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Backlog: The Embiggening – June, 2017

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By Nelson Schneider - 05/28/17 at 03:40 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! June is traditionally the start of the dreaded Summer Game Drought. Fortunately for all of us, this year, the deluge that started two months ago is continuing unabated. Should we be grateful for this influx of new releases, or is it transforming into a destructive monsoon of crap?

Only three pieces of shovelware are coming in June. By some cosmic coincidence, all of them happen to be racing shovelware to boot: “Cars 3: Driven to Win” will probably be the best bet for fans of Kart racing, as that genre has been quite neglected lately, “Micro Machines World Series” will probably be the best bet for fans of the also-neglected Vehicular Combat sub-genre (though it’s weird to see a new game based on toys from 25 years ago), and “The Official Motocross Game” (which was delayed from last month) should be the choice for those who prefer realism to fun.

There are a whopping 10 releases in the port/remaster/compilation category of “stuff we would have already played if we wanted to play it at all.” The PortStation 4 is living up to its name with compilations of both the “WipeOut” racing series and the ancient (but not venerable) “Crash Bandicoot” 3D Platforming franchise. Sony is also showing a few signs of common sense, with non-handheld versions of “Superbeat: XONiC” and “Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls” coming in from the Vita… err… for those who want to play garbage in the comfort of their entertainment centers instead of a cramped, 4” screen… The Vita itself is, oddly enough, getting an early release of “Tokyo Xanadu,” which will be unilaterally replaced by “Tokyo Xanadu EX+” in November of this year, so I really don’t understand the point of this version. The PS4 and XBONE will both be receiving ports of PC games, “Elite: Dangerous” (a spaceship Driving Sim) and “Rogue Stormers” (a putrid Roguelike). On Nintendo’s end, the 3DS will be getting a version of “RPG Maker” (because that makes no sense whatsoever) and a delayed port of “Runbow” (which was due last month), while the shiny, new Switch will be getting the fantastic game that helped kick-off the Indie Games movement, “Cave Story.” Of course, if you haven’t already played “Cave Story” by now, you need to stop living under a rock.

Don’t despair at the amount of old stuff being passed-off as new stuff, though! There are also 9 brand new legit multi-platform releases coming in June. The two games generating the most hype are samey Fighting sequel, “Tekken 7,” which is fueled primarily by the mainstream, and “Valkyrie Revolution,” a sequel/spinoff of the fantastic “Valkyria Chronicles,” which is fueled primarily by gaming nerds. While “Tekken 7” will be hitting all three major platforms, Sega is missing the Steam boat with “Valkyria Revolution.” Hopefully there’s a later port somewhere down the line. Beyond those two titles, “AreA” is a new IP that will bring music-themed Hack ‘n Slashing to all three platforms, while “Cladun Returns” is the (shocking) second sequel by Nippon Ichi to an IP that started out as a PSN Mini. Horror fans will get Chris-Would-Love-That Survival Horror title, “Dead by Daylight,” as well as Chris-Would-Probably-Love-That Adventure title, “The Town of Light.” Completely boring turd-people who hate fantastical elements in their games can either play “The Golf Club 2” or “DiRT 4.” Speaking of boring turds, “Farming Simulator” has apparently decided that the latest iteration is strictly for those who need to get their farming fix on-the-go, as it is being released for both the Vita and 3DS, with a Switch port coming soon.

The biggest news in exclusives is that the Eternal Emperor of All Things Videogame, the SNES, is getting a new Fighting game, entitled “Unholy Night: The Darkness Hunter.” Of course, it’s one of those gimmicky limited-run things like Watermelon did with the Genesis version of “Pier Solar,” so I expect there to be a digital version smeared across the entire landscape before too long. It’s also the wrong genre (not an RPG) to get SNES fans really riled-up. Steam is getting exclusive access to weird Arcade-looking thing, “Undead Hunters,” as well as a MMO boat-themed Vehicular Combat title, “Fishermurs,” which gives me horrible flashbacks of “Cobra Triangle” when I look at the screencaps. The PS4 is getting “Dark Rose Valkyrie,” a Compile Heart/Idea Factory RPG, which is guaranteed to be horrible due to the fact that it comes from Compile Heard and Idea Factory. The PS4 and Vita will be sharing custody of Nippon Ichi TRPG, “God Wars: Future Past” (which I believe is a delayed release from earlier this year) as well as the delayed release from last month of “Summon Night 6”. Apparently there were a few ‘Summon Night’ games released on the PS2 only in Japan, and a few more released on crappy handhelds that nobody owned (PSP), so that at least explains how the number on the end of that title is so high. For Nintendo, the 3DS will be getting a fairly snazzy looking Action/Adventure, “Ever Oasis,” while the Switch will be getting “Graceful Explosion Machine” and an incredibly stupid-looking 3D Fighting game called “Arms,” which involves people punching each other with long, extending springs attached to various parts of their bodies. At least “Arms” is bringing a controversial sexy character, Twintelle, to the table, making SJWs rage and cry.

There isn’t much for VR fans to get excited about in June. If you own a PC VR headset, you might as well plant some herbs in it, as you won’t be getting any use out of it. If you own a PlayStation VR, though, you can look forward to a filler Adventure episode that takes place between the original “Psychonauts” and the upcoming sequel, “Psychonauts: In the Rhombus of Ruin.”

The only game on June’s release slate that I really want to play is “Valkyria Revolution”… but I don’t want to buy a PS4 or XBONE for the privilege, so I’ll either wait for a Steam release or borrow Chris’ PortStation. “AreA” looks alright, in a generic-gameplay sort of way, so I’ll add that to my Wishlist and wait for a 75% off sale. I’m more interested in “Ever Oasis” than I’d like to be, and I’m pissed that a NINTENDO-PUBLISHED title isn’t coming to the Switch, as I would never play something like that on a pair of 4” screens, but would count it as a reason to buy a Switch if it was available on that platform. I also liked “Psychonauts” quite a bit (more for the story than the unpolished gameplay), so “In the Rhombus of Ruin” is something I’d like to experience, but again, I don’t own a VR headset, and if I did, it most certainly wouldn’t be a PSVR.

Backlog Embiggened: +2 (or +4 with major caveats)

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