Even though autumn is the big season for game launches, October 2015 is kind of a weird time in between the giant tentpoles. That's OK, though. It means the niche titles slated for weeks like this one have more of an opportunity to shine.
As usual, we at USgamer don't have the bandwidth to cover every single release each week, let alone give all these games a full review, yet we'd still like to acknowledge their existence. Even this list admittedly isn't fully comprehensive, as there are countless digital and mobile releases every week that appear suddenly without any real heads-up. Nevertheless, there's something here for just about every taste.
Pick of the Week: Rock Band 4
Harmonix | PS4/Xbox One
It's pretty much more of the same, but here's the thing about more of the same: When it happens on a regular basis, exhaustion and fatigue set in pretty quickly. But when you space out more of the same, suddenly the idea becomes enticing. All those annualized game franchises people complain about were much more beloved when they happened only once every few years. So it seems with Rock Band: When Harmonix was churning out multiple releases and spinoffs within the space of a year, it quickly grew to feel like too much, too soon. Now that the series has sat fallow for three years though (since 2012's Rock Band: Blitz), suddenly the idea of playing a new Rock Band sounds pretty exciting. Plus, there's the whole generation transition thing, which means the 30-odd million folks who own PlayStation 4s and Xbox Ones have had to keep retired consoles around to get their music game fix on. Rock Band 4 seemingly does everything right: It allows fans to carry forward their old music libraries, throws in a few minor gameplay tweaks, and even allows those dusty old last-gen plastic instruments to see some use with the help of an inexpensive dongle.
3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2
M2/Sega | 3DS
Our affection for M2's work remastering classic Sega games for 3DS is a matter of public record at this point, so it should be no surprise that the next chapter in the 3D Ages series (which reworks the best Sonic game for 3D) has us pretty excited as well. That's not a royal we, either — I can safely say I speak for most of the USgamer staff here.
Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash
Skip/Nintendo | 3DS
Also on 3DS, the Chibi-Robo series sees a sequel. Spin-off? It's a pretty different game from the usual Chibi-Robo fare, playing as a side-scrolling platformer rather than... whatever the heck the old Chibi-Robo games were. The diminutive hero uses his power cable as a grappling hook in this adventure for shades of classics like Bionic Commando, albeit less graceful. Zip Lash also deserves respect for incorporating Amiibo into the game while making the process of tracking down the requisite figure easier less onerous than usual by shipping as a bundle.
Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax
French Bread/Sega | PlayStation 4/Vita
This week, Namco Bandai publishes Saint Seiya, an arena fighting game based on a classic anime series. And yet the title for most anime fighting game of the week belongs not to Saint Seiya but rather to Sega's Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, a 2D fighter that crosses over between dozens of anime properties, including some serious deep cuts. I can understand stuff like Sword Art Online or A Certain Scientific Railgun getting fighting game representation, but Dengeki Bunko manages to work Kino from the contemplative, picaresque Kino's Journey into the action as well, too. That takes some dedication. Anyway, our in-house anime expert Mike Williams will be reviewing this one.
Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance
Nippon Ichi | PlayStation 4
Speaking of anime and Mike, he's also reviewed the latest chapter of the Disgaea series. Disgaea 5 is, much like Rock Band 4, more of the same... and that's really saying something, considering how much content is usually in a Disgaea. This one adds even more mechanics and systems to the series' already overloaded framework, which means it's definitely a release for those who know what they're getting into and aren't frightened away by it.
Frontier Developments | Xbox One
The less-controversial of the big space sims has been out and playable on PC for a while, but now console fanatics can enjoy its life-consuming open-universe thrills as well.
Platinum/Activision | Multi
Everyone seems excited about Platinum Games' new Transformers game, because the cel-shaded graphics perfectly capture the look of the old Marvel Sunbow cartoon, and because it's Platinum and they make really fantastic action games. At the same time, everyone is also wary of Transformers: Devastation, because Activision hasn't sent out advance review copies, and because it's Platinum and they managed to make a hash out of The Legend of Korra. So who knows! We'll find out soon enough as the first wave of brave Transformers fans with $60 to risk grabs copies of the game and reports on their findings.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Naughty Dog/Bluepoint/Sony | PlayStation 4
"The Nathan Drake Collection" seems pretty redundant for the title of a compilation of Uncharted games. Surprise, everyone! These games don't focus on Sully! Iffy title aside, though, Mike found this anthology to be great stuff, thanks to the quality of the original games and the hard work of remastering geniuses Bluepoint. The collection likely won't change the minds of any Uncharted haters, but that's not really the point anyway.
Notable Japanese import releases
MeiQ no Chika ni Shisu
Compile Heart | Vita
Japan is surprisingly quite in terms of releases this week. The highest-profile release looks to be a decidedly niche project: MeiQ no Chika ni Shisu, a Compile Heart-developed RPG for PlayStation Vita. As you can almost certainly guess from the platform and developer, it revolves around a legion of underaged girls wearing hilariously elaborate costumes that barely cover up the bits you can't show on television. For once, though, there's no need to suspend your disbelief that their combat lingerie provides any sort of protection, as the heroines all drive chunky robotic mech suits — think Xenogears for the moé set. As for its U.S. release prospects: I don't know and, having played other Compile Heart RPGs, I can sincerely say I don't care.