As major video game releases begin to wane, April presents a perfect opportunity to visit exciting titles that one may not have had the pleasure of playing yet. In between catching up on Kingdom Hearts 3 or Devil May Cry 5, fans can take time to become familiar with the software that laid the groundwork for today’s immersive experiences. While properties like The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena may not be the first that come to mind when one hears the term “video game classics,” rest assured that each of the entries below has impacted the industry in meaningful ways. Be warned that the following list of April 2019’s major game anniversaries may make you feel incredibly old.
Game anniversaries in April 2019 | The Elder Scrolls Online (5th Anniversary)
The Elder Scrolls Online represents what many RPG fans had dreamed of since the franchise’s debut. Released on April 4, 2014 for PC, the game offers players the same free-roaming exploration found in other Elder Scrolls entries, but allows them to experience Tamriel with millions of other adventurers in a constantly evolving online ecosystem.
Unlike many MMORPGs, most of the continent’s zones are available from the get-go without requiring that users join certain factions or meet specific level thresholds. The Elder Scrolls Online encourages people to experiment with its many races and classes before finding the right combination that suits their play style. As nerdy as it may appear to be, the game presents a lot of worthwhile content to those who are willing to give it a shot.
Game anniversaries in April 2019 | Child of Light (5th Anniversary)
Ubisoft’s Child of Light isn’t a game that one might expect from the same company behind Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs. This innocent RPG cleverly melds platforming elements with an active-time battle system to produce a unique experience that’s fun to learn and easy to lose yourself in. The title is told from the perspective of a little girl named Aurora, who’s dying from a mysterious illness and tasked with rescuing the sun, moon, and stars from the evil Queen of the Night in order to recover and return to her grieving father.
It’s accessible gameplay, compelling narrative, and beautiful storybook aesthetic seamlessly combine to form something that’s unlike anything else the video game industry has to offer. Child of Light released on April 29, 2014 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Wii U. It launched on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC one day later on April 30.
Game anniversaries in April 2019 | The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena (10th Anniversary)
Licensed video games don’t have the best reputation among fans, as they often rely on generic gameplay mechanics, run poorly, or look like they belong on early console hardware. Starbreeze Studios’ The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena is an exception to the trend, as it encourages players to remain in the shadows if they hope to assassinate all of their foes. Running toward the nearest exit may not always be the best solution, as Riddick may attract too much attention.
The game’s Pitch Black multiplayer mode is a perfect representation of this unique strategy, as it pits the titular character against other players who are armed with flashlights. These human-controlled guards may have the advantage of heavy weaponry on their side, but Riddick can blend in with the shadows more easily. Assault on Dark Athena released on April 7, 2009 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.
Game anniversaries in April 2019 | City of Heroes (15th Anniversary)
It’s a shame that the servers for Cryptic Studios’ City of Heroes were shut down in 2012, as the MMORPG would have greatly benefited from the superhero craze that’s currently taking Hollywood by storm. Released on April 27, 2004 for PC, the game allowed players to create super-powered characters and team up with friends in order to fight criminals and rescue civilians. The game’s expansion, City of Villains, introduced supervillains and gave users the choice of taking on good or evil missions.
Leveling up, upgrading powers, and crafting gadgets were satisfying features that made one feel like they were growing alongside their in-game avatars. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like more people will be able to experience the title anytime soon.
Game anniversaries in April 2019 | Final Fantasy 6 (25th Anniversary)
If you only had enough time to play one entry to play on this list, you will make no mistake in choosing Square’s Final Fantasy 6. Considered by some to be the best Final Fantasy title so far, the game manages to properly touch on subjects such as religion, nuclear warfare, and mental health. That’s not to say that its narrative is esoteric or hard to follow, as it tasks a ragtag gang of deeply flawed characters with defeating a deity who’s already brought about the end of the world. With a premise so daunting, it’s easy to see why Final Fantasy 6‘s core theme is hope.
The game managed to evolve the RPG genre with its mechanics, as it introduced a basic statistic-based growth system that allowed fans to oversee how experience points were distributed among various attributes. That’s not to mention the fact that players can customize equipment to their liking. Menus are also easy to navigate, no matter your experience with RPGs. It’s safe to say that Final Fantasy 6 changed the genre forever when it released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on April 2 in Japan. Few other entries in the franchise could hold a candle to its influence.
Video game fans shouldn’t consider games like Final Fantasy 6 or The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena to be outdated, as each is still worth a playthrough in 2019. Though we’ve all grown accustomed to the stunning digital realism that many high profile games offer today, the titles above remind us that the medium is really about having fun. A casual revisit to your dusty Super Nintendo Entertainment System may lead you to discover that even after all these years, there’s so much to play. Clearing out your backlog is a challenge worth taking on across console generations.