August 12: wallet threat level pre-purple

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After a few weeks that were no real threat to your wallet, it’s the week of August 12. Which is no week of August 19, but it’s close.

If you liked Payday, you need — yes, need — Payday 2. Developer Overkill really lived up to their name with this one. Unfortunately, I’m not going to sink much time into such a deeply progression-based game when my progress is just going to be wiped at release. So after sampling a press build, I’m poised to pounce as soon as the game goes live tomorrow. Or tonight. What time is it?

Unfortunately, there’s one problem. That problem is Europa Universalis 4, also out this week. Paradox’s strategy games have been getting exponentially better in terms of design smarts — Victoria and Crusader Kings are nothing short of revolutionary, and their sequels are better in every way — and also in terms of interface, AI, and quality control. I can’t wait to sink some serious time into this fourth version of their magnum opus series. But there’s one problem. That problem is Payday 2.

Also, there’s another problem. Occult Chronicles is Vic Davis’ fiendishly clever and fiendishly fiendish strategy game about exploring a haunted house. After a beta period of letting players bang on it while he does his usual fine-tuning, Davis releases the final version this week.

Also this week Craig Hubbard, the man from Monolith who arguably invented Kate Archer (pictured, because she’s awesome) in the No One Lives Forever series, releases an early access version of his new studio’s game, Betrayer. It’s just an alpha, but given its pedigree and how absolutely weird it is to play a black-and-white shooter about zombie conquistadors, it’s a viable wallet threat for anyone who doesn’t want to wait until the game is done.