boring game.

Check out our full review of “Anthem” right here.

Release Date: February 22, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

7. “Metro: Exodus”

Like so many other video games, the “Metro” series is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Unlike many of those games, “Metro” is set in Russia. It envisions a post-apocalypse shaped by nuclear radiation, dwindling resources, and unpredictable, extreme weather conditions.

It’s a game about nuclear monsters, survival, and humanity. It’s also a first-person shooter, so expect lots of shooting.

In “Metro: Exodus,” the series finally exits the underground subway tunnels of previous games for higher ground. 

Release Date: February 22, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

8. “Trials Rising”

The “Trials” series is years-deep at this point, and it’s still a surprising delight. The game is pretty straightforward: Carefully pilot a dirt bike through precarious stages that are rife with traps and pitfalls.

If you’ve spent any time watching bicycle or motorbike-based trials, you’re no doubt familiar with what this game series is all about: Precision movement in extremely dangerous settings. “Trials” takes that formula and turns it into a risk-free video game, and then it adds massive, ridiculous explosions. 

Release Date: February 26, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

9. “Dead or Alive 6”

The fighting game renaissance is in full swing, and “Dead or Alive” is the next major fighting series to get a new entry in 2019. “Dead or Alive 6” continues in the tradition of the dozens of “Dead or Alive” games before it, featuring 3D fighting focused on counters and parries.

Release Date: March 1, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

10. “Devil May Cry 5”

Early 2019 has been rife with slick-looking third-person action games, and “Devil May Cry 5” is the perfect example.

The series is known for its ultra-stylish characters, deep fighting system, and over-the-top settings. “Devil May Cry 5” takes those ideas and runs with them (then leaps into the air and murders, like, two-dozen flying demons).

Check out our full review of “Devil May Cry 5” right here.

Release Date: March 8, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

11. “The Division 2”

New York City? That’s old hat — in “The Division 2,” you’re headed straight into the nation’s capital to straighten out some bad guys from a third-person perspective.

As in the first “Division” game, players group up online to tackle missions. It’s reminiscent of games like “Destiny” and the upcoming “Anthem” — a third-person shooter with a focus on cooperative play online.

Check out our full review of “The Division 2” right here.

Release Date: March 15, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

12. “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice”

The folks behind the “Souls” series (“Demons Souls”/”Dark Souls”) and 2014’s incredible “Bloodborne” are back at it — only this time, instead of a Cthulu-inspired Victorian setting, the new game takes place in Feudal Japan.

In “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice,” you play as a ninja out for justice. Like previous third-person action games from the folks at From Software, “Sekiro” is extremely difficult. Any enemy can take you down, and your best bet is to carefully, tactically, take down each foe. Unlike previous From Software games, “Sekiro” features a major stealth component, as well as a ton of mobility (as seen above).

Check out our full review of “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” right here.

Release Date: March 22, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

13. “Yoshi’s Crafted World”

Like “Yoshi’s Island” for the Super Nintendo, “Yoshi” for the Switch is a platformer starring Yoshi. He can pause to aim and throw eggs at enemies, or he can consume them, or he can leap into the air and butt stomp down. Yoshi is versatile!

In the new “Yoshi” game, you’re able to walk into the background, and occasionally switch up the entire orientation of levels. In so many words, it’s a new spin on the classic 2D formula.

Check out our full review of “Yoshi’s Crafted World” right here.

Release Date: March 29, 2019

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

14. “Mortal Kombat 11”

Since the series launched in 1992, “Mortal Kombat” has been synonymous with video game gore, earning legions of fans with over-the-top violence and edgy character designs.

The new “Mortal Kombat 11” is still ultra-violent, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Check out our full review of “Mortal Kombat 11” right here. 

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch

15. “Days Gone”

“Days Gone” is “Sons of Anarchy” meets “28 Days Later.” You play as a lone biker surviving in the wake of a global pandemic. Billions were wiped out, and many millions more became “freakers” — that’s zombies to you and me.

As if zombies weren’t scary enough, “Days Gone” turns them into a water-like mass capable of flooding into corridors with the speed and fury of a tsunami. They’re a far more overwhelming threat than the “Night of the Living Dead” zombies in games like “Resident Evil.”

That is, of course, when you’re not riding away on your sweet hog — which is always an option.

Release Date: April 26, 2019

Platform(s): PlayStation 4

16. “Rage 2”

If “Mad Max” were an ongoing series of video games, it might look something like the “Rage” franchise. 

It’s set in a very familiar post-apocalypse, where gangs of extremely theatrical-looking survivors endlessly battle for control of the remaining world around them. There are scrappy-looking off-road vehicles to battle in, and horrific mutated creatures, and a whole bunch of crazy-looking guns. 

If nothing else, it should provide a fantastic excuse to blow stuff up.

Release Date: May 14, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

17. “Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled”

Remember “Crash Team Racing”? It was the “Mario Kart” equivalent on PlayStation 1 that some folks swore by, and in 2019 it’s coming back!

The original game is being re-created in loving/ridiculous detail for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. In addition to all the original racers and tracks, the new game is getting online racing — something that didn’t become commonplace in gaming until two full game generations after the original PlayStation 1.

Since this game’s a reboot of an older game, it comes with a lower price tag: Just $40.

Release Date: June 21, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch

18. “Super Mario Maker 2”

One of the best 2D “Super Mario” games ever made isn’t just a game, but a creation tool: “Super Mario Maker” on Wii U enabled millions of players to create their own “Super Mario” levels, test them, and then share them all over the world.

In June, Nintendo plans to release the second game in that series with “Super Mario Maker 2.”

Like in the first “Super Mario Maker,” you’re able to create your own 2D “Super Mario” levels using objects from a variety of “Super Mario” games — goombas and koopas and chain chomps from across decades of “Super Mario” history.

While the first “Super Mario Maker” offered objects from “Super Mario Bros.,” “Super Mario Bros. 3,” “Super Mario World,” and “New Super Mario Bros. U,” it looks like “Super Mario Maker 2” will also allow the use of objects from “Super Mario 3D World” — including the various “suits” from that game.

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

19. “Dr. Mario World”

“Dr. Mario World” is a free-to-play puzzle game based on the long line of “Dr. Mario” puzzle games from Nintendo. Like previous Nintendo games on smartphones, “Dr. Mario World” is being developed in collaboration with third-party partners — in this case, it’s the Japanese social media company Line and the Korean game development studio NHN Entertainment.

So, uh, what is it? We don’t know too much just yet, but it sounds like a traditional color-matching puzzle game along the lines of previous “Dr. Mario” games. One twist: It’ll be free-to-play. Nintendo describes it as, “free to download with optional in-app purchases.”

Release Date: Early summer 2019

Platform(s): Apple and Android devices

20. “Mario Kart Tour”

“Mario Kart” has been a big deal for over 25 years. And now — finally— it’s coming to smartphones.

The game is “Mario Kart Tour,” and it’s now scheduled to arrive at some point this summer.

So, what is “Mario Kart Tour”? That remains to be seen — Nintendo has yet to show anything beyond the logo seen above. 

You can tell from the naming convention that “Mario Kart Tour” is its own thing, separate from the main thread of “Mario Kart” games that have come out on Nintendo consoles exclusively. “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” is the most recent entry in the main series. “Mario Kart Tour” is expected to be a side game, like “Mario Kart Arcade GP.”

That the game isn’t a numbered entry isn’t the only indication that it’s a spin-off — the fact that it’s for a smartphone, not one of Nintendo’s consoles, is another big indicator. We’ll find out soon enough!

Release Date: Summer 2019

Platform(s): Apple and Android devices

21. “Shenmue 3”

On the cusp of the millennium, Sega launched an ambitious third-person action game for its similarly ambitious new game console, the Sega Dreamcast. That game was “Shenmue,” and it went on to become a cult classic. 

The game — and the subsequent franchise it spawned — are known for offering players a level of freedom previously unseen in a console game. 

In 2019, “Shenmue” is coming back with a brand new entry from the original creators: “Shenmue 3.” The game is notorious for having outright broken Kickstarter when it was announced back in 2015. Now, nearly four years later, it’s nearly here.

Release Date: August 27, 2019

Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PC

22. “Borderlands 3”

Finally, after years of waiting, “Borderlands 3” was revealed and given a relatively imminent release date.

The game franchise that helped popularize the loot-shooter genre is back with a new entry, and it seems like more “Borderlands” in every way: new character classes, new planets to explore, and new guns to fire. 

Perhaps most notable is what “Borderlands 3” isn’t — an online-only loot-shooter along the lines of “Destiny” and “The Division.”

Release Date: September 13, 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

23. “The Outer Worlds”

The creative duo behind the original “Fallout” are working together again on a new series that feels suspiciously familiar: It’s called “The Outer Worlds.”

The kitschy first trailer for “The Outer Worlds” is a delight, and follows in the tradition of irreverent role-playing games like “Fallout.”

The story is simple: “You awake from hibernation on a colonist ship lost in transit to its destination on the edge of the galaxy, only to find yourself in the midst of a deep conspiracy threatening to destroy the colony.” How you play out that scenario is seemingly up to you.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

24. “The Last of Us Part II”

The folks behind the Indiana Jones-esque blockbuster third-person action “Uncharted” series are true veterans of video game creation. The studio, Naughty Dog, goes all the way back to the first PlayStation console, having created the beloved “Crash Bandicoot” series.

Beyond those two (massive) game franchises, Naughty Dog is also responsible for the incredible, genre-pushing PlayStation game “The Last of Us.” Naughty Dog’s next game is a highly anticipated follow-up, the aptly-titled “The Last of Us Part II.”

In “Part II,” the duo of protagonists Joel and Ellie are making a return.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): PlayStation 4

25. “Luigi’s Mansion 3”

If you’re old like me, you may remember playing an early Nintendo GameCube game named “Luigi’s Mansion.” It came out way back in 2001!

It wasn’t anything like a typical Super Mario game — instead of jumping on Goombas and clearing treacherous gaps, Luigi was sneaking around a haunted mansion with a flashlight and a vacuum. His goal: Stun the villainous ghosts with his flashlight, then vacuum them up. Naturally!

The game got a sequel, many years later: “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon” for the Nintendo 3DS console. But the series has been absent from a Nintendo home console since that original game. Soon, in 2019, a third entry in the series is finally coming: “Luigi’s Mansion 3.”

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

26. “Gears of War 5”

Are you ready to chainsaw some more Locust? With “Gears 5” in the works, Microsoft’s betting that the answer is a resounding yes.

The next entry in the gruff and grisly “Gears of War” third-person shooter series was announced by Microsoft in June during the company’s annual E3 media briefing. A new character is at the forefront, introduced during a short trailer — her name is Kait, who previously debuted as a supporting “Gears” character.

Like previous games in the series, “Gears 5” features third-person shooting with a focus on movement and cover.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC

27. “Ghost of Tsushima”

Sucker Punch, the studio that created the PlayStation blockbuster “inFamous,” is working on something completely new: a samurai game set in Feudal Japan, called “Ghost of Tsushima.”

All we know about the game is that it’s a tale of revenge. Here’s the full description from Sucker Punch:

“The year is 1274. Samurai warriors are the legendary defenders of Japan — until the fearsome Mongol Empire invades the island of Tsushima, wreaking havoc and conquering the local population. As one of the last surviving samurai, you rise from the ashes to fight back. But, honorable tactics won’t lead you to victory. You must move beyond your samurai traditions to forge a new way of fighting — the way of the Ghost — as you wage an unconventional war for the freedom of Japan.”

From what the trailer shows, “Ghost of Tsushima” is a third-person, character-driven action game with a focus on swordplay. This is a samurai game, after all.

Beyond the story, and the pedigree, “Ghost of Tsushima” simply looks incredibly unique. It’s gorgeous, and set in a time period rarely explored in blockbuster video games.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): PlayStation 4

28. “Cyberpunk 2077”

“Cyberpunk 2077” is what happens when you mix “Blade Runner” with “Grand Theft Auto” — an open-world action game set in a dystopian future, where body modification is standard and cold, empty capitalism is the driving force of society.

How you choose to live in the world of “Cyberpunk 2077” is up to you. The game is a role-playing game in the truest sense: You create a character and shape who they are through your actions in-game. 

Whether “Cyberpunk 2077” launches in 2019 is anyone’s guess, but it’s been in the works for years at this point. Fingers crossed!

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC

29. “Death Stranding”

What is “Death Stranding”? That’s a great question. Even though I’ve seen several trailers for the game, I have no idea what it is.

Here’s what we know for sure:

— The game is being created by “Metal Gear” series creative lead Hideo Kojima, a legendary figure in the video game business.
— It stars Norman Reedus, of “The Walking Dead” fame. He’s the main character. Mads Mikkelsen, a Danish actor best known as the bad guy from “Casino Royale,” appears to be the antagonist.
— The game is a collaboration between Hideo Kojima and famed film director Guillermo del Toro.
— It’s being funded by Sony, which means the game is only coming to the PlayStation 4.

Is it a first-person or third-person game? A survival game? Open world, or linear? All of this stuff is still up in the air. Even after seeing the latest trailer, I’m no closer to knowing exactly what it is.

All that aside, it’s clearly gorgeous and doing something totally different.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): PlayStation 4

30. “Dreams”

The British studio behind “Dreams,” Media Molecule, is most well-known for its previous franchise: “LittleBigPlanet.” Like that series, “Dreams” focuses on letting players create their own game worlds. Also like the “LBP” series, “Dreams” offers a straightforward campaign that’s intended to introduce the kinds of worlds that players can create.

What that actually means in practice is far more complex. “Dreams” is almost more of a tool than a game, but you’re also able to buy it and play creations from other players without ever actually creating anything yourself.

Release Date: 2019 (“Early Access” started on April 16)

Platform(s): PlayStation 4

31. “Halo Infinite”

The new “Halo” is the next major entry in the long-running first-person shooter series, and it once again features the iconic super-soldier Master Chief as its main protagonist. And “Halo Infinite” is rife with nods to “Halo” tradition.

But let’s be clear: It’s not named “Halo 6” for a good reason. The game features a new art style, and is said to take the series in “new and unexpected directions.”

But let’s not get too crazy: This is still a “Halo” game, and that means that everyone’s favorite supersoldier, Master Chief, is still front and center. The game’s story focuses on him, and you playing as him, and — if history serves as a guide here — shooting like a trillion aliens as him.

Regardless of the name, “Infinite” is a follow-up to “Halo 5: Guardians,” and will continue the story that began in that game. Given that it’s been over three years since the last “Halo” game, we expect to see this one in 2019.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Xbox One, PC

32. “Animal Crossing”

A brand new “Animal Crossing”? Yes, a brand new “Animal Crossing”! If there’s one game that Nintendo Switch owners have been clamoring for, it’s a new “Animal Crossing” game.

The beloved home-making game that’s endeared so many fans across nearly 20 years is finally coming to the Nintendo Switch. The tiny bit of tease that Nintendo offered during its Nintendo Direct presentation isn’t intended to directly represent gameplay, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t look similar when the game arrives at some point in 2019.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

33. “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening”

The Game Boy classic “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” was an incredible achievement when it arrived on Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld console in 1993. It felt and played almost as well as the Super Nintendo game “The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past,” despite running on far less powerful hardware.

Over 25 years later, Nintendo is finally giving “Link’s Awakening” the re-master treatment it deserves: The game is getting a gorgeous update on the Nintendo Switch at some point in 2019.

Release Date: 2019

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

34. “Pokémon Sword and Shield”

Pokémon is coming to the Nintendo Switch — prepare yourself!

Indeed, Nintendo is developing “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” for the Nintendo Switch. Not spin-offs, like “Pokémon Stadium” or “Pokémon Snap” way back on the Nintendo 64, but a full-on main series entry. As is typical for main series “Pokémon” games, there are two versions (“Sword” and “Shield”).

The game is set in a new region, known as “Galar,” and it features the new art style that looks similar to the “Pokémon Let’s Go!” games that ari ved in late 2018. It also features new Pokémon, new trainers, and a totally new story. 

With a launch window set for late 2019, “Pokémon Sword” and “Pokémon Shield” are likely to be the biggest Nintendo games of the year.

Release Date: “Late” 2019

Platform(s): Nintendo Switch

Perhaps we forgot your favorite game? Let us know! This list will be updated over time, and your contribution is much appreciated!