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The big video games of summer 2020

Here’s what to play this summer

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The summer of 2020 is shaping up to be one of the most unusual seasons for video games. It’s an atypically busy summer, in part thanks to a series of delays that have pushed AAA video games like The Last of Us Part 2 and Ghost of Tsushima to the summer months.

Summer 2020 is also when video game fans will get to experience blockbuster movie properties as games: There are no major Marvel Studios movies this summer, but there is a pair of major Marvel games, one starring Iron Man and the other the full team of Avengers. And in the absences of the massively delayed Fast & Furious 9, we have an original Fast & Furious video game from the team behind Project CARS.

It’s a summer full of big adventures, including a new Paper Mario game and the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077. (Nintendo Switch owners who don’t dig Paper Mario have plenty of ports to play to this summer: BioShock, Borderlands, and XCOM collections just dropped, as did the massive RPG Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition.)

While summer officially begins on June 20 and comes to a close on Sept. 22 here in the northern hemisphere, here’s a look at the big games due in the coming months that will make a summer spent sheltering indoors a little easier.


Valorant

A character defends a bombsite in Valorant, as smoke and other various abilities are used Image: Riot Games

League of Legends developer Riot Games appears to have another hit on its hands with Valorant, a first-person shooter that blends hero mechanics of games like Overwatch and the tactical team-based gameplay of Counter-Strike. Turns out, combining the smart ideas of two of the most popular shooters in the world into one highly polished game was a good idea. Valorant’s been in beta testing for a while, but will be released officially on PC this month.

Valorant launches on Windows PC on June 2.

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics

Artwork of a variety of games from Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics on Switch Image: Nintendo

Nintendo brings together dozens of tried-and-true tabletop and card games, like checkers, chess, mancala, go, mahjong, shogi, and poker, alongside other fun activities like slot cars, golf, darts, and bowling into one sharp-looking collection. Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics is playable online and via local wireless.

Clubhouse Games: 51 Worldwide Classics comes to Nintendo Switch on June 5.

Buy it here: Amazon | Nintendo eShop

Disintegration

Image: V1 Interactive/Private Division

A new shooter from the co-creator of Halo, Disintegration revolves around team-based real-time strategy. Players battle enemies and each other on hover-vehicles known as Gravcycles in lively, chaotic five-on-five fights. There’s also a single-player story campaign, focusing on Romer Shoal and his battle against the Rayonne, an army set on eliminating what remains of humanity.

Disintegration is coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on June 16.

The Last of Us Part 2

Ellie hides among trees in a screenshot from The Last of Us Part 2 Image: Naughty Dog/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Naughty Dog’s follow-up to the post-apocalyptic, cross-country journey of 2013’s The Last of Us looks even more grim than the original, focusing on Ellie and her story of revenge. Set five years after the events of the first game, The Last of Us Part 2 sees Ellie living a peaceful existence in Wyoming, before her life is upended by a violent extremist attack. Ellie must confront her enemies while dealing with the fungus-infested zombies that still threaten humanity.

The Last of Us Part 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 on June 19.

Buy it here: Amazon | Best Buy | Walmart | GameStop | PlayStation Store

Marvel’s Iron Man VR

A first-person view of Iron Man in flight from Marvel’s Iron Man VR Image: Camouflaj/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Step into Iron Man’s armor in this PlayStation VR exclusive from Camouflaj and Sony Interactive Entertainment. Telling an original story unrelated to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel’s Iron Man VR offers the sensation of flight and freedom you’d hope for in an Iron Man game. You’ll need Sony’s VR headset and a pair of PlayStation Move controllers to play, but that’s a cheaper buy-in than Tony Stark’s tech.

Iron Man VR comes to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR on July 3.

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing In Disguise

Agent York investigates a crime scene with his partner Patricia Woods in a screenshot from Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise Image: Toybox/Rising Star Games

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise is both a prequel and sequel to the original Deadly Premonition, game designer Hidetaka “Swery” Suehiro’s bizarre, Twin Peaks-inspired cult hit video game. The follow-up is Switch-exclusive, and explores a series of murders that took place in Le Carré, Louisiana via the memories of FBI special agent Francis York Morgan.

Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise comes to Nintendo Switch on July 10.

Ghost of Tsushima

A landscape shot from Ghost of Tsushima Image: Sucker Punch/Sony Interactive Entertainment

Developer Sucker Punch (Infamous) heads to Japan for its next open-world adventure. Ghost of Tsushima stars Jin Sakai, a samurai who must become a metaphorical ghost and wage an unconventional, one-man war to protect his island homeland against Mongol invaders. In between stealthily killing your enemies with a variety of weapons and tools, you can pet foxes.

Ghost of Tsushima comes to PlayStation 4 on July 17.

Paper Mario: The Origami King

Mario confronts a paper Goomba in a screenshot from Paper Mario: The Origami King Image: Intelligent Systems/Nintendo

Nintendo’s wonderfully silly role-playing game series, Paper Mario, returns on Nintendo Switch with a new adventure that’s all about paper folding. The titular Origami King, King Olly, has kidnapped not just Princess Peach this time, but her whole castle and turned her allies into origami bad guys. It’s up to Paper Mario to restore order to the Mushroom Kingdom with all-new paper powers.

Paper Mario: The Origami King comes to Nintendo Switch on July 17.

Fast & Furious Crossroads

While we wait for the next entry in the Fast Saga, Project CARS developer Slightly Mad Studios brings us an original adventure called Fast & Furious Crossroads. The action-racing game ups the stakes with car-based battles against hovercraft, massive construction equipment, and even a rocket. Fast & Furious Crossroads stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, and Tyrese Gibson reprising their roles as Dom, Letty, and Roman, respectively.

Fast & Furious Crossroads is coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on Aug. 7.

Wasteland 3

A battle against quadruped robots in a screenshot from Wasteland 3 Image: InXile Entertainment

Wasteland 3 looks like a snowier, sleeker, and more substantial version of its five-year-old predecessor, Wasteland 2. The post-apocalyptic story moves on from Wasteland 2’s arid locations of Arizona and Los Angeles to the freezing heights of Colorado. Its story, surely to be rich in developer InXile Entertainment’s style, centers around a local boss called The Patriarch, who leads a society founded by formerly mega-wealthy Armageddon preppers.

Wasteland 3 is coming to PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on Aug. 28.

Buy it here: Steam | GOG.com

Crusader Kings 3

Image: Paradox Interactive

The Crusader Kings franchise is not your average grand strategy game. Players take on the role not of a country or even of a single ruler, but of an entire dynasty. The goal is to shepherd your line from the dawn of the Middle Ages into the Renaissance and beyond, through skill at arms but also cunning and treachery. Crusader Kings 3 will include many new innovations, but also a much larger geography than its predecessors. If you’re looking for a write-your-own-history fix to keep your PC occupied this summer, Paradox’s follow-up to 2012’s Crusader Kings 2 will fit the bill.

Crusader Kings 3 is coming to Windows PC on Sept. 1.

Buy it here: Steam

Marvel’s Avengers

Captain America stands with his shield up in a screenshot from Marvel’s Avengers Image: Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix

Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics are taking the world’s most famous superhero group — Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man, Black Widow, and Thor — and making them all playable in Marvel’s Avengers, an ambitious cooperative multiplayer game. New to the team is Kamala Khan, aka Ms. Marvel, who joins the roster after a disastrous event splits the Avengers apart. Like Destiny, Marvel’s Avengers is planned as a game that can be played for years, with additional Avengers coming in future updates.

Marvel’s Avengers is coming to Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on Sept. 4.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2

Tony Hawk stands on a ramp in a warehouse from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Image: Vicarious Visions/Activision

The first two beloved Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games are being lovingly remastered for modern platforms, with the classic roster of pro skaters and the (most of) the iconic soundtrack intact. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 reimagines the classic PlayStation games with modern visuals, a new Create-A-Park mode, and a few tricks from later games in the series to help keep your combos a-goin’.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 will be released for PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on Sept. 4.