by Jayce Ham
After the unfortunately disappointing E3 conferences last month, I was feeling a little down. But, luckily, things have picked up again in the gaming world and there are some exciting game releases to share.
The month started strong with Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, which released July 9th for PC and the Nintendo Switch. Monster Hunter is a beloved online action role-playing game series, but this new game is different. While set in the same universe, Monster Hunter Stories 2, is a single player experience giving more story and background to the world of Monster Hunter. The game has been well-received, being granted an 8.4 out of 10 on popular gaming review website Metacritic. Fans and critics alike praise its brilliant storytelling and how it builds upon the game mechanics in the other games in the series.
One of the most exciting releases this year is The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, which was released for the Nintendo Switch on July 16th. The original game, which was released in November 2011, is a divisive game in the Zelda fan community, with criticisms of its awkward motion control gameplay. This new version however allows for players to choose between using basic controls or motion controls, with major improvements on the motion controls functionality. While the controls have been improved and the game is much more fun than the original, it is worth noting that many reviewers say the game is still the most technically difficult game in the series.
Death’s Door, an action adventure role-playing game from Devolver Digital, released on July 20th for Xbox and PC. You play as a grow whose job is that of a grim reaper, but one day, a soul you are assigned to help move on is stolen, and it is your job to get it back. Reviewers have made comparisons of the gameplay and atmosphere to classic Zelda games. The game is a dark and humorous ride into the other side.
NEO: The World Ends With You, a Japanese action role-playing game, released on July 27th for Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and PC. A sequel to the first game which was released in 2007, this game improves the graphics and gameplay of the first by a long shot. Rindo, the playable character, stumbles upon a deadly game in Shibuya and must use psychic powers to fight his way out. The sequel has been critically acclaimed and loved by many fans.
Final Fantasy XIV, an MMORPG that has been out since 2010, recently gained a large surge of players, putting their registered users to over 22 million worldwide. This surge is due in part to the free trial being offered which allows players to play the game for free up to level 60 and to the end of the Heavensward story expansion. Another explanation for this increase in players is that many live-streamers who once streamed World of Warcraft are giving Final Fantasy XIV a try.
I ended June sad because of E3 not meeting expectations, but I leave this month happy and hopeful for the games that are still to come this year.
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