Fall Gaming Picks – 2019

Fall Gaming Picks – 2019

Yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to do any sort of listicles on this site, and I hope this isn’t really that type of post. I want to talk about the fall and what’s coming out over the next few months. While 2019 originally seemed like a very quiet year for gaming, September has snuck up on us and now there’s once again too much to play. I think it’s important to pick your games here and devote yourself to what you have time for, but if you’re all in on all of it, go for it! I intend to play most of my fall 2019 games on Switch, but there are a few that jump out elsewhere that have piqued my interest. 2020 Will definitely be a more overwhelming year with the potential of a new generation of consoles, but 2019 isn’t going quietly into the winter. There’s going to be a lot to play in the cold, late December days of this year and into 2020. 

I love the Autumn. While I think I still give Summer the nudge for “Best Season”, as anyone born in August would, Autumn is essentially the perfect time of year. The warm and breezy days of September make way for the crisp, cool, and haunting days of October. By October 31 we get to kick off a two month long party that wraps up with New Year’s Day (my least favorite day, really). Aside from great weather and the holidays my favorite aspect of the Fall is that it’s VIDEO GAME SEASON! Almost every major player in the video game industry is working to get out at least one major title to release for the holidays. We all get to reap the benefits and have months of new releases hitting our consoles and PCs. I’ve got my fall all scheduled up and these to me stand out to be the biggest and best games of 2019’s video game season. 

 

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

Technically, this is still a Summer game, and it’s out NOW! I’ve included this as part of the list because it was released in late July and is long enough to carry you right up into the Autumn. Also…this piece is about what I’m playing and FE has taken over the past month of my life. To be honest here, I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to the Fire Emblem series. I’ve only ever played bits and pieces of some of the past titles. This is strange because I’m often a pretty big fan and champion for the Strategy RPG. Final Fantasy Tactics is one of my favorite games of all time and I celebrate how great Valkyria Chronicles and Tactics Ogre are constantly. How did I miss out on Fire Emblem? No idea, but I’m happy to have finally joined the ranks of fans who have been screaming about this series’ quality for years!

Three Houses is terrific. I bought the game for the intense turn-based, grid-based battles, but I’ve become more enamored by everything else surrounding the combat. Three Houses puts you in the role of a new professor at a military academy on the continent of Fodlan. As the professor, while not fighting you’ll teach classes, wander around the Academy, and build relationships with your students. It’s a bit like Persona-meets-Fire Emblem which scratches the P5 itch on switch…I’m still upset that Persona 5 isn’t being ported to Switch, almost as upset as I am about Sony removing Spider-Man from the MCU…Sony’s wrecking my nerdom.  For those of you who are Harry Potter fans the aforementioned 3 Houses are very familiar as they mirror Hogwarts to a degree. The Academy is a giant castle/cathedral complex and the three houses represented match up nicely with what we loved in Harry Potter. Except instead of wizards, you’re training warriors of all degrees. It’s very cool and a lot of fun. I chose the Black Eagles, who are a mix of Gryffindor and Slitheryn, The Blue Lions are a mix of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and the Golden Stags are essentially Hufflepuff. It’s great.

I’m fascinated by the mundane of Fire Emblem. I work feverishly to ensure that my professor is on good terms with my students and that I’ve got everyone working the right jobs and studying the right subjects. This adds a certain personality to the game that would have otherwise been lacking in the very slow-yet-gratifying combat. I love training the students to make them better and stronger as each battle goes on. As I continue to upgrade their character classes my team is getting more and more specialized and seeing that growth in an RPG is quite rewarding. In addition, due to the social aspects of the game, you start to become attached to these characters and get invested in their stories. 

 

Combat is what you’d expect from any strategy RPGs you may have played in the past. The battles are a bit longer and you have more units, but the idea is very similar. I love the combat and the slow, tactful way you can approach it. Also, since I’m a baby when it comes to games like this, I have turned off perma-death, because losing characters permanently upsets me and I’d rather play at a more casual pace. Also, I’d be so mad if I lost Bernadetta or Edelgard at this point because I’ve invested so much time into their progress, hosted them at multiple tea parties, and made sure they like each other so while working together in combat they get better bonuses…Sorry…got carried away a bit there. 

If you like Persona, get this game. If you like Fire Emblem, get this game. If you want to play a slow, long JRPG that doubles as a relationship simulator and battle academy anime, get this game. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one of the best games I’ve played this year and I’ve found myself lost in the world of Fodlan looking to improve my students’ future. It’s so good.

 

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening – Remake

Link’s Awakening is an eternal classic. Originally Released in 1993, Link’s Awakening represents just how odd and different Nintendo can be at times. Many not know this, but Link’s Awakening was somewhat influenced by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. As Link wakes up in the strange land of Koholint Island, he comes across an odd cast of characters that don’t quite fit in, but also make perfect sense being together. Nintendo loved the idea of a strange place with weird people that feels like a dream, a la Twin Peaks. This game is incredibly strange, even for the Zelda series. Earlier this year, Nintendo showed via Direct that they had been working on a ground-to-ceiling remake of this game, with strange toy-like visuals. I was hooked by this game from the reveal trailer alone! 

I love oddball cartoons and toys, so to see Nintendo reviving this classic title with this aesthetic was a very welcome surprise. I think the game looks pretty great and even if Nintendo doesn’t add much to its size, scope, or length I’m already committed to this title. I also love that Nintendo is revisiting the classic, top-down style of Zelda, something I feel has been missing as of late. I think that A Link Between Worlds is one of the best Zelda games out there, but it’s currently trapped on 3DS. As Link’s Awakening nears closer to its release date, I’m more and more excited to lose myself in this odd world of strange wonders. Also, can we talk about the soundtrack a little bit? It’s wonderfully arranged, but performed by small groups instead of the large orchestras we’re used to hearing on AAA titles. It completely matches the toyetic nature of this title and while they’re not, the instruments themselves sound like toys at times. It helps add to the strange ambience of the game and I can see little toy Link bopping around while this music plays on loop for hours in Koholint. 

I’m very impressed at how this game looks and I expect it to play very well. I’m excited to get my grubby hands on every rupee, heart piece, and secret seashell, celebrating a beautiful 26 year old game reborn for a new generation. I expect this remake to rank with Resident Evil 2 and be one of the best games of the year. See you on September 20th!

 

Dragon Quest XI S

Another game, and another release on Nintendo Switch. It’s been a Switch heavy year for me, and I’m ok with that, I like taking my games on the go. Dragon Quest is one of the most legendary JRPG series to ever release. It’s the progenitor for an entire genre and until recently has been somewhat dormant in the United States. Luckily for us, DQ is finally starting to gain some ground in the western world and all to the benefit of all we dorky JRPG players. I got into Dragon Quest a little late, I started the series at its eighth installment on the PS2, because DQVIII came with the demo for Final Fantasy XII. I pulled a move where I bought a game to play the included demo…and really fell in love with both. I was excited to learn that Dragon Quest XI was coming to the US on PS4 last year, and I started to play it on it’s initial release. I fell off right away, because there were too many games last year so I shelved DQXI. Lucky me, a better version or the definitive version of this game is being released on Switch later this month (September 27).  JRPGs always feel better on Switch, as its portability allows for more access to grind and the ability to take the game with you anywhere. Nothing makes a flight go by quickly like playing a few hours of a JRPG.

In addition to being portable, Switch is getting the best or definitive version of this game. The score of the game has been fully orchestrated, in contrast to the PS4’s midi OST. In addition, you can play the entire game in 16-bit mode in celebration of the classic JRPGs of the SNES era. While I plan to play the game, on my first playthrough, in 3D mode the 16-bit option is a nice way to vary up the gameplay. It’ll feel like two different games…almost.

While I loved this game from the get go, players who may be a little apprehensive to dive into a 100 hour long, classic JRPG may want to give it a shot first. Luckily, the Switch has a DQXI demo available for download that is TEN HOURS LONG. So you can actually play close to ten full hours of turn-based, JRPG combat to get a taste of what it’s like, for free. Not only will this demo give you enough content for a full game on its own, but your save progress will travel with you to the full release of the game. Essentially, Square Enix has given us the first 10% of Dragon Quest XI for free which is pretty generous. 

I love the style and artwork from Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), mixed with the music, and slow methodical pace of any classic JRPG. Dragon Quest XI feel like a story or more importantly a fairy tale. While playing through the demo, I was embraced by the beautiful nostalgia, but also saw how an old franchise can learn many new tricks. This game has it all, really, from the JRPG grind to the giant world, to the massive world-ending story. DQXI is a special game and is both a perfect way to continue the series and a great entry point for new players. If you’ve been curious about the series or genre, I suggest giving the demo a shot right away. This game will most certainly take over my October as it releases on September 27.

 

The Outer Worlds

While I tend to stick to Japanese games there are some Western titles that can easily grab my attention. When Obsidian Entertainment announced that they were working on a new RPG with the creators of Fallout that takes place in the future of an alternate past…IN SPACE, too many checkboxes were checked off for me NOT to be all about this game. 

It’s got a very cool Space Western feel with an impeccable sense of humor and looks to be heavily inspired by Fallout. While Skyrim often gets all the glory of the Bethesda games, I have always preferred Fallout 3 and New Vegas to Skyrim and Oblivion. I’m also a fan of retrofuturism and space exploration, so this game is going to be at the top of my list. I feel like we need a good, long, open-ended RPG every so often and I expect The Outer Worlds to conquer my time well into 2020. 

There’s not much else for me to say, other than the fact that this game looks great and I can’t wait to play it. I do plan to take my time with it as I want to soak in all the space junk goodness. This game releases on Oct 25, and will most likely be a time sink, so I may start it but shelve it until I get through the rest of the year. If you’re into this type of game…give it a shot!

 

Luigi’s Mansion 3

I’m so happy we’re getting another Luigi’s Mansion. As a big Game Cube fanboy, the Luigi’s Mansion games always hold a special place in my heart. It was a new style of game for Nintendo and their take on the survival horror genre. Luigi’s Mansion is one part Ghostbusters and one part Resident Evil and I thought the combination bared great results. Now we get a new Luigi’s Mansion game, that releases on Halloween!?!?! This is too cool for words! 

Luigi’s Mansion 3 looks amazing, with updated graphics, a new haunted hotel to traverse, and multiplayer, this could be one of the most fun games to play this fall. I don’t expect the gameplay to change too much, but Luigi’s new moves, like slamming ghosts on the floor, should vary up the gameplay a bit from what we’re used to. The inclusion of Gooigi, Luigi’s gooey doppelganger, will definitely create some great opportunities for fun and imaginative puzzles in this haunted hotel. What stands out to me about LM3 is that it looks like loads of fun. I love when Nintendo gets to unabashedly be Nintendo and Luigi’s Mansion 3 feels like a fun and strange playground. I know what I’m doing on Halloween night…PLAYING LUIGI’S MANSION!!

 

Death Stranding

Ok…this is the newest game from Hideo Kojima, of Metal Gear Solid fame. Everything he’s done has been both incredibly strange and wonderfully poignant and delivered via b-movie level plot. They’re amazing games and Kojima himself is an artist of the highest regard…. That being said, the more I see about Death Stranding, the less I understand. I’m going to buy this game, be utterly confused by it, and ultimately love it. See you on November 8th.

 

Pokemon Sword and Shield

I’m fully back on the Pokemon train and each new release has me excited about what the new region has in store. Sword and Shield should be no different. I know many fans are bummed that the game will be lacking a national pokedex, which means that not EVERY Pokemon can be found or transferred to this game. I totally understand the frustration there, but I never transfer Pokemon, nor do I play competitively. To me, Pokemon is always about getting to the new region and eating up everything it has to offer. I’m pumped for the Galar Region’s take on the UK and I’m a tad obsessed with the new starter, Grookey.

Pokemon games are always a representation of the Autumn game season. Last Year’s Let’s Go games had me excited about Pokemon on Switch as some of my old favorite Pokemon catapulted across my TV in great detail. Let’s Go was more on the casual side of Pokemon, with a fairly simple difficulty and some Pokemon Go enhancements. I’m excited to get my hands on a new “Main Line” Pokemon game on switch. It doesn’t seem too far and beyond what I’d normally expect from Pokemon, but I’m still excited to meet all the new monsters. 

What excites me most about Sword and Shield is the wild area, an area built for open exploration and encounters with wild pokemon. In the past the Pokemon games have often lacked that degree of surveyal. It’s going to be cool to have sections of this game that are less linear and filled with different seasonal and time sensitive events, or at least that’s what I got from the trailer. I’ve already devoted my loyalty to Sword, so I’ll be pumped to get that in my hands on November 15th.

 

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

Yep, It’s completely expected to have two huge releases on the same day. I’m a big Star Wars fan and I’m intrigued to see what this game has to offer. Sadly, since EA obtained the exclusive rights to make Star Wars games, the quality has seemingly dipped quite a bit. Not to mention Star Wars Battlefront 2 was presumably loaded with “pay-to-win” mechanics and aggravating lootbox drops. I gather that most of this was blown a little out of proportion, but it didn’t look good for EA in 2018. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order feels like it’s a bit of an apology to the fans of these games and the game looks pretty darn good.

From what I gathered this is a single-player, 3D action game. The more I watch and read about this game makes it seem like it’s also heavily inspired by games like Super Metroid and Uncharted. So a Star Wars game that plays like Uncharted, with exploration like a Metroidvania? Go ahead and show me where I can sign. While I haven’t played any of Respawn’s other games, I hear great things about Titanfall and Titanfall 2. I love the Star Wars Universe and I’m always eager to see more of its innards. The movies focus much attention on the Skywalkers, which is great, but with extraneous material I’d like to see more. This game should do that. It certainly looks like a very fun and challenging action game. This comes out the same day as Pokemon so I think this may end up on the ol’ Christmas list! I always love having a brand new game to play on Christmas Day.

So that’s it…that’s what I’m ready to play this fall. I also intend to dip my toe into Borderlands 3 at some point as well. I’ve never played the series, but it looks like a cartoon, so I may as well give it a shot. What are you most excited for this year? What’s on your Fall games list? I hope everyone has an amazing and fun Video Game Season!

 

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