It may be yet another quiet week for brand-new video games, but a pair of re-releases — both for Sony machines — take point on all the excitement. We’ve also got a handful of promising PC and mobile games to look forward to. What will you be playing this week?
The Last of Us Remastered
PS4 (July 29)
Naughty Dog’s post-apocalyptic adventure from 2013 won all manner of Game of the Year awards. More than 200, in fact, according to the cover of The Last of Us Remastered. This re-hashed version of the game has been spruced up and spit-shined to look its best in a PlayStation 4 re-release. There’s nothing new in the game itself, but the disc includes all story-based and multiplayer DLC released so far, plus bonus bits like an optional audio commentary on all of the game’s cutscenes.
There’s also a handful of functional improvements that capitalize on the PS4’s redesigned DualShock 4 controller. Aiming and shooting is relegated to the L2/R2 buttons now, thanks to the PS4 control’s grippy triggers. The game also takes advantage of the DualShock 4’s built-in speaker in a couple of ways. They’re small improvements, and there’s nothing here that addresses some of the functional shortcomings of the 2013 game, but the visual upgrade is huge and the outstanding story is one that should be experienced by all.
PS3/PS4/PS Vita (July 29)
Cellar Door Games’ wonderful side-scroller Rogue Legacy first surfaced for PC in June 2013. It was confirmed for release on PlayStation platforms — all of them — not long after, but now it’s finally here. Rogue Legacy is an action-RPG at heart; each life sees you exploring the different wings of a randomly generated castle, collecting treasure. Die and you return to a town just outside the castle, where you can spend some of your treasure on improving your stats before the next go-round.
That RPG-style profile progression isn’t the only concession to what is traditionally the one-and-done setup for most roguelikes. The “Legacy” in the title refers to the bloodline of explorers that venture into the castle, life after life. Each time you die, you respawn as a descendant of the previous explorer. There’s some choice involved here, as each new character has some sort of genetic trait that defines him or her (and impacts gameplay, more often than not). So a color-blind adventurer only sees the world in black & white and an ADHD character moves faster than normal. It’s a fresh twist on a familiar genre.
PC (July 29)
Firefall is a massively multiplayer first/third-person shooter that’s been in development at Red 5 Studios for more than five years. There have been beta tests, news blasts, even an eSports competition with a $1 million purse. The open beta kicked off in July 2013 and now, slightly more than a year later, the full game is here.
Firefall is a class-based shooter that features high-speed action inspired by the Tribes games. The game breaks down into two basic stages of play, with players first focused on leveling up their Battleframe power armor to the max in PvE zones, and then stepping out into an open world PvP space for competitive fun. There are also instanced missions available at this stage of the game that serve to develop the story further. Firefall will be free-to-play on Steam when it arrives, so give it a try.
iOS (July 31)
This one may well be under your radar if you’re not plugged into the mobile games scenes, but fans of inventive, story-driven games like Device 6 should take note. Inkle’s 80 Days is based on Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days story. It’s a choice-driven text adventure, enhanced by hand-drawn art, that tasks players with choosing their own adventure as they journey around the world.
There’s an element of randomness in the way the game plays out, as you never know what’s going to happen when you visit one of the game’s more than 150 cities. There’s also a unique take on multiplayer, with a live feed that keeps you updated on other players’ adventures as they carve their own 80-day journey around the globe.
Linux/Mac/PC (July 31)
In truth, we don’t know a whole lot about developer QUICKTEQUILA’s Lovely Planet beyond the trailers and words that are out there already. It’s a first-person shooter — a “first-person shooter gun ballet,” as the game’s Steam listing says — set in a series of colorful, simply drawn environments that are reminiscent of the exploration game Proteus.
Don’t be fooled by the cutesy graphics; this is an action game at heart. You can jump to great heights and your semi-automatic weapon has an infinite supply of ammo. The “gun ballet” descriptor seems apt, given that these features establish a framework that encourages lots of energetic, high-speed movement.