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Backlog: The Embiggening – September, 2018

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By Nelson Schneider - 08/26/18 at 09:01 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! All of the adorable little school shooters are back in their hunting grounds, so naturally, the Games Industry traditionally choses the month when that happens to end the Summer Game Drought and start releasing things again. Of course, as we should remember from the past few months, the Summer Game Drought of 2018 was cleverly concealed by the release of dozens of ports. I can’t help but compare the Summer’s game releases to an Orwellian conspiracy, where the Industry titans acted like Big Brother, deluging us with artificially-created dehydrated raindrops in order to convince us that there was no drought, while those of us with our eyes open realize that if you dehydrate rain, you actually have nothing. With 45 releases dropping in September, I wonder how many will actually be “real.”

Ready your shovels, folks, as there’s a LOT of licensed garbage to cast aside in September. Sports seem to be the biggest offender here, with officially licensed annual releases appearing just when we expect them in FIFA Soccer, NHL Hockey, NASCAR racing, and TWO different kinds of NBA Basketball. Sony is also pushing a new ‘Spoder-Mun’ game, thanks to their exclusive ownership of the movie license. Japan-at-large is, predictably, pushing more stuff based on anime and manga. You’ve probably heard of “Dragon Ball Z,” and “Yokai Watch,” but “Black Clover” is just for the special otaku hipsters out there. Probably the best (read: worst) part of the anime games is that the “Dragon Ball Z” one is both shovelware AND a port!

And speaking of ports, there are a whopping 15 of them landing on “new” ground this month. Guess who the guiltiest party is, once again! That’s right, the Nintendo Switch will be getting ports of “Moonlighter,” “Cat Quest,” and “God Wars,” as well as compilations of the ‘Banner Saga’ series, mobile apps in the ‘Mercenaries Saga’ series, and bunch of old-ass Namco arcade games. The PortStation isn’t ready to give up its crown just yet, however, as it will be receiving “Soldam,” “Brawlout,” “Air Missions: HIND,” and “Slime Rancher.” Those two massive port targets will also be sharing new access to “Rooms: The Unsolvable Puzzle.” The PortStation will also be sharing a remastered VR-optional version of “Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner” with PC (which originally appeared on the PlayStation 2), while both of the 8th Gen holdouts will receive “8-Bit Armies” (after numerous delays), “Hero Defense,” and a compilation of ‘Scribblenauts’ games (the latter of which will also be hitting Steam).

Miraculously, new multi-platform releases that aren’t shovel-ready crap managed to tie the number of ports and rehashes! And even more miraculously, some of these are among my most hotly-anticipated titles of the generation. But we’ll save those for last and get the crap out of the way first! Fishing! There are TWO Fishing games coming out this month! “Legendary Fishing” is exclusive to the Switch and PS4, while “Fishing Sim World” is exclusive to PC and XBONE (and PS4). Visual Novels! “Punchline” will be hitting PC and the PS4/Vita ecosystems, while “428: Shibuya Scramble” will be hitting PC and PS4-sans-Vita. Continuing this trend of most multi-platform titles completely ignoring the Xbox ecosystem, Switch and PS4 will be getting arcade J-Fighter “SNK Heroines: Tag Team Frenzy” and SHMUP sequel “Psyvariar Delta.” PC will be joining the Switch and PS4 in getting another J-Fighter in “Blade Strangers,” weird-looking Adventure “Flipping Death,” and two crappy-looking RPGs (one by NIS, natch), “Valthirian Arc: Hero School Story” and “Labyrinth of Refrain.” Then there’s a PC/PS4/XBONE release of “Shadows: Awakening,” by F-list dev/pub Kalypso. But fear not! Remember at the start of this section when I said there were actually good multi-plats coming? Old-guard bastions of excellence (whose recent falls from grace can be temporarily ignored in September), Square Enix and Sega are here to save the day. Square Enix by itself is putting out three new titles: Adventure “Life is Strange 2,” Action/Adventure “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” (courtesy of Eidos), and the most eagerly awaited game of the generation “Dragon F-ing Quest 11!” On top of the almost-assured glory of “DQ11,” Sega is releasing the long-awaited return of their best TRPG franchise to real platforms instead of a worthless Sony handheld with “Valkyria Chronicles 4.” Sadly, with the way the industry works nowadays, I won’t likely get around to buying/playing those two RPGs until they are complete and/or discounted next year some time (though I’ve heard good news that the director of ‘Dragon Quest’ has stated “DQ11” won’t have any DLC, macrotransactions, or other BS).

Moving onto exclusives after the double orgasm of “Dragon Quest 11” and “Valkyria Chronicles 4” is a real downer, especially since there are only 5 of them. Depending on your preferred platform, you might not get anything (sorry Vita/XBONE fans [not sorry]). The PlayStation 4 and Switch are splitting the exclusives almost evenly, but if I was still a Sony fan, I’d be feeling pretty ill. The PS4 is getting generic no-name Fighter “Omen of Sorrow” and yet another crappy NIS RPG in “Metal Max Xeno.” Switch owners should feel slightly better, since, even though they’re getting saddled with a crappy Rhythm game in “Gal Metal,” they’re also getting a stand-alone expansion pack for “Xenoblade Chronicles 2,” “Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna, the Golden Country.” The fifth and final exclusive of the month is a sequel in the ‘Jake Hunter’ detective Adventure series for the ripe-and-rotting corpse of the 3DS.

Holy crap! September is going to be a GREAT month for RPGs! Which means it’s a GREAT FRIGGIN’ MONTH! I’ll definitely be grabbing “Dragon Quest 11” and “Valkyria Chronicles 4” on Steam as soon as the price becomes reasonable (I’d even go as high as $30 for these instead of my regular cap of $20). I’m also anticipating picking up the “Xenoblade 2” expansion at some point… preferably after I get around to picking up the base game (damned Nintendo games and their refusal to drop in price). Everything else releasing in September can go take a flying leap, though.

Backlog Embiggened: +3 (Holy Crap!)

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