There’s an awful summer stigma in the video game community where a lot of people think its bad to have a few months where there aren’t blockbuster titles coming out every weekend, and I think those people are wrong. If AAA video games were releasing frequently all year round I would probably just get tired of them, and experience a summer blues because each title would have way less of an impact. Imagine games like Horizon Zero Dawn, The Last Guardian, and Dishonored 2 coming out every week, you wouldn’t be able to actually enjoy the experience because you’d either be catching up on a game you missed last week, or rushing through it so you could buy whatever new game that’s releasing next week.
That scenario is happening to the film industry right now, and I don’t want to see that happen to games. Living in a world where the gaming industry is putting out too many video games would be hell, so I’m absolutely fine with the majority of developers and publishers taking a summer break. Besides, you can use the time to replay old games, try out a series you’ve never tried before, or pick up some games you missed.
This summer was also packed with a few memorable PlayStation 4 games, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the games I’ve played over the break that I don’t think anyone should miss out on. Some of them are breathtaking and some of them are just flat out zany, but I really do feel like everyone should at least give these games a try.
4. Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter released back in March for PC, and I’ve been playing it ever since. Its such a weird game to me because once I finish a game I don’t often replay it, but it has so much personality that I always found myself fighting searching for collectibles and hidden areas months after I completed it, so when it came out for PS4 I knew I had to buy it. I’m glad I picked it up again because It feels so much smoother on a console. Sitting down on a couch late at night with a controller in-hand watching the vibrant pixel art shine on your television is how this game was meant to be played. The music was so carefully composed and it adds to the game’s lonely, curious atmosphere. The combat system in Hyper Light Drifter is my favourite way to fight in any game, its so simple and intuitive, yet it still offers a t challenging experience.
This is a weird one, so stay with me. In Headlander you play as a flying head travelling around space switching bodies and scrapping robots. It was one of the titles that released with the PlayStation Store’s PLAY event, and its my favourite of the bunch. The moment you boot it up you’re transported into a realm of retro science fiction full of neon lights and a 70’s inspired motif, if anything you should pick this game up for the visual experience because it really nails the aesthetic its going for. There were so many areas full of the most bizarre things like robots dancing to disco music, robot unicorns that you need to attach your head to, and talking doors that don’t want to kill you even though they were programmed to. The only downside is that a lot of the robots in Headlander pass the Turing test, but not a lot of them pass a funny test. The jokes drag on for too long and some are repeated over and over again so they lose their punch, but even without humour Headlander still does a perfect parody of 70’s sci-fi, so if you’re a fan of that era or just science fiction in general you should definitely pick up it up.
2. No Man’s Sky
Well here’s a summer title that everyone has heard of because it might be the most hyped game of all time. No Man’s Sky is what many people thought would be “the last video game”, a universe of infinite exploration that would never get boring. I don’t know why people thought that, because that’s really not how video games work, there’s never gonna be a “be all end all” game, and it’s kind of ridiculous to think there could be one. I was browsing the playstation store because I wanted to see if the hype was for a good reason, so I ended up picking it up day one and I was kind of surprised. It was marketed as an exploration game with survival features, but its actually the opposite of that. I found myself gathering resources and managing my stat bars for most of my time with the game, but it wasn’t as bad of an experience some people are making it out to be. The moment I got enough supplies to get my ship off of the planet I crash landed on was a real accomplishment. Blasting out of the planet’s atmosphere and being able to take a look at the millions of other stars floating around me gave me something I haven’t gotten from another game, and for that part alone I whole-heartedly recommend No Man’s Sky (but I’d wait for a price drop before buying).
It hasn’t released on PlayStation 4 yet, but Jotun is coming before Fall officially starts. In this game you play as a human warrior who has to defeat tons of gigantic monsters in order to please the gods, and its also completely hand drawn. Everything is so colossal in Jotun and it does a good job at making you feel weak against whatever enemy you face. Its not a particularly long game, but every second I spent in Jotun‘s universe was satisfying, so its worth your time. The puzzles and bosses are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. One of the puzzles was so basic, but I still had to strategize what moves I was going to take before I went into it, I also couldn’t believe nobody had thought of creating an obstacle like it before. Now I don’t want to say too much about it because its a game you need to go into it blind or your experience will be dampened, but I will say that its the only time I’ve played a game and sincerely felt like an underdog. With a strong combat system and an amazingly illustrated land I’m sure everyone who gives this game a try will have some fun.