The Biggest and Best Games Coming in August 2016
Gamers saw an explosive roster of releases in May that catered to all tastes. Adventure junkies got to discover the fate of Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4, more methodical thinkers were treated a dose of tactical RPG action in the form of Valkyria Chronicles, social team player types buddied up in Overwatch, and those with a liking for gratuitous gore and over-the-top violence sunk their teeth into DOOM.
But alas, the games launch calendar has been something of a barren wasteland since then, with barely any major or exciting releases occurring over the last two months. But fear not, August marks the end of the dreaded summer drought -- and what a glorious sight it is to see release schedules filled to the brim once more with a ton of hotly anticipated titles. Here are some of the most exciting:
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: August 2
There are a number of reasons to get very, very excited about indie game Abzû. Firstly, it’s set under the sea and, thanks to an absurdly catchy tune by a little red Jamaican crustacean, everyone knows that it's better down there.
Abzû is the first release from developer Giant Squid Studios -- with its founder, Matt Nava, previously acting as art director for Thatgamecompany's phenomenally atmospheric title Journey. Nava has already proved he's got the creative chops to deliver a beautiful immersive affair that captures the minds and hearts of players everywhere.
With its focus on peaceful exploration and interaction with aquatic creatures Abzû looks set to provide that same kind of meaningful experience that envelops its players in a childlike sense of wonder. Abzû is available now, so why not dive right in?! (After you've checked out the rest of this list of course...)
Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1 - Realm of Shadows
Platforms: Xbox One, 360, PS4, PS3, PC, Mac, iOS, Android
Release Date: August 2
When you think of a franchise best suited to Telltale's blend of tough decision-making with emotionally crippling consequences, the world of the Caped Crusader doesn't instantly spring to mind. But after two lackluster releases in the form of Minecraft: Story Mode and The Walking Dead: Michonne, maybe a complete change of direction is just what the California-based developer needs.
In usual Telltale fashion, the game will be released episodically and we fully expect those seemingly unimportant decisions to have potentially catastrophic impacts on events further down the line. Unlike Rocksteady's Arkham series, this will focus on the man behind the mask, Bruce Wayne, rather than Batman. Of course the Dark Knight will also feature along with confirmed characters Alfred, Harvey Dent and James Gordon.
Telltale is keeping tight-lipped on what iconic villains we can expect to see, but it seems the perfect opportunity for a certain green-haired psychopath to present some morally tough situations that test the mental strength of both Batman and the player. (If they can work past the PC port issues.)
Mobius Final Fantasy
Platforms: iOS, Android
Release Date: August 3
It's hard to imagine a time when people used their phone's gaming capability for anything other than catching Pokemon, but let's not forget that other mobile games still exist.
Mobius Final Fantasy gets our attention, as it promises a mobile game that provides a similar experience to a home console RPG. Square Enix have certainly set itself a lofty task given the depth and detail players expect, especially from a household name like Final Fantasy. However, they've certainly got the talent capable of bringing the Final Fantasy flavor to Mobius, with a staff consisting of producer Yoshinori Kitase and writer Kazushige Nojima, both of whom are responsible for some of the series most iconic and best-loved entries.
Gameplay elements like levelling, job systems, turn-based combat and summons all make a reappearance. Mobius Final Fantasy is considered a full entry in the series and promises a wholly original tale featuring elements of previous entries, rather than the cut and paste effort of characters and mechanics that a lot of mobile/handheld spin-off games fall foul of.
The sheer scale and graphical quality makes this one of the most exciting releases for mobile gaming, here's hoping enough people stop hunting for Pikachu long enough to actually play it.
No Man’s Sky
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: August 9
They say that size doesn't matter, but the mass hysteria surrounding No Man's Sky due to its enormous proportions would suggest otherwise. At E3 2014 the most exciting unveiling came courtesy of a small indie developer with a huge ambition.
That studio was Hello Games, the team behind Joe Danger. And that ambition was to create an unfathomably huge, procedurally generated sci-fi universe that would dwarf even the biggest current-gen open worlds. The game world is a shared universe containing a staggering 18 quintillion planets brimming with various lifeforms and ecosystems for the player to discover. Rather than wander about aimlessly in space, players do have the goal of reaching the center of the universe.
Apparently this should take around forty hours to achieve. However those with the compulsion to explore every nook and cranny the game has to offer had better be prepared to say a fond farewell to their parents, colleagues, significant other, and personal hygiene when No Man's Sky lands next week.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC
Release Date: August 23
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was one of the standout releases of the last generation. The level of freedom it afforded players to tackle missions however they saw fit; be it stealthily hacking a security system, going in all guns blazing or coercing NPCs with some sneaky social skills was nothing short of revolutionary. Crucially, despite the level of choice available in the game still offered an immersive and fluid experience, aside from those naff boss battles of course.
It's been quite a while since that last outing -- and with the horsepower of current-gen technology powering the game's beautifully rich yet morally divided cyberpunk world, we fully expect an even deeper and more open experience than its phenomenal predecessor. A heartbreaking six month delay from February should mean a super sleek release for half-man, half-machine Adam Jensen when Deus Ex: Mankind Divided finally launches toward the end of the month.
Attack on Titan: Wings of Freedom
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Vita, PC
Release Date: August 30
Koei Tecmo is bringing Attack on Titan's horrifying, smiley giants to the video game world with Wings of Freedom, which ought to make the harrowing wait for the anime's second season a little more bearable.
The game follows the events of the outstanding first season, as well as offering additional scenarios involving the series' key characters and, of course, a whole host of terrifying titans. When the world's filled with lumbering, deranged giants with an insatiable hunger for human flesh you've got to move... fast. Thankfully, the squad's Omni-Directional Mobility Gear transfers beautifully to the gaming world resulting in fast-paced, adrenaline fuelled action to rival even Platinum Games' finest. The vibrant cell shaded graphics also beautifully capture the essence of the anime, as does the sheer level of blood constantly splattered on screen.
Resident Evil 4
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4
Release Date: August 30
So it's not technically a new release, but the highest definition version of one of gaming's best horror offerings is definitely worth getting excited about. Resident Evil 4 was originally released a whopping 11 years ago (anyone else feeling really old?) but Capcom hasyet to surpass its greatness, with the fourth installment being arguably the high point of the entire Resident Evil series.
Leon Kennedy's mission to rescue the U.S. President's daughter was a masterful mix of action and horror. Introducing a new virus known as Las Plagas meant a new breed of enemy that was quicker and smarter than the shuffling zombies of old. Resi 4 also marked a switch from the fixed camera angles of old to the now-standard over the shoulder perspective.
The re-release will come packaged with the Ada Wong missions and brilliant Mercenaries mini-game. Cheesy dialogue and 90's haircut also included.
World of Warcraft: Legion
Platforms: PC, Mac
Release Date: August 30
Rounding off our August releases is World of Warcraft: Legion, which marks the sixth expansion for the world's largest MMORPG. It's been widely reported that WoW subscriptions have dwindled in recent years, but the newest expansion addresses a number of key issues that might prove enough to bring some long lost subscribers back into the fold.
Most notably, the new expansion balances PvP battles by introducing a talent system with abilities that can be used in PvP only and are entirely separate to the abilities available in environment battles. The level cap will also be raised from 100 to 110, and the inclusion of powerful and customisable class specific weapons called artifacts should help to make individual classes feel more unique. A new Demon Hunter class will also be introduced, taking the role of either a tank or damage dealer with its 'vengeance' and 'havoc' specializations.
All in all, "Legion" shows a valiant attempt by Blizzard to address some long standing irks as well as keep things fresh with some intriguing new content.
Are there any August releases you're looking forward to that haven't made the list? Let us know in the comments.