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The 19 best games of the year – and every one you need to care about in 2019

2018 has been pretty special - but just wait until you see what's in store next year

This year has been nothing short of spectacular when it comes to gaming.

We’ve had the likes of Far Cry, Spider-Man, Forza Horizon 4, God of War, Super Mario Party – and, of course, Red Dead Redemption 2.

But with so many fantastic titles around, what are the best games of the year?

Here, we go through every single must-have title for each console – as well as look ahead at what next year has in store.

So, get comfy, and let’s kick off with Xbox. Now, it’s worth noting that some of these games are cross-platform.

Best Xbox games

Forza Horizon 4 (Xbox exclusive) 

Forza Horizon 4 is one of the highest-rated games on Microsoft’s console

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Forza Horizon 4 is one of the highest-rated games on Microsoft’s console

One of the Xbox One’s best exclusives – sitting at a stunning Metacritic rating of 93.

Unlike the last Horizon, which was set in Australia, this one sees you zoom around the Scottish Highlands, Lake District and other iconic British locations.

For the first time in the series, Horizon features dynamic seasons.

You’ll cruise along the beach in the sun one minute before racing across frozen lakes the next. Graphically, Horizon has never looked better – especially when enjoyed on a high-powered PC.

But it’s not just the environment that’s hyper-detailed… cars look and feel the part, too.

Fishing Sim World (also on PS4 and PC)

Fishing Sim World can be tackled with up to four friends

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Fishing Sim World can be tackled with up to four friends

If you’ve played Far Cry 5, Red Dead or The Legend of Zelda you’ll know the simple pleasure of reeling in a trophy fish.

Thankfully, FSW is completely devoted to fishing – and lets you visit some of the world’s finest lakes.

“We wanted to be in a situation where you can fish at any point and at any time,” said Mark Greenway, Business Director at Dove Tail Games.

There are four different tournaments in this game. These range from the Bass Tour, which is about catching the five biggest fish you can catch in a certain period of time to The Predator Tour, where it’s about the length of fish combined.

It’s the reel deal.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (also on PS4 and PC)

Hellblade is one of the finest games ever made and should not be missed

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Hellblade is one of the finest games ever made and should not be missed

Hands down one of the standout games of the past decade – but one that’s only been available to PS4 and PC owners… until now.

That’s right, Hellblade is coming to Xbox in December – and it’s absolutely essential.

Developed by British team Ninja Theory (best known for Devil May Cry), you play as Senua, who ventures to the Underworld in search of her dead lover.

With striking visuals and a hard-hitting story that explores mental health, you’ll be drawn into the dark world until you reach the jaw-dropping conclusion.

For the best experience, play with headphones.

Far Cry 5 (also on PS4 and PC)

You’ll need to learn to use cover if you’re to survive in Far Cry 5

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You’ll need to learn to use cover if you’re to survive in Far Cry 5

Far Cry has always sought to deliver a ‘fish-out-of-water’ experience for the gamer.

Ubisoft plonk you in a world, often with just the most basic skills to survive, and send you on a revenge mission.

It’s a formula that works and, although it feels familiar, still hasn’t lost any of its charm.

How you play the game is up to you. Fancy just exploring the map on a quad-bike or a spot of fishing? Go right ahead.

Just pack a machine gun for good measure.

Red Dead Redemption 2 (also on PS4 and PC – one day!)

Red Dead 2 is one of the finest games of the year

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Red Dead 2 is one of the finest games of the year

Need we say more?

Absolutely essential for anyone who owns the console – and arguably best enjoyed on the Xbox One X.

Stunning visuals boasting more detail than you could ever imagine, brilliant writing and an online mode to come.

The game is a prequel to 2010’s Red Dead Redemption, and sees you play as Arthur Morgan, who’s part of the Van Der Linde gang.

Don’t let the slow first couple of hours put you off – once Red Dead gets going it’ll knock your socks off. Yee haw!

Spyro: Re-ignited Trilogy (also on PS4 and PC)

Spyro is a tough but stunning remaster

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Spyro is a tough but stunning remaster

It’s been 20 years since Spyro first landed on the PlayStation 1 – but he’s aged very well indeed.

Developer Toys for Bob have taken the helm from Insomniac to give the purple dragon a much-needed visual update, thanks to Unreal 4.

Gameplay wise, it’s very much true to the original. In fact, the layout of the levels remains the same as the classic games.

While this works a treat for Spyro 3, some may find the first game’s levels rather simplistic. Still, if you’re after a true blast of nostalgia, look no further.

Best PS4 games

 

God of War (PS4 exclusive)

Arguably the finest game of the decade, God of War delivers in nearly every way

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Arguably the finest game of the decade, God of War delivers in nearly every way

Arguably the PS4’s finest game to date.

Sony Santa Monica went back to the drawing board to create an unforgettable adventure exploring the relationship between Kratos and his Son, Atreus.

Combat was redesigned, with the camera now from an over-the-shoulder perspective, but remains as brutal as ever.

Unforgettable boss fights – with one of the best served up early on – makes this a tour-de-force in gameplay and level design.

A masterpiece and must-have for any PS4 player – over the age of 18, that is.

Battlefield V (also on Xbox and PC)

Grand Operations are easily the best part of Battlefield V

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Grand Operations are easily the best part of Battlefield V

If linear Team Deathmatch shootouts are your thing then may want to look elsewhere. Battlefield is all about large-scale warfare, with up to 64 players battling it out at once.

There are eight maps available at launch, with more promised as times goes on – but they’re diverse enough to stave off monotony.

Maps range from Twisted Steel – which features a giant bridge – to Rotterdam, which lends itself to shootouts in burnt-out buildings.

We’ll have to wait until March for Firestorm, DICE’s take on the Battle Royale genre.

But unlike COD, Battlefield V offers a fully-fleshed out single player – in the form of War Stories. There’s limited replayability, bar the odd achievement challenges, but if anything, War Stories are a great introduction to core mechanics for those new to the series.

Shadow of the Colossus (PS4 exclusive)

This screenshot doesn’t do SoTC’s beauty justice

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This screenshot doesn’t do SoTC’s beauty justice

One of the highest-scoring games ever made had a full remaster at the start of the year – losing nothing about what made the 2006 version so special.

Boasting stunning visuals – and a horse that’s so realistic it puts Red Dead Redemption 2’s to shame, you’ll be drawn into a magical world by enchanting visuals that’ll take your breath away.

Stunning camera work (which, sadly, is prone to the odd glitch) helps add to the cinematic feel. While boss fights are every bit as epic as you remember.

If you haven’t played the original, you’re in for a treat. If you have, pick it up again.

Spider-Man (PS4 exclusive) 

Spider-Man is the year’s best superhero game… not that we’ve had many

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Spider-Man is the year’s best superhero game… not that we’ve had many

With great power, comes great responsibility.

So you can imagine the pressure Insomniac was under when they were tasked with developing a Spider-Man game.

Thankfully, from the jaw-dropping opening sequence to the beautifully recreated New York City – it’s clear they were the right team for the job.

Within seconds of booting up the story mode you’ll be thrust into the Spider-suit, swinging from building to building.

Obviously, Spider-Man’s web abilities play a huge part in the game’s combat system – which is far deeper than we imagined.

The entire city is available to explore from the start – so why not go check out Stark Tower? Or, if you want to chill, take a stroll around Central Park.

Detroit: Beyond Human (PS4 exclusive)

Detroit boasts some of the best visuals on any console – but its storytelling is heavy-handed in parts

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Detroit boasts some of the best visuals on any console – but its storytelling is heavy-handed in parts

Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Beyond Human is an artistic masterpiece – if a little heavy-handed in parts.

The big selling point here is that, although linear, this RPG contains a huge multilayered script that allows for the story to flow and change depending on the player’s choice.

With topics such as slavery, artificial intelligence, the concept of identity and what it means to be a human being discussed, this game draws you in and refuses to let go.

If that doesn’t sell you on it, the music (crafted by three separate composers) has a Hans Zimmer/Steve Jablonsky feel and the graphics are also exceptional.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (also on Xbox and PC)

Blackout is COD’s standout offering this year

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Blackout is COD’s standout offering this year

COD veered in a very different direction this year, scrapping campaign and focusing on multi-player and Zombies.

It was a gamble that really paid off – especially thanks to the brilliant Blackout Mode (a battle-royale shootout).

If you’re getting bored of Fortnite and don’t fancy shelling out for the unpolished PUBG, this year’s COD is a must.

Hitman 2 (also on Xbox and PC)

Hitman 2 boasts killer visuals – especially on PC

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Hitman 2 boasts killer visuals – especially on PC

Rather than go back to the drawing board, developer IO Interactive has revamped the 2016 formula to offer more freedom than ever before.

As well as larger play areas, offering multiple ways to take down targets, there are a host of smaller details that drastically affect the way you play.

For one, mirrors are now functional, meaning that NPCs will now see you sneak up on them. You can blend into crowds to lose pursuers, while CCTV has also been beefed up.

If you already own 2016’s Hitman, all the little details – such as the improved mirrors – will automatically be updated in game, so it’s the perfect excuse to dust off the Silverballers.

Gran Turismo Sport (PS4 exclusive)

Gran Turismo offers near-photorealistic visuals

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Gran Turismo offers near-photorealistic visuals

Even though GT came out last year, it’s still arguably the PS4’s finest racer.

The level of detail is astonishing. It may not feature a dynamic day-night cycle, like Forza 7 or Project Cars, but Polyphony Digital has arguably the most impressively-detailed vehicles.

Lighting is almost photo realistic as it bounces off the paint, while interiors have been recreated with pin-point precision.

Both Project Cars 2 and Forza 7 offer sublime racing experiences – but GT Sport blends the best of both.

The result is an incredibly user-friendly experience that can be customised to suit your ability.

Best Nintendo Switch games

Pokemon Let’s Go 

Pokemon Let’s Go is a stunning game – and offers hours of fun

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Pokemon Let’s Go is a stunning game – and offers hours of fun

Just over 20 years after the original Pokemon Yellow was released on the Game Boy, Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee versions have been released.

Both versions of the game are directly based off of Pokemon Yellow and are a blast from the past for those fans who may be feeling nostalgic.

Likewise, the game is great for Switch gamers who may be new to the Pokemon franchise, or returning after some time out, as the game uses simple mechanics, brilliant humour and a streamlined battle/levelling system that doesn’t get boring.

If you are looking for a game you can play for hours literally ‘on the go’, this one is for you.

Super Mario Party

Super Mario Party is the perfect game to play with mates this Christmas

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Super Mario Party is the perfect game to play with mates this Christmas

Super Mario Party is the 11th main instalment of the series and sold 1.5million copies in its first month, making it one of the best selling Switch titles to date.

You can play as Mario, Luigi, Rosalina, Dry Bones, Boo, Koopa Troopa, Hammer Bro, Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Shy Guy, Bowser, Wario, and Waluigi.

Gameplay features up to four players taking turns and navigating the board in search of stars while competing against one another in the mini-games.

It’s great for when you have friends over and fancy playing some party games.

Undertale

Undertale offers a completely unique experience on the Switch

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Undertale offers a completely unique experience on the Switch

Undertale is swiftly becoming a cult-classic within the gaming world.

With its 2018 release on the Nintendo Switch, those without PCs can finally enjoy the memey, weird world that is Undertale.

You play the character of a child who has fallen through a magical barrier into an underworld where you must battle different monsters whilst traversing the underground to defeat the king, Asgore.

Players can take multiple approaches within the game, choosing to spare enemies or obliterate everything that stands in their way.

Civilisation VI

Civilization will keep strategy fans entertained for hours

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Civilization will keep strategy fans entertained for hours

Civilization VI is a turn-based strategy game in which players compete alongside computer-controlled AI opponents to grow their individual civilization from a small tribe to control of the entire planet across several periods of time.

The game went down as a massive success on the PC, and has had glowing reviews since its release on the Nintendo Switch this month.

If you are into strategy games that can keep you occupied for hours then this is your 2018 game of the year.

Mega Man 11

The latest Mega Man game is easy to pick up and play – making it perfect for a commute

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The latest Mega Man game is easy to pick up and play – making it perfect for a commute

Released on the PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in October the latest Mega Man game is similar to its predecessors with some revamped graphics, moves and levels.

The game has some great new bosses, levels and mechanics which make it enjoyable for those new to the series and hardcore Mega Man fans.

The 2.5D graphics style make the game simple and easy to play, perfect for a commute or when your bored and don’t feel like getting into a long game of Civilization VI.

Upcoming games

 

Ride 3

Release date: November 30, 2018

Ride 3’s visuals have to be seen to be believed

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Ride 3’s visuals have to be seen to be believed

Ride 3 is set to deliver the greatest two-wheeled gaming experience to fans ever.

Unlike other racing games, Ride 3 strives to immerse players into the game, through realistic AI patterns, a detailed environment and more than 230 usable bikes at launch.

Since adopting Unreal Engine the aesthetic quality of developer Milestone’s games has vastly improved. And Ride 3 is no exception.

The Italian company has put a huge amount of time in to recreating world famous roads and tracks in-game – and the new engine really helps them feel more lifelike than ever.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Switch exclusive)

Release date: December 7, 2018

Smash Bros. is just a few days away and will be top of most Switch owners’ most-wanted lists

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Smash Bros. is just a few days away and will be top of most Switch owners’ most-wanted lists

Although this game is technically not out yet, the hype for it has been real amongst Nintendo Switch owners.

Out on the 7th December, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is the fifth instalment of the game and will contain more fighting arenas and characters than any of its predecessors.

With 77 playable fighters in the game including the new additions of Incineroar from Pokemon, Isabelle from Animal Crossing and many more, the game is set to be bigger and better than ever.

If you haven’t asked Santa for a Christmas present yet, we would recommend this game in a pinch.

Just Cause 4 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: December 7, 2018

Just Cause 4 promises more over-the-top action

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Just Cause 4 promises more over-the-top action

If Michael Bay made a video game, Just Cause would be it.

Hitting the shelves just before Christmas (see what we did there?) Avalanche Studios have cranked up the action to deliver the most OTT open-world game of recent years.

Set in the fictional South American country Solis, you’ll be treated to one of the largest and most impressive maps of the year.

It’s so large that some areas feature their own micro-climate – complete with tornadoes, flash floods and blizzards.

Improvements to AI make enemies more of a threat, while a host of planes, boats and cars help make this game the perfect pre-Christmas gift.

Ace Combat 7 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: January 18, 2019

Top Gun fans will love Ace Combat – especially with VR

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Top Gun fans will love Ace Combat – especially with VR

Fittingly set in 2019 amidst the fictional ‘Second Usean Continental War’, you play ‘Trigger’ who’s tasked with defending the skies from invading unmanned drones.

Sounds like a thrill a minute. 

But seriously, before you write this off, there’s plenty to get excited about. For one, it’s compatible with PSVR – and even features a few exclusive missions if you pick it up on Sony’s platform.

It’s also the first game in the series to be powered by Unreal engine – resulting in visual that look almost photo-realistic.

Add to the mix Top-Gun-style dogfights and some plenty of stunning mid-air explosions, and you’ve got a very capable combat sim.

Resident Evil 2 Remake (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: January 25, 2019

Resi 2 looks so much more than just another remaster

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Resi 2 looks so much more than just another remaster

Need we say more?

Capcom’s classic PS1 title is getting a full remaster treatment – with cutting-edge visuals courtesy of Resident Evil 7’s RE Engine.

Producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi told press he wanted to keep the feel of the original game, but make it more realistic.

Leon doesn’t wear shoulder pads, for example (a trick used to help add detail to his low polygon character model back in the day).

Fixed camera angles, another technique to take pressure off the PS1’s hardware, have also been scraped – replaced with a free-to-move camera.

Horror fans, don’t fret. The team has stressed gameplay will prioritise horror over action. So don’t expect to see many Resident Evil 6-inspired OTT set pieces.

Metro Exodus (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: February 22, 2019

Metro will once again push the boundaries when it comes to graphics

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Metro will once again push the boundaries when it comes to graphics

Set two years after Last Light, Exodus blends survival with first-person shooting and stealth.

Unlike the last two games, which were linear and offered the player a fixed path – Exodus rewards those who wander off the main track.

Levels are more sandbox in design, encouraging you to scavenge for items and materials, which can be used to craft and upgrade weapons.

You’ll need an impressive arsenal, too – if you’re to have any chance against the huge monsters or highly-trained (and likely starving) soldiers out to kill you.

Graphically, it’s powered by the 4A Engine – the same powerhouse as the last two games. However, while Last Light offered glimpses of the outside world, Exodus puts the engine through a far more challenging test given that the majority of it takes place outside.

Lush woodlands and abandoned villages replace the confined, dank sewers of the first two games. There’s even dynamic weather and in-game seasons that affect the landscape.

Exodus also supports RTX, providing you have the right hardware, so – as per the last games – expect for a very impressive-looking title. As we’ve seen with RTX-enabled titles, framerate and performance takes a real hit – but rest assured, it looks fantastic with RTX disabled, too.

Anthem (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: February 22, 2019

Could Anthem help Bioware recover from Mass Effect? We’ll have to wait and see

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Could Anthem help Bioware recover from Mass Effect? We’ll have to wait and see

A game that seems to have been in development forever, as it keeps getting delayed.

Thankfully, EA and Bioware have settled on February for the launch of Anthem – an ambitious, multi-player sci-adventure that blends Gears of War-style shooting, with Mass Effect-esque worlds.

From what we’ve seen, the story can be tackled with friends (Think Army of Two), and sees you and three other heavily armed soldiers (wearing ‘Javelin’ suits) venture out from the safety of civilisation into a world teeming with dangerous beasts.

These Javelin suits can be fully customised to suit your playstyle. Not that any upgrade can prepare you for a ‘Shaper Storm’ – devastating, world-changing events that destroy everything in their path.

Thanks to EA’s in-house Frostbite engine, Anthem looks the part, too.

Left Alive (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: March 5, 2019

Mechs and shooting? What’s not to like?

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Mechs and shooting? What’s not to like?

Little is known about this upcoming shooter from Square Enix, apart from that it’ll take place in mechs and feature multiple protagonists and missions.

The team certainly know a bit about mech-based action.

Toshifumi Nabeshima was the director of the Armoured Core series, while Yoji Shinkawa (from KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS) was the character designer in the acclaimed Metal Gear series.

One to keep an eye on.

Devil May Cry 5 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: March 8, 2019

There’s a lot of hype building around the new DMC – and it’s not hard to see why

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There’s a lot of hype building around the new DMC – and it’s not hard to see why

A welcome return to the much-loved hack-and-slash adventure.

Gameplay will see you play as both Dante and Nero – along with a new character called V.

As per the last games, the onus will be on stylish action – with a wide array of demonic weapons available to fend off hordes of demons.

Along with traditional weapons, such as Dante’s sword Sparda, DMC 5 introduces radical new additions – such as Devil Arms a pair of buzzsaw-like weapons that combine into a motorcycle called Cavaliere.

The Division 2 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: March 15, 2019

The Division wasn’t perfect, but the sequel looks to have addressed many of those issues

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The Division wasn’t perfect, but the sequel looks to have addressed many of those issues

Taking place seven months after the original, a civil war has taken place in Washington DC.

You, and your friends (up to eight of them) are tasked with restoring order.

Don’t expect too much to change, gameplay wise – although developers Massive Entertainment have promised to include more content at launch and improve the endgame.

The Division 2 also features raids, which can be tackled by up to eight players – in contrast to the original’s four.

A beta is set to drop a few weeks before launch, which will help paint a clearer picture about what to expect.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: March 22, 2019

A samurai game from the makers of Bloodborne? Yes please!

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A samurai game from the makers of Bloodborne? Yes please!

If you enjoyed Bloodborne then you’re going to like the look of FromSoftware’s latest hack and slash adventure.

In, Sekiro, you play a shinobi on a revenge mission against samurai who attacked him and kidnapped his lord.Rather than wearing enemies down via health points, in Sekiro it’s about causing a foe to lose balance, then delivering one killer blow.

Remember Bushido Blade? You get the idea.

Days Gone (PS4 exclusive)

Release date: April 26, 2019

It may keep getting delayed, but we’re still very excited about Days Gone

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It may keep getting delayed, but we’re still very excited about Days Gone

This PS4 exclusive seems to keep getting delayed – but thankfully, SIE Bend Studio seems to have settled on a date.

In Days Gone, you play as Deacon St. John, as he battles to survive a world infested with Freakers.

It’s powered by Unreal 4, and features hundreds of zombies on screen at once.

There’s also a dynamic say and night cycle, which affects zombie behaviour, while RPG-style dialogue choice means you’ll have to make some very tough decisions.

We can’t wait.

Rage 2 (PS4, Xbox, PC)

Release date: TBC, 2019

Likely hitting shelves in February, Rage 2 blends OTT action with a vast open world

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Likely hitting shelves in February, Rage 2 blends OTT action with a vast open world

During the first few minutes of a Rage 2 demo, I decapitated three baddies, reduced a handful to a bloody mess and blown off a spiky-haired assailant’s legs.

By the end of the play-through, which lasted around 15 minutes, I’ve killed more people than John Rambo.

Not that Rage 2 is your average corridor first-person shooter. Far from it, in fact.

ID Software, best known for their brilliant FPS Doom, have teamed up with Avalanche – the developer behind the eccentric, open-world Just Cause series.

The result is exactly what you’d expect – a vast world, that’s free to explore, backed up with ID’s tight, frenetic and fast-paced shooting mechanics.

The Last of US: Part II (PS4 exclusive) 

Release date: TBC, 2019

Probably the most anticipated title on the list right now

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Probably the most anticipated title on the list right now

Arguably the most anticipated game of the year, Naughty Dog’s latest zombie epic looks absolutely spectacular.

Little is know about the story, other than you’ll be playing Ellie for at least some part of the game.

Roll on next year.

Death Stranding (PS4, Xbox, PC)
Release date: TBC, 2019

Weird but utterly compelling, Death Stranding is shaping up very nicely indeed

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Weird but utterly compelling, Death Stranding is shaping up very nicely indeed

Renowned games director Hideo Kojima returns with an action game – although the trailers raise more questions than answers.

Death Stranding has a star-studded cast including the Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus and Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen.

Set in an open-world, it explores the connection between life and death, with the protagonist Sam being hunted by two different villains, whilst avoiding rain that ages everything it touches… ominous.

Cyberpunk 2077 (PS4, Xbox, PC)
Release date: TBC, 2019

We cannot wait for this sci-fi epic, from the makers of The Witcher

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We cannot wait for this sci-fi epic, from the makers of The Witcher

With an incredible open-world, vast levels of character customisation and a dynamic storyline, CD Projekt Red is pulling out all the stops to deliver one of the most complete gaming experiences we’ve seen.

As an RPG played completely in the first-person you’ll be able to immerse yourself fully in the environment with player choices affecting how the world perceives you.
Choose your gender, weapons, vehicles, AI augmentations, stats, relationships, goals and missions.

Doom Eternal (PS4, Xbox, PC)
Release date: TBC, 2019

Blood, gore and lots of guns – Doom Eternal will be an absolute blast

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Blood, gore and lots of guns – Doom Eternal will be an absolute blast

The highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s DOOM reboot.

Demons, gore and skull crushing are going to be commonplace when you once again play as the Doom Slayer crushing the forces of hell as they begin to invade Earth.

Chainsaws, rockets, plasma rifles and your fists will make the slaughter-field rain with blood.

Doom Eternal is coming to Switch, PS4, Xbox and PC and we can’t wait.