May Release Hype?

Originally published on Trevor Trove on April 18, 2016

Friend of the site and supporter Dave Martinson (@Martinswagr, host and producer of the Nowstalgia pop culture and Mercy Rule sports podcasts) wrote me yesterday suggesting I put together a piece ranking all of the major releases hitting next month. Off the top of my head, Uncharted was the only title that I really had any strong affinity for so I wasn’t quite sure how compelling it would be but I told him I’d give it a go and see how it turned out. So I checked out the Game Informer list of 2016 release dates for May and  here we go…

Battleborn – May 3

Up front, you could show me characters from Battleborn and Overwatch and I would not be able to tell you which is which. That pretty much sums up my opinion on these two titles in the so-called “hero shooter” genre. From the earliest information on them that the games would effectively be first-person shooter multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs), I’ve mostly tuned them out. While I appreciate and respect the genre and its popularity, one of the key elements I appreciate in a game is the feeling of progression: leveling up a character, going through a story, etc. The MOBA/hero shooter genres are built around leveling up your skill as a player by getting into the details of what strategies work and pouring hours upon hours into the repeating cycle of matches. At this point in my life, I realize that I’m A) too bad at video games and B) too interested in diversifying my experiences to commit to these types of games.

But of the two, I might give Battleborn the edge because I enjoy the humor Gearbox brings to their games. Even though I firmly believe when the dust settles, Blizzard – as the team behind World of Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, and Hearthstone – is going lead Overwatch to walk away as the likely powerhouse in this genre and the most likely new game at the coveted eSport level.

Excitement Level: The Gearbox one out of 10

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End – May 10

My most anticipated game of the year for two years running, I very much look forward to Naughty Dog’s closing chapter in their Nathan Drake saga. As I replayed through the PlayStation 4 Remastered games late last year, my love for the characters and the pulp action that helped define a console generation for me came flooding back as if it were a Poseidon Adventure-style capsized cruise-liner. I fully anticipate that this game will invoke a lot of laughing and crying.

Excitement Level: Praying to Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley that it’s not their Kingdom of the Crystal Skull out of 10.

Doom – May 13

As I outlined in my occasional Favorite Games series, the original Doom holds a special place in my gaming history. But that was from an era when there wasn’t a chance of my gore-averse stomach getting sick or squeamish by the graphical fidelity of brutally and violently blowing away demons. I’ll be curious to see how the new version of Doom holds up critically, especially if there is a noticeable difference of opinion between older critics who have an affinity for the original games and the younger critics that might be experience Doom for the first time in a post Call of Duty world.

Excitement Level: To read about: BFG out of 10; to watch or play: Fists out of 10

Homefront: The Revolution – May 17

I had to Google Homefront: The Revolution to get even a smattering of what the game/series is about. And then before reading it, I figured that probably said my thoughts on the game about as succinctly as anything else. If you’re excited for the game, awesome! But it is 1000% off my radar.

Excitement Level: Didn’t even click the Google link out of 10.

Shadow of the Beast – May 17

Obviously not a high-profile release of any kind but I played this game at PlayStation Experience so when I saw it on the Game Informer list I thought I’d dedicate a few lines to it. It seems like a 2D God of War game for better and worse.

Excitement Level: I’ll download it when it’s a free PlayStation Plus title in a year or so and maybe give it a go then out of 10

Valkyria Chronicles Remastered – May 17

I never played Valkyria Chronicles on the PlayStation 3 but have heard it’s praises sung highly enough that I might give it a go. And between Fire Emblem Fates and XCOM Enemy Unknown Plus, I’ve been getting to scratch the long-unscratched itch of tactical/strategy RPGs.

Excitement Level: It’s still not a proper Final Fantasy Tactics sequel out of 10

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst – May 24 (UPDATE: Delayed to June 7th)

I never played the original Mirror’s Edge game either. I remember being excited when Peter Moore came onstage at the first PlayStation Experience to celebrate 20 years of the partnerships between EA and PlayStation by giving everyone Mirror’s Edge that weekend. I added it to my PlayStation 3 thinking I might finally check out what all of the excitement was about. But then I never did because it was December 2014 and only the urge to replay Fallout 3 in advance of Fallout 4 has gotten me to hook it back up.

Excitement Level: If Xbox gives the original away as an Xbox 360 Games with Gold title I might dole out the money to play through the sequel out of 10

Overwatch – May 24

See above on Battleborn.

Excitement Level: The Blizzard one out of 10

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan – May 24

Included on this list if for no other reason than the fact that I’m genuinely more excited from this title than most of the other games on this list. As a huge fan of the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 arcade cabinet, the idea of a new Turtles beat ’em up by the team at Platinum Games might get me to drop the money on this game to play through it for a weekend.

Excitement Level: Cowabunga, dude! out of 10

Dead Island: Definitive Collection – May 31

Zombies = nope.

Excitement level: See picture below out of 10

Fallout 4: Far Harbor DLC – May TBD

My number 3 most anticipated game of 2016 was the collective Fallout 4 DLC. I haven’t revisited the game yet this year despite the release of the first two Automatron and Wasteland Workshop pieces of content. But the meatier story-driven Far Harbor pack, set to release sometime in May will most likely be what pulls me back into that world for a whole lot of hours; especially when coupled with the fact that the only couple of June releases piquing my interest right now are No Man’s Sky (which I’m still hoping just gets confirmed for PlayStation VR) and LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Excitement Level: More of my 2015 Game of the Year out of 10

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