In July 2020, Ghosts of Tsushima and Paper Mario: Origami King released on the same day. Meanwhile, scores of people were still finishing June's The Last of Us Part II. That game broke sales records, with over 4 million copies sold in its first three days of release.
Three of the most acclaimed video games this year, in such a narrow timeframe, was intense to say the least. August, by contrast, is a little more laid back. There's a couple of A-list sports titles on deck, but otherwise, there are a lot of game announcements and conventions rather than actual games. It's a cooldown before the blitz hits again in September and October: Marvel's Avengers, NBA 2K21, Watchdogs: Legion, and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, just to name a few.
Here's your monthly video game news roundup for August 2020.
XBox Live Gold Free Games
Portal Knights (August 1 - August 31)
Think Minecraft, but with an emphasis on Medieval and RPG elements. You're crafting weapons and armor for your character in addition to the larger world you're building.
Override: Mech City Brawl (August 16 - September 15)
You take one massive mech, and brawl with another massive mech in a destructible city surrounding? Sign us up! This is a viscerally satisfying monster movie come to life.
Xbox 360 (backwards compatible)
MX Unleashed (August 1 - August 15)
A bike racing experience, this game straddles the line between escapist and real. Its precise controls and Freestyle mode garnered comparison to the Tony Hawk franchise at the time of its release.
Red Faction II (August 16 - August 31)
A throwback from 2002, Red Faction 2 is a sci-fi shooter starring a nanotech-enhanced supersoldier. It was, at the time, heralded for its graphics and immersiveness, as well as its vehicular combat modes.
Playstation Plus Free Games For August 2020
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Remastered (July 28)
The second installment in the Modern Warfare series, this game puts away historical recreations for today's treaty-less, never-ending wars of attrition. You play as multiple special operatives from the U.K. and U.S. who must stop Russian right-wing nationalists from destroying the world.
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout (July 28)
A chaotic multiplayer experience, this game puts 60 people together in a closed space and has them compete against each other in mini-games to be the last person standing. It's a great way to party and socially distance, simultaneously.
Google Stadia Free Games For August 2020
Strange Brigade (August 1)
This game is about a group of adventurers/explorers, who must take on historical monsters, like the mummy and the minotaur, in colorful destinations. You can play the game as a single player or co-op experience. Every character is customizable and comes with a different skill set.
Kona (August 1)
An adventure thriller with a classic premise: a man shows up in a town that's completely deserted, and he needs to figure out what happened, lest he become one of the missing people.
Metro 2033 Redux (August 1)
A survival horror shooter set in the smoldering ruins of Moscow, this game deals with the fallout (literally and figuratively) of a nuclear attack, and the monsters that result from the subsequent mutations.
Just Shapes & Beats (August 1)
This is a rhythm action game with a steep learning curve. The first thing that stands out is its visuals. The game has a purposefully simple aesthetic--black background, with bright colors and simple art laid over it.
Rock of Ages 3 (August 14)
Erect a massive fortification while penetrating your opponent's defenses. With its mixed media aesthetic and massive, destructive boulders, the Rock of Ages franchise is a Monty Python cartoon in game form.
Animal Crossing Updates (August 1)
The most recent Animal Crossing: New Horizons patch from late July enables you to visit and explore other islands, as well as upload your own. A wildlife update in August adds new bugs and fish to catch.
LEGO Mario Sets (August 1)
Thanks to a licensing deal with Nintendo, LEGO is releasing two major video game-themed sets in August. The first is an interactive Super Mario Bros playset, which allows you to build your own levels with classic elements. The second is a massive 2500-plus piece set that includes a buildable NES console replica and an '80s-style television, which scrolls an 8-bit Mario level when you turn a crank.
Tennocon 2020 (August 1)
The most recent Warframe press conference announced the debut of a third open world expansion: the hostile Deimos, filled with underground cave networks and gross infestation. It's hell brought to life, which means there's plenty of things for your human/mech hybrid to explore, kill, and loot.
Play NYC (August 10-16)
Part conference and part demonstration, Play NYC will feature in-depth discussions about modern gaming from New York developers, plus demos of smaller games across all platforms. Rockstar Games (Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2) will sponsor the annual showcase Graffiti Games; this year, they're celebrating the work of black game developers.
Total War Saga: Troy (August 13)
The real-time strategy franchise veers classical, telling the story of the Trojan War between the Greeks and the kingdom of Troy. Straddling that delicate line between historical record and oral myth, the game features three different versions of the Trojan Horse legend: a massive earthquake, a siege tower, and the actual wooden horse, which legend claims Odysseus used to infiltrate Troy and level it to the ground.
EA Sports UFC 4 (August 14)
UFC fans and frustrated Fight Night fans will have a new sports combat game to keep them occupied this month. Anticipate new venues, new fighters, and more fluidity. From grappling, to stand-up, to ground-and-pound, you rise to the top on your own merits.
Battletoads (August 20)
After countless memes and lots of pissed off Gamestop employees, a reboot of Battletoads is coming to PC and Xbox One--this time, for real. Like the original NES game from 1991, this reboot stars three anthropomorphic toads with exaggerated melee attacks. And based on the trailer, this game will also feature a 'Turbo Tunnel' to raise your blood pressure.
Madden '21 (August 25)
The latest edition to the Madden franchise features a number of quality-of-life improvements: adjustments to the tackle mechanics, better control over the ball carrier, and more touchdown celebrations. Owing to the pandemic, those roaring crowds might be the closest we get to the real thing in the months ahead.
Tell Me Why - August 27
From the minds behind the Life is Strange franchise comes a new serial adventure, about twins (one cis, one trans) who revisit their childhood home to unpack their traumas. The first chapter releases on August 27. Chapters 2 and 3 will be released in early September.
Gamescom 2020 (August 27-30)
Based out of Germany, this year's Gamescom will feature game reveals, updates, and announcements of upcoming titles, with a particular emphasis on indie games. Among the big studios confirmed to be participating this year: Bethesda, EA Games, Sega, Bandai Namco, Ubisoft (we're still holding out for a Splinter Cell announcement!), Blizzard, and more.