September is running out, and October is shaping up as the biggest month of new releases for 2017. From the latest entries in blockbuster franchises to smaller curios, almost every gamer is sure to find something to pique their interests. Sony may not be publishing much in the way of single-player oriented titles throughout next month, but the PlayStation 4 is still home to a host of potentially brilliant games.
BATTLE CHASERS: NIGHTWAR
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is both an adaptation of a late 1990s comic series and the latest project from prolific comic book writer and Darksiders creative director Joe Madureira. Following the closure of Darksiders developer Vigil Games in 2013, Madureira set up a new company called Airship Syndicate in 2015 and immediately began working on new projects. In September of that year, one of those efforts, Battle Chasers: Nightwar (a JRPG-inspired game), arrived on Kickstarter, seeking USD$500,000 in funding.
Although the core design replicates the established principles of overworld and dungeon exploration, Airship Syndicate is putting a new spin on battle mechanics. Rather than reserving mana solely for magical attacks, each ability in the game uses blue mana, and running out gives characters access to a pool of red mana, the latter of which comes with unique buffs or debuffs for every party member. Beyond this novel mechanic, the game uses a turn-based initiative bar to determine attacking order, and can cause status changes to characters depending on the environment and other external factors.
Another key difference from genre classics is the inclusion of randomised dungeons, which affect layouts, enemy types, spawn points, and loot. Furthermore, retuning to dungeons allows players to tackle them at higher difficulties, which in turn generates new NPCs and rare items.
Alongside the release, Airship Syndicate has announced a new series of comics following on from the original series that ended publication in 2001.
Battle Chasers: Nightwar is set for release on October 3 on Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A Switch version is also in the works, but was recently delayed due to compatibility issues between the platform and the game’s Unity engine. A revised release date has not been supplied, though the developers expect the problems to be resolved relatively quickly.
ELEX is the latest RPG project from the team behind the Gothic and Risen series. Developers Piranha Bytes have a reputation for greater ambition than execution, and previews suggest that this latest game will follow that trend, but the imagination on display in ELEX is admirable.
Some time before the game takes place, the world of Magalan was struck by a meteor that ravaged the environment while also bringing a new material to the planet. Elex is a quasi-magical resource capable of running machinery or granting mystical abilities to humans. The varied uses of the substance have resulted in the emergence of several different factions, each believing that their way is the best for society. The player steps into this divided world, and will ultimately join a faction and help to shape the course of the future.
The marketing claims that the title features one the greatest variety of weapons ever included in a video game, ranging from basic swords and bows to highly-advanced plasma weapons. However, the armaments are only the tip of the iceberg. Later in the game, players will gain access to magic, powered by Elex, while a jetpack is an early collectible, allowing for easy exploration across the vast open world. These traits, combined with an intricately interconnected quest structure, aim to set the game apart and set a new standard of quality for the work of Piranha Bytes.
In terms of scale, ELEX is more promising than any of the developer’s previous projects, but whether it can live up to its potential remains to be seen. The game launches on October 17 on PS4, as well as PC and Xbox One.
WOLFENSTEIN II: THE NEW COLOSSUS
After stunning the gaming world with a brilliant reboot of the classic shooter series, MachineGames returns next month with the hotly-anticipated Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.
Having defeated Nazi general Wilhelm “Deathshead” Strasse in the previous game, B. J. Blazkowicz returns to once again face off against the Third Reich in an alternate history where the German forces won World War II. For the first time in the history of the franchise, the bulk of the action takes place in America, with Blazkowicz charged with rallying a diverse group of Resistance leaders to spark a second American Revolution and unseat the Nazis.
2014’s Wolfenstein: The New Order was lauded for its willingness to take narrative risks and blend serious themes with a much lighter attitude. The previews and pre-release videos for this sequel strongly suggest that the developers are replicating that deliberately uneven tone to even better effect. Similarly, the team is diversifying gameplay. While first-person run-and-gun action remains the main form of interaction, an early section sees players restricted to a wheelchair and later segment will put Blazkowicz in the driver’s seat of some high-tech vehicles. Furthermore, players are reportedly able to dual-wield any combination of weapons in this extreme action fantasy.
With the excellence of the previous game as a foundation, in concert with some novel mechanics and a series-first setting, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has the potential to count among the best (or at least most unique) shooters of 2017. The game is scheduled to launch on October 27 for PS4, alongside PC and Xbox One, while a Switch version is slated to arrive in 2018.
Beyond these games, October is stacked with huge releases. Sony is joining in the action directly with Gran Turismo Sport out on October 17 and Supermassive Games’s (Until Dawn) new crime thriller Hidden Agenda releasing October 24. Meanwhile, the other big hitters of the month include Middle-Earth: Shadow of War on October 10, The Evil Within II three days later, South Park: The Fractured But Whole on October 17, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins near the end.
Fans of Japanese titles are also catered for, with survival-horror game Yomawari: Midnight Shadows on October 24, Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on October 5, and Chaos;Child on October 13.
Why not let us know what you’ll be playing throughout October, PlayStation fans?