Standing out in a crowded August, is Sea of Stars. A gorgeous revisiting of the JRPG genre’s past, it’s our Game of the Month.
My God, it’s full of…
August of 2023 was somewhat of an oddity. Packed with solid to great games, it followed on the heels of a July that was deader than usual, heralding what’s to be a bustling Holiday release calendar. Outside of a few months here and there, this has really been a heck of a year for top notch titles, and losing track of gems like Sea of Stars is not something you want to do.
That’s to say, not if you’re a JRPG fan, or someone who very fondly remembers role-playing games in general from the glory days of the 90s. Because if you’re in either of those camps, you’re going to want to take a serious look at the title that is our pick for Game of the Month, August 2023.
Game of the Month Gold: Sea of Stars
Sea of Stars
Release date: August 29th, 2023
Platforms: Xbox and PlayStation platforms, Switch, PC
Publisher: Sabotage Studios
Developer: Sabotage Studios
We had been following Sea of Stars for some time, and the finished product didn’t disappoint. As you can see there, it looks like a classic console role-playing title, but the addition of a massive amount of modern flair is undeniable. Sea of Stars is a visual treat, playing off of classic aesthetics in all the right ways.
Complete with a strategic, turn-based battle system that is the core of the genre, Sabotage Studios’ newest has a deep story to unravel, sending players on a quest to defeat an evil alchemical master. The lengthy (but not too lengthy according to How Long to Beat) story has puzzle-solving aplenty and lots of nods to the genre’s past.
Again if you’re a fan of anything related to JRPG’s, it’s tough to imagine you won’t find something to like in Sea of Stars.
Silver Game: Baldur’s Gate III
Yes, Silver. While the long-awaited Baldur’s Gate III from Larian Studios went gold in August to plenty of fanfare from both players and press, it was edged out in our voting by the above retro-masterpiece. But be that as it may, it is in no way to mean that this return to the D&D realm’s Baldur’s Gate is anything short of a terrific experience.
Contained within Early Access for three years, developer Larian took its time and crafted what many will likely give the nod to for 2023’s Game of the Year. It’s an epic-length cRPG that delivers massive amounts of choices for players, and also one that shrugs off the real-time elements of past Baldur’s Gate games.
Baldur’s Gate III
Release date: August 3rd, 2023 (PC)
Platforms: PC, PS5, coming soon for Xbox Series X|S
Publisher: Larian Studios
Developer: Larian Studios
Did someone call for some epic-fantasy? As you can see there, Baldur’s Gate III makes full use of the Dungeons & Dragons license, including elements from across its universe. This is high-fantasy in as strict a sense as the term can convey, and if you’re looking for a cRPG to keep you enthralled and playing for a good long time, well then Baldur’s Gate III certainly looks like it should fit the bill.
Bronze Game: Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon
As we said earlier, August was a busy month. And it had more than one or two games that pretty easily could have been a “Game of the Month” in any other part of the calendar. Take Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon, for example.
Hailing from the now-legendary FromSoftware, Armored Core 6 brought back the iconic mech-battling title from dormancy, and injected it with new life. A souls-like from before there were souls-likes, the latest in the series delivered plenty of tough, strategic action, giving long-time fans exactly what they wanted from a new go-around.
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon
Release date: August 24th, 2023
Platforms: PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Armored Core 6: Fires of Rubicon’s title is literal in a few ways. Not only is the planet that it takes place on called Rubicon, but the entire star-system is on fire. Kinda. It was at one time anyway, as a massive disaster ripped through a native power-source called Coral, triggering a system-wide conflagration.
When the game opens, it’s been a while since that tragedy, and signs that Coral is resurgent are starting to show. That’s where the player comes in, put into the boots of an “Armored Core” pilot who’s sent to investigate matters. The result is a trip across a deadly universe, where brutal mech combat is framed by monstrous levels and incredible set-pieces. Well, that and customization.
Armored Core 6 offers the same custom building and tweaking of your battle-vehicle as past iterations. It’s a huge part of the series in general, and an addictive element as players look for the best strategies and armaments to use to tackle missions. Oh, and forget losing credits if you scrub on a mission. That painful exercise is officially over, as AC6 ditches the punishing mechanic, allowing players to try their hand at missions multiple times with no penalties.