Andre's Gaming Odds & Ends: Newsletter Experience Changes, May 2023 Game Hype Rankings
Andre makes changes to his newsletter experience and gives his May 2023 Top 10 Video Game Hype Rankings. The "More From Andre" Shortcast is announced and will start soon.
Changes to Andre’s GameReviewPad Newsletter Experience
One Newsletter Digest Type
After much contemplation, I’ve decided to combine my newsletter into one as Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends. This will mix all the content together, but not in a strict format. I realized that it was taking me too much time and energy segmenting content into two different content newsletters (Indie Games and AAA games). This will make it much easier for me to plan, write, and send my content more efficiently.
Slightly Shorter in Length
The other change I’m making is the newsletter will be less crammed with content, but the frequency of the newsletter may be more than once a week occasionally. To pull back the curtain a bit, some e-mail systems have text limits that cut off e-mails if they are too long. In previous versions of the newsletter I’ve actually had to edit or cut a few things to avoid that risk. A less crammed approach will avoid this altogether.
As a result of this change, I’ll be sprucing up the presentation of the newsletter as I go along the rest of the year.
Full Reviews to your Inbox
Any long-form game review of a game not provided for free will be sent straight to your inbox as its own content/e-mail. The first two will be Street Fighter 6 and Diablo IV.
The eventual goal is to build my subscriber list so that all reviews are exclusively published here.
I’m Taking Advantage of Everything!: Podcast and Video
Substack has really expanded and grown their features in the last six to eight months. Adding the video feature for everyone is one of them. The podcast feature has been here for a long time, but I feel it’s time to take advantage of it now that I’ve come up with my approach for implementation.
“More From Andre” Shortcast
The More From Andre Shortcast will feature sporadic short episodes, no longer than 15 minutes, but likely 5-10 minutes for most episodes. I like the podcast format, but long episodes are too time consuming to edit. Short episodes makes this work efficiently. More From Andre will just be extra supporting commentary that isn’t included in the written newsletter, either because the content doesn’t fit or because it’s better voiced than written. It can even be responding to reader comments.
You’ll be able to listen to More From Andre through Substack, but it will eventually be on the various podcast distribution networks, as well as the GameReviewPad YouTube channel. The ultimate goal is to bring people to the written newsletter through audio while not being bogged down.
Video will likely be less frequent, but will likely be personal gameplay footage and commentary.
My Game Hype Rankings: May 2023
For the new readers, my game hype rankings is a list of games I’m excited for that only includes games releasing as a full launch with an estimated release date in the current year. Once a month passes, games with a release in that month get removed and a new game is added to the list. Games can also be removed or moved up/down depending how my hype for a game changes based on new trailers and development updates.
Whenever I add a new game or remove a game based on my discretion I explain why. Since I haven’t produced a list in many months, almost everything here except WrestleQuest is newly added.
This is a good time to remind you that everything underlined is a link that can be clicked. For my Game Hype Rankings I always link to a digital store page if you want to check it out further and/or wishlist it.
(FYI: Although this is being published after May 25, the list was put together earlier.)
Street Fighter 6 sits at the top of my hype rankings because the promotion for this is exceptional and the game itself has so much to offer. I enjoy playing Street Fighter games, but on a more casual basis compared to other kinds of games. I skipped Street Fighter V because it had a rough launch seven years ago and never truly felt compelled to go out of my way to play it.
Street Fighter 6 is a different animal than any other Street Fighter game. The biggest new addition is World Tour mode. It’s a single player experience where you get to create your own fighter in an open world RPG experience by learning and building your moveset from existing Street Fighter characters. The character creation tool has a lot of depth to really allow you to create a unique look. You can then take that character and use it as an avatar to walk around in the Battle Hub, a multiplayer virtual arcade arena lobby. Think of an arena with virtual arcade cabinets that anyone can walk up to and use wrapped around in an outer and inner circle. Having just played the open beta, you sit at an arcade cabinet and someone can walk up and challenge you. I can say that this is the closest replication to the real life arcade experience we older folks had in the 90s. Players will also be able to chat with other players in the lobby and use their created fighter in the center of the Battle Hub arena against other player’s created fighters.
The biggest reason Street Fighter 6 has solidified my hype is the online ranked matchmaking. Multiplayer is cross-play, meaning PC, Playstation 4/5, and Xbox players can all play against each other. The netcode for Street Fighter 6 in the open beta was flawless, even when fighting against people on a different platform or based in a different country. Mind blown. To make the experience even more expansive, each character will have their own matchmaking ranking, giving players the freedom of trying out new characters without worrying about tanking their ranking. If the launch online experience is as good and better than the open better than this will be revolutionary.
I didn’t even mention everything, but now I have to talk about other games! Expect more coverage of Street Fighter 6 in the future.
Paper Trail is a game that was announced last year that I played the demo of and really enjoyed. Watching the trailer will tell most of the story about why this is interesting. This is a puzzle adventure game where you pull the corners or sides of the screen to fold and create paths to solve puzzles. It’s a really cool innovation for a game. I had doubts about it, but it actually works based on the demo I played last year. There’s an updated demo available now for free on Steam.
I recently discovered Paper Trail is also releasing in the Netflix Games app on iOS and Android. Netflix Games only requires your existing Netflix subscription. I’ll have to review Netflix Games at some point. This does seem like the perfect game for a touchscreen. Now I’m just waiting for a release date.
Diablo IV is a game I’m looking forward to playing, but not quite as excited as I thought I would be at this point in time. I really enjoy playing dungeon-crawling Action-RPGs, as Diablo II is one of my favorite games. I absolutely despised Diablo III, but I know Diablo IV will be significantly better because I played all three beta weekends to get a good feel of the game. It isn’t as complex as other Action-RPGs, but it will require a few more brain cells than Diablo III did for a player to build a character. I played all of the classes across the first two beta weekends and found the Sorcerer, Rogue, and Necromancer to be the most enjoyable to play, while the Druid gameplay was atrocious and felt unfinished. The Barbarian wasn’t great either, but a few small changes made it better in the final Server Slam test weekend a few weeks ago.
I’m not going to get into extreme detail here, but I have a lot of doubts about competency of Blizzard’s balancing team for Diablo IV. The developer livestreams the last month or so were really interesting in both positive and negative ways. One of my my biggest gripes is the game not having a map overlay, which has generally been a staple for games in the genre. In general, Diablo IV has a lot of game concepts clearly inspired from other games in the genre. I know I will enjoy Diablo IV for at least a month, then play it again when their special season comes out later in the year. but after that, I have a lot of player retention concerns both for myself and everyone else.
The one thing I do like about Diablo IV the most is the storytelling and the game returning to its dark and grim atmosphere of past games. You’ll get my full review of the game once I play enough of it.
Dave The Diver is a game that’s been in Steam Early Access since October, but scheduled to release as a complete game at some point in June. The gameplay loop is deep-sea diving and fishing during the day and running a sushi restaurant at night. The graphics of are really well done and the music is catchy. I’ve had my eye on this game since last year waiting for it to finish in development before starting. Just watch the trailer below and you’ll see why Dave The Diver is such a popular and intriguing game already.
Viewfinder is a puzzle game that instantly grabbed my attention when I saw the trailer last year. This is another trailer you shouldn’t skip because it sells the game well. The game features using pictures and visual angles to discover new paths. Superliminal is a game I reviewed years ago that is similar to this, which is why this is at #6 and not higher. I do like the color palette of the game.
Glitch Busters: Stuck on You is a game that I first saw the trailer of last year. It’s an online/local co-op third-person shooter that just stood out above many indie games announced last year. This is a very colorful game, but most impressive to me is how the game shifts many camera angles and appears incredibly expansive. The co-op seems very well implemented and the weapons look incredibly fun based on the trailers. Glitch Busters is a very wacky game that I think deserves a lot of attention due to presentation alone. It isn’t at the top of the list because multiplayer indie games can be very rough. If Glitch Busters can pull off a good multiplayer then maybe I’ll give it a try later in the year. Remember, this is just a hype list before the game is actually released.
Outpost: Infinity Siege mixes base building, tower defense, and first-person shooting in a way that looks incredibly cool and very tactical. Many years ago I played Sanctum, an indie game that mixed first-person shooting and tower defense style gameplay. Outpost: Infinity Siege seems to take that to a much higher level with base building. This has my attention and the more information that is released could easily move this up higher on my list.
Final Fantasy XVI is a game that is on my list, but a game I can’t play because I don’t own a Playstation 5 yet. This is definitely the next gen Final Fantasy game that we’ve been waiting for by taking advantage of the new tech for spectacular looking summons. Final Fantasy is a franchise that ultimately depends on the story to decide whether the game is good or not. There is one factor about this game that gives me confidence in the story, the game director. Naoki Yoshida, known by the nickname Yoshi-P, is the game director and is credited for resurrecting Final Fantasy XIV, the Massively Multiplayer Online RPG out of the ashes into one of the best MMOs available today. The story is a huge reason why Final Fantasy XIV turned into a success after a failing start.
Final Fantasy XVI is releasing on PC next year, but I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t hyped to play this ASAP. Final Fantasy XVI is probably the first game to date that makes me annoyed not having a PS5. I can’t wait to eventually play this. (If I had a PS5 this would be higher on my list.)
The Lord of the Rings: Gollum is only on this list at the end because I’m both a fan of Lord of the Rings, and also Gollum as a character. The previews of this waere not promising, but I’m still skeptical enough. That’s why this is at #10 and not higher. The story is supposed to take place in the timeline between J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring books. When LOTR: Gollum was first announced, I anticipated it to be a point-and-click style game due to Daedalic Entertainment being involved and known for narrative storytelling games, but instead it’s a platformer.
Based off of the lack of good promotion of the game I thought this will either be good or really bad with no middle ground. Unfortunately, we now know the answer. One of the next newsletters will cover that.
I’m hopeful the new changes to my newsletter experience will make things a lot easier for me and better for readers. Due to adding nine new games to my game hype rankings I felt this was enough for this issue. The next issue will be a little more spread out with different kinds of things.
My introductory episode for the More From Andre Shortcast will be soon.
For the rest of the year, I’ll be covering future games and writing about some games from earlier in the year that I would have spotlighted if the newsletter was in full swing.
Thanks for reading this issue of Andre’s Gaming Odds & Ends !!
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