This month, gamers are treated to several meaty RPGs, updated re-releases, and a whole lot of exploration and puzzle-solving. Dig in and enjoy three of these single player games to look out for in May.
Arkane Studios, the minds behind the critically acclaimed Dishonored, is following its excellent spiritual successor to Thief and Deus Ex with another in the immersive sim genre, this time walking in the footsteps of System Shock 2.
After the disappointing cancellation of Human Head Studios’s Prey 2, rumours broke that Arkane was working on a Prey reboot that was unrelated to the cancelled sequel. As perplexing as that seems, the real story is actually rather simple: when Prey 2 imploded, Arkane was already working on a new IP that shared its stealthy, systems-based gameplay with Dishonored but took place aboard a futuristic space station. With both being owned by Bethesda, the new game was free to use the Prey name.
Although “Dishonored in space” is more than enough to sell a game, Prey stands out from Arkane Studios’s other recent output. Due to a combination of factors, including the technological limitations of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and a de-emphasis on the deeper aspects of immersive sims and RPGs, contemporary immersive sim games like Dishonored and Bioshock shared a smaller scope than their PC antecedents.
However, the new Prey has been developed for current-generation consoles and PCs, focused on delivering greater interactivity than has been seen since the genre’s popularity in the early 2000s. Indeed, Arkane’s first game—cult hit Arx Fatalis—is a major influence on Prey‘s design, particularly its open-ended exploration as opposed to Dishonored‘s level-based structure. The game’s space-station, Talos I, is a very nearly Metroid-style location—sprawling, interconnected, and anything but linear.
Players are free to approach Prey‘s many challenges using stealth, hacking, alien powers, or straight-up action. On the whole, Prey is a gamer’s game filled to the brim with exciting prospects. Like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, expect to see wild exploitations of the systems herein on YouTube, and fingers crossed the game can stick the landing and remain as promising throughout.
Prey stalks onto PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 5.
Another sci-fi RPG but with an entirely different tone, The Surge comes from half of the team behind Lords of the Fallen, which combined Dark Souls– inspired design with chunkier melee combat and a more straightforward story.
The Surge is pitched as Lords of the Fallen with robots. Adopting a mechanised, industrial aesthetic, The Surge might be the most unusual Souls-like game so far, even in a year where Nioh‘s samurai action advanced the genre in strange new directions. Like Dark Souls, The Surge takes place after society has suffered an apocalyptic collapse, although the extent of the collapse is left ambiguous.
On the other hand, players are restricted to a pre-made character,Warren, who wears a heavy-grade exoskeleton that can be upgraded with scrap collected from fallen enemies (The Surge‘s equivalent of souls). The story sees Warren at his first day on the job at a futuristic construction facility when the titular Surge renders everyone else as braindead husks—and their exoskeletons bent on destroying anything organic that remains.
All of the requisite progression hooks—exosuit upgrades, crafting, loot and so on—are present and accounted for, as is the Souls-like tradition of terrifying bosses, this time featured as construction equipment and inhuman robots. Unlocking shortcuts, exploring a decaying world and unravelling what actually caused the Surge promises to be an excellent sci-fi transposition of the Dark Souls formula, so fingers crossed it remains entertaining all the way to the end.
The Surge comes to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 16.
The history of Tequila Works’s Rime is long and unflattering. Green-lit as an exclusive by Microsoft before the launch of the Xbox One, only to be dropped and picked up by Sony, Rime was apparently dropped again and finally bought back by the developer themselves to be released multiplatform.
Whatever the reason for the game being treated like a hot potato, punters would not be blamed for a little wariness. Yet, Rime looks beautiful, with an unrealistic art style reminiscent of The Wind Waker and Firewatch. Tequila Works has also not been coy about its other inspirations, citing Journey and Ico as touchstones for the tone and gameplay.
Players are cast as a young boy, washed ashore on a deserted island, where he must explore mysterious ruins and complete puzzles. Without anything resembling a combat system, though, Rime plays less like Zelda and more like The Witness: the puzzles are about learning the environment and how different elements fit together.
Will Rime offer a deeply woven thematic beauty that goes beyond looks, or is it simply a pretty face? Fans of puzzle-adventure games will find out in a few weeks.
Rime releases for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on May 26 and for Nintendo Switch later in 2017.
For players looking for something more familiar, several new releases in well-loved series drop this month, with the classical JRPG The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky 3rd coming to Windows PCs on May 3, the console version of Dreamfall Chapters on May 5, Injustice 2‘s superhero dust- ups on May 16, and the spin-off antics of Fire Emblem Echoes on 3DS on May 19.
Even more familiar are the remastered or re-released titles, with Minecraft coming to Nintendo Switch on May 11, followed by Disgaea 5 Complete on May 23. Also on May 23, Darksiders: Warmastered Edition finally hits Wii U and on May 30, Ys Origin, a stand-alone prequel in the Ys series, comes to PlayStation Vita.
That is all for another month of single player games, if we missed any, be sure to share your most anticipated in the comments below. Thanks again for reading OnlySP and happy gaming.