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The Best Video Games of the First Half of 2019

devil may cry 5

The first half of 2019 has come and gone, and there have been a lot of great video games released. So many, in fact, that it's inevitable you missed a few -- or 10. From action games to adventure, big triple-A releases to indies, 2019 has had a variety of titles.

If you're looking for something to play during the summer drought, here's a list of the best games the first half of 2019 had to offer.

Resident Evil 2

Released Jan. 25 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

This remake of the original PlayStation classic goes above and beyond what's expected. The atmosphere of the original is enhanced by leaps and bounds, and the pacing will keep you on your feet, but never overwhelmed. The tank controls of the original have been replaced with third-person controls. Aiming and running feel fluid and responsive, giving you a sense of always being in control. The puzzles are never too difficult, yet still retain many of the same concepts of the original. The refinement on this game is on another level, and this should please newcomers as well as fans.

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Devil May Cry 5

Released March 8 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

Capcom goes for a double-header with Devil May Cry 5, a return to the original continuity. The graphics are beautifully designed and shockingly realistic. It's a new look for the series, but all of the characters make the design switch intact. Combat is typical Devil May Cry, but with many more options and play styles. Nero returns from Devil May Cry 4 and has a new mechanical arm that can be switched out for different abilities. Dante retains his multiple weapons and fighting styles, all of which can be switched to on the fly for impressive combos. Finally, there's the newcomer V, whose play style has you command two to three familiars to do the dirty work for him. All of that makes for a varied action game that needs to be played.

Wargroove

Released Feb. 1 for Switch, Xbox One and Windows PC

Wargroove is a turn-based tactics game in the vein of Advance Wars, and flawlessly harks back to that. It features beautiful sprite work, and a classic style fans of this genre should appreciate. It also goes above and beyond, as this game is jam-packed with content. Each of the 15 generals from which you can choose have their own campaigns to finish. There is also a editor for creating your own maps, as well as connecting missions to make your own set and branching path, depending on the met conditions. Finally, there is both local and online multiplayer, so you can challenge your friends. A PlayStation 4 version is on the way, so PS4 owners can get in on the fun soon.

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Apex Legends

Released Feb. 4 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

This surprise release took the gaming world by storm by being the first to challenge Fortnite's throne. Although the hype has since died down, Apex Legends is still a great game, and a notable entry in the battle royale subgenre. The use of hero classes in the vein of Overwatch helped to diversify the icharacters beyond cosmetic appearances. The team-based set-up also helped newcomers to the genre. However, the waypoint system is easily the best feature Apex Legends introduced, as it has been copied by its competition.

Metro Exodus

Released Feb. 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

The long-awaited third game in the series, Metro Exodus follows Artyom and his friends leaving the Moscow Metro to head east across the apocalyptic wasteland. This game is a survival-horror stealth-shooter with some open-world sections. That description alone should show you how much this game does. You'll be fighting against outsiders as well as weird, mutated creatures. There's a lot of things to do outside of shooting, thanks to the open-world sections as well as the scavenging and crafting mechanics.

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Kingdom Hearts III

Released Jan. 29 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Kingdom Hearts II was released in 2006. There have been other Kingdom Hearts games released since then, but even still the last major release was in 2012. Bigger and more expansive than any previous game in the franchise, Kingdom Hearts III features many new worlds based on more recent Disney movies, as well as Pixar releases. The combat has been widely improved, making each fight exciting and eventful. This is also the end of the story, meaning the the conclusion of an 18-year storyline. I would recommend playing the other games before diving into this, but if you already have, this is a must-play.

Tetris 99

Released Feb. 13 for Switch

Stealth-launched to promote Nintendo's online service for the Switch, Tetris 99 applies the battle royale subgenre to the puzzle genre. Compete against 98 other players online to see who is the best Tetris player. Complete lines to dump on other players to give them a hard time or complete multiple lines to really give your opponents a headache! It's competitive Tetris at its most extreme. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Released March 22 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is the latest game from From Software, the developer behind the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. It follows in the tradition of those games, but with several drastic changes to the formula. The stamina meter has been removed and is replaced with a posture meter, which facilitates your ability to balance and defend yourself. Magic is gone, and special abilities require a universal ammo type to perform. You also now have a skill tree as oppose to RPG stats. Finally, stealth is a more important mechanic to the game. It's the evolution of the Souls games in a samurai themed game and it's a challenging but rewarding experience.

Tom Clancy's The Division 2

Released March 15 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

The Division 2 is much more polished and cohesive than its predecessor. Taking place seven years after the first game, you are a Division agent helping to keep society together in Washington, D.C., by battling rogue groups upending the peace: The Hyenas, The Outcasts, The True Sons, and later, The Black Tusks. The open-world, action-RPG, third-person cover-based loot shooter may have a lot of hyphens in its description, but its mostly earned. This game is chock-full of content for both single player and multiplayer.

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Katana Zero

Released April 18 on Switch, Windows PC and MacOS

An indie title with retro graphics and a simple action-based gameplay loop? It may sound like any other indie title, but Katana Zero has quick reflex-based gameplay, and a weird plot to keep you interested and playing. You may die in one hit but the swiftness in which you deal with foes make you feeling like a badass nonetheless. You can also dodge, deflect bullets with your sword, and slow down time, Max Payne-style.

Samurai Shodown

Released June 25 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

The reboot to the classic 1990s fighting-game franchise just might be the best the series has ever been. It's a much more methodically paced game, setting itself apart from other fighters. Combos are present and help, but they are short and not the best way to inflict damage. The name of the game is to wait for a counter-attack. Button-mashers beware, but patient players rejoice, as it is not uncommon for a single move to do in more than half of your health!

Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled

Released June 21 for PlayStation 4, Switch and Xbox One

After the successes of remaking the first three Crash Bandicoot games, as well as the first three Spyro the Dragon releases, it was inevitable that we'd get a Crash Team Racing remake. Crash Team Racing gave Mario Kart some real competition back in the day. Now it's back with tracks and characters from the sequel Crash Nitro Kart, and it's better than ever! Much more challenging than Mario Kart, this game is for those looking for a more skill-based kart racer. Featuring more than 25 characters, 30 stages, a story mode as well as a grand prix mode, and local and online multiplayer, this will keep you busy for a long time!

Judgment

Released June 25 for PlayStation 4

A spinoff to the Yakuza series, Judgment puts you on the right side of the law. You play as private detective Takayuki Yagami, who tries to solve a serial murder case. The game takes place in the same city as the Yakuza games, Kamurocho, and features similar mechanics. You roam a small, open world, partaking in odd but interesting side missions and taking out thugs and enemies in hand-to-hand combat. You have two styles of martial arts to choose from, allowing you to take on a variety of opponents. Just like the other games in the series, you'll get lost in the myriad things to do, and be charmed by the world and its characters.

Observation

Released May 21 for PlayStation 4 and Windows PC

This adventure puzzle game from the creators of Untold Stories has you play as the System Administration Maintenance, or S.A.M., artificial intelligence. Survey the multi-national space station and try to solve what's happened to the crew. You will also have the ability to manipulate the rooms you watch, allowing you to open and close doors. The crew may also give you tasks to perform. If you're in the mood for a methodical adventure game, give this a spin!

Outer Wilds

Released May 29 on Xbox One and May 30 on Windows PC

In Outer Wilds, the player must explore the world and learn as much as they can, as the sun will go supernova and destroy everything in 22 minutes. The game will start over afterward, but with the knowledge the player learned. Each subsequent playthrough will allow players to explore and learn more, giving them the possibility to stop the sun from going supernova. A unique game for those looking for something off the beaten path.

Dauntless

Released May 21 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC

Dauntless is a free-to-play action RPG in the vein of Monster Hunter World. The world has suffered a cataclysmic event, and giant monsters known as Behemoths attack those who survived the event. You play as one of the Slayers, hunters that take down Behemoths and protect humanity. As you defeat Behemoths, you can upgrade your gear and craft new equipment. The game can be played both by yourself or with others.

Mortal Kombat 11

Released April 23 on PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One and Windows PC

Mortal Kombat 11 is arguably the strongest entry in the franchise. Combat is slower-paced than previous games and more grounded, which means combos aren't as prevalent as before. The varied roster as well as customizable fighting-style variations makes this game vastly open-ended. The fantastic story mode tells a compelling story and features well done motion capture and voice acting. The Towers of Time make sure you have plenty to unlock and accomplish, even on your own. The online play and its casual and ranked modes allow for endless play across its excellent netcode. There is just so much to do and enjoy in this game!

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

Released June 18 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC and June 25 for Switch

The indie successor to the Castlevania franchise, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has been hotly anticipated ever since it was kickstarted in 2015. After many delays, the game was finally released, and has made good on its promises. Featuring a beautiful art style, varied and impressive abilities, and a plethora of enemies, Bloodstained is the Metroidvania that people have been waiting for.

My Friend Pedro

Released June 20 on Switch and Windows PC

My Friend Pedro is a quirky indie shoot-'em-up that prefers style over everything else. It's not enough to shoot someone in the head; you have shoot them in the head while doing a flip after kicking a chair into some other dude's abdomen. You can also wield dual pistols and aim each separately and shoot different targets. This game is all about pizazz and having a good time.

Super Mario Maker 2

Released June 28 on Switch

If you have ever wanted to make your own Mario level, you can now do it without having to buy an unpopular console. The game features a campaign of levels to go through for those wanting just a solo experience. However, the real meat is the millions of levels you can play from those around the world creating and uploading them. This sequel to the original also features new tools, such as the ability to make slopes and a new theme type based on Super Mario 3D World. The amount of content in this game is probably infinite so there's no reason to not give this a try.

And there you go! An exhaustive list of the best the first half of 2019 had to offer. Twenty games already, and that's not counting a few that were left off (sorry, A Plague Tale). However, more importantly, we have another six months of games to get to!

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