As we waggle hankies and wish a teary farewell to August, we can at least console ourselves with the promise of a fresh batch of PS4 games arriving as part PlayStation Plus in September, this time looking an awful lot like Batman: Arkham Knight and Darksiders 3.
Batman: Arkham Knight is, of course, the fourth entry in the celebrated Arkham series, and the third to be developed by Rocksteady Games, the studio behind the game that started it all, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Once again, it's another open-world offering, replete with rhythmic combat, shadowy stealth, and a positive festoonment of delightful gadgets to play with as Batman sets out across the series' largest sprawl of Gotham City yet.
The big change this time around, however, comes with the introduction of Batguy's trusty Batmobile, meaning that a sizeable chunk of the game's run-time is taken up with driving around and hurling missiles at road-bound foes, which didn't sit quite so well with fans of the series' tautly designed on-foot subterfuge. It's all as slick as ever though, and frequently dazzles with its narrative ambitions.
"The gameplay is good, and very often great, but we knew that already, it's a known quantity," said Eurogamer contributor Dan Whitehead in his Recommended review. "As a Batman story, this is something else. It dares to tackle not just the surface details of the character, but explores his psyche. It portrays him as, frankly, kind of a dick and also as a man of unflinching honour. The Batman of Arkham Knight is a complex, contradictory figure, a hero with real depth and dimension, and we get to wear the iconic cowl for one last mind-boggling night of mayhem."
PlayStation Plus' second game for September, Darksiders 3, is perhaps less of a must-have, failing to capture the magic of its predecessors. This time around, it's the turn of Fury as the main Horseman of the Apocalypse, following on from previous turns by Death and War, and Darksiders 3 once again dabbles in the series' mix of hack-and-slash combat and exploratory puzzling, albeit massively streamlined and a little too well-worn.
"If you like Darksiders, you can give it a go in the knowledge that it will immediately feel familiar, made by a team with a lot of love for the IP," said Eurogamer contributor Malindy Hetfield last year, "However, the one point of criticism Darksiders has always had to contend with still holds true: you've seen all of what it has to offer before. I can now confidently say that Darksiders has done Darksiders better in the past."
Batman: Arkham Knight and Darksiders 3 will be available to PlayStation Plus subscribers from 3rd September to 30th September, meaning there are still a few days to snag August's offerings, the WipEout Omega Collection and Sniper Elite 4.