New Game Releases 02/21/23 – 02/27/23

If you thought last week was stack, HA! This week said “hold my beer“, which was, like, one of those fruit flavored IPA’s that people think taste good but actually taste like shit but they pretend they like it because everyone else pretends they like it and you don’t want to look like a Coors Light guy/Republican so you just drink the disgusting beer and smile and talk about how you think dogs are better for the environment than children. What’s that? Oh, new video games, right.


Top Releases:

Like a Dragon: Ishin! (PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 21st

Developed by: Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio
Published by: Sega

Sega’s Yakuza franchise has been on a tear these past few years, solidifying itself as one of the marquee names in all of video games. What a great time to change its name then! Following the release Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Sega has stated that all subsequent releases in the franchise will carry the Like a Dragon title, as they do in Japan. The first to do this is the remake of the 2014 PS3/PS4, Japan only release, Ryu ga Gotoku Ishin!, translated into English as, you guessed it, Like a Dragon: Ishin!. While the game features characters seen in previous Yakuza/Like a Dragon games, such as series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu and his long time frenemy Goro Majima, they appear in Ishin! as different characters, sometimes based on real, historical figures (i.e., Kiryu plays the role of Sakamoto Ryōma). This is, if you couldn’t tell, the major difference between a typical Yakuza game and Ishin!, the game is set in the far past, specifically the 1860’s at the end of the Edo period. Players take control of Sakamoto and guide him through a typical Yakuza/Like a Dragon story, full of twists, turns, and intrigue. Unlike the recent Like a Dragon, which was RPG based, Ishin! is a traditional Yakuza/Judgement style brawler with, of course, a heavy emphasis on sword play. Of course, it isn’t a Yakuza/Like a Dragon game without a plethora of side tasks to do, with players able to partake in chicken racing, buyo dancing, karaoke, fishing, sake drinking, poker, cannon coaching, cho-han, rock/paper/scissors, oicho-kabu, and “sensual healing”. Finally, the game will also feature the return of “Trooper Cards”, which you can equip to give Sakamoto upgraded stats or unlock crazy weapons and special attacks. For this version of the game, a few celebrities will be available as cards, including actor Rahul Kohil and pro wrestler Kenny Omega. I was already sold on this game but, with Kenny Omega, now I’m double sold.

PlayStation VR2 (PS5) – Releases Feb. 22nd

I thought for sure we’d have seen the end of VR but, surprisingly, it’s doing quite well. We might even be in the era where it actually takes off as the technology has gotten better and, more importantly, cheaper! Well, relatively cheaper. You still need a PS5 which will run you anywhere from $400 to $500, then the cost of headset itself which is $550 by itself, or $600 if you buy the bundle with Horizon: Call of the Mountain. Still, pretty cheap compared to buying a gaming the PC and VR headset, which can be several thousand dollars. Who am I kidding? People can’t fucking afford eggs right now and I’m talking about what a good deal $1,100 bucks is.

Anyway, if you happen to be one of the cake eaters who can afford to splurge on a VR headset and spit on the working class, PSVR2 looks AMAZING. Aside from the gorgeous looking Call of the Mountain, PSVR2 will have a massive launch library, mostly featuring games that are already available on PC or Oculus, but in some cases these games will contain new content or will be bundled with existing DLC. Below is a short list of what look to be the most exciting launch titles, but keep in mind there are far, FAR, more games available:

  • Cities VR: Enchanced Edition
  • Demeo (if you’ve ever played a table top dungeon crawler you’ll LOVE this game)
  • Fantavision 202X
  • Gran Turismo 7 VR Mode
  • Horizon: Call of the Mountain
  • Moss/Moss: Book 2
  • NFL Pro Era
  • Pistol Whip
  • Resident Evil Village VR Mode
  • Rez Infinite
  • Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge – Enhanced Edition
  • Synth Riders: Remastered Edition
  • Tetris Effect
  • Townsmen VR
  • Zombieland: Headshot Fever Reloaded

Akka Arrh (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 21st

Developed by: Llamasoft
Published by: Atari

In celebration of their 50th anniversary, Atari have resurrected a lost prototype game for modern consoles, the psychedelic wave shooter Akka Arrh. Originally developed by Jeff Minter (Gridrunner, Attack of the Mutant Camels, Polybius) in the 1980’s, only three cabinets of Akka Arrh were known to be in existence. After the success of Polybius in 2017, Atari approached Minter and his company Llamasoft about completing Akka Arrh. Early reviews are a bit mixed, with the Switch version of the game holding a fairly poor score of 67 on Metacritic, but you can’t deny the appeal here.

Atomic Heart (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 21st

Developed by: Mundfish
Published by: Focus Entertainment

After nearly five years of development, the Russian FPS Atomic Heart is finally coming out. First teased all the way back in 2019, before getting a showcase by Microsoft in 2021, Atomic Heart put players into the role of a mentally unstable military officer, code named P-3. It seems that a group of robots have gone rogue and are releasing several biomechanical experiments on humanity. P-3 must stop these experiments and crush the robot uprising, all while dealing with his own personal demons and mental health. Atomic Heart is being compared to games like Bioshock and System Shock, though it remains to be seen if it will be as warmly received as those two all-time classics.

Blood Bowl 3 (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 23rd

Developed by: Cyanide
Published by: Nacon

Do you like football but wish it had more Orks and dice rolling? Yeah, me too. That’s why I play Blood Bowl, the Warhammer set tactical board game in which players move their pieces down the pitch as they try and score a touchdown. There’s no simple “push a button to pass” gameplay here, though, as the success of your actions are determined by a die roll. Strategically using bonuses and having the proper matchups will ensure victory and, perhaps, keep your fans from killing you.

Company of Heroes 3 (PC) – Releases Feb. 23rd

Developed by: Relic Entertainment
Published by: Sega

Love strategy but football playing Elves aren’t your thing? Don’t worry, there’s always human on human murder with Company of Heroes 3! Take control of your favorite WWII army, like the United States, Great Britain, or, um, Germany.

Grim Guardians: Demon Purge (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Feb. 23rd

Developed by: Inti Creates
Published by: Inti Creates

Two sisters, Shinobu and Maya, find their school transformed into a demonic castle full of monsters that want to KILL THEM. Luckily, the two fancy themselves demon hunters and take up the charge of saving their classmates and returning the school to normal.

Kirby’s Return to Dreamland Deluxe (Switch) – Releases Feb. 24th

Developed by: HAL Laboratory
Published by: Nintendo

This was on the Wii, now it’s on the Switch; moving on.

Octopath Traveller II (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch) – Releases Feb. 24th

Developed by: Acquire
Published by: Square Enix

Join eight new travelers as they embark on an adventure that will probably contain 40-50 hours of grinding.


Everything else:

Here’s some more games.


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

Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (PC/PS3/Wii U/Xbox 360) – Released Feb. 26th, 2013: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Dark Skies – Starring Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, and J. K. Simmons
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Kavinsky – OutRun
*Click here to listen to the album*

For their follow-up to Bit.Trip.Runner, developer Gaijin Games decided to branch out of the lo-fi, polygon space and head into the polygon arena with Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien. Divided into five worlds, each made up of 14 regular levels and five bonus levels, players have a whopping 95 stages to run, jump, slide, kick, spin, and float through.

There’s not really a whole lot to say about Runner 2. It’s fun, it’s addicting, it’s frustrating, that’s about it. There’s a lot of, like, “internet humor” in it, which was fashionable at the time (remember the “I Can Has Cheezeburger” cat??!!!), so playing it today can be a bit much. Still, that gameplay is solid and it looks really good.

Runner 2 initially launched digitally on the PC and Wii U where it, surprisingly, ran the best, with releases on 360 and PS3 happening within a few days. Critics were happy with the game, calling it a solid platformer and even more solid rhythm game. IGN even went so far as to say it was one of the finest music games ever created, giving it a score of 9 out of 10. Runner 2 isn’t really available on any modern consoles, though it is easily available on PC through Steam. A third entry, Runner 3 is available on PS4 and Switch, as well as PC, so if you need modern, there’s your modern.

Xenosaga Episode I (PS2) – Released Feb. 25th, 2003: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Old School – Starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, and Vince Vaughn
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Switchfoot – The Beautiful Letdown
*Click here to listen to the album*

Tiny Toon Adventures: Buster Busts Loose! (SNES) – Released Feb. 1993: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: Army of Darkness – Starring Bruce Campbell
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Naughty by Nature – 19 Naughty III
*Click here to listen to album*

Debuting in 1990, the Warner Bros. cartoon Tiny Toon Adventures was a satirical, skewed take on the legacy of Looney Tunes, as well as on Hollywood, including several parodies and unsanctioned cameos. Created by Tom Ruegger and produced by Steven Spielberg and Sherri Stoner, Tiny Toon Adventures became a big hit in syndication and would eventually land itself on the Fox network in 1992 as part of it’s afternoon lineup of cartoons. It was also around this time that several video games based on the cartoon were hitting the NES and Game Boy, all put out by Konami. For their first Super Nintendo release, Konami created a game centered on the character of Buster Bunny as he “stars” in several films that make up the levels of the game. This was clearly an easy way for Konami to use common assets like “wild west”, “space”, “school”, “spooky house” etc., but that doesn’t mean the team was lazy.

On the contrary, Buster Busts Loose is a solidly built, well crafted platforming game that has players relying heavily on a dash mechanic to get Buster to run up & down walls, as well as leap large gaps (the Sonic influence is pretty clear). Gorgeous pixel art and animation make Buster Busts Loose a delight to look at, and the music, while on a loop, is just as engaging and catchy as it is on the television show.

Critics seemed to enjoy the game well enough, with Nintendo Power even naming it one of the ten best SNES games of 1993. The legacy of the game is pretty solid, with Buster Busts Loose appearing on three separate “Top 100 SNES games” lists over the last 25 years, from Total!, IGN, and Complex. While critics may have enjoyed it, the game has fallen victim to the ravages of licensing and copyrights. This game is unavailable in any legal form, aside from original cartridges, making emulation your only real choice here. With almost 20 games, from 5 different developers, over the course of ten years, Tiny Toon Adventures is certainly a popular license, maybe one day someone will wise up and put these out on modern consoles.

Enduro (Atari 2600) – Released Feb. 1983: Wiki Link

Notable Film Release: The Sting II – Starring Jackie Gleason, Mac Davis, Teri Garr, and Karl Malden
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: U2 – War
*Click here to listen to album*

While Pole Position was showing that racing games could succeed in the arcades, Activision was hoping that their racing game, Enduro, could do the same for home consoles. One of two games designed by Larry Miller (the other being Spider Fighter), Enduro is a cross country endurance race where players must pass other vehicles as the environment changes around them. Initially players begin racing in the grasslands during the day, eventually heading into the snowy mountains and having to endure treacherous night driving, where the only indication of the cars in front of you are their tail lights.

The goal of Enduro is to last for five in-game days, at which time a trophy will appear on screen. Players who accomplished this would receive a patch from Activision if they took a photograph of the on-screen trophy and sent it in to the company. There is an on-screen km counter which, upon reaching 999.999km will roll back over to 000.000, starting the game all over.

Critics and players were very receptive to Enduro, with Electronic Games magazine naming it “Best Sports Game” at the 5th annual Arkie awards. To help promote the game, Activision ran a sweepstakes where the grand prize was a Datsun 280ZX pace car and a trip for two to the Caesars Palace Grand Prix Weekend in Las Vegas (if anyone knows who won this I’d be eager to hear all about it).

Enduro never received a numbered sequel but it did receive a spiritual successor with the 1985 PC game The Great American Cross-Country Road Race. Enduro faded from the public eye as the 1980’s, and the Atari 2600, passed on, but its influence can be seen in titles like Rad Racer for the NES. Enduro doesn’t really have a modern release, per se, though you can find it in the game Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War as a mini game. It’s old but it’s fun, check it out!



Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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