August 19: wallet threat level purple and black and green

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I have already played all the way through pre-release versions of Saints Row IV and Splinter Cell Blacklist and I can say about them something I can say about very few games: I will eagerly play them again when they come out. Which is this week. Like Tomb Raider, another game I eagerly played a second time, these are mainstream AAA franchises at their latest best, with great production values, shrewd game design, and a vivid sense of identity. Sometimes mainstream is mainstream because it’s good.

Indie gem Race the Sun officially launches today. But if you’re like me, you’ve been visiting the beta daily for your fix of an “infinite speed experience”. Still, it’s always satisfying to see a version number make the decisive click from 0.9 to 1.0. Which reminds me that the free-to-play and web-based — normally, I’d run screaming from either of those things — Card Hunter comes out of beta this week. I can’t get a sense yet for whether it’s got legs, but I’m really enjoying how it shuffles a tactical combat game with a deck building game.

Disney Infinity, an action figure delivery device, launches with a whimper that includes two Johnny Depp characters and no Star Wars, Marvel, or actual Disney characters. And I have no idea what to expect from 2K Games’ long-in-troubled-development X-com flavored shooter, also out this week. I can’t even keep the title straight. I think it’s something about a bureau or an administration or a classification. But I’ll play anything made by the studio that made Bioshock 2.

UPDATE: Card Hunter just got pushed back a smidge. The new release date is early September.