Like poor July before it, August is a desert for the weary pilgrim. A dead land. A cracked and blistering nothingness that stretches to infinity with shining, winking pinpricks of light on the horizon. They could be sustenance. That glistening glow could be gaming bliss! It could also just be El Shaddai.
So choose - but choose wisely. For as the True Awesome Game gives life, the false ones shall take it from you.
* * *
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Hype-O-Meter: Day one.
I've been, well, freaking out over Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet since I first glimpsed a trailer over two years ago. I cheered when the game's creators announced they had found a publisher - even though it was for a console I didn't own or intend to own at the time. When I finally purchased an Xbox 360 and got it up and running last December, one of the first games that came to mind was this little (potential) gem. And I quote:
"OhmiGod I'll be able to play Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet now!It's a free-flying twin-stick shooter where you pilot a tiny UFO through a weird, silhouette world with a Metroid-like progression structure, art direction and animation from the celebrated Michel Gagné and music by Dimmu Borgir. I have no idea who or what Dimmu Borgir is, but they've been credited with the music for every trailer thus far and things have sounded fabulous.
I know, I know - Deus Ex is a big deal - but for me Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet is the most important release of the month. 1400MSP. Dig it.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Slotted for release in July, El Shaddai was mysteriously pushed back to August. Maybe it's to give people time to forget about how boring the demo was? I'm so disinterested in this game, I'm just going to copy-paste what I wrote about it last month.
"I'm a huge proponent of great art direction, and El Shaddai has it in spades - but that seems to be all it has. It has shitty voice work, numb combat, bland platforming and most damning of all - if the demo was anything to go by - it's just boring.
Not boring to look at, but so help me, that's just not enough. I'm frankly amazed this is getting a full disc release and isn't just a PSN download.
...I will admit it's cool to have a game based entirely on Christian mythology, though - but you can do that and still be a fun game."
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
PS3, 360, PC
I'll more than likely day-one Deus Ex if early reviews are kind to it. I've largely kept away from media about it - an unconscious defense mechanism when it comes to games that I expect to be largely excellent, but haven't really thrilled me on a passionate, romantic level (see: Grand Knights History, about which I'll read and post everything I find).
Still, I do expect Deus Ex to be largely excellent. It was pegged for a much earlier release, but Square Enix held it back for a further six months to (presumably) polish it up to blockbuster standards and get some of the money they thought they'd earn from the disastrous Final Fantasy XIV Online.
Deux Ex: Human Revolution should be a grand, triple-A, phenomenally open first-person game that throws you into a story and allows you to solve it any way you choose. You can, famously, complete the entire game without killing anyone - a rare feat for any modern action title.
Me? I expect I'll be a stabby, neck-snappin' stealth character. I do love me some stealth games - and if Deus Ex will let me play it as one (which it will), all the better.
PS3, 360 (on the 31st)
I don't expect much from the BloodRayne franchise, but gameplay trailers for Betrayal have left me cautiously optimistic. It's a 2D sidescrolling brawler with lovely western-style art an pretty-darn-good animation.
Whether or not it's a good game remains to be seen - but I'm definitely willing to give Betrayal a chance. ...just give me a demo.
* * *
And that's August. Slim and slender pickins - but ITSP and Deus Ex certainly make up for the limited company they keep.