Every year there are a number of titles that fail to meet expectations. There are a myriad of reasons, but sometimes the hype train crashes the moment it tries to arrive at the station. Conversely, there are a number of titles that succeed in meeting expectation and these tend to end up on a “best of” list. 2019 will be no different, with a number of titles that will either meet/exceed expectation or completely underwhelm. Here are a few titles to look out for:
Crackdown 3 (February 15)
(Credit to Gamespot)
Long development cycles are generally never a good sign for any title. Crackdown 3 was originally announced in 2014 and was supposed to release in 2016. Microsoft went silent for almost a year until the title resurfaced at E3 2018. It was then meant to release at the end of last year but was delayed until February 2019. With the long wait finally over, Crackdown 3 will have to prove that its worth the wait.
A number of previews for the title have highlighted the chaos and destruction the series is known for, but outside of the visual upgrade, there really doesn’t look like there have been a number of changes regarding the core gameplay found in previous iterations. Even with the presence of the great Terry Crews, Microsoft has to justify the long wait for Crackdown 3.
Anthem (February 22)
(Credit to Anthem)
Bioware needs a win.
After the poor showing of Mass Effect Andromeda, Bioware’s new IP needs to hit home. Back to back poor showings would be a massive dent in the vaunted studios resume. A Sci-Fi third-person action-adventure with RPG elements sounds like a safe venture but the catch is that it will be an online-only multiplayer title. These persistent worlds have failed to capture the attention of players as they normally lack in content, but Bioware’s speciality is the RPG genre, so this title should have a number of sidequests with branching paths.
Previews have shown a visually stunning title that has a heavy emphasis on combat and looting, it will draw a number of comparisons to Destiny and rightfully so, but the RPG elements could separate Anthem once it launches. If this massive project happens to fall flat however, it could be one of the biggest falls in gaming for what was one of its brightest studios.
The Division 2 (March 15)
(Credit to Ubisoft North America)
Anytime an online-only title gets a sequel, its never a good sign. The Division struggled with content and balance after the campaign was finished and wouldn’t receive those updates until year 2. While the title is vastly different from when it first launches, it lost its player base after the first few months. Ubisoft moved quickly to announce the sequel to The Division 2 in March 2018.
One of the aspects that Ubisoft has frequently emphasized for The Division 2 is its endgame content. Online-only titles should always find ways to keep their players engaged after the main campaign has been finished. There are a number of new features for The Division 2 that should keep fans playing long after the credits roll. The Dark Zone has been restructured and loot drops should be more lucrative. All signs point to this highly ambitious title exceeding its predecessor, but then again, the same was said about Destiny 2.
Days Gone (April 26)
(Credit to Playstation)
Sony has generally been solid when hyping up their first-party titles, but Days Gone doesn’t feel like it’s gotten the support that other titles has. Previews for the title have shown high production values as the sheer amount of zombies or freakers as they’re known in the game, can create some generally chaotic moments. The game looks incredibly detailed and will allow players to choose between utilizing stealth or force to move between areas.
If this title can provide an organic experience that has been missing from some open-world titles, then Day Gone will be a surprise hit. It hasn’t been heavily featured like other PS4 exclusives, but it should be based off of how polished the game has looked over the months.
Shenmue III (August 27)
(Credit to Deep Silver)
After a highly successful kickstarter, the long awaited sequel to one of the most beloved franchises will be arriving at the end of the Summer. Visually the title looks questionable, but as long as it takes the action and drama the series its known for and takes the next step, the visual fidelity can be overlooked. There will be skill trees, dialogue choices, and a number of minigames that fans will be able to sink their teeth into.
But, because Shenmue III has been in development hell for over a decade and it required crowdfunding to complete, its hard not to be skeptical. The Yakuza franchise would be considered the most comparable series to Shenmue and it will have to either match its level quality to be a success. This is one of the most anticipated titles and failure to meet expectations would bury it for good.