Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 6 Games To Welcome September

Kotaku’s Weekend Guide: 6 Games To Welcome September

It’s a new month, and it’s also officially T-minus five days until that big game everyone’s gonna be playing comes out (see what I did there?). With Bethesda’s latest mega-game looming in the very near future, why not take advantage of this weekend to get some time in with a few other games of note?

This week we’ve got a nice dose of action by way of a big mech game you might’ve heard of, as well as a pretty slick and bloody 2D Metroidvania. But that’s not all. Let’s dig in.

Blasphemous 2

Screenshot: The Game Kitchen

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, Windows
Current goal: Beat this one stupidly hard boss!
Buy it from: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

Blasphemous 2 is one helluva game. It’s easily 2023’s most sickening Metroidvania, filled with all kinds of gothic and religious horrors that make me a bit queasy every time I play. It’s also hard as hell, with bosses who repeatedly send me to a swift grave—which is to be expected of a game like this. However, I wasn’t expecting this action-adventure puzzle-platformer to suddenly transform into a bullet hell about halfway through with the introduction of Sínodo, Hymn Of The Thousand Voices. Ugh, what a frustrating boss this is! Taking place in essentially an underground crypt, Sínodo is an aggravating enemy that can switch between three faces at will: a golden mask that shoots out an array of massive fireballs, a blindfolded nun that can turn into a pillar of fire and heal itself, and an old man that summons centipede-looking chains which intersect in a helix pattern before sending out damaging ground waves across the stage.

I hate this boss! I hate it so much, especially since I almost kill it every time I step into its arena—only for Sínodo to quickly change its face to the golden mask and shoot out those big-ass fireballs that are difficult to dodge because of how much screen real estate they take up. This isn’t a diss against the game. Blasphemous 2 is a very good Metroidvania, as I argued in my impressions blog. I’m enjoying my time with it; I’m just petty and spiteful, so I’m looking for my revenge against this jerk. And I will have it! Then I can go back to exploring the world and, hopefully, rolling the credits not too long after. – Levi Winslow

Baldur’s Gate 3 (on console, with a controller)

Screenshot: Larian Studios

Play it on: PS5, Windows
Current goal: Finish Act 1

I know that this is an affront to the CRPG gods, and indeed, to all those players who developed an affinity for mouse-clicking their way through the original Baldur’s Gate and so many other grand role-playing games of the 90s and early 2000s. I was one of those players, by the way, dutifully telling my character where to go with incessant clicks in games like Bioware’s 2002 D&D release, Neverwinter Nights. I was fine with it then. But after plugging a controller into my PC on a whim to see how Baldur’s Gate 3 felt with one, I was forever changed.

Controlling games like this with a mouse makes me feel a bit like a god—powerful but remote, overseeing the action but not really part of it. Exploring the Sword Coast by directly controlling my character like I do in so many third-person adventure games instantly made me feel so much more rooted in the environments of Larian’s blockbuster. I just couldn’t go back to the mouse-and-keyboard approach. The only problem was that I was stuck playing on my modest computer monitor and not my considerably larger TV.

Thankfully, the PS5 version is out soon, and you can start playing Act 1 in it as early as this Saturday if you shell out for the Digital Deluxe edition. Well, I can resist anything but temptation (shoutouts to Oscar Wilde) so I’ll be paying my $70 and enjoying Baldur’s Gate 3 on the comfort of my couch with a DualSense controller in my hand for much of this weekend. Maybe I’ll finally finish this meaty opening chapter, and then start it up again with a whole new character before the full game opens up on PS5 next week. —Carolyn Petit

Armored Core VI

Screenshot: FromSoftware / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows
Current goal: Stop blowing up
Buy it from: Amazon | Best Buy | GameStop

It’s been…a long time since I played an Armored Core (let’s not talk about it), and I told myself I’d finish all of them before tackling the latest, sixth, entry.. Well I’m glad I didn’t listen to me, because Armored Core VI is a seriously great time.

The theatre of building a mech, taking it out to deal some violence, and then sitting with the unnerving realities of the dystopian narrative all work with a wonderful synchronicity that makes this game very, very hard to put down. Seriously, I was planning on just taking a quick look at this game to write up some Steam Deck performance impressions before retreating to my backlog, but here I am, grabbing another sortie and hitting the surface of Rubicon to start some more trouble.

Read More: Armored Core VI: How Does It Run On Steam Deck?

The game is also gorgeous. I mean, most AAA games are these days, but there’s a certain visual aesthetic on display here that not only hits the neurons which love a good graphic, but also really helps immerse me in the world and the carnage of it all. From the glorious explosions to the wonderful visualizations of the Armored Core’s internal HUD, the game continues to offer visual treats that are matched with excellent gameplay that, I admit, frustrates me with its difficulty at times. Yet Armored Core VI promises victory if I take the time to learn what I’m doing wrong and build out a better kit when my wits alone aren’t enough. It’s nice to see at least one thing in my life go well.

And did I mention it’s a good time on Steam Deck? Armored Core VI explodes to life in full form on Valve’s handheld and it’s the go-to way to play for me. — Claire Jackson


Screenshot: Temple Gate Games

Play it on: Windows, your dining room table
Current goal: Have the most fun anyone’s ever had

I know there’s Armored Core VI, Baldur’s Gate 3, and now Starfield for me to play, but if I’m being honest with myself, the only game I care about right now is 2008 deck-building board game Dominion.
Its 30-minute sessions—in which you play actions and make purchases to overcompensate and amass land—are perfect for people like me, who prefer to strategize on the fly. This becomes more complicated once you introduce one of the game’s many themed expansions, like animalistic Menagerie or watery Seaside, to your base game, but I love experimenting with card combinations in pursuit of unlocking the most fun Dominion game possible. I could do it for hours. I’m throwing my PS5 into the ocean. – Ashley Bardhan

Sea of Stars

Image: Sabotage Studio

Play it on: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, Windows
Current goal: Beat the Dweller of Woe

Sea of Stars is a colorful three-scoop ice cream cone on a hot summer day for anyone who’s ever loved classic SNES-era role-playing games. It’s the latest game from Sabotage Studio, maker of 2018’s excellent Metroidvania platformer, The Messenger. While that one was a love letter to Ninja Gaiden and Castlevania, this one is an homage to Chrono Trigger and Super Mario RPG, featuring tight, turn-based combat and beautiful pixel art work.

It’s not everything I wanted it to be, but 10 hours in it continues to grow on me. Its dungeon layouts and exploration are a particular highlight, turning traditional random encounter slogs into a visual feast of moving platforms and hidden paths. Fans are always on the lookout for retro pixel art RPGs that can stand up to the classics, and while Sea of Stars isn’t my favorite so far, it’s 100 percent legit. — Ethan Gach

Demon Turf

Screenshot: Fabraz / Kotaku

Play it on: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows
Current goal: Have the gameplay draw me in as much as the aesthetic
Buy it from: GameStop

When I first stumbled upon Demon Turf a few months ago I was really struck by its charming combination of super-cute 2D sprites and 3D-rendered worlds. I legit thought it was a highly polished Doom mod (you know the type) but no, it’s actually a modern Unity-engine production that just totally nailed the retro aesthetic. It finally ended up in my Steam library thanks to the current Humble Bundle (11 days left!) and I’ve enjoyed taking it for a spin.

Demon Turf is basically an N64-style 3D platformer with hub worlds leading to self-contained levels, but thankfully it leaves Rare’s mania for item collecting in the past. Instead there’s a greater focus on skillful platforming, and Beebz, your cute, short-statured heroine, has a suitably capable repertoire of specialized jumps, spins, and other maneuvers.

The action is super smooth, though I’ve definitely noticed the lack of Nintendo-like levels of polish in stuff like tutorials and UI, which leaves the game a little rougher around the edges than the genre’s best. I haven’t been sucked in super hard by the action or exploration, yet, but I find the aesthetic so strongly executed that I keep wanting to give Demon Turf more time. More 2D/3D hybrid games, please. — Alexandra Hall

And that’s it for our selections this week! What games will you be playing?

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