Art by Stanley ‘Artgerm’ Lau
Started Black Desert Online Remastered
Experience fast-paced, action-packed combat, hunt monsters and huge bosses, fight with friends in a guild to siege nodes and region castles, train your life skills such as fishing, trading, crafting, cooking, and much more.
I’d had my eye on BDO for a while now as there isn’t a monthly subscription fee and it appeared to have a similar style to Final Fantasy’s latest online game. I’ve had a ton of fun with the surprisingly deep combat of the game, the environments are loaded with enemies to fight, and the graphics are really impressive for a game that’s already several years old.
Best comics and games of 2019
Before we get started here, it’s important to note that I base my selections on games or books that I’ve either beaten, read, or—in some cases—spent substantial time with.
There were plenty of great games, comics, and podcasts that were available throughout the year, many of which I’m certain do not appear on my personal list. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them or that they don’t deserve your time and attention. I simply don’t have the time to play and read everything.
No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight? (#)
Tom King’s Batman has been a slow burn leading up to this year’s epic finale in issue #85. It’s a little tough to recommend to people just getting into comics or the character simply because of the connective tissue from the first issue of King’s run (#1) through to the finale. That said, if you’re willing to make the leap, the book takes Batman to places he’s never been and features the art of some of the best artists in the business including Mikel Janín, Mitch Gerads, Jorge Fornés, Lee Weeks, and more.
2.) Money Shot
In the near future, space travel is ludicrously expensive and largely ignored. Enter Christine Ocampos, inventor of the Star Shot teleportation device with a big idea: She’ll travel to new worlds, engage—intimately—with local aliens, and film her exploits for a jaded earth populace trying to find something new on the internet. (#)
There’s only been a handful of issues of Money Shot so far but I’ve been really impressed by the artwork and the depth of the book’s story—given it’s marketed as a comic about people streaming their sexual encounters with aliens online. The relationships between characters and the hilarity that ensues during their travels has been a nice change from the endlessness superhero stories from Marvel and DC. Plus, as mentioned, Rebekah Isaacs’ art is on point.
Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son – and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems. (#)
Few things in this world are as consistent as Brubaker and Phillips’ ability to tell gritty crime stories. The art seems to get better and better and the stories intertwine without feeling overly connected or dependent on the arcs that preceded it. New fans have plenty of opportunities to get into the series too because arcs typically only run for a handful of issues and often feature new characters.
3.) Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online action role-playing video game developed by Massive Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. The sequel to Tom Clancy’s The Division (2016), it is set in a near-future Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of a smallpox pandemic, and follows an agent of the Strategic Homeland Division as they try to rebuild the city. (#
I love the world of The Division 2. Every inch I explored felt lived in and offered something to do or to collect. While the missions could be a little repetitive at times, the gunplay, base upgrading, and exploration kept me hooked for hours.
2.) Resident Evil 2
The game is set in Raccoon City in September 1998, two months after the events of Resident Evil. There, most of the city’s citizens have been turned into mindless creatures, referred to by survivors as zombies, due to an outbreak of a viral bioweapon known as the T-Virus, manufactured by Umbrella Corporation. Resident Evil 2 is a remake of the 1998 game Resident Evil 2 released for the PlayStation. (#)
The original Resident Evil 2 has long been my favorite of the series and this remake was everything I wanted from a reimagined version of the game. It’s visually impressive, features genuine scares, and still stays wonderfully faithful to the story of the original game without feeling repetitive. I can’t wait to see what the team comes up with for Resident Evil 3’s remake early next year.
Control revolves around a clandestine U.S. government agency known as the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), which is responsible for the investigation of “paranatural” phenomena which defy ordinary reality, usually manifesting in the form of Altered World Events (AWEs), intrusions upon perceived reality shaped by the human collective unconscious. (#)
Control’s mind-blowing, dimension-bending visuals, brutalist style, and fascinatingly confounding story easily made it the best thing I played this year. The overall mechanics felt patently Remedy but the slew of abilities and upgrades allowed for constant surprises and excitement. As a fan of alternate realities and dimension hopping plotlines, everything about the game just mesmerized me. Looking ahead at the DLC planned for the game, it’s definitely the gift that will keep on giving with a deep exploration of The Foundation—one of the game’s more bizarre locales—and a story tied to another Remedy game (Alan Wake) arriving later in 2020.
Art by Gleb Melnikov
My wife bought me a pair of AirPods for Christmas this year and It didn’t take long for me to see what all the fuss is about. Sound quality is stellar for the size, the pairing process is about as simple as it gets, and they fit great in my ears.
Started Disco Elysium
Disco Elysium is a ground-breaking blend of hardboiled cop show and isometric RPG. Solve a massive, open ended case in a unique urban fantasy setting. Kick in doors, interrogate suspects, or just get lost exploring the gorgeously rendered city of Revachol.
I’m only about an hour or two into the game but it’s pretty easy to see why it won big at the Game Awards this year. The art direction and sound design are on point and the story is one of the wackiest, weirdest, most original I’ve played in a while. Highly recommended.
The new design of Anchor’s podcast pages is really nice. It might even be enough to push me into recording new episodes of Shortbox in the new year.
Resurrected Telltale Games releases Batman: Shadows Edition on Xbox and PC
Telltale Batman Shadows Edition is a compilation of every Telltale Games Batman series. When people grab a copy, they get all five episodes of Batman: The Telltale Series, all five Batman: The Enemy Within episodes, and the new Batman Shadows Mode DLC. Shadows Mode is a new visual effect that makes everything monochromatic, with occasional splashes of green and red as the only highlights. (Think of it as a Sin City sort of filter.)
This is great news. Both of Telltale’s Batman titles were my favorites games made by the studio because of the new spin on existing characters and how well Batman’s world worked with Telltale’s choose-your-own-adventure type of storytelling.
While there isn’t a ton of new content added to this new re-release—though I am looking forward to trying the game with “Shadow Mode” on—any sort of update signals to me that the new management is somewhat interested in returning to the worlds the original version of Telltale built with new games. Along with the re-announcement of Wolf Among Us 2, this seems to indicate that there’s a long-term plan in place to keep the studio going for years to come.