Microsoft is being roundly criticised for a lack of must-have games ahead of the Xbox One X’s launch later this year, but that does not necessarily make the release schedule entirely barren. The Xbox One has some great-looking titles lined up for September, and the best of them are below.
MARVEL VS CAPCOM: INFINITE
Long awaited yet much maligned, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite is the latest entry in Capcom’s fan-service-based crossover fighting series. Despite widespread concerns, the game remains one of 2017’s flagship fighters, alongside Tekken 7 and the home release of Pokkén Tournament.
Following in the footsteps of its predecessors, Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite smashes together two distinct universes in an explosion of colour and stylised graphics. For the latest iteration, Ant-Man’s creation (or Iron Man’s in the Marvel Cinematic Universe) Ultron forms an alliance with Mega Man X villain Sigma, with the two using the Infinity Stones to merge into a single being bent on eradicating organic life. To combat the threat, Marvel and Capcom heroes join forces.
The Marvel portion of the roster takes clear inspiration from recent films, with Ghost Rider and Nova the only characters so far revealed to not be present in the MCU. Capcom’s fighters are a more diverse group, including Ghosts ‘n Goblins’s Arthur, Darkstalkers’s Morrigan, Dead Rising’s Frank West, and Devil May Cry’s Dante (featuring his classic appearance).
A notable change from the most recent entries in the series is Infinite’s two-character tag teams, as opposed to the three from earlier incarnations. A potentially game-changing new feature is the incorporation of Infinity Stones into the gameplay, each of which has a different effect that can be charged to significantly affect the flow of combat.
Pre-release criticism has focused on the lack of character detail (which will be addressed in a day-one patch) and a perceived simplification of controls, though whether those design decisions will influence high-level play remains to be determined.
With a story mode expected to feature multiple hours of cinematics, as well as mission and arcade modes, the game promises a wealth of content for single-players to enjoy when it releases on September 19 for Xbox One, alongside PC and PlayStation 4.
DISHONORED: DEATH OF THE OUTSIDER
Announced at E3 earlier this year, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider is billed as the final chapter in the betrayal of Empress Jessamine Kaldwin saga that began in 2012. Despite having powerful narrative ties to the previous entries of the franchise, Arkane has designed this standalone expansion to be friendly to newcomers.
Players take the role of Billie Lurk—second-in-command to the first game’s antagonist, Daud—in a new quest to kill the mysterious, magic-granting figure known as the Outsider. Although the mission comes from Daud, the exact reasons behind it are unknown at the present time. The expansion is expected to explore the history of the Outsider and explain his existence.
With a new protagonist comes a new suite of abilities. Billie’s previously-revealed skills of Blink and Thorns will be supplemented by a range of powers granted by the Void artefacts that have been grafted onto her arm and eye. New abilities include Semblance, whereby she assumes another character’s face and body for a short period; Displace, which allows her to teleport while leaving behind a shadow self; and a Voltaic Gun that shoots electricity. However, Dishonored: Death of the Outsider will also include an Original Game Plus mode, giving players the option to play through the new missions using the set of skills available in Dishonored 2.
One significant departure from previous games is the new Contracts feature, which is similar to HITMAN’s Elusive Targets mode (though without the online requirement) in that players are given a single chance to fulfil the mission’s objective in each playthrough.
Despite being originally conceived as DLC for Dishonored 2, the scale of Death of the Outsider grew enough to make it standalone, and, as such, the title is expected to provide a hefty load of content when it arrives for Xbox One, as well as PC and PlayStation 4, on September 15.
The fact that Cuphead is one of only a handful of Xbox exclusives remaining in 2017 would almost guarantee it a place on this list. However, the unique 1930s-inspired animation, classic gameplay style, and single-player focus cement Cuphead as one of the must-have games for Xbox owners in September.
Developed by the debut team at StudioMDHR Entertainment, Cuphead uses a hand-drawn aesthetic unlike anything seen in games before. The visual design is inspired by the work of Fleischer Studios, which pioneered rotoscoped animation with iconic characters such as Betty Boop and Popeye. The simultaneously realistic and surrealistic styling of those early forays into cartoons is recreated in Cuphead, though the game eschews humans in favour of anthropomorphised tableware.
Despite the unique appearance, the project appears to rely on established tropes of run-and-gun gameplay with missions strung together using an RPG-styled overworld. While some levels will involve platforming elements, the game is built around boss battles, with the developers planning to include around 30. Those bosses are present for a greater purpose than simply providing a formidable challenge.
Players slip into the porcelain shoes of the eponymous character after it loses a bet with the Devil. The game revolves around Cuphead’s quest to repay that debt, and the boss battles are the key to doing so. Although the game is designed primarily as a single-player experience, a co-operative mode is included, with the second user controlling Mugman, a palette-swapped version of the main character.
Cuphead is scheduled to arrive on Xbox One and PC on September 29.
Anyone looking for a fine racing experience ahead of October’s Forza Motorsport 7 is spoiled for choice this month, with NASCAR Heat 2 out on September 12, Baja: Edge of Control HD available two days later, and Project CARS 2 (see the list of this month’s PC games) arriving on September 22. Meanwhile, Destiny 2 brings back shared-world shooting on September 6.
Let us know what Xbox One games you have on your radar this month in the comments below!