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Backlog: The Embiggening – December, 2018

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By Nelson Schneider - 11/25/18 at 03:16 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! The clock is ticking down for developers to finish their code (more likely, get it ‘good enough’ that it doesn’t crash instantly on every piece of hardware) and shove it out the door before the end of the year. Ironically, most corporations’ Fiscal Years actually end in March…

Breathe it in everyone! *SNIIIIIIIIIIFFFFFFF* Ahhhhhhh! A month without blatant shovelware! There are a few borderline titles in the PlayStation exclusives lineup, but I was feeling the Yule spirit, so I decided not to castigate them here. Don’t count on seeing many more shovelware-free months before you die.

We may not have shovelware, but we’ve still got plenty of ports, remasters, compilations, and other ways of selling old, finished, paid-for work at full price. The Switch and PortStation are in a dead heat this month for the first time in a while. For all of recent memory, the Switch has been absolutely plagued with ports thanks to its newness, but apparently devs remembered that they can’t leave the old King of Ports behind. Switch is getting god-awful 2D Souls clone “Salt and Sanctuary,” a bunch of old Sega games, and hero school RPG “Valthirian Arc” (the latter of which it is sharing with PC), while the PS4 is getting chill diving game “Subnautica,” moron test “PUBG,” a remaster of the original busty kunoichi Breast ‘em Up “Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal” (which it is sharing with PC, and only the PC version will be uncensored), and a truly mindblowing compilation of compilations of remasters, “Spyro Reignited Trilogy/Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy” (which it is sharing with XBONE). I don’t know if it’s possible to one-up that (though I’m sure publishers and IP holders will try).

Legit multi-platform new releases look like a rather diverse group for December… of mostly crap. There’s a new ‘Atelier’ item-crafting-with-moe RPG, a completely unnecessary spinoff of last year’s Mr. Belvedere simulator “Hello Neighbor: Hide & Seek,” a giant robot Fighting game (in the vein of “Techromancer”) “Override: Mech City Brawl,” “Just Cause 4” (just ‘cause they can, I guess), a multi-platform sequel in the long-running PC-exclusive ‘Jagged Alliance’ TRPG franchise, and the long overdue release of ‘Wonder Boy’ spiritual successor “Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom” (originally titled “Monster Boy and the Wizard of Booze,” but I guess that was too much for the good Puritan Evangelicals that run ‘Murrica).

Exclusives are down to a battle between Sony and Nintendo, as the only two companies that seem to care about the concept at this point. Sony isn’t trying too hard, with super Casual titles like “WordHunters” and “Just Deal with It.” And if you didn’t think ‘Persona’ was bad and annoying enough, well, now there are not one, but TWO Rhythm spin-offs for the series hitting PS4, “Persona 3: Dancing in Moonlight” and “Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight.” I wouldn’t touch any of Sony’s bait with a 10-foot pole. Nintendo’s exclusive showing is only two games, but one of them is the rabidly awaited “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” which, it turns out, is NOT just a port of “Super Smash Bros. for WiiU/3DS.” The other game is some third-party Driving game, “Gear.Club Unlimited,” that nobody seems to care about when they’ve got ‘Gran Turismo’ and ‘Forza’ on the Big Boy consoles.

VR isn’t getting stiffed this month either. While “Gungrave VR” didn’t quite make it to shelves last month, it’s supposed to in December, and it will be joined by some sort of environmental destruction sim, “Smash Hit Plunder.”

Yikes! Not a lot of good stuff eking out before the end of the calendar year. I’ll probably pick-up “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” at some point, but I’m honestly not all that excited about playing ‘Smash’ again. “Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom” has been on my radar for a while, so I’ll definitely grab that on Steam. Maybe I’ll pick up “Senran Kagura Burst Re:Newal” uncensored on Gabe Newell’s platform (“Re:Newal”/Gabe “Newal,” it could almost be an advertising gimmick), but not even big anime boobs are a compelling draw if it’s got more of that same Musou gameplay.

Backlog Embiggened: +2 (maybe +3)

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