As the month of E3, traditionally June is when fewer releases jostle for the spotlight—although, this has been broken occasionally in the last decade with titles including Infamous 2 and The Last of Us.
This year, gamers may not have a TLoU-size behemoth, but they still have plenty to actually play while anticipating the bigger games coming in the second half of the year.
Every eighteen months or so, gamers are blessed with another stunning arcade action game from the veteran developers at Housemarque. Early in 2016, Alienation built on the solid base of their earlier Dead Nation games, and before that was 2014’s excellent PS4 launch title, Resogun.
2017’s beautiful, blistering shooter is a collaboration with expert designer Eugene Jarvis, whose work has influenced Housemarque in the past—particularly the aforementioned Resogun. Despite this fortuitous pairing of the inspired with their inspiration (as well as crunchy, voxel-styled graphics), the game is not Resogun 2. Rather than a cylindrical space-shmup, Nex Machina is a top-down game, and embodies the best aspects of two other Housemarque titles: the 360° twin-stick shooting of Super Stardust and the colour-shifting bullet hell of Outland.
To further distinguish the game as its own beast, Nex Machina eschews the RPG elements and multiplayer-friendly design of Alienation. Instead, the game focuses on the most acceptable version of multiplayer—especially to OnlySP—the high-score chase. Congratulations to Housemarque for recognising how social and entertaining single player action games can be.
What? The game has a co-op mode? Oh well, that is neither here nor there.
Nex Machina releases for PlayStation 4 and Windows PCs on June 20.
At the complete opposite end of the spectrum to Nex Machina is a town-building, item-crafting, equipment-synthesising, action-RPG from Grezzo, developers of the 3DS versions of Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask. In Ever Oasis, a ‘seedling’ known as Tethu (who can be male or female) ventures into the desert looking for their older brother.
Players are tasked with creating a village in the desert to act as a base for exploring ever farther in search of their missing brother. The game combines the classic action and sim elements of JRPGs of yesteryear (for example, the Dark Cloud series on PS2) to produce a game with the modern appeal of Monster Hunter or Stardew Valley. Indeed, the mechanics of growing a town and venturing into monster-filled dungeons is not a new concept by any means, but Ever Oasis looks to please fans of both retro RPGs and modern survival/sims. Grezzo have promised ‘towering bosses’ and ‘traps and puzzles’, so there will be more to the gameplay than just grinding in fields.
Not to mention that new IPs coming to the 3DS, even after the Switch’s recent success, is a great sign of Nintendo’s continued support of the platform. Still, this late in the game any potential Ever Oasis 2 has to be—at the very least—released on both.
Ever Oasis hits 3DS worldwide on June 23.
For more on why we are excited for Valkyria Revolution, see our Most Anticipated of 2017.
Truly, the modern custom of holding franchises ransom by releasing spin-offs and speaking to the effect of, “if this game does well, maybe we’ll release the next in the main series,” is a fandom-hostile, tone deaf approach for a publisher to take. Nevertheless, fans of the beleaguered Valkyria Chronicles series might never see another entry, with the third PSP-only game never even localised outside of Japan. The fact that another Valkyria game of any kind is making its way Stateside (indeed, in English around the world) is exciting in and of itself, despite Sega’s implied ‘ransoming’ of the core Chronicles brand, depending on this new title’s success.
What distinguishes Revolution from Chronicles is threefold. First, the game is no longer turn-based. Instead of strategic, third-person trench warfare, Valkyria Revolution‘s real time battles are closer to Bioware games such as Mass Effect, combining AI teammates and magic powers as players maneuver around the battlefield.
Second, Revolution breaks from the World War II-inspired setting of Chronicles, going for an earlier, Industrial Revolution-era conflict. The events and characters are not directly linked to Chronicles beyond being part of the same history, and the story is set in a more ‘eastern’ feeling part of the Europan Continent, with the big bad Ruzhein standing in for the old Russian Empire.
Finally, Valkyria Revolution‘s tone and visual style (while still closer to Chronicles than, say, the Tales franchise) is much more traditional for a JRPG. Characters use magical abilities that are not the sole domain of the demigod-like Valkyria; bladed weapons replace guns as the most common form of weaponry; and the cast are a ragtag bunch of do-good rebels, not a uniform military.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Revolution’s release is that it is multiplatform (save a Steam release, which has to be in the offing eventually), making it one of the few 2017 JRPGs playable on Xbox One. For those who enjoyed Tales of Vesperia or Lost Odyssey on their Xbox 360s, another Japanese game hitting Microsoft’s latest console cannot be a bad thing.
Valkyria Revolution comes to North America on June 27 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox One.
Two highly anticipated fighting games arrive in June, each claiming to have robust single-player content along with their requisite online multiplayer modes. On June 2, Tekken 7 finally comes to PS4, PC and, Xbox One, while on June 16, Arms releases on Nintendo Switch.
Fans of the Danganronpa series will want to keep an eye on two niche titles in June also, with the alternate-history-crime-investigation JRPG Dark Rose Valkyrie hitting PS4 on June 6, and the ambitiously named Danganronpa spin-off Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls being ported to PS4 and PC on June 27.
Last but far from least, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy brings the three original Crash Bandicoot games to PS4 on June 30, with vastly improved graphics and controls (though retaining the teeth-grinding difficulty). Although the Trilogy remaster is another example of ‘gauging interest in’, aka using sales to ransom any new Crash Bandicoot games, the quality of the original releases makes a prospective purchase worthwhile, and more than just a $40 vote for more Crash.
Save any surprise releases during E3, those are the games. Are there any more this month that you had your eye on? Why not mention them below, and of course, stay with us here at OnlySP for more on our favourite single player games.