The Latest

New Releases: August 29th-September 4th, 2019

With entries built on properties like The Lord of the Rings, Blair Witch, Spyro the Dragon, and Final Fantasy, this week’s offers an assortment of intriguing titles. Luckily, not every new release compels familiarity, with titles like Astral Chain and The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan extending experiences that push in new directions.

Header image: Final Fantasy VIII Remastered, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, and PC

PlayStation 4
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise (digital, $14.99)
Blair Witch (digital, $29.99)
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered (digital, $14.99)
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (digital, $29.99)
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game (digital, $19.99)

Switch
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise (digital, $14.99)
Arcade Archives – Water Ski (digital, $7.99)
Astral Chain (physical and digital, $59.99)
Barrier X (digital, $2.99)
Brunch Club (digital, $11.59)
Bubsy: Paws on Fire! (physical and digital, $24.99)
Damascus Gear Operation Osaka (digital, $19.99)
Deadly Fighter 2 (digital, $2.99)
Decay of Logos (digital, $19.99)
Farm Mystery (digital, $9.99)
Fin and the Ancient Mystery (digital, $3.49)
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered (digital, $19.99)
FUZE4 Nintendo Switch (digital, $39.99)
Grand Brix Shooter (digital, $9.99)
Headspun (digital, $12.99)
Heave Ho (digital, $9.99)
Invasion of Alien X – Earth in Crisis (digital, $7.99)
Legend of the Skyfish (digital, $7.99)
Little Racer (digital, $14.39)
Omen Exitio: Plague (digital, $9.99)
Pacific Wings (digital, $4.99)
Spyro Reignited Trilogy (physical and digital, $39.99)
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Mean (digital, $29.99)
Torchlight II (digital, $19.99)
Vambrace: Cold Soul (digital, $22.49)
Wilmot’s Warehouse (digital, $14.99)

Xbox One
Blair Witch (digital, $29.99)
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered (digital, $19.99)
Newt One (digital, $9.99)
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (digital, $29.99)
The Lord of the Rings: Adventure Card Game (digital, $19.99)

PC
Agent A: A Puzzle in Disguise ($14.99)
Blair Witch ($29.99)
Catgirl & Doggirl Café ($TBA)
Devader ($TBA)
EverStopped ($TBA)
Final Fantasy VIII Remastered ($19.99)
Grand Brix Shooter ($9.99)
Heave Ho ($9.99)
Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk ($TBA)
Re:Legend ($TBA)
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan ($29.99)
Unlucky Seven ($TBA)

Robert’s Pick: Sure, Platinum Games have had a few misfires. Anarchy Reigns attempted to reinvigorate multiplayer brawling but the end result was a woefully muddled mess. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan was one of the studio’s infrequent licensed titles. In execution, it felt born from a contractual obligation rather than any kind of artistic ambition.

But more often than not, the Osaka-based team delivers the goods, with taut, painstakingly polished mechanics that put reflexes to a decisive test. That seems to be the case with this week’s release of Astral Chain. Initially, it might seem that the combat might not have the depth or sophistication that’s expected from the developer. But with the inclusion of a subdivision of Legions, who assist with both puzzle solving and punishing enemies, first impressions might be faulty. Factor in designs from noted mangaka Masakazu Katsura (who stated that he was inspired by Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed) and it looks like Switch fans are in for yet another engaging action title.

Ryan’s Pick: When I think of Platinum Games and Nintendo, a few titles float to the top of my head. I agree with Robert, some were not so great, but exclusive games like Bayonetta 2 are unforgettable. When Nintendo is your publisher I can only imagine the sheer amount of pressure there is with sales expectations for global release, so the proverbial heat is on for Platinum Games once again. Luckily however, Astral Chain appears like it’s going to deliver both visually and through the amount of varied content the game contains.  Graphically it sure looks like it may really put the console through its paces, so that alone has my interest.

I feel like we’re going to see more and more Japanese developers continuing to contract famous manga artists for character design as it seems to be a lucrative business decision. That said, the character models and animations look extremely polished, and the shader choice has helped make this game appear different from other Platinum Games titles. This game also feels bigger, which is definitely welcomed as at times, some titles from this developer felt more pathed in that you had less choices in where you could go. Combat equally looks extremely varied with the ability to utilize your chain with your Legion in a myriad of ways, so I am definitely curious to see how it feels on the Switch. I did hear that it requires the use of all of the buttons on the Switch to play it, so we shall see what type of learning curve is required to become an effective chimera brutalizing officer. For some reason the Legion characters being tied to each Police officer remind me so much of the Stands in Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. That and maybe a bit of Pandora Hearts with the chain imagery. No matter what your favorite flavor of games is, any Capo worth their weight in lira knows that a Platinum Games first-party Nintendo game is worth your attention. Definitely give this one a look.

Matt’s Pick (Editor, DigitallyDownloaded): I mean, c’mon here. There’s only one game in this week’s list that is such a masterpiece that everyone should have played it, and that game is Bubsy. I mean, Final Fantasy VIII. Final Fantasy VIII is famous for being that game that Square Enix lost all the code to, so couldn’t actually remake or re-release for some years. Thankfully, they managed to somehow get it back, so we can now enjoy one of the better entries in the series, with the added benefit of a visual HD boost.

The story of Squal, Rinoa, Irvine, Quistis, the punch dude (I can’t be bothered remembering his name), and the train-loving cutie-pie (Selphie) is one of the more nuanced and rich character-driven plot arcs that Square Enix has produced. The combat system is polarising, but the game has a huge range of summons, each with spectacular (and length) attack animation cut scenes, and those were awesome to watch. The soundtrack has Man With The Machine Gun, and is therefore the best soundtrack in Final Fantasy history. More than anything else, though, Final Fantasy VIII was just different enough to be its own unique, interesting thing, without losing sight of what Final Fantasy should be. Square Enix has demonstrated on plenty of occasions that it’s a hard balance to get right, but this game did it. I just desperately hope that the new release isn’t borked in some way. That would crush me.

About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

7 comments

  1. Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk review, Mr. Allen. You know what to do.

  2. If only SE could give PC owners who already bought FF8 a discount! I know it’s not happening, though…

  3. Rinoa is point up at Matt’s pick. I approve of this.

    I really want Astral Chain but $65 for a games ($59.99+tax) is a lot for me these days, since I just got engaged. Going to have to wait a bit on this one.

  4. Spyro. That is if it’s at least a solid 30 fps.

  5. Chaotic_Strawberry

    I like horror, so I’m really interesting in The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan. Hope you review it!

  6. Just picked up Astral Chain today. It lives up to the hype.

  7. I’m leaning toward Final Fantasy VIII but it’s SE so reviews need to be read before a purchase. Ive been burned a few times before.