This year, the Doublejump Management decided to use Game of the Year time to allow each of its writers to shine individually by producing a short article containing their Game of the Year selection for 2018 along with up to two honourable mentions and up to five things that they’re looking forward to seeing in gaming in 2019. As always, we more than welcome your thoughts and opinions as well; head on over to our Discord server or our newly-created Facebook Group to discuss gaming’s past year with our team and our community!
My Game of the Year: Hitman 2
I came decidedly late to the Hitman party, with my jumping-on point being IO Interactive’s 2016 reboot. The improvements in design, UI and writing made what had previously been one of those obtuse franchises you either ‘got’ immediately or not at all, into an accessible and most importantly highly customizable sandbox you could lose months to.
Thankfully, Warner Brothers stepped in to save the franchise after Square Enix dumped IO (apparently the publisher had much safer bets on hand, like, ahem, The Quiet Man). A sequel that for a while there was looking unlikely to ever arrive, Hitman 2 takes the greatness of the 2016 game and tweaks it just enough to create a game that not only provides great gameplay, but some of the funniest and most thrilling memories you’ll have in your gaming life.
I really can’t put it better than what I already said in my review: “Tastes are unpredictable, no game is without flaw, and not every release is equal in that ever-fickle, ever-roaming public eye. At the end of the day, though, being able to say, ‘I smacked an arms-dealing race car driver in the face with a fish while dressed as a flamingo’ is a special, beautiful thing in life that once gifted, can never be taken from you”.
Honourable mention: Red Dead Redemption 2
While RDR2 is indisputably a game of many flaws, I also can’t help but love it. It’s a game crafted with the slow, methodical storytelling of classic literature, on the grand visual canvas of epic Hollywood cinema. Sure, it may stumble occasionally when it comes to the actual video game part, but for those wanting to roleplay as a cowboy in an epic tale of the West, Rockstar sent us catnip by the wagonload.
Honourable mention: BattleTech
Although it released (and I reviewed it) earlier in the year, BattleTech is a game that’s stayed in my mind and kept me coming back time and time again. A hugely engrossing adaptation of one of the classic tabletop wargaming franchises, BattleTech is one of the year’s hidden gems, and just got even better with the recently-released Flashpoint DLC.
What I’m Looking Forward to in 2019:
Mortal Kombat 11: Come on, who doesn’t love MK? The prospect of a new game incorporating some of the customization options NetherRealm Studios introduced in Injustice 2 sounds like a bloody good time, especially if the developer does even more to deepen the single player/clan-based features.
The Division 2: Ubisoft’s initial swipe at the action/MMO piñata may have started off a mess, but matured into a genuinely strong game. Here’s hoping that with the sequel, the studio can consolidate all that good work into a game that blends PvE and PvP even better.
Psychonauts 2: I’m a big fan of Double Fine’s Psychonauts, so the announcement of a sequel was a welcome surprise that for many years, looked never to happen. With video games creeping ever closer visually to computer-animated movies, it feels like the perfect time for Tim Schafer’s quirky world of psychic spycraft to take the stage once more. Hopefully, this time the world’s ready for it.
More Yakuza in the West: I fell in love with the wild, bloody and often quite demented world of Kazuma Kiryu and co in Yakuza 0. Remakes Yakuza Kiwami 1 and 2 put a ring on it – albeit at the end of a flaming spin-kick – and secured Yakuza as one of my very favourite franchises. A poll sent out to fans leading up to Kiwami 2’s release seemed to be probing at demand for further Yakuza re-releases in the West, and with PS4 remasters of Yakuza 3-5 already available in Japan the possibility of getting the whole saga localized is so close, you can taste it.
Cyberpunk 2077: Getting in on a technicality, seeing as there’s a next-to-zero chance of this actually coming out in 2019. But we can dream…