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Backlog: The Embiggening – March, 2018

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By Nelson Schneider - 02/24/18 at 04:08 PM CT

Gaius Julius Caesar was warned to beware the Ides of March shortly before his assassination on March 15, 44 B.C.E. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t heed the warnings. For we who comment on videogames in March 2018 of the Common Era, we need not specifically fear the Ides of March... we should fear the Ports of March, as they have come, but they have not gone.

The blatant trash of the shovelware category is fairly light on the ground for March. Sony is the biggest perpetrator, bringing delayed releases of its Wii/3DS-inspired trilogy of “3D Mini Golf,” “3D Billiards,” and “Island Flight Simulator” (not that anyone cared that they didn’t hit shelves last month like they were supposed to). In addition, Sony will also be gracing us with “Frantics” a new Party game. Warner Bros. will provide another unwarranted dose of ‘Scribblenauts’ make-your-own-fun boredom on all three current consoles, while anime fans can look forward to Tecmo-Koei’s “Attack on Titan 2” on three current consoles (I feel like it’s only a matter of time before those last two hit PC too), and little kids can look forward to an adaptation of the “Beast Quest” children’s book series (and will no doubt start lauding it as the best RPG ever, despite the fact that it is neither the best nor an RPG).

How ‘bout dem ports, eh? It’s one thing to port around good games so they’re available on more proprietary platforms (though the inverse solution of just getting rid of proprietary platforms would be better in the long-term), but porting around crap so the crowd can take another look at it (and hopefully reject it again) is just pathetic. March is bringing us compilations of both ‘Don’t Starve,’ the super-niche Survival Roguelite, and ‘Devil May Cry,’ the super-niche ‘Character Action Game.’ In addition to these unnecessary ports, “The Raven” from last gen’s digital platforms is getting remastered on 8th Gen physical media; “Minecraft”-with-Guns, “8-Bit Armies” is getting ported to XBONE and PS4; and the bland not-really-Greek Hack ‘n Slash, “Titan Quest” (which the MJ Crew didn’t love when we reviewed it on PC) is hitting 8th Gen consoles (with a Switch version coming at the end of the year). On top of all that, Sony is still struggling to get its remastered version of “Velocity” out the door for PS4/Vita, the Switch is getting a port of “Redout,” and PC is ‘finally’ getting “Final Fantasy 15.” The only bright side here is that the Nindies have slackened off for the time being.

Eight legit multi-platform releases are coming in March, with six of them hitting the standard allotment of PC/PS4/XBONE. For those who love motorcycles, March is looking pretty good, with both “MX vs. ATV: All Out” and “TT Isle of Man.” For those who haven’t gotten enough virtual farming with all of the other farming Simulation games lately, there’s “Pure Farming 18” (whose title leads me to believe they plan to make a new one every year), and for those who wish they were Matt Damon, there’s not-quite-“The Martian,” “Surviving Mars,” which is mercifully NOT another generic third-person Survival game. Then there’s “FarCry 5,” by Ubisoft… which should meet the expectations of series fans adequately, but also has me interested in a ‘FarCry’ game for the first time due to its painfully-relevant setting and cautionary narrative about what could happen to our dear, sweet United States if we don’t forcefully dislodge the meathooks of Evangelical Christianity. Two other, more limited, multi-plats are each only hitting two platforms. “Ni no Kuni 2” will be coming to PS4 and PC, while the latest ‘Atelier’ game will be coming to PS4 and Switch. Despite my being PC/Switch for the time being, I’ll be passing on both of those last two, as the first “Ni no Kuni” didn’t do anything for me and I actively dislike ‘Atelier’ after suffering through all three ‘Aterlier Iris’ games on PS2. Never again!

In spite of all the crap and multi-plats, there are still a whopping 12 exclusives – TWELVE! – coming in March. PC starts of rather grimly with Horror Adventure, “Dollhouse” (Chris would love that). Sony, on the other hand, has a huge percentage of the exclusives for March locked-down, with “Witch and the Hundred Knight 2,” “The Lost Child,” “The 25th Ward,” “A Way Out,” and a gimmicky one-game-in-two (normally a Nintendo gimmick), “Code Realize,” with the “Bouquet of Rainbows” part hitting PS4 and the “Future Blessings” part hitting Vita. And… hey, wait a minute, most of those PS4 exclusives are terrible NIS or Idea Factory games! Doesn’t anyone else in Japan make console games anymore!? Moving on to Nintendo, the Switch is getting “Kirby Star Allies,” which I’m really looking forward to co-oping with the MJ Crew, along with “Runner3” and J-Fighter “Blade Strangers,” which I am really looking forward to ignoring and pretending they don’t exist. The 3DS is still receiving unwarranted support, with both Atlus RPG “The Alliance Alive” and “Detective Pikachu” (which we are likely only seeing on this side of the Pacific due to the misbegotten upcoming movie starring Deadpool as Pikachu). Finally, Microsoft is bringing up the rear – as they rightfully should – with one miserable release on XBONE and Windows 10: “Sea of Thieves,” which I was really excited about last year, but have since completely cooled on after learning it’s a ‘live service’ instead of a game, and has open PvP on all of its servers. NopeNopeNope!

VR fans don’t have much to look forward to in March. Those doing VR on PC are completely screwed, but those who bought into Sony’s PS4-bound take on the tech will get exclusive access to Sony-published FPS, “Bravo Team.”

There are certainly a lot of games coming in March, and the wide diversity of genres means there’s definitely something for everyone, even those with refined tastes such as mine (for those who will eat any garbage, it’s a veritable smorgasbord). While I certainly WILL NOT be picking up “Final Fantasy 15,” “Ni no Kuni 2,” or “Sea of Thieves” on PC (games in which I should be very interested), I will be picking up “FarCry 5” on PC and “Kirby: Star Allies” on Switch.

Backlog Embiggened: +2

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