As we hit the midpoint of the year and head towards the height of Summer, we're wondering which July game you're most looking forward to? If you need a reminder of what's coming out, here's our list of upcoming video game releases for your perusing pleasure.
As always, the USgamer team is here to answer the same question. Here are the July releases they're most anticipating.
Full disclosure: My number-one most anticipated game of July, 7th Dragon III, has been ticking away as an advance review code on my 3DS for several weeks now… and I wrote about it last week. So let's talk about the next game I'm most anticipating: Shiren the Wanderer.
I'm not really sure what the deal is with this new Shiren release, to be honest. I've deliberately kept myself in the dark about it, because the best thing about picking up a new Shiren is the sense of surprise and discovery it entails. Shiren, of course, is the flagship of Spike Chunsoft's ever-growing Mystery Dungeon series — you know, as in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Etrian Mystery Dungeon. Those other spinoffs have been pretty great of late, but for my money none of them can top Shiren. It's the real deal, the original console roguelike series, unfettered by franchise attachments and licensor requirements; Chunsoft is free to do with each entry as they see fit.
"Roguelike" has become the byword for a billion indie games: See Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac for examples of the genre in action. Shiren is a more traditional take on the format, though, and it holds much closer to the precepts of the old PC roguelikes… adapted to the realities of consoles, of course. Chunsoft's goal with Shiren (and its immediate predecessor, Dragon Quest: Torneko's Great Adventure) has been to do for procedural, permadeath dungeon crawlers what Dragon Quest did with PC RPGs: Make them accessible and fun. I expect to sink way, way too many hours into this new Shiren. With luck, it'll work on PlayStation TV and you can watch me die horribly via live stream.
If I hadn't already played it in June on Xbox One, I'd be most looking forward to Inside on PC, which is released on July 7th. I absolutely loved Playdead's spiritual sucessor to Limbo when I reviewed it earlier this week, and indeed think it's one of the best platformers I've played in years. It gets my highest recommendation - if you have a PC or an Xbox One, you really should play the game before someone spoils it for you. It's just fantastically designed, and tells a brilliant, highly compelling story that has some seriously crazy twists and turns.
But since I've already played Inside, the game I'm subsequently most looking forward to in July is Song of the Deep. Developed by Insomniac Games, it's a sub-aquatic Metroidvania in which you play a young girl who builds a rickety submarine so she can go and rescue her fisherman father who she believes is trapped under the sea. I played the game at GDC earlier this year and really enjoyed the time I spent with it. Its underwater environments look gorgeous, and the physics-based puzzles that were part and parcel of the demo were really fun to solve. It just looks like it has great potential, and considering its pedigree, I have really high hopes for the game.
I'll be reviewing Song of the Deep next week, so keep an eye out for it!
Given a relatively lean July when it comes to major releases, I'm probably going to have to go with I Am Setsuna. It's the first game from Tokyo RPG Factory, a small studio made to turn out Japanese RPGs with a classic feel. Setsuna itself is almost a direct callback to Square Enix' Chrono Trigger, feeling largely the same when it comes to the battle system.
The big difference is I Am Setsuna is made with modern technology and its budget seems far cheaper than the money Square Enix dropped into Chrono Trigger back in the day. The game is being developed in Unity, there's no voice acting at all, and it's clear that the title was created for release on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. The relatively simple presentation highlights the probably cuts made to fit on the Vita, which is a shame because that version isn't heading West.
I Am Setsuna is an experiment for Square Enix. Do players really want an old school RPG without all of the bells and whistles? Are we so tied to HD presentation, voice acting, elaborate cutscenes, and shiny graphics that something like I Am Setsuna simply won't gain traction here? I hope not, because what I played before was enjoyable and I'd like to see more from Tokyo RPG Factory in the future.
If you've been reading my work on USgamer for the past few years, it shouldn't come as a huge surprise that I'm eagerly anticipating Monster Hunter Generations. For me, it's become an even nerdier Madden or FIFA; every year or so, Capcom brings out another installment that features the same core experience, but with some tweaks and refinements. And, as a games press guy who never really has the luxury of lingering on one game for too long, I'm hoping to make time for the bottomless well of content known as Monster Hunter this summer.
After spending a whopping 200 hours on 3 Ultimate (Thanks, unemployment!), I've always felt guilty about the fact that I only gave last year's 4 Ultimate a scant 50 hours of my life. I'm hoping to correct that soon, and as luck would have it, I'm going on a week-long vacation shortly after Generations releases. Who needs played-out destinations like beaches and Disneyland when I could instead play video games in a place other than my apartment? That's the games journo lifestyle, baby.