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Backlog: The Embiggening – August, 2017

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By Nelson Schneider - 07/30/17 at 04:01 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! Summer is winding down already, and all of the cute, little children (read: insufferable semen-stains) will be back to school, and no longer clogging up ‘Call of Duty’ servers 24 hours a day. The looming approach of August also means I’ll be another year older and another year more jaded. So let’s see what kind of garbage I can hope not to get for my birthday.

The shovelware is fairly light for August. One licensed anime game based on ‘Naruto’ is joined by two worthless annual ‘sport’ releases, ‘Madden’ and ‘F1’ (racing not being a real ‘sport,’ and all).

The ports, remasters, and compilations are still plentiful, though. Modern-day ‘Wolfenstein’ is getting a two-pack compilation, while ‘Mega Man’ is getting a second legacy collection. Critically-ignored “Troll & I” as well as Telltale’s “Minecraft: Story Mode” are coming to the Switch, while the saddest of the sad console peasants who own an XBONE or PortStation will finally get the opportunity to play one of the 8th Gen’s best RPGs, “Pillars of Eternity”… and some other crap including “Aven Colony” and the much delayed titles “World to the West,” “Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun,” and “Rogue Stormers” (provided they don’t get delayed again, again).

Legit multi-platform releases aren’t looking particularly strong for August. We’ve got a bland, generic, zombie-themed, team-based FPS in “Dead Alliance;” a bland, generic military RTS in “Sudden Strike 4” (which leaves me wondering why I’ve never even heard of “Sudden Strike 1” through “Sudden Strike 3”); a ‘hur-dur, that’s so random’ comedy Sandbox game in the vein of ‘Saints Row’ by the publisher of ‘Saints Row,’ “Agents of Mayhem;” and an Indie sequel in “The Escapists 2.” Perhaps the most interesting multi-plat game coming in August is a new attempt by Sega to make Sonic the Hedgehog relevant again, with “Sonic Mania,” which purportedly sticks closely to the original formula that made the Genesis ‘Sonic’ games moderately popular among the sad demographic of children who owned Geneses instead of SNESes.

If multi-plats were uninspiring, then exclusives are downright bleak for the next month. PC has three un-noteworthy Indie games, Vehicular Combat title, “NitroRage;” something stupid with zombies in the title, “Zombie Town;” and Infinite Runner, “Beta Runner.” The other three PC releases aren’t much better, as we have Square Enix publishing a prequel to “Life is Strange,” Epic Games pushing another stupid e-sports platform in “Lawbreakers” (which is one of my most hated titles of E3 2017), and Tiny Build’s weird Stealth experience, “Hello Neighbor,” which pits the player against Mr. Belvedere and his basement full of murder victims.

Sony is riding high on their cloud of hubris, raking in exclusives right and left. Quality? Ain’t got time for that! PS4 is getting another ‘Yakuza’ title; “White Day,” a Survival Horror title set in a Japanese school, because everything needs to be set in a Japanese school now; “Warriors All-Stars,” because Tecmo-Koei has run out of more creative titles for musou; “Everybody’s Golf,” because someone is trying to capitalize on the vacancy left by “WiiSports;” Visual Novel, “Zero Escape;” and the first in presumably a huge series of ‘Uncharted’ spinoffs that aren’t part of the main, numbered series. The PS4 and Vita are both (still!) eagerly(?) awaiting the release of “Summon Night 6,” which has been delayed for the entire damned Summer season.

Nintendo isn’t doing much in August. Fortunately, the one thing they do have coming – “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle” for the Switch – looks amazing, and was my top pick from E3 2017. Thankfully, there aren’t any 3DS releases to interfere with the Switch’s chances of success (though I know that likely won’t last)… but there just aren’t that many Switch games either…

But at least Nintendo has more games… err… game (singular) on the docket than Microsoft, whose XBONE is getting NOTHING (appropriately) in August. Ahh, failure of the XBOX, at least Microsoft gave me what I wanted for my birthday.

Virtual Reality is facing yet another stagnant month. Nothing major (or minor, for that matter) looks to be coming for the foreseeable future. Oculus even went so far as to drop their headset’s price by a significant amount for the month of July. I didn’t bite, though, as it was still too much money just to play “Star Trek: Bridge Crew”… by myself.

Every fool who refuses to acknowledge that consoles are no longer consoles needs to go out and buy “Pillars of Eternity” for their preferred low-end, high-DRM PC of choice. I won’t be buying it again because I already played it on Steam earlier this year. Other than that, I have “Sonic Mania” on my Steam wishlist, even though I’m not a huge ‘Sonic’ fan, and “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle” might just sell me a Switch, if I can find one on store shelves.

Backlog Embiggened: +2

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