2019 is off to a cracker of a start, so you better finish off December’s big releases and any lingering Xmas gifts quick smart. January brings the remake of an acclaimed horror title, a Japanese RPG fan have been waiting thirteen years for and a re-release of one of the best games from Nintendo’s ill-fated Wii U system. There’s also a gorgeous new indie game that shares its name with your humbled games writer. Although the shared name is a coincidence, so no royalty cheques are headed my way.
Resident Evil 2 – PC, PS4, XB1
21 years on, the genre-defining horror masterpiece returns, completely rebuilt from the ground up for a deeper narrative experience. Resident Evil 2 offers a fresh take on the classic survival horror saga with modern visuals, heart-pounding immersive audio, a new over-the-shoulder camera perspective, and updated controls.
Players once again join rookie cop Leon Kennedy and college student Claire Redfield, who are thrust together by a disastrous outbreak in Raccoon City that transformed its population into deadly zombies. Both Leon and Claire have their own separate playable campaigns, allowing players to see the story from two different points of view. It’s the classic action, tense exploration, and puzzle solving gameplay that defined a generation, and it finally returns January 25.
New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – Switch
Play through two side-scrolling adventures with up to three friends as you try to save the Mushroom Kingdom. New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for Switch includes New Super Mario Bros. U and the harder, faster New Super Luigi U. Tackle 164 platforming courses in the two main games and enjoy extra replayability with three additional modes: Challenges, Boost Rush, and Coin Battle.
New playable characters Toadette and Nabbit are optimised for younger and less-experienced players, and a wealth of bonus content—like a Hints gallery and helpful reference videos—make this a perfect choice for anyone looking to introduce their family to the world of Mario.
If you U in the title has you stumped, it’s because both games in the package were previously released on Nintendo’s underwhelming Wii U console. If you missed these games last time around, now is the perfect time to get on board. Available January 11.
Kingdom Hearts III – PS4, XB1
Fans have been waiting eagerly for over 13 years for the third installment of the Kingdom Hearts saga. Sora, Donald, Goofy and a plethora of other iconic Disney characters unite to overcome tremendous challenges and persevere against the darkness threatening their worlds.
Kingdom Hearts III follows the journey of Sora, a young boy and unknowing heir to a spectacular power. Players will have the opportunity to explore the worlds of some of their favourite Disney films including Toy Story, Monsters INC, Frozen, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh, Hercules and Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few. Kingdom Hearts III is an action RPG developed by Square ENIX, the publisher behind the Final Fantasy series. So that may give you an indication what it will be like. Available January 29.
Vane – PS4
Set out on an epic story of transformation, where shifting between the perspectives of a bird and a child will be key to unraveling the land’s mysteries and creating a path forward through the barren landscape. As you progress, the remnants of the world react to your passage, evolving and building into something altogether different.
Distinctive, gorgeous, and set to an original, brooding synth soundtrack, Vane is an enigmatic and unnerving game that aims to leave an impact. The team at Friend & Foe Games, who previously worked on titles like The Last Guardian and Killzone, made Vane with the conviction that players should find their own path in the world, and explore just to the point of getting lost – and the result is a unique, unforgettable memory. Available January 15.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes – Switch
Auteur developer Suda51 revives his character Travis Touchdown for a co-op action game exclusive to Nintendo Switch.
Seven years after the events of No More Heroes 2, an assassin named Badman seeks revenge on Travis for murdering his daughter, Bad Girl. Travis, now nearly middle-aged, has isolated himself in a camper hidden away in a forest somewhere in the United States, where he spends his time playing video games. Badman tracks down Travis, and the two are transported into the demonic Death Drive MK-II, a video game console where they must battle, race and solve puzzles. Available January 18.
Tropico 6 – PC
El Presidente is back! It’s time to prove yourself once again as a feared dictator or peace-loving statesman on the island state of Tropico and shape the fate of your very own banana republic through four distinctive eras.
Play on vast archipelagos for the first time in the series. Manage multiple islands at the same time and adapt to various new challenges. Send your agents on raids to foreign lands to steal world wonders and monuments to add them to your collection. Build bridges, construct tunnels and transport your citizens and tourists in taxis, buses and aerial cable cars. Tropico 6 offers entirely new transportation and infrastructure possibilities.
Customise the looks of your palace at will and choose from various extras. There’s a revised research system focusing on the political aspects of being the world’s greatest dictator. Election speeches return, so players can address the people and make promises that you can’t possibly keep. You can even join friends in online multiplayer for up to 4 players. A console release of Tropico 6 is set for later in the year. The PC version is available January 26.