July occupies a strange spot in the video game calendar, though this year the midsummer month turned up plenty of surprises.
Just because E3 is over and done with for another year doesn’t mean there’s been a dearth of gaming news and announcements. However, with school breaking up for holidays and many of us trying to soak up the sunshine while it lasts, July is typically barren when it comes to hosting major, AAA releases.
Back in 2018, July saw the smallest number of games published within that year. Crammed with plenty of ports and remasters, there were still some worthy highlights including JRPG throwback, Octopath Traveller, as well as The Banner Saga 3 and No Man’s Sky: Next.
This year we’ve not only seen a much larger number of high profile game launches, but the quality has been fairly consistent. Once again we sat down to discuss our favourite games of the past few weeks and, for the second month running, Nintendo and its hybrid console came out on top.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses may not have the same mainstream appeal as a Mario, Zelda, or Smash Bros. though is undoubtedly one of the best Nintendo Switch exclusive currently available. Refining that moreish tactical core, developer Intelligent Systems (with help from Koei Tecmo) has morphed Fire Emblem into something far more appealing than a string of fantasy battles. It’s still very much a tactical role playing game though one that benefits from the same kind of hooks we’ve seen used to great effect in the Persona series.
In his review, Dom scored the sequel a triumphant 9/10, describing Fire Emblem: Three Houses as a masterpiece of strategy, story-telling, and intertwining relationships. Whether you’re a long time fan or a newcomer looking to expand their Switch library, it’s one game you shouldn’t sleep on.
Three Houses actually one of five games awarded a stellar 9/10. Dragon Quest Builders 2 wowed us with its heavily expanded set of features and story, exemplifying what it means to be a sequel. On a more sombre note, Sea of Solitude had us exploring an intimate portrait of depression, loneliness, and anger in one of the most emotionally charged games of 2019.
If there’s one thing that gets Miguel emotionally charged however, it’s anime. Our resident Japanophile got his hands on Kill La Kill – IF – which he says is a perfect anime video game, effortlessly translating the style and sound of the show into a fun 3D brawler. Aran was similarly impressed with Nowhere Prophet from developer Sharkbomb Studios, a punishing tactical card game that is our indie pick of the month.
For more of our game reviews from July 2019, you can find them here:
Make sure you come back next month to see our top gaming picks for August. In the meantime let us know if you had any top picks from the past month in the comments below.