Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Games of July 2013.

As the gorgeous and healthy June release calendar strolls from the room, July walks in looking like something that's nearly killed itself on Atkins. The most important launch of the month is a 3DS title.

And I'm fine with that.  Seriously, I am.

After all, Shahid Ahmad is still on the beat and I really doubt Velocity Ultra will be the only cool indie coming to the Vita this month.  Speaking of which...

July 2nd
Velocity Ultra, a teleporting puzzle-solving shoot-em-up indie.
Hype-O-Meter : Not really my genre, but it looks cool.

 Velocity Ultra, a bit like Hotline Miami, is one of the indies that Shahid hasn't been able to shut up about - he's absolutely in love with it, if you believe his tweets, and it has gotten some pretty stellar reviews.

It's been out in Europe for months now, but the certification for the NA release just landed this past week - and it drops this Tuesday.  Velocity Ultra combines classic shoot-em-up mechanics with a weird teleportation mechanic that's constantly required to navigate its levels and enemies, and has an additional interesting tweak to the standard SHMUP design - if you want to really beat the crap out of its levels, you have to teleport yourself back to earlier in the scroll in order to crack locks in a certain order.

If nothing else, a lot of publications have assured me it's very good.

July 2nd
The Walking Dead: 400 Days, a one-episode piece of DLC that bridges seasons 1 and 2 of Telltale's The Walking Dead adventure games.
PS3, iOS, PC, Mac, Vita (eventually, we're assured)
Hype-O-Meter : Day One.

The Walking Dead's first season is all kinds of lovely, and given that Telltale are pretty good on price (I'd expect this to be about five bucks), I'm definitely going to have to day-one the next chapter of their accomplished, smooth-sippin' adventure drama.

July 9th
Metal Gear Solid Legacy Collection, a collection of heavily story-driven stealth-action games.
Hype-O-Meter : I've got all of these games two or three times over.  No sale.

The Legacy Collection collects every Metal Gear Solid title that Hideo Kojima directed - which means you're not getting Snake's Revenge, Portable Ops, Ac!d or Ghost Babel.  What you do get is

  • Metal Gear (1987, through MGS3)
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990, through MGS3)
  • Metal Gear Solid (1998)
  • Metal Gear Solid VR Missions (1999)
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty (2001) HD verison
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004) HD version
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)
  • Metal Gear Solid : Peace Walker (2010)

...which is like, $6.25 a game - plus two digital graphic novels from Ashley Wood.  Given that I've got everything here on my Vita alone, save for 4... no.  No, I'm good, Kojima.  Call me when MGSV is good to go.

A stealth action-RPG.
July 9th - 360, PC - Hype-O-Meter : Hmm...

Fittingly, this is one of June's two dark horse candidates.

On paper, Dark is everything I love, but without platforming.  It's got a cool art style, stealth, and is an action-RPG.  With vampires.

Developer Realmforge hasn't made anything you or I have heard of.  Their last two games were heavily panned for boring, "mind-numbing" gameplay, and they've never broken 70 on Metacritic - which would be less of a problem if the trailers for the game didn't make its gameplay look so stilted and... amateurish.  I'll be happy waiting for reviews on this one, but even with (what I anticipate will be) a lot of 6s and 7s, I may have to check it out.

Turn-based RPG.
July 16th - 3DS - Hype-O-Meter : If I had a 3DS, I'd be all over this.

Shin Megami Tensei IV is the first core game this franchise has seen in a decade.  The property's profile exploded with the release and success of SMT: Persona 3 and 4, but I have a confession to make : I didn't love SMTIII.  I went back and checked it out after falling in love with P3, but its crushing challenge and backgrounded narrative weren't able to really grab me.

I love those Persona games, though, and I'll admit I find it a bit disappointing that SMTIV has really gone back to its roots here, with mildly-animated enemy sprites and a seriously menu-driven style.  It almost looks like a... kickstarted 16-bit JRPG throwback (though it has lovely cutscenes and you explore a fully-3D world when not in combat).  I shouldn't knock it, of course - if I had a 3DS, this would be a no-brained day-one purchase - but I'll admit, I'm not really leaping out of my chair at the prospect.

Going on Atlus's history alone, Shin Megami Tensei IV will be on a lot of 2013 Game of the Year lists.

Weirdly, if I'm going to buy an JRPG this month, it's one that I can pretty much assure you won't be all that good...

An animated action-RPG.
  July 16th - PS3 - Hype-O-Meter : It sounds terrible, but I'm still buying it.

Time and Eternity's Japanese release was hammered by critics, and it currently is enjoying a score of thirty-seven on Metacritic.  Yeowch.  That's a whole four points better than Amy.  Still, Kotaku's Richard Eisebeis - the guy who covers Japan - had some nice things to say about it, at least.

So why am I committed to this game - a preorder down and everything - if it mostly-sucks?  First of all, it's a game in which you travel a 3D world and do battles as a gigantic, 2D animated sprite - which I am very fond of.  Second...

I sent my first-ever tweet, the president of Image Epoch responded, and I feel it would be downright rude of me not to play the game he had localized, after I literally begged him to.

And I'm Canadian.  I don't do rude. 

* * *

And that's July!  Keep in mind, a new Dynasty Warriors drops this month - but that's Mogs' department - and I will be shocked if we don't get another one or two notable indies on Vita (see: Lone Survivor) before the month is through.

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