Our four highlights this week split evenly between two re-releases and two completely new offerings. Diablo III makes its long-awaited debut on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the PC game’s Reaper of Souls expansion pack in tow. Meanwhile, the previously Xbox-only Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare sheds its console exclusivity with a launch on both PlayStation consoles (and Vita too, if PS4 Remote Play is your thing).
The good news is, the summer drought is almost over! August is nearly finished, which means the latest Madden is almost here to kick off both the virtual football season and the start of the holiday release gauntlet. What will you be playing this week?
Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One (August 19)
The release of Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition officially brings the console versions of the game up to date with where it’s at on PC. The heart of this release is the Reaper of Souls expansion pack (reviewed here), which includes a new story act, the new Crusader character class, and a whole new set of rules and systems wrapped up in Adventure Mode, which offers new ways to collect loot and earn rewards for those that have beaten the game. Ultimate Evil Edition also brings Diablo III in line with the latest updates on the PC side.
Ultimate Evil Edition marks the first time that Diablo III is available for PS4 and Xbox One. Players with characters created on the earlier console versions of the game are able to import their saves, via Battle.net, regardless of which platform the saves live on. So if you ground your way to level 60 as a Witch Doctor on PS3 but you got an Xbox One version of Ultimate Evil, you need only pair your Battle.net account and export your earlier save to make the switch.
Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare
PS3/PS4 (August 19)
Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is best described as “Battlefield for the under-17 audience.” It’s a game of grand-scale warfare, massive explosions, and high body counts … only it’s couched in the cutesy Plants Vs. Zombies universe. Make no mistake, though: the Battlefield DNA is here. There are five soldier classes per faction, the maps are built for objective-based games, and there’s a whole level-based progression system.
The PlayStation release of Garden Warfare doesn’t do anything different compared to earlier releases. It’s the core game along with all downloadable content released thus far. That DLC has all been free anyway, but at least this new release is up-to-date with its predecessors. It’s an enjoyable game, offering good, clean action-driven play without the mature themes, blood, or profanity that most modern FPS games employ. Check out our review right here.
PS3/PS4/PS Vita (August 19)
Dynamighty’s CounterSpy finally sneaks onto PlayStation devices this week. The stylish 2.5D side-scrolling stealth game puts players in the role of a secret agent during an alternate-history Cold War in which the Imperialists and Socialists vie for supremacy in a race to be the first to nuke the moon. You sneak your way through a series of hidden bases in search of each faction’s launch plans, and hopefully manage to curtail nuclear war in the process.
CounterSpy is a visually striking game, with cartoon-styled graphics complementing the slick 2.5D environments. The PlayStation version is out this week, but there’s also an Android/iOS version inbound. There’s no release date yet for the mobile edition, but once it’s out, players will be able to save their progress across all platforms — Sony and mobile alike — as well as unlock content by connecting the different versions of the game.
The Golf Club
PC/Xbox One (August 19)
While EA Sports is on a break from its PGA Tour golf simulation series, upstarts like HB Studios get to step up with games like The Golf Club. More sim than arcade game, The Golf Club is built on the Unity engine and features randomly generated courses for virtual golfers to take swings on. It also has a built-in course creator that allows players to use the same tools that the game uses to randomize courses.
HB Studios has a PS4 version of The Golf Club incoming, but it’s not quite ready for release yet. The expectation is that we’ll be seeing it arrive sometime before the end of August 2014. You can find more information on The Golf Club at the game’s official website.
What else is coming:
- Tales of Xillia 2 (PS3 / August 19) — Set one year after the events of Tales of Xillia, this sequel follows Ludger Will Resnick as he pays off a hospital debt by destroying fractured dimensions for the Spirius Corporation. No, really. The game also features battles built on the “Cross Dual Raid Linear Motion Battle System.” This one’s for the fans, y’all.
- Hotline Miami (PS4 / August 19) — This retro-styled, neon-soaked action/puzzle game from Dennaton Games sends players off to murder armed guards using a variety of lethal implements. There’s a story, but it’s best if we leave that for you to discover.
- The Last Tinker (PS4 / August 19) — Mimimi Productions’ The Last Tinker comes to PS4 this week, compliments of a port from Loot Entertainment. It’s a platforming-focused adventure game inspired by the likes of Banjo Kazooie and other Rare classics.
- Detective Grimoire (PC / August 18) — The formerly mobile-only detective game comes to Steam. Head to the cartoon-y marshes to investigate a murder at a known tourist trap, taking on puzzles and interrogations as you delve deeper into the swamp and find new leads to tug on.
- Chess 2: The Sequel (PC / August 19) — The age-old game of chess gets a new look in Chess 2: The Sequel, which adds unusual new modes like “Two Kings” and “Empowered” to the existing “Classic” style of play. When regular chess just isn’t enough!
- Shadowgate (PC / August 21) — The classic point-and-click adventure from 1987 is reborn! This successfully Kickstarted reimagining finished its crowdfunding in November 2012, and now it’s here and ready to send players running through Castle Shadowgate all over again.