It’s almost the business end of the year. Full of… business. Also games.
August provides the last relatively quiet window for a few indies to release before the proper madness starts, and we’re starting to see some of the bigger releases of the year as well. Namely, you’ve got Marvel’s Spider-Man and Shadow of the Tomb Raider landing very soon.
We’re right around the corner of the delayed PC release of Monster Hunter World of course — a game which is definitely on our radar for Game of the Year so far. As for all the new stuff, here are our picks for the next couple of months.
August 7th – PC/Mac/Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One
This is the final release version of the game that we’ve already been playing for a year. A platformer with a Dark Souls-ey combat system, you’ll try to escape an island that shifts every time you die. Its randomised levels and satisfying fights would’ve been worth the price even in the early stages of its beta. Since then, it’s kept updating its brawlers, biomes, and bosses. This is Early Access done right.
Funnily enough, Dead Cells was originally going to be a tower defence game. There’s an abundance of these 2D pixel art Soulslike roguelite/metroidvanias, and we have no problem with that at all.
We Happy Few
August 10th – PC/Mac/Linux, PS4, Xbox One
We get some serious Bioshock mashed up with A Clockwork Orange vibes from this one. A futuristic, dystopian city requires everyone to take their “joy” to be happy, productive citizens.
What happens when you stop taking it? Presumably, Taye Diggs starts chasing you. The seemingly “beneficial” nature of the city’s drug has nearly resulted in the game being banned in some territories. Let’s hope it’s worth all the trouble.
August 14th – PC, PS4
I mean, when we said there’s an abundance of these games, we meant it. Death’s Gambit is another 2D pixel art Soulslike metroidvania, seemingly a niche genre but hoo boy is it populated.
The biggest twist here is every time you die, you actually drop one of your healing items as well as your “souls.” Returning to your point of death is that much more important, now that it’s necessary to regain that healing charge.
That’s pretty cruel. Imagine if death lost you an Estus shard in Dark Souls. But Death’s Gambit is also letting you invest excess healing items to upgrade stats, sacrificing a heal or two to buff your damage or something else.
There’s also the ability to challenge a boss again right after you’ve defeated them, which is fantastic — we always felt the bonfire ascetic should’ve been carried over from Dark Souls 2 into other games.
August 30th – PC, PS4, Xbox One
Slated a full month before its main competitor, PES likes to be the first to market every year. Though it has to be said, a lot of the features it was spruiking at E3 this year were implemented by FIFA a year or two ago. It doesn’t help that it lost the Champions League licence as well, but people who play PES don’t play it for the licences.
We’ll still be putting this one through it’s paces because what’s important to us is under the hood. After the handful of games we’ve had it was hard to isolate and test the newer AI functionality PES 2019 is supposed to have. Things like players reading the play a few steps ahead, and responding in a way that more accurately represents their style. It’s the type of thing we’ll have to really sit down and analyse, and that’s alright with us.
September 7th – PS4
No surprises seeing the mighty web-slinger here, as we’re pretty sure it’s the game many people are most looking forward to this year. This PS4 exclusive has many debating who the final boss could be. Who’s capable of bringing this who’s who of villains into one plan as if they were mere henchmen?
This one features combat that’s looking oh-so-Arkham, some baller Spidey suits, and – most importantly – getting across town feels great as you sling like it ain’t no thing.
We’ll be previewing this one soon, so keep FANDOM bookmarked and wait for your Spidey sense to tingle.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
September 14th – PC, PS4, Xbox One
My goodness, how much of a beating will Lara have to take before she becomes the Tomb Raider? We’re still smarting from seeing a lead pipe go right through her gut in the first reboot.
It sure looks purdy though, as long as we never have to wear the haptic suits from Ready Player One to feel every shank and bullet bothering the new, always-wounded Lara Croft, we’re up for a bit of tribal island madness.
Valkyria Chronicles 4
September 25th – PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
We’ve been jonesing for this one since… well, 2008, when the original Valkyria Chronicles came out. The mix of World War I and anime was a surprisingly engrossing setting for first-person, turn-based tactics.
It was fantastic fun, but for some reason the gods of gaming saw fit to limit the next two games to Sony’s PSP. No shade to PSP owners, but it’s a travesty these games weren’t available to more people.
Now at last, we get the multiplatform release we’ve been waiting for. We’re sure there are many who will see this as the proper Valkyria Chronicles 2 in a way, and we can only hope the developers have factored that into their storytelling.
28th September – PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PS3, 360, Android, iOS
A full month later than its rival, the dominant football franchise lands. FIFA releases are up and down — sometimes the franchise coasts with a bunch of fluffy, cosmetic features like improved grass and spectator clapping. Other years you’ll get hyper-intelligent AI improvements and important balance tweaks.
If you’re not the sort to buy every release anyway, it’s worth paying attention to see whether that year brings one of the “good” ones.
All told, the feature list doesn’t look too disruptive this year, but the timed shots will have a massive, unignorable effect on how you play. We liked the pace and the feel of what we played at E3 this year, but much like PES, we’ll need some more time with this one before singing its praises.