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Backlog: The Embiggening – October, 2019

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By Nelson Schneider - 09/29/19 at 04:04 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! October is just around the corner, and that means Halloween has already been on the public’s mind for… err… two months. But still, October is the month for scaring the crap out of each other, and the overwhelming number of upcoming releases certainly has me unnerved. Especially due to the continuing trend of shovelware and ports dominating everything. At least both of those categories have something in the that could be considered “good” with the right mindset.

Repetition is one of the keys to learning, so let’s go over it again kiddies: There are three types of shovelware. The cynical tie-in game based on another IP (that is not already a game), the annual release that comes out every year whether it’s needed or not, and the super-casual non-game. October has all three in spades.

For licensed swill, we’ve got a game based on the ‘Ice Age’ movie franchise, even though there isn’t a new one of those coming that I’m aware of. We’ve also got a tie-in to the ‘Zombieland’ movie franchise, a tie-in to a Chinese movie about the Monkey King (WHY?!), a Switch port (natch) of a ‘Digimon’ game, a couple of old-ass Disney ROMs bundled together with a price tag (because, of course Disney and Nintendo think the same), and “Asterix & Obelix XXL 2,” a sequel to a 3D Platformer from the PlayStation 2 era that’s based on a European comic strip. Personally, I have plenty of false nostalgia for ‘Asterix,’ as I think it looks like the type of thing I would have eaten up as a kid (or even as a middle-aged fart), but, alas, my ‘Murrican citizenship prevented me from reading it. Maybe one day…

The next shovelware category is annual crap. We’ve got both an annual Sports game in ‘WWE Wrestling,’ as well as an annual release of ‘Call of Duty’… which ISN’T EVEN A NEW GAME THIS YEAR! It’s a port of an OLD ‘Call of Duty’ game! Talk about not respecting your audience, even a little…

Lastly, we’ve got casual trash. Ubisoft’s got a new ‘Let’s Sing’ game focusing on country music, and Nintendo has a new retarded, gimmicky exercise game, “Ring Fit Adventure,” that involves sticking your Joy Cons in a plastic ring and… doing stuff with it, I guess. NOPE!

You think that was a lot of shovelware? Then hold onto your pants, as the ports, remasters, remakes, and rehashes will blow them right off of your ass! There are a whopping 25 (!) old games being released as though they were new (typically with a commensurate price tag attached) that aren’t explicitly crap. And guess who the main culprit is, once again? Yes! The Nintendo Switch, which will be responsible for 9 of those ports all on its lonesome, and sharing quite a few more with the PlayStation 4 (and a couple with the XBONE). Switch is getting “Vampyr,” “Wargroove,” a compilation of ‘Resident Evil’ games, “A Hat in Time,” “The Witcher 3,” “Everspace,” “Call of Cthulhu” (which is based on a tabletop game, and thus not shovelware), “Sniper Elite 3,” and a remake of “BurgerTime” (one of Chris’ favorites) called “BurgerTime Party!” Shared with the PS4 and/or XBONE are “Disgaea 4,” “Forager,” a compilation of the first 3 ‘Trine’ games, “Another Sight,” “The Alliance Alive,” a remaster of “Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz,” “Children of Morta” (a detestable chunky-pixel Roguelite), “Slay the Spire,” “Northgard,” and two compilations of Infinity Engine games from Beamdog: “Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition/Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition” and “Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Pack.” The only good news out of all of that portage is that unrepentant console peasants will finally have to opportunity to play four of the best the only four good PC games from the ‘90s. Of course, the old King of Ports, the PlayStation 4, isn’t quite done yet, as it will be getting a remaster of “MediEvil” (a crappy PS1 game) and a port of “FrostPunk.” With the XBONE, PS4 will be sharing a reboot of “GRID” and ports of “The Bard’s Tale 4” and “Tropico 6.”

Incredibly, October’s jam-packed release schedule still has room for a healthy 16 genuine, legitimate, new multiplatform releases. “Ghost Parade” looks like a generic platformer with some faux-Vanillaware art to lure folks in. “Sparklite” looks like a genuinely interesting throwback Action/Adventure title. “Close to the Sun” looks like someone wants to reinvent ‘BioShock’ only without any of that icky FPS gameplay. “The Outer Worlds,” on the other hand, looks like Obsidian wants to keep making ‘Fallout’ games, even though Bethesda owns that IP and inXile owns the ‘Wasteland’ IP… but since Microsoft now owns both Obsidian and inXile… *MIND CRUSH* I’ve been excited about “Indivisible” for YEARS already, and it’s finally being released, yay! “Yooka-Laylee” is also getting a sequel, for those niche 3D Platformer fans who still exist. Sadly, it all goes downhill from there, with a new ‘Atelier’ game and “Destiny Connect: Tick-Tock Travelers” by NIS (the latter of which seems destined – pun intended – to cause trauma come Christmas when all of the cute, little ‘hardcore’ gamers cuss-out their grandparents, saying, “Yo, Granny, why you git me dis gay JAY-ARR-PEE-GEE when Ah wunted “Destiny 2: Shadowkeep?!” The tears will be delicious.) in the RPG category; “The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors” in the retro sequel category; “Street Outlaws: The List,” “The Fisherman: Fishing Planet,” and “Soccer: Tactics & Glory” in the Sports-like category; “Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville” and “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint” in the Shooter category; and “Root Letter: Last Answer” and “YU-NO: A Girl Who Chants Love at the Bound of this World” in the Visual Novel category. At least there’s plenty of diversity there, so there will definitely be something for everyone (and plenty of things for no-one).

Even with all the games we’ve covered already, there are still 9 exclusives coming. Unfortunately, they’re almost exclusively – pun intended, again – as far from system-sellers as you can get. PS4 is getting “ The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3,” which should finally put that god-awful pile of anime tropes to bed; “ Pool Nation,” which was supposed to come out last month; and “ Concrete Genie,” a PlayStation VR Adventure game that sounds more like something you’d buy to fix cracks in your driveway. The Switch is getting “ Into the Dead 2,” a port of a sequel in a FPS series developed for mobile phones; “ Spirit Hunter NG;” “ Killer Queen Black,” a new dose of PvP idiocy; “ Gun Gun Pixies,” a new Light Gun shooter that was also supposed to be released last month; “ Trine 4,” which isn’t really an exclusive, but more of a ‘first out the gate’ scenario for a guaranteed multi-platform game; and “ Luigi’s Mansion 3.” XBONE is getting NOTHING, as it deserves.

If you load a broadside cannon with a barrel filled with an even mix of watery excrement and grapeshot, you’re guaranteed to hit your target with at least a few actual bits of ammunition. Due to October’s hefty release schedule, I’m actually excited about playing a record number of new games. I might wait to see if “Asterix & Obelix XXL 2” gets a PC port before buying it on Switch, whereas “Luigi’s Mansion 3” won’t give me the luxury of picking my platform. “Sparklite” and “Indivisible” are already on my Steam wishlist just waiting for a sale, while “The Outer Worlds” is also on my Steam wishlist, but I’ll be stuck waiting an entire year for it to come to Steam, since Epic paid Microsoft for an Epic Store/Windows Store exclusivity deal. Of course, with a big, open-world shooter like that, I’ll be waiting for all the bugfixes anyway…

Backlog Embiggened: +5

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