While this June sees the release of highly anticipated games like Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, it’s always worthwhile for fans to pay a visit to the software that won them over years ago. Titles like Shovel Knight, The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures, and Driver are looked back fondly by modern audiences for good reason. The following list of this month’s major game anniversaries dives into exactly what makes all of these hits so compelling to experience today.
June 2019 Gaming Anniversaries | Shovel Knight (5th Anniversary)
Shovel Knight evokes Nintendo Entertainment System games like DuckTales and Mega Man thanks to its charming presentation and addictive platforming mechanics. It’s no wonder why it sold 180,000 copies across Wii U, 3DS, and PC within a month after its release on June 26, 2014, as its gameplay is a fantastic homage to gaming’s 8-bit era. Its narrative is just as compelling, as it has the titular knight take on all eight members of the Order of No Quarter in an attempt to rescue his travel companion Shield Knight. The rival Black Knight adds an emotional element that entices players to take down the villainous Enchantress once and for all.
Yacht Club Games’ classic offers plenty of incentive for veterans to pay another visit, as it includes a New Game Plus mode and has since released two new campaigns, Plague of Shadows and Specter of Torment. Another story-line titled King of Cards is set to launch sometime this year alongside the game’s multiplayer fighting expansion, Shovel Knight Showdown.
Players who have yet to try out Shovel Knight for themselves would be wise to pick up its complete edition, Treasure Trove, the likes of which includes all the aforementioned DLC. Those who are looking for a retro-tinged game to play on their PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch in between this year’s blockbuster releases should look no further than this platformer, especially if they haven’t tried it out before.
June 2019 gaming anniversaries | Divinity: Original Sin (5th Anniversary)
Though Larian Studios’ Divinity franchise has been going strong since 2002, it didn’t reach the critical and commercial success it enjoys today until Divinity: Original Sin launched for PC on June 30, 2014. Original Sin is the definition of a traditional RPG, as it features turn-based combat and has plenty of different skill, spell, and weapon combinations to experiment with. While the game is notoriously difficulty even for veterans of the genre, newcomers should rest easy knowing that a friend can join in on their adventures to help them out if they need.
The game’s best feature is that it allows fans to craft their own single-player and multiplayer campaigns for other people to enjoy online. For this reason, Dungeon and Dragons enthusiasts who have yet to discover what Divinity: Original Sin has to offer are doing themselves a disservice. The game’s Enhanced Edition is the best version of the game to pick up today, as it includes story content, modes, puzzles, skills, weapons, and loot not found in the original 2014 entry. It can be played on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
June 2019 gaming anniversaries | Red Faction: Guerrilla (10th Anniversary)
The Red Faction franchise isn’t known for its emotional narratives or thought-provoking themes. Rather, destruction is the star of the show. Developer Volition perfected this hook when Red Faction: Guerrilla originally released for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on June 2, 2009, as the game allows aspiring demolitionists the chance to level nearly every Martian structure in their wake.
In addition to a sledgehammer-like melee weapon, protagonist Alec Mason has access to a variety of high-tech guns like the Thermobaric Rocket Launcher and the Peacekeeper. It’s a joy to venture out into Guerrilla‘s open world environments to determine what enemies and buildings should be disintegrated next. Fans of carnage should know that a remastered version of the game, appropriately named the Re-Mars-tered Edition, is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
June 2019 gaming anniversaries | The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures (15th Anniversary)
The eleventh entry in the Legend of Zelda franchise, Four Swords Adventures, originally released for GameCube on June 7, 2004. The game’s most noticeable feature is its aesthetic. Each red, green, blue, and purple Link pops against the title’s many lush green environments. Hyrule feels alive thanks to cloud shadows inching across the ground and fog obscuring the player’s vision. The game’s music is also moving, as it borrows heavily from A Link to the Past and recalls a bygone era for the series.
Four Swords Adventures allows four friends the chance to experience its campaign, minigames, and multiplayer mode together through the use of separate Game Boy Advance handhelds. Suffice it to say, figuring out how to solve puzzles or defeat bosses is fun when working as a group. This Zelda title is perfect for anyone out there who’s planning on having a retro-themed get-together with their buddies soon. The nostalgia is strong with this one.
June 2019 gaming anniversaries | Driver (20th Anniversary)
Driver was nothing short of a video game sensation when it originally released for the first PlayStation on June 30, 1999. Reflections Interactive’s title managed to garner over $1 million in sales just two months after it released, enthralling driving fans everywhere with the promise of speeding around some of America’s greatest cities and ramming into everyone and everything they could find.
Cars are easy to handle and fun to maneuver around in, especially as players try to avoid oncoming traffic on the wrong lane. Driving each vehicle feels natural thanks in part to the realistic physics that the game is based in, and missions are varied enough to keep players on their toes. While Driver‘s graphics may not hold up today, its fluid gameplay is addictive enough to maybe keep modern audiences occupied until the next Grand Theft Auto entry releases.
It may be fun to compare Driver‘s mechanics with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled‘s kart mayhem this summer. Similarly, it would be interesting to see what Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has in common with fellow platformer Shovel Knight. Drawing parallels between the past and present is part of makes gaming such an interesting medium, especially as consoles approach their ninth generation. Technology will continue to evolve and change, but the joy of cruising down a virtual highway or slicing through a 2D goon may never get old.