July: One of the hottest months of the year... but it being hot temperature wise doesn't mean it's hot gaming wise. We have a few pretty big releases like Shin Megami Tensei IV and Dragon's Crown, but there are no triple-A releases, nor are there any releases that don't cater to a specific audience. In other words, this July is a somewhat odd month for game releases... but with so many huge releases coming just around the corner, it's somewhat expected that we have a dry spell before the deluge.
Are other Julys like this, though? Are they more about quality than quantity? Let's take a leisurely stroll through memory land to find out!
Starting off, July of 2003 may not have had too much, but one release of this month is still lauded as the start of one of the greatest RPG series. Star Wars: The Knights of the Old Republic is the game that put Bioware on the map, cementing them as a developer of sprawling, living worlds to explore and plenty of things to do. Based off of the Star Wars franchise, but not being directly connected to any of the films helped to give this title a life of its own, giving you a Jedi that could shape the universe as they saw fit--for good or for evil.
Other Notable Releases: Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne
The GameCube was always a bit short on RPGs, but in July of 2004 Nintendo fans got a killer RPG app in the form of Tales of Symphonia. Still thought of by same fans as one of the best in the series, this GameCube game took the battle system into the third dimension for the first time, offering a new way to dispatch foes. Couple that with a great plot and a lot to do, and GameCube RPG fans had plenty to keep them busy.
Other Notable Releases: There... wasn't anything else.
Oh, Killer7. July 2005's greatest release is popular, but not the easiest to describe. This is the game that put Suda51 on the map as an unique and somewhat odd developer. Heck, it's pretty hard just to summarize this title! There's shooting, and assassins, and an absolutely crazy plot that gamers theorize about... it's a game you have to play to (probably not even) understand.
Other Notable Releases: Facade
July of 2006 was a very slow month... the only real release to speak of was Prey. This first person shooter had a very interesting plot and gameplay mechanic: The main character has spiritual powers, and can even spirit walk through obstacles to help advance the game. A very different type of FPS, fans of the genre certainly got a great game this July.
Other Notable Releases: There really wasn't much going on this year, either.
When July of 2007 rolled around, hardcore gamers were given another challenging game to overcome. Ninja Gaiden Sigma was released early in the month, and kept many players busy with its tough learning curve and its skill based gameplay. It may have been an enhanced port of the Xbox original, but this new entry in series had plenty to offer to old and new fans alike.
Other Notable Releases: Mario Strikers Charged
July of 2008 was quite different from most of the July's on this list, simply because of the amount of quality titles that were released, triple-A titles or otherwise. Out of all of these, none of them made a bigger splash than Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4. The sequel to the well-recieved Persona 3 took the series' popularity to a whole new level, getting a whole dearth of new fans wondering what this whole Shin Megami Tensei series was about and asking themselves why they didn't give it a try before.
Other Notable Releases: Rhythm Heaven, Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride, Soul Calibur IV
The seventh month of 2009 was very light on releases... but at least there was Trine! Trine was an indie title released with a fun mechanic... with the ability to control three different characters, you could find a bunch of different ways to defeat the undead hordes and solve the myriad of puzzles presented to you. With many solutions available and never any one 'right' answer, it's no wonder so many gamers took well to the game.
Other Notable Releases: Little King's Story, ARMA II
July of 2010 was actually a decent month for gamers, with great indie releases and good games released for consoles and portables alike. However, the greatest release of the month was a boon to fighting game fans, and that was BlazBlue: Continuum Shift. The sequel to Arc System's fighting series introduced new characters and balanced the old ones, and continued the in-depth (albeit convoluted) plot that the original started.
Other Notable Releases: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies, Limbo, DeathSpank
If there's one thing we can see about more recent Julys, it's that a lot of big-name indie titles are released. Another big indie title in July was Bastion, an action RPG with an interesting world and well presented plot. Bastion made a big splash with both indie fans and even the non-indie crowd, making it a huge July release.
Other Notable Releases: Catherine
Last July had a few anticipated titles coming out... even if they catered to specific audiences. One of these titles is Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy, a music game dedicated to the Final Fantasy series and its great soundtracks. Obviously this is a title made for fans of the series, but with such a wide following, it was bound to do well on the 3DS. With the inclusion of a wide variety of tracks via DLC, everyone was bound to find their favorite track and be able to play it.
Other Notable Releases: Spelunky, Growlanser: Wayfarer of Time
There you have it... the past ten years' worth of July releases! It looks as this this July isn't too different from the past... for the most part, there have been interesting and exciting releases, but rarely so chock full of them that we have trouble deciding what to buy and play!
What are some of your favorite July releases? Any that I missed? Let me know in the comments below!