The Smurfs: Dance Party
EU: July 29
It’s Just Dance. With The Smurfs. Please don’t buy this.
Call of Juarez: The Cartel
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
EU: July 22
Call of Juarez is actually out this month after missing its originally intended June date. If you missed our entry last month, check it: The Cartel leaves the Wild West behind and moves it into modern Mexico for its first-person shooting. We dug developer Techland’s last Call of Juarez game, which improved on the first game considerably, so we’re enthusiastic about another. The three main characters each have unique roles to play in the campaign, both in terms of story and ability, and are each playable in drop-in co-op. Bustin’ drug-dealers with shotguns is a lawless way of serving justice, but we’re curious to see if it delivers on the “grit” it’s promising. We assume that means profanity and blood and stuff.
Captain America: Super Soldier
Platform: Xbox 360
EU: July 15
Next Level Games has a spotty track record going into Captain America: Super Soldier. Punch Out for Wii? Awesome! Mario Strikers Charged? Cool! Transformers: Cybertron Adventures…Spider-Man Friend or Foe? Ehhhh. Not so much. These are the guys and gals working on Luigi’s Mansion 2, which actually looks surprisingly good, but we remain pessimistic about another SEGA-published Marvel adaptation. Iron Man and Thor are nothing short of trainwrecks, but this is a developer with some decent, even great games under its belt. Still, it’s an action game about a comic book hero based on a movie of questionable quality. We’re not expecting much, so hopefully we’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade
EU: July 20
We’re reluctant to call many games “unique” these days, but Bastion has so much going for it that’s unlike anything else it’s the only appropriate descriptor. An isometric action adventure, it’s the narrative, or rather its narration, that gives the beautiful 2D RPG such a genuinely compelling pull. A grizzled old guy tells the tale that unfolds as you play, with the world materializing around you as your direction dictates the events of the story. The tougher the difficulty you play on, the better the loot you’ll score as you slaughter goofy enemies, giving you a greater incentive to see it through again. This is headlining the Summer of Arcade, and it looks like that’s well-earned.
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
Ignoring that Catherine plays poorly—like, kind of terrible—this is another game that’s going to eat up our July. It’s so wild, goofy, and self-aware of its dumb comedy that we’re into it. Many games include romantic relationships and dabble in fidelity, but we can’t remember the last non-high-school-dating-sim that was actually about developing and maintaining a relationship. Choosing to stay faithful to your existing lady Catherine over the seductive mistress Katherine is actually a lot tougher than you might think. It’s a test of your morals, if nothing else, and it’s an odd experimental game we fully expect to fail miserably in the west.
El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3
We’re going to go ahead and recommend you check out the El Shaddai demo right about now. It looks stunning, its combat is cool and, really, we can’t get enough of just how bizarre it is. Its religious themes, specifically revolving around angels (obviously, if you’re into religion), present some cool opportunities. We didn’t expect it to go 2D at times, nor were we prepared with how ball-crushingly difficult it can be, but we’re behind Ignition’s latest in a big, bad way. It’s got a lot of familiar ideas, but it really isn’t like anything we’ve seen, so we’re absolutely in when this hits at the end of the month.
Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions
EU: August 26
FPS Galaga? Another Pac-Man platformer? Tilt controls? Ugh. At least the Dimensions bundle comes with Galaga Legions, Pac-Man Championship Edition and classic modes. That’s a pretty solid bit of game, even if all the good stuff it’s all rehashed. We suspect we’d be better off with the HD XBLA versions, but we’re desperate for stuff to play on our 3D Game Boy, so we’re into the idea of replaying this stuff on the go. Why not? These are timeless classics we’ll still be buying 30 years from now anyway. Why not feed the fire? Let’s just ignore the new, yeah?
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, PSN, PC
EU: July 27
The second game of Xbox Live’s Summer of Arcade (it’s also coming to PS3 and PC) is another charmer. From Dust is a gorgeous God sim, giving us the ability to influence the world in ways that assist its inhabitants. Elements and science-y stuff plays a big role—so cooled lava becomes viable terrain, and sand requires water enough to vegetate the land without eroding it. The strategy could get complex, and this is one of many outstanding-sounding downloadable games we’re looking forward to this month.
Jul 1, 2011