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Backlog: The Embiggening – September, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 08/25/19 at 03:57 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! Just in time for the darling little School Shooters to be back in their happy hunting grounds, the videogame industry opens its floodgates and releases a glut of games, which perhaps would have done better in sales if they were released during a time in which the target audience is home all day and perpetually bored. But, alas, as a corporatized industry, gaming is, as ever, slow to change, leaving us with a predictable cycle year after year.

The floodgates have opened, ladies and gentlemen, so man the shovels… actually, it’s not THAT bad for September, as the shovel-ready crap didn’t quite manage to make it to double-digits. There’s “Star Wars Pinball” attempting to cash in on the mobile/console crossover audience, a new VR game based on “The Angry Birds Movie 2” for those with lots of money and no sense (or taste), a Switch (natch) port of “LEGO Jurassic World,” and a ‘Definitive’ compilation of the late Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” (ironic that the company itself is just ‘The Dead Dead’). But, alas, September is traditionally the month where licensed annual Sports evacuates its colon onto the gaming hobby, and so it is again, with a new NASCAR, Hockey, Basketball, and Soccer game coming from official sources, as well as a new non-licensed Soccer game coming from Konami, which likely wouldn’t have reached North America in days past. Thanks, Globalism.

Ports and rehashes, however, did manage to break double-digits, though just barely. As has been the recent trend for over a year, the Nintendo Switch is the biggest offender here, receiving ports of “Dragon Quest 11,” “Darksiders 2,” “Dead by Daylight,” the “Spyro Reignited Trilogy” of remasters, a remake of “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” (which Chris and I always referred to as ‘the stupid one’ back when it was new), and a port of the first “Ni no Kuni” (a.k.a., ‘Dat Kuni Game’), which it will be sharing with the PS4. As proof that other platforms are still ‘relevant’ enough to have shovels full of port thrown at them, the PS4 will be getting “WRC8” (from the Switch, ironically) and Atlus mental hemorrhage, “Catherine,” as well as “Tropico 6” from PC, which it will be sharing with the XBONE. The ‘BONE itself will, surprisingly, receive a port of “Hunt: Showdown” from the PS4, which is unexpected, since seemingly nobody wants to port their games to the XBONE.

There are a sizeable number of legitimate, new multi-platform releases coming in September. Unfortunately, that number is only equal to the shovelware and falls short of the ports (and if we’re being honest, the primary tool of the trade when it comes to porting games everywhere is a shovel). Conveniently, September’s multi-plat releases align themselves into neat strata for classification. In the Worst layer, we’ve got two new ‘Shit Souls’ clones in the form of “Code Vein” and “The Surge 2.” Slightly better in the Definitely Crap layer, we’ve got Visual Novel, “Root Letter: Last Answer;” on-the-nose truck-driving Sim, “Truck Driver;” and fishing Sim sequel, “Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventures.” In the Probably Crap layer, we’ve got “Contra: Rogue Corps,” which is only in this category instead of the previous one thanks to name recognition; and a new entry in the ‘WTF is Wrong with You, Japan” subgenre, “AI: The Somnium Files.” Saving the best for last, we come to the Probably Will Be Good layer with a new RPG from janky purveyors of Eurotrash, Spiders and Focus Home, “Greedfall,” which looks surprisingly interesting, but will likely only be palatable at best (much like “Of Orcs and Men”). Then we’ve got the cherry on top, the long-time-coming Loot ‘n Shoot sequel, “Borderlands 3,” which the MJ Crew has been pining over for a long time due to the generally terrible quality of the multi-player coop stuff we’ve subjected ourselves to recently.

At last, we come, once again, to exclusives. Everyone (except PC) is getting something in September, though some platforms would be better off sharing PC’s exclusive-free situation than getting what they’re getting… Anyway, Sony is getting a pool game, “Pool Nation,” and a third entry in the indecipherable ‘Utawarerumono’ Action series. No thanks! Microsoft is back in the saddle with “Gears of War 5,” which looked incredibly boring at E3, but, hey, Xbox Fanboys like what they like. Nintendo is getting both “Daemon X Machina,” a spiritual successor to From Software’s ‘Armored Core’ series (from a time when From was just janky instead of outright offensive), as well as a new Light Gun shooter, “Gun Gun Pixies,” which not only has a stupid title, but leaves me dubiously wondering how the developer expects it to be fun when the Switch’s JoyCon motion controlled aiming is so iffy. Lastly, even hard-bitten old VR is getting a new exclusive… but it’s Ping Pong

As happens every year, the Summer Game Drought has broken, leaving us with a few precious drops of sweet nectar… intermixed with gallons of watery anal effusions, which we must strain through our metaphorical teeth if we want to taste the afore-mentioned sweetness. I’ll be picking up “Greedfall” on Steam once it gets cheap and the whole Crew will be grabbing “Borderlands 3” once it’s complete, discounted, and no longer exclusive to the Epic Games Store. Lastly, I’ll try to find a cheap “Daemon X Machina” cartridge somewhere down the line (which will be frustrating as hell because Switch games stay artificially expensive forEVAR), since I’ve been experiencing a strong hankering for some Mech Driving and customization, yet gave up on the ‘Armored Core’ series years before From Software stopped making new games in it, simply because each game was so samey, janky, and tiresome. Hopefully “DXM” isn’t just more of the same, but actually takes the concepts I liked from ‘Armored Core’ and builds on them, whilst minimizing the things I didn’t care for.

Backlog Embiggened: +3

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