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Backlog: The Embiggening – September, 2020

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By Nelson Schneider - 08/30/20 at 04:10 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future… or is it the past? With the never-ending, never-slowing torrent of old games – be they successes or flops – being flogged as ‘new,’ it’s getting harder and harder to tell. And with our days filled with pandemic saminess and nothing but bad news on TV and in the (digital) ‘papers,’ putting up with the continuous stream of nonsense coming out of the Games Industry is almost too much to bear. Almost… batten down the hatches, folks, because we’ve got a flood of excrement incoming!

Last month was pretty bad for shovelware, but this month is only a slight reprieve. We’ve got licensed swill in the form of a ‘Trollhunters’ game based on the Netflix CG animated show and a licensed Marvel Comics Live Service MMO-thing made by… Square-Enix… well, not really by Square or Enix, but by one of the half-dead Western dev studios they’ve purchased. While I was willing to give “Marvel’s Avengers” the benefit of the doubt when it was first announced, reading player feedback after the public Beta has scared me away. I really hope no one on the MJ Crew is dumb enough to pick this as a coop game…

Only one Super-Casual non-game is in the bin. It’s “30-in-1 Game Collection!” With a title like that, and the fact that it’s a Switch exclusive, I think developer Digital Bard might still think this is the Wii era…

We’ve got a plethora of annualized Sports crap coming in September. “Tennis World Tour 2” is technically only the second in its series and technically came out two years after the first one, but, still, releasing two nearly identical Tennis games in the same hardware generation is almost as bad as releasing one every year, so it’s shovelware. The rest of the annualized Sports coming this month are all 2K’s fault: Golf (which is just a late release for the Switch), Basketball, and Professional Wrestling. Remember when Sports fans and DLC fans got together and speculated that instead of selling a new game every year, publishers like 2K would just release a new roster as reasonably-priced DLC? Boy, were those guys dumb!


I’m pretty sure we have a record number of ports, remakes, remasters, compilations, etc. this month, but I’m not going to take the time to verify it, because thinking about these ports enough to write them up is already painful enough. Once again, the Switch is getting dumped on, with ports of “Journey to the Savage Planet,” “Indivisible,” “MX vs. ATV All Out,” “Avicii Invector,” “Human: Fall Flat,” “The Persistence,” “untitled goose game,” “RPG Maker MV,” “Minecraft Dungeons,” “Void Bastards,” “Zengeon,” and “Monstrum,” the last three of which are vile Rogelik/tes that should never have been made in the first place, let alone flogged on the Switch, which has already poisoned the mindless Nintendo fanbase with garbage like “Dead Cells.” Oh, and some of those Switch ports are also being ported to the PS4 and/or XBONE, but you can click the links to find out which is which.

What ports aren’t coming to the Nintendo Switch? Well, “Mafia” and the flop known as “Kingdoms of Amalur” are being remastered across the big-boy consoles and PC, “The Sojourn” is being ported to the big-boy consoles from PC, and the PS4/XBONE are both getting a couple of compilations of OLD games: “Commandos 2” and “Praetorians” in a double-pack and the first two ‘Tony Hawk Pro Skater’ games in a double-pack. Lastly, the old King of Ports, the PortStation 4 is getting “Earth Defense Force 5” and its VR headset is getting “Budget Cuts”… that last one’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it?

After all the shovel-ready doo-doo and old crap trying to mask its own odors of decay and obsolescence, is there any room in the release schedule for NEW games?! Yes! There is… but only a little. Three new multi-platform releases and one new Sony exclusive.

The multi-plats include a variety of genres, ranging from Sporty “Street Power Soccer,” to Strategic “Port Royale 4,” to one of the least interesting Zelda-likes I’ve come across recently, “Ary and the Secret of Seasons.”

The ONE exclusive coming in September is “13 Sentinels,” the newest Vanillaware game, which the developer still hasn’t decided would sell better on multiple platforms. Considering Vanillaware’s past reputation with risqué art and character designs, I would think Sony would be the last platform they’d want to support, but whatever. This is also the first Vanillaware game I actively have no interest in, due to the team suddenly switching gears from copying Western High Fantasy to copying postmodern anime tropes, complete with a cast of Japanese high-schoolers in the leading roles. *gag*

If you held a gun to my head, I might give “Ary and the Secret of Seasons” a try, but between the uninspired gameplay footage I’ve seen and the virtue signaling that drips from the developer’s story synopsis for it, I’d rather pass.

Backlog Embiggened: +0

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