Welcome to July! June was quite the month for gaming with E3 coming and going like a flashy meteor straight from the cosmos. We got hyped, we got exasperated, we stayed awake and our gaming stomachs got full off the sweet nectar of gaming goodness. However, this extravagant show comes with the caveat of slowing actual game releases down to a crawl. It’s always been like this with the middle of the year receiving the least love for gaming releases during any given year. This isn’t the end of the world because we have so many amazing games to catch up on that this can be seen as a bit of a breather before the end of year madness transpires.
July is looking pretty sparse and we won’t really be seeing any real major AAA releases, but there are a few eccentric titles to look out for. Let’s see what’s what.
Octopath Traveler – Switch – July 13
The classic JRPG has seen a bit of a regression in the modern gaming generation. There are some definite standouts such as Persona 5, but most of the genre has slowly died down to make room for more ambitious Japanese titles. That’s reason enough to become a little excited when a new JRPG crops up and more so if it’s one that seems extremely unique.
Octopath Traveler is a game coming to us from Acquire, a veteran Japanese gaming company, and they’re being supported by none other than Square Enix. The game is described as an open-world role-playing game with an “HD-2D” aesthetic. This essentially means that the backgrounds and most of the game’s play area will be 3D focused while the characters and other assets will feature high-quality 2D sprites. It’s difficult to explain, but seeing it in motion is absolutely beautiful.
Not much is known about the story except that you get to play with eight characters and can build your party as you see fit with each character having an origin, class and so forth. Unlike some of the derivative JRPG offerings we’ve had so far this generation, Octopath Traveler looks infinitely interesting. The very unique look of the game gives it an edge and I smell so much potential for JRPG fans to enjoy.
Prediction: I worry that we’ll find the same derivative nature that I don’t like from many modern JRPGs, but I’m keeping myself optimistic. I expect an 8/10 from this one.
The Banner Saga 3 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – July 24
The epic Norse-themed adventure is coming to a close with the final game in the trilogy. Stoic Studio had quite a journey with this franchise with all of the games having relatively successful Kickstarter campaigns and were so good that they achieved success on their own. It came down to fantastic storytelling, a very unique art style and some deep turn-based gameplay.
The Banner Saga 3 will be no different with the same soul and style being used, but the developers promise some new and interesting stories set in this fascinating world of strange-looking Vikings. They did use Kickstarter again, but it was mainly to get the community involved since they mainly used their own funds for the game’s budget.
The game has the unique position of not needing anything new or special in order to make it stand out. If they just simply use all of the strengths of the franchise once more, they’d be in the clear. However, I’m assuming the developers will still attempt to do their best to make this an explosive finale. If you were ever a fan of this unique franchise, this is one to look out for. If you haven’t tried it yet, the games are often available for relatively cheap.
Prediction: The Banner Saga games have always been relatively critically acclaimed and I believe this one won’t be much different. I expect an 8/10 with a potential 9/10 on the horizon.
20XX – PS4, Switch, Xbox One – July 10
It’s pretty convenient that something like this launches so close to the Mega Man X Collections (the release dates you can see below) since this was heavily inspired by the Mega Man X games. 20XX is the brainchild of one man who wasn’t satisfied with how Capcom handled the Mega Man series. He decided to then create a rogue-like with the same tight platforming that the Mega Man X series is known for.
Each level is procedurally generated from chunks of tilesets and will test your jump shooting prowess at the best of times. You only have one life and if you’re gone, you’re gone, but there are mechanics that allow you to purchase additional abilities before each run.
This is a natural evolution of the genre and indirectly of the Mega Man series. It’s such a natural fit for this style and given the random nature of the runs, it can be an endlessly replayable game on top of it all. The game has been in Early Access for a while, but it’s finally seeing the light of day on all the consoles as well. If you’re at all a fan of the genre or the Mega Man X games, do yourself a favour and check this one out.
Prediction: The game has been available for a while now on Steam and the responses have been overwhelmingly positive so far. It’s a 9/10 game within a genre that has been left behind, so it’s truly something you need to keep an eye on.
Here are some more games for this month:
Red Faction: Guerrilla Remastered – PS4, Xbox One, PC – July 3
Mushroom Wars 2 – Switch – July 5
Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr – PS4, Xbox One – July 5
MXGP Pro – PS4, Xbox One, PC – July 10
Shining Resonance Refrain – PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One – July 10
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Switch, 3DS – July 13
Earthfall – PS4, Xbox One, PC – July 13
Hotel Transylvania 3: Monsters Overboard – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – July 13
Sonic Mania Plus – Switch, PS4, Xbox One – July 17
Mothergunship – PS4, Xbox One, PC – July 17
Pool Panic – Switch, PC – July 19
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 1 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – July 24
Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 – PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC – July 24
No Man’s Sky – Xbox One – July 24
Train Sim World – PS4, Xbox One, PC – July 24
Sleep Tight – Switch, PC – July 26
Code of Princess EX – Switch – July 31
That’s July for you. Exciting things coming from the indie space, but it’s honestly not a very explosive month. Take the time to catch up on your backlog and save some money for the inevitable late-year rush along with Black Friday. It’s going to be a busy time and you need to be prepared.