I had a lot of trouble picking the top game this week between MK11 and Days Gone. I ultimately settled on Mortal Kombat 11 because of its history and multi-platform release, but Days Gone, a game that initially held zero interest for me, has started to look more and more like a solid single player experience, and could be a sleeper hit. Regardless, both games look like future Black Friday purchases, as I see no reason to plop down $60 for either of these titles, aside from FOMO syndrome.
Mortal Kombat 11 (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 23rd, Switch version on Apr. 22nd
When Ed Boon appeared on 2018’s The Game Awards, I’m not sure any of us were expecting a new Mortal Kombat, but lo and behold, there it was. This is the eleventh mainline game in the series in just under 27 years, and while the roster and graphics have changed over the years, the core essence of the game remain the same. Savagely beat your opponents to a bloody pulp and then execute them in a gratuitously gore-riffc fashion. Pre-release scuttlebutt has been a little bit down on this game for a couple reasons. First up is everyone’s favorite punching bag, DLC, with Shang Tsung being available on the same day the game releases, second, and this is kind of an odd one, but it appears that most of the voice cast has been replaced. Many of the characters have had the same voice actor since 2008’s Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, but due to what is being described by voice actress Karen Strassman as “…politics in gaming that affect casting”, several characters, including Scorpion, Goro, Kitana, and Mileena, have been re-cast, and in some cases replaced with famous people, such as Sonya Blade now being voiced by UFC/WWE fighter Ronda Rousey, and Shang Tsung being replaced with Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, the actor who portrayed him in the Mortal Kombat movie from the 90’s. Despite these minor criticisms, the game looks pretty cool, and I’m excited to give it a try (in November, when it drops to $30).
Imperator: Rome (PC) – Releases Apr. 25th
Imperator: Rome is a ‘grand strategy wargame’ and, if you’re like me, you might be asking yourself, “what the heck is a grand strategy wargame”? Well our good friend Wikipedia is here to shed some light on the subject, “Grand strategy wargames typically focus on a war or series of wars…over a long period of time. Individual units, even armies, may not be represented; instead, attention is given to theaters of operation. All…resources of the nations involved may be mobilized as part of a long-term struggle. The simulation typically involves political and economic as well as military conflict”. Wow, that’s quite a mouthful, thanks Wikipedia! What this means, really, is that Imperator: Rome is a pretty massive and granular game, with a bunch of stats that would make a mathematician, a different kind of mathematician, and a statistician salivate. You’ll spend your time governing cities, growing armies, and trying to make your country the best in the world (specifically countries between the Iberian Peninsula and India).
SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech (Switch) – Releases Apr. 25th
Another week, another digital card game. This week’s title comes from the team over at Image & Form Games, and takes place in their SteamWorld universe. According to the official website, this is a roleplaying card game in which “…you’ll lead a party of aspiring heroes through…intense battles using only your wits and a handful of cards. Take on whatever threat comes your way by crafting your own deck…”. With over 100 cards to choose from, you’ll be able to build and customize your deck to suit whatever play style suits you best.
Days Gone (PS4) – Releases Apr. 26th
When I first saw the trailer for this game, I assumed it was somehow related to The Last of Us, and I was pretty bummed when it turned out to be just another generic looking zombie game. The whole biker thing just doesn’t really interest me, I don’t know why, maybe because they are just a bunch of bro’s who like to beat up nerds. The t.v. show Sons of Anarchy and the GTA IV expansion The Lost & Damned softened me up a bit to the biker and their culture, but generally speaking, I’m just not that into it. Well, I might have to eat a little bit of crow here, because despite my initial reservations, the game continues to release interesting trailers and is slowly painting a more robust and vibrant world than I had initially expected. Yeah, it’s kind of cliched (I’m a fuckin’ tough guy but I got a soft spot for my old lady and NO ONE IS STANDING IN MY WAY AS I TRY TO FIND HER) and a few of the characters look one note, but it’s still intriguing, and I bet the story isn’t half bad. Looking at this game, one thing comes to mind, The Walking Dead, and I’m sure Skybound and Image had wished they had reached out to Sony and Bend Studio instead of Overkill for their game. Reviews have been embargoed until Thursday (just one day before release), but that’s nothing new in the gaming industry, but Game Stop is offering a 48 grace period on the game, where you can return it for store credit at full price ($60.00). These might not be encouraging signs, but then again, in a world where we all claim we want new experiences and content, you can’t really blame retailers for trying what they can to get people to take a chance on something original.
Ports and Re-releases:
Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen (Switch) – Releases Apr. 23rd
I bought this back in 2017 for PS4, and I still haven’t played it. Heck, I’m like 75% certain I haven’t even taken it out of the shrink wrap. I’ll probably get this for Switch; send help.
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – The Fate of Atlantis EP. 1 (PC/PS4 /Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 23rd
Last year’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey continues it’s quest to dominate your free time by releasing the first episode of their second major story expansion, The Fate of Atlantis. Just what is this expansion about? Well here’s what the official website has to say, “Travel to the depths to explore Atlantis, and discover the mysteries behind the fate of the sunken city“.
That description is just…breathtaking. You know what though, I’m not sure we even need this expansion, because Indiana Jones already discovered the fate of Atlantis, remember? I say we all just skip this DLC altogether and play Lucasart’s classic point & click adventure game Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. This whole thing is just redundant.
UglyDolls: An Imperfect Adventure (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 26th
Hey look, it’s those weird UglyDolls things, why did they make a video game about them? Oh, they have a movie coming out soon? Nice.
Cytus Alpha (Switch) – Releases Apr. 25th, physical release in May
This was actually an iOS game first, so I should have put it in the “ports and re-releases” section, but if I do that then it would screw up my layout and I really wanted to show a picture of Dark Devotion. Oh, and I actually can’t really confirm if this is even coming out on the 25th, because Nintendo has not listed it in their eShop yet, but the physical edition is coming next month, so if doesn’t come out, well, think of this as an early preview. It’s a rhythm game, it looks kind of cool. Go get it on iOS if you really want to check it out.
Dark Devotion (PC) – Releases Apr. 25th, PS4 and Switch versions coming later this year
While this only coming out on PC this week, it is clearly one of those games that will probably be best on Switch. These pixel graphic, side scrolling platform games are perfect for the handheld device. If you aren’t a Switch owner, or you just want to play it early, then by all means pick this up for PC, go on, it’s okay. Literally no one is judging you (that you know of…). The game boasts deep character customization with RPG-like elements, and is supposed to have a very rich and engaging story. I’m sure it does, and I’ll find out in a few weeks/months when it hits, you guessed it, Nintendo Switch.
Yuppie Psycho (PC) – Releases Apr. 25th
With just a few months left to cash in on the 90’s craze, we have Yuppie Psycho, a surreal indie game with an anime aesthetic, that has you playing as a character named Brian who is starting his first day of work. He works for a huge corporation that is not unlike Shinra from Final Fantasy VII (90’s!!!), and while things may look normal on the outside, he starts to realize that this job might just be too much for him. Did I mention it takes place during the 90’s??!!!?
Boxboy! + Boxgirl! (Switch) – Releases Apr. 26th
Making the leap from 3DS to the Switch, HAL Laboratory’s BoxBoy! series has a new entry coming out this week. What was originally a single player game, this title has added a second player that can be controlled either by the same player, or a friend. You’ll solve a multitude of puzzles as you push boxes around to help you cross dangerous pitfalls and avoid traps. This looks like a perfect little time waster and should be quite a bit of fun while you sit on the train or need a break in math class (don’t play video games in math class).
Furry Shakespeare: To Date Or Not To Date Cat Girls? (PC) – Releases Apr. 26th
Sometimes a game is so fucking weird that I just have to bring attention to it, this is one of those games; from Steam, “It’s Senior Year at Elsinore Academy. What’s better than Senior Year? Well, Shakespeare characters that are the seniors, of course. What’s even better than that? If they are Furries. It’s Furry Shakespeare. You are welcome“. You can’t see me right now, but I’m shaking my head.
Moero Chronicle Hyper (Switch) – Releases Apr. 26th
From the official Nintendo eShop page, “Nothin’ Wrong with a Little Bumping Scratch! Purify your Monster Girls and return them to their senses with “Bumping Scratch”! Find their points of weakness on their body and touch, rub, poke, or pick until they’re purified”! You can’t see me right now, but I’m shaking my head. Yes, again!
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
This week’s notable releases feature two ambitions titles, one a dismal failure and the other going on to spawn an all-time great franchise. Plus we get a movie tie-in game that released long after the film’s release; guess I should have highlighted it last week to coincide with the release of World War Z. Oh well, live and learn.
Velvet Assassin (PC/Xbox 360) – Released Apr. 28th, 2009: Wiki Link
It’s tough putting all your chips into one thing, but sometimes in order to make money, you gotta take big risks. Unfortunately for Replay Studios, their big bet didn’t pay off, and they went out of business. What happened; why wasn’t Velvet Assassin a hit? Well, maybe it was the shitty stealth mechanics in a game that is all about stealth, or maybe it was the awful gunplay, as noted by GameSpot, or perhaps it was the terrible AI who were basically just walking robots waiting for you to stab them, or perhaps it was a dull, lifeless husk of a game that did nothing to inspire anything related to fun or joy. Set during WW2, you play as Violette Summer (based on real life spy Violette Szabo), a British Secret Intelligence Service agent who is in a coma after being recently wounded. Yes, you read that right, this game is already winning points for excitement by having you play as a comatose woman. Okay, so that’s a little unfair, you might be in a coma, but gameplay takes place in a series of flashbacks where you re-enact some of Violet’s missions as she (and you) piece together the events that led you to being shot. As noted above, this game was a make or break moment for Replay Studios, and it didn’t work out. Abysmal reviews and a general disinterest from players was enough to put the company out of business. In the same year they would release one more title called Tunnel Rats: 1968, which was a tie-in with a Uwe Boll film (remember that guy), before closing their doors. Replay was also hard at work on their follow-up title called Survivor, and I think we might have dodged a bullet on that one, as the game was supposed to put the player in a “survive or die” situation during several real life disasters, including the bombing of Hiroshima, the sinking of the Titanic, and the September 11th attacks in New York. I just, I mean, wow.
If you really, really want to play this game, it’s only $1.99 on Steam. I’m going to pick it up and see just how bad it is; will you join me?
Super Smash Bros. (N64) – Released Apr. 26th, 1999: Wiki Link
Honestly, what can I say about this game that hasn’t already been covered in full detail from multiple outlets, including a fantastic write-up done by our very own Wolfman Jew? Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty years, you probably know what Super Smash Bros. is, and how it got its start. Yes, Masahiro Sakurai was a HAL employee who wanted to make a four player fighting game. Yes, he was having trouble coming up with a good design so we asked Satoru Iwata for help. Yes, he though his generic models were boring and put famous Nintendo characters in the game, hoping it would convince Nintendo to make it. Yes, it featured eight iconic characters from Nintendo’s most popular franchises and four secret characters that were lesser known on their own, or from a lesser known franchise. Yes, it came out in Japan on January 21st, 1999. Yes, it was a smash hit. Yes, it sold more copies in the U.S. than Japan. Yes, it went on to spawn several sequels that only seemed to build upon and improve with each release. Yes, the first time I played this was during lunch in my Spanish teachers classroom. Yes, I thought the controls and idea were fucking stupid. Yes, I was an idiot.
Predator (NES) – Released Apr. 1989: Wiki Link
When Predator released in theatres in 1987, it was a phenomenon. If people weren’t already aware of who Arnold Schwarzenegger was from his roles in The Terminator, Conan the Barbarian and Commando, then they sure as hell knew who he was now. Featuring a cast of bad ass bro’s, like Carl “you son of a bitch” Weathers, Jesse “The Body” Ventura and Shane “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang” Black, and one of the most awesome looking aliens put to film, it was only natural to make a video game based on it. However, like most licensed titles, it was pretty much a steaming pile of garbage; an almost two full years later, steaming pile of garbage. I’m going to take a lot of info based on my own childhood experiences, and from this review done on Something Awful, because the Wikipedia page is a bit, er, lacking. As a kid, sometimes you don’t really know what’s good and what’s bad. If I had been a bit older and wiser, I probably would have realized in the store that this was going to be a garbage fire, but at the age of nine I didn’t know shit. I liked the movie (as all nine year old’s did at the time, the part where you seen all the skinned bodies was really an eye opener), so I figured, this will be just as good, if not better. Ha! First off, the controls are so floaty and unresponsive that you might think the entire game takes place in the world’s only jungle to be completely covered in ice. There are weird monsters that pop up all over the place, which the game manual claims are the predator’s pets, and you’re attacked left and right by Central American guerrilla’s that populate this jungle like it’s Time’s Square. You also don’t start the game with any weapons, just your fists, and honestly, they’re probably the best thing you can use. If you’re unlucky enough to accidentally pick up the grenades, you’ll be inclined to find the nearest pit and jump into it. These things are awful, truly. You have very little control over there they land, they take forever to explode, and they have a hit radius so small, that you barely ever strike your target. I hated this game growing up, and I barely got anywhere near finishing it. Really, the only good thing about this game is the title screen and the game over screen, which featured some really nice graphics, and probably had more care and thought into their development than the entire game itself. The shot of the predator in blue and purple hues on the game over screen was so well known, that Neca even made a figure out of it (as well as the purple/blue Jason and purple/blue Batman). I can’t stress enough how bad this game is, just stay away from it.