The word ‘drought’ is getting bandied about more and more this year, but you couldn’t level the term at our gaming calendar. For the second month running, we’ve utterly failed to keep the Up Next to ten games. In fact, there’s so many new Xbox games that we’re hyped about, that we’re stretching all the way to thirteen for September 2022. Positively gushing, the games are.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R
As fandoms go, there are few more animated than Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure. We imagine they’re giddy with excitement, as September sees the far-too belated launch of a new game in the beat ’em up series, All-Star Battle.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle R is making all the right noises. It carries over the All Star Battle System that is twenty years old now, incorporating fifty fighters from across all things Jojo: the comic books, anime series and games included. It captures the characterful animations of Hirohiko Araki’s original art. Plus it includes all of Part 6’s voice actors. All together now: ゴゴゴゴゴ!
Perhaps we’re being cynical, but there’s a whiff of bad timing to LEGO Brawls. Released shortly after Multiversus which, much to our surprise, is tearing it up in sales and livestream terms, it’s both in the same ball-park and not quite as captivating. Sure, you can construct your warrior in true LEGO fashion, but what is this offering that Multiversus and Smash Bros doesn’t?
We’re sure LEGO Brawls would say ‘bring it on’, waving a yellow cup-like hand at us. It certainly captures the joys of LEGO, as you and your team collaborate to make sizable contraptions like planes and mechs to fight with your enemies. And then there’s the simple thrill of seeing a friend explode into studs. Perhaps we were wrong, after all.
Temtem has a pitch that has you reaching for wads of cash to hand over. What if you took Pokemon, but turned it into an MMO? Shutupandtakeourmoney.
This creature-collector from Humble Games has been tearing it up on PC, so it’s a relief to finally see it wash up on Xbox shores. There’s a meaty campaign here, full of colourful creatures that are at least on par with some of Pokemon’s finest. And you will cross paths with countless other human players, each with their own Temtem. Events shuffle in and out, and you can play them solo or cooperatively. We’re hoping that this is half as good as we imagine it in our heads.
September has not one but two gargantuan new entries in top-selling sports franchises. NBA 2K23 may not be the juggernaut that FIFA 23 is, but it’s still a likely candidate for number-one spot on the gaming sales charts. Until FIFA 23 boots it into touch, of course.
What do you get in this iteration? MyNBA goes the ‘What If?’ route, pitching several scenarios and letting you play them out. What if the Houston Rockets made Michael Jordan their number one pick? What if Kobe and Shaq kept playing together? It’s a neat take on an old formula.
Then there’s the Jordan Challenge, as you follow his career from street courts to the big time. Will you get to play his short baseball career? We sincerely hope so.
Train Sim World 3
Choo choo! Clear your Game Pass backlog, as Train Sim World 3 is arriving day-one onto the service, and it’s going to eat up more of your free time than a three-hour commute.
Dovetail Games are updating Train Sim World with some additions that mean precious little to me, but someone out there is doing a 360 degree fistpump. You can haul containers through Cajon Pass with the ES44C4. You can reach speeds of 280 km/h in the ICE 1 between Kassel and Würzburg. Ever wanted to drive the Class 395, out of London? No you can, wee gricer!
We’re most impressed that your old Train Sim World 2 DLC will continue to work with 3. You can always impress us with a bit of good value.
Now this is more our speed. Steelrising is an action RPG that steers well clear of the usual settings – no apocalyptic world here – to instead take aim at 1789 Paris. Now, imagine that, instead of getting dethroned by a revolution, Louis XVI builds a clockwork army and suppresses it with gallons of bloodshed.
You play as Aegis, a mysterious automaton, as you take on Louis and carve into his army of robotic cat-dogs. It looks rather spiffing, if you ask us, and has come out of nowhere. We’re going to be donning our powdered wig and having our cake and eating it.
We’ve not been able to confirm if you can play Metal: Hellsinger with a Rock Band or Guitar Hero peripheral, but we sure hope so. This is the game we’re most intrigued by in September: a Doom-style FPS, but soundtracked by some of heavy metal’s finest, like Serk Tankian of System of a Down and Matt Heafy of Trivium. Headshot a demon to the melody and you will become more powerful, capable of gibbing the next one with a single bullet.
The campaign is narrated by Troy Baker too, so if the talent involved is a measure of the quality of the game, we should be in for a treat.
The DioField Chronicle
A Square Enix game? That calls for some input from our expert Richard Dobson…
Square Enix already have a prestigious pedigree when it comes to making tactical RPGs, so whenever a new one is announced, we stand up and take notice. Their latest is due out in September, and after playing through the demo, we couldn’t be more excited.
The DioField Chronicle fuses the traditional tactical RPG with real-time battles creating a unique spin on both. Coupled with the fact it is designed out like a board game as your armies fight on diorama style battlefields, and there is something potentially very special on the horizon.
In the DioField Chronicle, a small group of friends have managed to worm their way into the resistance army after saving one of the high-ranking officials from a bandit ambush. Their reasons for wanting to join may link back to a tragic event eight years previously, but for now, they are making all the right impressions as they taken on various missions.
At this point however, all you really need to know is that The DioField Chronicle is seens as Square Enix making another tactical RPG. That alone should have your tastebuds salivating. Ours certainly are.
Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous
We’re always in for a spot of deep RPGing, and Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous delivers in September. A sequel to Pathfinder: Kingmaker, it does absolutely nothing with the original’s plot, instead going somewhere else entirely, as you play a citizen of the nation of Mendev, showing your quality in a battle with demons. This gets you shoved into the role of Commander of the 5th Crusade, as you take the battle to Worldwound: a giant portal teeming with demons. Perhaps you shouldn’t have done so well in that first battle, eh?
Kickstarted in 2020 and released on PC last year, Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous was hellbent on improving the engine and underlying mechanics of Pathfinder. We’ll find out if it manages to do so when it releases at the end of this month.
Have you heard of FIFA 23? I haven’t heard of FIFA 23. I’m sure there was meant to be an EA Sports FC released about now. Maybe next year.
Alright, alright, The World’s Biggest Game, FIFA 23, was hardly going to skip a year, was it? It’s back, and this time it’s got HyperMotion2 Technology, women’s club football, cross-play features and more. Yeah, we had to reverse back to the first one too. HyperMotion 2 is an attempt to make the animations more fluid and realistic, by incorporating machine learning into the process, and completing several motion capture shoots – including an entire women’s football league match – to ensure that FIFA looks as realistic as possible.
We’re not going to just hover around the AAA titles. That’s just not us. There are some fantastic indie titles out this month, and our favourite is the delightful Wayward Strand.
It’s a narrative adventure that casts you as Casey, a curious girl who is visiting her family on an airship that doubles up as a hospital. What piques us is that stories happen whether you are watching them or not. This is an airship that’s absolutely bustling with life, and you can zero in on any conversation or happening that you want. Follow someone in the corridors and see where they lead you. This is a nosey neighbour’s dream, and we can’t wait to inappropriately insert ourselves into people’s private lives.
What if Darkest Dungeon was set in the Victorian-era, and instead of moody barbarians and wizards, you played clowns and strongmen? Are you now as committed to playing Circus Electrique as we are? Thought so.
The world has gone completely to pot, with a virus turning the general population into raving killers. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, said virus isn’t affecting circus performers. That leaves you in the strange position of saving the world. The world-saving happens in turn-based battles against the lunatics, as you manage your Devotion bar so that you can pull off circus-based combos as you tour around six desperate districts. Shotgun the mime.
Seasoned Verdun and Tannenberg devs M2H return with their latest historical FPS, Isonzo. What makes this one so interesting is not that it’s a WWI FPS (we get a fair few of those), but that it’s looking to bring the Italian Front of the war to console, and that means mountain warfare. You are going to be fighting in the Isonzo Valley, in battles like the Strafexpedition and the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo, cutting through barbed wire to reach mountain outposts, and picking off enemies across mountaintops.
There’s a spot of base-building here too, as you hold off incoming threats with sandbags and mortars. Sounds a tad more realistic than a game of Warzone.
If it weren’t for several delays, we’d have been bringing you more announcements in September. Luckily – in a way – Deliver us Mars and Evil West, among others, saved our wee fingers by being delayed into future months.
Which brings us to the prospect of October. We are well and truly into the exciting period of the year, where AAA games properly grow on trees. Expect Overwatch 2, No More Heroes II, PGA Tour 2K23, A Plague Tail: Requiem, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, New Tales from the Borderlands, Persona 5 Royal, Gotham Knights, and the small matter of a new Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare II. Delightful.
LEGO Brawls absolutely delivers it’s own unique punch when compared to Super Smash Bros or Multiversus. With a focus on creativity (over 77 trillion brawler customization possibilities?!), much lighter-hearted/family-focused gameplay (not to mention LEGO theme fandom), and a bunch of different game modes, it’s got a lot more to offer than just being “another smash clone”. Worth it’s place, and definitely playing.