The infamous Fall/Holiday deluge of titles is nearly upon us, which is going to be even crazier this year with the Xbox Series X and PS5 launching, each with their respective exclusives. Of course, everyone knows that the real madness begins in August so even before all of that, we have plenty of big games to jump into over the next few weeks. From a highly anticipated port to a whole lot of classic returns, here are 10 games worth keeping an eye on next month.
Horizon Zero Dawn (PC)
Guerrilla Games’ Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition is coming to PC on August 7th. It would have seemed highly unlikely, if not impossible, that any first-party PS4 exclusive would come to the platform but here we are. Following the exploits of Aloy in a post-apocalyptic future of mystery and Machines, Horizon Zero Dawn sees players exploring the ruins of a massive world. Hunt Corrupted Machines, discover more about the Old Ones or simply bask in the gorgeous visuals. The PC release includes a bevy of graphical options including unlocked frame rates, support for 4K and Ultrawide screens, a bench-marking tool and customizable controls. It even features dynamic foliage and improved reflections for that extra bit of polish. If you’re craving a stellar open world action RPG on PC, Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition should suit your needs.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Another franchise whose comeback seemed impossible years ago is Flight Simulator. With Asobo Studio of A Plague Tale: Innocence fame at the helm, Microsoft Flight Simulator is looking to make up for lost time. It allows players to fly anywhere in the world with over two million cities, about 37,000 airports (with 40 being handcrafted), and real-time weather and air-traffic data influencing the game. The sheer visual splendor is made possible with Azure AI, Bing Maps and the ACE engine, among other tools. Microsoft Flight Simulator is out on August 18th for PC.
EA Sports UFC 4
EA’s mixed martial arts fighting series is also making a comeback on August 14th for Xbox One and PS4. EA Sports UFC 4 features a number of new mechanics like Real Player Motion for revamped clinches and takedowns along with new systems for submissions and ground and pound. Ultimate Team mode is gone but Career Mode has seen revamps as players “evolve” their fighters with five disciplines, choosing friends and rivals, and earning over 1600 new gear pieces. If multiplayer is your thing, new Blitz Battles offer rapid-fire tournaments with rotating rule sets and even lets heavyweight take on flyweights. Truly fair and balanced.
Madden NFL 21
It’s yet another year for Madden with Madden NFL 21 out on August 28th for Xbox One, PS4 and PC (with PS5, Stadia and Xbox Series X versions out in Q4 2020). EA Tiburon has promoted features thus far like the stick skill ball-carrier system, fresh pass rush moves and user-controlled celebrations. Face of the Franchise: Rise to Fame is more of a journey to the Hall of Fame this time and Madden Ultimate Team is also coming back (for better or worse) along with X-Factor abilities. There doesn’t seem to be too much hype but hey, at least you have a year to upgrade from the Xbox One and PS4 to Xbox Series X and PS5 versions. That’s something.
Risk of Rain 2
Hopoo Games’ Risk of Rain 2 will finally exit early access on August 11th, launching first for PC and coming to consoles later. It’s been quite the ride for the roguelite, which surprise-launched for Steam Early Access last year and has since offered new Survivors, stages, bosses and skill variants over time. The 1.0 update promises even more with a new Survivor, the Captain; a new stage on the Moon; and of course, the final boss. One can also expect new items and skill variants along with a server browser for locating custom games.
Project CARS 3
In the midst of great racing titles like F1 2020 and upcoming blockbusters like DiRT 5 and Gran Turismo 7, Slightly Mad Studios’ Project CARS 3 is in an interesting position. Arriving on August 28th for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, it promises a revamped Career Mode with 10 car classes, over 200 cars and more than 140 tracks across the world. Graphics hounds can expect 12K resolution along with “best-in-class VR support”. Newcomers, on the other hand, are expected to have an easier time with customizable assists. If you need a racing sim to tide you over before the other big names arrive, Project CARS 3 might be worth looking into.
Surgeon Simulator 2
Bossa Studios’ Surgeon Simulator seemed ripe for a sequel and while it’s taken seven years, Surgeon Simulator 2 is nearly here. Launching on PC via the Epic Games Store on August 28th, it features a new cast of characters and even more insane hijinks. Along with conducting all manner of operations on Bob, players can leverage the new Creation Mode for custom game modes, new levels and much more, which can then be shared online. With four-player co-op support, Surgeon Simulator 2 looks to be a fun time all-around.
InXile Entertainment’s epic sequel has quite the scope, taking place in post-apocalyptic Colorado and featuring numerous factions, each with their own agenda. Following the demise of Team November, you play as the last surviving Ranger and must survive in the wasteland. This means making choices on who to side with, which quests to pursue and most importantly, who to shoot. Turn-based combat makes a return but there’s also co-op support for another player to join. With a reported playtime of over 50 hours and multiple endings, Wasteland 3 is looking to be worth the wait when it finally launches on August 28th for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
A Total War Saga: Troy
The Creative Assembly’s “Saga” games are typically smaller in scale, focusing on a specific conflict in history. In this case, it’s the Trojan War as the forces of Troy battle Mycenaean Greece. But you’ll still build up an empire, employ diplomacy, enter duels and wage war with eight different heroes like Achilles. Mythic figures like the Minotaur also appear, though they’re more realistically depicted as part of the whole “Truth Behind the Myth” approach. We’ll find out if it works or not when A Total War Saga: Troy releases on August 13th for PC via the Epic Games Store. The game will be free on the storefront for 24 hours after launch.
Serious Sam 4
More comebacks are in store as Sam “Serious” Stone returns and while not necessarily ripping and tearing his way through Hell, he will be killing lots and lots of aliens. These include headless Kamikazes, Werebulls, Kleers and new foes like the Belcher, Zealot and Processed. Along with the double barrel shotgun and mini-gun, you also get a chainsaw launcher, a “laser beam of death” and the cannon. Thousands of enemies will swarm the player at once over main missions and side-quests but there’s four player co-op to help even the odds. Serious Sam 4 is out in August for PC and Stadia with PS4 and Xbox One versions coming next year.