Sometimes you should just shut out the real world and escape. Forget the stress and pressure and sorrow and just focus on what brings you joy. If that means videogames, then September was probably a great month for you. Not only did two of the biggest franchises of today return (including one that can monopolize your time like few other games), but we saw an old favorite undergo a triumphant revival and a long-awaited cult classic in the making finally hit our machines. Here’s a quick rundown of Paste’s favorite games from Sept. 2017.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Don’t call it DLC: Death of the Outsider isn’t an add-on to last year’s excellent Dishonored 2 but a standalone game that requires no other purchases to play. It’s like a streamlined version of the first two games, tossing out some of the core features of the series—there’s no “chaos” system, and you basically start with every special power you’ll need. That’s a bit of a downgrade, but the environments are still gorgeously designed, and turning supporting player Billie Lurk into the main character is a welcome decision.
This charming curiosity turns the always-dull world of golf into a top-notch role-playing game. It’s pretty much just what that sounds like: “battles” are golf matches instead of fights, you earn experience points and money that can be used to improve your golf game, etc. It’s not just the novelty of the concept or the classic videogame golf action that makes us recommend this one, but the smart, funny script, which features some of the best writing in games this year.
This “reimagining” of Metroid II: Return of Samus bears some clear hallmarks of that Game Boy original, most notably in its focus on hunting down and killing a specific number of metroids. It’s so far removed from that game, though, in terms of both its structure and how you play it, that it feels unfair to call it a remake. Basically it takes a handful of ideas from a game released in 1991 and expands upon them to make something that feels fresh and vital in 2017. The most crucial addition is a parry counterstrike that feels nothing like you’ve ever done in a Metroid game before.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One (PC later this month)
Destiny disappointed us at launch because it felt so empty and aimless. Destiny 2 doesn’t suffer the same fate, arriving with a more defined story and a greater variety of environments and enemies. The game’s structure and narrative is now as satisfying as its core action, turning the constant need for stronger weapons and armor from a chore into a compulsion. It’s also a game committed to secrets, letting you discover so much about it that isn’t directly transmitted, giving it a depth and mystery rarely seen in this type of game.
Platforms: Xbox One, PC
Can you call something “frustrating” if you’re actively enjoying it all the way through? You will repeat yourself a lot in Cuphead, a brutally hard game built around old-school arcade-style boss fights and platforming. A major reason the constant restarting doesn’t grow old is the beautiful presentation, with an art style patterned after early 1930s hand-drawn animation and an original score of big band and ragtime music. As difficult as it is, though, the game rarely feels capricious. You’ll usually understand what you have to do, and the struggle is just being able to pull it off. As frustrating as it can be to fight the same enemy two dozen times before finally winning, it only makes the satisfaction of pulling it off that much more powerful.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s games and comedy sections. He’s on Twitter @grmartin.