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What to play during the summer release drought

Wednesday, 9 July 2014 08:07 GMT By Brenna Hillier

The long, dark silence between stars is as nothing to July, the month the games industry starts its summer nap. Welcome to The Drought, Here are our survival tips.

Heat haze hangs over the streets, or possibly frost rimes your windows, but in either case, it’s that time of year when, for whatever reason, the mainstream games industry goes quiet. Developers are still hard at work, of course, preparing the holiday and early new year glut, but right now we’re in what’s commonly referred to as a “release drought”.

Just because there’s no reason to skip merrily down to your local bricks-and-mortar doesn’t mean you have to stop gaming, though: here are our own personal tactics for finding games to play during the quiet months.

steam_summer_sale_final_day_fi

Go through your Steam and Humble Bundle back catalogues

Be honest – how many of those über-cheap games have you actually played for longer than a few minutes? Yes, that’s what I thought.

You have the time now, but we understand that doesn’t always work out. You stare at your library and you feel listless, uninspired. Probably all these games are great but it’s just not what you want to play now.

This fatigue can be combated. Make up a rule and stick to it. Go in alphabetical order, or order of least played, or any other system, and set a time – you must give the game at least an hour of your time. If at the end of that period you’re still not in the mood, uninstall it and move onto the next. But there’s a pretty solid chance you’ll be absorbed and enjoying yourself by then. You’re welcome.

trophies

Chase after achievements

Achievement hounds do what they do for a lot of reasons – bragging rights, unquestioned compulsion, a desire to see everything a game has to offer or to get their money’s worth. Your reason is simpler: you’re bored and need a reason to revisit games you’ve already tried.

Hunting for achievements can reinvigorate your interest in gaming because it forces you to approach a game in a new way – instead of just tackling your objectives and advancing the plot, you’re trying to nail a particular goal. Say you need to use a specific ability a certain number of times; doing so will likely teach you how best that ability works, and what tactical advantages it lends, and may end up altering your whole approach.

There’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had in grabbing a complete or near-complete set of achievements, not the least of which is comparing your performance to your friends. Challenge a buddy to match your accomplishments. Speaking of buddies…

army_of_two_fist_bump

Organise a regular multiplayer session

Gaming with a regular group of friends is one of the most rewarding aspects of the hobby. While clans and guilds can be a bit of a chore – not everyone has time for three raids a week – a more casual arrangement with a few buds can be brilliant.

Maybe you and your best mate could play through a few campaigns in co-op mode, which is often an entirely different experience to playing alone or with drop-in randoms. Maybe you could get a few friends together one night a week to work as a team in your favourite shooter. Maybe you want to work your way through an MMO together, going apart in your own time to grind, gather, craft and do faction quests then returning to explore and raid in tandem.

It’s a little bit more effort, but if you can convince your friends to occupy the same physical space – ie, your living room – then dig out your old split-screen games and multi-taps, crack a few brews, don’t stint on the snacks, and enjoy a cheap night of entertainment.

jojos_bizarre_adventure_all_star_battle

Try something different

In the words of the Monty Python crew, “and now for something completely different”. So there are no shooters releasing this month, and shooters are your bag. Maybe it’s time to lash out on something else? What if you’re some kind of Civilization savant, and you’ve never given yourself the time and space to find out?

Too often we let ourselves be hemmed in by specific genres or aesthetics, and it means we miss out on challenging, absorbing games. I’m not saying you have to go from FIFA and Call of Duty to Barbie’s Dream Home or whatever, but what about trying cartoony puzzle adventure Valiant Hearts: The Great War, or colourful but satisfyingly violent action RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, or the over-the-top outrageous versus fighter JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle, or the grimly difficult simulation Papers, Please?

One of the best things about branching out from the latest triple-A releases is that you can often get something cool and different for not very much money. Ask for recommendations on social networking and forums – heck, ask in the comments thread here – and take a chance on something you would never otherwise try. Those people banging on about how good a game is aren’t doing it for their health; they found something to love, and you might, too.

titanfall

Check in with 2014 so far

I know it’s hard to feel satisfied with what you’ve got now when October seems to be chock-full of things you’re dying to pick up, but if you absolutely must have a new triple-A experience this month, try expanding your definition of “new” to include “2014 to date”. After the gorgeing that is the holiday season, we get a second bout of strong new releases in the new year, and a lot of these can fly under the radar because we’re not in the consumer mood.

Putting aside re-releases and ports, this year’s triple-A releases include The Lego Movie Videogame, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy 13, Thief, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Dark Souls 2, Titanfall, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, InFamous: Second Son, The Elder Scrolls Online, Trials Fusion, 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle, Drakengard 3, Wolfenstein: The New Order, Murdered: Soul Suspect and Tomodachi Life.

I refuse to believe you have played and finished everything on that list.

ice_bath

Give up and lie in a bathtub full of ice/boiling water

If nothing on this list appeals to you, it’s very likely your suffering from Chronic Gaming Fatigue. After two console launches in late 2013, the incredible blowout that was E3 2014, and the exhausting process of filling in your end-of-year shopping list, we can’t really blame you. You are hereby granted permission to hide from extremes of weather and play Candy Crush Saga on your phone. We won’t tell.

Give us your recommendations for games to play while we wait out the drought, and share your top tips for making the most of your existing collections!

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14 Comments

  1. TheWulf

    I like baths!

    I’ve also been playing a lot of multiplayer games though with a couple of friends, and that’s been a fun way to pass the time. Divinity: Original Sin has had its amusing moments, especially in combat when you realise just exactly how something is going to affect everyone in the combat scenario, including your co-op partner. That’s lead to a few entertaining ‘oops’ moments.

    Perhaps one of the best being one battle where I was almost continually on fire due to how I chose really bad positioning to hold, so I was smack dab in the bunch of a friendly and enemy fire AoEs. I’m almost suurprised that my cleric didn’t lose his cotton candy afro amidst all that.

    I’ve also been playing older games.

    The thing is is that there’s shit all I can do about the current state of games, this is something I’ve had to accept, that the extroverted masses are the ones most games are being made for, these days. So something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an oasis amidst a long, unending drought. Whereas there used to be lots of non-violent games about a variety of topics, that’s not so much the case, these days.

    So I’ve been spending a lot of time exploring the past.

    My old console library, my PC disks and discs, and GoG.com have been perfect for that. Not only that, but a lady friend has been streaming the Tex Murphy games, as she’s decided that she wants to do that before she plays Tesla Effect, which I can completely understand. And that’s been a marvellous trip down memory lane.

    And then there’s been Starbound.

    Thanks to mods, Starbound has been a laugh. The lady friend and I are more into the building and decorating aspect of things, so we’ve lots of mods that do and add lots of interesting things, from decorations to new technologies that allow us to have everything from VVVVVV-ish gravity lifts to indoor plumbing. I’m not sure how many of you have been exposed to it, but the Starbound modding scene is a genuinely joyous thing, and prolific.

    It also feels oldschool. Considering that we’ve been modding like crazy, I’ve been building my own mods, and we’ve spent more time just having fun than we have at running around and killing things. In fact, the killing has been relatively minimal, and generally kept to bosses that we actually need to take down to unlock new levels of technology.

    Though I’d love to see someone actually create an alternative to that, perhaps a few dungeons generated on your starting planet that have the unlocks presented as item pick ups. And to get them, you have to venture through a veritable obstacle course of traps and environmental hazards. That would be rad.

    Might have to poke the community about that.

    The Starbound modding community, do check it out if you haven’t.

    And speaking of mods… I’ve been playing a number of player made scenarios for Shadowrun Returns. Suffice it to say, Shadowrun Returns is today’s Neverwinter Nights. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind about that. See, the main campaigns are incredibly bad, but the player-made stuff has been nothing short of incredible. There are some genuinely memorable stories out there which are worth playing. If you’ve bought Shadowrun Returns and you’ve only played the official campaigns, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

    And then I’ve been randomly playing Spore because I felt like it. It’s a game where I can raise a pacifistic race of critters, and it entertains me so.

    So that sums up how I’ve been handling it, since the drought has lasted longer for me than it has for most.

    #1 8 months ago
  2. AmiralPatate

    I’m playing Rayman Legends. Good game. The only bad thing is Uplay.

    #2 8 months ago
  3. Game Hunter

    I hope he has underwear on,cuz the private parts aren’t comfortable with that much cold.

    #3 8 months ago
  4. Game Hunter

    Speaking of drought, I’m fully equipped. That means I have both Dark Souls and Dark Souls II to play and a basket full of controllers,just in case I go nuts.

    #4 8 months ago
  5. YoungZer0

    Just did a quick search on the word “extrovert” to see if he was ranting again. Lo-and-behold, he did. Just can’t help himself.

    #5 8 months ago
  6. dazedonthemoon

    I’m catching up on all my back catalog of games from Plus and whatnot, finally got around to Bioshock Infinite and hoping to complete Tales of Symphonia or Final Fantasy X before Tales of Xillia 2 comes out. I played both when they originally came out but still need to get around to beating their remasters. That’s a lot of game hours!

    #6 8 months ago
  7. Captain_Iglo

    You can also play Sniper Elite III. Despite some flaws, the game is quite good. it would be a shame to not buy this one.

    #7 8 months ago
  8. Darkfield

    All I ever needed was Divinity Original Sin. And I’m enjoying my life right now in Rivellon.

    #8 8 months ago
  9. polygem

    destiny beta
    diablo III
    shovel knight ng+

    #9 8 months ago
  10. p_nut_uk

    Check out this weeks humble bundle, and make sure you pick up Spec Ops: The Line, it’s NOT an FPS… ok it’s a 3rd person shooter but it has a fantastically thoughtful story line that when you finish you keep thinking back on it, only 6 hours long but it’s a perfect amount, you don’t feel like it’s dragged on.

    You WILL hate yourself after, and maybe curl up in the fetal position and rock backwards and forwards.

    #10 8 months ago
  11. Dog4life

    @Captain_Iglo
    I’m trying to beat sniper elite on authentic difficulty and doing most achievements.
    and yhea i guess need the whole summer for the Platinum of Lego Hobbit :)
    Oh yhea , Dragons Teeth out soon

    and i’m pretty damn busy with skateboarding : http://decomposedsk8.com/image/85400118.jpg

    #11 8 months ago
  12. Dog4life

    @Dog4life damn wrong spam link, sorry.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/Dog4life

    #12 8 months ago
  13. Legendaryboss

    Backlog/completion for me.

    #13 8 months ago
  14. fearmonkey

    Finally finished Farcry 3 on PC, finished Gone Home on PC (Loved that game!), now I need to finish Infamous:SS, and maybe Killzone:SF, Battlefield 4, and the multitude of Indie PS plus freebies and Steam back catalog.

    #14 8 months ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Destiny’s most-ignored weapons got major boosts this week. It’s time to start thinking about how to work them into your set-up. Even if you’re used to using scout rifles and sniper rifles as a general loud-out (neither class was touched by 1.1.1), the buffs to pulse rifles and shotguns should make you rethink your contextual […]

  • Battlefield Bad Company 2: five years later, what did it do so right?

    It’s been five years since the release of Battlefield Bad Company 2. What did the much-loved entry in the franchise do for the Battlefield series? Westie’s played Battlefield Bad Company 2 for over 1,260 hours on PS3 and PC. That’s dedication. In his latest video he discusses the stand out moments from a FPS classic, […]

  • War is hell in this Zombie Army Trilogy gameplay trailer

    Here’s five minutes of headshots, shambling zombies and an undead Hitler from Rebellion’s upcoming Zombie Army Trilogy. The Sniper Elite spin-off arrives on PS4, PC and Xbox One March 6 and includes three games (obviously) and a new Horde mode.

  • Titan Souls releases on PS4, Vita, PC on April 14

    Ace indie giant-slayer Titan Souls will be released on PS4, Vita and PC on April 14. Publisher Devolver confirmed the date to Eurogamer. Those of us in Europe will have to wait until a day later for release. Titan Souls is a tough-as-nails indie game where you have one life to slay a giant enemy. […]

  • Destiny weekly update: lowdown on Inferno Crucible, Vault Transfer improvements

    Destiny’s weekly update has made some pretty significant changes – let Arekkz Gaming take you through them. Bungie has revealed the first release date for the new Inferno Crucible mode, and made it a lot easier to access your vault. You should subscribe to Arekkz Gaming. It will improve your life.

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory Feb 27, 28

    It’s Xursday again – what treats does he have for you this week? He’s in the North Tower, to the right of the Stranger’s room. Let’s take a look at the latest weapons and gear from your favourite Destiny trader. No Backup Plans [Titan Gauntlets] – 13SC ATS/8 Arachnid [Hunter Helmet] – 13SC Heart of […]

  • Battlefield Hardline will be stable on PC at launch, Visceral assures

    PC format is “by far the best gaming platform around,” says Hardline producer. “We’re doing what we can to take advantage of people’s different system with the graphics, framerate, controls, etc. We’re not just porting it over.” Battlefield Hardline developer Visceral is reassuring players that there will not be a repeat of the disastrous Battlefield […]

  • Win Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One

    We have 10 download codes for new indie puzzler Pneuma: Breath of Life for Xbox One to give away. The be in with a chance of winning a code, just enter your details below and we’ll pull the winners from the hat on Monday March 2nd, after 2pm GMT. Pneuma: Breath of Life is a […]

  • Life is Strange Episode 2 delayed

    Life is Strange Episode 2 won’t make its expected release date. The first Life is Strange episode released on January 30, and we had expected the second to follow on March 13. Square Enix has since confirmed to Destructoid that the next chapter won’t make its release date. There’s been no word of the new […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: which character will be revealed tomorrow?

    Mortal Kombat X director Ed Boon is teasing a new character reveal. During today’s Mortal Kombat X livestream, NetherRealm said that a new character would be revealed “very soon”. Boon followed up with this teasing tweet suggesting the reveal will occur tomorrow: Very soon? As in tomorrow? :/ — Ed Boon (@noobde) February 26, 2015 […]

  • Halo played by Twitch is an exercise in great patience

    TwitchPlaysHalo is ridiculous. Halo: Combat Evolved is the latest game to be sucked into the “TwitchPlays” phenomenon, and the results are somewhat painful to spectate. If you’re not familiar with the setup, which debuted with TwitchPlaysPokemon, the game accepts commands from the channels’ chat stream. Although it doesn’t have the strategic RPG elements of Pokemon, […]

  • Gold Amiibo sold out, selling at five times RRP on auction sites

    Gold Mario Amiibo are expected to sell for pretty astounding profits on eBay and other auction sites. The Walmart-exclusive Gold Mario Amiibo is already completely sold out. Plenty of people managed to snaffle them to resell, though. There are now dozens of listings on eBay and other auction sites. One of the average asking prices […]

  • Canadian new game prices jump to $75

    Canadian gamers are in for an unpleasant price hike. As spotted by HardcoreGamer, the local Canadian branches of Amazon and EB Games have raised the prices of upcoming games to CAD$75. The CAD$5 increasing comes within a year of prices hitting the CAD$70 point. CAD$75 (£38/€53) currently exchanges for $60, the standard US pricing. The […]

  • New Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows weather, day-night cycle

    The latest Xenoblade Chronicles X footage shows off a gloriously beautiful world. Xenoblade Chronicles X is Monolith Soft’s first solo Wii U game, and the developer is clearly enjoying being able to build a big open world with all the features we’ve come to expect. Missed the whole Xenoblade thing? Chronicles X is a sort […]

  • Dead Rising: Watchtower teaser talks up the benefits of Zombrex

    Live-action Dead Rising movie Watchtower is almost upon us. Dead Rising: Watchtower will release on Crackle on March 27, and via other digital distributors thereafter. Enjoy the short teaser below, courtesy of IGN.

  • We Happy Few debut hits you upside the face with a frying pan

    Contrast developer Compulsion Games has revealed its next project – the delightfully creepy-looking We Happy Few. We Happy Few is set in “a drug-fuelled, retrofuturistic city in an alternative 1960s England” where “a plucky bunch of moderately terrible people trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial”. Players are tasked with blending in with […]

  • Slender: The Arrival creeping onto PS4, Xbox One in March

    Slender: The Arrival sold like hotcakes on PC and last-gen consoles, so why not terrify yourself on PS4 and Xbox One, too? Slender: The Arrival will release on PS4 on March 24 and on Xbox One on March 25, developer Blue Isle Studios has announced, for $10. No word on that Wii U version, though. […]

  • GOG weekend sale celebrates German debut

    DRM-free games vendor GOG is celebrating its German-language launch with a tasty sale. The sale offers discounts over 25 “German favourites”. Highlights inclue 97% off Deponia, and less steep but still tasty savings on Memoria and Blackguards 1 and 2. The sale will run through March 3, and you do not have to be, speak, […]

  • Humble Weekly Bundle goes back to Japan

    The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is called Made in Japan, and I’m sure you can guess the theme. Pay what you want for Cherry Tree High Complete Pack (PC; Steam or DRM free), Fairy Bloom Freesia (PC; Steam or DRM free) and Influent + Language Pack (Linux, Mac, PC; Steam or DRM free). Pay more […]

  • Capcom “looking into” solutions to Resident Evil: Revelations PC co-op issue

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 fans should sit tight for a bit, as Capcom is working on some sort of solution to the co-op issue. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 doesn’t have local co-op on PC and fans are pretty mad about that, as it was advertised ahead of release as a key feature. Although Capcom has […]

  • The games industry is disruption, says Assassin’s Creed producer

    Former Assassin’s Creed producer Jade Raymond has characterised the games industry as one long series of upsets. The games industry changes all the time, and that’s one of its best qualities, Raymond said. The ex-Ubisoft leader told Polygon that the reason seh got into games in the first place was because it “is this undefined […]

  • GTA 5 made $31 million in digital revenue in January

    GTA 5 is the highest-grossing title at the moment in terms of digital revenue, and the PSN is absolutely minting it. Digital games industry analyst Superdata has extended its scope to include console games, which means we suddenly have access to a whole bunch of data we’ve only been able to guess at, or extrapolate […]

  • Destiny: Inferno playlists debut next week

    Destiny PvP will shake things up next week with a new way to slaughter your mates in the Crucible. Destiny is already a skilled PvP game, but the new Inferno playlists will turn things up a notch with a focus on “basic gunplay”. The first of these, Inferno Control, kicks off on March 3 and […]

  • First-person camera coming to Guild Wars 2 next month

    ArenNet has announced its adding nonrestrictive first-person view to Guild Wars 2. Here’s what top expect come March 10: First-person Camera: Zooming in all the way will allow players to experience a first-person view. First-person mode is available while standing in place, walking, running, jumping, playing PvP and just about anything else. There aren’t any […]

  • Shadowrun Online signs on with Nordic

    Shadowrun Online has been given a nice little boost thanks to a distribution deal with Nordic Games. Shadowrun Online is a new team tactical RPG from Cliffhanger Productions. Although it’s already available through Steam Early Access, Nordic has agreed to distribute the finished version, which is due on Linux, Mac and PC in the second […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, game world ten times the size of demo

    Final Fantasy 15 is 60% finished, according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking with IGN, Tabata said development will kick into high gear once the Episode Duscae demo is released. “It’s about 60% now. People may look at that and say ‘well, you’ve only done five more percent!’ [since 55% in September] but it’s actually a […]

  • Destiny: you don’t need to visit the tower to access your vault

    Destiny players, you asked for it and Bungie has delivered it: you can now swap items in and out of the vault using the companion app. “Destiny needs more vault space” you cry – and yes, this is true. But while we all struggle with the limitations imposed on us by Bungie, we face all […]

  • Mortal Kombat X will contain over 100 Brutalities

    During the Mortal Kombat X stream today, NetherRealm Studios revealed Brutalities are back for the game, and stated there will be over 100 to pull off. You won’t gain any extra experience for being overly cruel with your painful moves, but you will at least get to laugh at some and “cringe” at others, according […]

  • Numenera: Strand is a film based on the game up on Kickstarter

    Numenera, the 2012 Kickstarter success and foundation for Torment: Tides of Numenera, could become a film if the Kickstarter for the movie is successful. With five days left, Monte Cook Games and Swedish film company Valdes/Eriksdotter needs £22,542 to reach its goal. Titled Numenera: Strand, it tells the tale of a drifter who “roams a […]

  • Gran Turismo 6 update adds MINI Clubman Vision, more

    A Mini Cooper has invaded Gran Turismo 6 via a new update. The Mid-Field Raceway track has also been added, and its a new and improved version of the original track from previous Gran Turismos. The new B-Spec Mode feature has also been added which allows the AI driver to race on your behalf. Additional […]

  • Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and some playable titles to PAX East

    Nintendo is bringing New 3DS Xl and Splatoon with it to PAX East next month. The E3 2014 build of the game lets eight players transform into squids in a race for “splattered-paint dominance.” Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will also be playable and featured in stage presentations at the Nintendo booth. Upcoming or newly released Nintendo […]

  • Battlefield Hardline Premium information seems to have slipped out early

    Battlefield Hardline Premium perks have apparently leaked a bit early, according to a post on Reddit. Over on the Hardline subreddit is an image which was take at a GameStop location, noting two week early access to content additional Battlepacks and more. Here’s the rundown: Four expansions Two weeks early access 12 additional Battlepacks Exclusive […]

  • Final Fantasy: Record Keeper arrives in the US this spring

    Final Fantasy: Record Keeper will be released in the US on iOS and Android this spring, DeNA and Square Enix today. The mobile titles allows players to “relive favorite moments” across all Final Fantasy installments and build a team of classic characters from across the entire franchise. If you sign up for email updates, you […]

  • Battlefield Hardline now available for pre-order, pre-download on Xbox One

    Battlefield Hardline is now available for pre-order and pre-download on Xbox One. You can pre-order it now from the Xbox Store and once you have paid for it, you can start your pre-download. Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17, and will be made available to pre-downloaders come 12.01am EDT. Check pricing and availability for your […]

  • Dying Light interactive video allows you switch between day and night

    A new video for Dying Light has been released, which allows you to hit the Z key to change between day and night. Titles Life and Death in the Quarantine Zone, the interactive story video showcases how the game changes between day and night. Daytime and nighttime are shown side-by-side but the z key allows […]

  • Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare out on PS3, PS4; PC delayed

    The Havoc DLC for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for PlayStation 3 and PS4. Havoc contains the four multiplayer maps Core, Drift, Sideshow, and Urban along with the AE4 directed energy assault rifle, its custom variant, and the Exo Zombies cooperative mode. You can purchase the DLC separately or pick up the […]

  • Here’s a teaser for Resident Evil Revelations 2: Episode 2

    A teaser video for the second episode of Resident Evil Revelations 2 is available, so if you’ve yet to play the first episode, you may want to skip this. Resident Evil Revelations 2′s first episode is out now. Thanks, GamesHQMedia.

  • North American eShop update is full of Donkey Kong games

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with Titan Attacks, Donkey Kong Land, Donkey Kong Country and more. eShop on 3DS Ironfall Invasion Titan Attacks! Donkey Kong Land – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 2 – Virtual Console Donkey Kong Land 3 – Virtual Console Luv Me Buddies Wonderland Around the World […]

  • Venture into the Valley of the Yetis next week in Far Cry 4

    The next batch of Far Cry 4 DLC, Valley of the Yetis, releases in March and Ajay Ghale will be tasked with surviving violent cultists and the mythical Yeti. Apparently the cult is looking for a secret hidden in the valley, and Ajay has discovered their motives. The DLC features co-op with a friend taking […]