Six New Video Games to Take a Stab At In June Amid the Hype for E3
The run-up to the yearly E3 expo can be more than a little distracting for gamers. As rumors, leaks, and hard info trickles out, excitement builds for certain new video games and, more significantly, new consoles. Couple that with the newly arrived summer holiday that usually draws people outside the house more than they usually are, and one can understand why June wouldn’t be the ideal month for a shiny new title to hit the streets. Some still brave those challenges, though, and occasionally they’re strong enough to cut through the outside hype and gain some traction in the dog days of summer. Whether any of these titles for June will do so remains to be seen — it isn’t likely — but at least there’s an intriguing variety of fresh stuff to check out in the midst of other distractions in the culture. Let’s take a look.
Fans of the action-RPG genre are, in their own way, some of the more tolerant and easily pleased out there. Yeah, complaints will be made and unflattering comparisons will be drawn, but even when a lower-tier release fails to stand alongside the likes of Diablo or Dark Souls, those gamers simply acknowledge as such and try desperately to squeeze as much enjoyment, and hours, out of ‘em as they can. They’re a voracious bunch, and frankly, they’ve been starved for a little while with the absence of such releases. Therefore, when a new title under the Warhammer banner of all things comes along to sate that hunger, there’s much to celebrate. Chaosbane may not deliver on character customization, number of maps, or longevity — some are already reporting 15-hour competion times for a dungeon crawler, which isn’t stellar — but it’s hard to say no to the chaotic beat-‘em-up combat and plethora of loot generated by the high-fantasy warfare executed by Games Workshop. Warhammer: Chaosbane will be dropping onto the Xbox One, PS4, and PC on June 4th.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Castlevania and Koji Igarashi go hand-in-hand, or at least they did for nearly a decade and a half while he served as producer, writer, and all-around creative force behind the franchise. It’s no surprise, then, that enthusiasm has built for his new franchise, Bloodstained, labeled a spiritual successor to one of the franchises that gave birth to the concept of the “Metroidvania” subgenre. Following the teaser that was the portable/vintage title Curse of the Moon, now there’s the console iteration, Ritual of the Night, in which the female protagonist Miriam has survived an alchemist guild’s experiments and now combats demons to absorb their essence. Temporarily the highest-grossing Kickstarter videogame project of all-time, pulling in over $5m, Ritual of the Night will adopt the 2.5D style of action platforming that fans of the series have been thirsting after for quite a while. Sink your teeth into Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled
At this point, the name Naughty Dog probably conjures memories of the dazzlingly cinematic action games Uncharted or The Last of Us. About a decade and a half back, however, they were still big dogs in the videogame development arena with their high-octane run of Crash Bandicoot titles, a versatile property that could bounce between genres. Crash Team Racing tapped into the popularity of the Mario Kart line of racing games while also offering a family-friend alternative to Twisted Metal for PlayStation owners, and in the quiet period after the latest Mario Kart, it has received a remastered edition from Beenox with Nitro-Fueled. Naturally, this spit-polished and modernized version comes with new goodies, including online multiplayer and kart customization, but more substantially also includes content from another of Naughty Dog’s Crash-themed racers, Nitro Kart, meshing it into a hybrid remastering of sorts. It doesn’t shy from nostalgia, though, as it also allows the choice between new or legacy music. Hop in the driver’s seat with this one on the Xbox One, PS4, and Switch.
Most fighting games outside the spectrum of the genre’s heavy-hitters rely on distinct personality and characterization to give them an edge. Darkstalkers had its anime-slanted take on classic horror characters. Eternal Champions had a grim afterlife tone and gnarly stage deaths. And Samurai Shodown had its brilliant Japanese-infused aesthetic wrapped around fierce, swordplay-infused combat. It took a decade off, but Samurai Shodown has reemerged on current-gen consoles as something of a reboot, retaining the original raw title while clearly updating the visual approach with a fusion of a cel-shaded appearance and 3D depth. Combat in Samurai Shodown differs from other fighters, though, as it’s less centered on fast-paced combos and more on landing calculated signature movies, which might be a refreshing strategic change of pace in a subgenre dominated by swiftness. Take a swing at the competition on the Xbox One and PS4, and other formats later.
The Sinking City
Hey, I think it’s happening this time! The date for this one was bumped from March to the 25-27th.
Best known for their experiments with Sherlock Holmes in a gameplay environment, developer Frogwares has hopped onto the Lovecraftian train with The Sinking City. Set in a flooded version of New England where the citizens are suffering from the madness that’s so common in Lovecraft-inspired environments, the game centers on mystery, interrogation, and detection in the vein of the studio’s prior moderately successfully outings with Holmes. Since the open-world location has been submerged in water, a key part of The Sinking City as a game will hinge on navigating the layout of the city in a boat, guiding the investigator between key areas in a third-person perspective. Frogwares has been aiming for nearly 40 hours of gameplay, so there’s bound to be a lot to explore and investigate in the darkness.
Super Mario Maker 2
Among the best-reviewed games for the WiiU, Super Mario Maker put the level creation tools in the hands of the users, allowing anyone to build their own Mario experience — no matter how easy or difficult they wanted to make it — and share the end result with the eager Nintendo masses. It’s unsurprising and entirely welcome that a sequel would arise on the company’s wildly-popular hybrid new system, and thus we have Super Mario Maker 2 on the Switch. New features include a snazzy mode where two people can put their heads together and create their own level together, as well as online trial-based play and a slew of new assets allowing the creator to emulate the style of several generations. There’s also a single-player campaign, but everyone knows that isn’t where the real fun’s to be had with Mario Maker.
The fifth installment in the Yakuza saga also arrives this month on the 20th exclusively for the PS4, along with an action-adventure spinoff game from that franchise entitled Judgment, which makes its US debut on June 25th. Also, Codemasters continues their streak of racing games with F1 2019 on the 28th, available on Xbox One, the PS4, and PC.