Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Games of October 2014.

The rainy season of game releases hits its stride in October.  Here, we find mostly mid-high tier releases - risky, new IPs, a light dash of first-party efforts and Sony's answer to Forza.  But first?  First it's one of my most-anticipated games of the year.

A sci-fi survival-horror love letter to Ridley Scott's seminal sci-fi horror film.
October 7th - PS4, PS3, One, 360, PC - Hype-O-Meter : Day One.

My third-place pick for 2014's Hype List, Alien Isolation is a pure survival-horror game.  This isn't an Aliens game in which you strap on a pair of plasma rifles and mow down hordes of H.R. Giger's nasties - this is an Alien game, in which you are stuck on a space station with one singular Alien, who will kill you as soon as it sees you. There is no combat, there is no health bar.  If this thing gets close enough to touch you, it kills you.  Period.

It's not scripted.  It runs on some kind of ethereal, loosey-goosey artificial intelligence - it hears you, it smells you - that reviewers have insisted can't really be exploited in any way, shape or form.  Reviews have already come out, and are mixed on the high end of the spectrum - the main complaint being that the game offers too much content and is really, really stressful.

That sounds like a winner of a horror game to me.

October 7th
Pix the Cat - a retro arcade game.
Vita, PS4
Hype-O-Meter: Free is free!

I had zero interest in Pix the Cat, but the PS Blog has been hyping the game for a while.  Today, for the list, I finally sat down and watched some trailers and... yeah, man.  I think I can dig this.  I think Kayla will dig this.

Trapped in an infinite arcade world, the game's titular puss must dash around puzzle-levels, saving duckling eggs and evading hazards, swooping from room to room in a cool never-ending action effect that zooms the camera in and out as tiny Pix moves from a tiny room to become giant Pix in a giant room.  It's a game that plugs in to the type of arcadey action we dove headfirst in to a children - but it's a bit hard to explain - watch this trailer.

I'd be curious about this game if it were just a matter of buying it.  As it's coming to PS+'s October lineup?  Day one.

Up next,

A super-pretty driving game.
October 7th - PS4 - Hype-O-Meter: I'll give it a look. 

I'm not much of a racing game guy.  Like, at all.  My enjoyment of racing games begins and ends with Super Mario Kart back on the Super Nintendo - didn't like its sequels - and a bit of a dabble in WipEout 2048 on Vita - but I am a graphics guy, and that is what Driveclub has in spades.

The game is just stupid-gorgeous, and promises a vast degree of social engagement designed to fit any skill level - so whether you're the best guy on the track or the loser in the back, no matter what you're doing, you're always advancing yourself in the game.

With Isolation's launch on the seventh, I'd likely give Driveclub a pass until a games drought occurred - but Driveclub is launching with a "PlayStation Plus Edition."  It's basically 20% of Driveclub - 11 tracks instead of 50, 10 cars instead of 55 - but you're getting it for free.  Twenty per cent of a game is more than enough for me to dive in and see just how gorgeous gorgeous can be - and the price is very right.

October 14th
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel - an open-world sci-fi co-op FPS RPG.
PS3, 360, PC
Hype-O-Meter: Not really my bag.

I mean, Borderlands 2 was pretty good. Pretty awesome, actually, and it's nice to have on my Vita.  To be honest, I probably woulda' checked out The Pre-Sequel - a game set on Pandora's moon, prior to the events of Borderlands 2, developed not by (franchise stewards) Gearbox, but by 2K Australia - if it were coming to PS4 (and there were less coming out in October).  But it ain't and there isn't so I won't.

I woulda' played as Nisha, for the record.  She looks awesome.

October 14th
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition - the new-gen up port of 2012's surprisingly-awesome open-world actioner.
PS4, One
Hype-O-Meter: Nah.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I loved Sleeping Dogs.  It's kind of amazing.  It's one of those rare GTA-like games where you don't spend the entire thing thinking about how Rockstar does it better (take that, Watch Dogs), but if Sleeping Dogs wanted me to care about its new-gen up port, it coulda' released itself in like, July, when nothing was happening.

I have to pick and choose how many games I consume these days, and I'm sorry, Sleeping Dogs, but a second playthrough of you is not on the list.

Legendary creator Shinji Mikami's return to survival horror.
October 14th - PS4, PS3, 360, One, PC - Hype-O-Meter: Day One.

Shinji Mikami directed the horror-genre-defining Resident Evil, which paved the way for countless imitators.  He directed God Hand, one of the greatest action games of all time.  He re-wrote the rules of the horror genre with Resident Evil 4, and established the control and camera scheme that all subsequent third-person shooters (Uncharted, Gears of War) would utilize for the next decade, and popularized "action-horror" (Dead Space).

He's a master.  He cut his teeth on the horror genre, and he's coming back to it with The Evil Within.

That's all I need to know.

A throwback to the days when FPSs were about shootin' crazy monsters and having the biggest dick in the room.
October 21st - PS4, One - Hype-O-Meter: I waaant it...

...but I doubt I'll be done with The Evil Within by then.

That said, I'm almost-definitely going to pick up Shadow Warrior at some point.  A reboot of 1997's spiritual sequel to Duke Nukem 3D, it was developed by Flying Wild Hog and released on PCs last year to widespread acclaim.  It's just a game about running around with badass weapons and mowing down legions of hellspawn - and after ten years of holier-than-thou, high-minded shooters that are trying to teach me some sort of moral lesson, that sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

The sequel to the best beat 'em up of all time.
October 24th - Wii U - Hype-O-Meter : It's a long story.

Like (The Evil Within's) Shinji Mikami, Hideki Kamiya is a legendary game director.  Where Mikami birthed the horror genre as we know it, Kamiya defined modern brawlers with Devil May Cry in 2001, which begat a score of imitators, from God of War to Ninja Gaiden.  He returned to the genre in 2010 with Bayonetta, which currently stands as the single best brawler ever made.

Bayonetta 2 - like Devil May Cry 2, 3, 4 and DmC - is not directed by Kamiya.  It's being directed by Yusuke Hashimoto, a cohort who's been doing visual effects with Kamiya since 2001.  That said, Kamiya is still involved with the project (obliquely, as a writer), and it's still being produced by his development company, Platinum Games.  Early reviews and previews have been uniformly positive, and there's no reason to think that Bayonetta 2 won't be as eye-bleedingly incredible as the original.

The only problem..?  It's on Wii U.

I don't own a Wii U.  But then, I didn't own a Wii when I bought Muramsa: The Demon Blade, either.
My rationale breaks down like this.  I don't, currently, want a Wii U - but I will never want a Wii U if I don't have a copy of Bayonetta 2 to play on it.  Therefor, I should probably buy Bayonetta 2.

October 28th
Lords of the Fallen - an action-RPG.
PS4, One, PC
Hype-O-Meter: I'll wait for reviews.

Remember how, when DOOM came out, there were suddenly a million different games trying to do the same thing?  And when Grand Theft Auto III came out, everyone and their uncle was trying to cash in on the open-world formula?

Remember when Demon's Souls/Dark Souls/Dark Souls II came out, and From Software pulled off this incredible dark-action ultra-challenging high-fantasy thing?

Well, German developer Deck 13 is trying to emulate that, and their game is called Lords of the Fallen.  It looks very pretty - nice effects - and the gameplay looks similar to anyone with a history with the Souls franchise.  Whether or not it will be successful, or worth your time at all, remains to be seen.

I'm waiting for reviews.

October 28th
Freedom Wars, a boss-hunting game.
Hype-O-Meter: Not for me.

There's actually a lot of hype surrounding Freedom Wars - it's a game in the vein of Monster Hunter, God Eater and this year's Toukiden, in which you and some co-op buddies take down giant boss-monsters in an overworld.

Freedom Wars is a game that's trying to meld that gameplay with the style of a Shin Megami Tensei game, and was developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Studio Japan.  It's being helmed by a fellow named Takashi Tsukamoto, who - get this - was the co-director on Street Fighter IV.

Freedom Wars did very well when it launched in Japan - where this genre is hugely successful - and earned some positive reviews.  I'll keep my eye on it, but I'm not gonna' be first in line.

* * *

And, of course, you can expect a lot of sweet little indies to come our way this month, too - though we have no idea exactly when they'll be coming.  Keep an eye out for Costume Quest 2, Minecraft Vita, Race the Sun, Tiny Troopers and others. 

Heck, we might even get Galak-Z this month.  Fingers crossed!


  1. Golly, this is a good month.Alien: Isolation, The Evil Within, and Bayo 2 are the stand out titles of the month for me.
    An Alien game done right? Count me in.
    Shinji Mikami is doing horror again? You bet your butt I'm in.

    I'll be getting Bayonetta day one. Can't wait - CAN'T WAIT - to dive into that series.
    If you ever do get a Wii U, don't forget the check out The Wonderful 101.
    I was skeptical before I played it; I thought it looked bland and unappealing. I was proven wrong because that game was an absolute blast. It became one of my favorite games in a while. Kamiya has a knack for that kinda thing.

    1. Wonderful 101 is on my radar just by virtue of being a Platinum game - not that that's served me entirely well in the past. I don't think I played more than an hour of MadWorld. Or Anarchy Reigns.

    2. I know what you mean, I never finished MadWorld either. I got to the last level, but I lost too much interest to even go and end it.
      Wonderful 101, however, never had me lose my interest. The worst parts in W101 are found when the game deviates away from the central gameplay for a bit (Which Platinum tends to do occasionally). Most of them are fun, but they can hurt the pacing.