Oh September, by the time it’s hit you already have an idea of how it will bleed your wallet dry. Yet, you prefer to lie to yourself about how it will not. Well, keep on lying kiddo, keep on lying. In all seriousness though, September is when the hard spending hits. It’s just long enough removed from the Steam Summer Sale, but not just in the scope of all of the AAA releases. Whoever sneaks in here is the winner by default, default of giving you the sign of what’s to come. September 2013 looks interesting.
At the risk of losing everyone’s attention, I still choose to start this article with a PC game, and a strategy game at that. You still with me? No? BOOBS! Now, since all of you are paying attention again, let’s get into it. Total War: Rome 2 is another entry in the much famed and respected RTS series. Over the years, Total War has developed to become one of the most gorgeous strategy games in the market.
The title parks a lot on screen at any given time. There sheer volume of everything that’s going on is captivating. Combine that with a very intuitive and complex management system and you have yourself a winner. Total War gets the special merit award for actually going into as much detail as possible to portray every nation as accurately as possible.
The player controls the generals, assigning special skills tactics and traits. Throughout the campaign, you will get the ability to make the important choices that will further impact the way the campaign develops. Overall, everything about the game oozes (I really like that word) strategy and you have to consider every move, large or small. Bring in diplomacy, multiple types of battles (including naval) and you have yourself a very deep strategy indeed.
As if that didn’t bore you enough, another major early September release is not a new release it all, rather, it’s a long-awaited port where the console gamers will finally get exposure to Diablo III. That is of course if the same gamers didn’t get a chance to play DIII on their PCs.
There are a lot of questions to be raised about how well the port will happen. Dragon Age: Origins is still a very shining example of a complex PC interface game gone wrong on console. With the gameplay reliant heavily on hotkeys, multiple commands and other interface juggling issues, it will be interesting to see how well the game adapts to the 360 and PS3 controllers respectively.
If all goes well, the gamers will be exposed to an addictive (though not as exceptional as its predecessors) experience of fighting, looting, leveling and more looting. What’s next? Dota2 or LoL on consoles? Dear mother of God!
If you think back and remember, I thought Rayman Origins was one of the best gaming experiences in 2011 (for anyone who was reading my column in 2011, so kudos to all five of you). After much anticipation, Rayman Legends will finally grace the consoles and PC this September, and I couldn’t be happier.
If history is any indication we’re in for more platforming silliness and fun as you breeze through imaginative environments with up to four friends. This kind of multiplayer involvement is what makes Rayman such a great party game. With the Vita and WiiU versions, players will also get the added benefit of the fifth character who can take advantage of the tablet like controls and the touch screen to aid the four on screen players by performing various tasks.
If the game can recapture the platforming magic of Origins, this could be quiet a coup for UbiSoft and a great start to a packed September.
Another coo, pseudo platforming entry comes to the PS3 in the form of the Puppeteer. The premise is pretty grizzly if you consider it, but it is innovative and unique. You play as a boy who got turned into a puppet and had his head cut off. Once you’ve signed up for adequate hours of therapy to deal with that, you can start playing.
Gameplay revolves around collecting various other heads and placing them on your body. Each head gives you a unique ability that is necessary for beating the game. The interesting interplay between abilities and various heads will call for a creative use of your powers to pass each level. It’s the unique ingenuity that platformers thrive on. You also possess a magical pair of scissors that lets you cut through almost anything made of paper and cardboard as you advance.
The developers promise unique environments and the fact that players will never see the same thing twice. If they can pull this off, it could be a surprise feel-good game of the fall.
Do I even need to say anything other than GTA V is coming out this fall? In true Rockstar fashion, there has been little revealed about the title other than what the developer wants us to know. Consider that the game is less than two months away from reveal and we’ve only seen one gameplay trailer. Still, everyone is as excited as ever. This is how you do marketing and promotions, instead of churning out 27 gameplay videos a month that completely ruin your experience with the game once you actually get it. Of course it helps to have one of the most consistent reputations in the video game world.
While everyone is left salivating and fighting over next gen consoles, Rockstar shows that you can still innovate in the current cycle. For the first time you’ll be able to control three protagonists, with seamless switching between all three. It will also effectively have an impact on the way you play with player stats entering the fray.
Planning is the name of the game here with the core of the gameplay (outside of the famed freeroam) being elaborate heists where you can hire additional crew, decide how to approach the situation and then split the pot. All of the core mechanics are said to be polished to perfection, with the developer not afraid to borrow from other successful games such as Max Payne 3.
All in all, GTA seems poised for last current gen hurrah, and it also has appropriated about 60 hours of my free time just in the first week. Go figure. There is also multiplayer, but since it’s Rockstar, at the time of writing, I have no solid information about the mode.
Seriously Rovio. Just die.
One of the unknown games, but potentially more fun ones coming out in September is Deadfall: Adventure. It’s an Indiana Jones inspired game by the two Polish masterminds behind Painkiller (back when they were with People Can Fly).
From what I’ve seen of the game it looks like an intriguing mix of first-person platforming (if done right) and adventure (if done right), with some mythology, supernatural and shooting mixed in (if done right). Overall, the videos don’t impress with extensive level of visual polish. Nor does the game mechanics look particularly fluid.
At the same time however, the Painkiller series has been extremely fun to play and was definitely entertaining. If the new developers can pull off the same level of entertainment in Deadfall, given its imaginative setting, we could be in for a surprise game of September.
Finally, it was my decision to relegate all of the sports games to one post because, let’s face it, they’re sports games. If you’re into the sport, you will most likely be picking up your copy and asking for more. If you’re not, then you will stay as far away from these as possible.
First on the docket (and on the release schedule) is NHL 14. Ever since EA monopolized their hold on hockey, much like they did with madden, the series seemed to stagnate. True Performance Skating engine has got some tweaks and improvement to dekeing. The fight system is now based on the Fight Night series, which is supposed to add more realism, but hard to get excited about since it’s such a small part of the game. Oh, and Be a Pro is now called Live the Life. So there’s that.
FIFA 14/PES 14 continue their tug of war for the soccer gaming crown (or football if you’re from the other side of the Atlantic). FIFA seemingly revamped the career mode once again, with improved scouting and other mechanics, if you’re into micro management and arrange your Cheerios by size and Alphabits alphabetically and backwards. This is another game in the series that will feature the Ignite engine for better realism and graphical performance. Once again, Ignite will only be available on PS4 and Xbox One.
PES still plans to lack significantly in terms of licensing that FIFA has but is trying to catch-up gameplay wise. This time around the game will feature the Havok Physics for collision, to try and simulate a better looking game with more realistic on pitch movements. TrueBall Tech will make the emphasis on gameplay on the way the ball moves, interacts and spins. Everything about the round fella will affect the gameplay according to Konami.
So, this year’s NBA 2k14 soundtrack is produced by none other than LeBron James. Wait, no one cares? But, but LBJ!!! No, seriously, after the trip to the uncanny valley with virtual LeBron at this year’s E3 we are presented with yet another basketball sim from the leading (read: only) basketball sim developer in the business at the moment (until EA comes back, hopefully bug free, but we all know…) the new title is coming. 2k Sports added more animations, refined the visuals (particularly for the PS4 and 360 titles) and went all in with singing the King himself. Furthermore, in the most “so what” move of sports gaming they added Euroleague teams to its roster… Because beating your buddy’s Miami Heat with Alba Berlin will never get old (or will get old really quick, like halfway through the first game).
So, this is it for September 2014. Feel free to let me know if I missed anything or if you disagree with my jolly disposition and outlook on the first month of the fall. Other than that, stay tuned to the site for reviews on almost every title that I just talked about. Because I can.