It’s still a pretty slow week for new games in terms of huge AAA releases, however the indie devs out there are using this time to go NUTS with releases, as we currently have one of the biggest weeks of 2020 just in sheer volume of titles coming out. Maybe none of these will do it for you, or maybe you’re still plugging away at Final Fantasy VII Remake or, if you’re me, you spent about 15 hours this weekend playing Civilization VI and aren’t looking to slow down until Germany is the dominant force on the planet!! All hail Frederick of Germany!!! THE GOD KING HAS SPOKEN AND YOU WILL BOW DOWN BECAUSE THERE IS NO YOU, THERE IS ONLY ME!!!!
XCOM: Chimera Squad (PC) – Releases Apr. 24th
This was a fun little surprise to wake up to last week. XCOM is a stellar series that never fails to disappoint, where even missteps like The Bureau have enough good qualities to make it worth your while. With a budget price, including an initial 50% discount that lasts until May 3rd, you probably shouldn’t expect a huge game here, but if its got that classic XCOM game play then so what, I’ll gladly give $10-$20 bucks for a short, straight to the point, solid gaming experience. Set five years after the events of XCOM 2, players will take their squad, now comprised of both human and aliens, and use them to ferret out rogue squads of marauders and agitators, laying waste to them in a fury of lasers and explosions.
Help Will Come Tomorrow (PC/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 21st
Reminiscent of other tactical narrative games like This War of Mine, Frostpunk, and We. The Revolution, comes the game Help Will Come Tomorrow. Set in the Siberian wilderness, you must take a group of people stranded in the middle of nowhere and try and keep them alive. You’ll gather resources, tend to their needs & desires, and have them forge bonds with one another in order to stay alive.
Moto GP 20 (PC/PS4/Stadia/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Apr. 23rd
It’s a motorcycle racing game, there’s not much to it other than that. If you like the vroom-vroom crotch rockets, then you’re probably going to like this game. Unlike last year’s “classic” mode, which allowed you to race and compete in various real life scenarios from motorcycle racing’s past, you will instead be given a “historic” mode which is, um, a mode that allows you to race and compete in various real life scenarios from motorcycle racing’s past; okay. I will say, though, that these graphics are really impressive to me, and it seems like racing games are always kind of on the forefront when it comes to cutting edge graphics. Am I wrong?
Predator: Hunting Grounds (PC – Epic Games Store/PS4) – Releases Apr. 24th
Following in the footsteps of games like Evolve, Friday the 13th, Dead by Daylight and the recent Resident Evil: Resistance, comes the brand new game Predator: Hunting Grounds. Like those titles, this is a 1 v 4 game in which a squad of human players takes on 1 Predator in an online battle of wits and strategy. I haven’t seen any of the PSN trophies for this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them was called “I ain’t got time to bleed“, because that’s a line from the movie and it is very popular and lots of people said it after the movie came out and it is a very funny line and the guy who said it was Jesse Ventura and he was the governor of Minnesota and he was the governor of Minnesota. Why’d I say that last line twice? I didn’t.
Trials of Mana (PC/PS4/Switch) – Releases Apr. 24th
In case you’ve already finished the re-release of Persona 5 Royal and Final Fantasy VII Remake, there’s now ANOTHER JRPG remake for you to sink your time into, the previously Japan only SNES title Seiken Densetsu 3, now renamed Trials of Mana. With six playable characters to choose from, you will take three and guide them through a high fantasy world where the Mana Tree has been keeping a group of evil gods under wraps. Mana is fading, however, and sinister forces are trying to awaken these evil god beasts. Can you stop them? Please?
Ports and Re-releases:
Dragon Marked For Death (PC) – Releases Apr. 21st
Released in January of 2019 for the Switch, Dragon Marked For Death was kind of lost in the hype surrounding Kingdom Hearts 3. Now that we’ve had over a year to get through Sora’s fever dream, perhaps it is time to give the crew in the Dragonblood Clan a chance. In this 2D side scrolling action RPG, you and up to three other friends can hack and slash your way to glory using the powers of the Astral Dragon.
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 – Road to Boruto (Switch) – Releases Apr. 24th
The only thing I know about Naruto is that in the early 2000’s every Comic-Con was full of people cosplaying as characters from this show.
Blaster Master Zero 2 – Empress
This week gives us a double dose of Dragon Marked For Death content, as the character Empress makes her way to the stellar Blaster Master Zero 2. Featuring an all new vehicle, the D-ATTACKER, and a slew of dragon skill moves, Empress will be a fine addition to your roster, opening up all new ways to play and slay.
The Flower Collectors (PC) – Releases Apr. 21st
ITTA (PC/Switch) – Releases Apr. 22nd
Cloudpunk (PC) – Releases Apr. 23rd
Code: Realize Future Blessings (Switch) – Releases Apr. 23rd
Damaged In Transit (PC/Switch) – Releases Apr. 23rd
Wanko of Marriage ~Welcome to The Dog’s Tail!~ (PC) – Releases Apr. 23rd
Yumeutsutsu Re:Master & Re:After (Switch) – Releases Apr. 23rd
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
This week we’ve got a game that was too early to be considered a classic, a game that was too late to be considered a classic, and a game that is one of those long forgotten classics.
Nier (PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Apr. 27th, 2010: Wiki Link
While many of us are likely familiar with the popular and very well received Nier: Automota, I’m going to wager that its PS3/Xbox 360 predecessor is probably not nearly as well known by modern gamers, except for that guy over there raising his hand. Yes, yes, we all know how cool you are, okay, you know about everything, whoop dee doo. Set in the same universe as the Drakengard series, Nier takes place 1000 years after the events of the first game’s fifth ending, in which two of the characters travel through a portal to Earth, bringing with them the power of magic, as well as some monsters. Director Yoko Taro had intended to make Nier the third Drakengard game, but felt that it deviated too much from the original series and decided to make it a spin-off instead. Taking inspiration from the events of 9/11, Taro wanted to create a game about friendship and combined effort to help overcome a devastating tragedy. Going through these late 2000’s/early 2010’s releases, it does seem like the Japanese games tend to be talked about less than the American made games, and that must not be too far off, because Nier was created with a Western audience in mind, something you’d actually see in more than a few Japanese games of this era. The title character, Nier, was originally conceived as a young man trying to help his sister, but because it was though that American audiences wouldn’t relate to him, the character was changed to be an older man trying to help his daughter. With Neir’s daughter afflicted with a life threatening illness called The Black Scrawl, he takes it upon himself to venture out into a hostile world in order to find a cure. Along the way he meets a talking book, a hot tempered swordsman, and a boy who can petrify people with his gaze. As their adventures moves forward they learn all kind of crazy stuff about androids, clones, shadows, monsters, and secret identities. It’s a wild trip that, unfortunately, most of us won’t get to play as the game is long out of print and can not be found on any digital storefronts. An HD remaster of the Japan-only version called Nier Replicant is set to be released soon and it features, you guessed it, a young protagonist instead of that old man in his mid-30’s that us lame Americans had to play as.
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne (PlayStation) – Released Apr. 30th, 2000: Wiki Link
When Mega Man Legends was released in August of 1998 it was a huge departure from the original series. While we had, for year, been playing Mega Man games from a side scrolling perspective, Legends brought the series into the 3D realm, but not as a straight platformer like Super Mario 64, but instead as an action RPG. Reception was good, and there was particular praise for the sassy antagonist Tron Bonne and her army of lego-esuqe minions called “servbots”. Seeing potential dollar signs in their eyes, a prequel game starring Tron Bonne was given the green light to be released…on the PSX, not the new PS2. This might have proved costly, as the game was seen as a financial disappointment by both Capcom and publisher Eidos. However, this poor performance meant that the aftermarket prices for the game are through the roof, with copies running anywhere from $500 to $2,500 dollars. While the game shares some similarities to Mega Man Legends, there are three different play modes to choose from. There are “moving box” puzzle stages, first person flying stages, and of course action/adventure stages similar to MML. Reception was positive, but it didn’t seem to catch on as well as Legends, and it’s hard to say if that was because of the lack of recognizable characters, the deviation in gameplay style, or the fact that it came out only six months before the launch of the PS2.
Splatterhouse (TurboGrafx-16) – Released Apr. 21st, 1990: Wiki Link
By April of 1990 the first battle in the 16-bit console wars was still in the early stages. Sega and NEC were both doing pretty good in terms of sales, but with its more recognizable slate of arcade hits, the Sega Genesis was pulling ahead of their competition (both were still getting their ass kicked by the NES though). While the PC-Engine was doing gangbusters in Japan, its North American counterpart the TurboGrafx-16 didn’t have that killer app that drive the sale of a system, but 1990 would change that with two releases. While the real killer app was still a few months away, the first big title to capture the attention of the kids on the schoolyard was the (at the time) hyper violent Splatterhouse. Released to arcades in February of 1989, the hockey mask wearing Rick was little more than a Jason Voorhees stand-in, complete with white hockey mask and machete. For his TurboGrafx debut, Rick was instead given a red hockey mask (to ward off any copyright infringement from the Friday the 13th people) and in an effort to be less violent, a 2×4 replaced the machete (yet you were still able to blast away monsters with a shotgun; 2nd amendment, baby). Soon there were protests and hand wringing, calling for boycotts of the game, but that just leads to one thing, big sales. Suddenly the TurboGrafx-16 took off, lest anyone missed the chance to play this forbidden game, one that gleefully touted on the cover “The horrifying theme of this game may be inappropriate for young children…and cowards“, in a bid to attract the more mature gaming market that Sega was courting with the Genesis, and companies like Williams was doing in arcades with Smash TV. While Splatterhouse was fairly well received, it would take another eight months for the system to really take off, all thanks to a little kid who liked to bonk things with his big head. Fun fact, the TurboGrafx-16 cost $159.99 in 1990, which is the equivalent of roughly $314.99 in 2020. That’s cheaper than a PS4 pro ($399.99), but more expensive than a Switch ($299.99).