The fall train continues to chug along, with one major multi-platform release, and two big console exclusives. On top of that we’ve got two new sports titles, a handful of interesting looking small games, some decent ports, and a fun expansion. Hopefully there’s something here for you to like.
Borderlands 3 (PC – Epic Games Store/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 13th
It’s been almost ten years since the first Borderlands game was released, giving rise to the “loot shooter” genre; and while I can’t tell if they invented it, they certainly popularized it. The game was a surprise hit for Gearbox, beating expectations and put the term “vault hunter” into every gamer’s lexicon. After an even better sequel, and a forgettable pre-sequel, we now have the third entry in the series which will offer more characters to play, more bad guys to shoot, and more loot to collect, like, an unbelievably offensive amount of loot. Since this is 2019, we can’t just judge a game on its merits anymore, so your enjoyment of this game might depend on a couple of factors. The first thing we should talk about is the decision to make the PC version of the game exclusive to the Epic Games Store for one year, which along with Metro Exodus, seemed to be one of the first games announced to follow this trend. A certain segment of the gaming community was (and likely still is) up in arms over this, with claims that ranged from “I’m annoyed that I need to install a new program to run my games” to the hyperbolic “EPIC GAMES STORE IS A FRONT FOR THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT TO SPY ON AMERICANS”. Whatever side of the debate you were on, it certainly didn’t help when Borderlands 3‘s second most problematic issue chimed in; Gearbox president and CEO Randy Pitchford who, for lack of a better term, seems like he’s a total jerk. Based on his public persona and controversial Twitter feed, the man has made himself, his company, and his games look kind of scummy. Just on this project alone, Pitchford has railed against people upset over the Epic Games Store deal, yelled at journalists who said he lied about microtransactions in Borderlands 3, and then publicly lambasting a former employee (and original voice of Claptrap) who said that Pitchford had allegedly assaulted him and stole bonuses from Gearbox employees. Despite these things, the game is probably going to be a massive hit for both Gearbox and their parent company 2K, so go ahead and wring your hands and give your stern looks of disapproval, because it is likely no one cares. What side do you fall on? Let me know in the comments below and please like & subscribe!!!!!!!
Gears 5 (PC/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 10th
For the sixth game in the franchise, Microsoft went with the bold choice of calling it Gears 5, losing the “of war” part. Like Apple and their removal of the headphone jack that they claimed no one was using, Microsoft insisted that removing “of war” from the title was both to give the game a clean look, and remove something that nobody was using anyway…right. Anyway, the game picks up after the events of Gears 4 (hey, they’re right, I didn’t use the “of war” part), and has you playing as new main protagonist Kait Diaz, who along with previous protagonists JD and Marcus Fenix, must travel through enemy infested wilderness and ruins in order to discover the mystery surrounding Kait’s family since she is, DUN DUN DUN, part Locust!
Utawarerumono: Zan (PS4) – Releases Sep. 10th
This looks like a hack ‘n slash in the vein of Dynasty Warriros set in the Utawarerumono universe. Featuring twelve playable characters, and four player online co-op, you and your buddies should have a good old time bashing in the heads of some anime characters.
Daemon X Machina (Switch) – Releases Sep. 13th
This is our second mech-based, Japanese action game to come out on the Switch in three weeks (the other being Astral Chain). It comes with some pretty high pedigree, with Armored Core producer Kenichiro Tsukuda taking lead on the game, and prolific artist Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Armored Core, Patlabor) designing the mechs for the game. In this game, the Moon has been torn apart, plunging the Earth into a kind of apocalypse setting where machines have gone haywire, so you must pilot a non haywire going machine to destroy the aforementioned haywire machines. It’s all very simple, I assure you.
NHL 20 (PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 13th
Five years ago I decided to get into hockey. Being a SoCal cute boy I had two choices, the Anaheim Ducks or the LA Kings. After watching a couple of Ducks games I left feeling unimpressed and bored, then I watched a Kings game and was instantly hooked. They were my team now, and I was so impressed by goalie Jonathan Quick and center Anze Kopitar that I knew I’d be watching hockey for the rest of my life. That the team went on to win the Stanley Cup that year was the icing on the cake I needed. The Kings have been a bit cold the last three seasons, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve been following the Padres since I was a child, I know how to wait. Anyway, there’s a hockey game coming out on Friday.
Ports and Re-releases:
The Walking Dead: Definitive Edition (PC – Epic Games Store/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 10th
Just in case you have decided to ignore this series for the last seven years, a brand new “definitive edition” of the game is now available for you to own. There was a, like, three hundred dollar edition of the game that came with a statue and some other shit, but it’s sold out. I’m still on the second episode of A New Frontier, so please no spoilers.
The Sinking City (Switch) – Releases Sep. 12th
After a tepid response when it released on PC, PS4 and XBone, Switch owners can now play the game about which GameSpot said, “…the poor design, cliched writing, and lumbering pace make this far more tedious than delightful, let alone unsettling or terrifying“. What a ringing endorsement!
The Sims 4: Realm of Magic (PC) – Releases Sep. 10th, PS4/XBone on Oct. 15th
At this point I only mention releases for The Sims in the hopes that Jessica Williams will read this and give me tickets to see her 2 Dope Queens podcast so I can surprise my wife with them. Anyway, this one is all about magic and shit, with you being able to turn into a werewolf, fairy, vampire, witch and…the guy from the Old Spice commercials, apparently?
Blasphemous (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 10th
For all your middle school angsty needs you can look no further than Blasphemous. Combining the difficulty of Hollow Knight with the Metroidvania exploration styles of Metroid and Castlevania, you’ll wonder just how long you can keep playing before the authorities are alerted to how fucking edgy you are. I also really like the graphics; check out those backgrounds!
Caravan Stories (PS4) – Releases Sep. 10th
This free to play MMO from Japan borrows its style so heavily from Final Fantasy XIV that it’s almost offensive. You do get to play as the Calico Critters though, so I can’t really hate on this too much.
Greedfall (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 10th
Apparently Greedfall was developed by Spiders, which is, like, an amazing fucking achievement. Those are really talented arachnids.
Gun Gun Pixies (Switch) – Releases Sep. 10th
Nintendo is still going through its awkward teenage anime years it seems. In this…game…you play as two little pixies from another planet, who must learn the ways of humans, so they infiltrate a girls dormitory and…study them. Using your “happy bullets” you must remain undetected and shoot the girls until they feel so good that they start to talk, revealing all of their human secrets. How
cute creepy! The game also includes squids, because why the fuck not.
Ellen (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 13th
I could find almost no information on this game, so I just assume it’s 25 hours of you watching Ellen’s talk show. Prove me wrong, folks. Prove me wrong.
NASCAR Heat 4 (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Sep. 13th
THE CARS GO FAST IN A CIRCLE!!!
Nauticrawl (PC) – Releases Sep. 16th
From Steam, “A stolen, enigmatic machine is your only way out. It’s likely to kill you, but so will the planet you’re escaping. Puzzle out how to pilot the Nauticrawl to freedom in this unusual atmospheric adventure… or die trying“.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
Three goofy looking cartoon characters make up this week’s notable releases. If you hate whimsy then just skip right past these.
Scribblenauts (Nintendo DS) – Released Sep. 15th, 2009: Wiki Link
After seeing the success of Nintendogs and Brain Age with a more casual audience on the Nintendo DS, developer 5th Cell started coming up with ideas on how they could also tap this market. Director Jeremiah Slaczka had the idea to combine Mad Libs with puzzle solving, thus the genesis for Scribblenauts was formed. By using the DS’ stylus to write key words, players must try and solve puzzles in order to collect objects called Starites. Puzzles range from catching butterflies to having the longest jump off a ramp, and while conventional wisdom might lead you to, say, write the word “butterfly net” to catch the butterfly, why not write the word vacuum cleaner instead and suck that bug up. Think you can beat the longest ramp jump on a bicycle? Maybe, but why not use a rocket cycle instead? The possibilities are endless with potentially hundreds of thousands of words to use, making this game not only a fun challenge, but incredibly rewarding for those who have a little bit of imagination. This imaginative hook was a big hit with crowds at E3 in 2009, where the game was recognized by several gaming outlets as “Best In Show”, a first for a portable game. However, while the game received a ton of praise in the pre-release, when launched it did not garner such universal acclaim. While many reviewers were quick to note that the game was a lot of fun to play, especially when discovering unique ways to solve the puzzles, the controls were the most criticized aspect of the game, making a fairly frustrating slog, and with NPCs sometimes unresponsive, or unable to lift objects properly, it made even simple puzzles take multiple tries to get right. Overall these criticisms didn’t do much to stop the momentum of the series, as it went on to spawn several sequels across multiple platforms, including last year’s Scribblenauts Mega Pack.
Goemon’s Great Adventure (N64) – Released Sep. 15th, 1999: Wiki Link
Having been a staple of Japanese arcades and consoles since 1986, North American audiences were not introduced to Goemon and his friends until the 1992 game The Legend of the Mystical Ninja was released for the Super Nintendo. All together, there are roughly 23 games in the series (some being ports or enhanced versions), but here in North America we only received four; the last of them being 1999’s Goemon’s Great Adventure on the Nintendo 64. Unlike the previous N64 title, Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon, which was a 3D adventure game similar to Super Mario 64, this new title was a side scrolling platformer like Yoshi’s Story. This change in gameplay was well received by critics who thought it was an improvement over the first N64 Goemon game, which they viewed as decent but flawed, and even had some calling it the best side scroller on the system. The game was, as was the norm for all of the titles, a quirky adventure full of skewed Japanese history mixed with surreal humor, and this may be part of the reason why so few were ever localized outside of Japan, since the stories are generally deeply rooted in Japanese culture, and can be difficult to translate. The game only sold about 49 thousand copies in North America, about six thousand less than Mystical Ninja, so sales weren’t exactly through the roof, which further explains why the series didn’t continue in the U.S. after this title was released. The series would, however, continue in Japan with various sequels and spin-offs, but even there Goemon’s popularity started to wain, and after some attempts to change the setting and the tone, the last title to come out was a 3DS re-boot in 2012 which tried to return the series to its roots. Perhaps with the SNES now on the Switch we’ll get a re-release of Legend of the Mystical Ninja, drumming up renewed interest in the series…or not. I’m not a fortune teller.
DuckTales (NES) – Released Sep. 14th, 1989: Wiki Link
Capcom’s Disney titles are among some of the most beloved games of the late 80’s and early 90’s, and while many would think that Mickey’s Mousecapades was their first title, they actually only published the game. Their first licensed Disney title was 1989’s DuckTales. Featuring many of the same team that had worked on Mega Man, the game was an unbridled success. With catchy music, fantastic graphics, and tight controls, this title is on several ‘greatest NES games ever made’ lists. In DuckTales, players take on the role of Scrooge McDuck, the richest, er, person, I guess, in all of Duckburg. However, in typical Scrooge fashion, he’s never rich enough, and so he decides that he must have the biggest treasures in existence. With the help of Launchpad McQuack and his grandnephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie, Scrooge travels to the Amazon jungle, an African mine, the Himalayas, Transylvania, and of course, the Moon. With gems hidden everywhere, and various secret rooms and areas, DuckTales has a surprisingly high replay value. One key feature of the game is Scrooge’s ability to hop on his cane like a pogo stick, allowing him to bounce on the heads of enemies and move over spikes without getting hurt. This mechanic is very well known, but is also one of its most lambasted as it can be somewhat difficult to pull off if you don’t have a lot of practice, and if you’re like me, it can the game a bit repetitive, since I just bounce literally every where. With DuckTales being the big hit it was, Capcom was able to buoy that success by releasing several more high profile Disney games like Chip & Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Mickey’s Magical Quest and Goof Troop, just to name a few. Capcom would release a sequel to DuckTales for the NES in 1993 near the end of the console’s lifespan and, with only a few copies produced, it has a reputation for being rather rare to collectors. In 2013, Capcom and WayForward would release DuckTales: Remastered, an enhanced and expanded version of the game for modern consoles; unfortunately, due to licensing agreements, the game was pulled from all digital storefronts on August 8th, 2019. One of my earliest gaming memories is tied to DuckTales, as I remember receiving a free copy of Nintendo Power in the mail that featured the game on the cover. I was really taken with the scenery of the game, being incredibly drawn to the Amazon jungle stage. We had a bunch of bushes in the front of our apartment complex, and I remember sitting behind them, reading the magazine, pretending like it was the jungle from the game, just thinking about all the cool adventures I could get into with Scrooge. When I finally got a chance to play the game I was not disappointed, and I still consider it to be one of my all time favorites.