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Gaming Roundup – Gameplay Is Subjective

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

This week, Xbox announced some games, and Geoff Keighley announced some announcements. Plus all the latest releases from the last week.

Xbox Series X Games Announced

Microsoft held a presentation of third-party Xbox Series X games this week, and while there were an impressive range of games on show, as a next-gen showcase it was a little lacking. Since many of the titles were cross-gen and not really doing anything we aren’t already seeing, it’s looking very much like this generation is less of a leap and more a gentle step…forward? I think?

That’s not to say the games on show were bad though. Here’s a quick rundown of what was shown.

Bright Memory is a first-person action game blending swordplay with modern guns and vehicles. Looks absolutely stunning and even more impressively, was made by a single person. The first episode of this has been out on Steam for a while, but it looks like we’ll be seeing a larger game soon.

Dirt 5 exists. Rejoice, car fans!

Scorn was shown, although I have absolutely no idea what kind of game it is. The art style is VERY H.R. Giger though, so I’m intrigued.

Chorus: Rise as One is another intriguing prospect, seemingly combining third-person action with spaceship combat, but again, didn’t really show a lot. It’s out next year though, so plenty of time to learn more at a later date. Also, don’t confuse this with another game called Chorus that’s also in development, because that’s an interactive musical that looks set to be a very different experience.

Madden NFL 21 exists. Rejoice, sports fans!

Call of the Sea looks excellent, a first-person adventure game set on a mysterious island. Got a pulp adventure vibe to it which is right up my alley, and it teases the possibility of the main character gaining aquatic powers through the course of the game. I’ll be watching this one.

The Ascent is a co-op twin-stick shooter set in a cyberpunk world. In my opinion, needs to do a lot of differentiate itself from both other twin-stick shooters and all the other cyberpunk games on their way at the moment. Also shares a name with at least three other games called “Ascent” so they really are going to struggle there.

The Medium is an interesting-looking horror title from Layers of Fear and Blair Witch developers Bloober Team. It’s got a very Silent Hill type vibe to it, not least because the music sounded like, and was confirmed to be composed by, Akira Yamaoka.

Scarlet Nexus is a big action title from Bandai Namco, set in a world invaded by creatures known as The Others. The trailer claims they were unstoppable until a team of pretty anime kids with psychic powers showed up, because of course. Based on the snippets of gameplay in the trailer, this looks like delightful anime nonsense and it has my attention.

Second Extinction is basically a modern Turok. It’s an FPS where you fight dinosaurs. Looks like it might be co-op and somewhat open world in nature. So get ready to murder some dinos, I guess!

Yakuza: Like a Dragon is confirmed to be an Xbox Series X launch title, along with a cross-gen release on Xbox One, which is notable because it’s always historically been a PlayStation exclusive. But don’t worry, since this is already out as a PS4 title in Japan right now, it’s also getting released there too (and possibly a PS5 release?). If you’ve been following this roundup for long enough, you will know that I’m so deeply invested in the Yakuza games at this point that I know I’ll be playing this. It’s gone even bigger and more ridiculous than usual with full-on anime-style turn-based RPG battles, including a lobster summon, so I’m more excited than you could possibly imagine.

Despite promising the first look at Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla gameplay from Ubisoft, the final presentation was another cinematic trailer that showed no gameplay. It’s an interesting choice, but ultimately a terrible one that no one liked.

And that was the Xbox presentation! Not much to say about the next generation, but certainly a few interesting titles. Now, next time you promise to show gameplay of a bunch of things, how about we see some of that? That’d be a novel twist.

Gollum Screenshots Revealed

The first screenshots from Lord of the Rings: Gollum have been released. Apparently this game got announced last year and somehow passed my attention despite it being the kind of game you’d expect to be covered everywhere at once.

As you’d imagine, it’s a game where you play as Gollum from the Lord of the Rings franchise. According to developers Daedelic, it’s set before the LotR trilogy and will launch on next-gen consoles sometime next year. From the screenshots that have been released, it appears to be some kind of stealth game, which makes sense if you can imagine Gollum skulking around in the darkness.

Full set of screenshots can be found here: https://www.gamestar.de/galerien/der_herr_der_ringe_gollum,134723.html

Keighley’s Game Fest

Geoff Keighley, creator of The Game Awards and our Holy Dorito Pope, has announced a summer programme of game announcements called Summer Game Fest. With events like E3 seeing cancellations because of ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns, Keighley is trying to maintain that E3 hype by connecting together a bunch of publisher announcements under a single umbrella from May to August.

The schedule so far is a little scarce but we are very much in the swing of things, as Xbox’s announcement this week was the first event under the banner. It’ll certainly be interesting to see what comes out of it, and if it’ll manage to capture the same feel of E3, but it’s a noble effort all the same.

New Releases

In new releases this week, we have a small title called Wavey the Rocket launching on Steam. It’s a cartoony side scroller where you control a rocket riding a waveform. By stretching and compressing the waveform you can help Wavey dodge obstacles to a funky soundtrack. Played this at EGX a few years back and it was a fun, if tricky, time.

Did you want a brawler starring Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob? Mall Brawl is basically River City Ransom but with the stoners from the View Askewniverse. It’s currently available on Switch with promised releases for Steam and, uh…the Nintendo Entertainment System. No, seriously.

Then there’s Population Zero, launching in Early Access for Steam. It’s an exploration survival game set on a distant planet, with sessions resetting every 168 hours. I’m not 100% sure how this mechanic plays out, but it’s an interesting concept all the same.

Game of the Week

Game of the Week this week is Someday You’ll Return, finally launching on Steam after a month’s delay.

It’s a horror game about a man who’s lost his daughter, and no, it’s not Silent Hill. It’s a first-person psychological horror game about a father searching for his daughter in a place he’d rather not return to, and the game promises a bunch of secrets and hard truths will emerge from his journey. Using stealth elements and a dose of Czech mythology, Someday You’ll Return looks like a very interesting horror title.

And that’s it for this week! I should be back next week with more from the world of gaming!