Oh joy, it is time for July. The E3 blowout has gone as well as you expected and we have a massive list of games that will release at the end of the year and during early 2018. However, July is caught in this crossfire and, as is tradition, is the red-headed stepchild of the year in terms of game releases. Publishers notoriously don’t want to push their games during this month and we ultimately end up with barren release schedules.
However, because this is 2017 and seemingly the Golden Year of Gaming, July is not going down without a fight. We have some genuinely interesting games that are worth being excited about, even if they aren’t in the same numbers as a month such as March, which was absolute madness. Let’s jump into your game releases for July.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age – PS4 – July 11
Final Fantasy XII released way back in 2006 to universal acclaim. Many Final Fantasy fans will proclaim their unending love for this title, but the same can be said of many entries of the long-running franchise. However, the game did release during an awkward time since the next generation already arrived a year earlier and the game was still stuck on the PS2. It didn’t impact it tremendously since everyone and their dog still had a PS2, but it was sort of caught during the whole confused transitioning phase.
Now it’s jumping a generation with Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age which is a remaster of the game for PS4 that includes the International Zodiac Job System that was originally only available in Japan. The job system is supposedly much more intricate and in-depth than the regular Western version. We can also expect the usual remaster treatment such as high-definition visuals and better design.
While only a remaster, it’s a very worthwhile one since there’s a huge change in gameplay for Western audiences and many fans that have missed the title can now experience it. I, unfortunately, missed out on the game when it came out since I sold my PS2 like an idiot and it will be wonderful to experience the much-loved game in its remastered glory.
Prediction: Unless they horrible mess up the remaster, which has happened before, we can expect a 9/10. The original game is considered a classic by many so it should go over well.
Fable Fortune – Xbox One, PC – July 11
The Fable franchise’s story is one of great tragedy and loss. What were wonderfully charming titles with a unique aesthetic and a penchant for good ol’ British humour got put through the ringer. Peter Molyneux made these insanely ambitious promises that were almost never realised and the series took a wild downturn after Fable 3. It got turned into a terrible arcade title, it was a terrible lightgun shooter and then Fable Legends was cancelled out of nowhere.
The franchise seems to be dead, but there are still some holding onto the hope. Fronted by ex-Lionhead developers and having the Fable name secured, we now have Fable Fortune. If you know Hearthstone, you know this game already since it is almost a complete derivative. The game will have classic heroes and many of the silly scenarios from the wacky Fable franchise within a free-to-play CCG.
Honestly, there are too many CCGs already and if you’re going to rip off Hearthstone, then you’re setting yourself up for failure because there is no better Hearthstone except Hearthstone. But with this classic franchise in tow, they might just make some impression. It’s free too, so why not give it a shot?
Prediction: Unless they truly push the envelope somehow, I don’t see this game going past 6/10. There will be way too many comparisons to Hearthstone and the longevity of the game will be questioned. However, they are more than welcome to surprise me.
Splatoon 2 – Switch – July 21
The original Splatoon was quite a wonderful surprise. The game looked cutesy and its gameplay seemed fun, but throughout its release, people have become infatuated with it. Fan clubs started emerging, huge competitions for it were being held and it received a lot of presence for a Wii U multiplayer title. The paint squirting game with squid kids really captured everyone’s imagination and now the franchise is heading to the Nintendo Switch.
Splatoon 2 will carry on the legacy of the franchise on the wildly successful portable console and it really feels like the Switch will be the ideal place for the game. In terms of improvements, we will get more weapons, more modes such as Salmon Run which is a horde-based co-op mode, new singleplayer missions in the game’s Hero Mode and jetpacks.
The game looks like it’s going to take the Switch community by storm and it has the potential to be one of Nintendo’s strongest titles on the console. We’ll see how it runs in its final version on the Switch, but considering the track record of the games on the console so far, we don’t have much to worry about.
Prediction: 9/10 sure seems like a good bet. The original is much revered, but the Wii U was a limiting factor for it. With it looking like it’s a natural fit on the Switch, we might have something great on our hands.
Pyre – PS4, PC – July 25
Supergiant Games have such a rich pedigree that it is almost unbelievable. Their games, Bastion and Transistor, were hallmarks of indie perfection with beautiful worlds, immense soundtracks and brilliant storytelling. Transistor is squarely in my top list of games of all time, which tells you just how impactful these talented developers are. Their eagerly awaited next title, Pyre, looks like it will continue this incredible legacy that these developers have crafted.
The game takes place in a fantastical world where you are in control of an exile. This character is special for one simple fact: they are literate. The character is called the Reader and meets three exiles who are astounded by this ability and has the Reader join their party. If Supergiant are to be trusted, the narrative will probably be immensely strong and interesting.
The gameplay of Pyre sounds unique as well. Your group of exiles will be tasked to deliver an orb to an opposing team’s pyre and you do this by passing your orb between your characters and using their unique abilities to hold off enemies and deliver the orb. It has an almost sport-like feel to it, with elements of other team based games as well. It looks like it will be very skill based and not as methodical as a game such as Transistor.
The game looks beautiful and the snippets of story we have seen is also intriguing. There’s no doubt that the soundtrack will also be something you want to own on vinyl at some point.
Prediction: I have a little too much faith in Supergiant Games considering they have only released two titles, no matter how wonderful they were. There’s a chance that this game won’t resonate as well as their others, but from what we’ve witnessed so far, it looks like it will be a fascinating experience. I’m thinking an 8/10 to a 9/10 on this one.
Here are some other games that are releasing this month:
Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles – PS4 – July 18
Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star – Switch – July 25
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls – PC – July 27
Hey Pikmin – 3DS – July 28
As you can see, not exactly an explosive month. We’re getting some interesting titles, but it’s certainly a far cry from the packed months we’ve had earlier in the year. However, there isn’t much you can expect from July and I’ve historically used the month to catch up with my backlog. Enjoy July for what it is, survive the cold a little while and we’ll come back for the explosive finale of 2017.