Friday, August 30, 2013

The Games of September 2013.

Summer had a few sweet gems (most of which came from Vanillaware), but September is a lion of a month, with Rayman Origins' delicious sequel , the first Blizzard-developed game on consoles since the SNES, a true triple-A FPS for the Vita and, of course, the big daddy of them all.

Grand Theft Auto returns to rock our socks.  Oh yes.  Socks will be rocked.

September 3rd
Diablo IIIa loot-crazy action-RPG from Blizzard. 
PC, PS3, 360, PS4 (eventually)
Hype-O-Meter : I can stop myself.  I think.

Diablo III - a "controversial" game, if you're willing to listen to folks who claim it destroyed the Diablo formula - has been getting some very positive reviews for its console port, which includes all the updates the PC game has seen thus far and tosses the cash auction house.  It also works wonderfully for couch co-op - I'm just hoping I can resist until the PS4 version happens.

A pure 2D platformer.
September 3rd - PS3, 360, Wii U, Vita, PC - Hype-O-Meter : Day one, bar none.

Rayman Origins was one of the best things to happen in 2011 or 2012 if you waited to play it on the Vita (like me).  It was, without question, the most fun I'd had with a platformer - that most hallowed of genres - since Super Mario World back on the Super Nintendo.

When it launched on PS3 in 2011, I knew I wanted to check it out - it's so damned good-looking! - but my dance card was full, and I put it off until the next year.

What a profound error that was.  One I shall not repeat, in the fall of 2013.

September 10th
Amnesia : A Machine for Pigs - a survival horror game.
Hype-O-Meter : For Chamberlain?  Day one.

What is Amnesia?  It is a PC exclusive, and so I don't really know or care much about it - but Chamberlain does, and so I'll tip a hat to it here.  Amnesia : The Dark Descent was a critical darling - a rare trick, for a horror game (but more common on PC, I'll admit), and Chamberlain classified it as "terrifying for most of it and unsettling for the rest."

If you're a PC gamer (cough cough McKraken) with a yen for the scares, you may wanna' check this out.

A Vita FPS that looks not to suck.
September 10th - Vita - Hype-O-Meter : Day One, based on its beauty alone.

Aesthetic charms are not what one should consider, first and foremost, when selecting one's gaming - but it sure doesn't hurt.  A few games have tried and failed to be the go-to FPS experience on the Vita, the first game (after Uncharted) to succeed in capitalizing on the whole two-analog-stick thing.

There was a mediocre Resistance game and a crappy Call of Duty - but now one of Sony's own first-party studios has stepped up to bat.  The multiplayer code I tried out ran beautifully, the game played well - but I'll admit, what I'm really looking forward to is the campaign.  I want a gorgeous, atmospheric shooter on my Vita - and Killzone Mercenary may be it.

September 10th
The Puppeteer - an adorable platformer. 
Hype-O-Meter : I'd totally check this out if September weren't so packed.

The Puppeteer was inspired by a developer's child walking away from a game ostensibly designed for children because "you just do the same thing over and over."  In answer to that, The Puppeteer is essentially a (very beautiful) platformer that mixes up its mechanics every few minutes, as the lead character swaps heads to get different powers and the game's world swoops in and out like backdrops in a puppet show.

It could be a very interesting, very fun ride - and its lower price ($40) makes it easier to take a chance on.

September 15th
The Wonderful 101 - a zany, kid-friendly action game. 
Wii U
Hype-O-Meter : I'd day-one it.  If I had a Wii U.  But I don't.  So I won't.

Hideki Kamiya, the legendary director who gave us Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Okami and Bayonetta leverages his ridiculous talents on the Wii U-exclusive The Wonderful 101, which sees the player directing a small army of civilians who can morph into gigantic swords or fists or rockets made of people.

It's been getting great reviews, and if I had a Wii U I'd snap this up on release.

I'll be honest, though, I'm kind of considering buying it regardless. Or would, if I didn't have a PS4 and a launch lineup to save up for.

An open-world action opus.
September 17th - PS3, 360 - Hype-O-Meter : Day One.  Naturally.

Rockstar Games are the fathers and stewards of the open-world game, and - instead of spinning off a GTA : San Andreas/Vice City style update to the formula they fleshed out in IV - they're going full-bore into a numbered sequel with V.

There's nothing else you should need to know.  It's Rockstar.  It's Grand Theft Auto.  It'll be one of the best, most polished, considered and accomplished games of this (or any recent) year.

September - exact date unknown (was thought to be August).
Luftrausersa high-flyin' retro flight shooter.
PS3, Vita, PC, Mac, Linux
Hype-O-Meter : yet more indie deliciousness on the go.

Not to be confused with a shoot 'em up or bullet hell game (though you do shoot them up, and there is a helluva lot of bullets flying around), Luftrausers is the latest thing from Vlambeer, an indie darling studio responsible for Super Crate Box and the Apple Design Award-winning Ridiculous Fishing.

Your little custom-built plane (which has three interchangeable parts and a ton of possible combinations) swoops and loops around the game's 2D plane, taking out enemy fighters and laying waste to their ships.  Looks like a nice, twitchy little actioner.

September - exact date unknown.
Lone Survivor : Director's Cuta post-apocalyptic 2D retro psycho-survival horror.
PS3, Vita (already available on PC, Mac & Linux)
Hype-O-Meter : more indie deliciousness on the go.

Single-handedly produced by a fellow named Jasper Byrne, Lone Survivor is another original, award-winning indie brought to the Vita via maestro Shahid Ahmad.  Given that the platform is entirely devoid of survival horror (unless you count PS1 classics, which I don't), Lone Survivor is definitely worth checking out.

* * *

And that's September (that we know of, so far).  With GTA and Rayman alone, it's gonna' be a helluva month.