You’re a smart person, you already know what the big releases are this fall. The open-world sandbox kings are back with Saints Row IV, a game that seeks to blend every other sandbox game together with its wild and whacky style. And of course we’ll also be seeing Grand Theft Auto V, featuring a multiplayer aspect that everyone has been gushing over since the trailer for online play came out. Other games already on the radar include XCOM Declassified: The Bureau, a strategic squad based shooter from one of the best strategy franchises, the newest Tom Clancy game, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, as well as Arma III, Total War: Rome II, the arrival of Diablo III on the 360, and, what the hell, Disney Infinity doesn’t look terrible. These games have been at the foreground of the fall release bonanza for months, and everyone is excited for them, especially us video game journalists who can’t wait for the summer to end so we have something to write about. But as one of the little guys, we gotta look out for the little guys. Not just the indie developers, but games and developers who put tons of effort into games that can’t help but be overshadowed by the big releases. This article is for them, and in a way, it’s for you too. Here’s what to look out for in the fall, that you may or may not be aware of already.
Sir, You Are Being Hunted
Sir, you really ought to buy this game. This first person shooter survival game has the unfortunate timing of being released during a very release-heavy trio of days (August 18-20). During these days, we’re also witnessing the release of Saints Row IV, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, XCOM: The Bureau, and Disney Infinity. Talk about having the odds stacked against you. But having the odds stacked against you is what Sir, You Are Being Hunted is all about. On a remarkably and comically obvious British island, you are hunted by an army of robots. But this isn’t your typical horde mode. Sir, You Are Being Hunted has aspects of DayZ that make for a much better survival game. You collect items that actually have use, you have to choose stealth over combat in some instances, and each player has their own unique experience, thanks to the game’s procedurally generated environments. The alpha for Sir, You Are Being Hunted comes out on August the 19th.
Lost Planet 3
The third installment of a series almost as old as the 360 itself earns a spot on this list because it’s been flying relatively low on the radar, and we’re less than two weeks away from its release on August 27th. Its lack of big coverage is most likely due to the disappointing release of Lost Planet 2, but Lost Planet 3 looks like a step back in the right direction. Fighting the elements seems to play a bigger part in LP3, an aspect of the series I always thought could’ve been explored more and improved upon. The return to the frozen planet of E.D.N. III sees the game taking place underground for a large chunk, with exploration and acquiring knowledge of the planet’s history playing a big part in the game’s story. And at least we’re no longer playing as a fucking “snow pirate” again, which sounds like the least threatening pirate ever. Get your gun and get your snow boots, there’s Akrid to be killed.
I have a soft spot in my heart for side-scrolling beat-em-ups. Castle Crashers may very well be my favorite arcade game of all time. So on September 18th, if you’re inexplicably tired of GTA V after one day, take a look at Foul Play on the Xbox Live Arcade. First of all your character is an old-timer with a cane, a mustache, and a monocle, who’s kicking ass and taking names with his masked, hammer-wielding apprentice. The two of you go off on adventure fighting a wide variety of enemies in many, many different places. And the icing on the cake? There’s an audience watching the two of you slap these punks around, and the more combos and special moves you throw in, the wilder the crowd goes. Go on and woo the masses, old sport.
Rise of Venice
My favorite part of Sid Meier’s Civ V is making money. Moneymaking takes priority over all tasks and resources, because you can trade for your necessities and spend your gold on soldiers, granaries, castles, or whatever else in a pinch. If I lived in Westeros I would certainly be a Lannister. That’s why I’m incredibly excited for Rise of Venice, a strategic game for merchants looking to turn a small market stand into a global trading empire. Set during the Renaissance era in the beautiful Italian city of Venice, the growing concern of the Ottoman Empire in the east, as well as increased piracy in the Mediterranean set the stage for a story of opportunity and betrayal. That’s right, this is no simple trade simulator, there’s an intriguing plot driving the game as well. Rise of Venice features a grand variety of goods to trade, people to barter with, cities to sail to, and enemies and allies to engage with. Apart from simply picking where to send what items, you can also take to the open seas and ensure your ship’s passing by taking control of your vessel and engaging in chaotic naval combat. And remember my entrepreneurs, if any capture pirate dares to utter the word “parley”, you’d best make an example of them. Look for Rise of Venice to set sail September 27th.
This is by no means a small release. It’s included due the to lack of coverage sports games are used to here on HBHUD. Since the homage to Jordan that was NBA 2K11, the NBA 2K series has cemented its place as the premier basketball game. But with EA trying to breathe life back into their NBA Live series, it’s only natural for 2K to step its game up like it’s the 4th quarter of game seven. 2K14 features the return of Crew Mode, an online gameplay type that allows you and your friends to team up on the blacktop against other crews across Xbox Live or PSN. There’s also a huge increase in graphical performance, as players look more like their real selves. Along with new animations, the ability to finally block dunks, and improvements to other modes such as MyTeam, MyCareer, and Association, 2K is sending a message to EA that they’re not giving up the title so easily. 2K14 tips off October 1st.