This Summer's Best New Video Games

For as long as Steven Spielberg has been around, summer blockbusters have been associated with movies that audiences would line up around the block for. That has shifted as movie studios make less big-budgeted films (unless they feature men in tights), while video games have only gained in popularity, production and storytelling. You’re more likely to see a crowd lining up for the next Call Of Duty release than say Independence Day 2 (really?) this summer. Here’s a rundown of this summer’s “other” blockbusters, which include big-budget epics, beloved adaptations and classic titles.

Release Date: Out Now
Platforms: PS4, X-Box One, Microsoft Windows
Taking another page out of the movie studio script, legendary game developers iD Software (Wolfenstein, Quake) hope to revive their Doom franchise with a “reboot” after The Rock body-slammed the ground-breaking brand with his doomed 2005 movie adaptation. Originally dubbed Doom 4, the hotly-anticipated, long-delayed release pays homage to the horror classic’s first-person shooter gaming roots, but has been developed for next gen machines, so expect next-level, high-def sights, speaker blasting sounds and brutal bloodshed.

Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst
Release: Out Now
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Parkouring is to video games what Tom Cruise running is to movies (don’t believe me, there’s Tumblr and YouTube pages dedicated to this). Dubbed as a first person, open world, running game franchise (which means lots of parkouring off glass buildings and bad guy’s faces), Catalyst is the follow-up to the cult-classic Mirror’s Edge, released in 2008, but is being called a “reboot” that focuses on Faith Conners’ origin story (which actually sounds like a prequel). Regardless, expect to see lots of the x-treme running female hero as the trades just announced that the video game is being adapted into a television show.

No Man’s Sky
Release Date: Out Now
Platforms: PS4, PC
No one knows much about No Man’s Sky other than what they saw on the Terence Malick-style meets Wall-E trailer (4.8 million views on YouTube) that had us twirling our thumbs in anticipation. What we do know is that it’s a sci-fi adventure survival game with stunning graphics, a spacey soundtrack and alien creatures galore, but one that doesn’t include any missions or side quests. Players will exist in and exchange planet coordinates with their friends as the ethereal game’s goal seems to be more about the journey than the destination. There’s a lot to see as the game boasts 18 quintillion planets (so you’re saying there’s a chance for Pluto?) to explore, which, if you’re counting, would take you about 585 billion years to see them all.

Motorsport Manager
Release: August 2016
iTunes & Google Play
Platforms: PC, MAC
Have the need for speed? Motorsport Manager has been hailed as the most real, yet accessible racing simulation ever developed and it drops you right into the fast and furious world of Formula One. This expanded, PC-spinoff developed with Sega still features the highly-authentic gameplay that made the original mobile app a racing fan favorite, but has revved up features (3d racing gameplay, expanded PC interface). Players will still create your own racing team (hire drivers, build your car, invest in technology) in pursuit of the checkered flag across classic tracks from Long Beach to Monte Carlo. If you prefer the pocket play version, the mobile app is still available on iTunes and Google Play.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Release: August 23, 2016
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
No, this video game doesn’t have Oscar Isaac cutting rug like in the familiar-sounding Ex-Machina movie, but it does have a familiar cyberpunk storyline featuring mankind divided over advanced technology, in this case medical prostheses known as augmentations or “augs.” This action-packed sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Evolution reads like a Ridley Scott movie. You play as Adam Jensen, a terrorist attack attack victim, brought back to life with augmented prostheses. Jensen is hired to track down terrorist “augs” who’re thought to behind the blast that mortally wounded him.

Quantum Break
Release: Out Now
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
The video game with an 80’s television-sounding title (if you don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, Netflix Quantum Leap like, yesterday) is part of the new trend that blurs the lines between traditional and electronic media. Not only does this recently released top-seller feature familiar faces (Game of Thrones’ excellent Aiden Gillen and Dominic Monaghan from Lost), but there are live-action segments in-between gameplay action starring the actors themselves. The intense first-person gameplay and cinematic world is more like a choose-your-own-adventure tale where your character’s interactions with others will determine the multi-plotted storyline. You play as Jack Joyce (portrayed by Shawn Ashmore who plays Iceman in the X-Men franchise), a strong-silent type, who can manipulate time to solve puzzles, deflect bullets and unleash deadly bursts of energy in order to save the world.

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