We’ve officially reached the summer dead zone, when all of the blockbuster video game releases go into hibernation until the annual arrival of Madden NFL signals the start of the holiday season. That said, the week ending July 25 is surprisingly packed with new titles. there are so many, in fact, that this week’s “Week in Gaming” post is more of a highlight reel. There are plenty of other worthy new arrivals, especially if you’re a PC gamer (just poke around in Steam’s “Coming Soon” section), but the games listed below are those that are likely to garner the most attention.
The Walking Dead: Season 2, Episode 4 – Amid the Ruins
PC/Mac/PlayStation 3/PS Vita (July 22), Xbox 360 (July 23), iOS (July 24)
The fourth of five episodes in Telltale Games’ second season of The Walking Dead arrives this week. There’s literally no way to talk about the game’s ongoing story without delving into spoilers, so we’re not even going to try. Here are some screens…
Terrible things are going to happen, characters you love will be in constant jeopardy, and all of the bad stuff ultimately stems back to the choices you make. If there’s any good news, it’s that there’s no good stuff; no matter what you choose to do in The Walking Dead‘s post-apocalyptic world, lousy things will happen. If you’ve been keeping up with Season Two, all you really need to know is that the next chapter arrives this week. Brace yourself.
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty!
PS4 (July 22)
There was a time when developer Just Add Water intended to remaster the original Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee, a PSOne title, for a spruced up re-release, but that plan was canned in favor of an even more adventurous plan: rebuild the whole dang thing. Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty! is a ground-up remake of the series’ first game, complete with improved visuals and tweaked gameplay.
Looks pretty sharp, right? Oddworld was a promising series with a universe-level arc that was ahead of its time. Creator Lorne Lanning and his team at Oddworld Inhabitants intended to release more games beyond the four that surfaced between 1997 and 2005, but it never happened. Hopefully, renewed interest in the series by way of earlier re-releases and this Odd ‘n’ Tasty remake will help spur more forward-looking development in the series.
Ratchet & Clank Collection
PS Vita (July 22)
The Ratchet & Clank Collection comes to PS Vita this week, gathering together the series’ three original PlayStation 2-era releases into one package. That’s Ratchet & Clank, Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando, and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal for those not versed in the full Insomniac Games portfolio.
The Ratchet & Clank Collection was actually released for PlayStation 3 back in August 2012. It seemed like a miscalculation even at that time; the ports all held up relatively well (the latter two games especially), but the remasters felt like they were ready-made for portable play rather than console play. The collection’s arrival on Vita this week is great news for fans of the series, as the games work very well on the go.
Linux/Mac/PC (July 22)
Roll7’s outstanding PlayStation Vita skateboarding game OlliOlli kickflips onto the holy trinity of computer operating systems this week, available via Steam, GOG.com, and Humble Bundle. While Tony Hawk fans can certainly appreciate OlliOlli‘s emphasis on careful timing and completing discrete challenges, the side-scrolling play feels more like an infinite runner, albeit one that puts equal importance on both skill and style.
The PC port of OlliOlli features 250 challenges, 120 tricks and grinds, and an unlockable RAD Mode that opens up after you’ve completed all of the game’s challenges. That’s no easy task, however. The Hawk games focused on freestyle showboating and exploration, but OlliOlli is a game of learning-via-repetition. You’re going to fail a lot as you try to hit each of the game’s increasingly tough goals. Just try to make sure that when you do fail, you always fail better.
Gods Will Be Watching
Linux/Mac/PC (July 24)
Gods Will Be Watching has been described as “the Dark Souls of adventure games.” That’s not inaccurate. From Software’s devilishly challenging RPG doesn’t play anything like this old school-styled adventure game from Deconstructeam, but the spirit of the former game’s “test the player’s mettle at every turn” is alive and well.
The less said about the story here, the better. All you really need to know is that Gods Will Be Watching is a game of making choices. Difficult, difficult choices. Most players can expect to replay each scenario more than once as they figure out how different pushes and pulls play out in the larger puzzle. We’re living in a time when many games hand-hold players through story-driven games; Gods Will Be Watching makes you earn it.