Even during the slowest months of the year, you'll find the release list stocked with literally hundreds of games across consoles, PC, and mobile. It's madness.
Given that, it can be easy to overlook some magnificent game releases amidst the stack, but worry not: we're here to help. Our Games Watch column points out the five biggest and brightest games on the immediate horizon, and outlines why each seems like it'll be well worth your time and money.
With that in mind, here's your monthly compendium of the five most scintillating new releases coming before September rolls around. You can thank us later.
Rad – 20 August
Double Fine Productions makes wonderfully weird games, and Rad doesn't seem to break from that mould. Set in a post-post-apocalyptic world, your hero can help restore life to the decript land… but you'll need to deal with some unique hurdles along the way.
How unique? Well, all of that radiation hanging around can mutate parts of your body, making you decidedly less human while pumping you full of special abilities. The cartoonish style and over-the-top '80s-inspired tone look great, and knowing Double Fine's pedigree, this should be one to watch in an otherwise slow first few weeks of August.
Platform: PS4, XB1, Switch, PC
Control – 27 August
This has been one of our most anticipated games for a while now, as Control seems to deliver a fascinating amount of environmental destruction, satisfying action, and… well, control over your character's impressive powers and incredible-looking weaponry.
Remedy Entertainment is known for making memorable action games with a strong, distinctive hook (like Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break), and everything we've seen so far from Control suggests that the studio has done it again. We're excited to go wild in these spellbinding environments.
Platforms: PS4, XB1, PC
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey – 27 August
Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey hails from original Assassin's Creed director Patrice Desilets, but while it is also an open-world game, don't expect a mini-map filled with loads of quests, or lots of cool weapons to wield. Why not? Because you control apes in the jungle, that's why.
According to the developers, this survival game tasks you with exploring and learning from your surroundings, all while passing on skills to future generations – across eight million years, in fact. What are the chances that this game has some weird, modern-day component like in Assassin's Creed? None, we hope. Bring on the apes.
Platforms: PC (PS4/XB1 in December)
Astral Chain – 30 August
It might be a while before we get Bayonetta 3 on Switch, but at least PlatinumGames has something else cool for us in the meantime. Astral Chain is a totally new IP from the same studio, and it looks plenty wild and chaotic itself.
You'll control one of two playable characters from a futuristic police squad tasked with fighting off alien creatures, and you'll have a sleek robot helper to assist with the beatdowns. Will Astral Chain be as legendary as Bayonetta? We're not counting on it. But the world is compelling, and this still ought to be an intriguing Switch option before the autumn release barrage begins.
Blair Witch – 30 August
Blair Witch? In 2019? Colour us shocked, but when this psychological survival horror game debuted at Microsoft's E3 conference this year, it made a big impression.
Bloober Team's new Blair Witch game builds upon the legend of the classic indie film, with a game that purportedly shapes its madness around your reactions to earlier scares and stressful situations. This studio has excelled at atmospheric horror before with Layers of Fear and Observer, so they seem well-primed to make Blair Witch relevant again… at least in gaming.
Platforms: XB1, PC