September is less than a month away, which means the Gamespocalypse is upon us. Yes, the nonstop barrage of games that doesn't even cease past December is coming, and we all need to prepare for the onslaught of preorders and potential disappointment. Next month is just the first stage of this "event" but it might be the most pertinent--at least before Fallout 4 in November. Ina lot of ways, it's an important cluster of releases: a swan song, an ultimate eventuality, a final quarterly effort, and a resurrection. These are, of course, MGSV, Super Mario Maker, Mad Max, and Destiny.
Yes, I know the last title on this list is a mindblowing thing to consider, but also consider this: Diablo 3 was in similar dire straights for a large part of its initial release. People fucking hated it alongside everything it shipped with. Now consider how awesome the Ultimate Evil edition is, and how revolutionary Reaper of Souls was for the redemption of the title. Destiny is, for the time being, looking like its Reaper of Souls moment could be coming just about a year after its initial release. The expansive revamp, titled The Taken King, comes in the middle of September and offers everything from the removal of gating content through Light (now gone) to a litany of easier, more fun objectives, tasks, and storyline material. Even that floaty robot is getting rewritten and re-voiced by everyone's favorite everyman, Nolan North. I never thought I'd see this day, but I'd strongly consider dipping my feet back into Destiny--a game that was fun yet flawed, and had eventually morphed so much that I felt the magic disappeared sometime last October. A year's exodus from a development fraught with changes and confusion has made me receptive to the new makeover, especially now that the wicked RNG system of raids and gating people from experiencing everything unless you owned a specific item set seems to be void.
The main event is, of course, MGSV. What else can be said for it besides the gushing over rocket punches, goat kidnapping via airlift, and of course the HARSH REALITIES OF WAR. MGS, as a series, has always been such a strange and fascinating juxtaposition of philosophical and political ideals against the reality of being just a game, and one filled with goofy shit. There will not only be child soldiers and internal organ bombs, but horseshit traps and cardboard tanks to wear. It's the perfect cocktail of insanity in the tasty brew of espionage action, now upped considerably in the wake of the new and improved Fox Engine. Konami may be a major fuckup as of this writeup, but this is the last masterpiece they need to push out the door before they become hellbound forever.
Mad Max has to be the unluckiest game on the list. Forced to follow up not only the best movie of the year so far AND releasing on the same day as Kojima Magnum Opus, the odds are already stacked against it. Add the fact that this is WB's followup after a disastrous and lackluster Batman release--with almost no real in-depth gameplay walkthroughs--and you've got a recipe for low sales numbers and MEDIOCRE reviews. I want to be optimistic for Mad Max, I really do--but more and more hands-on previews just seem to say it's depressingly average and we aren't really getting any other footage to suggest otherwise. Compare this to the hours of gameplay we've seen for MGSV and the uber chaos on display for the other Avalanche game, JC3.
Super Mario Maker looks so amazing that it may in fact become the genesis of a new age in the franchise. No more will people have to download weird Kaizo hacks of Super Mario World; the essence of hard-as-nails, goofball Mario levels is now on the WiiU, and I didn't expect to want this little factory as much as I do now. Making a dramatic appearance at the new Nintendo World Championships, it's truly amazing how much we're going to be able to create with this game. Even better are things like online sharing, daily challenges, rankings, stats on level completions, and favorites--things I almost didn't think Nintendo would care to implement. It's looking like a fully-featured piece of software with enough lifeline to last eons. The Mario games of the future may not be in the hands of Nintendo anymore, but of those who take the time to master this new software.
Technically, I'm incredibly late with this, but here we go: a bitesized group of things coming fairly soon and have tangible release windows. I would have done a detailed writeup on every conference but realized it wasn't worth anyone's fucking time to dig through so much text.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Squeenix, non-entity trailers of things without any kind of release date aside, are in fantastic shape in the non-JRPG department. The sequel to the brilliant Human Revolution broke through with some great trailer gameplay, and an extended 20-minute walkthrough of a mission. Mankind Divided looks incredible in terms of visual fidelity and the awesome range of new abilities and mechanics being brought to the table. It stands to be the ultimate Deus Ex experience. I'm already predicting it becomes one of the best games of 2016.
Just Cause 3 While Squeenix also showed the intriguing new Hitman series refresh, it was the definitive preview of JC3 that really blew my mind. With every new morsel of information about this chaos simulator, it becomes more and more apparent that JC3 is pure fun incarnate, brewed and bottled by the dozen. JC2 was tremendously hilarious and exciting, and with the debut of infinite C4, the wingsuit, and even more agreeable quality-of-life improvements, JC3 is yet another Squeenix game that is going to blow the roof off due to its sense of freedom.
Mirror's Edge My fears about Mirror's Edge: Catalyst were cast aside as the details about the new open world setting slowly trickled in. "No guns and no boundaries--Faith IS the weapon," was the platitude recited, and so there was much rejoicing. It's good to know EA GETS it, and several gameplay demos were reported as very positive. The world's most interesting first-person game is bound to be a very welcome start to the year come 2016. Later on, Gamescom footage would all but confirm that the series was headed in the right direction.
MGS5 What more can be said about Kojim'a magnum opus? It's shaping up to be the ultimate stealth action game, with a wondrous variety of tools, options, strategies and side-ops. Unlike the other open world games set to come out, The Phantom Pain, is a strange and surreal mix of the weird and the serious espionage. It's essentially the Just Cause for the more subtle action protagonist--if utilizing things like mini-robot walkers and horseshit traps is subtle. It took a long way to go from MGS2's cold corridors to MGS3's jungle warfare to the wide-encompassing ultimatum of MGSV--but the wait is going to be worth it. It combines the best aspects of Metal Gear in an engaging, do-as-you-like package. Expect nothing less than a masterpiece.
Super Mario Maker See above.
Fallout 4 It was Bethesda's first foray into a centralized conference of E3, and the first of the entire show to boot. With so much riding on Fallout's appearance, I was happy to see Bethesda offer an exciting look at how they've improved the game's 4th (5th?) entry. The customization for weapons, home bases, and character appearance represents a huge overhaul of the Gamebryo garbage dump standard, and even the overall graphics seem more approachable than the dumpster level of F3 and its ilk. Bethesda seems confident in the amount of shit they're pouring into this one, and even if it follows old-hat Fallout quirks, they'll be even more fun things to make and break apart.
I'm still a little cautious about Fallout 4, but I'm definitely more stoked about the prospect of it than before.
HONORABLE MENTION: HITMAN As mentioned previously, although Hitman was technically shown off with tangible gameplay, the guarantee that this series refresh offers zero microtransactions and a slew of free DLC updates is a gutsy, admirable move by Squeenix to take. It would be so easy to cough up bitesize bullshit into the franchise. The good people at IO went on record to say the game would be the largest Hitman ever on console, and things like season passes are "ripoffs" to customers that would not be injected into presales. Hitman could essentially be part of the best dual Christmas presents ever when it releases in December with Just Cause 3.
=== Special News Bulletin: Heir to the Throne ===
Everyone and their mom continues to mourn the loss of P.T., the Legendary Game That Will Never Be, along with the overall disintegration of the studio that brought us Castlevania, Contra, Silent Hill, and Metal Gear. While P.T. will eventually fade away someday as the last remaining PS4 harddrive croaks in a decade or so, a small studio named Lillith Ltd. has been secret toiling away at the spiritual successor to The Chosen One. Entitled "Allison Road," a 13-minute alpha demo has already given me nightmares--a good sign, I suppose, since P.T. was the first horror-related thing in any medium that has unnerved me in a long time. Although it's still about a year off from completion, the work that has been put into Allison Road so far is very encouraging. There's been talk of it migrating from a PC release to consoles soon, which makes sense given how broken people were about the PS4 losing its fascinating little demo. Honestly, Sony is batshit insane if they don't follow up with their "all your dreams will come true" approach from E3 and lock this new project into their release schedule.
That's all for August; enjoy all the indie games PS4 pumps out and prepare for the glory to come in September.
Amazing and topical!