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Backlog: The Embiggening – February, 2024

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By Nelson Schneider - 01/26/24 at 04:36 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! The shortest month of the year is upon us again, but with an extra day for terrible Games Industry releases thanks to Leap Year. Let’s see what afflictions will befall us in the next 29 days.

There’s not a lot of shovelware coming in February, so I think we can make do with just the one shovel. There are 2 Licensed Swill games coming: “Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League” and “Jujutsu Kaisen: Cursed Clash.” On top of that, there are two super-casual trash titles coming in the form of “PlateUp!” and “30 Sports Games in 1.” No Annualized Rehashes, though, as those typically aren’t ready for deposit until Autumn, at the earliest.

Some of that shovelware was also rehashed not-so-new releases, colloquially known as “ports,” but known to me as the Bane of All Existence. Sadly, more than HALF of all the releases in February (even including shovelware) are not, in fact, new games meant to surprise and delight the jaded Gamer audience, but rehashes, remakes, reboots, ports, and/or compilations of old stuff. One might think, “Well, publishers are just bringing their most popular titles to more platforms so more people can enjoy them!” but that’s usually not the case. Instead, we’re looking at a list of old-stuff-marketed-as-new-stuff that never made much of an initial splash. Anyway, in a shocking turn of events, the Nintendo Switch is getting a one-month reprieve from being the most dumped-on target for ports, with PlayStation reclaiming the PortStation title with a whopping 11 new old titles: “Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth,” “Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 3,” “Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel 4,” “Harvest Days,” “Saga of Sins,” “The Talos Principle 2,” “Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Realms of Ruin,” “Shadows Over Loathing,” “Front Mission 1st Remake,” “Broforce,” and “Persona 3 Reload.” Indeed, the Switch’s portage is positively meager by comparison, with only “Pronty: Fishy Adventure” and “Biomutant” hitting the hybrid platform. Even more shocking, there’s actually a port hitting Xbox, in the form of “Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!

With the crap and old stuff taken care of, we can finally get down to new business. It looks like there are quite a few legitimate new multi-platform releases coming, in a reasonable spread of different genres… unfortunately, there’s a lot of Eurojank in there. There’s “Taxi Life,” a Driving and Business Sim about… driving taxi cabs in Barcelona. There’s “Welcome to ParadiZe,” a ChrisWouldLoveThat Strategy game about creating a paradise by enslaving zombies in a post-apocalyptic setting. “Slave Zero X” is the long-time-coming sequel to “Slave Zero,” which originally released in 1999 on PC and Dreamcast to no fanfare. Ubisoft is (possibly) ready to poop out their oft-delayed “Sea of Thieves” knock-off, “Skull and Bones” (which is destined to flop). “Spirit Hunter: Death Mark 2” is yet another ChrisWouldLoveThat Horror game, but is even more up his alley by virtue of being Japanese. “Konosuba” is another one of those Visual Novels with an absolute Word Salad title that I’m not even going to bother typing out. Lastly, “Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden” is a new Sandbox title coming from Eurojank developer DONTNOD and Eurojank pulisher, Focus Home. However, it does give me strong “Greedfall” vibes, so I’m willing to give it a chance.

At last, we come to exclusives. While there are a handful of them landing in February, unlike last month, none of these games is the type of system seller that can convince an undecided customer to buy-into a given platform. Steam is starting out with the timed exclusive release of “Garden Life,” which will be hitting other platforms a bit later (like, a month). Then there’s PlayStation, getting “Helldivers 2,” a sequel to the “Starship Troopers” knock-off Military Shooter; along with “Ultros,” a psychedelic Metroidvania that looks uncomfortably similar to “Hollow Knight” AND “Dead Cells,” and, sadly, has nothing to do with ‘Final Fantasy’s’ infamous purple decapus. Lastly, Nintendo’s Switch is getting a new ‘Shiren the Wanderer’ Roguelike (nope!) and a Visual Novel called “Sympathy Kiss.”

Eh, I suppose one potentially-good game is better than a sharp stick to the eye. I’ll be grabbing “Banishers: Ghosts of New Eden” at some point, once it gets cheap. Provided, that is, the word of mouth from early adopters doesn’t scare me away from it.

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