As we move into the 4th quarter of the year, the season comes around where we get all of the big releases in the space of about a week, which is either very exciting or very inconvenient depending on your perspective. Unfortunately, this year’s line up seems a little more underwhelming, with many of the big AAA releases like Watchdogs Legion and Cyberpunk 2077 opting to go with a spring 2020 release date instead.
That said, there a still a bunch of potentially great games still to come as we look to end of 2019 and I thought it’d be a nice idea to highlight the host of games that are set to release before the year is out, to help remind people to not look ahead to next spring too soon.
8th October – Trine 4: The Nightmare Prince
Publisher: Modus Games
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows, Linux
I haven’t had much of a chance to talk about the Trine series in this blog yet, but it’s one of the few series I think could be fairly described as ‘underrated’ in the eyes of the general gaming populous.
If I had to describe the Trine games in a single word, that word would be “vibrant”. The fairytale-style seeps into every pour of the game, making it ooze this charm that I just can’t look away from. The colour pallet is absolutely beautiful, with vibrant blues, greens and purples creating this incredibly serene atmosphere, although it’s not afraid to effectively use reds, oranges and even browns effectively when it wants to change that atmosphere.
The puzzle-platforming mechanics are a little basic, but that’s overshadowed by the surprisingly fun nature of the combat. It’s not a million miles a minute like much 2D sidescrolling combat, but instead, everything in the world interacts with each other in unexpected ways to create some hilarious outcomes when you spawn a box in a space where it looks like you shouldn’t be able to.
Trine 3 took the series into the realm of 3D and while it wasn’t as fun as the first two games in the franchise, it still captured that sense of charm that drew me into the series in the first place. Form what we’ve seen so far Trine 4 seems to have mostly gone back to the 2D style of game and it’s looked to have expanded its puzzle-platforming mechanics to open up a load of new opportunities for fun to be had, so if you’re a fan of the genre, or even just uniquely pretty games, this will be one for you.
11th October – Tracks: The Train Set Game
Developer: Whoop Group
Publisher: Excalibur Publishing
So here’s a game specifically made for me and people like me.
The concept of the game is very simple: You remember the wooden Brio train sets that you’d have loads of as a kid if you liked trains? And you remember how you always wanted to build massive crazy tracks but never could? Well, this game lets you do exactly that to your heart’s content.
I played this in Early Access early last year and it’s amazing. This game will let you build any track you could possibly imagine with all the different types of pieces that used to be available (and a couple that weren’t). You can build these track on a blank canvas, or you can use a living room or bedroom to weave your tracks through.
I haven’t played it in a while as I want to be surprised by the new stuff that’s been added at launch, but when I last played there was a whole host of scenery that you could add all around the tracks, so you could build a little town for your train to go around. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! The pièce de résistance is the fact that you can actually get in the train and drive your train around the tracks you’ve made…I KNOW RIGHT?!
I’m well aware many of you are reading this thinking I’m weird, but the three people who had the same childhood I did are over the moon right now.
22nd October – WWE 2K20
Developer: Visual Concepts
Publisher: 2K Games
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows
For many years I was the kind of person that never understood why people bought a new sports game every year when they all seemed exactly the same from the perspective of an outside observer. However, having been a WWE fan for a good number of years now and buying the new game every single year, I totally understand the appeal.
Of course, I didn’t see the point in buying a new FIFA every year, I don’t like football. I do however like wrestling and as someone who plays the WWE games for at least 150 hours every year (usually more), the value is absolutely there for me to put down $60 every time a new one comes out.
That said, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned about this year’s game.
For those who are unaware, for the 6 WWE games released under the 2K umbrella so far, Yukes has been a part of the development team and this year they weren’t, leaving Visual Concepts to develop the game on their own and that fact combined with how marketing has been behaving in the build-up to launch has me concerned. By this time last year, we had a full roster reveal and multiple press events where tonnes of gameplay was shown, but right now we’ve got absolutely none of that.
Don’t get me wrong as long as the game isn’t totally broken I’ll still buy it because I’m a sucker for the series and I don’t care who knows it, but I’m definitely going to wait for reviews to be sure until I put my money down on it.
25th October – The Outer Worlds
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Publisher: Private Division
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Windows
So far the games I’ve talked about are ones that I’m confident that I’m going to enjoy, either because they’re part of a franchise I love, or I’ve already played some of it prior to launch. The Outer Worlds, however, is slightly different because I really want to play it, but I’m not yet sure if I’ll enjoy it.
While I’m sure I’ll get lectures from people about this statement, but the game looks to be fairly similar to Fallout in terms of its main mechanics. This is to be expected as Obsidian’s biggest release before now was Fallout: New Vegas, so stick with what you know, so it’s a game I really want to try, but it’s not guaranteed to be a hit with me. I feel this way because of my relationship with Fallout 4 (the only one in the franchise I’ve played (I KNOW, shut up)) because when I played it at launch I didn’t enjoy it at all and over a number of years I would try over and over again to get into this and it wasn’t until early this summer that I finally cracked it and started enjoying it.
My hopes with this one is that it’s like Fallout, but not TOO much like Fallout, the gameplay that’s been shown up until now looks solid, but I always find it hard to gauge whether the feel of a game fits me by watching someone else playing it, so I’ll be very interested to see what I think of this one when it releases.
5th November – Planet Zoo
Developer: Frontier Developments
Publisher: Frontier Developments
A few years ago Frontier Developments did something magical, they went to the farthest corners the Earth, searched through miles and miles of terrain until they found the withered and dying body of the theme park building genre and somehow breathed more life into it than it had ever had before. Planet Coaster is quite simply the best theme park building game ever made (no, that isn’t up for debate) and Planet Zoo looks to do exactly the same thing to the Zoo Tycoon genre that Planet Coaster was to theme park builders.
Of course, the focus is in a slightly different place with Planet Zoo as it’s all well and good making a zoo look pretty (which I absolutely will), but none of it matters if all of your animals are underfed. This game promises to put the focus in the caring and welfare of the animals you hold in your zoo, with some in depth-looking systems that mean you’ll have to adhere to all of the top-level standards that real zoos have to. Not that it’s going to stop me from throwing two of every animal into one pen and seeing who survives but that’s on me, not the game.
If the recent beta release that people have been able to get their hands on is any indication, Planet Zoo will live up to the hype that stands before it and I believe it will be a game that is just as beloved as Planet Coaster.
8th November – Death Stranding
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: Playstation 4
I just want to know what it actually is.
I think I got the rough gist of what the “basic” premise is from the explanation we received at Gamescom earlier this year, but I’m still not entirely clear. It’s also really not obvious what the gameplay is like since so far we’ve seen our protagonist have several conversations, fall off a cliff and…mark his territory.
As such, I honestly can’t speculate on whether or not I think I’ll enjoy this. If I had to take a wild guess, I’d say I’ll think it’s fairly mediocre, but what do I know? This could be the greatest game ever made, it could be utter trash, I don’t think anyone anywhere in the world has any idea, including Hideo Kojima.
I’m anticipating this release more to see what the reaction is from the general gaming populous when it finally comes out, not so much to play it myself. It’s definitely a game I’m keeping an eye on, but I’m going to be waiting for the reviews to come out before I consider buying it for myself.
15th November: Pokemon Sword/Shield
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo & The Pokemon Company
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
If I need to explain this one to you then you’re obviously not paying enough attention.
In short: I like Pokemon…a lot.
I tend to judge Pokemon games on their own scale where I compare them to each other because for me they exist above other franchises. A Pokemon game can be full of obvious flaws an annoyances, but I’ll still enjoy it because it’s Pokemon and honestly, I like it that way, I like being happy.
Unfortunately, it’s very hard to tell where each game will fit on that scale before playing it. Case in point: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, I honestly didn’t think I’d enjoy those games all that much, it didn’t look to me like they added much to the Alola region and they’d be quickly forgotten, but boy was I wrong about that and they are easily among my favourites in the franchise.
So far out of everything I’ve seen, I like most of it. I know the fact that the national dex won’t be in the game is a sticking point for many people, but I personally don’t mind too much as long as the game we get is good fun. The whole camping set up looks like it’ll have a lot more depth than Amie and Refresh did before it and I’m gonna dedicate my life to finding all the curry recipes if it kills me.
Out of the new Pokemon that have been revealed so far, I like the look of all but one and I’m overjoyed that we’re not only getting more regional variant but brand new evolutions for old Pokemon too; any game that gives Farfetch’d an evolution is good by me.
And that’s it! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, please let me know what games you’re looking forward to the most either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo! Finally, make sure to come back on Saturday as my coverage for WWE’s Hell in a Cell begins!