Gaming Roundup – A Fragmentary Passage

Hello! Welcome to the latest edition of the Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, Kingdom Hearts, Silent Hill and a bunch of wholesome games, plus all the latest releases!

Kingdom Hearts Soars Onto Disney+

Rumours are flying about a hot new Disney+ show. As you can probably guess as this is a gaming roundup, I’m not talking about a Star War or yet another addition to the endless parade of Marvel adaptations. No, this rumour is saying that Disney+ is set to gain an original series based on Kingdom Hearts.

News was leaked by ManaByte, who the internet informs me has leaked a lot of MCU news accurately over the years, so there’s apparently some credence to this. According to him, the Disney cast will have their original voice actors as in the game (no surprise there) and will definitely be an animated series. Square Enix are reportedly involved too, although their track record isn’t great in non-game media, so I’d be cautious about their involvement (remember The Spirits Within? Yeah exactly).

No word on whether or not the series will be an incomprehensible mess of plots and sub-plots that result in Mickey Mouse saying lines about the “door to darkness” while dressed like a teen that crashed through a Hot Topic, but if it is, it will at least be faithful.

My Theme Park is Ready

If you’ve been wondering how Nintendo’s theme park in Universal Studios Japan is going, good news! A recent drone flyover shows that the park is ready to go, and looking good.

As you can see in the picture above, the park is densely-packed with both Bowser and Peach’s castles standing prominent, along with block-based structures. It’s very Mario-centric, however, which is a shame as a Nintendo theme park could extract a lot of great ideas from their other properties, but it’s hard to deny that the Mario stuff is looking superb.

However, even though construction is complete, the park remains closed. It was set to open in time for the Tokyo Olympics, but with the games postponed and the world still on lockdown, there’s no news on when the park presses start just yet.

Some Actual Good Silent Hill News!

For once, Silent Hill fans have got some news that isn’t Konami destroying everything good about the franchise or an elaborate rumour that sets expectations high only for them to be dashed days later.

Sadly, it’s not a new game, but it is much better than a pachinko machine. A Silent Hill themed DLC is coming to Dead By Daylight soon. The asymmetric horror multiplayer title, where a killer pursues four teens trying to survive, has seen plenty of crossover with horror movie franchises such as Nightmare on Elm St and Halloween, but I believe this is the first time it’s crossed with another video game horror franchise.

The DLC pack includes a new map, a new killer and a new survivor, with each one coming from a title in the original trilogy back from the PS1/PS2 days. The map is Silent Hill 1’s Midwich Elementary School, the killer is Silent Hill 2’s Pyramid Head, and Heather, Silent Hill 3’s sassy teen protagonist, is the new survivor. Oh wait, I’m informed she’s called Cheryl Mason in all the official announcements, which is…a choice. Okay, the game is now as old as its protagonist, so spoilers are a bit of a free-for-all, but come on, guys.

The Dead By Daylight devs appear to be showing a lot of love to the franchise, with Easter eggs aplenty promised in Midwich, and a classic Pyramid Head design straight of Silent Hill 2 instead of one of the later games or the movie adaptation. Akira Yamaoka has also been involved, with a special version of DBD’s theme song, and I always have time for Yamaoka’s music.

This is actually really cool, and it’s the most love the much-beleaguered horror series has received from any developer since Silent Hills was teased. I look forward to when this all gets stripped out of the game in about two months’ time because Konami will inevitably throw a tantrum. But for now, let’s enjoy this unexpected olive branch for SH fans everywhere.

Wholesome Direct

This week saw the first ever Wholesome Direct, a special presentation by a group of indie developers making games that aim to challenge what video games are for. Games that focus on love and positivity, usually very cute and colourful and all of them…well…wholesome!

There are a lot of games in the presentation, so I’m not going to begin to cover them all, but I have provided the full presentation, which is embedded above. A lot of 2021 releases in there, though, so not many games coming soon.

Some personal highlights: Button City is about cute animals forming an 80s movie style gang to try and save their local arcade, and is very much my jam. The Spirit and the Mouse is a gorgeous-looking game where you appear to play a tiny mouse trying their best to help out people in a quaint town. Rainy Season is a game about waiting out the rain while there’s a friendly monster hiding in a cupboard. Little Witch in the Woods is a cute game about adventuring and building up your magical skills, and features bunny-like creatures that you appear to be able to befriend. And Sayri: The Beginning is a beautiful game that evokes Ori and the Blind Forest for me, albeit in full 3D.

If you’re looking for something a little different and out of the typical chat of teraflops and combat-oriented games, it might be worth giving it a watch.

New Releases

First up in new releases, 2K are going all out for the Switch, with Bioshock, Borderlands and XCOM collections all landing this week. The Bioshock Collection contains all three Bioshock games, the Borderlands Legendary Collection contains Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition, Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel, and the XCOM 2 Collection contains the base XCOM 2 plus all the expansions built in. If you’ve not picked these games up or simply want to play them on the go, these Switch collections have you covered.

Another classic game coming to the Switch this week is the remastered edition of Xenoblade Chronicles. This huge sprawling JRPG focuses on Shulk and friends as they get drawn into the conflict between Bionis and Mechonis, two nation-sized titans. Shulk ends up wielding the mysterious sword, the Monado, as mysteries of the universe are unravelled through his quest. Xenoblade Chronicles was excellent back on the Wii, and this edition comes with a new chapter and a fresh lick of paint. Featuring a very British localisation, with the likes of Doctor Who’s Jenna Coleman and Blake’s Seven’s Stephen Greif lending their voices, the game has spawned a loyal fanbase and some sizeable representation in Smash Bros. I would highly recommend this to anyone who never played it the first time around. I promise you’ll be really feeling it.

In smaller new releases, we have Sludge Life on the Epic Games Store (for free!), which is an oddball Devolver Digital game that has been heavily promoted on the fact it has a cat with a double butthole. I have no idea, and I’m slightly concerned. Less concerning is Depanneur Nocturne, which got revealed in the Wholesome Direct, and is a small game entirely about buying your girlfriend a gift at a late-night convenience store. And finally, Wildfire is a stylish pixel art stealth game where the elements are yours to command, out now on Steam.

The beloved cult 2D platformer series Shantae sees its latest instalment this week with Shantae and the Seven Sirens. This game originally saw a partial release as part of Apple Arcade’s launch lineup late last year, and now sees its second half launching on that platform along with a full release on PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the Switch version arrives in a couple of weeks due to an unspecified delay. This edition sees half-genie Shantae travel to a tropical island for a festival, only for the other participants to disappear. Shantae now has to investigate, gaining powers in her exploration and facing off against the titular seven sirens.

The big release of this week is Minecraft Dungeons, which released for PC, Xbox One, Switch and PS4. It’s basically a kid-friendly version of Diablo, using the graphical stylings of Minecraft. Basically, it’s Mojang milking their one game for all it’s worth even more, and reviews are…kinda tepid to be honest. Might be kind of interesting if you’re super into Minecraft, I guess.

Game of the Week

Game of the Week this week is Those Who Remain, launching for Steam, PS4 and Xbox One (a Switch version is on the way later in summer). It’s a psychological horror with a heavy Silent Hill vibe. Set in a mysterious town which hides dark secrets, you play a man named Edward as he ventures to a motel to end an affair, only for things to get a little bit…twisted.

Those Who Remain is a first-person horror with moral choices, tough puzzles and a mechanic about hiding from the light. It looks to be a spooky time which will present consequences for your actions. I find it really intriguing, so I have to award it Game of the Week.

That’s it for this week! See you next time with even more from the world of gaming!

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