July is here and with it the traditional summer draught in regards to game releases. Nonetheless there are a few titles coming out that are worth mentioning!
Accel World VS. Sword Art Online
I honestly don’t know much about this game except for the fact that it was just a matter of time until this crossover game happened since both Accel World and Sword Art Online were written by the same author. I think I already wrote on this blog that I am not particularly fond of SAO and Accel World was even worse, but at least the SAO games seem to have kind of merit. This game got mixed to positive reactions in Japan, so fans should take a look.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Developer/Publisher: Artdink / Bandai Namco
Release Date: July 7th
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
During its original release in 2006/2007 on the PlayStation 2, Final Fantasy XII was a very divisive game among the Final Fantasy fanbase. Although the game was widely praised by critics for its graphics, the gambit system, the voice acting and the vast and beautiful world, many fans did not like the grave changes that were made to the series’ formular. The turning away from a traditional turn-based combat system to a more MMO-like Combat approach annoyed many and although there were many fans of the gambit system, some players thought that the game too much played itself in the end because everything could be automated. I still remember having heated discussions with friends and users on the Internet about whether the Xbox 360 exclusive Lost Odyssey which was created by FF-veteran Hironobu Sakaguchi contained more of the FF DNA than XII did. Personally, I really liked what Square did with XII although not everything was perfect. The story suffered from the change of directors mid-development (Matsuno left due to personal issues) and it’s a shame that the story was never able to reach the heights of Matsunos masterpiece Final Fantasy Tactics. The soundtrack is also probably one of my least favorite soundtrack in the series. It’s criticism at the highest stage since the soundtrack is still good, but it pales in comparison to other installments of the series.
I am really happy that Square decided to remaster FFXII especially since this will be the first time that Western players will officially be able to enjoy the enhancements of the International Zodiac Job system that was only released in Japan. It allows players to choose certain jobs for certain characters with specialised license boards so that characters can’t become all-powerful in the end. The remaster also includes a speed-up mode with which players can speed up the game which will be nice for farming or traversing.
Platform: PlayStation 4
Developer/Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: July 11th
The first Splatoon was one of the few success stories on the Wii U and Nintendo was able to show that they can make a Multiplayer-focused game that incorporates the Nintendo-DNA. The game became a cult hit very quickly and if it would have been released on a more successful console, it might have become an even bigger hit. It’s therefore not surprising that Nintendo is bringing a sequel to the Switch although previews thus far have cast a doubt over the question whether this game is actually a full-fledged sequel or more of an enhanced edition of the first game. Nonetheless, I think it was important for Nintendo to bring a Splatoon game to the Switch relatively quickly to ensure its launch momentum even if the game should not include enough changes to feel like a true sequel.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 21st
Supergiant Games is back! After their two previous games Bastion and Transistor, every fan of Indie-Games should know this studio. With their newest game Pyre, the dev-team is striving for an audio-visual treat again with a great artstyle and hopefully a great soundtrack. To be totally honest, I really liked Bastion and Transistor, but I don’t think that they are amazing games but just “good”, so while I will definitely check out this game at some point, I probably won’t do it at launch.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Developer/Publisher: Supergiant Games
Release Date: July 25th
Hey! Pikmin is the newest installment in the Pikmin franchise but it strays away from the strategy roots of the former installments and is a platformer spin-off instead. It’s not made by Nintendo themselves and to be honest I am kinda fed up with platformers on the 3DS, but I am sure that it will have its fans.
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Developer/Publisher: Arzest / Nintendo
Release Date: July 28th