My neck looks particularly fat this week, I should probably go to the gym and stop playing so many games, but dangit, there are so many good ones coming out!
Yoshi’s Crafted World (Switch) – Releases Mar. 29th
The adorable green dinosaur Yoshi has been making us all smile since he first appeared in 1990’s Super Mario World. Since then, the green fella and his multi-colored cohorts have starred in their own titles, some good (Yoshi’s Island) and some, er, not so good (Yoshi’s Story). This week we get our first Yoshi title for the Nintendo Switch, a game which continues the craft aesthetic seen in the previous title, Yoshi’s Woolly World (or if you go off series, Kirby’s Epic Yarn). As Yoshi and his friends, players will make their way through 2.5D levels, fighting bad guys and finding treasure, but what makes the game unique is that you can walk into the background, and suddenly find yourself playing on the opposite side of the stage, which allows you to access other areas of the stage and find even MORE treasure. The game looks incredibly joyful, and after last week’s dour and grim Sekiro (and the wet thud of the Muller report), we could use a little joy.
Generation Zero (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 26th
From the studio that brought you Just Cause, Mad Max: The Video Game and the upcoming Rage 2, comes a first person shooter set in the desolate wastelands on Sweden, circa 1980. In this game, killer robots have waged a war against humanity, and it is up to you and three of your ‘young-adult’ friends to put a stop to their evil machinations! This is one of those games that looks and sounds really cool, but has the potential to be a colossal failure for under-delivering. The idea behind an open world shooter with bad robots is a great idea, but after viewing the trailer I’m a bit worried that this open world might just be an empty, boring slog, with nothing to do but run around and shoot things. Who knows, perhaps there is a deep and engrossing story here…I’ll wait for the reviews to come in.
MLB The Show 19 (PS4) – Releases Mar. 26th
The MLB’s opening day is March 28th, which means it is time for an annual sports title! MLB The Show 19 is the latest entry in the long running franchise that started life on the PS2 back in 2006, long held to be the gold standard in modern video game baseball. For you baseball history fans out there, the team at SIE San Diego have added a new mode called Moments, which lets you recreate some of the most iconic and memorable moments throughout the history of baseball, and sounds really cool. There will be some moments that are single pitches or at bats, and others that will track your progress throughout an entire season. There are accurate character models of famous older players from different points in their career, such as the young, big ‘stache Tony Gwynn and the older, more…robust…Tony Gwynn. I’m not a huge baseball guy, but this Moments mode sounds pretty rad, and is something I’d love to take a swing at one day (did you see what I did there).
Nelke & The Legendary Alchemists: Ateliers of The New World (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Mar. 26th
Fans of the Atelier series are in for a treat, as the latest title in the series is a bit of an “all-stars” game. In this game, you play as Nelke, a young woman who has been appointed governor of a small village. She must build and expand the town, and to do so she will enlist the aid of several characters from previous Atelier games. Build the town, fight monsters to expand your territory, and run quaint shops, all while getting to know the various characters.
Tropico 6 (PC) – Releases Mar. 29th
Continuing with the theme of city building, in Tropico 6, you take on the role of El Presidente, a maniacal dictator who controls an island nation. Build the city, manage its resources, and steal world famous landmarks to make your island the best it can be. According to Steam, this will also mark the first time that you will be able to have a multi-island nation, spreading your city across multiple land masses, bringing a whole new slew of challenges and strategy. Eagle eyed readers may spot at the end of the trailer a “January 2019” release date, well, yeah, it was supposed to come out in January, but got delayed two months.
Ports and Re-releases:
Final Fantasy VII (Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 26th
Originally released in 1997 for the Sony PlayStation, this will now be the sixth time (seventh maybe?) it has been ported, and the first time it will be released on a Nintendo console. For those of us who grew up playing RPGs on the NES and SNES, it was a huge deal when Square announced that Final Fantasy VII would not be coming out on the Nintendo 64, but instead the rival Sonly PlayStation. Suddenly I had to have one of these new game systems, and based on the content, it almost felt like I was growing up. Nintendo was my childhood, and Sony was my so called teenage life. At my age, it’s hard to imagine someone having never played this game, but people are born every day, and there’s some fifteen year old teenager who probably thinks of Final Fantasy VII the same way I thought of The Godfather, that old thing everyone talks about but I’ve never experienced. Well kid, lemmie tell you something, play this game now; don’t be like me, I waited until I was 28 to watch The Godfather, but you can play Final Fantasy VII today (also, watch The Godfather).
Danganronpa Trilogy (PS4) – Releases Mar. 26th
Story driven visual novels are so hot right now, and the title that got me to learn about them was Danganronpa. This is a horror/thriller/mystery series, with the first game having you take on the role of a high school student who must figure out why you and your classmates are being hunted and killed by sadistic robot bears. Each subsequent title continues the story (telling you what they are about kind of spoils the fun), and things only get weirder and weirder. There is also a spin-off title (not included) called Ultra Despair Girls that takes place between 1 and 2…I think? Anyway, I played that first and it spoiled the ending of part 1, so don’t be like me, play the other titles first, then go play UDG.
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel (PS4) – Releases Mar. 26th
This game was originally released in Japan in 2013 and again in NA in 2015, for the PS3. Now we are getting a PS4 version of this game, because why the hell not? Set in the Trails storyline, which is part of the Legend of Heroes series, which was originally part of the Dragon Slayer series of games, you take on the role of convoluted protagonist 1 as he begins his journey in the (so far) four part Trails of Cold Steel sub-series of the Trails series, which is itself a sub series of The Legend of Heroes series, which was a spin-off of the Dragon Slayer series, and holy shit, what the fuck am I talking about?
Assassin’s Creed III Remastered (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 29th (Coming to Switch in May)
I’ve always thought that the worst Assassin’s Creed game needed a remaster, so thankfully someone has been reading my Live Journal. Re-live all of the most boring, asinine and utterly unenjoyable moments from Assassin’s Creed III, and then have fun for 15 minutes in the boat sailing portion, a mini-game so good that they based an entire entry in the series around it when part IV came out.
Final Fantasy XV: Episode Ardyn (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 26th
Welp, here it is folks, the last piece of new content for Final Fantasy XV, a game that was supposed to reinvigorate the franchise and get tons of former fans to jump back in, then it arrived and we all wondered the hell was going on with this car pushing bull shit. Originally there were going to be four DLC episodes, Ardyn, Aranea, Lunafreya and Noctis, but after some behind the scenes drama, the director of the game left Square Enix to start his own company, and three of the planned four DLC episodes were cancelled. Oh well, what can you do? Here’s a synopsis: Learn more about Ardyn’s struggles and the resentment he harbored toward Lucis for thousands of years. The story also touches upon his differences with the Astrals.
Gwent: Crimson Curse (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 28th
Hey all you Gwent players out there, it looks like you are getting your first expansion to the game, and as a regular Artifact player, I am not AT ALL jealous of you in any way. Nope, not jealous, no sireee! I love the choices I’ve made in life! I have so much fun playing the same person 5 times in a row through online matchmaking! I like not being able to sell my doubles back at a reasonable price on the secondary market! I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU!
The Walking Dead: Final Season – Episode 4 “Take Us Back” (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 26th
Well, we’ve made it. After seven years and 19 episodes, the story of Clementine is coming to an end. It’s bittersweet, especially with the knowledge of how badly the staff at Telltale were treated, and I have to say, I’m feeling some Walking Dead fatigue in general. I’ll certainly pick this up after I’ve had a chance to get through season 3, but I’m not dying to get to a resolution anytime soon…plus she’ll probably die, and I don’t know if I can handle that much sadness right now. Why is Artifact failing 🙁
Outward (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 26th
Another open world co-op game, this one is set in the fantasy world of Aurai. It looks pretty dated, but if you need something to play online with your buddies, maybe check it out. You could also buy Artifact and play with me.
The Princess Guide (PS4/Switch) – Releases Mar. 26th
Need another anime-style game with RPG elements, cool, got you covered. In The Princess Guide, you are an instructor who must take a princess and train her to do battle. There are four princesses to choose from; you start with one, but as the story progresses you can train the other three as well. Praise and scold them as they hack and slash their way through a multitude of levels and visual novel style stories, as you lead each princess to fulfill their ultimate destiny.
Space Junkies (PSVR/Rift/Vive) – Releases Mar. 26th
This latest VR title is from Ubisoft, which touts it as “…a visceral, jetpack-fueled VR Arcade Shooter where you fly through deadly Orbital Arenas in hostile space, facing off in extreme battles”. I bet Artifact would be fucking SICK in VR.
Xenon Racer (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 26th
It’s the future, and flying cars have replaced terrestrial cars, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still super sick to race! As a one-off special, organizers have allowed for the racing of four wheeled, on the ground, cars, but with that sick ass new fuel, Xenon. It’ll be tight, like, playing Artifact levels of tightness. Fuck, man, just buy Artifact already! Come on, the cards cost literally pennies!
FUN! FUN! Animal Park (Switch) – Releases Mar. 28th
This mini-game collection looks hilarious. Featuring both animal puppets and realistic interpretations of the animals, you will explore Animal Land, playing various mini-games against family and friends. This seems to be safely in the toddler range, but is so dang cute that it should delight just about any age. Hopefully the motion controls are done well, I would really hate to get this and then find out that the controls aren’t responsive.
Warparty (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Mar. 28th (currently in early access on Steam)
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Unheard (PC) – Releases Mar. 29th
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Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
This week’s older titles include one of the best titles in a dying series, one of the greatest PC games of all time, and another PC game about one of the greatest martial artists to ever live.
Guitar Hero: Metallica (PS3/Wii/Xbox 360) – Released Mar. 29th, 2009: Wiki Link
Rhythm games had pretty much peaked in 2008 with Guitar Hero: World Tour and Rock Band 2, but by 2009 we’d get two band specific titles that might have been the last good thing each series would release. The first of these to come out was Guitar Hero: Metallica from Neversoft. Having already released a band specific title for Aerosmith nine months earlier (over saturation, much), that used the Guitar Hero III engine, this new title would use the World Tour engine, allowing players to rock out as not just the guitarist, but also play drums, bass and sing. The game was very well received, with many saying that it was Neversoft’s best title in the franchise to date. Continuing the trend from the previous Aerosmith title, the game was a mix of both songs by Metallica (28 in total), and songs that were specifically picked by the band to be included in the game (21 in total). Reading over the Wikipedia article, the band stated that they wanted to work on Guitar Hero because their kids had loved the original games and learned about classics bands from them, I wonder if they knew that the people they were working with had no input on the original titles. In any case, this was the beginning of the end for the series, as they would release a staggering SIX Guitar Hero games in 2009 over the course of ten months, ending with what might be the lowest point for the series, Guitar Hero: Van Halen. As I mentioned earlier, Harmonix would release their first band specific game just a few months later in September, The Beatles: Rock Band, which would completely blow this game out of the water in terms of content and historical value, but it wouldn’t matter. The rhythm game genre was on life support, and they wouldn’t be around too much longer.
Rollercoaster Tycoon (PC) – Released Mar. 31st, 1999: Wiki Link
Hailed by some as one of the best PC games of all time, Chris Sawyer’s Rollercoaster Tycoon was released ten years ago this week. Taking the city building aspect of SimCity and applying it to the macro level of a theme park, would be Walt Disney’s could now design the park that they had always dreamed of. You had control of just about everything, from the landscaping, to the cost of items in the gift shop (make sure to jack up the price of umbrellas when it rains), heck, you could even name the guests in the park. Every detail, down to the color of the cars in your rollercoaster, was available to customize, giving players an unlimited amount of creative freedom. Originally conceived as a sequel to his earlier game Transport Tycoon, Sawyer eventually decided to switch over to theme parks, which gave him the excuse he needed to ride as many rollercoasters as he wanted in the name of “research”. It should be noted, that although it shares the “tycoon” suffix with Railroad Tycoon, it is not actually part of that series, which surprised me. There have been several sequels to the game released over the years, but after part 2 there is a noticeable decline in quality and popularity. However, that hasn’t stopped owner Atari from releasing new entries, with the latest, Rollercoaster Tycoon Adventures, releasing on the Nintendo Switch last December. Rollercoaster Tycoon is a stone cold classic that is still enjoyed by many to this day through both the classic title being sold on Steam and GOG, as well as the open source project openrct2 (which is based on the second game in the series).
Bruce Lee Lives (PC) – Released 1989: Wiki Link
I had a really hard time finding a title that came out this week and even this month to highlight, so I basically dug around until I found an interesting game that came out in “1989”, sorry I can’t be more timely here. In this PC title, you play as the famous martial artist Bruce Lee, beating the shit out of other people with your bad ass moves. The game boasted an impressive AI for the era, learning your moves and anticipating them if used too much. Heck, if you have a particularly impressive set of moves, the computer might even copy them and use the moves against you. Owners of the game were also treated to a biography on Lee, written by his wife Linda, making this quite a package for Bruce Lee fans.