As soon as the world starts to open up, some noteworthy video games come out in an effort to keep you indoors. Such is life in 2021. But, before I get onto all the lovely games you can buy over the next four weeks, I'm going to recommend going outside before the seemingly inevitable Lockdown IV happens. I went to The Outside recently, and I have to say I came away very impressed. It has things like trees and cows and Fiat Puntos.
When you’re done with your socially-distanced outdoor funtimes, you can go back to the comfort of your uncomfortable desk chair to play some new PC games. You’ll have a lot to play over May. Remasters of classics, new entries in beloved franchises, motorbikes: this month has something for everyone.
If you like moving images set to words and music, you can have a watch of the video above. But, if you prefer text, then read on.
Resident Evil Village (May 7th)
While some are frothing at the mouth (and probably a few other places) in anticipation of myriad cutscenes that see the tall woman driving her Louboutins into every part of protagonist Ethan Winters, the majority of Resi diehards are just hoping Village will give them the same joy as Resident Evil 4. Everything we’ve seen of the game pre-release suggests this is effectively a first-person version of Leon’s mission to save the president’s daughter. It takes place in a nondescript, creepy European village; The Duke is a substitute for the “what are ya buyin’?,” fella; and it appears to be one of the more action-focused games in the series. Here’s hoping Resi 8’s campaign doesn’t favour shootouts over scariness too much, though. The returning Mercenaries mode should give people more than enough opportunity to unload on werewolves, gargoyles and the like… Those of you pulling a Kenneth Williams Carry On face at the mention of unloading have already come up with a more saucy gag than I can commit to a website CMS. So, good work, you marvellous deviant bastards, the lot of you.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (May 14th)
There’s only one way to garner goodwill after an Iron Man Destiny experiment fails to catch on: shine up the old games that people liked and release them in one lovely package. Sure, some will be disappointed by the omission of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer and the Pinnacle Station DLC from the original, but that doesn’t change the fact that Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is the exact game BioWare needs right now to get fans back on side. Every game in the trilogy now features improved textures, models and the like, and you can play them at 60FPS on 4K or ultrawide monitors; the first Mass Effect will now play more like its two shooterier sequels; and it comes with over 40 DLC packs. Legendary Edition is the perfect excuse to go back and do the nasty with the universe’s sexiest aliens.
Biomutant (May 25th)
Biomutant has popped up in every most anticipated games of the year list since it was announced in 2017. That's probably because it’s remained an exciting, mostly unknown quantity in that time. I mean, I even got to chat to the game’s creative director last year, and I came away with as many questions as I did answers. What I do know is that Biomutant is an action-RPG wherein the type of mutant kung-fu cat / squirrel / panda-thing you bring to life in the character creator will affect your attributes, and thus what you’re actually able to do in the game. You don’t control everything about your little fella, though: certain areas in the world can alter your genetics, resulting in you acquiring some sweet psychic abilities. Little is known about the story, but there will apparently be repercussions to what you do and say to the characters you meet. This one is a beast. Fingers crossed it lives up to hype.
Days Gone (May 18th)
By the time Days Gone originally launched on the PS4, Sons Of Anarchy had been off the telly for five years. So, the motorbiking adventure of protagonist Deacon St. John (yes, that’s the man’s name) felt dated. And that hasn’t changed in the two years since. However, rather than slash at the already punctured reputation of Sony’s former exclusive, let’s look at the positives: Days Gone coming to PC means we’re one step closer to Bloodborne on PC… maybe; there are zombies in it, and I’m pretty confident that killing the already dead is an activity enjoyed by many; and while this game doesn’t reinvent the open-world game wheel, it does in fact have wheels in it… but I suppose I’ve sort of mentioned that already. Look, if you’re in the market for a competent B-game that allows you to mow down zombies, you could do worse than Days Gone. Also, it gives you something to do before Bloodborne comes to PC...
Subnautica: Below Zero (May 14th)
After two years in Early Access, Subnautica: Below Zero is finally hitting 1.0 this month. Like its predecessor, this game revolves around a researcher that is studying the flora and fauna of an alien planet, but unlike the original Subnautica, this follow-up allows you to explore on land as well as underwater. But, this is a survival game, and it's flipping baltic on planet 4546B, so you’ll have to be mindful of catching hypothermia. That’s on top of the usual hunger, thirst, and, ya know, the ICE WORMS. Another change in Below Zero is the focus on story. The player character has a voice in this game, so not quite the blank slate seen in the first game. Time will tell whether all these tweaks result in a sequel that’s as successful as the original.
Knockout City (May 21st)
When this was revealed back in February, I was convinced it was EA’s play for the Rocket League dollar. After I played the beta, I was a little more hopeful it might be its own thing. So, Knockout City is a team-based online sports(ish) game where you fire balls at others in the hope of nabbing some glorious points for your team. All pretty straightforward. Although, what impressed me when I played it a few months ago was that this is more than your average messy multiplayer offering. There’s a level of skill required here. You can fake a throw, catch balls in mid-air, pass to teammates: success appears to depend on you and your pals working as a unit. I’m cautiously optimistic about this one. And, wonderfully, it’s going to be available at launch via Xbox Game Pass For PC, so definitely worth a punt if you’re already a subscriber.
Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster (May 25th)
Sure, the Shin Megami Tensei and Persona games are being ported over in a funky order, but the fact these remasters are coming to PC at all bodes well for those of us that want to play new entries while sitting at our desks. But, before we will Persona 6 or SMT 5 onto our SSDs, there is the small matter of Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne HD Remaster. It retains everything that fans loved about the original PS2 release: the demons, the atmosphere, the artstyle. But, with the good comes the contentious, as this remaster also has the overly difficult turn-based battles that were in the original. So, in an effort to nip that in the bud this time round, Nocturne HD introduces an easier difficulty mode, and the option to save whenever you like. Hopefully these quality of life improvements, on top of a shinier version of SMT3, result in a video game that both old and new fans can enjoy.
Hood: Outlaws & Legends (May 10th)
In online multiplayer game Hood: Outlaws & Legends, your goal is to steal from the rich. A delightful premise. But, infiltrating a stronghold and breaking into a vault isn’t going to be easy. As well as having to contend with AI guards, you’ll be trying to pull off your heists at the same time as another team of four players. If you run a tight operation, you should get in and out relatively unscathed. Although, matches can devolve into chaos if you run into the other team on your way to the extraction point, but that’s also when you get to flex the muscle of Rob and his merry band of mates. As you’d imagine, the eponymous hero is a quality arrow-flinger; Maid Marian specialises in Ezio-like assassin skills; Little John is a hammer-swinging king; and Friar Tuck can heal your squad when things get heated. If it delivers on its promise, this PvEvP game could turn out to be one of the better games out this month.
King Of Seas (May 25th)
Yes. I know. It looks a lot like Sea Of Thieves. There’s a fair amount of pirating in it, too, like what you do in Rare’s game. And the names of both games are pretty similar. But, 18 army shooty bang bangs are released every year, so I welcome more games that encourage buccaneering over war criming. Anyway, King Of Seas is very much its own thing. Firstly, it’s single-player, so you can’t rely on your pal Brian to save your ass during naval tussles; it takes place in a procedurally-generated world; and it has a main story that hopefully ends with another character saying, “well, after defeating that final boss, you can now 100 per cent call yourself … the King Of Seas.” Regardless of this game’s closing line, you should keep your eye on it you’re looking for more interactive swashbuckling adventures.
The Longest Road On Earth (May 20th)
This one is definitely the most relaxed game on this list. You’re not running away from some giant lady, or trying to save and fuck the universe at the same time. Instead, The Longest Road On Earth sees you playing through four short stories that explore events that are more ordinary than extraordinary. That doesn’t mean you’ll be spending your time reading dialogue or listening to back-and-forths between characters, though; the developer has said they’ve gone for a wordless game to allow players interpret the stories of The Longest Road On Earth however they like. In fact, the main thing you’ll hear in the game is the original soundtrack, which was written by one of the game’s developers. Given the bombast of most games out this month, this one might be worth wishlisting for those seeking a little calm.
Whatever you end up playing over May, I hope you have a lovely time with it. But, do tell: what new games, if any, are you looking forward to getting your hands on, this month? Want to see if Resi 8’s other villains make you fear for your life in a sexy kind of way? Eager to get your hands on Biomutant so you can create an arse-kicking monster cat? Or are you keen to see if the Mako from the original Mass Effect still drives like your old Punto? Let us know in the comments.