Videogames highlights – July 2016
Emulation allowed us to preserve a substantial part of the mainstream gaming past, but beyond software replication of known components there still is a gulf full of strange devices shrouded by mysterious fogs. Devices like the proprietary magnetic disk drive for Nintendo 64, for instance, or the prototype of a CD-based SNES console co-developed by Nintendo with Sony. The mists of an unclear past still cloak the copy protection of Sega Saturn CDs, while sometimes they let samples of historically remarkable gaming code or unfinished games emerge.
Batman: The Telltale Series
After the rotting zombies (The Walking Dead) and the fairy tales exiled to Manhattan (The Wolf Among Us), Telltale chose the corrupt world of Arkham as the setting for the studio’s new point&click adventures episodic series. Batman: The Telltale Series tells the adventures of a bat-man that only recently decided to put his dark cape on, retains the same mature tone of the previous series and offers a strange multiplayer mode where users can vote for the upcoming moves the player will have to make. The “Crowd play” mode is however available locally only, while the first three episodes of Batman: The Telltale Series have already been released during the past months with a fourth one arriving today.
In the lysergic, retro-futuristic world of Headlander humanity is free from the constraint of mortal bodies, but an evil artificial intelligence known as Methuselah enslaved the robots and trapped the human minds dwelling within. As a head-helmet able to control the aforementioned robots, the player will have to face the Metroidvania-style, action-adventure challenge to free the universe from Methuselah impending threat. Headlander is available for PC Windows and PS4 since July.
I Am Setsuna
Snow, a perpetual cold and the sad story of a maiden destined to sacrifice herself to keep the demons away: these are the main elements of I Am Setsuna, a work by Tokyo RPG Factory that wants to renew the JRPG traditional formula crystallized by too many Final Fantasy games and related “cute” clones. This time the party members aren’t particularly kawaii or super-deformed, also because they will have to escort the aforementioned maiden to her sacrifice. I Am Setsuna is available since July on PS4, PS Vita and PC Windows.
No Man’s Sky
The seemingly limitless universe of No Man’s Sky should offer millions of billions (of billions) of opportunities to explore the galaxy and its planets, fight against hostile forces, trade and more generally to try to survive in the adventure of a lifetime. But the universe created by Hello Games is based on a single math formula, a copy too, and as we will see in the upcoming post the many promises of procedurally generated planets, life forms and atoms were replaced by a rather different digital reality. No Man’s Sky is available since August on PC Windows and PS4.
In 2016 Sonic becomes 25 years old, and Sega decided to properly celebrate its classic mascot going back to its roots with Sonic Mania: the new side-scrolling 2D adventure of the 16-bit hedgehog is co-developed by Sega’s Sonic Team and two external studios, it includes “remixed” versions of the original game levels plus new stuff to excite old and new fans alike. The blue hedgehog is featured in a new 3D game as well, but who cares about 3D when you have side-scrolling 2D. Sonic Mania will be released on PC Windows, PS4 and Xbox One in 2017.
The First Tree
A fox searching for her lost cubs is the main character of The First Tree, an intimist exploring adventure where the story of the animal and the one of a couple of humans that suffered a personal tragedy will interweave to tell something tear-provoking. Or at least this is the aim of developer David Wehle, already known for Home Is Where One Starts and a self-confessed fan of titles like Journey, Gone Home and Firewatch. The First Tree will be released in 2017, sooner or later.