In a normal year, July would typically be considered one of the quieter months in terms of new video game releases. This could be attributed to the fact that publishers would find themselves competing for attention with other forms of media and entertainment that thrive during the summer months, such as blockbuster movies or the once-thriving travel industry.
But 2020 has been anything but normal so far, and July looks to continue that trend with a diverse selection of exciting AAA game releases and several notable indie titles to keep gamers entertained all month long.
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Marvel’s Iron Man VR
Delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marvel’s Iron Man VR will finally arrive in July as what developer Camouflaj has promised is a “full-fledged, high-quality, AAA VR” experience that allows players to truly feel what it’s like to become Tony Stark. The game has received quite a bit of hype for a PlayStation VR title, as it’s based on one of Marvel’s most popular properties and will be one of the last major releases for Sony’s VR headset this generation.
Iron Man VR puts you in the shoes of Tony Stark, the world-famous hero and genius inventor who suddenly finds himself under attack by the mysterious hacker and anti-corporate activist called Ghost. The game puts players directly in control of the Iron Man suit and its Repulsor Jets, which they can manipulate to blast through the skies and take down Ghost’s repurposed Stark Industries weapons over the course of its 8-10 hour campaign. With its surprisingly intuitive control scheme and suit customization options, Iron Man VR has the potential to truly make you feel like Marvel’s eccentric and incredibly popular superhero.
CrossCode was originally launched in early access for PC all the way back in 2015. After a three-year-long beta phase in which developer Radical Fish Games continued to add content and improve the game’s mechanics based on community feedback, the retro-inspired 16-bit action RPG finally saw a full release in 2018 for Windows, macOS and Linux. And although it took several years and numerous delays to get here, CrossCode is finally getting a full console port so that a whole new audience of gamers can experience the charming, addictive gameplay that PC players have been raving about for years.
CrossCode follows Lea, a young mute woman who finds herself stuck inside of a fictional MMORPG called CrossWorlds. From there, Lea struggles to regain her memories and learn the truth behind her existence. The game does an excellent job of simulating the experience of playing a real MMO, featuring things like other “real” players roaming the world, party members who log off after certain story beats and an extensive skill tree for learning new abilities and skills. CrossCode‘s Zelda-inspired dungeons, catchy soundtrack and engrossing world blend together perfectly to form a can’t-miss indie RPG that fans of the genre should not skip.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2
When the smaller-scaled Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon was given as a reward to Kickstarter backers of producer Koji Igarashi’s Castlevania-inspired Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, people were surprised to find that the eight-bit side-scrolling adventure was not just a throwaway project meant to appease the increasing-impatient fanbase and was actually a fantastic game all on its own. The first game’s popularity has led a sequel, which promises more retro sword-and-whip action with multiple scenarios and several new characters to control.
Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 begins with Zangetsu, a swordsman from the Far East who must fight his way through a demonic stronghold and recruit other characters to join him on his journey. Each playable character has their own abilities and playstyles that affects how they control and which path they can take to complete a stage. It also includes two-player local co-op, allowing you to work with a friend by combining different character’s strengths and weaknesses to overcome challenges, giving the game a whole new level of replayability.
Ghost of Tsushima
PlayStation first-party exclusives have certainly been enjoying an unprecedented level of popularity lately with the absolutely mind-boggling sales figures of The Last of Us Part II. And even with Naughty Dog’s masterpiece still fresh in everyone’s minds, PlayStation 4 owners have yet another promising exclusive to look forward to with Sucker Punch’s much-anticipated Ghost of Tsushima.
Ghost of Tsushima is an open-world action-adventure game by the creators of the Infamous series. It tells the story of Jin, one of the last samurai on the Japanese island of Tsushima who must defend his homeland from an invading Mongol army. The island of Tsushima is represented in stunning detail, with no waypoints to clog up your screen and a variety of side-quests and NPCs to bring the world of 13th century Japan to life. Players can engage with the Mongol invaders head-on or follow a more stealth-based approach and take them out from the shadows.
Sucker Punch has gone above and beyond to embrace the themes and aesthetic of its game, including a full Japanese voice track and the option to play through the entire thing with a black and white filter as a nod to the Japanese cinema that inspired it. Ghost of Tsushima is shaping up to be the PlayStation 4’s swan song and last major exclusive before the next generation, so it’ll be exciting to see where it stacks up against Sony’s already phenomenal catalog of first-party titles.
Paper Mario: The Origami King
Nintendo’s Paper Mario series has had quite the turbulent history. While Paper Mario 64 and its GameCube follow-up, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, are both beloved classics and widely considered some of the best RPGs on their respective consoles, recent iterations like Sticker Star and Color Splash have been panned by critics and players alike for their simplistic gameplay and more action-oriented design. But with the upcoming Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Switch, Nintendo and developer Intelligent Systems aim to restore the franchise to its former glory with a return to its traditional RPG roots.
The Origami King sees Peach’s Castle overtaken by Olly, the titular Origami King, which sets Mario off on a quest through five paper-based areas to save the world and defeat this new foldable villain. With its unique, position-focused turn-based combat, and the ability to interact with the game’s foldable paper landscape to uncover secrets and solve puzzles, the game look the be the return to form the series has needed.
When an anime or manga property gets adapted into a video game, fans of that series typically assume that the game will be a fairly uninspired cash-in that does the bare minimum in terms of innovation while largely relying on the franchise’s name to sell copies. So when the developers of the popular Atelier series announced that they were making an action-RPG based on Fairy Tail, fans of the shonen series were thrilled at the possibility of it finally getting a decent video game adaptation.
Fairy Tail is the name of the top mages guild in Fiore, where powerful magic users have gathered to improve their abilities, complete public requests and protect the citizens of their land from evil. The game stars 16 playable characters, including series’ protagonists Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfilia, in a turn-based RPG based on some of the most popular story arcs from the manga and anime. Players will complete quests, strengthen relationships and upgrade the guild’s facilities in what is shaping up to be a faithfully-crafted experience that nails the vibe of its source material while still being fun to play for fans and newcomers alike.
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