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Game of the Year Awards – 2019

2019 is coming to a close, which means it’s time for our annual Game of the Year awards! We have been blessed to play many high-quality games this year, and we’re honored to highlight the best of the best. So sit back, relax, and see the greatest games that 2019 had to offer!

 

This generation has been a mixed bag for Microsoft. After a rocky start, the Xbox division has undergone significant change in leadership and strategy as it has worked hard to support the Xbox One. With the next-gen Xbox Series X announced earlier this month and due out in holiday 2020, the Xbox One is coming to the end of its days in the spotlight. These following games are the highlights of the Xbox One’s last full year as a current-gen console.

After a long period of dormancy, the Crackdown franchise finally saw a new entry this year in the form of Crackdown 3. This new sandbox adventure might not have been able to deliver on its lofty aspirations of innovative cloud-based destruction, but it still provides plenty of explosive thrills, high-flying action, and addictive orb-hunting. Crackdown 3 is, quite simply, more of the good old-fashioned Crackdown fun that fans of the series love.

Gears 5, the latest installment in Microsoft’s long-running third-person shooter series, takes the franchise in a couple new directions; the wide-open hub areas give the game a nice chance to breathe between the trademark cover-based firefights, and the writers at the Coalition take bold steps in their storytelling. Combined with a robust multiplayer suite and a gorgeous presentation, Gears 5 proves itself to be the best Gears yet. While other Xbox One games will release throughout the coming year, this serves as a fine AAA first-party swan song to the Xbox One era.

 

 

Like with the Xbox One, 2019 is also the final full year for the PlayStation 4 before its successor the PS5 hits store shelves. Sony have fired on all cylinders this generation, and this year is no exception. Here are the best PS4 exclusives of 2019.

The team at Sega responsible for the Yakuza games have created a new spin-off title Judgment, centering around a former defense attorney seeking redemption. Combining detective tasks with the series’ traditional hand-to-hand combat, Judgment offers a compelling experience that satisfies longtime Yakuza fans while also serving as a good entry point for newbies, as knowledge of the mainline story is not necessary to understand the game.

Hideo Kojima is a juggernaut in the gaming industry, and his latest title Death Stranding shows that his prowess extends beyond the Metal Gear franchise he is best known for. Death Stranding’s gameplay mix of traversal, package delivery, and shooting combat is divisive, but its audio/visual presentation is best in class, and the story delivers the kind of compelling, complex insanity that only Kojima can come up with.

 

 

Nintendo’s hybrid console is in the prime of its life, selling like gangbusters and receiving plenty of exclusive titles from first- and third-party developers alike. The following games are the cream of the crop of the Switch’s robust 2019 offerings.

Luigi is up to his ghost-busting antics once again in Luigi’s Mansion 3. Following the footsteps of its predecessors, this game combines a light-hearted spooky aesthetic with a Mario flair, as Luigi goes on a quest to capture ghosts in a haunted hotel and save his friends. A new cooperative multiplayer component helps the game stand out from previous entries in the franchise.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the newest entry in Nintendo’s venerated strategy series, earns our pick as the top Switch exclusive this year. The refined combat mechanics are welcoming to franchise newbies, and game’s long list of compelling characters—in concert with an enhanced social interaction system—provides plenty of personalization and replay value.

 

 

Consoles may receive most of the marketing these days, but PC gaming plays a vital role in the present and future gaming ecosystem. Here are our picks for best 2019 PC games.

Baba is You makes some truly distinct innovations to the well-worn puzzle genre. Solving puzzles has you moving text around the screen, altering the parameters of the puzzle itself to work in your favor. “You” may begin a level as “Baba” and the “Flag” as “Win”, but by the end of it, everything may have changed. Explaining such mechanics in written word is a challenge, but once you play it for yourself, the madness reveals itself as genius.

Finnish developer Remedy Entertainment has made something special with their new title Control. A fusion of Alan Wake’s mind-bending storytelling and Quantum Break’s reality-shifting gameplay, Control sets you into an alluring world of the supernatural, where the strangest ideas take on a life of their own. The slick action, beautiful visuals, and crazy story work together to create one of the most memorable games of the year.

 

Page 2: Best Shooter, Best RPG, Best Action

Page 3: Best Fighting, Best Platformer, Best Narrative

Page 4: Best Soundtrack, Best Multiplayer, Best Remaster, Most Anticipated

Page 5: Game of the Year!

Categories
Community Podcast

GUGcast: Episode 199 – Our Thoughts on Google Stadia

Find us on PodbeanApple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Spotify!

This week we are geeking out about Joe’s first impressions on Stadia, movie sequels, and Cody geeks out about the new Vikings show. We answer a question on the funniest games we’ve ever played.

 

 

GAMING

Link coming to Mario Maker 2
https://www.nintendolife.com/news/2019/12/the_legend_of_zelda_is_coming_to_super_mario_maker_2

 

Twitch streamer sets record for most hours streamed in 30 days
https://gamerant.com/stream-record-hours-november/

 

 

MOVIES

Alita Producer Presses For Sequel
https://screenrant.com/alita-battle-angel-2-disney-producer-sequel/

 

Vin Diesel Sequels
https://screenrant.com/vin-diesel-bloodshot-movie-last-witch-hunter-sequel/

 

Batman Spin-Offs
https://screenrant.com/batman-birds-prey-movie-spinoff-sequel-actors-contracts/

 

 

 

TELEVISION

 

Vikings Sequel Valhalla 
https://screenrant.com/vikings-tv-show-sequel-valhalla-netflix/

 

Walking Dead: World Beyond
https://screenrant.com/walking-dead-spinoff-world-beyond-announcement-teaser/


Simpsons Is Not Cancelling
https://screenrant.com/the-simpsons-not-ending-al-jean/

 

 

 

 

MORE INFO

 

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www.geeksundergrace.com/shop

 

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Categories
Gaming Reviews Switch

Review: Super Mario Maker 2

Developer: Nintendo EPD

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Platformer

Rating: E for Everyone

Platform: Switch

Price: $59.99

Few things capture the sheer joy of playing a 2D Mario game either by yourself or with others. And there is nothing more magical than having the tools to make levels yourself. Why wait for something from the Big N when you can have limitless possibilities at your fingertips with a few button clicks. Super Mario Maker 2 is a treasure.

Content Guide

Violence: If you have played a Mario game before, you know what to expect. You can jump on, fire blast, hammer, or claw enemies depending on what tools are given to you by the level creators.

Note: While this is an E rated game, that does not mean there cannot be higher rated content within due to the game’s nature. Seeing as a vast majority of the levels in the game are made by the community, there is a possibility you find something offensive. This can come from something written with the level creation tools or in one of the comments, which can be turned off. Any game with user-generated content can have these issues, but Nintendo is moderating levels, so this chance is slim.

Review

Every time a new Mario game is released, there is no shortage of excitement from both the casual and hardcore audiences. Mario is something that transcends skill level and ranges from being a fun thing to play with your kids to a white-knuckled thrill ride racing your own times to be the fastest there is. And nothing matched the excitement that came when Super Mario Maker came out in Fall 2015, This lead to 4 million copies being sold, making it the 7th best selling game on the Wii U.

For the first time ever, Nintendo was releasing creation tools for the public to make their own content in a completely legal way. You no longer had to go to a university or download expensive software to design courses of your own imagination. The possibilities were truly limitless.

Needless to say, Super Mario Maker was an instant success upon release, and lead to an outcry for more when the Wii U’s successor, the Nintendo Switch, launched. Nintendo listened and announced Super Mario Maker in February of 2019 for a June release of the same year. With the promise of new features and the return of old favorites, this was a shoo-in for success. Super Mario Maker 2 is everything Nintendo promised it to be and more. 

We start story mode with the restoration of Princess Peach’s castle thanks to the Toads’ hard work. All is well and right with the Mushroom Kingdom. HOWEVER, Undodog has come to play. How fun! Uh oh, he found the Reset Rocket! With a mere touch, he has undone everything the Toads worked so hard to finish. Back to the drawing board—the Toads recruit you to bring in more income so they can make the castle once more, and better than ever!

 

Story mode has 100 levels for you to play, ranging from easy to super expert levels of difficulty. Each one of these levels has a unique twist on platforming that should ignite your sense of creativity. While most are based on getting to the goal, some of the best ones limit you on what you can do. One of my favorite ones restricts you from jumping. Since one of the core tenants of this series involves this, it is one of the most tempting things to resist as the level mechanics will carry you to platforms that would normally require you to jump. Anytime there is a new clear condition, I get giddy and anxious, wondering how it will shatter my expectations of what kind of Mario level I can make myself.

In the Make mode, you are given every tool asset from the story to make your own levels as the title implies. Pretty much everything from the predecessor, and some more. The game styles of Mario Bros, Mario 3, Mario World and Mario Wii U are all back with a new friend: 3D World. All of the assets of the first four are easily transferred between each other and not much is lost if you switch between them 3D World on the other hand, is its own separate thing, because everything is rendered in a different fashion; you have to redo everything if you make your level there but decide it would be better in another style. So you must be absolutely certain if you want to make it with those assets. Even though it is named 3D World, it is still only playable in a 2D fashion. While the new style is neat, the real main attraction addition to this game is multiplayer.

Multiplayer is the new kid on the block and he is one popular guy. With your Nintendo Online membership, you can race or cooperate with three other players from around the globe. In versus, a randomly-selected course is picked, and you must race other players to the goal. Once a player reaches the goal, the winners and losers are either given a rank, or it is taken from them on a scale from D to S. The problem with the computer picking the level is that sometimes levels are not always suited best for a competitive style of play. There are often levels that are best suited for a singular player. This is especially true for the puzzle-based ones. I personally believe that the straightforward platforming stages or the ones where each player is given their own section to beat are the best ones.

Cooperative levels are mainly the same, except the difficulty of the level is chosen by popular vote among the players. These courses are typically the usual levels you would find in the story. There is no life limit, but you do race the clock like in versus. If progress is made, players share it. If you hit a checkpoint, everyone can spawn there instead of the start or you can spawn on another team member. It certainly makes things easier if you are not as skilled as everyone else. The biggest headache about this mode is that there is no way to communicate besides preset messages that are no help when you are trying to get something across. When everything comes together, however, it makes for a great romp. I cannot wait for the friend lobbies so I can voice chat with them on Discord. I know there is local wireless at my disposal, but it is rare that I am in the same room with my friends that also have their Switches with them.

Overall, Super Mario Maker 2 is everything you could want from a creative suite. If you want to play only things made by others, you are covered. If you want to troll the living tar of everyone online, you have sixty-four slots to fill in uploads. No matter your 2D platforming fancy, this game has you covered. I cannot wait to play more and see what the community comes up with. Now if only the friend lobby update could be here sooner.