VIDEO GAMING

Six of the best video games due out this autumn

From cartoonish shooters to first world war combat, organised crime in the ’70s to the latest Final Fantasy release, a gravity-defying dreamworld to the weird world of pro wrestling – gamers will have plenty to amuse them

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 September, 2016, 11:02am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 September, 2016, 11:02am

Now that autumn is nearly here, the season of video game release anticipation finally begins.

It couldn’t come at a better time. While the masterful Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has kept me busy recently, I’ve mostly been twiddling my thumbs, finishing up all the indie games I purchased over the summer.

While this autumn preview is by no means complete, odds are you’ll likely find something interesting here. Just remember that every game looks like a masterpiece until the release date comes.

That’s what reviews are for.

ReCore

I knew next to nothing about ReCore aside from an interesting trailer that debuted at E3 in June. Once I found out it would play like a cross between Metroid Prime and Mega Man, I immediately added it to my rental list. A third-person-shooter that centres on a young woman and her robot companions, ReCore comes from the same studio founded by legendary programmer Keiji Inafune – the man who produced the Mega Man series.

The proof is in the art style, which depicts a cartoonish wasteland full of adorable robots that take a variety of animal forms. For a game that’s coming out in less than two weeks, there has been almost no hype. But if it’s good enough, I’m sure ReCore will gain traction with the mainstream press.

How could I not get excited about a potentially great game that doesn’t have a sequel number behind it?

Due on September 13 for Xbox One and PC.

Mafia III

If the risk-taking Grand Theft Auto series is gaming’s equivalent to Martin Scorsese’s best films like Goodfellas and Casino, then the Mafia franchise is more akin to his now defunct HBO show Boardwalk Empire. And not just because everyone is wearing fedoras and bowler hats. Just like Boardwalk Empire, the second Mafia game was renowned for its beautiful subtlety, even as it fell short of the splendour that defined Grand Theft Auto V.

But not every game needs to be an unforgettable epic. Mafia III moves on from the 1940s setting of the previous game, putting you in the role of a Vietnam vet who finds himself on the wrong side of the law in a fictional version of New Orleans. If you’ve seen Scarface or any other respectable crime movie from the last 40 years, you know the drill. I’m not expecting Game of the Year material here, but I am hoping for a damn fun crime thriller.

Due on October 7 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

WWE 2K17

You probably don’t give a fig about pro wrestling. Trust me, almost no one does. But for those of us who spend hours watching sweaty men pretend to fight each other, the annual WWE 2K games are our only avenue of participation – other than buying more wrestling T-shirts.

While I wouldn’t dare call the last two iterations of the series classic (objective critics have ripped both games to shreds), I’ll still be pre-ordering WWE 2K17. I actually became quite good at the multiplayer aspect of last year’s WWE 2K16, and wouldn’t want those skills to rust.

I’m hoping the myriad flaws that have plagued the series over the past couple of years will be rectified. The controls are supposedly snappier this time around, and backstage brawls are returning for the first time since 2003. The massive roster also looks to be more up-to-date than in previous years, featuring new talents such as Nia Jax and my favourite wrestler of all time (next to Seth Rollins), Shinsuke Nakamura.

Due on October 11 for all major consoles and PC.

Battlefield 1

Battlefield 1 has me excited about the Battlefield franchise for the first time since – well, since the series got its start 14 years ago.

The reason is obvious. Unlike every other war game I’ve played over the last 20 years, this one takes place during the first world war. I won’t get into the story of how the publisher nearly nixed the idea because they feared most children had never even heard of the first world war. I’m just glad they didn’t let their ignorance ruin a fresh idea.

Not surprisingly, the gaming press is just as excited as I am, and the hype may eclipse the actual game – No Man’s Sky style. But even if it’s average, I’ve got to give Battlefield 1 a rental. Where else can I engage in trench warfare while fighting off mustard gas and burning zeppelins?

I thought I was done playing military-based shooters after finally burning out on the Call of Duty series a few years ago. Leave it to world history to save a tired genre from stale ideas.

Due on October 21 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.

Final Fantasy XV

Originally set to be released at the end of this month, Final Fantasy XV has been delayed to the end of November. That’s fine by me. This isn’t exactly the best time to take a vacation, and I’ll need every spare hour I can get when I finally start playing it. That’s the joy of losing yourself in a 100-hour plus role-playing-game.

Combining swords, sorcery and monsters with the modern world of automobiles and LCD screens, Final Fantasy XV sports an aesthetic that feels awfully similar to the fan-favourite Final Fantasy VII. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Even cooler is the relationship between the four main characters, all of whom are male. While I’ve intentionally kept myself in the dark about the plot, this looks to be an epic bromance that will balance out the romance that drove so many of the previous games.

Due on November 29 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Gravity Rush 2

I didn’t play much of the original Gravity Rush when it was released for Sony’s handheld Vita four years ago. But I did buy the remastered version for the PlayStation 4, and it ended up being one of my favourite games of the year.

Wrapped in the beautiful cel-shaded colourings of an animated Hayao Miyazaki film, the first Gravity Rush was like a dream simulator where the rules remained constant – if no less weird. With the simple push of a button, you could redirect the flow of gravity in any direction you wished, causing the main character (a girl named Kat) to fall in that direction. You could direct Kat any direction you wished along an endless Z axis, causing her to flip and flop through the sky as though yanked by an invisible string. As with most sequels, Gravity Rush 2 is promising more of the same, only bigger, better, and of course prettier. The developers have earned my trust with this one, and I can’t wait to play it.

Due on December 2 exclusively for PlayStation 4.