New Game Releases 05/24/22 – 05/30/22

This is a great week of new releases for me, personally. Is it for you too? Maybe, are you just like me? Dead eyes, dead eyes? Are you just like me?

 

Top Releases:

Sniper Elite 5 (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 26th

Developed by: Rebellion
Published by: Rebellion

I could digitally murder Nazis all day. Fuck Fascism.

Touken Ranbu Warriors (PC/Switch) – Releases May 24th

Developed by: Omega Force/Ruby Party
Published by: Koei Tecmo/DMM Games

Woah, a new musou game, I had no idea this was even a thing! Thanks New Game Releases for the heads up!!

Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds (Android/iOS/PC) – Releases May 25th

Developed by: Netmarble/Level-5
Published by: Netmarble

Mobile games are pretty sick, right? Remember Flappy Bird?

Arcade Spirits: The New Challengers (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 27th

Developed by: Fiction Factory Games
Published by: PQube

The 80’s arcade themed visual novel/romance sim Arcade Spirits is back with a new cast of characters. If I was a single, twenty something retro gamer then I think this would speak to me a lot more. Alas, I’m a forty something retro gamer who is in a committed, long-term relationship, so this doesn’t really do much for me. It has ProZD in it though!

 

Ports and Re-releases:

Pac-Man Museum + (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases May 27th

Pac Man Museum

Calling all Pac-Heads!! Your favorite yellow circle/sphere with the insatiable appetite is back with a 14 game collection spanning his 41 year career. On top of that, you will also be able to design your own vintage arcade, placing classic game cabinets and decorating it with a bunch of cool Pac-Man swag. This isn’t a comprehensive celebration of the series, though, as there are a lot of Pac-Man games not part of this collection, including anything to do with Ms. Pac-Man; here’s a list of what you do get:

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Super Pac-Man (1982)
  • Pac & Pal (1983)
  • Pac-Land (1984)
  • Pac-Mania (1987)
  • Pac-Attack (SNES Version; 1993)
  • Pac-In-Time (SNES Version; 1995)
  • Pac-Man Arrangement (Arcade version; 1996)
  • Pac-Man Arrangement (PSP version; 2005)
  • Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007)
  • Pac-Motos (originally included in Namco Museum Remix; 2007)
  • Pac ‘n Roll Remix (2007)
  • Pac-Man Battle Royale (2011)
  • Pac-Man 256 (Console version; 2016)

 

Everything else:

my little pony maretime

Ponies! Spaceships! Friendly AI’s! Kangaroos! This is everything else you can play this week, or in three years when you get them in a Humble Bundle with 15 games for $1.99.

  • Hardspace: Shipbreaker (PC) – Releases May 24th
  • Acolyte (PC) – Releases May 26th
  • Out There: Oceans of Time (PC) – Releases May 26th
  • Kao the Kangaroo (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 27th
  • My Little Pony: A Maretime Bay Adventure (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases May 27th

 

Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 (and sometimes 40) years ago:

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland (PS3) – Released May 29th, 2012: Wiki Link

atelier meruru

Notable Film Release: Moonrise KingdomStarring Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Bob Balaban
Notable Album Release: alt-J – An Awesome Wave

Atelier Meruru: The Apprentice of Arland is the third and final game in the Arland series, immediately following the events of Atelier Totori, is the thirteenth Atelier title, and was the last game to be independently published by developer Gust before joining Koei Tecmo. Stylistically and gameplay wise, Meruru isn’t that much different from Totori. However, the combat system received an update, with characters now being assigned an order placement during fights. Called the “Cost Turn Battle System”, a character’s Speed and Wait stats play a role in where they are assigned in the battle order. Other minor changes included making special attacks look more exciting, changing up the Assist System to be focused more on Meruru’s skills, and allowing for the combination of two traits during synthesis to create a more powerful trait.

When Atelier Meruru launched in Japan there was a bit of a snafu. Apparently, the developer Gust supplied the Cero ratings board with a toned down version of the game, hoping to ensure an all ages rating. Cero granted the rating, however soon after release it was reported that the game contained several suggestive scenes that might not be suitable for young children. The game was subsequently pulled from store shelves so that it could be re-rated as Cero B (Ages 12+), making the original release highly collectible. Japanese Critics and players were highly receptive to the game, selling nearly 83 thousand copies in the first week. Famitsu scored the game 35/40, not a bad score, with three 9’s. In the U.S., though, the game wasn’t quite as well received, earning a score of 66/100 on Metacritic, being seen as average. Western critics were pleased with how the series ended, though, calling it pleasing and poignant. Subsequent re-releases on the PS Vita and Nintendo Switch were more positively received, perhaps due to the series finally starting to take hold in the West. There’s not much to say about this game. It exists, it’s part of a burgeoning RPG franchise, if you’re a fan, well, check it out.

Medal of Honor: Frontline (PS2) – Released May 29th, 2002: Wiki Link

medal of honor frontline

Notable Film Release: InsomniaStarring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank
Notable Album Release: Eminem – The Eminem Show

Wikipedia’s information on the development of this game is pretty sparse and, not going to lie, this game generates zero excitement for me. Now back in 2002, the idea of a first person WWII shooter was still fairly novel, and it predates what would become the more popular franchise, Call of Duty. First released in 1999 for the Sony PlayStation, Medal of Honor had the prestigious backing of acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg who is cited as the creator. A long time video game fan, Spielberg got the idea to make the game after watching his son play Goldeneye 007 on the N64. Having just wrapped filming on Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg wanted to set his game in WWII and partnered up with a man named Dale Dye who would be the game’s military advisor. The game was a huge financial and critical success for developer DreamWorks Interactive, and led to a quick sequel one year later.

Despite the initial success, DreamWorks as a company had little interest in keeping a video game developer on their payroll, it was much easier to just license their film properties to other companies and let them make the game and take all the financial risk. In the year 2000 (in the year two thousaaaaaaaaannd…twice in two weeks, I’m like a broken record), DreamWorks SKG agreed to sell DreamWorks Interactive and the Medal of Honor franchise to the game’s publisher, EA, for $10 million USD. Changing their name to EA Los Angeles, the team soldiered on with the next installment in the franchise without the game’s creator, Steven Spielberg, calling the game Medal of Honor: Frontline. Set during WWII (duh), players take on the role of Lieutenant James “Jimmy” Patterson as he storms Omaha Beach, before going on several daring missions behind enemy lines.

Medal of Honor: Frontline was a massive success, gaining high praise from critics and selling over 2,5 million copies over the next four years, making it the eighth highest selling game for the PS2. The game received high marks for its realism and gameplay, however it was the game’s sound design and composer Michael Giacchino’s score that received the most attention, being heralded as some of the best of the year. Giacchino had been working in video games since the mid 90’s, doing music for games like The Lion King, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow. His work on the Medal of Honor series, of which he had been a part of since it’s beginning, directly led to his hiring as a composer for film and television, having a fan in JJ Abrams who would bring Giacchino to compose the score for his show Alias.

The Medal of Honor franchise would stick around through the 2000’s but would lose ground in the FPS war game genre to Activision’s Call of Duty which finally brought players to a new kind of war with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. In 2010, EA would try to rebrand the series by putting it in a modern setting for the reboot Medal of Honor, which contained an HD remaster of Frontline in its collector’s edition, eventually being put up for sale as a standalone title. The 2010 reboot and 2012 follow-up were poorly received by critics and players, putting the franchise on ice for eight years, finally resurfacing in 2020 as a VR game where it received less than favorable reviews. I didn’t think I’d get four paragraphs out of this terrible game, but I did, so that’s something at least. I guess in 2029 we can talk about the origins of Medal of Honor again when it becomes the 30 year old notable title. See you then!

King of the Monsters 2 (Arcade) – Released May 25th, 1992: Wiki Link

king of the monsters 2

Notable Film Release: Alien 3Starring Sigourney Weaver, Charles S. Dutton, and Charles Dance
Notable Album Release: Stereolab – Peng!

Released a year after its predecessor, King of the Monsters 2 takes place three years after the events of that game in the futuristic year of 1999 (damn, one year away from making the Conan reference for a third time). While the original title had six monsters to choose from, KotM 2 only had three for some reason, though the game indicates that “only three monsters survived the great battle“; whatever. Unlike the first KotM which had more in common with wrestling video games, KotM 2 was part of the fighting game craze that had been popularized by Street Fighter and SNK’s own Fatal Fury when playing versus mode. Another change to the game was that in single player mode you would embark on short stages, culminating in a boss fight. These boss fights would, however, require you to pin your opponent as you did in the first KotM.

According to Wikipedia, the game received pretty poor reviews. Reading reviews of the Neo Geo release in EGM, the consensus seemed to be that the game looked and sounded great but it paled in comparison to Street Fighter 2. The barebones nature of the game did not make it a compelling alternative to Capcom’s popular brawler, and the subtraction of playable fighters was seen as a very odd choice. The game would eventually be ported to the SNES and Genesis, and the three characters would appear again in the fighting game NeoGeo Battle Coliseum. If you want to play the game on a modern device, a digital version of the game is available on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One. I don’t really like this game very much, I thought the first game was a lot more interesting and varied, this sequel failed to deliver and ultimately killed the promising franchise.

Robotron: 2084 (Arcade) – Released May 1982: Wiki Link

robotron 2084

Notable Film Release: The Road WarriorStarring Mel Gibson
Notable Album Release: Queen – Hot Space

It’s always fun discussing the first game, or the first popular game, in a genre or style of gameplay. Before 1982, no one had really heard of or seen a “twin stick” shooter game. Most arcade games had enemies coming down from the top of the screen, or apeparing to the left or right of you. With Robotron: 2084, developer Eugene Jarvis came up with a concept where enemies were all around you and you would need to use two joysticks to destroy them. The left stick would move your character around the screen, while the right stick would indicate where your shots would fire. It was an ingenious idea that helped propel Robotron: 2084 into the pantheon of all time great video games.

Jarvis got his idea for twin stick shooting from two things. The first was a car accident that made it difficult to use his right hand to press buttons to fire. The second incident was when he played the arcade game Berzerk. He didn’t quite like the control scheme which had players pressing a button to shoot in whatever direction the player was facing. However, he realized that if he held the “shot button” down continuously, he could move the joystick around and “control” the shot that way. Taking these two ideas, Jarvis re-worked it into the twin stick genre we know today. In coming up with the story, Jarvis and his fellow developers at Vid Kidz thought that a rescue style of game, similar to Defender, was their answer. They wanted to set their game in a dystopian society not unlike the one depicted in George Orwell’s 1984. However, with the actual year 1984 coming soon, society didn’t quite look like that, so they decided to set the game in the year 2084 and, if our current life is any indication, there probably will be killer robot drones trying to kidnap us and make us conform to their masters’ desires.

Critics and players loved Robotron: 2084, the control scheme and frantic pace were unlike anything on the market at the time. The game’s bright colors and thumping soundtrack were perfect for a 1980’s arcade. The idea of saving humans from oppressors and keeping them safe was a novel idea and a breath of fresh air in a medium where you often had no objective or goal other than to score a lot of points. Robotron: 2084 was well respected by many of the people in positions of power at the various game companies of the day, and inspired many developers and game designers well into the 1990’s. Jarvis would expand on this idea himself in 1990 with Smash TV, but before that he would create a sequel to Robotron called Blaster, though it did not feature twin stick shooting. A third sequel called Robotron X would come out for the N64 and Sony PlayStation. Twin stick shooters made a small comeback in the mid 2000’s with Geometry Wars, and you can even trace our modern FPS games dual stick controls to Robotron: 2084. It’s a little difficult to find the game on modern consoles today. An Xbox Live version was delisted due to licensing issues, however it is part of the 2012 Midway Arcade Origins which is backwards compatible with Xbox One and Series X|S, or you can play it through LEGO Dimensions and its “Retro Wreckage” DLC pack.

 


 

Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

If you like what I’m doing here consider supporting me on Patreon. You can also find me on Twitter and GG. I eat a lot of corndogs.