It’s been a rather uneventful summer for gamers. Batman: Arkham Knight – perhaps the most notable release to hit shelves in the last few months – was a thrilling conclusion to the caped crusader’s story that UK developer Rocksteady started six years ago, however it lacked the replayability necessary to hold gamers over until fall. Now with the annual video game summer drought coming to a close, the gaming industry’s biggest studios are gearing up to launch their latest creations upon the ravenously thirsty gaming populous. Here’re a few games you should pay attention to this month.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
With production drama abounding, I remain cautiously optimistic about the latest instalment in Konami’s flagship stealth series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Quite honestly, the narrative of the series so far has been so incredibly convoluted and over the top, for me to summarize it would make me out to be a crazy person. Over the last three decades, series creator Hideo Kojima, has crafted a compelling world filled with bad ass cloned soldiers, cyborg ninjas, colossal city destroying walking tanks and ever more relevant commentary on the military industrial complex. Unfortunately however, MGS5 will be the last in the series with Kojima at the helm due to his parting ways with Konami over “creative differences”. Their butting of heads has been a fairly public one at that. Against Kojima’s wishes, Konami opted to sell MGS5’s prologue – Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes – as a standalone $30 game, which amounted to no more than a glorified demo. With only a few hours worth of content, those who bought it were left as frustrated as Kojima himself. Perhaps the most heretical act was the company’s executive decision to recast the voice of its main character. Portrayed by fan favourite David Hader since 1998, Solid Snake/Big Boss will now be played by Kiefer Sutherland. Their rational was that Kiefer could more accurately bring the character to life by recording the motion capture and voice acting simultaneously. To the gaming community, this has been seen as little more than a ploy to garner more income by relying on the actor’s name recognition, especially considering the that the actor who portrays Snake in Japan reprised his role without incident. Between these incidences and who knows what else that went on behind closed doors, Kojima and Konami have gone their separate ways, leading many fans to be dubious as to the game’s quality. I however, am hopeful that The Phantom Pain will retain the heart and wacky soul of a Kojima game. Look for it hitting shelves September 1st on major consoles and September 15th on PC.
Mad Max: Fury Road
The film nerd in me would be remiss if I neglected to mention that the cult classic movie Mad Max has been adapted into a video game! Hitting theatres this past May, Mad Max: Fury Road injected a much needed breath of new life into the long dormant property. Receiving universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike, Fury Road has caused hype for the post-apocalyptic road warrior to soar to an all time high, making it the perfect time to branch out into other mediums. What’s better, is the fact that series is a perfect fit for a video game adaptation. Between high octane car combat and exploring a war ravaged, mutant filled wasteland, there’s sure to never be a dull moment. Mad Max comes to PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 1st.
Destiny: The Taken King
Lastly, but most dear to my gamer heart, is the latest and largest expansion to date for the MMO-RPG inspired, sci-fi first person shooter, Destiny. Titled The Taken King, this expansion adds three new subclasses, two new multiplayer modes, and a fresh batch of guns and armour on par with that of the original release. The most important feature of the expansion however is its aim to address many of the complaints that its community had over the past year, in regards to the game’s utterly lacklustre narrative. To fix this, Bungie, the game’s developer, has been busy beefing up their writing staff and have promised a far more substantial campaign this time around. Despite having one of the weakest stories I’ve ever encountered in a game, I’ve sunk countless hours into Destiny and its subsequent two expansions. This speaks as an overwhelming testament to its gameplay and to the community of nearly 20 million players who have supported it since its launch last September. Look for Destiny: The Taken King to hit major consoles on September 15th.