This is another one of those “interesting but not essential” weeks in gaming. There’s some big stuff here for FANS though, so I hope they’re happy with the offerings, the rest of us can probably keep playing Elden Ring, or LEGO Star Wars, or whatever; and the night mare rides on…and the night mare rides on.
Evil Dead: The Game (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 13th
Developed by: Saber Interactive
Published by: Saber Interactive/Boss Team Games
Didn’t get enough Bruce Campbell this past weekend in the new Dr. Strange movie? Now you can hear him say “groovy” and “hail to the king, baby” over and over again as you and your friends team up in this co-op zombie nightmare based on the popular Evil Dead franchise. With characters from every movie, as well as the recent television series on Starz (LOL, WTF is Starz), it’s an Evil Dead fan’s dream come true, or is that nightmare come true? “Shop smart; shop S-Mart. YOU GOT THAT!“
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 10th
Developed by: Natsume/Rabbit & Bear Studios
Published by: 505 Games
In case you are wondering, this is NOT the Kickstarter game from the creators of Suikoden. It is, however, a spin-off of that game (which has a 2023 release date), similar to how Curse of the Moon came out before Bloodstained. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising is a side-scrolling action RPG that apparently features a town-building mechanic. This is the only trailer I could find, sorry.
Salt and Sacrifice (PC – Epic Exclusive/PS4/PS5) – Releases May 10th
Developed by: Ska Studios
Published by: Ska Studios
The indie title Salt and Sanctuary is back with a new entry, now called Salt and Sacrifice. Similar to Hollow Knight and other “Dark Souls-esque” side scrollers, Salt and Sacrifice should scratch whatever itch you still have after beating Elden Ring. If not, just go back to playing Elden Ring.
The Centennial Case : A Shijima Story (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch) – Releases May 12th
Developed by: h.a.n.d.
Published by: Square Enix
Merve is VERY excited for this game. Hopefully we’ll get an entire Avocado Gamescast devoted to it in the future.
Seven Pirates H (Switch) – Releases May 12th
Developed by: Felistella
Published by: Eastasiasoft
Ladies and gentlemen, I present TITS: The RPG. The “H” stands for “horny”.
Ports and Re-releases:
Prinny Presents NIS Classics Volume 2: Makai Kingdom/ZHP – Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman (PC/Switch) – Releases May 10th
I bought Makai Kingdom for PS2 on Amazon for $60 last year; I feel like an idiot.
Stellaris: Overlord (PC) – Releases May 12th
I don’t know anything about Stellaris, so here’s a helpful description of the new expansion from Steam:
“Overlord, a new full expansion for Stellaris, grants access to new features designed to unlock the next level of your empire. Guide a galaxy full of potential subjects to glory – or subjugation. New mechanics provide many ways to specialize your vassals’ roles within your empire, bring new planets and subjects under your reign, and new magnificent megastructures to project your power further, faster.“
Flippin Kaktus (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 12th
We Were Here Forever (PC) – Releases May 10th
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
Diablo III (PC) – Released May 15th, 2012: Wiki Link
Twelve years had passed since the gaming world had played a new Diablo game, 2000’s Diablo II, so the hype surrounding it’s latest entry, Diablo III, was at a fever pitch. On May 15th, 2012, the game went live for purchase and millions of people tried to play one of the greatest single-player, solo RPG series of all time…only to find out they were unable to contact the Blizzard servers. Yes, Diablo III, despite being well known as a single player franchise, required a persistent internet connection to play, similar to what an MMO would require. Now yes, Diablo III can be played online with friends, but some people don’t want to play co-op, they prefer to go it alone. Well, unless you had a stable internet connection, and if Blizzard’s servers weren’t being overworked, you couldn’t play Diablo III. We’re getting ahead of ourselves here, let’s talk about it from the beginning.
Believe it or not, development actually started way back in 2001 at Blizzard North. However, Blizzard’s parent company, Vivendi, were not happy with the direction the studio was taking Diablo III and, rather suddenly, shuttered the studio in 2005. A couple of other game studios were founded in its wake, Hyboreal Games and Castaway Entertainment, while other former employees took jobs at Blizzard’s main headquarters and helps out on the company’s big cash cow, World of Warcraft. From here things get kind of fuzzy, but at some point, a team at Blizzard Entertainment picked Diablo III back up and started working on it again. By 2008, the game would receive a proper announcement at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Paris, but by the time the game was re-shown to audiences just a few months later, the art style had changed dramatically.
This new graphical style was not very well received by fans, with some calling out Diablo III’s bright, colorful graphics, even leading some to start an online petition to have the original graphics reinserted (give me a break). Blizzard responded that they had no intention of redoing the graphics, this was their design choice and they were sticking to it. Graphics, though, would be the least of most people’s problems with Diablo III; we’re getting there, just hold on. After a couple more years of fine tuning, the game was finally ready for beta testing. First, in 2011, Blizzard employees and their friends and family were able to give Diablo III a shot, then in April of 2012 the open beta began, allowing the general public to test the game out. Gaming outlet Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote about their experience with Diablo III during the beta and commented that the game was far more direct and intuitive than its previous entries. However, they noticed a considerable amount of lag when playing the game in single-player mode, noticing that the Blizzard servers were having trouble with keeping up with even the small amount of people playing in the open beta. Surely, though, this would be fixed by the time the game launched.
The hype for Diablo III was massive. The first two games were beloved classics that helped define a generation of dungeon crawling RPGs, so the promise of a new entry was a big deal. Players around the globe lined up at their favorite retailer, and GameStop (ha), to pick up a copy during its midnight release. In South Korea, where Blizzard’s Starcraft was (sort of) viewed as a national past time, players waited in massive lines for up to 36 hours in order to secure their copy. Online pre-orders at Amazon were the biggest in the company’s history for a PC game, and in the first 24 hours of release, Blizzard sent out a press release that stated Diablo III had sold 3.5 million copies just from their online store at Battle.net. By the end of its first 24 hours in public, Diablo III had amassed 4.7 million players, and a lot of them were pissed.
From the very start, Diablo III had problems running. Blizzard’s requirement that players be connected to the internet in order to play were wreaking havoc on their servers. Despite their “best efforts” they didn’t anticipate the large amount of people who would play they game (despite probably spending millions on market research), so when players would try to login and play they would be greeted by the dreaded Error 37, “The servers are busy at this time. Please try again later“. This continued the long and heated debate between players and publishers over DRM protection in video games. What made this sting so much was that, as I mentioned earlier, Diablo is just fine as a single player game. In fact, some people prefer it that way, including myself. The idea that a person would need to connect to a Blizzard server just to play Diablo III by themselves was close to a personal affront. Blizzard maintained that the problem wasn’t very wide spread, that millions were able to play the game just fine and, of course, they stuck intensely to their stance on the always-on DRM requirement. Their defense, however, was a bit suspect as the game’s senior producer, Alex Mayberry said their other two biggest games, Starcraft II and World of Warcraft also required always on DRM, and nobody seemed to have a problem with that. Executives are always so tone deaf.
The saddest thing about all this, though, was that Diablo III was really, really good. Like, amazing, one of the best games of the year. Critics adored the game and were over the moon with how great the game was…when you could play it. A month into its release, Blizzard still hadn’t ironed out the issues. Various patches would fix one problem but then create two more, and then the infamous patch 1.0.2 appeared and could potentially wipe out all of your progress in the game. Imagine playing a game for a month straight, only to have all of it flushed down the toilet, forcing you to start over. This happened to people, and it’s amazing how much could have been avoided if they’d just have removed that DRM. It didn’t matter, though, Blizzard got a HUGE amount of cash from players who bought the game based on nostalgic feelings, pedigree, and hype. At the 2012 DICE Awards, Diablo III was nominated in four categories, RPG/MMO of the Year, Outstanding Online Game of the Year, Outstanding Original Music, and Outstanding Sound Design, losing all of them.
Over time the server issues would get fixed and the bugs would be patched, making Diablo III a pretty much pain free experience today for most players. The game was eventually ported to the PS3 and Xbox 360 where the always online DRM was not required, nor was it needed for the PS4 and Xbox One ports. However, the Nintendo Switch version DID require you to be connected to the internet, something I found out that hard way when I brought my Switch on vacation and tried to play it in my hotel room. Blizzard would eventually come out and say that the always on DRM was put in to prevent piracy and not help with cloud processing or whatever bullshit buzzword their marketing departments would cook up to force unpopular features onto the gaming public. At this point my feelings towards Diablo III have changed, and my internet access is superb and their servers are in great shape. Diablo IV has been announced and should release in the next few years. Will Blizzard learn form their mistakes? Don’t hold your breath.
Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku (GBA) – Released May 14th, 2002: Wiki Link
There’s not a lot of info out there about the making of this game. In fact, it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page, instead there is a page that talks about the franchise as a whole. Released on May 14th, 2002, The Legacy of Goku is an action-adventure game with minor RPG elements, and it’s not very good. The game was developed by a U.S. company called Webfoot Technologies who are still around, apparently, and hyper focused on NFTs (of course). Man, I really disliked this game, A LOT. Despite some decent graphics, the game play is terrible, with awful controls and a way, way too hard difficulty. For a game ostensibly made for children, it’s brutal. If you’re interested, the game tells the story of DBZ from the first episode all the way through the end of the Freiza saga. The only notable thing about this game is that it featured full-motion video, pre-dating the release of Game Boy Advance Video cartridges. This game isn’t available anywhere, aside from retro game stores, it doesn’t really matter, though. It’s a terrible game, don’t waste your time.
Arcana (SNES) – Released May 1992: Wiki Link
Like Legacy of Goku, there’s not a whole lot written about the development of Arcana, forgotten Super Nintendo RPG from HAL Laboratory, the now famed developer behind the Kirby series. Arcana, though, is notable because it was the last game that HAL would put out before their most famous creation would hit the world. Released first in Japan in March of 1992 before hitting North America later that year in May, Arcana is a first person, dungeon crawler RPG, similar to Wizardry, that has players taking on the role of Rooks, the last of the Card Masters. What’s a Card Master, you might be asking, well, a Card Master is basically a magic user that performs spells by using magic cards, and as an added bonus, they can also control elemental spirits who aid them in battle. Now, you might think that Rooks is the only one in the game that can use magic, but you’d be wrong, there are still wizards in this world who perform magic by using staffs or books, so I’m not sure why a Card Master is so important since it seems their only real skill difference is the sprit summoning.
Anyhow, Rooks’ journey involves him heading out on a quest to learn more about the power the Card Masters wield so that he can avenge the murder of his parents. Of course, the friendships he makes are the real journey. There’s not really a lot of info on the release of this game, with barely any reviews to find. The only one listed in Wikipedia is from a UK magazine called Super Play which said Arcana suffered from a slow pace made even more frustrating with now long and drawn out combat seemed to take, and I 100% agree. They did, however, praise the game’s graphics and music, which I also agree with 100%, it looks and sounds fantastic. Many of the people who made this game would go on to work on Kirby games for the next decade or so, and even famed Nintendo President Satoru Iwata worked on Arcana, being credited as a Technical Advisor. Arcana is not available on any modern systems, making retro gaming stores or emulation your only option. I played this for a solid 4 hours over the course of the last few days and I had a really good time with it, but it’s really only for the most hardcore RPG fans. To everyone else, this is easily skippable.