August 15, 2021 — Though it is unlikely to expect many new game releases until the holiday season ramps up in a few weeks, there were a few notable arrivals in the world of video games this week. That includes a much-anticipated expansion to the latest Assassin’s Creed, a new 4K-capable version of the award-winning Hades for the new Xboxes and PlayStation 5, and the peculiar Black Book based on Slavic mythology.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris (PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series S/X, PC)

Anyone who played through Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla which we reviewed here has no doubt appreciated the sheer carnage that has followed on the path to becoming a Viking. But fans of the game have not seen anything yet, as the new DLC The Siege of Paris literally lets players tear apart a corrupt kingdom in pure Assassin’s Creed style.

In the new add-on, players follow their character to the kingdom of West Francia, where the tyrannical Charles the Fat rules with an iron fist. With the help of some newfound alliances and well-timed attacks, players and their crew-mates will not rest until they have completely sacked Paris.

The Siege of Paris expansion nails down the atmosphere perfectly, from buildings being set aflame to rats scurrying in the streets to full-blown infiltration missions where survival is the name of the game. For players who want to feel like a Viking in the midst of a full-scale invasion, this expansion is for them. The DLC is available for purchase now on its own, or as part of the game’s Expansion Pass.

Hades (PlayStation 4/5, Xbox Series S/X)

After making an impressive debut on Nintendo Switch and Windows earlier this year, Supergiant Games’ critically acclaimed Hades has finally brought hell on Earth to PlayStation and Xbox consoles. It is about time, too, because now fans can indulge in the sweet isometric action that initially made the game such a hit. Kurgan Compass™ has already reviewed the new, gorgeous-looking 4K version here and we quite liked it.

In this rogue-like dungeon crawler based on the Underworld of Greek mythology, players take control of Zagreus, the immortal son of Hades. For reasons not given at first, Zagreus must escape Tartanos, a part of Hades’ Underworld, and thus he vows to fight his way out. But the quest is far from easy and results in numerous deaths as is expected from the genre. But through dying and respawning, players actually gain new abilities and weapons, thanks to secondary characters like Zeus and Ares. The more players die, the more powerful they become, and the more back story is provided about the underlying reasons for Zagreus escape — as well as his bloodline.

Oh, the game is also available to subscribers of Xbox Game Pass — a brilliant move by the developer and the Xbox team.

Black Book (PlayStation 4, Steam, Xbox Series S/X)

Imagine a Slavic world where humans lived peacefully alongside mythological creatures. That is the setting for Black Book, Russian developer Morteshka’s innovative mixture of role-playing/card-battling tactics in a mysterious world. Players take control of Vasilisa, a would-be witch who gives up her destined role to be with the man she loves. But when he is suddenly taken from her, she sets out to retrieve the Black Book, which possesses the power to revive him. However, it also summons demons, forcing her to exorcise them and help innocent people in the process.
Over the course of the game, Vasilisa becomes more powerful, thanks to new spell cards and skills that are picked up along the way. Players can also complete side-quests and riddles to add to their collection and conquer even the foulest of creatures. Players intrigued by an oddball role-playing adventure should not miss out on opening up the Black Book.

Disciples: Liberation

Prefer something in the turn-based realm of combat? Then prepare for Disciples: Liberation, the latest dark adventure from Canada’s Frima Studio, also the creators of Carcassonne. In this strategic role-playing journey, players attempt to liberate the land of Nevendaar, while trying to figure out whether to align with a heavily religious human empire or take their chances with a maniacal queen and her undead army.

With a campaign that spans over 80 hours, Disciples offers a staggering amount of strategic gameplay, where every last move could be the last. Players can choose from four cunning classes and recruit over 50 units to join their cause. Seek out as many precious resources as you can as well – you’ll need them, considering the bosses that stand in your way. Learn more about Disciples over on the official Steam page, and prepare for one hell of a battle.

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice (Xbox Series S/X Update)

Initially released back in 2017, UK-based Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice has been a real game-changer for the company. Combining thrilling action with a deep, Norse-like theme that looks into the effects of mental health, it has become a major hit over the years. Now, while we wait for the next iteration in the series Hellblade: Senua’s Saga to surface – perhaps in 2022 – the developer has provided a huge update for the original game, optimized for the Xbox Series S|X consoles.

The trailer below provides a glimpse at what improvements have been made, including a frame rate boost and the addition of ray tracing. These bring Senua’s world to life like never before, making this journey something to truly experience.

The game is available now on Xbox Game Pass, as well as for individual purchase. It’s also available for PlayStation systems, though without the next-gen upgrade.

Animus: Revenant

The world as you know it is doomed, but you can still salvage from it. As a nameless warrior making their way across a darkened planet, it’s up to you to gather the dying memories of an ill-fated world in the dark Tenbirds adventure Animus: Revenant.

Judging by the trailer below, players will receive a good idea of what the game has in store. Along with taking on enemies via tactical, hack-and-slash combat, gamers also need to craft new items as they traverse the game. Crating includes weapons, armor, and other accessories. Players will also need to change equipment and even “farm” for better materials before certain encounters, as some require certain techniques to bring them to their knees. It does not hurt to keep track of stats either, of course, so players can know just where to hit.

With over 40 hours of gameplay – including side quests and immense boss battles – Animus: Revenant should definitely make your weekend dark and gritty.

Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous announced

During this week’s Xbox indie showcase, another Russian developer, Owlcat Games, confirmed that it would bring its forthcoming adventure Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous to consoles. The game is set to debut on March 1, 2022, for Xbox and PlayStation systems, and promises to be just as dark and decadent as the original version.

With 25 classes to choose from across 12 character races, players can form the hero – or not-so-heroic type – they always wanted to be. There are also over a thousand spells, feats, and abilities to choose from, so gamers won’t always have to stay the path when it comes to slaying beasts. What is more, players can choose how they prefer to combat, turn-based classic mode or the newly introduced real-time oriented affair.

It is up to gamers and their fellow cohorts to alleviate the world from a demonic scourge, and the job won’t be easy.  Decisions can easily take players down a darker fate, or even turn them into a celestial Angel to rise above their foes. And if anyone dares, the path of the living Legend awaits, though the challenge in store for that mode will definitely ensure players have their hands full.