It’s gametime! At least, if you’re into gaming of a technical persuasion. As always, as we lope into the final third of the year, the video game releases start ramping up to the inevitable holiday combat to determine who shall claim the largest pile of cash on Black Friday.
Of course everyone knows Call of Duty will probably claim the crown. It almost always does. Yippie. (Though, to be fair, WWII actually does look like it has potential.) But it’s not on my “must buy” list for the year.
Instead, allow me to share the games that I am frothing at the mouth for, and why.
(Coming November for Windows, PS4 and XBox One)
So, let me get this straight. You’re going to give me a Victorian(ish) open world London. You’re going to let me explore that world as a vampire doctor. And then you’re going to give me that world where most (if not all) of the citizens are actual individuals instead of faceless mobs, with routines, personalities and their own little personal dramas that I can assist with or scatter to bits? Yes, please. Oh, and supposedly you can turn everyone you meet into a vampire, if the urge so strikes you. Yes, I will be trying that. I’m sure it screws you up to do it, but I want to see if I can start a vampire apocalypse. Of course, I’m only doing it for science. I’m a doctor! I have to save these patients! And making them vampires is obviously the answer; what better way to combat the flu than ensure the patients aren’t breathing? Sure. We’ll go with that.
Still, in all seriousness, I think the game looks amazing, and has a good potential to scratch the itch that has kept my skin crawling since I finished my time with Geralt in The Witcher 3.
(Coming in August for PS4)
Take a great crime drama. Inject it with neon, crazy martial arts, a frankly ridiculous number of grunts and stern faces, and the ability to engage in important activites like playing with crane catchers, slot car racing, going on dates with women you pick up in hostess clubs and karaoke singing. Then top it off with a surprisingly touching story about children, lost loves and parental abandonment. That’s Yakuza. Pretty much all of them, really. But once upon a time, it was a little-known release for the PS2, the creators of which probably didn’t expect us to still be disco stomping the hell out of garishly dressed punks and cackling maniacally almost twenty years and ten games later. But for those who haven’t been there since the start (or who adore the games and lament the fact that there’s no PS2 Classics version for download on PS4 and/or whose PS2s or PS3s are sadly deceased), or those who only found the awesomeness of the Yakuza series owing to the popularity and mass availability of Yakuza 0, Sega has decided to throw us a bone with this updated remaster of the original. Supposedly they’ve made some story and translation tweaks, added a few new minigames from later entries in the series as well, so even for returning series veterans, there’s still plenty of fresh stuff to get sucked into.
(Coming December 2017 for Windows, Mac OSX, PS4 and Xbox One)
This one is more of a cautious enthusiasm; it’s a crowdfunded game, which could be awesome (like Friday the 13th), or godawful (I’m looking at you, Mighty No. 9). But the idea seems like it’s right up my alley: Use psychic powers and “authentic” ghost hunting tools to investigate several supposedly authentic haunted locales? I’m in. The graphics don’t look the best, and from what I’ve seen/heard about the controls, they seem a little wonky. But the idea is enough to make me say “Yes, please! Shut up and take my money!”
There’s other games coming up that I’m looking forward to, of course. South Park: The Fractured But Whole (play an episode of South Park where the kids pretty much decide they’re going to do their own MCU scenario with their own superheroic identities? I’m down.), Assassin’s Creed: Origins (I gave up on the AC series a while ago, but Origins’ new setting – Ancient Egypt – and more RPG-styled focus looks like it may drag me back in.), and Wolfenstien II: The New Colossus (old-school-ish FPS sequel to the frankly friggin’ amazing New Order/Old Blood? I cannot express enough “yes” for this.) Those are higher profile, though, and I was hoping to show off a few folks might not already be drooling on their preorder receipts for. Plus, between those and the ones described above, I lean more to weird vampire/criminal RPGs and ghost hunting. The others’ll end up as PS Plus or Games with Gold specials quickly enough, I’d wager.
What about you folks out there? Something coming up this holiday season that you just have to have? Let us know what it is and why it must be played in the box below!