October is as packed to bursting with games as last month was—filled with RPGs, action-adventures, and strategy games—many of them from indie developers or smaller studios. As usual, we have picked a few standout titles to touch on, and if you like what you see, why not leave a comment down below!
If you are interested in seeing more content from any of these games, let us know through the social channels at the end of the post, and we will do our best to oblige.
Release Date: October 8, 2019
Platform: PlayStation 4
As someone who grew up in the era of the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, with cartoony and colourful Weird Sony games such as Ape Escape, Eye Toy, Ico—or even the later Loco Roco, LittleBigPlanet, or Puppeteer—I am so pleased to see the return of Weird Sony from being virtual-reality only.
For several years, PlayStation’s cuter and more experimental side has mostly been for the PSVR: Astro Bot, as a prime example, with non-VR games of the PS4 generation more often focused on delivering big, serious action as in Horizon Zero Dawn, God of War and Spider-Man.
On the other hand, Weird Sony’s kooky-spooky MediEvil gets a remake this month, but for my money, Concrete Genie headlines this return. The game can be played without a PSVR helmet, but it would not be Weird Sony if not for some innovative and/or clunky control scheme: in this case, a painting mechanic operated with the DualShock 4’s motion sensor. As for those who do have VR helmets—they can still partake of Weird Sony with two optional VR modes included at launch.
The game’s story centers on a bullied teenager named Ash, who stumbles upon a magic paintbrush that allows him to summon Studio Ghibli-inspired Genies and liven up his depressed suburban town. Unlike the stencil painting in, say, Infamous: Second Son, Concrete Genie gives players the same creative powers that Ash has; offering an array of different brush strokes and styles for painting Genies on various surfaces, as well as more familiar powers for the action-adventure sections.
If shepherding progression sounds difficult in a game about freely creating art, it certainly is—but, the developers at Pixelopus say that they have developed a system that balances “agency [with] assistance”. The title may be a lower budget release and rely on often-ridiculed motion controls, but with some gorgeous visual effects and the hopeful gravitas of a story about overcoming bullying through creativity, Concrete Genie is certainly worth keeping an eye on.
THE LEGEND OF HEROES: TRAILS OF COLD STEEL III
Release Date: October 22, 2019
Platform: PlayStation 4
Falcom’s sprawling The Legend of Heroes, particularly its multiple Trails sub-series, are a great example of contemporary developers filling the turn-based hole in the JRPG genre. Indeed, for the majority of this decade, Xseed Games has translated the Trails games into English with critical acclaim, most recently the first two Trails of Cold Steel titles just a few years after their Japanese releases.
Every one of the English language Trails releases makes for an excellent demonstration that graphics are not everything, that anime games can still boast interesting stories, and that intricate JRPG battle systems are not dead. Though the PlayStation Portable releases of Trails in the Sky and Trails in the Sky Second Chapter hearkened back to the original PlayStation (2D sprites on simple 3D backgrounds), the Trails of Cold Steel games more resemble JRPGs on the PlayStation 2. This sub-series also shares a lot of anime trappings with Fire Emblem and Persona, for those JRPG fans in the know.
The first Cold Steel‘s story follows a class of students at Thors Military Academy, following the events of Trails in the Sky, and builds off the intricate battle systems of those games that combine tactical positioning and a Final Fantasy X-like, conditional turn-based mechanic. Cold Steel 2 then continued the story with improved graphics and greater player freedom.
This time, the English version of Trails of Cold Steel 3 comes not from Xseed but the team at NIS America, whose work on Ys VIII proved divisive back in 2017. With any luck, such experience forced NIS to better establish its localisation pipeline: the scripts of the Cold Steel series are many times longer than any given Ys title. On the plus side, with Cold Steel 3 being built first as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, the process has been quicker than the time taken to port the first two games from the PS3.
Ultimately, the release of Trails of Cold Steel 3 is most exciting for existing fans of the series, but anyone else looking to play a positively epic story could do worse than picking up the original Cold Steel on PC, PS4, or PS Vita and begin their journey through all three games. (By the way, a fourth entry is already available in Japan, in case you were worried about running out.)
THE OUTER WORLDS
Release Date: October 25, 2019
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One
From a several-years-old Japanese RPG to a practically retro American one, The Outer Worlds (not to be confused with Outer Wilds, released earlier in the year) comes to us with a simple pitch: a sci-fi RPG from the people who brought you Fallout: New Vegas.
Now, I could leave it there and the intended audience would know everything they need to be excited. I like to think I am not that lazy, though, so the more detailed pitch for The Outer Worlds is a darkly comedic space-opera RPG with first-person-shooter elements and lots of player choice.
Bits and pieces seem familiar to fans of Fallout and other Obsidian games, of course, from the satirical tone to the freewheeling morality system and enormous scope of possibilities. The trade-off for having such reactive quests is that The Outer Worlds is a much shorter experience than, say, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. However, with the sixth Elder Scrolls being little more than a glint in Todd Howard’s eye, even fans of those sprawling RPGs will be looking forward to The Outer Worlds as a refreshing, classic alternative to whatever non-single-player weirdness was Fallout 76.
Of special note is that, although currently not officially dated, The Outer Worlds will also be making its way to Nintendo Switch in the near future, continuing the long list of exciting and odd RPGs available on that system.
Warsaw, a tactical RPG set during World War II comes to Steam on October 2, bringing a dark story with beautiful 2D art. On October 8, the cult 3DS RPG The Alliance Alive gets an HD re-release for Switch, PS4 and PC, and on the same day PC and Mac get John Wick Hex, based on the excellent movie franchise and developed by Bithell Games (of Thomas Was Alone, Volume and Subsurface Circular).
The intricate Zelda-esque Pine comes to PC and consoles on October 10, an action-adventure game that simulates a hostile ecosystem of intelligent creatures, then on October 15, PC players can get Disco Elysium, an old-school isometric RPG mixed with hardboiled detective noir. Another one to watch is Eastshade an excellent open-world painting RPG making the leap to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 21.
Finally, on October 31, two very different spooky games hit in time for Halloween: Luigi’s Mansion 3 brings a comedic spin on Resident Evil style horror, and Moons of Madness takes a more atmospheric, cosmic horror approach.
EVEN MORE RELEASES!
Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint
Yooka Laylee and the Impossible Lair
Zombieland: Double Tap – Road Trip
Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape Enhanced Edition (on console, delayed from September)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt for Nintendo Switch
Little Town Hero
Chernobylite (Early Access)
Monkey King: Hero is Back
The Beast Inside
Yakuza 4 (remastered)
Have we missed anything that you are looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion in our community Discord server. Thanks again, and until next month!