Sweet Release! Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Mad Max, Danganronpa 3, September's Free Games

By Jared Cornelius

Welcome back to Sweet Release! Bleeding Cool's look at the new games hitting store shelves and digital platforms.  Happy September everyone!  After getting a taste of the big fall season last week, I think we can finally make it official and declare games season open.  Releases like Madden and the Gears of War remaster were good, but this week we get the undeniable first triple A game of the fall and it's ironically the last in a long running storied franchise.  It's also the first of the month so we'll be running down the new free games if you subscribe to PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold, and doing a couple smaller titles too.

PHANTOMPAINIt's been a long road for Hideo Kojima and his Metal Gear franchise.  The original NES game was well liked, Snakes Revenge was a throwaway afterthought, and it really wasn't until 1998's Metal Gear Solid that the series turned into a huge money maker for Konami.  Now almost twenty years later and nine games later, (ten if you count Revengence) Kojima has put a bow on his interpretation of the franchise with Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.  The third person stealth action game is a direct sequel to the more bit sized Ground Zeroes and takes place during the Russian Afghanistan conflict in the early eighties.  Following in the adventures of "Big Boss" aka Punished "Venom" Snake, you'll take on stealth challenges in an open world environment filled with action, war, and heavy melodrama.

Phantom Pain also has a base building aspect with players being able build up and research better technology to use in the field and an interesting Fulton system that allows you to abduct just about anything in the world via balloon for a mid-air pickup.  Like every Metal Gear, the cast is unique and eclectic in a great way, including a bikini sniper and a combat trained wolf.  Phantom Pain also includes the latest edition of Metal Gear Online, which won't be available out of the box and also has an extension of the base building mode that reportedly has microtransactions.  Sadly for Kojima and fans, Phantom Pain has been shrouded in terrible press, from Kojima's breakup with Konami to the horrible working conditions, to their shift from games to pachinko machines hasn't exactly made this a celebrated release.  Fortunately the reviews are already out on this one and all signs point to it being pretty good.  Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, released Tuesday on PlayStation 4PlayStation 3Xbox OneXbox 360 and PC.

MADMAXI usually only catch one or two movies at the theater in any given year and most of those have something to do with Marvel Studios.  So when all the positive buzz around Mad Max: Fury Road started popping up I didn't need much more convincing to get me to see a two hour post apocalypse car chase film.  Now on the week of Fury Road's retail release, we get the video game adaptation from Warner Bros. Games and Avalanche Studios simply entitled Mad Max.  The third person action adventure title looks like a weird cross between Grand Theft Auto and Assassin's Creed, with a heavy focus on vehicle customization and exploration.  Story wise it's not too far off from the latest movie with Max having his ride stolen then dumped in the middle of nowhere.  Scavenge for parts in the wasteland to customize your vehicle while taking on missions against the local warlord, Scrotus and his War-boys.  The on foot combat looks a lot like the timing based Arkham/Shadow of Mordor style that's been popular at Warner Bros. for a while now, but the real star of the game is the car combat that allows you to focus on damaging individual pieces of vehicles, giving it a nice Interstate 76 vibe.  There hasn't been a lot of talk about Mad Max, and it reportedly had a rough development so maybe lower your expectations for this one.  Mad Max released Tuesday for PlayStation 4Xbox One, and PC.

DANGANRONPADespite a love for Sony's PlayStation Vita, I'm well aware it's a dying system.  With almost no US games to speak of that aren't downloadable indie titles, it's been largely supported over the last year by quirky Japanese games.  This week is no different as Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls comes to the handheld from NIS America.  While the Danganronpa franchise has focused on logic based puzzles like Capcom's Phoenix Wright games, Ultra Despair Girls takes a sharp turn and plays largely as a third person shooter.  Using a hacking gun, you'll fight off enemies with unique ammunition like the series signature "Truth Bullets".  While the game may have shifted away from gameplay based completely around puzzles, Ultra Despair Girls still utilizes them to break up the shooting.  NIS has also included both English and Japanese voice acting for those who want the authentically weird Japanese experience.  Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls releases Tuesday exclusively on the PlayStation Vita.

A new month means new games if you subscribe to a premium service on the consoles, so let's start off with those PlayStation Plus exclusives.

XEODRIFTERPlayStation 4 users rocked the vote and get Ubi Soft's charming vertical platformer, Grow Home.  On the cross buy front, its 2D Metroid-Vania platforming season as Teslagrad gets a PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 release while Renegade Kid's Xeodrifter come to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

STFUCross Platform users also get the hardcore 2D time travel shooter, Super Time Force Ultra, on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

TWISTEDMETALPlayStation 3 gets Sony's revival of Twisted Metal.

MULANAFinally PlayStation Vita users get another masochistic platfomer in La Mulana Ex.

THEDEERGODOn the Xbox One users get pixelated platform indie game,The Deer God, free for the entire month.  Tomb Raider Definitive Edition also goes free for an entire month, starting September 15th and staying free until October 15th.

CRYSIS3The Xbox 360 releases are slightly more lackluster with 2009's Battlestations Pacific free until the 15th when it'll be replaced by Crysis 3.

That's all for this week folks, make sure to check out my other regular column, Typing on The Dead, where I review and dissect the latest issue of The Walking Dead.

Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast, who's real excited for September.  Tell him your favorite month on Twitter @John_Laryngitis.

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About Jared Cornelius

A miserable little pile of secrets...also a writer, definitely not an android
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