New Game Releases 06/28/22 – 07/04/22

My kid got COVID this weekend which means I probably have COVID (Nurse said to test on Tuesday; *UPDATE* the test came back negative, phew), so this is going to be a quick one this week, folks; sorry. That also means no video, I’m sure you’re devastated. The bright spot in all this, I had a ton of Pro Wrestling to watch over the weekend! I’m really into Pro Wrestling now, I highly recommend it. Did you know Billy Corgan owns a Pro Wrestling company called the National Wrestling Alliance, or NWA? He certainly is a Jack of all trades. Would you bury him?

 

Top Releases:

Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak (PC/Switch) – Releases Jun. 30th

Developed by: Capcom
Published by: Capcom

From Nintendo:

The world of Monster Hunter Rise gets bigger and deeper with this massive expansion featuring new monsters, new locales and more!

Note: You must own Monster Hunter Rise in order to play this expansion. Sunbreak content is accessible after completion of the 7-star Hub quest “Serpent Goddess of Thunder”. If you purchase this content while the game is open, you must restart the game in order to access the content.

MX vs ATV Legends (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Jun. 28th

Developed by: Rainbow Studios
Published by: THQ Nordic

BRRRAPPPPP, BERRRIPPPIPPIPP. BUROOOM, BURROM, BRAAAAAAPPPPP, BRAPPP, BRRRAP vs. RUMMBUMBUMM ERR-RRUMMBUMBUM. FERRRPPP, FERPPP, FERP, BUROOM, BURRRUMMM.

Cuphead: The Delicious Last Course (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 30th

Developed by: Studio MDHR
Published by: Studio MDHR

From Nintendo:

In Cuphead in The Delicious Last Course, Cuphead and Mugman are joined by Ms. Chalice for a DLC add-on adventure on a brand new island! With new weapons, new charms, and Ms. Chalice’s brand new abilities, take on a new cast of multi-faceted, screen-filling bosses to assist Chef Saltbaker in Cuphead’s final challenging quest.

Rabbids: Party of Legends (PS4/Stadia/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 30th

Developed by: Ubisoft Chengdu/Ubisoft Shanghai
Published by: Ubisoft

I have no idea why there isn’t an English version of this trailer, maybe Ubisoft will drop one the day before it comes out, who knows? Anyway, this is a new Rabbids party game that seems to have a strong association with China, which makes sense based on the developers. Nintendo’s site says, “Gather with friends and family and enjoy a multitude of ridiculously fun mini-games in the most epic Rabbids party yet“. Yeah, Epic bro!

F1 22 (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Jul. 1st

Developed by: Codemasters
Published by: EA Sports

Well, apparently the story mode in this game, starring Cop & a Half’s Devon Butler (I think), is only a game feature bi-annually, which is a GD bummer. The 2022 version of F1 is purely racing, which must be a selling point to someone, since they keep making this fucking game.

 

Ports and Re-releases:

Disgaea 6: Complete (PC/PS4/PS5) – Releases Jun. 28th

Disgaea 6

After being a Switch exclusive for a year, Disgaea 6 is finally coming to PC and PlayStation. In this “Complete” edition, not only will you get the full game, but also all of the DLC that has been released over the last year. Plus there will be better load times, I assume. The load times on Switch are awful, one of the biggest flaws of that wonderful system.

Portal Companion Collection (Switch) – Releases Jun. 28th

This got a surprise announcement during the June 28th Nintendo Direct Mini. In this collection you will get both Portal games, cake not included. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

Expansions:

Outriders Worldslayer (PC/PS4/PS5/Stadia/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Jun. 30th

outriders worldslayer

For the 15 of you still playing Outriders, a new expansion is coming out. From Xbox:

Take your existing Outriders to new levels of power as you journey deeper into Enoch, or use the character boost to create a new level 30 Outrider geared up and ready to face off against the powerful Altered – Ereshkigal.

With new horrors to challenge you and new weapons, mods and gear to discover, you’ll be further developing your build through the new PAX hybrid branch class trees.

Survive the campaign and you’ll face even greater horrors in the Trials of Tarya Grata, the brand new endgame. Which partnered with Ascension Points offers a new long term progression system for the most committed players.

Finally, push hard through the new Apocalypse difficulty tiers, with each step up to level 40 increasing the chances of obtaining incredible Apocalypse gear and its game changing third mod slot.

 

Everything else:

  • DNF Duel (PC/PS4/PS5) – Releases Jun. 28th
  • Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Jun. 28th
  • The Galactic Junkers (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 30th
  • Ground Divers (Switch) – Releases Jun. 30th

 

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

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (3DS) – Released Jul. 3rd, 2012: Wiki Link

theatrhythm

Notable Film Release: TedStarring Mark Whalberg, Mila Kunis, and Seth MacFarlane
Notable Album Release: Twin Shadow Confess

While the Final Fantasy games are great due to a sum of all of its parts, it’s hard to argue that the music is often the star of the show. In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (a game who’s name I have no idea how to pronounce) players create a party of four, selecting from characters seen in the first thirteen Final Fantasy games, and embark on a cross-game journey, powered by the music of Final Fantasy. Sharing a loose connection to the Dissidia series, the game’s story is that the gods Chaos and Cosmos are in a tiff, I guess, with Chaos causing “the crystal” to become disrupted. In order to get “the crystal” back to normal, players must collect “Rhythmia” from each of the thirteen mainline FF games, tapping circles along to the rhythm of each game’s songs.

The gameplay in Theatrhythm is your typical rhythm tapping game, separated into four types of stages. In the game’s “Series Mode”, players enter each game’s world and will play along to five different music tracks (two of which are optional). The opening and closing stages (the optional ones) have players tapping a crystal while music notes fly into it. The next three stages are mandatory and can be one of three types; “Field Music” in which players move along a side scrolling map, moving the 3DS stylus along the screen, tapping circles when necessary; “Battle Music” in which players “fight” against an onslaught of recognizable FF monsters & bosses, tapping circles as they scroll towards the right side of the screen; the last one is called “Event Music” in which players are shown gameplay footage and FMV cut scenes from that particular FF game, tapping the screen as a moving circle passes over stationary circles.

The game was conceived after the completion of the film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and was considered for the original Nintendo DS. It became apparent, however, that the DS wasn’t powerful enough to meet the team’s vision, but after the announcement of the 3DS, the team at Square Enix quickly got to work on Theatrhythm. To get a sense of which tracks fans wanted, Square Enix conducted a survey asking for people’s favorite songs from the series. The game received a positive reception from both critics and players when it released in Japan, selling over 700k copies in the first week of release. For its Western release, critics were unanimous in praising the game, but it seemed to indicate that Square Enix was trying to remind players of how great Final Fantasy used to be, instead of trying to put on a “good” entry in the mainline series.

A mobile port would arrive later in 2012, while a sequel, sub-titled Curtain Call, would release in 2014. With the eShop shutting down on the 3DS it is going to become increasingly difficult to find a copy of this game, I assume it will go for ungodly amounts of money very soon, so if you have any interest in this title I recommend picking it up NOW before you miss your chance. It’s fun, nostalgic, and a great way to pass the time on the bus/subway.

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (PC) – Released Jul. 3rd, 2002: Wiki Link

warcraft iii

Notable Film Release: Mr. DeedsStarring Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, and John Tuturro
Notable Album Release: Oasis – Heathen Chemistry

Ah, 2002, a time when people respected Blizzard; imagine that. Having just released the masterpiece Diablo II in 2000, Blizzard were riding high and the anticipation for their next game was through the roof. Development began on Warcraft III in the late 90’s, however it was first going to be known as Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, and it was to be a point & click adventure game. This concept didn’t get very far, and in 1998 it was scrapped in favor of an RPG, lite RTS, called Warcraft Legends, but that title was short lived and it was decided to just call the thing Warcraft III, finally. In 2000, Blizzard continued to downplay the RTS/base building aspect of the game and focus more on the RPG elements of controlling a party of characters, leveling them up, and giving them equipment.

Originally slated as a Fall/Winter 2000 release, but the game was delayed as the team continued to refine the gameplay and pin down what Warcraft III was, exactly (I’m sure the release of Diablo II also played a part). Warcraft III was Blizzard’s first game to be fully rendered in 3D, from the character models to the objects in the environment, to even the menus and portraits. This also led to the removal of mission briefings in-between stages, replacing the scrolling text with in-engine cut scenes. For the art direction, the team moved away from the Medieval Europe/High Fantasy style of the first two Warcraft games and instead doubled down on their own intellectual property, designing and creating a more vibrant, colorful, and cartoonish world that made Warcraft feel more like it’s own entity, rather than just being another Lord of the Rings knock off (a graphical style that would continue in World of Warcraft).

In the final design of the game, Warcraft III was a hybrid RPG/RTS like it had been touted, however the RTS elements had been beefed up to the same levels as Warcraft II and Starcraft. However, players would often play stages that required no base building/resource gathering whatsoever, instead controlling their hero character(s) and a small squad of pre-determined units. Generous healing spells helped keep your units alive as they trudged their way through the onslaught of orcs, humans, dark elves, and undead. Yes, Warcraft III had more than just humans and orcs this time around, with dark elves and the undead scourge being added to the mix. Like Starcraft, these races all had unique buildings and units, making each one feel slightly different. As for the RPG elements, players have various “heroes” that can be leveled up in order to become stronger and use powerful attacks, as well as boost units by healing and/or buffing them. These hero units could also be equipped with items that can increase their stats, or be consumed to refill health and/or mana.

Critical reception to Warcraft III was overwhelmingly positive. Critics were highly impressed with Blizzard’s foray into the world of 3D graphics, praising the design and implementation. Particular praise was given to Blizzard’s attention to detail, such as having units’ capes blowing in the wind, knights shifting their weight as they stood idle, and water turning red when units were killed in it. Critics were happy with the new heroes, saying it gave players more tactical choices than in previous games and rewarded early exploration of the map. This early map exploration often felt necessary in order to make heroes stronger for later battles. With exploration given more importance in Warcraft III, each map would usually include several minor enemy groups who would guard a gold mine, new units, items, or other things of interest.

Aside from the strong single player campaign, which critics called masterful, Warcraft III had a robust multiplayer mode that saw players from around the world play against one another. Through modding, a (relatively) new genre of game was invented, the MOBA. Taking ideas presented in a Starcraft mod called Aeon of Strife, a new mod was created, being called Dawn of the Ancients, or DotA. With the new hero units already in place, the DotA mod allowed players to control a single hero while generating weaker base units in an attempt to overtake their opponent. This style of gameplay, which had been seen as early as the Genesis title Herzog Zwei, caught on with players, particularly those in the eSports community and, basically, popularized that entire industry.

In January of 2003, an expansion sub-titled The Frozen Throne would release, adding new story content for the humans, dark elves, and undead scourge, while adding in an RPG only campaign for the orcs. Multiple special editions would release, including box art highlighting each of the four playable races, and other that included art books, soundtracks, and a deluxe manual. A “battle chest” version would release as well, bundling the base game and its expansion. In 2018, Blizzard announced a remake of Warcraft III, called Reforged, which promised to see the game remade for the modern player. Releasing in 2020, the game was poorly received, with many of the promised features and upgrades not making it into the final product, prompting Blizzard to offer refunds to unhappy players. Unfortunately to some, Reforged is now considered the definitive version of the game and while you can still play the original version of Warcraft III, it is no longer supported or updated.

Wave Race (Game Boy) – Released Jul. 1st, 1992: Wiki Link

wave race gb

Notable Film Release: A League of Their OwnStarring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and Lori Petty
Notable Album Release: Suicidal Tendencies – The Art of Rebellion

Believe it or not, Nintendo’s Wave Race franchise began its life on the Game Boy. Unlike its later releases, Wave Race on the Game Boy was relatively simple, with players controlling their jetski as they compete against three rivals, either computer controlled or against friends using the Game Boy link cable. There are two modes in the game; “Slalom” has players racing through gates, earning a point for each gate they pass through, with the winner determined by highest score; the second mode is “Race”, which is exactly what it says, a race between the four rivals, navigating through a course in an attempt to be the first across the finish line.

Wave Race was both critically and commercially successful, though the one big booster of the game was Nintendo Power, with other outlets, like N-Force, calling Wave Race frustrating and short lived. Players found the game addicting though, making it one of Nintendo’s best sellers on the system, leading to the release of a “Player’s Choice” version. It would spawn two sequels, 1996’s N64 title Wave Race 64, and the 2001 GameCube launch title, Wave Race: Blue Storm. While it is no longer one of Nintendo’s featured franchises, the fact that it could sustain interest for nearly ten years if pretty remarkable for a series that started on the Game Boy. Unfortunately, Wave Race is not available anywhere, making emulation or an original cart your only means of playing it.

Donkey Kong Jr. (Arcade) – Released Jun. 30th, 1982: Wiki Link

donkey kong jr

Notable Film Release: Blade Runner Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos
Notable Album Release: X – Under the Big Black Sun

With the smash success of Donkey Kong, Nintendo was keen to capitalize on the fame and recognition the character brought to their company. Luckily, lead designer and director, Shigeru Miyamoto, had plenty of cut ideas from Donkey Kong to create a sequel. Initially, Miyamoto wanted players to take on the role of Donkey Kong himself but, after realizing the character sprite was too big and clunky, they decided to shrink Donkey Kong down in size, thus giving birth to his son, Donkey Kong Jr.

Donkey Kong Jr. was a platforming game designed & directed by Shigeru Miyamoto, with the legendary Gunpei Yokoi as producer. Miyamoto, along with Yoshio Sakamoto, did all of the game’s art. Essentially, the entire gang was back together, including composer Yukio Kaneoka. As mentioned earlier, Donkey Kong Jr. saw the protagonist and antagonist swap places, with players controlling DK Jr. as he attempts to rescue his father from Jump Man who was now officially named “Mario”. Like the first game, players made their way up a series of platforms, elevators and vines (replacing ladders) going from the bottom (or near bottom) of the screen, all the way to the top of the screen. Whereas Donkey Kong threw barrels in the first game, Mario would unleash a horde of mechanical animals to try and stop DK Jr. from reaching the goal.

Donkey Kong Jr. appears to have had a near simultaneous Japan and U.S. release, at the end of June of 1982. The game was a smash success, being one of the highest grossing games of the year, though not quite reaching the success of Donkey Kong. It’s success led to a Saturday morning cartoon, as well as it being featured in the game show Starcade and was, apparently, one of the host’s favorite games. Donkey Kong Jr., as a character, has made appearances in multiple Nintendo games over the years, including Super Mario Kart and Mario Tennis, though he seems to have been kinda/sorta replaced by Diddy Kong. If you want to get technical about it, Donkey Kong Jr. may (or may not) be the current Donkey Kong’s father, with Donkey Kong Country’s Cranky Kong, the current DK’s grandfather, being the original Kong. Therefore, DK Jr. would be the current Donkey Kong’s father. Anyway, if you want to play this arcade classic then your best bet is to pick up Switch port on the eShop. It’s great, tons of fun, and adds a bunch of cool new gameplay elements. Thumbs up from me.

 


 

Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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