Now Arriving: Games of December 2019

It is time to exhale. The rush of the Fall/Holiday release schedule is now at an end, which means we can finally catch up on our backlogs. Well, that’s the idea anyway. Thankfully, December marks the start of the slower season, though there may be a few titles which catch your eye.

Halo is the big franchise to watch this month and while it may not be the highly anticipated Halo Infinite, these options will be able to hold you over until then. First up is the return of Halo: Reach this time to both PC and Xbox One players. In fact, The Master Chief Collection also debuts for PC players, though the entire library of games will be releasing over the course of 2020.

Darksiders finally returns this month with Joe Madureira back at the helm. Joe Mad’s studio, Airship Syndicate is launching Darksiders: Genesis, a new isometric Diablo-ish style game that also introduces the last Horsemen, Strife. It may be a little different from what fans are used to, but it looks incredibly fun.

Fear not as there are plenty more options coming at you this month. Either way, I hope you eventually catch up on your backlog and play some quality games over the holiday season. Here’s the complete list of December 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

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Franchises that Deserve Another Chance in Next Gen

We’re now about a year away from when the next generation of consoles graces store shelves. While there’s still a ton we don’t know about Microsoft’s Project Scarlett or the Sony’s PlayStation 5, I figured it’s never too early to start a wishlist.

Recently I had been thinking about a couple of my favorite franchises and how I haven’t heard much about them. While it makes me a little sad to see the state many of them are currently in, what if they’re being readied for the next generation? With that in mind, I put together a list of my most wanted franchises with the NextBox and PS5 hit.

f-zero captain falcon

Also, I’m not going to include any Valve or Konami games in my list because, well, it feels like a fools errand these days. We all know about games like Castlevania or Half-Life, but who knows. And no, I’m not counting that Half-Life VR game they just announced. I mean, it’s not Half-Life 3.

It’s also worth mentioning that this list is going to be entirely subjective. There are just so many franchises that have been seemingly left behind that I can’t cover them all here. Don’t be offended if your favorite legacy title isn’t shown off here. In fact, let us know about it in the comments instead!

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Anthem Next – How BioWare Could Save The Game

I’ll be perfectly honest with you. I was all about Anthem when I first heard about it. On paper, it seemed to check off a ton of boxes for me seeing as how I love action RPG style games. Four different classes, loot and customization, a BioWare style story, and of course, skill trees.

And then the game launched.

I won’t rehash how the game basically fell apart from there, suffice it to say it wasn’t what were were hoping for. It did have bright spots, like being able to fly was a fantastic experience, but the game largely fell on its face.

anthem cataclysm

Based on what we know now, I guess it should have been expected when you consider how long and how awful development really was. The odds were stacked against it. Plus, most of the leadership team has either been pulled on different projects or left the company outright. Without direction or a public face, Anthem seemed primed to shut down for good.

However, this silence now seems planned as reports indicate that BioWare is quietly overhauling the game behind the scenes. Anthem 2.0 or “Next” was originally reported by Kotaku last week and frankly, I really hope this is the case. According to Jason Schreier, both the Austin and Edmonton offices at BioWare are hard at work transforming and tearing down the current version of Anthem. They’re not abandoning or quitting the game as most fans seem to think.

The major problem is how this new version will be distributed once it’s ready for the public. While a release is likely far off, the studio is still debating the best method of delivery, whether that’s through a series of individual updates, one massive patch, or something else entirely. One thing seems to be sure, there won’t be a charge for players who already purchased the game.

Anthem Logo

Let’s be honest, there are plenty of examples of games getting overhauled and coming back stronger than ever so it’s not entirely unheard of. Frankly, I hope this is the direction they’re going in because Anthem has so much untapped potential. The unfortunate part of this is that much of the existing game first needs to be torn down in order to get to it.

No Man’s Sky and even Final Fantasy XIV are the most recent examples of basically resurrecting a game that many considered dead on arrival. It’s hard work, but it is completely possible. Many this is what Anthem needs to really reach the heights we were all expecting back when it launched in February. We shall see.

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Now Arriving: Games of November 2019

I know I’m a little late on this one but it’s better late than never! We’re in the home stretch of the holiday season as November really presents the last major release hurdle. Sure, December has a couple games, but once we make it through this month, the wallet destruction is at an end.

Okay, let’s be honest here. In terms of franchises, it doesn’t get much bigger than Pokemon. The Nintendo Switch is finally getting a game in the core series of games with Pokemon Sword/Shield, taking players to a location that seems to be inspired by Great Britain. In addition to staples like Meowth and Pikachu, players will also be able to pick up a pretty rainbow pony, a welsh corgi, and plenty more new Pokemon.

Not into catching pocket monsters? Not a problem, the gaming industry has you covered! Rockstar is going big for PC users by launching Red Dead Redemption 2 with plenty of PC specific features. Need for Speed: Heat brings players back to the streets with high octane racing and Respawn Entertainment is trying to hit gold once again in 2019 with the single player focused game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

As you can see, there’s a ton of good stuff coming this month. As always, check out the complete list of November 2019 video game releases. Enjoy!

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Overwatch 2 Has Done Something I’ve Been Waiting Years For

So as most of you know, BlizzCon 2019 was this past weekend and while the specter of Blizzard’s tough year loomed over the event, the studio delivered some really awesome announcements. That Diablo 4 cinematic was something else, wasn’t it?

One of the industry’s worst kept secrets, Overwatch 2 was also revealed in full, finally bringing a dedicated PvE side as well.

overwatch 2 paris winston

While I’ve enjoyed the game for what it is, I’ve always felt a major disconnect between all of the story elements and the actual gameplay. I mean, Blizzard has worked hard to create a backstory for its many characters and showcased them brilliantly in stunning cinematics. The world is rich in lore with the downfall of a once beloved organization called Overwatch who set out to protect people. You have different factions like Talon and Null Sector, robots called Omnics who are not trusted by parts of the population, and a talking gorilla who is atempting to rally and reform the now dispersed Overwatch team.

Lots of stuff to unpack there, yes. However, for those people who want to explore this side of the game, well, it’s very hard to because after you get past all of those flashy trailers, Overwatch is essentially a competitive shooter. Players are free to pick from any character they want regardless of the faction they represent. It doesn’t matter if two characters like Soldier: 76 and Reaper don’t like each other or if two characters on opposite teams are technically part of the same faction.

Sure, voice lines give snippets of lore in game, but for the most part, the lore part of the game is thrown out in favor of pure shooter gameplay. While some may be fine with this, I’ve always felt like it was a missed opportunity, similar to what Bungie had been doing with Destiny.

overwatch 2 brigette and reinhart

With Overwatch 2, it looks like the team has placed a bigger focus on the lore and story elements of the series through its PvE missions. Instead of shooting for the sake of shooting, players are guided through various missions against actual enemy targets and a story driving the gameplay. We’ll be getting character backstories and more.

Long overdue if you ask me. Overwatch 2 is likely a ways off, so we’ll have plenty of time to examine this in the meantime. Hopefully this side of the game is given as much love and care as the PvP side has gotten over the years to help it stand out.

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The Evolving World of Destiny 2: Shadowkeep

I’ve always wanted Bungie to go all in with storytelling for the Destiny franchise, something that the studio has struggled with since the series originally launched year ago. Things have improved with Destiny 2 and through the various expansions and with Shadowkeep, we might finally be heading in that direction even if it’s going to take a while to fully get there.

What am I talking about? Bungie has seemingly added more and more in the way of storytelling through cinematics in campaigns, in-game event quests, and now with the Shadowkeep expansion, an evolving world.

destiny 2 shadowkeep vex incursions

The current season of Destiny 2 is called Season of the Undying and it involves the Vex invading the Moon. These Vex are related to the original faction we fight against at the Black Garden of the first game, and they appear to be coming back in force thanks to its leader, the Undying Mind.

Resident Warlock Vanguard, Ikora Rey, has asked us to invade the Black Garden and collect parts from the newly added Vex Offensive mode. The second week following the Shadowkeep launch revealed that she’s actually using these components to build what appears to be a massive portal which will eventually let us invade the Undying Mind’s location to kill him across multiple timelines.

While that sounds cool and all, the big revelation is that the Tower is slowly evolving and changing with each weekly reset. Behind Ikora’s spot is a team of builders who continue to make progress on the massive Vex portal. It’s a small detail but I really like seeing this in the game as it makes me feel like I have a hand in changing this world. My hope is that this is just the beginning and in future seasons this concept is taken a step further.

destiny 2 new light

I’ve always hope that we’d see expansion characters like Ana Bray and Osiris make it back to the Tower. I feel like that would be another nice little touch to help make Destiny 2 feel like a living and breathing game. While Osiris could totally show up in the Tower, I understand it might complicate things with Ana who serves as the point of contact for players on Mars.

Still, I like and agree with Bungie’s vision for a world that is constantly moving forward. I wished the Shadowkeep campaign was a bit longer, but it seems like we’ll see how the story plays out over the course of the next few seasons, especially since we’re getting a new cinematic with the reset this week. I’m intrigued by how things will transform season to season especially since the Vex Offensive mode is going away as well as the Undying title and what apparently will be the Vex invasion threat.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep may be a bit grindier than the series has ever been, but I’m really likely the direction Bungie is pushing the franchise. We’ll see how this thing plays out over the next few months.

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The Shifting Goalposts of Borderlands 3

As I mentioned previously, I’m perfectly okay that Borderlands 3 didn’t push the genre or franchise forward. Yes, the game looks better and has a number of cool quality of life features, but for the most part, this plays nearly the same as what you’d expect. For good and bad.

Borderlands mask of mayhem teaser

However, one element that has seemingly come out of no where are the consistent updates that the game receives. While constant patching and fixes are typically a good thing, the ones for Borderlands 3 have started to really wear down the community and interfere with one of the franchise’s core tenants: Fun.

Let’s explore this topic, shall we?

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