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Backlog: The Embiggening - September, 2014

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By Nelson Schneider - 09/04/14 at 02:24 PM CT

Welcome to another look into the near future. Gamers across the world have survived yet another parching Summer Game Drought. Hopefully everyone else had better luck reducing the size of their backlogs than I did. Regardless of whether I made any progress in playing through my game collection, September is bringing a refreshing downpour of a lot of new titles. Once again, the biggest, most stupidly-over-hyped title is a FPS with an online component, “Destiny,” however this FPS actually looks like an attempt to appeal to a broader audience than the typical military shooters and space marine fantasies we typically get.

Onto the shovelware! Unfortunately, it is back in full-force this month, leaving us with a significant pile of licensed crap. There is a new “Sherlock Holmes” game (because he is so popular right now), “Lord of the Rings” game that is based as tenuously on the source material as possible, “Falling Skies: The Game” which will definitely be spectacular because it has ‘the game’ in the title, yet another game based on the “Naruto Shippuden” anime series, a ‘you must re-buy the new version’ release of Disney’s action figure selling vehicle, and annual releases in the two most worthless sports franchises only watched by the most desperate and/or foreign jocks: Soccer and Hockey.

There are actually very few non-blatantly-shovelware multiplatform titles coming in September. In fact, only one, the afore-mentioned “Destiny” looks like anything that will draw any kind of audience and have reasonable sales numbers. The other two multiplatform releases are a “Warriors Orochi” sequel, and a game in a ‘new’ genre that I am going to dub the ‘J-Fighter’ (If segregating an entire genre in order to disdainfully look down on games featuring angsty teens with stupid hair and worse fashion sense works for RPGs, why not EVERY genre?), “Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.” Neither of these games will sell very many units due to the extremely small sizes of their respective niches.

In the realm of exclusives, PC gamers are getting more attention than they have in quite some time. Not only is EA putting “The Sims 4” out on their Origin platform, but Steam is getting a reboot of the 8-bit era ‘classic’ “Gauntlet” and a sequel to 2002’s “Stronghold Crusader.” Of course, being Steam, where will be many more surprises to leap upon us and fatten up our backlogs.

I’m not really sure what’s going on in Sonyland. The PS4 is only getting one exclusive, and it’s a low-budget Vietnam War era flight sim. The PS3 is still getting far more attention than its successor, and the entire Sony ecosystem is sharing among itself in a healthy way. Specifically, the abominations that filled the void left by the abdication of Square Enix are producing more and more terrible RPGs that will drive the genre’s reputation down even further. NIS is giving all PS owners a chance at a new TRPG, “Natural Doctrine” that actually looks reasonably good compared to their typical fare… But looks are always deceiving with NIS, as they are also teaming up with Compile Heart to grace PS3 owners with “Fairy Fencer F,” featuring lots of grinding and lolis (and maybe grinding on lolis, just for extra appeal to their target audience). Gust is giving PS3 owners another gibberish-titled mess in the form of “Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star.” And just to rub salt in the wounds, Arc System Works is bringing another ‘J-Fighter’ (as previously mentioned) to PS3 and Vita: “Arcana Heart 3: LOVEMAX!!!!!!” Yes, that is exactly how the title is spelled…

The pre-determined losers in the 8th Generation, the WiiU and XBONE, are at least getting a little bit of something in September. Microsoft is giving both of its Xbox consoles a new ‘Forza’ game, while the WiiU is getting a mashup of ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and ‘Dynasty Warriors’ in the form of “Hyrule Warriors,” which could either be really bad or really mediocre based upon the button-mashing repetitive reputation of ‘Dynasty Warriors.’

Handhelds are looking pretty barren. The Vita is, as usual, getting NOTHING outside of the previously-mentioned Sony-shared exclusives while the 3DS is getting two new releases. First is the 5th shovelware sequel in the ‘Cooking Mama’ franchise (I really can’t believe it has lasted long enough for 5 games). The other is a sequel to Square Enix’s bastardization of ‘Final Fantasy’ for mobile phones: “Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call.” Yes, ‘Final Fantasy’ is known for having great soundtracks, but RPG fans are being starved or force-fed the schlock mentioned in the Sony exclusives paragraph above. We don’t need more hybridized spinoffs of formerly-great franchises, we need some true sequels or new IPs that people actually want to play!

I like the looks of “Destiny,” but can’t play shooters without a motion controller, so unless it supports the PS Move (hint: it won’t), I’ll have to wait for the PC release to play it. “Natural Doctrine” and “Hyrule Warriors” both look like potentially tolerable experiences, but neither one has me salivating at the prospect of getting to play them, so if I do bother to pick up either one, it will be on the cheap.

Backlog Embiggened: +3 (time delayed)

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