Despite Call of Duty not being the juggernaut it once was, there isn’t a whole lot coming out this week to compete with it. On the horror front we’ve got killer space aliens, a surreal puzzle game involving self mutilation, a ghost-busting family game, a game about dying and waking up in the afterlife, and another game about losing your memory before the world ends; read on…
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 (PC/PS4/XBone) – Releases Oct. 12th
This is the 15th mainline Call of Duty game, 15th! You might be thinking, well it hasn’t been 15 years since they released the first one, right? Wrong, Activision has released a Call of Duty game every year for 15 years. That’s mind boggling, but what makes it even more mind boggling is to think of all the 10-15 year old kids who were playing this game on Xbox 360 now being 25-30 and this is their childhood nostalgia. The same way that I would view Final Fantasy or Sonic The Hedgehog is how they view Call of Duty. Alright, so what makes this 15th installment different from the others? First off, there’s no single player campaign. According to Wikipedia, you will instead go on stand-alone solo missions that tells the story of each character. The next change is probably the one most people will be talking about, and that’s the addition of Battle Royale. Obviously, PUBG and Fortnite are the main reason for this mode being included, so can the former king of online shooters reclaim the crown (probably not). Of course along with solo missions and Battle Royale you’ve got the various deathmatches, and the zombie mode which now seems to feature a spin-off of its own where you fight in a Roman gladiator style arena against tigers. Maybe the developers are big Yakuza Kiwami 2 fans. One thing to note for you PC players out there, this game will not be available on Steam, you must purchase and play it through Battle.net.
Space Hulk: Tactics (PC/PS4/Xbox One)
This is the, what, third or fourth Warhammer 40k game to come out this year? It would also be the second Space Hulk game to come out as well after the re-master of Deathwing, which was a first person squad shooter. In this game you seem to be doing pretty much the same thing as Deathwing, but as a tactics game. You move around the giant space hulk ship down dark corridors and get overrun by an endless supply of monsters. If you prefer your combat to be slow and methodical instead of slow and chaotic then check out Space Hulk: Tactics as opposed to Deathwing.
The Missing: JJ Macfield and The Island Of Memories (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Oct. 11th
Need an alternative to the testosterone fueled macho bro-down of Call of Duty? How about a surreal Japanese puzzle platformer about a lesbian couple that is very clearly inspired by Twin Peaks? I’ve watched the trailer a couple times now and I’m having a hard time putting the pieces together, but that should be par for the course when the legendary Swery is involved. I think you have to kill yourself and then get reborn in order to solve various puzzles, I don’t know – it’s weird and I love it and I can’t wait to play it.
Ports and Re-releases:
Luigi’s Mansion (3DS) – Releases Oct. 12th. Originally a launch title for the GameCube back in 2001, you can now own this modern classic on your favorite handheld device. No, not the Switch, your other favorite. No, not your phone, it’s the 3DS dammit! Never played a Luigi’s Mansion game? It’s pretty simple, you walk around a mansion catching ghosts in a vacuum cleaner while trying not to die. Simple and fun, this is a must own.
Disgaea 1 Complete (PS4/Switch). Originally released for the PS2 in 2003 under the subtitle Hour of Darkness, and then re-released three times (Afternoon of Darkness on PSP, Disgaea DS on DS, and Disgaea PC on PC) we are now getting a fourth re-release on PS4 and Switch with, according to the official website, updated HD graphics and a bonus story that was included in the PSP re-master. Do you want to buy this game for a fifth time? Sure.
Child of Light (Switch) – Releases Oct. 12th. Released in 2014 on just about every possible gaming device, we are now getting this Ubisoft “indie” on the Switch. Made by a small team using the UbiArt Framework, this action-RPG has you playing the role of Aurora, a young girl who has recently died and finds herself in a strange world where she must find a way to come back to life.
The World Ends With You: Final Remix (Switch) – Releases Oct. 12th. Another action-RPG, this time coming from Square Enix. As Neku, you must overcome the loss of your memory and stop the forces of evil. As with last week’s Super Mario Party this game does not support the pro controller as you must use the joy-con to aim at the screen, and when in handheld mode you need to use the touch screen. As a proud couch potato this offends me deeply and has pretty much destroyed any chance I might pick this up.
Pinball FX3: Williams Pinball – Volume 1 (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – If you’re a regular digital pinball player you may have noticed that a few months ago Pinball Arcade removed all of the Williams/Bally tables from the digital marketplace. You could no longer buy them in-game or from the various platform’s digital stores. We all thought, “Hey, what the fuck?”, and it turns out it’s because Williams signed a deal with Zen Studios to bring their tables to Pinball FX. I’m torn a bit, because on the one hand I hate seeing digital content be removed from any store, but Pinball FX is so much better than Pinball Arcade. The shitty thing is that we’ll have to re-buy tables we already own in another game, but the good thing is that it will probably run much, much better. What tables do you get? Glad you asked, the first three pinball tables to be released are The Getaway: High Speed II, Junk Yard and Medieval Madness. Were they originally released for Pinball Arcade? Yes. Again, super bummed I gotta buy these again, but happy that they are part of a platform that is much cleaner and plays better.
If you’re curious just how many tables Pinball Arcade lost you can check out the video below:
Pretty much the only high quality image for this game I can find. Looks exciting eh?
The Occupation (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Synopsis stolen from Steam, “The Occupation is a first-person, fixed-time, investigative thriller set in North West England on 24th October 1987. You play as a journalist in a detailed, systems-driven world where people react to your actions and time is your biggest enemy”. I mean, that just screams “play me”. Watch out Call of Duty, you might have some stiff competition.
Crashbots (PC) – Robots running repeatedly.
Joggernauts (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Oct. 11th. Robots running repeatedly, repeated.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
This week’s classics include two horror titles from long running franchises, to what is probably the most successful video game re-skin of all time.
Dead Space (PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Oct. 13th, 2008: Wikipedia Entry
Originally intended to be System Shock 3, the game pivoted to become something wholly original after the developers played Resident Evil 4. It’s pretty interesting because you can clearly see the influence of both of those game series on Dead Space. When it was released the game was both a critical and commercial success that spawned two sequels. I was late to playing this game, only picking it up about 5 years ago, but I was blown away by the sense of dread and isolation, and without even knowing about the connection I was instantly thinking of the first Resident Evil game and of course, Alien. This is a perfect scary game to play alone in the dark on Halloween.
Kagero: Deception II (PlayStation) – Released Oct. 14th 1998: Wikipedia Entry
First released in Japan in the summer of 1998, this was brought to North America just in time for Halloween only a few months later. Unlike the first person perspective of the original Deception, the second game took on a third person perspective, which it continues to use to this day. Another change to the game was that they dropped references to working for Satan, and increased the rating from T to M. The Deception games, for those unfamiliar, tasks you with setting up a series of traps in an effort to murder people on screen. It’s a pretty dark and grim game, perfect for those spooky October nights.
Super Mario Bros. 2 (NES) – Released Oct. 9th 1988: Wikipedia Entry
By this point I think many of us know the history of this game, but for those who may not know this game’s origins, I’ll explain (thanks to my good friend Wikipedia). In July, 1987 Nintendo released a game called Doki Doki Panic, a simple and fun little platforming game about some kind of vaguely Arabian characters who were fighting various animals in a fantasy world. After the success of Super Mario Bros. in both Japan and the U.S., Nintendo quickly made a follow up called Super Mario Bros. 2, but after releasing in Japan the execs were worried it was both too hard and too similar to the original Super Mario Bros. Seeing as Doki Doki Panic was not an original Nintendo property (it was co-created and licensed from Fuji Television) the powers that be decided to re-skin the game as a Mario title for release in western markets. After gaining popularity, the game was eventually released in Japan in 1992 as Super Mario USA and eventually, the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2 was released in the west as The Lost Levels. The game was first released in 16-bit format in Super Mario All-Stars in 1993 and then the 8-bit version was released in 2007 on the Wii’s Virtual Console service. Super Mario Bros. 2 had a lasting legacy on the series, these include Mario’s ability to carry things, Luigi jumping higher and Peach floating, and the enemies Birdo, Shy Guy, and Bob-Omb popping up in many future Mario games.