We’ve got a month until the real “video game season” starts to coincide with fall and the holiday season. This year seems like it’s a little bit light on content from the major studios. If you dig a little deeper than just the gargantuan AAA titles then you can unearth some gems that might have been hidden from view. These are ten games that you must absolutely play coming up this year in no specific order.

Pokemon: Sword and Shield

Pokemon Sword and Shield’s new region, Galar. Image courtesy of Serebii.

The eighth main series generation of Pokemon begins on November 15th. Pokemon: Sword and Pokemon: Shield are the first main series games to be released outside of the Nintendo Game Boy and DS line of consoles. Coming out on the Switch, you’re going to be able to play Pokemon in HD at home or on the go. This new game follows the similar formula set forth by Red and Blue. But this time it adds wrinkles to it that haven’t been seen in Pokemon games yet.

Back are Mega Evolutions and gym leaders. The gym leaders will be different for either game adding to the want for people to own both. Some new additions include variations on classic Pokemon like Zigzagoon, Koffing, and Linoon. We don’t know just how many classic Pokemon will be getting upgrades but I’m sure Pokemon Co. will want to keep some of them a surprise for fans. Here’s to hoping there isn’t too much controversy involved in changes.

Speaking of controversy, there is a larger one involving this game. Classic Pokemon fans are upset because the game will be the first to not include the full National Pokedex. With over 800 Pokemon already and more on the way, this is a change that makes sense to me. I don’t feel like there needs to be every variation on Pokemon and I’m sure they’ll include fan favorites and classic Pokemon. Pokemon hasn’t had many missteps in the main series so I don’t feel like they’re going to mess this one up. Fans need to have patience. The game is one of the reasons why Nintendo made the Switch Mini, so I’m guessing this game is going to sell lots of consoles.

Shenmue III

The sprawling real life locales of Shenmue III add to the game’s realism.
Image Courtesy of: Deep Silver

The long awaited, and I mean long, video game from Deep Silver is finally coming out later this year. Shenmue III comes out November 9th on the Playstation 4 and PC. The original games changed the landscape of video games. This one is hoping to continue that critical success. The original Shenmue was released on the Dreamcast in 2000. Yu Suzuki has been waiting for a decade to make this final installment in the cinematic action series.

Combining a living breathing world with action RPG elements. Shenmue is the story of Ryo Hazuki. It continues his story from the first two games. Except this time you can see the changes that Ryo makes throughout the game. You train him in fighting? He’ll get bigger and faster. Developer Deep Silver is touting the game as a “deeply personal experience that, as with a person’s life, will be a unique adventure”.

Shenmue III is a long gestating game that is promising a lot. As with games that promise a lot, let’s see if they can deliver. If there’s anyone who can supply gamers with a unique experience that can move them emotionally, it’s Yu Suzuki.