5 Games We're Looking Forward to in May

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What a load of games! There are too many of them. Just in general. And it isn’t going to stop in May! Nope, games are coming out that month. Yes they are. Hoo boy.

This isn’t supposed to happen. Well, it’s supposed to happen—games come out every month—but not like this. There’s something worth looking forward to every week. May is normally a quiet, peaceful month, with perhaps a portable RPG here or a quirky downloadable art project there, all leading up to the long weekend of recreational water sports and respectful contemplation known as Memorial Day. This May, though, will see the release of more games than a single person with a job and a family and a life could ever hope to play.

So what do you focus on, then? How do you know what games to prioritize? We’ll help you out by letting you know what games we’re most excited about in May. Perhaps you’ll agree. Perhaps you won’t. Either way you will at least know what we here at Paste are most looking forward to over the 31 days ahead. At least when it comes to games. Videogames, to be precise.

This is a thing we do now.

1. Transistor
Release date: May 20
Platforms: Playstation 4, PC

transistor may 2014.jpg

Supergiant’s follow-up to Bastion has a similar art style and use of narration, but the turn-based sci-fi adventure Transistor isn’t a retread. It swaps out that game’s action for a more strategic form of combat. Reflexes and button-presses are still important, but smart planning is just as vital. Think of it as a tactical RPG dressed up as an action game, with the same isometric view found in both Bastion and Final Fantasy Tactics. Bastion was a tremendous union of story, mechanics and art design, and what we’ve seen of Transistor promises a similar level of quality.

2. Sportsfriends
Release date: May 6
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation 4 

sportsfriends may 2014.jpg

Local multiplayer compilation Sportsfriends is a long time coming. It met its Kickstarter goal in December 2012, but the games it includes—Hokra, Johann Sebastian Joust, Barabariball and Super Pole Riders—were festival favorites well before then. Local multiplayer games can be a bit impractical these days, depending on your age and where you are in life, but when you have the right people with you they can make almost any single-player game feel sad and lonely. Sportsfriends’ constituent games are all superb, and bundling them in a single package is a bargain nobody should refuse.

3. Wolfenstein: The New Order
Release date: May 20
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

wolfenstein the new order may 2014.jpg

There are caveats here. The last Wolfenstein game was an uninspired, unnecessary shooter that decorated the expected genre conventions with played-out themes of Nazi occultism. We’re not interested in New Order because it’s a Wolfenstein game, or because it shares its subtitle with one of the best bands ever. (No, not the one with Ron Asheton.) We’re intrigued because New Order is designed by Machine Games, the new company founded by many former designers from Starbreeze, the developers of the surprisingly good Riddick games and the cult classic The Darkness. Those games were uncommonly deep and thoughtful, finding new modes of expression within the standard first person shooter formula, and hopefully Machine Games can keep that streak alive with Wolfenstein.

4. Mario Kart 8
Release date: May 30
Platform: Wii U

mario kart 8 may 2014.jpg

Mario Kart 8 is a game where characters from the Mario family of games compete in go-kart races. There are many Mario Karts. You might have played one. Mario Kart 8 removes the crucial ingredient of gravity from the game, at least some of the time, with Mario and his friends karting on the ceiling. It looks like everybody is having a ball. We’re not strident fans of the series, or anything, but Nintendo excels at games where cute mascots kill each other in go-karts, and they usually find interesting ways to differentiate between the unceasing flow of Mario Kart games. Plus it is fun to play games that are fun with your fun-loving friends.

5. Watch Dogs
Release date: May 27
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC

watch dogs may 2014.jpg

When Watch Dogs was announced at E3 2012 it was met with an obscene amount of praise, especially since all people had to go on was a trailer. Fans and certain members of the press were ready to anoint it the next great franchise based solely on a commercial. Over the last two years, as Ubisoft has released more footage from the game, that excitement has curdled into disappointment among some, with the same message boards and comment threads that gushed over that initial trailer now often making fun of the game. We’re less interested in playing Watch Dogs for its surveillance state commentary, or its cyberpunk aesthetic, or its open-world action, and more simply because we don’t understand how so many people could get so excited over something they had never played, only to so dramatically swing in the opposite direction without still ever actually playing the game. Watch Dogs is the history of the videogame hype cycle wrapped up in a single game, a game where a trench-coated hacker machine guns people on busy Chicago streets. Who wouldn’t want to play that, if only to try and understand what any of this hubbub is about?

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