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Backlog: The Embiggening – June, 2021

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By Nelson Schneider - 05/24/21 at 12:07 AM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! June is right around the corner, and gamers everywhere are huddling in their makeshift shelters, awaiting the annual coming of the Summer Games Drought: That dreaded multi-month stretch where the big “AAA” publishers barely manage to poop out anything, while smaller “A,” “B,” and Indie developers still haven’t figured out that a large swatch of time in which the big competition is dormant and the largest sector of the target audience (school kids) has nothing better to do that buy and play a bunch of new games…

But wait! What’s this?! Some strange, supernatural phenomenon – also known as the COVID-19 Coronavirus – has caused a great disturbance in The Farce, and June of 2021 is positively jam-packed with releases. Should gamers everywhere start running through the streets, throwing our hats into the air in celebration of the shattering of the hobby’s longest and most enduring curse?

Maybe we should take a look at how pulpy and worm-infested June’s cowpat of releases actually is first!

Out of June’s huge release docket, the shovelware is actually surprisingly light, at least compared to what I was expecting. There are a handful of licensed games based on other IPs for kids, including book-based “The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom,” the corporate boardroom-based “Dreamworks Spirit Lucky’s Big Adventure"” to tie into the related movie, the incredibly Woke Feminist “DC Super Hero Girls: Teen Power” (which really sounds like a typical evening of the programming Chris loves to watch on the CW), and a port of the old-and-no-longer-relevant “Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater” collection.

The other half of June’s shovelware falls into the Too-Casual-To-Live category, with a shovelware shooter “Crazy Chicken Shooter Edition,” a Rhythm ‘game’ in “Geminose: Animal Popstars,” a little girl’s sporting dream in “Horse Club Adventures” (which I was disappointed to find out did NOT involve applying clubs to horses, a la baby seals). Lastly, there’s “Neptunia ReVerse.” ‘How could Nelson relegate a Turn-Based RPG to the shovelware category?’ I hear you ask. Well, it’s ‘Neptunia,’ which is largely responsible for the creation of the ‘J’RPG slur, so it’s definitely justified.

With the glut of June releases, it should come as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that a huge proportion of that total will take the form of ports, remakes, remasters, compilations, and other ways to re-sell old stuff as new, whether to introduce a new generation to something timeless or (more likely) to flog a product in front of more eyeballs in the hope that it’ll pick up a few more sales. Instead of focusing entirely on the Nintendo Switch, for the first time in a while, the onus of portage is dispersed amongst all the platforms. Even PC is getting a port in the form of “Legend of Mana!” Oh, silly Square-Enix, trying to sell PC gamers an HD version of a crappy game we’ve been able to emulate for decades! Anyway, the Switch is still getting a bit of junk, including “Ghostrunner,” the “Destroy All Humans!” remake from last year, a compilation of ‘Oddworld’ games, “Starbase Startopia” (which it is sharing with the XBONE), and “The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos” (which it is sharing with the PS4). Xbox alone (which is almost as surprising as a game coming pre-announced to PC) is getting “Descenders,” while the Xbox SeX and PlayStation will be sharing ports of “Greedfall” (a very good game) and “Blasphemous” (a miserable Soulslike Metroidvania). Meanwhile, Sony, the old King of Ports, will be getting “Cthulhu Saves Christmas,” “Wreckfest,” and the second chunk/episode of the “Final Fantasy 7 Remake” for their new PS5. Lastly, Sega will be gracing ALL of the platforms with an enhanced remake of an old ‘Alex Kidd’ game, “Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX.” Normally, I’d get excited about an 8-bit game getting a new lease on life… but ‘Alex Kidd’ just sucks.

*Whew!* With all the crap and old stuff out of the way… HOLY COW, there are still 6 legit new multi-platform releases left after the sifting! And half of them are new IPs! Let’s see… “Curved Space” is a modern-looking SHMUP… not my genre, so pass. “Scarlet Nexus” is… an indecipherable amount of anime and action that alleges to be an RPG… Pass. “Blue Fire” looks disarmingly like a stylized ‘Zelda’ knock-off, but is actually a double whammy of Soulslike and Kaizo Platformer combined... DOUBLE PASS! “Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance” is, well, clearly intended to invoke memories of the old ‘Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance’ Hack ‘n Slash spinoffs from back in the days before anyone could figure out how to make quality cRPGs playable with a controller (it’s really quite easy). Yet “D&D:DA” doesn’t look ANYTHING like a typical Hack ‘n Slash… it looks more like some sort of overwrought melee thing like… *shudder* ‘Vermintide’ or *double-shudder* ‘Dark Souls.’ It has online coop for the requisite number of players, so we’ll keep an eye on it (plus it IS D&D), but it looks way too dicey (pun intended) to get hyped over.

In multi-plats with a number after the title, we’ve got medieval melee brawler, “Chivalry 2,” sniping shooter “Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2,” and Fighting sequel “Guilty Gear -strive-,” which admittedly doesn’t have a number in the title.

What’s this?! Still MOAR games coming in the Drought Month of June? And these are EXCLUSIVES?! Sony’s PlayStation 5 is getting “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart,” the first new game in that series since 2013! This is great news, as ‘Ratchet & Clank’ is one of the only mascot-driven 3D Platformers to survive into the present day, and for good reason: The series is fantastic. Fortunately, the rumor mill is already indicating that this game will be one of Sony’s sacrifices to the PC Gaming Master Race, so I’ll play it on Steam (hopefully not Epic) when the time comes.

Nintendo, however, is looking good, with not just one, not just two, but FOUR exclusives in June… Oh, wait, nevermind. The games in question are “Instant Sports Tennis,” a ‘Mario Golf’ sequel, a ‘Disgaea’ sequel (which will inevitably go multi-plat before long), and “Game Builder Garage,” a user-generated-content machine which, without a tie-in to an extant Nintendo IP just seems like a way for the Japanese megacorporation to fish for new game ideas without having to actually pay for them – instead, the people with the ideas get to pay for the privilege of hammering them out in Nintendo’s game-building software! Brilliant!

I will be keeping and eye on “D&D: Dark Alliance” to try to see some more actual gameplay and determine if it is suitable to play with the Crew. “Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” is my most anticipated title in a LONG time, though, and I wait with ‘bated breath for more news about it coming to PC.

Backlog Embiggened: +1~ish

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View dbarry_22's Profile


Wrote on05/27/21 at 01:52 PM CT

Mario Golf has been long successful series and I look forward to the first new console release in the series since the GameCube.

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