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Backlog: The Embiggening – August, 2020

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By Nelson Schneider - 08/01/20 at 03:12 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future. Unhappy birthday to me! Not only is the world still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, 6 months after it began, but even worse, the Videogames Industry is still up to its old tricks and releasing mostly irredeemable crap. Though, I suppose we, as gamers, should be grateful that the Industry is deigning to release anything at all in the grip of both a pandemic and the annual Summer Game Drought… though this year’s particular drought hasn’t felt particularly dry, much like an overfull diaper.

Get your shovels ready, folks, as there is a lot of poop to scoop this month. Licensed, annualized, and ultra-casual junk is back in full-force in August, with an outrageous 12 titles, leading me to believe that developers who haven’t been able to get plastered in the bars or go on vacation have spent their Summer “productively,” working on these shovel-ready projects. We’ve got a whopping 4 annualized Sports releases including ‘Madden Football’ (now available again on PC for the first time in a decade!), ‘PGA Golf,’ ‘Project Cars’ racing, and ‘UFC’ mixed martial arts. Unhappily, the plague of Sports is also crossbreeding with the other varieties of shovelware in August, providing us with the licensed anime tie-in and Soccer title “Captain Tsubasa: Rise of New Champions” and the Casual mini-game compilation “Instant Sports: Summer Games.”

In other super Casual non-games, we’ve got “My Universe: My Baby,” which seems like a counter-feminism move to convince young girls that traditional gender roles are okay and they don’t all need to become tooth-gnashing, green-haired Feminazis. So it can’t be all bad! And the not-officially-a-tie-in-but-a-blatant-knock-off from last month, “House Flipper” is getting its ‘anticipated’ (LOL) delayed release.

Then we’ve got a further 4 licensed tie-in dookie-fests. There’s a tie-in to the ‘Fast & Furious’ Vin Diesel movie vehicles, then there are three anime games to make the Weebs get their panties (fresh from an Akihabara vending machine) in a knot: “Kadogawa Jet Girls,” “Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” and “Jump Force” (the latter two being ports on top of licensed swill).

Speaking of ports… Once again: There will ALWAYS be ports from now on. Fortunately, most of August’s ports are still fairly fresh, and don’t quite have the aroma of a used sanitary napkin about them just yet. Indeed, if I were feeling generous, some of these ports could almost be classified as multi-platform releases… but I’m not! With its record spanning… the time since its release, the Nintendo Switch has been unilaterally the biggest port offender… however, in August 2020, the PortStation 4 is roaring back into the competition. Switch is getting “Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee,” “Descenders,” “Giraffe and Annika,” and “Aokana,” while the PS4 is getting all of those except the ‘Oddworld’ game, and is also getting “The Sojourn” and “Pathfinder: Kingmaker” (both of which are also going to XBONE). Meanwhile, PC gamers can expect to see Sony’s first-party hit, “Horizon: Zero Dawn” leaving behind the shackles of PlayStation-dom.

The remaining half-dozen titles that aren’t either crap-by-design or old rehashes are all new multi-platform releases. That’s right: Not a single exclusive is seeing the light of day in August! And, unfortunately, nearly every one of these multi-plats features a degree or Euro-jank, or just straight-up B-grade reputation. “No Straight Roads” is some sort of musically-themed Open-World Sandbox. “Nexomon: Extinction” is a sequel to a formerly-PC-only ‘Pokemon’ knock-off that could be good (like the older ‘Dragon Quest Monsters’ games) or awful (like the ‘Spectrobes’ series). “Immortal Realms: Vampire Wars” is some sort of Strategy and card-battling hybrid for edgy Goth kids who still think vampires are cool. “Inertial Drift” is just a bog standard budget Racing game. “Skully” is a novel 3D Platformer where the player controls a disembodied skull that just rolls around helplessly unless it inhabits a temporary clay body. Lastly, InXile will be releasing its last pre-Microsoft-buyout title, “Wasteland 3,” the next actual ‘Fallout’ game we’ve been waiting for while Bethesda’s anus plopped out “Fallout 4” and “Fallout 76.”

There may be a lot (and I mean a LOT) of crap coming out in August, but at least there are a couple of releases I’m really excited about. I’ll be glad to play “Horizon: Zero Dawn” on PC (once it hits a reasonable discount, of course), and “Wasteland 3” is the type of Golden Age-style RPG we desperately need to see more of. (Unfortunately, now that Microsoft owns both Obsidian and InXile, it looks like we won’t be getting anymore actual RPGs from them, in favor of trashy, modern, pseudo-RPGs. *sigh*)

Backlog Embiggened: +2

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