New Game Releases 08/22/23 – 08/28/23

Finally, a big week for video games! Our top game of the week is the latest From Software title Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon. It’s been ten years since we last got a new entry in the franchise, and I’m so ready for it! Well, as soon as I finish Pikmin 4, oh, and I should probably jump back into Tears of the Kingdom, and I recently installed Street Fighter VI on my PS5, AND I’ve been playing Like a Dragon: Ishin!. You know what, I’ll get to it when I have free time in 2025.

Other than that, there are a couple of interesting looking new IP’s coming out. First we have Fort Solis, a spooky looking game that leans heavily into the interactive story realm. I’m not sure if this is more walking simulator or more Alien: Isolation, whatever it is, I’m scared (not really, I ain’t no punk). Second, we have Immortals of Aveum, which is a much more traditional genre, first person shooter, that is made by veterans of the Call of Duty and Dead Space franchises. They’ve swapped their guns and bullets for hand gestures and magic missiles; looks pretty good, and that hip hop song they use in the trailer is, uh, a choice.

Rounding out the top games we have Blasphemous 2, a gorgeous looking side scroller that will get you a message on Facebook from your pastor, saying he’s praying for you if you start playing it. Then we have Ride 5, a motorcycle racing game that needs literally no description beyond that, and finally there’s the latest expansion for Guild Wars 2, Secrets of the Obscure, which appears to be very secretive to the point that its content is obscured…due to my lack of interest, BOOM, ROASTED!

Top Releases:

Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (PC/PS4/PS5/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 25th

Developed by: From Software
Published by: Bandai Namco

Fort Solis (PC/PS5) – Releases Aug. 18th

Developed by: Fallen Leaf Studios
Published by: Dear Villagers

Immortals of Aveum (PC/PS5/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 22nd

Developed by: Ascendant Studios
Published by: EA

Blasphemous II (PC/PS4/PS5/Switch/Xbox One/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 24th

Developed by: The Game Kitchen
Published by: Team17

Ride 5 (PC/PS5/Series X|S) – Releases Aug. 24th

Developed by: Milestone
Published by: Milestone

Guild Wars 2: Secrets of the Obscure (PC) – Releases Jun. 20th

Everything else:

retro mystery club

Here’s the rest of the games coming out, mostly stuff for PC and Switch. Nintendo is killing it in the hardware business so I’m sure they aren’t too concerned about not getting Immortals of Aveum, but we do appear to be entering that phase again where the biggest new titles don’t make it to Nintendo consoles. We’ll see what happens when the inevitable Switch successor appears in the next year or two (or five).

Notable Releases from 10, 20, and 30 years ago:

This week’s notable titles are kind of in parallel with the new releases. There’s one highly anticipated new entry in a franchise that started in Japan but is trying to break out of its niche audience (SoulCalibur 2), and two games that straddle the AAA/AA line but are, ultimately, a bit generic (The Bureau: XCOM Declassified and Final Fight 2).

First, let’s go over the ten year old title, The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Developed by 2K Marin and 2K Australia, the game was initially led by 2K Australia, but their inability to meet internal deadlines saw the game handed over to 2K Marin, where it was being developed as a first person shooter. There was some pushback from fans of the original XCOM who were not happy to see their tactics game turned into a generic FPS title. Cut to about a year later, and Firaxis, another 2K subsidiary, announces XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a modern take on the original, tactical combat and all. Seeing themselves falling behind, the team at 2K Marin made the unprecedented move to pivot away from FPS gameplay and move into a third-person view, with players able to assign commands to their squad, similar to the combat in Mass Effect 3.

The resulting change led to a delay in launch, for a game that had already been delayed multiple times internally, putting added pressure and strain on the overworked staff. During the production of The Bureau, 2K Marin would lose several people, with some starting their own studios, like The Fullbright Company, makers of Gone Home. The leftover staff would continue to polish The Bureau into something resembling a video game, where it would come out to tepid reviews from critics and almost in interest by the general public. This lack of enthusiasm for the title was the nail in 2K Marin’s coffin, with the studio completely shutting down, with only a very small team being moved over to a new 2K subsidiary, Hangar 13, makers of Mafia III.

Our 20 year old notable title is the fighting game SoulCalibur II. Originally released in arcades in 2002, the console version of the game had a very unique launch, with each system getting its own exclusive character. The PS2 version had Heihachi from Tekken, though it was initially supposed to be Cloud from FF7 but the licensing deal fell through. Xbox players received Spawn, the cult comic character created by Todd McFarlane, which GameCube players got to play as Link from the Zelda franchise, making this, in my opinion, the best version to own. SoulCalibur II was a smash with both critics and players, and even took home the trophy for “Most Addictive Game” at the 2003 Spike Video Game Awards.

Going back 30 years, we have the SNES title Final Fight 2, which is a bit of an oxymoron, how can you have ANTOHER final fight? It makes no sense! In any case, this sequel was exclusive to consoles, never appearing in arcades. It continued the story of the first game by being, well, exactly the same story. This time, instead of someone’s girlfriend being kidnapped, someone’s sister and father have been kidnapped! Mayor Mike Haggar returns, along with his good buddy Carlos Miyamoto, maybe the only Japanese-Mexican in all of gaming, and Maki Genryusai, who’s sister and father have been kidnapped. Oh, and the sister is ALSO the fiancée of Guy from the first Final Fight, but he was too busy training to give a shit, I guess. Critics were lukewarm on the game, calling it fun but a complete rehash of the first Final Fight; same gameplay, same story, same graphics, same overall characters, and too repetitive.

Overall, I quite enjoyed all three notable titles, with SoulCalibur II being the standout, of course. The Bureau isn’t all that bad, and the late 1950’s/early 1960’s design aesthetic is phenomenal. Alright, moving away from games now, let’s talk about the notable films. The World’s End is, in my opinion, the weakest entry in Edgar Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy”, but not a bad movie in any way. 2003’s Marci X, however, is just a terrible, TERRIBLE movie that, dammit, holds a soft spot in my heart because it was one of the movies I saw with my wife when we were still newly dating. Finally, Surf Ninjas is one of those 90’s kids movies that I somehow never saw, but knew everything about because all my friends wouldn’t stop talking about it. I recently looked for streaming version and there was NOTHING, so I ended up buying the DVD on Amazon so I can watch it 30 years too late.

Moving quickly to the notable albums, I really like the band Franz Ferdinand, but this album just didn’t do it for me (kind of like The World’s End, what was going on with 2013?). 2003’s The Bronx (I) is from one of my all time favorite bands, The Bronx, who have subsequently gone on to name literally all of their albums The Bronx, with album VI releasing in 2021. Looking at the video I posted, they’ve got that kind of “ghost punk” thing that was hot in the early 2000’s, made popular by bands like AFI, My Chemical Romance, and Alkaline Trio. You might also know The Bronx from their appearance in Rock Band 3. Our final album, 1993’s Last Splash, comes from The Breeders, an alt rock band founded by Kim Deal, of Pixies fame, and her twin sister Kelly. The music video for their song “Cannonball”, directed by Spike Jonze, found heavy rotation on MTV through most of the early to mid 90’s, and is a stone cold classic. The rest of the album isn’t as poppy or infectious, but is pure gold if you’re a fan of the Pixes and alt-rock in general.

The Bureau: XCOM Declassified (PC/PS3/Xbox 360) – Released Aug. 20th, 2013: Wiki Link

bureau xcom

Notable Film Release: The World’s End – Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, Rosamund Pike, and Pierce Brosnan
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
*Click here to listen to the album*

SoulCalibur II (PS2/GameCube/Xbox) – Released Aug. 27th, 2003: Wiki Link

soulcalibur ii

Notable Film Release: Marci X – Starring Lisa Kudrow, Damon Wayans, and Jane Krakowski
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release: The Bronx – The Bronx (I)
*Click here to listen to the album*

Final Fight 2 (SNES) – Released Aug. 15th, 1993: Wiki Link

final fight 2

Notable Film Release: Surf Ninjas – Starring Ernie Reyes Jr., Rob Schneider, Tone Loc, and Leslie Nielsen
*Click here to watch the trailer*
Notable Album Release:  The Breeders – Last Splash
*Click here to listen to album*

Andy Tuttle
Andy Tuttle

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