Dragon Quest VII

The summer is nearly over, and like the last waves of the beach season, September is rolling in the video game blockbuster season. We have a healthy offering of games this month that refuse to be intimidated by the dominating successes we’ll undoubtedly see in October and November. Here are a few of the biggest.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steal II – PlayStation 3, PS Vita – Sept. 6

Nihon Falcom and XSEED slipped the first game into the final days of 2015, so technically, it was among the best reviewed JRPGs of last year! Now, the direct sequel is coming out before 2016’s holiday season kicks off, and fans are exuberant! This series has really struck a chord with the old-school JRPG crowd, and it becomes more of a success with each passing release.

The Tomorrow Children – PlayStation 4 – Sept. 6

This mysterious game has been dangling on the cusp of hype for quite some time. Sony has once again team up with PixelJunk developer Q-Games to develop this title, which is best described as a Minecraft experience taking place in a Soviet dystopia. In other words, this is what happens to the offspring of sojourners after they are allowed entry in Papers, Please. They are put to work battling giant monsters and building towns out of plastic boxes.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney − Spirit of Justice – Nintendo 3DS – Sept. 8

No objections here! Capcom is finally bringing the Phoenix Wright series back to North America with the sixth official entry in the main franchise. This time, we’re traveling outside of Phoenix’s home country to a land of ghosts and spirits, and he’ll have to contend with wacky laws beyond our mortal realm. He employs the aid of a young medium to help him, and antics are bound to ensue.

BioShock: The Collection – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC –  Sept. 13

For many of us, this is a chance to dive back into the depths of Rapture, duke it out with Big Daddies, and create ridiculous modifications for our guns and bloodstream. The first BioShock is easily the main attraction here, standing out as a true classic and a genuine game changer in how console gamers look at the FPS genre. Its two sequels don’t demand quite the same respect, but they have their fans. I’ve always had better memories with BioShock 2 than I do with BioShock Infinite.

Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics – PlayStation 4, PS Vita – Sept. 13

It might not look like much at first glance, but One Way Heroics is actually one of Japan’s most popular indie titles. This revamp replaces the original’s graphics with sprites that look torn straight from a Super Nintendo classic, and it sets them to a far more refined experience. Mystery Chronicle: One Way Heroics sets itself apart from the other 16-bit throwbacks by randomly creating an entire RPG overworld. Always stay on the move in this game or the moving screen boundaries will swallow you whole.

PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC – Sept. 13

PAC-MAN Championship

Bandai Namco impressed the entire world with its previous PAC-MAN Championship Edition, finally giving the arcade classic the long lost in-house sequel that it always deserved. Not only are we excited to play this follow-up, we’re also looking forward to seeing how the development team throws a few curve balls into the formula.

ReCore – Xbox One, PC – Sept. 13

Sept. 13 is looking like a really busy day, but we’re saving the biggest release for last. I’ve been fascinated with this title ever since I first laid eyes on it. One part Mega Man Legends, one part Metroid Prime, all love for a classically stylized third-person shooter. I’m even a fan of a developer trying to give lock-on targeting new life in this dual-analog dominated world. The fact that this package is only $40 also helps! It might be short and a little repetitive, but this game looks like it has enough spirit to make up for that.

Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past – Nintendo 3DS – Sept. 15

As if anybody needs to ask my most anticipated game. I’ve been fighting, pushing, kicking, and clawing to play this classic JRPG for the last three years, and I’m now a mere two weeks away from doing so! Dragon Quest VII owns the reputation of being the most expansive game in the series and also one of the most charming. I promised to sink 100 hours into this game, and I intend to do so before 2017 rolls around. Wish me luck!

Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse – Nintendo 3DS – Sept. 20

Poor Shin Megami Tensei. Being released so close to Dragon Quest VII knocks it down a peg or two on my wishlist, and that’s a shame because this is also about as high profile as the JRPG gets on the Nintendo 3DS. Atlus’ series pushes all bounds of storytelling and gameplay, and it does so with a unique style that not many are able to emulate. As much as I like Shin Megami Tensei IV, it often felt a little too bloated for its own good. I’m expecting this game to tighten the experience and help the formula reach its full potential.

Forza Horizon 3 – Xbox One, PC – Sept. 27

Hi, still Ron here. I’ll try my best to channel Eric for this one since these “car” things are generally more his area of expertise. Not enough bouncing cartoon plumbers or giant yellow chickens for my taste, but the Forza series seems to have somewhat replaced Gran Turismo as the most celebrated racing franchise on the market. It releases more consistently, and reception never falters. People love this racing series, and I can see why. The screenshots look like they are ripped from real life.

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – PS3, PS4, PS Vita Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PC – Sept. 27

Wayforward is finally bringing it all back to the series that made it famous. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is the first entry in its seminal platforming franchise that was designed from the ground up for HD consoles, and the company has spared no expense in making it look stunning. Its sassy heroine Shantae has never looked better, and we can’t wait to take her for a spin with her new moves and abilities.

XCOM 2 – PlayStation 4, Xbox One – Sept. 27

One of the best rated PC titles of the year is making the jump to consoles this month. XCOM 2 has scored all kinds of praise for pushing the envelope on what the first game achieved and emerging as one of the kings of the strategy genre. The last game was one of my favorites of its generation, and with the way things are looking, this one could possibly help out the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One a lot.

Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 – Nintendo 3DS – Sept. 30

Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is the sequel to one of the Nintendo 3DS’ slickest action platformers, and it stands out as the true spiritual successor to the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero games. The first game was a lot of fun, but it suffered a little from its unexciting level design. It felt more like “Platforming 101” than a successor to one of the genre’s all time best franchises. With enough time passing and a healthy dose of constructive criticism, my guess is Inti Creates will make a superior product this second time around.

Yo-kai Watch 2 – Nintendo 3Ds – Sept. 30

Yo-kai Watch 2

Okay, so Yo-kai Watch didn’t become the second-coming of Pokémon, but that doesn’t mean its sequels won’t be worth it. From all accounts, this sequel is a far larger and more ambitious title than its predecessor. I’m looking forward to seeing how the changes fan out and if positive reception will help it achieve more widespread success than the first time around. Maybe that’s not too possible with Pokémon GO setting the world on fire, but you never know…