It’s another slow week in gaming but, I mean, does anyone really want to compete with Zelda? Yeah, it might be one of the more maligned entries in the series, but there are few other franchises that can guarantee success than Nintendo’s Zelda. Sure, mistakes were made in Skyward Sword. Nintendo wasn’t thinking straight when they wrote down every instruction Fi gives you. Looking out from my pyramid, er, apartment, and into the San Diego bay, my letter to Nintendo reads, “come back to me“.
Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD (Switch) – Releases Jul. 16th
Originally released on the Wii back in November of 2011, Skyward Sword was initially a major critical success, garnering praise from every major gaming outlet and getting perfect scores from Edge, Game Informer, IGN, Eurogamer and the notoriously picky Famitsu. However, the love affair would soon sour, as players would find the game to be tedious, with constant instructions being thrown at you, a lackluster overworld map, and, of course, motion controls that were forced upon you. I’ll probably go in depth further with this when it is the notable title later this year, but for now you should know that Nintendo has heard you “loud and clear” and they’ve made improvements to the game by removing most of the instructions and revamping the motion controls. Yes, you still need to use them in some capacity since the gameplay is structured heavily around holding your sword in specific directions, but at least you don’t need to wave your joycons around like a mad person, instead using the right thumbstick to angle the sword properly. Will Skyward Sword finally be worth those perfect scores, or will it once again be a beautiful disappointment?
Radio Viscera (PC) – Releases Jul. 13th
I’m just going to post the synopsis from the developer’s website because I don’t think I can describe this any better, “Radio Viscera is a fast-paced top-down action game with brutal industrial violence, bloody arcade action and a rebellious spirit, where the walls are just a temporary obstacle. Push your way through the satanic Y2K cultist compound and dispatch their loyal followers using lethal environmental hazards. The walls surrounding you are no match for your makeshift weapon as you evade, ambush and outmaneuver your relentless pursuers in hope of escape. Fight creatively and blast your own route to victory in search of a cult leader who wants you dead!“
HighRisers (PC) – Releases Jul. 15th
If you’ve ever thought, “Gee, I love SimTower, but this could use more zombies” or “Man, I love This War of Mine, but does it need to be so DEPRESSING” then you might like HighRisers.
F1 2021 (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X/S) – Releases Jul. 16th
I have some good news and bad news. The good news, Devon Butler, the protagonist from F1 2019 and also the main character in Cop & A Half, is set to return in story mode. The bad news, he’s your rival! Yeah, Aidan Jackson, new story protagonist, MIGHT be a good racer, but there’s no way he can beat Devon Butler, especially when all those other racers stand up and pretend to be him. You’ll have no way of knowing who he is! If you understand any of this then we should be friends.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
Call of Juarez: The Cartel (PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Jul. 19th, 2011: Wiki Link
Wussup holmes, you like games where you fuckin’ shoot vatos, ese? Then you should check out Call of Juarez: The Cartel, foo, check it. You might be thinking, “ey, homie, ain’t this a sequel to those other western shooters“, and you’d be right, foo, but, like, this one isn’t set in the wild west, cuz, it’s set in modern times, hijole. Narratively speaking, this is not connected to those first two games either homie, it is its own thing, for real, dawg. You see, there’s these three different cops, pinche pendejos, one from the DEA, one from the FBI, and another from the fuckin’ LAPD *spits* chinga tu madre, guero pieces of shit. Check it out though, foo, these cops are all dirty mother fuckers, cabron. You can play this solo or, like, with two other fiends, homie, like your boys Sylvester the Cat and Chronos. It’s pretty sick, though, because you fight these gang bangers, and yo, those foo’s all talk with these crazy racist accents and slang that make them look fucking dumb, holmes. Like, who fuckin’ talks like that, hijole, you know? I mean, like, if you grew up in Southern California, you might know a few foo’s who talk like that, but, for real, ain’t nobody really talking like that, it just perpetuates fuckin’ stereotypes, homie. Now let’s grab Lil’ Tweety, Joker, and that foo Casper and get some Olive Garden. I love their breadsticks.
City Crisis (PS2) – Released Jul. 17th, 2001: Wiki Link
Pre-GTA Rockstar/Take Two games on the PS2 are all pretty interesting to look back on, because they each carry a bit of the seed that would spawn their long running, best selling franchise. In City Crisis, players take on the role of a search and rescue team that also puts out fires. In a series of missions, players will fly a helicopter around a sprawling, open world, metropolis, dousing fires, rescuing trapped civilians, and using a search light to help the police catch criminals. Control wise, piloting the helicopter is a near nightmare, with players needing to use both thumbsticks to navigate; one for moving up/down/turning left/turning right, and the other for moving forward/backward/left/right. It is an absolute mind fuck in trying to use the controls, particularly in our modern era, because game developers have figured out much better ways to let players move vehicles around. City Crisis is pretty forgettable, and while it might seem to function as yet another tech demo for GTA 3, this was made by a Japanese team, so it’s hard to say if there was anything directly tying it to Rockstar. If you still have a PS2 and can find a cheap copy at your local retro store I think it is worth a look, but if you can’t ever find a copy, don’t worry, you aren’t missing much.
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom (Genesis) – Released Jul. 1991: Wiki Link
Set 2,000 years after the events of Phantasy Star II, part 3, Generations of Doom, is mostly the same as its predecessor, but has a bit of a reputation for being the worst in the series (in relative terms). At the start of the game, players take control of a young prince named Rhys who is on his way to be married. His bride is Maia, a mysterious young woman who washed up on the beach with no memory of her past. During the ceremony, Maia is kidnapped by an evil dragon named Layan, the sworn enemy of Rhys’ kingdom, the Orakian’s of Landen. During my gameplay, I looked away for a moment and then, for reason, I was being thrown into the dungeon. Another mysterious young woman helps free me, and then my journey began, where I was able to freely wander the town I was apparently a fugitive, before leaving and meeting a mysterious cyborg who looks like a young woman. Phantasy Star III is a bit of a departure from the previous two entries, with the game featuring a branching storyline, spread across three generations. You see, Rhys will meet a couple women on his travels, typically young and mysterious, and will then get married to one of them and have a child. That child will then meet two women and get married to one of them, setting the stage for the third protagonist to finish the quest and get one of four different endings. Part of the reason why the game differs so greatly from the previous two games is because the series creator, Kotaro Hayashida, was not part of the making of the game. Critics were mixed on the game, with praise being given to the branching storylines and multiple endings, but lamenting the poor battle animations and the failure to address the kinda/sorta cliffhanger that Phantasy Star II ended on. Luckily, if you want to give this game a try you can easily find it on modern consoles with the Sega Genesis Collection, and with the fast forward feature you can breeze through it in no time.
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