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Backlog: The Embiggening – July, 2022

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By Nelson Schneider - 06/26/22 at 03:09 PM CT

July is nearly upon us, and the Summer Games Drought has finally arrived in full force. There are less than 10 titles coming in the middle of Summer, so it shouldn’t take too much time to determine whether any of them are worth getting excited about.

Sadly, out of our tiny July release slate, 3 of them must be shoveled directly into the trash. There’s a ‘Digimon’ TRPG and the first part of an *episodic* (*dryheave*) Adventure game based on the ‘Cyanide and Happiness’ webcomic (yikes, there’s so much barrel bottom in that bit of scraping, I got splinters just reading about it). There are, however, no painfully Casual non-games polluting the July shovelware category, so that’s something, at least. There is, however, an annualized title, “F1 2022,” which was supposed to come out last month, but didn’t.

Will the Summer Games Drought stem the unrelenting tide of ports, remasters, remakes, and other rehashes that have been drowning us – particularly Switch owners – for a decade now? Yes! As a matter of fact, there is only ONE single, solitary old game disguised as a new game coming in July. It’s none other than Square-Enix’s remaster of “LIVE A LIVE,” the ‘classic’ unlocalized RPG from the Golden Age, which was actually localized by enthusiasts in the ROM hacking community more than a decade ago, and which turned out to be not-particularly-Golden. At least Squeenix put enough effort into their official remake that they rebuilt the entire game from scratch in the “Octopath Traveler” engine, so it at least looks better. Unfortunately, they also made the odd decision to make the remaster a Switch exclusive (probably only for now, since Square-Enix knows very well that exclusivity is not the best way to make money).

Legitimate, new multi-platform releases are truly suffering under the withering Summer sun, as there’s only one, and it’s a dumb J-Horror game called “Yurukill: The Calumniation Games.” Truly, nothing is more terrifying than a Japanese person with a Thesaurus.

With multi-plats all but absent, surely there aren’t any exclusives, either? WRONG! There are some exclusives; the same number, in fact, as shovelwares. Sony is getting “Puzzle Bobble 3D: Vacation Odyssey” from Taito and “Matchpoint: Tennis Championships” from Kalypso. Likewise, Nintendo’s second-party studio, Monolithsoft, is releasing yet another sequel in a series that has never been good enough to warrant even one sequel, “Xenoblade Chronicles 3.”

Ehh… my Backlog will have to live off its fat reserves for another month. While there was a point in time when I would have been beside myself with joy to learn of an unlocalized Squaresoft game finally getting released state-side decades later, having played fanslations of a number of these games has shattered my illusions of Square being perfect, even in its heyday. So I’ll be skipping the “LIVE A LIVE” remaster/remake/whatever. There was also I time when I’d uncritically pronounce “Xenoblade Chronicles 3” the Game of the Year for 2022, but after having played all of the previous ‘Xenoblade’ titles, and finding the entire series to be lacking, I’m not even going to pick up the next sequel, let alone heap glory upon it.

Backlog Embiggened: +0

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