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Backlog: The Embiggening – March, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 02/24/19 at 10:05 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! The hoary, old chestnut states that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, or vice-versa. Here at the MJHQ, March is coming in like a big, annoying pile of snow, so it better damn well go out like a tropical paradise. At least we’ve already got our shovels (and snow blowers) at the ready, which will help with the lion’s and lamb’s share of this month’s game releases!

We’ve got 8 samples of shovelware to deal with this month. We’ve got an extra-crappy Sports title based on the “American Ninja Warrior” TV show, plus a couple of anime games based on “One Piece” and the incredibly convoluted “Fate” franchises. Nintendo is getting hit by a Casual mini-game shovelfest, “FUN! FUN! Animal Park,” by Aksys, who apparently think the Switch is still the Wii (and when you have to put that much ‘FUN’ in your game’s title, you’re trying too hard). Every platform except Nintendo’s is getting a new ‘Tom Clancy’ game, with tons of grind and Ubisoft-ness. And then there are three pieces of shovel-ready licensed trash that are ALSO ports and/or compilations: “PAW Patrol: On a Roll,” “LEGO Marvel Collection,” and the final season of the late Telltale Games’ “The Walking Dead.”

And because everything old is new again in the modern games industry, we’ve got just as many ports and compilations as we’ve got shovelware. It’s an eclectic mix this month, with no one platform getting overwhelmed (*coughSwitchcough*), as we’ve seen for the past year. The PS4 and XBONE are getting a remaster of “Assassin’s Creed 3,” which will be hitting Switch later on this Summer. The PS4 is also getting a compilation of ‘Danganronpa’ Visual Novels and a port of a compilation of old SNK games. The Switch is only getting a compilation of ‘Air Conflicts’ titles, while the dead-and-buried 3DS is getting a definitive edition of “Kirby’s Epic Yarn” (in lieu of the live-and-kicking Switch getting it, because Nintendo MAKES NO SENSE). Finally, NIS (one of the crappiest RPG companies in Japan) has decided to port not one, not two, but THREE of its games to the incredibly ripe corpse of the PlayStation Vita (anyone remember that thing?): “Penny-Punching Princess,” “The Lost Child,” and “The Longest Five Minutes.” Usually publishers port things to popular and thriving platforms in order to gain more sales and make more money off of existing work, so I really have no idea what NIS is thinking here.

Legit multi-platform releases are quite prolific and diverse for March, but aren’t particularly impressive. There’s a strange amount of overlap between the PS4 and Switch, with NIS and Tecmo-Koei bringing a quartet of RPGs: “The Princess Guide” which is billed at ‘Strategy’ but looks more like a dumb Beat ‘em Up with gobs of moe to me, “The Caligula Effect: Overdose” which combines crappy NIS RPGs AND Japanese high schools into an extra horrible doo-doo casserole, and not one, but TWO new ‘Atelier’ games: “Atelier Lulua” and “Nelke and the Legendary Alchemists” for those who like their moe with a side of excruciating grinding and crafting. Other multi-plats include “Xenon Racer” for Racing fans, “Dead or Alive 6” for Fighting and Boob fans (though it has been toned way down from previous ‘DoA’ titles to appease SJWs and Sony corporate executives), “Devil May Cry 5” for twitchy combo fans, and “The Occupation” for patient Adventure fans (it was supposed to release last month). It wouldn’t be a month in the games industry without a few Shooters releasing, and March has both TPSes covered with “Left Alive,” a new game in the 'Front Mission' universe by Square-Enix, that looks to combine what they’ve learned about Western games from Eidos with their wheelhouse of Japanese weirdness; and FPses covered with “Generation Zero,” which looked very interesting, until I learned that the player(s) will be fighting against mechs on-foot instead of piloting them. Lastly, self-abusers can ‘enjoy’ a couple of new Tedium Simulators: “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” by the asshats at From Software, and “Outward” a ‘serious’ RPG in which your character can die from the cold and minor infections (we already have that crappy game: Life).

Not much room left for exclusives in March. VR isn’t getting any, nor is XBONE, nor is PlayStation! PC is getting the timed exclusive release of “Tropico 6,” which will hit other platforms later on in the Summer. The Switch is getting two exclusive releases, one first-party and one third-party: “Yoshi’s Crafted World” is a sequel to the yarn-aesthetic “Yoshi’s Woolly World,” while “Dragon Marked for Death,” a new side-scrolling Beat ‘em Up/Platformer hybrid that seems to be a spiritual successor to the developer’s – Inti Creates – previous work on the ‘Mega Man Zero’ series published by Capcom.

Yikes! Instead of coming in like a lion or a lamb, March looks like it will come in and out like a plate of tainted Mexican food. “Yoshi’s Crafted World,” “Left Alive,” and “Generation Zero” all come across as the least depressing of the lot, but I can’t say I’m excited about paying the Nintendo Tax for another Yoshi collect-a-thon, and both of those Shooters have unpleasant Stealth and/or Survival mechanics bolted on that make me want to avoid them like the plague.

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