It’s here ladies and gentlemen. E3 2019 is winding down, and we have a pretty accurate outlook of the months to come. But as we all know, gaming releases wind down during the months from May to August, and most of us end up stuck in a crazy cycle. Believe me, I know your pain. I’ve been there. Last summer, I spent a whole Saturday jumping between Fortnite, Overwatch, Prey, Dark Souls 3, and BioShock; each time only playing the title for about an hour before saying “Nah I don’t really want to play this right now.” It’s a painful time for gamers, but have no fear, I’m here to guide you this year. I have a system to survive this year’s video game drought regardless of taste in gaming. Whether you’re exclusively interested in competitive multiplayer titles, or you’re only on PC, or maybe you own everything but can’t find the right title to tickle your scrotum, I’ve got something for you. I will warn you: this is a long read. But trust me, it is well worth it if you walk away from this blog with 4-5 titles to play over the next 3-4 months. So here we go:
NOTE: Pay attention to the sales
Every year at the beginning and end of summer, there is a gaming sale for every single system. In fact, we’re currently in the middle of the summer sale for console games as we speak. The Xbox and PlayStation sale ends June 17th, Nintendo’s sale ends on June 18th, and for PC gamers, expect the Steam sale to begin in two weeks. It’s the perfect time to load up on titles you’ve missed in the last 12 months, try out a new style of game, or even just save on games that came out last month. Either way, there is a title for you on sale right now. So stop twiddling your fucking thumbs and buy some games to try out this summer.
For competitive gamers, the last 5 years can be summed up as follows: Halo 5: Guardians, Overwatch, PUBG, Fortnite, Black Ops 4, Fortnite, Apex Legends, Fortnite. Some other titles have taken their interest for a time, but mostly, this has been it. These are the guys who don’t care about story, about character development, about exploring an open world. They want to be playing one of the top 5 competitive games on Twitch. They want a rank associated with their gamertag to brag about. They don’t care about anything other than proving that they are better than everyone else. And you know what, if that’s what gets you off, that’s awesome. You know what’s not awesome? There really isn’t anything on the horizon this year until Bleeding Edge or Gears 5 is released, which will be later this fall. So what should you be playing for the next 3-4 months? Here’s my recommendations:
Overwatch (All platforms except Switch)
If you haven’t made a committed return to Overwatch in the last 6 months, now is the perfect time. And I know what you’re thinking: “That game is 3 years old and I have to rely on 5 other people to carry their weight in order for me to win.” I understand that viewpoint of course, as Overwatch is one of the toughest games to play by yourself. But they have made so many changes to the game now that this argument is on it’s last legs. First, they added the queuing system, where you can lock players into specific roles and review their stats before starting a game. Does it add to the toxicity? Yes absolutely. But does it help? Yes absolutely. I climbed from 2400 SR to 2850 SR this season in a month. Some of that was queuing in pre-made 6 stacks, but the last 200 SR was solo and duo queuing, which brings me back to my second point: you need to be willing to re-learn the game and new characters. The maps and gameplay have changed slightly, but one-tricking doesn’t work anymore. In its current state, almost every single character is viable for most scenarios. The winning team is the one that makes the correct adjustments and has flexibility. You know why? Because we are ready for anything. The enemy team has a Reaper? We make an adjustment. The other team is running GOATs? Fine we can run it too. The other team has the most cancer comp ever? We can beat it. I’ve taken the same approach to solo and duo queuing. You know how much fun it is to carry a team as Bridgette, then do the same thing as Reinhardt the next game, followed by a Junkrat match? I guarantee you its better than losing 4 games in a row playing a single character and being too stubborn to switch because “you’d win if everyone just built the team around you always playing DPS.” Take an SR hit, learn some new characters, and enjoy Overwatch again.
Splitgate: Arena Warfare (PC)
Released as a free-to-play title less than a month ago, Splitgate is slowly climbing the Twitch charts. If you haven’t heard of it, you’ve probably been living under a rock (or you’re only a console gamer). In a nutshell, it’s a Halo style arena shooter with the added twist of each player having a “Portal” gun. All the game modes are very similar to Halo 2, with Team Deathmatch, Free-For-All, King of the Hill, and Oddball leading the way. Reception has been very positive, praising the fluidity of the gameplay and innovation of the portal gun. I personally think this is going to be one of the most played PC games this year behind Fortnite, so try it out and start grinding out that rank. For console gamers reading this, the creators have stated they would like to release a console edition eventually, but I would expect it to be at least a year before that would be ready. So we’re shit out of luck.
Apex Legends (All platforms except Switch)
Personally, I’d prefer to never play another battle royale title again in my life. I just don’t enjoy spending 75% of the game looting and only 25% fighting. I’ve learned that I prefer the action of an arena shooter far better. But if you still enjoy that gameplay loop, I think you’re going to enjoy the changes being made to Apex Legends this year. First, they’ve already balanced the rarity of items and the hit boxes. And while Season 1 has been a disappointment to many, Season 2 comes with many new features that I think will bring people back. The new hero is a counter to the “third party” strategy, Respawn has retooled the battle pass to include better loot, and there’s some events coming that look pretty sick. I’m not guaranteeing that the game will return to the massive hype-fest it was in February, but it may finally be worth grinding for the summer.
Rainbow Six Siege (All platforms except Switch)
Like Overwatch, this is an older title that has had many changes over the last 3 years. For those who haven’t touched it, Rainbow Six Siege is a scenario based shooter with “operators” who each have unique abilities. Also like Overwatch, there is a ever changing meta, and new “operators” are added frequently, with the roster currently at 46. It has had a massive following, with 35 million active players and an eSports league that’s still running and popular. It will most likely take a week or so to learn the characters and maps, but from friends who still actively play it, it’s one of the best options out there. Might be worth a try for those looking for a more realistic shooter.
Fortnite (All platforms)
I don’t want to talk about Fortnite whatsoever. I refuse to play it anymore. Its not fun to me for multiple reasons. First, the constant weekly updates require you to continually play the game to stay at a high skill level. Second, the building mechanic is the real skill curve, and it’s very steep if you haven’t played the game for at least 30+ hours. And finally, it’s a battle royale. So again, you’re spending 75% of your time collecting materials and loot instead of fighting people. But for many competitive gamers, that’s exactly what they’re looking for: something with a high skill curve that requires you to constantly grind to remain at the top. And now that they’ve added a ranking system, Fortnite really is the place to be. That is, if you aren’t fucking sick of it like I am.
There really hasn’t been a better time for players who love these titles. There’s something for everyone. Want to build giant creations together and play custom games? You got it. Want to work together to defeat giant monsters and waves of enemies? Done. Want to just be goofy, mess with other people, and just be a straight up asshole? There’s a title specifically made for you. And the best thing about these titles is there’s always something new being added or updated, and some are even heading towards free-to-play. So here’s my recommendations for this genre:
The Division 2 (all platforms except Switch)
I know I trashed this game a bit earlier this year, but it’s actually surprised me. Unlike many of the other shared world multiplayer games, The Divison 2 actually released with quite a bit of content, and Ubisoft released a new raid weeks after it’s launch. I’ve said in the past that one of my biggest beefs with shared world multiplayer titles is how generic and simple each mission and enemy has become. Run here, fight these mobs, get this clue, go here, fight more mobs, fight a boss, get XP. That’s literally 85% of all missions. And none of them take any real skill or determination. Can’t beat an area? Go grind your character up a bit here and there and try again. Eventually you’ll get it. Well, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but The Division 2’s new raid is extremely difficult, so difficult that it has taken some groups weeks of attempts to complete. Now that is something that peaks my interest. And the new content that Ubisoft announced looks like it might follow the same challenging path. All signs point to this being the best shared world shooter this year.
Black Desert Online (PC and Xbox, PS4 in development)
This 2015 fantasy MMORPG was recently released on Xbox, with a PS4 port in the works. I’m not gonna lie, I don’t know a ton about MMORPGs because they don’t really interest me, but I have some friends who were very excited for this release. The character creation system is apparently awesome, and the combat system is skill based instead of data based. For example, unlike some other MMORPGs, you can one-combo kill an enemy player if you use your skill wisely. From what I can tell, it’s weakest point is the main storyline, but the professions are better than any MMORPG ever. So if you want to school some noobs and live your fantasy as a sailor fighting sea monsters, Black Desert Online may be the game for you.
The Elder Scrolls Online (All platforms except Switch)
Outside of World of Warcraft, The Elder Scrolls Online is probably the most popular MMORPG out today. While it didn’t launch as an excellent title, its quality has grown to match its popularity. While it may not have as good of a combat system as Black Desert Online, it makes up for it with a significantly better storyline, featuring thousands of fully voiced quests. Imagine playing Skyrim, but 20x the size. That’s what ESO brings to the table. Also, the end game of Elder Scroll Online is supposedly much better as well. So if you’re trying to choose a fantasy MMORPG to grind this summer, you really have two excellent choices based on your tastes. And each is coming with new content very soon, courtesy of the recent E3 announcements.
Fallout 76 (All platforms except Switch)
Drop it. Drop your pitchforks and torches. Hear me out. Yes, it is not the game we were promised a year ago at E3 2018. Yes, they ripped off a bunch of people who pre-ordered those burlap bags. And yes, the game for months after release was full of glitches that made the experience sour for anyone playing. But Bethesda has learned from those mistakes, and they have fixed most of them. I’ve personally played about 30+ hours of Fallout 76 and while it’s definitely not as strong as one of the main entries in the series, its still Fallout, and you can play with your friends. On top of that, Bethesda just announced that NPCs are being added to the game very soon with “Year 2”. One of my biggest complaints was how empty the world felt while playing it without NPCs, and they’re fixing that very issue. There’s also a battle royal-…I won’t do it. That looks and sounds like dogshit wrapped in catshit shoved up the ass of a gopher. But outside of that, it really is worth the sale price. I’m not telling you its a must play, but if you’re bored this summer, its worth a try and it will keep you entertained.
Sea of Thieves (PC and Xbox)
This game was made for the goofballs and assholes of the world. It was released about a year ago with very little content, and those looking for a serious pirate adventure will have to look elsewhere. If you’ve watched streamers like Summit1G just run around and troll kids who are trying to take the game seriously, you understand the appeal. I mean it really is pretty funny. Whether you’re trolling each other, some random people that were unfortunate enough to be placed in your world, or raging your ass off because your friends keep shooting the damn gunpowder barrel that you’re carrying to complete the mission, Sea of Thieves is a *fun* way to spend your summer.
Minecraft (All platforms)
The world of Minecraft has never been more inviting to both new and returning players. Cross-play between all consoles (except PS4) is finally available, and all worlds are infinity generated. There’s new pre-made structures to explore like sunken ships full of treasure, woodland fortresses, and tons of different villages. There’s also raids that were just introduced a few months ago, where you and your friends can defend a village from Pillagers. On top of all of the new content, the world is still whatever you want to make it. I’ve seen everything: from full scale remakes of Winterfell, giant statues of the Dark Souls bosses, underwater cities, penis monuments, penis temples, cloud penises, hidden penises, etc. Build what you want, play with who you want, and play how you want. Minecraft is always a good time for those with creativity.
Let’s face it: unless you’re being paid to play video games for a living, you have amount of time to play games. Maybe you have a girlfriend, a wife,a kid, a demanding job, a demanding wife, school work, sports, etc. Everyone has shit to do in their life other than gaming. And with new games releasing at a rapid fire rate, you are bound to miss some really good ones. So this section covers my recommendations for games that you may have missed in the last 12 months:
Resident Evil 2 Remake (All platforms except Switch)
Prior to playing this year’s remake, I’d never touched a Resident Evil game. But I can tell you after completing Leon’s storyline, I definitely won’t be forgetting Resident Evil 2 any time soon. First off, the redone graphics are some of the best graphics I’ve seen not only for a remake, but for modern games in general. Actually now that I think about it, I really can’t think of many other games released this year with better looking graphics. Pair that with the removal of the stationary camera, plenty of surprises for both new players and those who’ve played the original PS2 title, and a solid gameplay loop, and you’ve got a remake that is well worth diving into this summer. No spoilers, but I still freak out a bit when I hear stomping…
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice (All platforms except Switch)
Let me start by saying this: Sekiro is not for everyone. It’s an incredibly difficult action RPG with skill based combat, hidden traps, and brutal boss fights that will make you wonder why you bought the game. But if you are up for a challenge this summer, this is the title for you. It will win many game of the year awards later this year, and they will be well deserved. FromSoftware took everything from the Dark Souls series and found a way to make it fresh and fluid. As a Dark Souls veteran (I’m not claiming to be good at the games but I have beaten them all. Or did they beat me? Who’s to say?), I found myself having to completely relearn how to fight, as Sekiro actually makes it more difficult for players familiar with the previous combat system. You have to learn how to block, you have to learn how to parry, and your timing has to be perfect. I haven’t beaten the game myself, but I plan on grinding it out very soon. I’ll let you know in a few months if I still have the will to live.
Devil May Cry 5 (All platforms except Switch)
I was very surprised by how well received Devil May Cry 5 was by not only the gaming community, but game critics as well. I mean, it’s just another Japanese hack-and-slash against demons. How in the world could it be that good? But it came out as one of the best reviewed games so far in 2019. But don’t let the words “hack-and-slash” fool you: this game is kinda tough. I haven’t played it myself, but I have friends who have told me that on some of the harder difficulties, it gives Sekiro a run for its money. But if you stick to normal difficulties, you might find yourself loving killing demons with Dante and his devil sword in Devil May Cry 5.
Katana Zero (PC and Switch)
I’ve gotta take a second to talk about this indie title that came out in April. It’s one of my favorite games I’ve played this year, and I’d probably rank it higher than Kingdom Hearts 3. It’s not incredibly long, and it follows a very simple system: use your katana to kill everyone in each room. If you die, you rewind back to the start of that room and try again. Oh, and everyone, including you, is a one hit kill. It’s a good blend of action based combat and strategy, as you need to plan and execute each room perfectly to complete the stage. Pair that with a neo-noir setting and awesome synthy soundtrack, and you’ve got a well polished indie gem. It’s not incredibly long (around 6-7 hours), so don’t expect it to hold you over for the entire summer, but I highly recommend to take the time to play it.
Rage 2 (All platforms except Switch)
Don’t walk into this title expecting a masterpiece. In fact, don’t walk into the world of Rage 2 with any expectations other than having a fucking blast. I said it before the game came out, and I kinda hoped to be wrong, but Avalanche Studios still doesn’t know how to make a good story. But what they do know how to do very well is make gameplay a wild crazy funfest. If you look up any gameplay videos, here’s an example of what you’ll see: a gun that shoots anti-gravity darts that launches enemies high into the air, abilities like a vortex that sucks enemies in then blows up, and giant customizable vehicles that…ok, don’t drive that well. Still, its mayhem in a can. If you can’t wait for Borderlands 3, give this a try.
Outer Wilds (PC and Xbox)
Often confused with the upcoming Fallout in space title The Outer Worlds, Outer Wilds is something entirely different. Yes, it’s set it space as well, but instead of an open world RPG, this title is an exploration/mystery game with a twist: after 22 minutes of gameplay, the sun goes supernova and the game starts over again upon your arrival. Sounds like the worst Groundhog Day ever right? But with each life, you learn something new about the planet that can help you with another area. And unlike many indie games, this game is actually pretty long, clocking in at around 20 hours. It was just released two weeks ago and has been very well received. For those looking for something more casual to enjoy, this is an excellent title for you.
Maybe you’ve played these titles, maybe you haven’t. Regardless, they received critical acclaim and are well deserving of your time. And the awesome thing is, most of them are on sale for extremely cheap right now. These are the titles that you may have forgotten about, or were in a genre that didn’t interest you, but I highly recommend you try them out if you’re down for something new:
Batman: Arkham Collection (All platforms except Switch)
I cannot say enough about how incredible these games are. There isn’t another superhero game that has expertly handled the gameplay, story, and characters of its source material as well as the Batman: Arkham series. And each entry builds on itself. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a Metroidvania set in the titular location, and while small, it introduced one of the best combat systems in modern gaming. Batman: Arkham City took that gameplay and doubled down, setting the title in a bigger portion of Gotham City run by its biggest and most iconic criminals. And while Batman: Arkham Knight is considered the weakest of the three entries, it had an incredible story and introduced the Batmobile. I know that these games were very popular when they were released, but if they happened to pass you by, I swear you won’t regret playing them this summer.
The BioShock Collection (All platforms except Switch)
Can we all agree that no other medium of entertainment can immerse you in its universe better than a video game? I don’t think I fully realized that until I played through the BioShock series. I mean I’d played excellent games in the past, don’t get me wrong. But I think BioShock is the first true gaming masterpiece I’d experienced. Everything was executed perfectly: from the steampunk atmosphere of Rapture to the creatures and characters that inhabit it, they crafted a world that was very hard to walk away from. Add to that one of the best stories in all of gaming history and you’ve got a title that resets the bar for all future games. BioShock 2 did little to add to that universe, but BioShock Infinite took the series to new heights…literally (that pun has to be so overused. I’m sorry). I don’t want to say much more at the risk of spoiling some of the biggest twists in gaming, so go play the collection if you haven’t.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (All platforms except Switch)
Prior to the release of Metal Gear Solid V, this series was exclusive to PlayStation. But don’t let that scare you; you can play through this prequel without any knowledge of prior entries. I’d only played about two hours of the original Metal Gear Solid prior to picking up this game, but I loved it. Don’t expect to understand anything that’s going on in the story. As a childhood friend once described it, “it’s a mind fuck”. But the gameplay is so much fun. It’s a stealth game, so you can’t run and gun your way through the whole game, though there are plenty of action sequences where you’ll have to take out an entire unit pursuing you. Each mission gives you the freedom to approach it however you want. And the tension that comes from sneaking through the camps is thrilling. It’s a long game, but the mission format makes it easy to pick up, play a mission or two, and put back down. I played through it last summer, and had a blast. It’s worth your time.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (All platforms, including Switch in 2019)
This will probably go down as the best game of our current generation. And if fucking GTA V wins over this, it would be a disgrace. What can I say about this game that hasn’t already been said? It came out 3 years ago and still has some of the best graphics in gaming. The combat is challenging to pick up but once you get a hang of it, it’s awesome. The story is incredible, and you don’t really have to know anything from the prior two titles prior to playing. What turns most people off to this game is the length: the main storyline is about 51 hours, with the whole base game lasting around 100 hours. The DLC packs add another 10 to 20 hours each. That may seem like a huge time commitment, but when you’re playing, it really doesn’t feel like it. The missions, the moster bounties, and the whole world suck you in and keep you wanting more.
Far Cry 3 (All platforms except Switch)
I’m sure some people are seeing this and thinking “um, you think Far Cry 3 is a masterpiece? byeeeeeee”. Well…fuck you guys, I love this game. Every time I scroll through the Xbox Live store and see the cover, it takes me back. And about 90% of it is because of the cover villian, Vaas. Played by Michael Mando before he became a lead actor on Better Call Saul, he committed everything he had to this role. He even starred in a short web series hyping up the game by messing with Christopher Mintz-Plasse (well worth the watch). He’s both hilarious and intimidating at the same time, and you will never forget him. It’s about a 10 hours linear play-through, so for players bored of open worlds, Far Cry 3 is perfect for you.
Ok, last bit of the old shit before we get to the new games coming out between now and September. We all know what the gaming industry does when they find something that has even mediocre success: they make sequels, spin-offs, spiritual successors, etc. Well, we have a ton of those coming in the next 12 months, so what better way to spend your summer than reviewing the last entry in that series! (Don’t worry, I’m only gonna cover the ones that are actually worth you time):
Watch Dogs 2 (All platforms except Switch)
Watch Dogs Legion stole the show for me at E3 this year. I’m not sure there was a game that has made a bigger leap in my mind. I’ve always thought the Watch Dogs series was a pretty mediocre open world game, but now I’m very invested in trying it out. And from what I hear, skipping straight to Watch Dogs 2 is the way to go. I have no idea how good the story is, but Ubisoft listened to the criticism from the original entry, and improved the gameplay greatly. If you plan on playing Watch Dogs Legion next March, might as well get familiar with the universe now.
Wolfenstein 2 (All platforms)
This game is wacky, violent, and challenging. At the root, you’re just killing tons of Nazi’s and mechanized dogs. But the story is decent, and the graphics are great. And fuck it, you’re killing tons of Nazis and mechanized dogs! What’s not fun about that? I will warn you, don’t run into every firefight guns a-blazin’. I did that for the first quarter of the game and got punished over and over again. In a little over a month, Wolfenstein Youngblood is coming out, following the daughters of B.J. Blazkowicz and bringing a co-op campaign to the series for the first time ever. Nothing brings friends together like a bloody adventure through Nazi controlled Paris. How romantic.
DOOM (All Platforms)
Nothing has shocked me more in the last 5 years than the 2016 DOOM remake. It’s honestly the reason I’m writing this blog; I skipped it the fall it came out and filled the 2017 summer gaming drought by taking on the forces of hell. Unlike the other games where I warned you to not run in guns a-blazin’, this game requires you to take a hyper aggressive approach. And I cannot stress how much fun it is. Instead of feeling like cheesing a game by running past everything, you’re encouraged to run straight through everything you fight. It’s fast paced, it’s gory, and it’s badass. DOOM Eternal is coming out this November. Go skull fuck the forces of hell while you wait.
Borderlands 2 (All platforms except Switch)
Even with the rise of the looter shooter in the last 5 years, I still don’t think anything has come close to Borderlands 2. It has everything that modern looter shooters are missing: unique and memorable mobs, engaging missions, unique weapons and loot, and hilarious characters with dialogue that keeps you listening. You ever zone out all those mission tapes in games like Destiny, The Division, and Anthem? Try zoning out Claptrap. Seriously try it. You can’t. With the highly anticipated Borderlands 3 coming out in September, now is the perfect time to do it. Hell I’m doing it right now with some friends on my Twitch stream every week. And they just released a DLC for the game bridging the gap between Borderlands 2 and Borderlands 3. Think about that. They released a new DLC for a game that’s 7 years old. That means people are still playing it. Why? Because it’s fucking good.
Quantum Break (PC and Xbox)
This might be cheating, because Control isn’t considered a sequel to Quantum Break, but I want to highlight the last game from Remedy Entertainment. Starring well known actors Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from X-Men) and Aiden Gillen (Littlefinger from GoT), this game takes “video games are a form of entertainment” to the next level. In between acts, the game actually has live action episodes that develop some of the minor characters and push the story forward. Oh, and you can bend time to your will, which is fucking cool. Control looks awesome, and while it may not have been highlighted during E3 this year, I think it’s gonna we great. It’s sometimes foolish to think that a developer’s past success means that future titles will follow the same path, but play Quantum Break and tell me that you aren’t excited to see what this studio does next.
Ori and the Blind Forest (PC and Xbox)
I understand that platformers don’t appeal to everyone, but Ori is something special. There’s very few games in this genre that can pull on your heart strings and still be fun. With Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming next spring, it might be time to return to this 2015 indie hit. Ori revisits the classic Metroidvania formula, adds a basic but heartwarming storyline, and finishes it all off with a great design and soundtrack. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you like indie games or even games that make you feel something other than anger, hatred, or bloodlust, give Ori a try.
Finally, while we are heading into the summer video game drought, there are still some great titles coming out in the next few months. And if you’re a Switch user and you’re still reading this, be glad to know that most of them are coming to your console, some even exclusively. Nintendo has done an excellent job this year making sure games are spaced out well to always keep us with something to play. Outside of Nintendo, there are still a few titles coming out that you are gonna want to to keep an eye out for. I will be sharing those with you next week, so stay tuned here on www.partychat.org, and follow me on Twitter (@UnfilteredNerd) to keep updated.
I hope that you found this blog valuable and you’ve got an action plan now for what you’re gonna play over the next few months. Remember, most sales are ending next Monday, June 17th. So don’t wait too long to find the above titles at significant discouts! (Dear god Microsoft and Sony should be sending me commision). Thanks for reading and come back daily for more content like this. Peace out.