The games of July 2012

July 31

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

EU: July 20

Despite the goofy (but not Goofy) title, Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is one of the biggest Nintendo 3DS releases in some time, delivering another handheld series entry that maintains the Command Deck system introduced in Birth By Sleep on PSP. Dream Drop Distance takes the Disney-meets-Final Fantasy franchise to some fresh terrain, notably the worlds of Tron: Legacy and Fantasia, and also includes some augmented reality gameplay, as well as support for the Circle Pad Pro. The retail package is also available in two flavors: the standard $40 release and the $55 Mark of Mastery edition, which comes with AR and art cards, plus a 3DS system case.

Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time

Platform: PSP


It's sort of shocking, but niche role-playing games are totally huge on PSP right now, as each month seems to bring a couple of fresh options to propel the otherwise largely-abandoned handheld. Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time is yet another such option, this time hailing from Atlus, and it's the first series iteration to hit our shores in five years. The tactical RPG utilizes colorful sprite animations and lacks a grid movement system, letting you wander the battlefield as desired to attack foes, plus the game features some dating/relationship aspects – and, reportedly, more than 40 endings. Who's up for the task of unlocking all of them?

Risen 2: Dark Waters

Platform: Xbox 360, PC

EU: August 3

If it's a pirate's life you crave, perhaps Risen 2: Dark Waters will satisfy your desires. Launched on PC back in April, the open-world RPG aims to make its console debut at the tail end of July, and the layover yields a special perk for Xbox 360 and PS3 players: the bonus "The Air Temple" episode delivers hours of additional gameplay. We quite liked the original Risen, awarding it a 4.5-star review back in 2009, though the PC version of the sequel hasn't seen quite so glowing marks – our sister outlet, PC Gamer, has a review for curious parties. Still, we're looking forward to getting our hands on the latest versions to see how it translates to consoles.