That’s…uh… quite the header right there. Let it be known, however, that my torso doesn’t look like that in real life. I’m much more buff.
It’s December and I’ll be real with you wonderful folks, there’s almost nothing happening this month. December is forever the black sheep of game releases as everything has been released already during the pre-holiday and sales rush. We have a couple of standouts, but nothing really significant or new to get you roaring. Let’s jump into the few games you can get during this lovely holiday season.
Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – Switch – December 1
Oh look, that’s today. Oh, we also have a review out of it already. It’s only available digitally for now and if you’re someone who likes to lick the cartridge (go ahead, try it) you have to wait another week. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a JRPG in every sense of the genre, from the interface and quest system to the weirdly underage girls with massive breasts. Garth highlighted everything you need to know already in the review, but if you’re a fan of JRPGs, you can’t go wrong with this game, especially if you have a Switch.
If you’re too lazy to read the review, which you shouldn’t be, the highlights include the game’s focus on discovery and exploration of its massive world, a strong core narrative, its combat systems are surprisingly intricate and engaging, and the soundtrack is something to savour. There were some faults with the voice acting that came across a little too weird and the aforementioned fanservice was taken a little too far, but overall, a solid game that you will play for many, many hours.
Prediction: It’s funny how the game got an 8.5/10 because if you turn the 8 sideways, what do you get? You can’t escape the jugglies, no matter what you do.
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds – Xbox One – December 12
Like it or not, PUBG is something monumental that has happened in the gaming world. This little battle royale game more or less took over the world and like the rise of Bitcoin, its success has surprisingly not stopped. The game is poised to take its final form soon with the release of the console version on the Xbox One, which is more monumental than you would think, and the much awaited full release of the game on PC following soon after.
PUBG will finally clip the wings of Early Access and go fully into the mainstream. That means changes, the promised desert map finally coming out and full developer support going forward. The guys in charge said that they are aiming to have the console version and the PC version be in line with each other as best as possible. PUBG may have been a worldwide phenomenon already, but I firmly believe that it’s just getting started. There are so many avenues that the developers can take and the player base will be more than happy to tag along. Hopefully they’ll also release on PS4 soon so that everyone can get a piece of this chicken dinner.
Prediction: It’s tough to rate a game such as this that has been so public for so long. It won’t escape scrutiny when its full version is released as that will be what can be criticised when the convenient excuse of “it’s still in Early Access” won’t swing anymore. It’s a 10/10 game for its own reasons, but it’s not without its problems.
Okami HD – PS4, Xbox One, PC – December 12
This one is particularly exciting because many people haven’t had the chance to experience Okami in their lives, including me. The cel-shaded game following a mystical Japanese white wolf has been on the tongues of many fans that have played it. Surprisingly, the game didn’t perform that well commercially, which is a possible explanation for why I never even heard of this game until I reached an age when I could smoke.
Okami follows Okami Amaterasu through beautifully designed Japanese landscapes and if the name of the main character didn’t tip you off, the game has a big focus on the Shinto religion as well as traditional Japanese culture. The gameplay is reminiscent of a third-person action game which isn’t surprising considering it was directed by the man who is in charge of Platinum Games now. Okami is a big piece of gaming history that was strangely not really known outside of the people who ultimately played it. To see it remastered for this generation can show us why it is so loved as well as give old fans a chance to experience it again.
Prediction: Okami was critically lauded in its time and I don’t think much else will change unless they mess up the remaster. Expect an easy 9/10 for this one.
DLC and VR ports everywhere
None of these really deserved their own entries, so I’m just going to lump them into one place. You can find all the specific release dates and platforms below. There are some DLCs to take note of such as Destiny 2‘s Curse of Osiris which will be Destiny 2‘s first big expansion that has a lot of hope riding on it. Destiny 2‘s fanbase isn’t exactly happy at the present moment, but hopefully this expansion will be the kick in the behind that the game needed, as well as all the promised improvements coming up. There’s also Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package which is included in the PS4 release for Dead Rising 4 that includes a bunch of new content not seen in the original game that is also distinctly Christmas themed.
DOOM is coming to VR and that’s going to be as bloody as you think and Fallout 4 is also making its debut in the VR world later in the month. Bethesda is taking all of their big franchises into the VR realm and it’s good because those franchises are actually perfect for it. Prepare to slay demons and protect settlements if you are rich enough for a VR headset.
Here are some other games releasing this month:
Doom VFR – PSVR, Vive – December 1
Gear Club – Switch – December 1
Dead Rising 4: Frank’s Big Package – PS4 – December 5
Steep – Road to the Olympics – PS4, Xbox One, PC – December 5
Destiny 2: Curse of Osiris – PS4, Xbox One, PC – December 5
Bravo Team – PSVR – December 6
Hello Neighbor – Xbox One, PC – December 8
Loco Roco 2 Remastered – PS4 – December 9
Fallout 4 VR – Vive – December 12
Resident Evil 7: Gold Edition – PS4, Xbox One, PC – December 12
Tiny Metal – PS4, Switch, PC – December 21
And that’s your lot for December. Not exactly a month of pure excitement, but it still has some muster in it. But that’s what December is, really, a month of solemn reflection on the year that has gone by while we enjoy the company of our family and friends. 2017 was an insane year for gaming in many aspects. We had amazing games surprise us out of nowhere, the rise and fall of consoles, awful controversies, huge announcements, different directions for the future. For now, let us just take a break from it all before we jump head first into a new year. I know those backlogs of yours are full already, so get to it. I’ll see you again next year for January when everyone’s poor.