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Most Anticipated of 2019

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice – OnlySP’s Most Anticipated Games of 2019

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Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a hardcore character-action game with stealth elements, published by Activision and developed by FromSoftware, developer of the Armored Core and Souls series.

What is Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice?

The game features FromSoftware’s trademark spooky world design and attention to detail, but the most important aspect is that the title is directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, whose Demon’s Souls, Dark Souls, and Bloodborne are some of the highest rated action-RPGs of the last ten years.

A departure from the medieval fantasy and gothic settings of From’s recent games, Sekiro takes place in feudal Japan, featuring historical events mixed with a heavy dose of myth and magic.

Unlike Nioh, another Souls-like game receiving its own sequel this year, Sekiro does not simply take the Souls formula and move it to the jidaigeki genre (which would have been fine, by the way).

Rather, From’s latest game ditches the character customisation, corpse runs, online multiplayer, and cryptic item descriptions of the Souls series. The title may as well not be a Souls game at all—and that would be correct, according to Miyazaki himself.

Sekiro is for fans of hardcore action, with a little bit of ninja-game-style stealth and the quality that the world has come to expect of From. The title is not just another Souls-like game. 

Why are we excited?

The first point should really go without saying: anything that Miyazaki directs is a must-see thanks to his team’s well established grasp of level design and the thematic consonance of its worlds.

Sekiro‘s somewhat historical jidaigeki setting and lack of RPG elements make it stand out from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, but Miyazaki’s fingerprints are all over the game.

For example, From holds that combat in Sekiro is even more difficult than its previous titles: requiring players to master not just the dodge as in Souls, but a vertical jump and grappling hook as well.

The game’s environments have also been designed with these additional actions in mind, offering intricate, vertically-oriented levels to explore.

At the same time, the deep lore and creatively deadly opponents that Souls fans crave are both still present, though few of those have been revealed at this time and will presumably be unveiled closer to release. Update: GameInformer’s Sekiro coverage has just confirmed plenty of NPCs, a hub location, and very open-ended world exploration too.

Overall, the triple-A landscape has been missing out on this sort of Japanese-flavoured action title since the last generation.

With Koei Tecmo’s Nioh having already adopted many Souls-like features, From is justified in stealing some toys for its own by making a zippier, non-RPG game that hews closer to Tecmo’s fallow Ninja Gaiden series.

More than that, however, Miyazaki’s direction will ensure that the game stands alone and is likely to be a uniquely terrific experience.

Sekiro

When can we play it?

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is scheduled for release on March 22, and readers can look forward to plenty of FromSoftware-related content on OnlySP in the coming months.


Are you keen to see FromSoftware drop multiplayer and make a purely single-player game? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to come back tomorrow for a look at an adventure that promises to be one of the tensest of the coming year.

Don’t forget to follow OnlySP on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube for all the latest from the world of single-player gaming.

Mitchell is a writer from Currawang, Australia, where his metaphorical sword-pen cleaves fiction from reality daily. When he's not writing, he plays video games and watches movies. While thinking about writing.

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Most Anticipated of 2019

Honourable Mentions – OnlySP’s Most Anticipated Games of 2019

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2019

This coming year is set to be chock full with amazing games. Over the past 12 days, the OnlySP team has shone a light on those titles that we are most excited about, but some of our individual favourites were not represented in the consensus vote.

Zanki Zero: Last Beginning

Coming from some of the key team members behind the Danganronpa series, Zanki Zero: Last Beginning is an unusual survival game.

In the wake of an apocalypse, eight clones on a tropical island comprise all that remains of humanity. The clones have accelerated lifespans, meaning they survive for only 13 days; however, a machine called the Extend Device ensures their continual resurrection, with each death granting different buffs and gameplay bonuses.

Curiously, the game is divided into chapters, and players control particular characters in each chapter, rather than having the chance to choose between them at will.

As a survival game, threats to life come from many different angles, including starvation, dehydration, and, of course, combat. However, felling enemies—mostly evolved animals—will drop resources that players can use to build amenities and prolong the characters’ health.

Survival games have exploded in recent years, but the narrative focus and unique clone-based premise separates Zanki Zero: Last Beginning from its genre contemporaries.

Zanki Zero: Last Beginning released in Japan last year, and will make its debut in the West for PC and PlayStation 4 on March 19.

Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord

Announced more than six years ago, Mount and Blade II: Bannerlord has not been officially confirmed for a 2019 release, but fans are hopeful.

Despite the title, Mount & Blade II is a prequel to its predecessor, set two centuries before the wars depicted in the earlier game. The title takes place during the glory days of the fictional Calradian Empire and recounts its fall, as it shatters into an array of disparate kingdoms. On the surface an action-RPG, Mount & Blade II promises a deep, diverse experience with layers of strategic elements.

Third-person melee combat will make a return and will be accompanied by in-depth siege- and diplomacy-based gameplay. Meanwhile, an organic economy system will aid in bringing the Calradian Empire to life.

OnlySP’s Dylan Warman went hands-on with the game back at E3 2017, finding it to be a satisfying experience with a few minor flaws remaining to be ironed out. However, a year and half has already passed and still no end is in sight for the lengthy development.

The widespread expectation is that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord will release on at least PC at an as-yet unspecified date in 2019.

Medieval (Remake)

Sir Daniel Fortesque will soon join the likes of Wander, Spyro the Dragon, and Crash the Bandicoot, as Sony is, once again, dusting off the Medievil name for a remake.

Originally announced with a brief teaser at the PlayStation Experience event in 2017, the project was surrounded by silence throughout almost the entirety of 2018. A common query among perplexed fans was the extent to which the game would represent a new experience, given the initial billing as a full remaster.

However, in October last year, Sony Interactive Entertainment chairman Shawn Layden dropped the bombshell everyone was waiting for: Medievil will be a full-blown remake. The core design and art will be retained, but the game will not simply be a reskin of what has already been.

The developer responsible for the project, Other Ocean Interactive, has previously made a name for itself with ports. With this legacy, the team seems to be following in the footsteps of Bluepoint Interactive, which crafted 2018’s excellent remake of Shadow of the Colossus.

Medievil is expected to be available exclusively on PlayStation 4 some time in 2019.

Phoenix Point

The father of XCOM, Julian Gollop, will return to the genre that made him a living legend when Phoenix Point launches later this year.

In 2047, the apocalypse is already well underway. Melting permafrost during the 2020s unleashed an alien infection—the Pandoravirus—upon the unsuspecting Earth, mutating humans and animals into all manner of monsters. Facing off against this existential threat, players assume command of the Phoenix Project, a global organisation dedicated to protecting humanity.

Fans of XCOM will almost surely be right at home with Phoenix Point, as the game follows the same model of pairing turn-based direct-control combat with a global strategy layer. The player begins as a small, isolated unit and must grow their reach and strength by acquiring resources through both diplomacy and conquest.

Despite the fundamental similarities, the development team at Snapshot Games is including a few unique wrinkles to the formula, including a range of adversarial human factions and enemies that mutate in response to player actions.

Originally set to launch last year, Phoenix Point is now expected to release in June 2019 on Mac, Windows, and Xbox One.

Total War: Three Kingdoms

For the latest mainline entry in the Total War saga, Creative Assembly is delving into a part of world history long desired by fans but never before visited: China’s Three Kingdoms era.

Total War: Three Kingdoms centres on the fall of the Han Dynasty, casting players as the leader of one of eleven factions vying for control over the vast nation.

While this latest game remains, at its core, Total War, the development team is engaging in some intriguing experiments. Foremost is the implementation of guanxi, an aspect of Chinese culture that describes the interconnectedness of human life. Throughout the campaign, the characters form relationships with others, and players will have to take those connections into consideration when planning their moves.

The other major new addition is a mode based on the classic novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which will put more of a focus on individual characters. In this mode, generals have supreme strength and can be controlled directly during battles and sieges.

Following its delay out of last year, Total War: Three Kingdoms is scheduled to launch on March 7, 2019 exclusively on PC.


Thank you for joining us on this jaunt through the games that have the OnlySP team most excited for the coming year. With hundreds of titles to choose from, innumerable others missed out, but rest assured that we are keeping our eyes out for everything in the realm of single-player gaming.

If your favourite/s failed to make our shortlist, please take the time to give them the attention they deserve in the comments below, and be sure to follow OnlySP on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube for all the latest from the world of single-player gaming.

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