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Editorial

Top Five Single Player Games to Look Out For In August

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Despite it still being summer, August is the new September, with a mixed bag of indie games and the first couple of AAA titles on their way. Headlining this month is the new Deus Ex, but there are plenty of other games to dig into, including potentially the most anticipated game of the year.

You already know what game that is, so let’s get stuck into what looks like a really big month.

ABZU

We covered this cartoony scuba simulator as one of our top games ignored at this year’s E3, and now it’s nearly here. With fantastical underwater environments and a touch of exploration, Abzu is taking the concept of ‘walking simulator’ into three dimensions. Anyone who was a fan of Journey should definitely give it a look, as the developer Giant Squid was founded by the art director for that game.

Abzu releases on August 2nd for PS4 and PC. Be on the lookout for our full review of the game tomorrow.

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BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES

Telltale’s biggest leap forward since The Walking Dead, their Batman series not only promises more of their trademark choose-your-own-adventure storytelling but a revamp of their engine, hopefully with fewer bugs and a smoother experience over all.

The fan-favorite The Wolf Among Us seems to be the starting point here, with detective work being a key element of the gameplay. At times, players will even get to choose whether Batman or Bruce Wayne is more suited to approaching the situation, and the new “crowd play” feature lets the audience vote on decisions.

Telltale’s Batman starts with episode 1 on August 2nd, available digitally for most modern systems.

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NO MAN’S SKY

A multiplayer game where you may never see another person in the universe ( so basically single player?) and in the running for one of the most hyped games of the generation, No Man’s Sky has a lot to live up to. Even if it doesn’t cure cancer and make the blind see, though, the game is set to wow with an enormous undiscovered galaxy and cool crafting mechanics.

A little bit of Minecraft and a lot of golden-age science fiction makes No Man’s Sky an explorer’s dream, hopping from planet to planet and building up your resources. Story hounds and lore buffs will also be served, with a big galactic mystery and ancient artefacts to be revealed.

Developers Hello Games have to be commended for their technological ambition, it only remains to be seen whether they’ve also got an interesting game underneath.

No Man’s Sky releases on August 9th for the PS4 and August 12th for the PC.

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GROW UP

In this surprise sequel to Ubisoft’s indie-like hit Grow Home, players once again control the little gardening robot BUD in an old-school 3D platformer with new-school procedural animations.

The mechanics and look are mostly unchanged, with the new goal of reaching the moon of the planet in Grow Home. Fans of the cute, wobbly climbing and stylised graphics of the first game should definitely return for this second helping, as 3D platformers are still few-and-far-between on the new consoles.

Grow Up releases on August 16th for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED

So it’s been a little longer than usual between sequels in the Deus Ex series, which started in 2000 and is now receiving its fourth core entry. In the time since the original, many new franchises have branched off from its brand of action-RPG shooting, not least of which is Dishonored, which also has a game coming out this year.

Will Square Enix be able to make the case for their venerable series? 2011’s Human Revolution faced a similar challenge, re-introducing Deus Ex‘s world of cyberpunk panic to critical and fan praise (though the boss fights stunk a bit before the Director’s Cut).

Mankind Divided is a direct sequel to Human Revolution, featuring the return of Adam Jensen in an escalation of the conflict between augmented and non-augmented humans. Like the previous titles, players have a lot of freedom of choice when approaching their objectives: whether you decide to go in like Neo in the lobby of The Matrix or take the non-violent route and beat the game with zero kills.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided releases on August 23rd for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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HONORABLE MENTION: OBDUCTION (AGAIN)

This beautiful, screw-with-your-mind adventure was delayed into August shortly before its originally planned release date. As of now, signs are good that it will be everything that its pedigree suggests — being designed by the minds behind the Myst series — and that players have nothing to fear from its being delayed.

Obduction will now release worldwide on August 24th for Windows, OSX and Oculus Rift.

OTHER GAMES OF AUGUST

God Eater 2, Attack on Titan, Bound … there are plenty of other promising games releasing in August for single player fans. Which are you excited for?

Leave a comment below and let us know which games of August you’re most looking forward to.

Mitchell is a writer from Currawang, Australia, where his metaphorical sword-pen cleaves fiction from reality daily. When he's not writing, he plays video games and watches movies. While thinking about writing.

Editorial

Three Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in July 2019

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Three Single Player Games (July 2019) - Sea of Solitude, Fire Emblem Three Houses, Wolfenstein Youngblood

July, the middle of winter down here in Australia. Even in the bizarre New South Wales climate, the biting cold makes for a great excuse to stay inside and play games. 

Weirdly for single players, quite a few prestige games this month include additional co-op modes. With acclaimed designers behind them, such games will hopefully avoid the pitfalls of accommodating multiple players, as too many games have done in the past.

Sea of Solitude

Release Date: July 5, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

At first blush, Sea of Solitude looks like yet another story of a young adult struggling with questions of identity and mental health while exploring a beautiful but harsh fantasy world.

Actually, that’s what it is. ‘Quirky, life affirming indie adventure’ is a whole cottage industry these days, but the fact that such games are now more prevalent should never dismay.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a masterpiece of refined design and storytelling, and Sea of Solitude appears be something similar—this time dealing with a fantastical vision of depression that turns ordinary people into literal monsters.

Players take charge of Kay, who has sought out the eponymous Sea—or rather, a flooded city based on Berlin—in the hope that there is a cure for monstrosity. However, despite its name, she is not the only person in the Sea. Avoiding the other monsters of the Sea seems to be a major part of the gameplay. These tense encounters are likely to provide rhythm and variety to the adventure and keep it from being a just walking simulator. (Not that being a walking simulator is inherently a problem.)

Although published by EA Originals, one would do well to remember that EA the company does not actually profit off the Originals that they publish. With a focused story and themes that still are not often explored in bigger games, Sea of Solitude should be of great interest to single player fans in a month otherwise dominated by multiplayer titles.

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Almost certainly the biggest single player release of the month, and tied with Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 as another massive Switch exclusive, Fire Emblem: Three Houses might be exactly what single players need right now.

Lately the Fire Emblem franchise has exploded in both its popular profile and sales success, buoyed by a hunger for both deep anime RPGs and polished tactics games. Three Houses seems to have doubled down on exciting trends and features in both genres: particularly a Persona/Harry Potter inspired magic school setting and an even deeper tactical battle system that ditches the rock-paper-scissors for more nuanced character progression options. As with many Japanese RPGs, the story is also a major focus and hinges upon a time-jump.

The early part casts the player as a teacher at the Officer’s Academy, situated in the center of the game world and attended by students from the three most powerful nations. Five years later, the second and likely larger part concerns the drama between the player’s teacher and their former students, whose nations are now locked in a massive three-way conflict.

As is to be expected for a series finally coming back to consoles after a long time on the 3DS, Three Houses is a massive technical leap over its predecessors. The game boasts better realised battlefields, more detailed armies, and a slick animated style that appears much more consistent compared with the three or four different art styles on the 3DS.

With such improvements, as well as the overall pedigree of the Fire Emblem brand, Three Houses should have no trouble satisfying single player fans looking for a meaty middle-of-the-year RPG.

Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Release Date: July 26, 2019
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One

The recent Wolfenstein revival series is such a remarkable achievement in traditional shooter design and great, if goofy, sci-fi worldbuilding that the co-op focus of this latest instalment is somewhat disappointing.

Yes, as with F.E.A.R. 3 and Dead Space 3, following a well-received second chapter the Wolfenstein series now pivots to a co-operative focused chapter. Though the game is not a mandatory multiplayer experience, combat encounters and puzzles have been redesigned to accommodate the two player mode, giving single players an AI-controlled partner and bullet sponge enemies.

However, all hope is not lost for Wolfenstein: why else would it be the third game on the list? The narrative has been pushed forward in time, as B.J.’s twin daughters are now in their adolescence, now giving players a glimpse at the 1980s of Wolfenstein‘s skewed universe. Additionally, the level design itself is more freeform thanks to development assistance from Arkane, the developers of the Dishonored series.

Will Wolfenstein: Youngblood successfully deliver more of the series’s goofy charm and crazy alternate reality? Almost certainly. On the other hand, will the game be as fun to play alone as in multiplayer? That remains to be seen. Last month’s E3 demo that raised such concerns was naturally only a snapshot of a game in development, so MachineGames and Arkane have had plenty of time to resolve these potential downsides to a co-op focused game.

Those are our three big single player games to look out for this month. Other interesting titles coming soon include Stranger Things 3 on July 4 and Attack on Titan 2 on July 5, both games hitting Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

On July 12 we will see the sequel to an almost-fantastic Minecraft-like RPG spinoff, Dragon Quest Builders 2 on Switch and PlayStation 4, as well as the Switch port of “anime Monster Hunter”, God Eater 3

The week after, July 19 brings us Switch-exclusive Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order, and at an undetermined time during the month Klei Entertainment’s anticipated survival-sim Oxygen Not Included will finally leave early access on PC.

Have we missed anything that you’re 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.

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