Summer gaming preview

For many Alaskans, summer is the time of year for hiking, fishing and exploring the great backyard that is the Last Frontier. But for many others, summer is catch-up season — a drought of games that allows gaming enthusiasts to pick up the pace and play all of those games they’ve collected. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of games to look forward to this summer, so let’s take a look!

 


Watch Dogs

“WATCH_DOGS”

Developer: Ubisoft Montreal

Platform: PS4, PS3, XBO, 360, Wii U, PC

Release Date: May 27, 2014

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Many are heralding this title as the first true next-gen experience, and while the term “next-gen” is a bit abused in that statement (it’s also coming to PS3 and 360), it still looks like it will do a lot of new for the gaming world. In this open-world, “Grand Theft Auto”-esque experience, the main weapon is not a gun or baton, but a smartphone used to manipulate the connected world around the player. It makes for a great setup for some great moments, and those who anticipate it certainly aren’t wrong to do so.

 


Transistor

“TRANSISTOR”

Developer: Supergiant Games

Platform: PS4, PC

Release Date: May 20, 2014

Supergiant’s last title, “Bastion,” was a huge hit for action-RPG fans, so many are looking forward to their new cyberpunk title, “Transistor.” It borrows a lot from both sci-fi and from the world of fairy tales, as the story takes a lot of riffs from the tale of “The Little Mermaid.” The main character, Red, is a singer who comes into the possession of an intelligent sword called the Transistor, and a totalitarian regime known as the Process wants to silence her and possess the sword. It’s an interesting setup, and if it sticks with Supergiant’s stellar action-RPG elements, it will be another standout in 2014’s gaming lineup.

 


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“WILDSTAR”

Developer: Carbine Studios

Platform: PC

Release Date: June 3, 2014

Those in the massively multiplayer online space are anticipating the release of “WildStar” with bated breath. This is for a variety of reasons. It comes from Carbine Studios, which was formed by a group of Blizzard employees who wanted to develop “anything but ‘World of Warcraft,’” as is the company’s current stance. It promises to add a lot of features to streamline the traditional MMORPG experience, including a more flexible movement system and expansive housing mechanics. And finally, like the cherry on a delicious sundae, it boasts a Pixar-esque, cartoonish art style that lends itself perfectly to both its game play and its enjoyable sense of humor. Those looking for a new MMO to roam shouldn’t pass “WildStar” up.

 


Murdered-soul-suspect-logo

“MURDERED: SOUL SUSPECT”

Developer: Airtight Games

Platform: PS4, PS3, XBO, 360, PC

Release Date: June 3, 2014

On the other side of the spectrum, fans of single-player mystery-adventure titles like “L.A. Noire” and “Ghost Trick” have been looking forward to “Murdered: Soul Suspect.” The game comes from Airtight Games, who have a lot to prove after the relatively subpar “Dark Void” and “Quantum Conundrum,” but many still have faith. The game revolves around a ghost who is searching for his own murderer, with the help of a girl who both witnessed the man’s death and can speak with and see ghosts. The premise sounds very similar to “Ghost Trick,” but the developers have claimed that the style and tone will be completely different, so it’ll be interesting to see how it turns out.

 


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“LIFELESS PLANET”

Developer: Stage 2 Studios

Platform: PC

Release Date: May (specific date TBA)

This title actually comes from the local folks of Stage 2 Studios, who work out of Wasilla, and it’s been generating a lot of buzz from the PC gaming community. “Lifeless Planet” revolves around an astronaut who lands on the titular lifeless planet, which was originally thought to be filled with life. It aims to be a spiritual successor to games like “Another World” or “The Dig,” and it’s hard not to see those influences. The game is currently available on Steam’s Early Access program, which allows players to pre-order the title and play through about a third of the game. While there are some kinks to work out — the camera is wonky, the platforming is clunky and controller support isn’t entirely there yet — the game is incredibly atmospheric, and the story will keep players glued. Fans of games like “Journey” should definitely take note.