25th Mar2019

Online Games to Get Excited About in 2019

by James Smith


We’re still in the first quarter of 2019 and already, it’s looking as though this year might genuinely be one to remember when it comes to online gaming. With so many potential classics and great releases already available, with more set to arrive in the coming months, there’ll be plenty to keep us busy and whet our gaming appetites.
The problem, as always, will be choosing what to play with the hours we have available, although these are three games in different online gaming genres, which have already been getting plenty of attention.

Online Multiplayer – Skull & Bones

For anyone who really enjoyed the pirate ship battles in Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, that was but a taster of what Skull & Bones by Ubisoft promises to bring, in a game where such high-seas adventures and battles are the central focus of a game, initially pencilled for release towards the end of 2018. As things stand, it looks like those of us chomping at the bit to experience what the game has to offer, beyond those fortunate enough to be beta-testing, will have to wait a while longer. It could be the back end of 2019 before the final release sets sail.

Fans of the genre will be more than familiar with games based in during the golden age of piracy, typically taking place in the Caribbean. However, Skull & Bones transports us away from that familiar territory, with pirates all but wiped out and with those that remain heading to the Indian Ocean, searching for new opportunities for plunder and wealth, as the East India Company continues to expand British imperial power and dominance of the seas.

Due for release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PCs, alongside the single-player campaign Skull & Bones will feature, online and multiplayer components are set to be a heavy focus of gameplay. Whether that’s teaming up with other players to complete the core story mode, or trading broadsides in PvP battles and plundering rivals, the thrill of the chase and naval warfare looks set to be presented in sumptuous detail.

Online Slots – Fire Dragon

Within a sector of the online market which has boomed phenomenally over recent years, real money casino games are attracting millions of players around the globe, particularly in the realm of online slots. Released in March 2019, Fire Dragon is the latest in a series of slots featuring Jackie Chan, with the legendary martial artist and actor the central character high-kicking the action as the reels are spinning.

As the third in a successful series of Jackie Chan slots games, Fire Dragon features 20 active pay lines over 5 reels, with a potential jackpot payout worth 50,000 times the line bet and 2,500 times the original spin stake, along with a separate progressive jackpot. There’s also plenty of other bonus opportunities for players to win via wilds, scatters and free spins, which are a common feature in most of the latest online slots.

Boasting some of the best graphics amongst the modern slot game offerings, plus action scenes from some of Jackie Chan’s classic action movies, the wide variety of bonus features are triggered by different symbols as they appear on the reels. Fire Dragon follows the same high standards set by previous titles in the same series of games, including Eagle Shadow Fist and Fantasy Mission Force, especially when it comes to the overall quality of presentation, easy to use interface and fun level of engagement.

MMORPG – Legends of Aria

For those of us who grew up with Ultima Online, Richard Garriott and his team of developers broke the mold when it launched back in 1997, laying the very foundations which many subsequent MMORPG’s would be built upon and defining a genre. Arguably, for some, nothing since has quite recaptured those heady days of online gaming in the fantasy world of Sosaria. Remarkably, Ultima Online is still going, although the dated graphics, mechanics and gameplay might only appeal to the most nostalgic retro gamers, these days.

However, it finally looks as though a genuine successor to UO has arrived in the shape of Legends of Aria, which is still currently in development, though scheduled for full release in 2019. Perhaps most interesting to note is the team behind Legends of Aria working at Citadel Studios, with several developers and staffers having previously worked on Ultima Online, along with other great MMORPG’s such as Darkfall or Dark Age of Camelot.

This certainly bodes well for a game aiming to not only recapture the classic essence of online RPGs, but also appeal to a new generation of genre fans. What makes this project even more innovative is that beyond the standard sandbox fantasy world fare we’re already accustomed to, or the character building and adventures, Legends of Aria developers have also embraced the option of fully supported player run servers. This is a first for MMORPG’s, which will allow players to completely customize pretty much anything the game has to offer; from gameplay rules to entirely new worlds built from scratch.


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