It's that time of year again: Fall release season! That means tons of games are hitting the shelves (both retail and digital), begging for your hard-earned money.
Alas, we at USgamer don't have the bandwidth to cover every single release each week, let alone give all these games a full review. 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. Even some Vita games! Remember those?
TT/WBIE | PS3/PS4/Wii U/Xbox 360/Xbox One
The week's biggest release is already in stores, having landed yesterday rather than on Tuesday with the hoi polloi. LEGO Dimensions takes the standard LEGO action game template — simple, friction-free action based around minifigs of licensed properties, with scripts consisting almost entirely of corny dad jokes — and brings it into the increasingly crowded toys-to-life arena. What does Dimensions offer that Skylanders, Disney Infinity, and Nintendo's various Amiibo-compatible games don't? A ridiculous number of licenses, that's what. Practically every property that's ever appeared in a LEGO game shows up in this insane crossover — the exception being Marvel Super Heroes and Star Wars, since Disney would be competing against its own Infinity 3.0. On top of that, WBIE has wrapped up additional rights for something like a dozen more pop culture brands, including Back to the Future, Portal, Doctor Who, Scooby Doo, and a bunch of classic Midway arcade games. Also setting Dimensions apart is the complexity of its toys-to-life proposition; like Skylanders Superchargers, Dimensions includes vehicles along with its character toys... but this being a LEGO game, you can build and reassemble those vehicles into different configurations reflected in-game. Is this a genius move or one destined to bog the game down by forcing gamers to fuss with little pieces and parts instead of just playing the game? We'll weigh in as soon as we receive our review materials. One thing's for sure, though... the financial burden of all these game-and-toy combos adds up fast.
Dungeon Defenders II
Trendy | PS4
The popular MOBA/action RPG hybrid game receives a sequel, because there's never a shortage of dungeons to defend in this world. For the moment, Dungeon Defenders II is strictly for PlayStation 4 and PC (the latter version having been out for a while now), though mobile adaptations and maybe even a Mac version are supposedly in the works.
Mega Man Legends
Capcom | Vita/PS3
Even though I already own the original PlayStation disc, I'm pretty excited to see this 1998 classic hit PlayStation Network — something that, until about a week ago, everyone believed was impossible due to licensing entanglements. Some dark magic has managed to push through a digital rerelease of the game, though, and now everyone can explore Mega Man's first 3D adventure. It's a little dated in terms of mechanics, and it's nothing at all like classic Mega Man, but it's a game with plenty of heart.
Might & Magic Heroes VII
Limbic/Ubisoft | PC
Now weighing in at 20 years old, the Heroes of Might & Magic series remains strong with a seventh entry full of strategy and combat. Not to mention heroes, might, and magic. It's a full house. The seventh entry in the long-running series offers the full gamut of play options — e.g. a campaign mode, online multiplayer — as players attempt to use heroic warriors to lock down resources and capture or conquer enemy strongholds. It's like a MOBA, except not in real-time. I think they used to call these "strategy games" or something like that.
NBA 2K16 & NBA Live 16
2K & EA | Multi
Autumn is here, and so too are this season's basketball offerings: One from 2K and one from Electronic Arts. As a complete idiot with all things sports-related, I will defer to our resident expert Kat Bailey, who has some smart things to say about NBA 2K16.
Persona 4: Dancing All Night
Atlus | Vita
At this point I think there's more canonical story in Persona 4 spin-offs than in the game itself, which is pretty crazy considering how dense with text that particular RPG was. This time, the kids from Yasogami High are saving the world by dancing. Reviewer Bob Mackey finds the whole thing kind of weird, especially the fact that it has eight hours of voiced story dialogue (!!), but overall it should be an amusing diversion for Persona fans (to tide them over until Persona 5) and a lightweight confection for music fans (to keep them busy until Rock Band 4 hits next week).
Samurai Warriors 4-II
Omega Force/Koei Tecmo | PS3/PS4/Vita/PC
Finally, someone has managed to come up with a sequel numbering scheme as goofy as anything Square Enix has ever produced. To be honest, I have trouble keeping the ever-growing array of Omega Force/Koei Tecmo "musou" games straight — there's something like a dozen different variants of the concept on the market now. I assume this one is based in ancient Japan as opposed to Dynasty Warriors' ancient China, unless it concerns the adventures of a group of samurai who somehow strayed very far from their home territory. But I have no idea why this is Samurai Warriors 4-II as opposed to, you know, Samurai Warriors 5. By all means, enlighten me in the comments; I'm genuinely curious.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5
Robomodo/Activision | PS3/PS4/Xbox 360/Xbox One
After a five-year hiatus following the unsuccessful Tony Hawk: Shred, the formerly massive skateboarding series is rising from its grave for a return engagement. You can tell Activision is serious about this one, as they've given it proper sequel numeration to position it as the true and proper sequel to Tony Hawk: Pro Skater 4 from way back in 2002. Strangely, though, there's been very little press or discussion about this extreme sports revival over the past year. Hopefully it's just being advertised heavily in places I don't normally look, e.g. skate magazines, sports stadiums, in-game billboards in Call of Duty multiplayer maps, etc. — it would be nice to see the series become a big deal again, if only for old times' sake.
Notable Japanese import releases
Nihon Falcom | Vita
I've already written up my brief hands-on impressions of Tokyo Xanadu based on a Tokyo Game Show demo, but in summary: The Xanadu series is one of gaming's most venerable franchises and one of the original action RPGs. While this latest entry (the first in a decade) doesn't appear to offer any amazing innovations, it plays like an advanced version of the recent Ys games. Definitely worth playing when and if it makes its way stateside.
Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
Omega Force/Koei Tecmo | PS3/PS4/Xbox One
And finally, a second Omega Force/Koei Tecmo collaboration for the week. This one is proof that no property is too obscure to be adapted into a musou game: It's based on The Heroic Legend of Arslan, a long-running Japanese fantasy novel series best known to Americans for the unfinished anime adaptation. Kind of like a Japanese Game of Thrones. Given that said adaptation happened two decades ago, back when OAVs were released on expensive video tapes in tiny numbers, it's pretty safe to say that Arslan is known to very few Americans. Nevertheless, this large-scale beat-em-up has already been confirmed for U.S. release, so maybe track down those old VHS tapes (and a VHS deck to play them on) if you're interested in catching up. And you might want to brace yourself for the seemingly inevitable Game of Thrones Musou. You know it'll happen eventually.