Featured Game: Madden NFL 22 (PS5) | $70 | Amazon
Summer is in full swing, and if you’re dreading the outside heat, August will bring some more good reasons to stay indoors in front of a screen. Big games like Madden NFL 22, Psychonauts 2, and New World are releasing later in the month, along with the expanded Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut for PS5 and PS4. Learn more about all of those games and find pre-order links below.
Madden NFL 22 (PS5, Xbox, PS4, PC)
Release Date: August 20
Madden NFL 22 is the first entry developed for the latest generation of consoles (rather than enhanced after release), and the trailer above shows some beautiful looking animations and player models. Of course, the look is only one part of the equation. EA Sports’ franchise has seen diminishing reviews over the last few entries as the series has seemingly stagnated. Besides better graphics, what’s really new this time around?
Beyond the dual cover athletes of Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes, you’ll find a game enhanced by the Dynamic Gameday feature that pumps more atmosphere into the experience, plus a greatly expanded Franchise mode, unified progression across the Face of the Franchise and The Yard modes, and all of the little tweaks and enhancements that help the annualized sports juggernaut continue ahead year after year. Hopefully the end result is a meaningful upgrade over last year’s edition.
Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut (PS5, PS4)
Release Date: August 20
If you slept on last year’s absolutely stunning Ghost of Tsushima for PlayStation 4, there’s good news: a significantly enhanced Director’s Cut edition is coming in August for both PS4 and PS5. The original version saw some performance enhancements for PS5, but the Director’s Cut takes the Japan-set open-world adventure even further with 4K resolution options, DualSense controller improvements (including haptics and adaptive triggers), and lip sync for Japanese voice over audio.
Meanwhile, the new Iki Island single-player expansion will be available for both PS4 and PS5 players alike, which has a variety of new gameplay elements. If you already have Ghost of Tsushima, you can upgrade it via the PlayStation Store for $20-30 depending on whether you want the PS4 or PS5 Director’s Cut. Otherwise, you can grab the full-fledged Director’s Cut and start fresh with this immersive epic.
Psychonauts 2 (Xbox, PS4, PC, Mac)
Release Date: August 25
Psychonauts is the definition of a gaming cult classic. First released in 2005, it either was completely ignored or went over the heads of most players, and took years before it found a devoted fanbase. Finally, it built enough momentum for Double Fine to crowdfund a sequel a few years back, and now—following the studio’s acquisition by Microsoft—it’s finally releasing in August. And yes, it’s still coming out on PS4 amidst all of that.
The sequel—also available day one on Xbox Game Pass—follows the continuing adventures of Raz, a powerful psychic who has graduated into the ranks of the Psychonauts—an organization that may not be as valiant as it seems. Kotaku’s Zack Zwiezen recently went hands-on with the game and found that it feels like a fresher, better version of the original game… which isn’t a complaint.
“It was the second level I played that truly convinced me this was a special game,” he wrote, highlighting a wild casino-hospital hybrid. “If the other worlds and levels in Psychonauts 2 are even half as fun, detailed, and creative as the casino and hospital mash-up, then this could end up being an easy contender for the best game of 2021.”
New World (PC)
Release Date: August 31
Amazon’s efforts to become a top-tier game publisher haven’t really worked out so far, with a handful of canceled games in its wake and little else to show for it. But that narrative could start to change with the late August launch of New World, a properly premium (not free-to-play) massively multiplayer online role-playing game that’s built some buzz lately during beta testing.
Launching via Steam but available for pre-purchase via Amazon itself, New World has amassed more than 200,000 concurrent beta testers of late, delivering a supernatural-tinged fantasy frontier with compelling action and no monthly subscription fees. It’s just $40 or $50 upfront, depending on which edition you pick, and then there are optional microtransactions in the mix. Aside from some graphics cards that blew up during the beta, it’s been mostly good signs around New World of late.