The summer lull is usually the perfect time to make headway on your video game backlog. Game releases stall, so you can finish the games you have on hand rather than rushing out to buy new ones.
Summer 2017 is different; you're getting hot new games and plentiful downloadable content, whether you like it or not.
June started off ferociously strong with the release of Tekken 7, the newest iteration of the classic 3D fighting game series. The absurd-yet-fun story mode and the highly polished combat should give fighter fans plenty of challenges to overcome. Nintendo's Arms also delivered high-flying, multiplayer melee goodness last month, while the MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV's newest expansion, Stormblood, offered new dungeons, raids, and boss fights to conquer with friends. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild's new DLC, The Master Trials, also came out at the end of June, giving Wii U and Nintendo Switch players a new Hyrule-set adventure to carry them into July.
We can't blame you for feeling overwhelmed with yet another list of games to check out, but it's best to be prepared. Final Fantasy XII, the acclaimed PS2 RPG set in the Ivalice universe, features new content and updates for the PS4. And Splatoon 2, Nintendo's third-person action shooter, inks up the month with its cartoon-ish visuals, unique paint-spraying competitive combat, and an expanded story mode.
But July also has a few surprises for strategy and RPG fans. We selected five of the month's brightest titles; check them out below.
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Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Set within the politically rich world of Ivalice, Final Fantasy XII tells the story of rebellion and revenge within the recently conquered realm of Dalmasca. XII does away with random encounters and goes for a more MMO-like gameplay presentation, offering extremely detailed environments chock-full of dangerous creatures. XII doesn't push its story too hard, however, so the game accommodates you if you wish to focus on exploration, monster hunting, and character building.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Nintendo's adorable third-person shooter makes its return on the Switch with all new weapons, enemies, stages, and story. Unlike other shooters, the object of the game is to cover the map with more of your ink than your opponents, making engagements much more unique. Splatoon 2 also introduces a horde-mode style coop mode against waves of zombie-like Salmon creatures, and an expanded single-player story mode that picks up from where the original game left off.
Platforms: PS4, PC
Release Date: July 25, 2017
If RPGs and unique art is your cup of tea, give Pyre a spin. Developed by Supergiant Games, which previously developed Bastion and Transistor, Pyre uses stylized visuals and unique gameplay elements to tell a story of exile and struggle within a fantasy world. As you explore the world, you encounter other exiles to fight, and you are taken to 3 vs. 3 engagements in which you compete for an orb, which you then launch to damage the opposing team's pyre. Pyre supports local multiplayer, but no online play.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: July 25, 2017
City-building games are fun and highly strategic, so putting one on a lush, violent alien planet ups the stakes considerably. Aven Colony has players oversee the construction, resource management, and maintenance of a colony on Aven Prime. Players must manage every structure within the city to provide for the colonists, while also coping with the planet's extreme day/night and weather cycles, which can potentially shut down operations and cripple development.
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: July 28, 2017
The Pikmin series is known for its fun and strategic action/puzzle gameplay, which involves collecting the titular creatures and putting them to work to make progress. Hey! Pikmin retains the same spirit of the series, but transitions to a simpler 2D gameplay style for the Nintendo 3DS. You can still expect the same Pikmin management, puzzle-solving, and behemoth bosses of the original games, only wrapped up in a neater, flatter package this time around.
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