This week in games could be considered something of a bye-week. After a first quarter packed with high profile launches, this week is full of more low-key fare. There are a lot of great indies launching this week, along with some new cross-platform hits and even a few revitalised classics. Crusader Kings arrives at retail, Death Stranding is back again, a Pokémon-like evades Nintendo’s watchful eye, and a heap of classic Dungeons & Dragons adventures are back for modern machines.
Crusader Kings 3 (PS5, XSX)
The historical, dynastic strategy game gets a retail release on PS5 and Xbox this week. One for the collectors, certainly. If you’ve never played Crusader Kings 3, it’s on Game Pass For PC, please give it a go. Though open warfare is certainly an option available to you (and may be the best course of action under certain circumstances), playing politics is often the wiser move. Backstabs and familial treachery are par for the course. You should always be ready to take a dagger in the neck. As the trailer VO intones: “The first step in avoiding the trap is knowing it is there.” The stories and surprises that dynamically emerge from every playthrough are awe-inspiring.
A psychological horror game that draws on Japanese folklore. It’s a basic trailer, all things considered, but it did it’s job and unnerved the hell out of me. Ikai actually looks spooky as hell and I can see Twitch eating it up.
In Nightmare (PS5, PS4)
A haunted house puzzle-platformer, that also draws influences from Asian horror. Its stylised visuals belie an honest sense of forboding. This falls into the category I’ve always called Kid Scary. The movie Monster House is a great example of this. The horror is of a lower impact overall, but it takes communicating the feeling of dread seriously.
TFC: The Fertile Crescent (PC)
My first thought upon seeing the trailer for TFC: The Fertile Crescent was “Thank god someone other than me remembers Pharaoh.” This is a classic base-building historical RTS in the vein of Impressions Games historical city-builders like Caesar and Pharaoh. Simple pixel visuals and a tough do-or-die approach to the genre. Very keen to check this out.
Agent Intercept (PS5, XSX, NS, PS4, XBO)
Agent Intercept, aka Second Act Of Every Bond Movie Simulator, has done quite well for itself on mobile platforms and is now making the leap to consoles and PC. It’s a pretty straightforward (though aesthetically chaotic) arcade racer. Chase down the bad guy, and use pick-ups to take them out. I can see this being a good travel game now that airports are back on the docket.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut (PC)
Depending on who you speak to, Death Stranding is either a searing essay on the divisive nature of modern social networks, or the most self-indulgent tripe Hideo Kojima has ever produced. Because he is obsessed with a certain kind of filmmaker, Kojima put together a Director’s Cut. This new version of the game makes several changes designed to make players’ lives easier. If you’ve never played Death Stranding before, the Director’s Cut is almost certainly the version you should play. Given how nicely the PS5 version ran, the PC version should be very smooth indeed.
Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: The Archives – Collection One (PC)
This is the first of a collection of classic Dungeons & Dragons PC games all set in its Forgotten Realms campaign setting. We can talk about them under this first heading, and then I’ll just list the games in each collection under the remaining two. This first collection comprises all three parts of the Eye of the Beholder series. This is one of the most popular classic D&D computer RPGs ever made, now updated to run on modern systems. Obviously, they’re all based on much older D&D rulesets so for those used to 5e, getting your head around THACO might take a minute.
Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: The Archives – Collection Two (PC)
This collection contains seven adventures and the Forgotten Realms Unlimited Adventures module that allows users to create their own digital dungeons. The adventures in this collection are:
- Pool of Radiance
- Curse of the Azure Bonds
- Secret of the Silver Blades
- Pools of Darkness
- Gateway to the Savage Frontier
Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: The Archives – Collection Three (PC)
This collection contains only two games, according to its Steam page, but they’re pretty big ones. The first is Dungeon Hack, one of the original proc-gen dungeon crawlers. It has the flavour of a choose-your-own-adventure novel. The second game is Menzoberranzan, an adventure set in the Underdark that sees players delve into the Forgotten Realms’ largest subterrannean city in search of the legendary Drizzt Do’Urden.
Popular mobile monster-tamer/Pokemon-like Coramon comes to the PC and Switch. This is one of those games that flies so close to its source material that its a surprise to see Nintendo haven’t stamped down on it. We’re glad it hasn’t, because Coramon is pretty damned good.
FixFox is hard to describe. It’s a genre mash of RPG mechanics, a little bit of Undertale mixed with survival and crafting tropes. There’s a lot going on here, but the trailer is an absolute vibe. You’ll know right away if this one’s for you.
Grand Mountain Adventure: Wonderlands (NS)
This is a very chill downhill skiing game. It keeps things simple, and the multiplayer looks super fun. Feels like it would be a good pick for a multiplayer night.
Moss: Book 2 (PSVR)
The little mouse that could returns to the PSVR. The original game was one of the best reasons to pick up a PSVR, hands down. The new game looks to continue that, with its adorable protagonist setting off a new and highly interactive adventure. Knowing Moss got a sequel was almost enough to get me to pick up another PSVR. But with the PSVR2 in the works, its going to have to wait a little while.
Red Wings: American Aces (PC)
Red Wings: American Aces is a cartoony aerial dogfighting game and I, for one, think it looks sick as hell. This feels like it would be terrific fun with mates. I’ll definitely be checking this out.
Weird West (PC, PS4, XBO)
I originally thought that Weird West was related to the Deadlands TTRPG campaign setting. Turns out not, but they actually have a lot in common. As a big fan of the latter, I’m very looking forward to this. Zombies, horror, and the arcane in a skewed version of the Wild West? Yes, thank you.
Excavator Simulator (PC)
Is there a better date to release a game like Exavator Simulator than April 1st? I put it to you that there is not.
Terrorbane (NS, PC)
This one is a lot. You’ll see what I mean.
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