July is typically the slowest month of the year for new releases. This year, however… it’s still the slowest month of the year for new releases. Unless you have a 3DS and like RPGs. That’s all thanks to Square Enix and their blockbuster ownership of this month from a portable standpoint, releasing several games that are sure to suck up hours of time.
July is an absolutely fantastic month to catch up on your backlog. You may have a pile of games still sitting around from October and November of last year, and several hours left in Skyrim to conquer. As a traditional travel month, look to portable titles taking precedent. If you have a 3DS, it’s a great month. If you have a Vita… you’re still playing Gravity Rush, or waiting until October when games start to come in. iOS sales will be happening throughout the Summer, starting with the recently passed Independence Day holiday.
The premiere game of July is always NCAA Football, signaling the return of AMERICA’S FAVORITE SPORT. NCAA 13 isn’t much of a change from NCAA 12, so if you really liked last year’s iteration then you’ll probably really like this year’s iteration. Other than that, Theatrhythm is a must-have for 3DS owners, and Final Fantasy Dimensions drops later this month for iOS. On the console front, it’s all about the Summer of Xbox Live Arcade yada yada promotion, which includes some of our favorite games from E3 this year.
Console & PC Games
The Secret World – PC – One of the most highly-anticipated MMOs of the year, it’s surprisingly not free-to-play. At least, not yet. Give it 6 months and it’ll join the ranks of every other MMO out there. There’s some hype behind this one, though, unseen since the likes of SWTOR.
Test Drive: Ferrari Legends - PC, Xbox 360, PS3 – Man, what happened to the Test Drive series? It’s gone downhill faster than the cars in it.
NCAA Football 13 - Xbox 360, PS3 – As an iterative sequel to the NCAA series, there isn’t much new here except for tweaks to a few of the modes and the addition of several Heisman stars. At the very least, it’s less expensive this time around, and can be found for $45 everywhere as a pre-order.
miCoach by Adidas - Xbox 360, PS3 – It’s a training game that drops in the middle of Summer, well into everyone’s vacation. You know, with everyone wanting to get into shape before Summer it comes a little late. Perhaps it’s helping us for college?
The Last Story – Wii – The second of the trio of end-of-lifespan Wii RPGs makes it Stateside, and this one is perhaps more beloved and better-rated than Xenoblade Chronicles. From the creator of the Final Fantasy series, the Last Story has a unique battle mechanic and enjoyable story. As a Wii send-off, it’s a fantastic way to go, and a must have for console owners.
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy - 3DS – Fans of Final Fantasy and its music should be forced to purchase this game. As a rhythm-based game, it also includes lite RPG elements and call backs to the series, and the music mechanic works incredibly well.
Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure - 3DS – You like Professor Layton, don’t you? Then you’ll probably like Rhythm Thief, which throws in the rhythm of Elite Beat Agents as an awesomesauce topping.
Heroes of Ruin - 3DS – It’s like a lite Diablo 3, but not really. It’s the closest you’ll ever get to it on your 3DS, though, and it’ll keep you occupied for over a 100 hours, if not more, as you loot-hunt.
Final Fantasy Dimensions – iOS – It’s the most classic of Final Fantasy games, with crystals and 16-bit artwork to match. And it’s an all-new game!
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance - 3DS – It’s SO CLOSE to being just called Kingdom Hearts 3 that it fits nicely as the sequel to KH2. It’s demo is available now on the eShop, so give it a whirl.
Spelunky – Xbox 360 – It’s a randomly-generated platform puzzler.
Quantum Conundrum – Xbox 360 – We loved it on PC, so don’t pas it up for the cheevos on Xbox!
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD – Xbox 360 – It’s some of the best skating on consoles since Skate or Die, and now it’s in HD.
Wreckateer – Xbox 360 – If you like Angry Birds and want to physically try to pull a slingshot and launch crap at castles, this is your chance. It played well at E3 this year, and looks to be a nifty Kinect venture.