The games of July 2012

Summer can be a lean time for new games, and the release schedule this July certainly isn't as loaded with big AAA releases as some of the months we've had so far this year. It's the calm before the pre-holiday season storm, but that doesn't mean the weeks ahead are barren. Quite the contrary – in fact, there are several noteworthy releases listed below, especially when it comes to anticipated downloadable console games and Nintendo 3DS releases. And if nothing on this list sends your heart aflutter, perhaps it's worth looking over the games of June 2012 once again? 

July 3

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: July 6

Continuing Square Enix's trend of unsettlingly awkward titles for series spin-offs, Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy pays homage to decades of tremendous tunes from the role-playing series via a Nintendo 3DS rhythm game. With tracks from the original NES entry all the way through Final Fantasy XIII, Theatrhythm mimics the course of a traditional RPG using battle, exploration, and cutscene sequences – except instead of actually fighting monsters and wandering the overworld, you're using the stylus to tap along with some of the greatest gaming music ever composed. Theatrhythm looks to be a prime piece of fan service for 3DS owners, and with luck, it'll also prove to be a sharp rhythm game in its own right.

The Secret World

Platform: PC

EU: July 3 

Announced more than five years ago, The Secret World is finally set for release; and the new MMORPG from Funcom (Age of Conan) and EA certainly stands out from the rest of its ample competition. First off, it's not set in some fantasy or sci-fi world, instead opting to employ a modern-day setting – albeit one in which paranormal activities are occurring. Moreover, the game features some serious atmosphere, with creepy locations and intensely disturbing enemies populating them. Perhaps most startling is the complete lack of set classes and player levels, making it not only aesthetically different, but functionally distinct as well. Find out much more with our recent 7 Things That Set It Apart from Other MMOs piece.

Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3


We've been listing Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends pretty regularly in this space in recent months, with delays keeping the upcoming simulation from launching as expected, though it finally seems set to debut in the coming days. Following the unspectacular retail launch of Test Drive Unlimited 2, Ferrari Racing Legends takes the series in a much different direction: with closed-circuit races focused entirely on the car catalog of the iconic manufacturer, not to mention a career mode that shapes its challenges on the company's history. Shift 2: Unleashed developer Slightly Mad Studios is onboard for Test Drive's latest reboot.

July 4


Platform: Xbox Live Arcade

EU: July 4

We highlighted Spelunky as one of the 10 upcoming (and excitingly original) indie games you need to know about following PAX Prime last fall, and while the title wasn't picked as part of the Summer of Arcade, it's one of our most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade releases. Building upon the much-loved freeware original, Spelunky seems to pull together elements from Castlevania, Bomberman, Indiana Jones, and Cave Story to deliver a slick side-scroller that also includes local four-player support. Several indie game-makers have been talking this game up of late on Twitter, and based on what we've seen and played, we're very much inclined to believe the hype.

Endless Space

Platform: PC

EU: July 4

Endless Space has been available in beta form in recent weeks for Steam pre-orders, but the 4X (that's "explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate") space sim will see a formal release come Independence Day. Putting players in charge of their own galactic empire, controlling everything from diplomacy and war to science and economy, Endless Space looks to be an incredible time sink for 4X fans, and considering the ample praise flowing from the beta, we'd guess one that's quite a bit more stable than last fall's botched Sword of the Stars II. Based on the trailers, it also looks quite slick, with stylish menus and some gorgeous ship design.

Bellator MMA Onslaught

Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PSN

EU: July 4

EA recently shook up the retail side of the mixed-martial arts market by acquiring the Ultimate Fighting Championship license, following a trio of THQ-published entries and EA's own EA Sports MMA. But Bellator MMA Onslaught aims for a different kind of market than those earlier releases, and not simply in price point. The 345 Games-published Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network release sheds the sim approach for a more traditional fighting game aesthetic, with accessible, button mashing-friendly matches that don't spend minutes stuck in ground maneuvers. It may lack big-name fighters, but at $15, it's a very different option for MMA fans.

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  • zombi3grim - July 3, 2012 9:33 a.m.

    Hmmm...Tony Hawks Pro Skater HD, Risen 2: Dark Waters.....maybe...juuust maybe.
  • CitizenWolfie - July 3, 2012 1:26 a.m.

    Wow nothing there at all that I'm into. I was interested in THPS:HD but I'd prefer to play it with the PS3 controller. Does anyone know when Deadlight is due to be released?
  • ThatGamerDude - July 2, 2012 10:15 p.m.

    All I'm looking forward to this month is Kingdom Hearts: 3D and that's it. Hopefully the coming months will interest me more.
  • laurenhiya21 - July 2, 2012 4:36 p.m.

    I've been waiting for Teathrhythm and Rhythm Theif to come out for a while now :> Hope they turn out well :>
  • Baron164 - July 2, 2012 4:32 p.m.

    I'll probably pick up quantum conundrum and that'll be it for this month.
  • Zeos - July 2, 2012 3:57 p.m.

    Finally a couple must-own 3DS games. (Thetarythym and Kingdom Hearts)
  • shawksta - July 2, 2012 2:42 p.m.

    Kingdom Hearts DDD is definitly a buy, the Demo's freaking amazing, the Enemies are Fresh, and they did whatshisface from TWEWY's Voice FANTASTICLY. And the Mix of BBS and Kingdom Hearts 1? CONFIRMED FOR BEST KINGDOM HEARTS FOR A LONG TIME! Considering Rhythm Thief, im a sucker for Unique Rhythm games and Mystery. TheaRhythm is also on my Consider list.
  • freetouch - July 2, 2012 4:50 p.m.

    I dunno man, something about the screen being just too small to really see what the hell is going on kinda irks me. KH needs to be on the big screen.
  • BladedFalcon - July 2, 2012 2:06 p.m.

    This is good, with not much to look forward to, (Mostly just FF: Teathrhythm, and not much else.) I can jsut focus on finishing ICO, playing Dragon's Dogma, Pokemon Conquest and maybe even Pokemon white in all this period. And maybe I'll get Spec Ops the Line on the way, once it actually arrives down here.
  • Redeater - July 2, 2012 1:56 p.m. long until 2013 again?
  • samsneeze - July 2, 2012 1:52 p.m.

    I think I'll be picking up NCAA 12 later this month, seeing how absolutely dry things are.
  • Cyberninja - July 2, 2012 1:13 p.m.

    You guys, should just give Kingdom Hearts game of the month now and save yourselves the trouble.
  • samsneeze - July 2, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    Implying Kingdom Hearts has ever really been so good as to do something like that.
  • shawksta - July 2, 2012 2:46 p.m.

    Give it a chance, the enemies are fresh and not Rehashes for once, and its mixing the best parts of BBS and Kingdom Hearts 1. 358/2 Days and Re:Coded were trying something different, while BBS kept it classy while doing something in its own. DDD has been noted as just as good as a Console Quality and can be the better KH games.
  • samsneeze - July 2, 2012 4:41 p.m.

    Given that I've already played the demo, and still didn't really like it. No, I won't give it a chance. There's nothing in the game (going from the demo and the previews that make it particularly interesting.
  • Cyberninja - July 2, 2012 3:17 p.m.

    3 things about that 1. In my opinion it is, which doesn't count 2. No Kingdom Hearts game has ever gotten less than 7 on this site and this looks to be better then 2 which got a 9/4.5 stars. 3. do you see any game on this list that will clearly be better in rating or in general this month? you can't say Quantum Conundrum because it was already considered for game of the month in June because that's when the pc version came out.
  • samsneeze - July 2, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    2. One opinion to rule them all? That's just silly. 3. I don't know, how about Spelunky and The Secret World. Both seem a lot more promising than another Kingdom Hearts.
  • Cyberninja - July 2, 2012 5:10 p.m.

    2. Well some people dislike other gaming sites and don't respect their opinions so I feel it would be pointless to try to use something other then GR on GR, but I am not saying other opinions don't matter. 3. Spelunky has been available for a while now as a free download so I think it's promise is known by now(not saying its bad or anything). In the case of Secret World I say it has the most potential in the long term and I guess we will know today or tommorrow when the review goes up. You know what I said was a joke right? also your above comments, show you don't care for KH in the first place and are ignoring what the game does different and not giving it a chance which makes this conversation completely pointless.
  • Redeater - July 2, 2012 1:58 p.m.

    Can you imagine what a pain in the ass selecting a runner-up would be?
  • Cyberninja - July 2, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    I honestly think it would be easy because most games are a port this month or already released in Europe, with a few of them coming tomorrow meaning a review should be done.