Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Games of July 2014.


July has ever been the slowest month in gaming, though often punctuated with cool, weird Japanese games like Catherine, El Shaddai and Shin Megami Tensei - but in the past few years, it's also usually been when some of the coolest indies of the year appear on consoles.  Sony, as always, has a few interesting ones up its sleeves, but often an indie game's release date won't be locked down until literally a week (or less) before it appears on consoles - so keep your eye out for CounterSpy, Don't Starve: Reign of Giants and maybe even Energy Hook.

In the mean time, there are still a half-dozen titles of note this year - which, at the very least, represents a 600% increase over July 2012's anemic offering.

July 2nd
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition - an excellent 2D Mexican-themed platforming brawler Metroidvania.
PS4, One, 360, Wii U
Hype-O-Meter: I wasn't really all that hyped, but I bought it and it's awesome.

Guacamelee! had a humble start in 2013 on PS3 and Vita, but it's just so damned good that it achieved success and legs long beyond what (Canadian developer) Drinkbox had accomplished before.  A gorgeous 2D action-platformer is rare enough, but one that plays like a dream?  Guacamelee is something special, and the only downside to all the additional content in the Super Turbo Championship Edition is that I can't play it on my Vita.

July 8th
The Wolf Among Us episode 5: Cry Wolf - the season finale of Telltale Games' take on Fables.
PS3, 360, PC, iOS
Hype-O-Meter: I really should play the rest of the season...

...but I don't think I finished episode 2.  I bought the season pass for Telltale's clever, effective narrative-driven adventure game, but other things came up - as things do - and never kept up with the season.

Same with The Walking Dead, come to think of it.  I should just go play The Walking Dead season 2.

July 8th, July 14th
One Piece: Unlimited World RED - an action-adventure with the One Piece crew.
PS3, Vita, Wii U (14th), 3DS (8th)
Hype-O-Meter: I'll look to like, if looking liking move.

Near as I can tell, Unlimited World RED is a semi-open world action-adventure, somewhat akin to the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm games, with less-refined combat and an emphasis on collecting and crafting items.  Press reviews of One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (a 2008 Wii U title) were pretty tepid, but fan reaction was much more positive.

I have no familiarity with or affection for One Piece, but I do appreciate semi-open-world action-adventure platforming brawlers, and there aren't many of those in 3D on the Vita.

Worth keeping an eye on, this one.

More of the best damned game to release in 2014. 
July 23 - PS3, 360, PC - Hype-O-Meter : Yeah I might actually buy this. 

 The only reason I suggest I may not is simply because I never bought the Dark Souls DLC until it became available with the game on a single disc - but I'm certainly with the Lost Crowns DLC in spirit.  Dark Souls II is the most excellent and profound action experience you'll have with a controller in your hand to release, so far, in 2014, and more of a good thing is, as ever, a good thing.


July 29 - PS4 - Hype-O-Meter: Day One.

"The Last of Us is a heavily story-driven, linear, third-person stealth-heavy survival-action game.

It is, in each and every way we measure games, astonishing - representing the absolute state-of-the-art of its form, and doing its part to push the medium forward as a whole.

I cannot recommend it strongly enough."
-from A very short review - The Last of Us-
And now it'll be in 1080p at 60 frames per second, with lots of cool technical wizardry Naughty Dog didn't get to use on the PS3 verison.  For example, this is part of a PS4 screen for The Last of Us:


So yeah.  An obscenely good-looking video game.  With lots of teenage swearing.



Finally,

July?  Maybe?
Ratchet & Clank Collection for PS Vita - three classic PS2 titles on the go, in which you explore a colorful, zany galaxy as a tooled-up anthropomorphic space wombat.
Vita
Hype-O-Meter : Day One

The Ratchet & Clank Trilogy for Vita dropped in Europe on July 2nd, but there's been absolutely no word on a North American release date.  Given the Vita's lack of region-locking, I can't imagine why we don't have it here, yet.

There were some concerns, at first, about this trilogy's porting process, as it was handled by the same crew that turned the Jak & Daxter trilogy into a buggy mess, but fan reaction has been uniformly positive, and Metropolis looks awesome in this gameplay video.

So, fingers crossed!  Whenever this drops, it's a day-one purchase.  I'll wipe the Metal Gear Solid page on my Vita to make room for these little gems.

* * *

And that's July!  If you'll excuse me, I feel a pressing need to play some Dragon's Crown (Kayla's Amazon is in her 90s, now, and I keep on trying to catch up with my Sorceress.  The Sorceress is pretty damned awesome in a party situation).

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