- Zenimax Online Studios
- "The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind"
Summer slump? What summer slump? It's new releases all year 'round these days. Here's what we can't wait to start logging hours into next month.
"The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind" (PS4, Xbox One, PC, June 6)
If you had told me a year ago that I'd be playing a massive-multiplayer game in 2017, I'd have raised an eyebrow. They're by-and-large not my thing. I tend to find the communities obnoxious, the grind tedious and they usually make me wish I were playing a more focused single-player experience instead.
I'd heard good things about recent updates to Zenimax's initially troubled MMO take on the Elder Scrolls fantasy franchise, so I took the plunge during last year's Steam Summer Sale. Color me surprised to find a game that strikes a delicate balance between the usual MMO game play loop (fetch-and kill quests, loot drops) and the expansive lore and interesting world of one the mainline Elder Scrolls games. Here we are, nearly a year later, and I've logged around 100 hours and counting.
If you're interested in giving it a shot, there's never been a better time to jump in. The game's latest expansion marks a return to the lush fantasy jungles of 2002 fan favorite "The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind." The update introduces a new landmass to explore, as well as a new character class, dungeon dives and lots of hidden treasure. There's still plenty of the base game and previous expansions for me to explore, but I'll get to Morrowind one day!
ARMS (Nintendo Switch, June 16)
Nintendo seems to be on a roll with its new hybrid Switch console. It's sold out everywhere and seems to be sitting at the top of nearly everyone's wish list. Not bad for a gaming landscape riddled with tablets and smartphones.
And with a new gaming generation comes a brand new series from Nintendo that sees a colorful cast of fighters with long, springlike arms battling out in futuristic arenas. Is it a crazy premise? Yep. But I'm always thrilled to see developers take a risk with new ideas. (See also, Nintendo's recent "Splatoon" shooter.) The recent Arms Global Test Punch beta event seemed to go well. This new title has party game written all over it, but this may turn out to be one of those ideas where you either love it or hate it.
Either way, I can't wait to get my hands — er, arms — around Nintendo's latest.
- Kadokawa Games
- "God Wars: Future Past"
God Wars: Future Past (PS4, PSVita, June 20)
Confession Time: I've never been a big fan of the mainline "Final Fantasy" series. I know it's blasphemy, but the only games I've beaten in the franchise are the "Final Fantasy Tactics" spinoffs. And those were my introduction to tactics games in general — a genre that I love — so I'm always on the lookout for newcomers.
From the outside, "God Wars" looks like your typical tactical RPG: lead a team of party members across a grid map while battling enemy forces. The story is set in mythological Japan and the style, contributed by a couple of big-name Japanese games artists, looks great.
If you're thirsty for tactical RPG action, consider picking this one up on the Sony console of your choice.
- "Ever Oasis"
Ever Oasis (3DS, June 23)
The Nintendo Switch may be the new hotness, but there's still the matter of 60-million-plus 3DS owners out there. Nintendo swears its last-gen portable is still very much viable but, then again, they kind of have to say that, don't they? But there's still life in the old girl yet, and "Ever Oasis" is one of those bright spots.
This cutesy RPG tasks you with growing and protecting a magical oasis in the middle of a desert by pairing with nearby nomadic tribes and fighting off the forces of chaos. The team behind this game was responsible for the excellent 3DS port of "The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask" a few years back. Can they repeat their success with their own IP? That remains to be seen, but 3DS owners can look forward to giving this one a shot.
Whatever Overwatch Is Planning in June (PS4, Xbox One, PC)
If there's anything that takes priority over my games backlog, it's squad-shooter behemoth "Overwatch." Blizzard's latest game has occupied nearly all of my gaming time since it released a year ago. It's currently celebrating an anniversary event, which features nifty new skins, three new arcade maps and a Game of the Year edition which packs a few extras for new players looking to jump in.
But true to form in this brave new games-as-a-service world, Overwatch is always teasing its next new thing which, in this case, appears to concern a lunar colony overrun by hyper-intelligent gorillas. A tease on social media this week might indicate that the game will soon see a new map based around the lunar colony setting, a new character joining the roster — or possibly both. Or, given that the lunar colony is part of an existing character's backstory (that's Winston, the tesla-cannon wielding scientist primate, for those keeping score) it might just turn out to be a new short movie. Who knows? The point is, Blizzard seems intent on keeping the "Overwatch" hype train rolling and that means fresh content sooner rather than later.