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The games of June 2012

June 18

Pokémon Conquest

Platform: Nintendo DS


When first revealed some months back, it was tremendously unclear whether this mash-up of Nintendo's Pokémon series and Koei's turn-based Nobunaga's Ambition games would bother making a North American appearance. But here it is, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it's not banking on the latter half of that pairing to make waves with Nintendo DS players in this part of the world. Still, Pokémon Conquest is something really surprising and unique, as it inserts the myriad monsters into the world of historical Japanese fiction, and considering the loads of mediocre series spin-offs in the past, it may well end up being the best non-core Pokémon to date.

June 19

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Vita, 3DS, Wii, DS, PC

EU: June 22

Much has changed since the 2008 release of the original LEGO Batman. Not only has the famed superhero's once-spotty video game track record been wiped clean by the excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but we're also pretty well tired of the same ol' LEGO approach that's been used over and over again by many similar licensed titles. Traveller's Tales aims to shake up the common formula via an open-world design that actually encourages exploration, rather than solely mindless item bashing and bolt collecting, plus the addition of the Justice League may make for a more interesting affair. Here's hoping, at least.

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor

Platform: Xbox 360 (Kinect)

EU: June 22

On the original Xbox, playing Steel Battalion meant buying (and lugging around) a massive 40-button control panel, complete with floor pedals. In just a couple weeks, Capcom will attempt to simulate that experience using only your imagination and a little thing called Kinect, with a brand new mech-commanding title that we've found equally thrilling and confounding in early demos. As we called out in our last hands-on preview, "You'll need the patience of a general, but you'll feel like five stars when it clicks." Here's hoping the obtuse approach doesn't scare off potential fans, though be sure to check out the free demo (available now) if you're even remotely curious.

Civilization V: Gods & Kings

Platform: PC

EU: June 22

Here's one notable PC release this month that isn't a second-hand console port, though it is an expansion pack. Still, we doubt most will mind, as Gods & Kings expands upon Civilization V, the latest version of one of the most time-destroyingly excellent turn-based strategy franchises in history. And history is a key word here, of course, with Gods & Kings adding new scenarios that respectively show the downfall of the Roman Empire and the start of the Renaissance, as well as a wholly fresh Steampunk one that we recently profiled. Add in religion and espionage mechanics, as well as loads of new units, wonders, civilizations, and buildings, and you might as well just give up on summer now.

Brave: The Video Game

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PC, Nintendo DS

EU: July 27

Early fan reaction to trailers for Brave seems more mixed than usual for a Disney/Pixar film that isn't Cars 2, but we've seen enough gobsmackingly amazing Pixar films in our lives to not be surprised when a new one is just perfectly tremendous in every conceivable way. Still, the question remains: Can Brave: The Video Game keep up the surprising trend of quality seen in the adaptations of the company's last two flicks, Toy Story 3 and Cars 2? From the little we've seen, Brave looks like a fairly standard licensed action game, though Kinect and PlayStation Move support on their respective consoles may offer an intriguing new wrinkle.

June 21

Quantum Conundrum

Platform: PC


Quantum Conundrum might look a whole lot like Portal, the iconic puzzler that Kim Swift also had a hand in during her Valve days – but as we discovered in our last preview of the game, her new brain-melting experience takes on a whole new tenor thanks to a variety of fresh mechanics. Sure, the perplexing rooms are solved via first-person manipulation, but rather than transport yourself and items around, your Interdimensional Shift Device is used to alter the properties of the dimension to work through challenges. It's also much lighter in tone than Portal, which should do wonders to set them apart. The PC version exclusively hits Steam this month, with a date still unknown for the downloadable console releases.