Power Up: Rare Replay, Gears Of War, Madden 16 and More

After June’s action-packed calendar of releases and gaming events including Batman: Arkham Knight and the industry staple trade show Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, July was, well, boring.

There was really only one new game in July that had wide appeal, and it was a golf game. How boring. Granted, there hasn’t been a licensed PGA game in over two years, with EA Sports skipping out on the 2015 entry that would have released last summer.

Other than golfing, two racing simulations made their way to current-gen consoles, but neither was geared to be widely popular, focusing on Formula 1 and pro motorcycle racing. No power ups, no beating each other off bikes like in the famed Road Rash series, just racing.

The beginning of August will start to slowly get the game release snowball rolling, with an Xbox One exclusive title that brings a ton of retro and past-gen favorites to a platform that has some, but not many, old-school games.

Even though June had some excitement, and July was slow month for gaming, the advent of a few good games in August made July a time for fun in the sun, and possibly a gaming session on the occasional rainy day.

In August and the first of September, the drought will end and gamers can finally rejoice with a multitude of top-notch titles.

Also, this entry in the Power Up column marks its one-year anniversary, so celebrations are in order along the lines of Red Bull and a night marathon of your favorite games.


Rare Replay (Xbox One) – Aug. 4

Throw all your favorite Rare games from across many platforms, from the original Battletoads to my personal favorites on Nintendo 64 like Banjo Kazooie, Perfect Dark and Jet Force Gemini, crammed on one disc and what do you get? Rare Replay on Xbox One.

This game has literally 10,000 Gamerscore to acquire, allowing players to spend hours on multiple games racking up points, rather than sinking large amounts of time on one game to get achievements, which can be rather monotonous.


Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition (Xbox One) – Aug. 25

            A completely remastered version of the first entry in the esteemed Xbox first-party series for a $40 price tag should have franchise fans satisfied until they get their hands on Gears Of War 4 sometime next year.

With improved graphics and an increased frame rate on Xbox One, as well as five unreleased campaign chapters never experienced and every map from both the PC version and additional downloadable content, Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition packs re-playability and multiplayer mayhem.


Madden 16 (Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360) – Aug. 25

It’s that time of the year again.

With another entry in the storied football franchise, fans will hope for a wealth of improvements, but probably have to settle for a subtle upgrade to a variety of features.

This year’s release brings new quarterback throwing mechanics, more depth to the Connected Franchise mode in terms of scouting players and a completely revamped wide receiver and defensive back battle to catch the ball, with three ways to complete a reception instead of one.

Seems after spending so much time improving defense last year and getting to the quarterback, the other side of the game has hopefully received a similar makeover.

However, this year, New York Giants’ very own Odell Beckham Jr. graces the cover, making it especially exciting for our area fans. Let’s just hope the Madden Curse does not faze OBJ this year.


Mad Max (Xbox One, PS4, PC) – Sept. 1

            Although it takes its name from the critically acclaimed movie franchise, it’s expected to be much more than a game coinciding with a movie. We all know how those games went down the tubes after classics like Spider-Man 2 for PS2 or the old Robocop games for original Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

            Boasting an open-world wasteland just like in the movies featuring Mel Gibson and more recently, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy, players will have the opportunity to run ravage and scavenge to survive, in a storyline that will send players across the entire terrain seeking to build a destructive combat vehicle.


Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – Sept. 1

            Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is the first full-fledged release in the series since 2010’s Peace Walker released for PSP. While many super-successful game franchises release yearly titles, Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima has never rushed his incredible story of nuclear warfare and tactical espionage.

            The Metal Gear Solid series has remained the benchmark for stealth action games since players first traveled to Shadow Moses in 1998 to stop REX and nuclear destruction; revolutionizing and reinventing the genre it seems with every subsequent release since through incredible storytelling and gripping gameplay.

For the first time since the series began, David Hayter will not voice the protagonist Snake, whose gritty accent immortalized the character. Instead, Snake is voiced by an equal badass, Kiefer Sutherland, most famous for playing superhero spy Jack Bauer in the hit TV series 24.

Metal Gear Solid fans got a taste of the new environment and gameplay early last year when Konami released Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, a short demo-like game that introduced new sneaking movements, mission selection and the prologue to the greater story of The Phantom Pain.

Metal Gear Solid V is open-world across multiple locations like Africa and Afghanistan, which is a first for the franchise, and utilizes a base-building system similar to what was in Peace Walker where players can customize their headquarters and send their recruits on missions.

Every time a Metal Gear Solid game released, it sent a graphical and technical tremor, however big or small, that reverberated through the video game industry, and The Phantom Pain looks to be the biggest entry in the series yet.