Essential Gaming: Top Five Releases of June 2012
June is typically a dull month in terms of game releases; and for good reason. With E3 generating so much hype within the gaming community, many have looked at releasing a game in June as a surefire way to generate no hype just prior to release.
Regardless, several publishers have brazenly braved the E3 media storm to deliver non-E3-goers (such as yours truly) with some high-quality gaming entertainment. Last year saw the lauded InFamous 2 releasing during E3, and this year will see a pretty wide-spectrum of launches as well, though none of our top five come out during the Expo itself. The story this month seems to be delivering titles to platforms that desperately need them. From Kinect to Vita, suffering adopters of these platforms will have something to look forward to this month.
Check out our top picks and let us know which ones we missed!
Gravity Rush | Sony Computer Entertainment Japan | June 12
Since its robust launch lineup, the PS Vita has experienced a lull in release titles, which may be reason enough to be excited for Gravity Rush. The title, which released in February in Japan as Gravity Daze, was met with critical acclaim in Japan (it received Famitsu’s only 38/40 score for a Vita game). Gravity Rush lets gamers play as Kat, a young woman who has no memory and discovers she can manipulate gravity to walk on walls and leap buildings. This floating/falling/dashing mechanic makes the title a natural fit for the Vita’s gyroscope and touch controls.
The game has already received praise for its unique, cel-shaded artwork, and was conceptualized by Silent Hill veteran Keiichiro Toyama nearly 10 years ago. A demo has already been released on PSN, and from what we’ve seen, this may be one of the most unique, enjoyable titles the handheld has seen.
Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor | From Software | June 19
There are those who say that Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor will be the savior of Kinect. With core gamers still struggling to find much in the way of their liking on the controller-free platform, From Software, developer of such hardcore titles as Dark Souls and the Tenchu franchise, are stepping in to provide support.
Impressions at PAX East 2012 were that Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor would prove to be a strong title for the Kinect, but there are still those that wish the motion sensor wasn’t a requirement. While it will always be difficult to convince gamers that motion controls can offer something beyond a casual experience, there was a notion that it would be better without Kinect. We will certainly find out which side of this argument will prevail, as the game launches June 19.
Quantum Conundrum | Airtight Games | June 21
We have a feeling that Quantum Conundrum is going to be one of those games that takes the world by storm after it releases. Portal co-creator Kim Swift left Valve in the middle of the Portal 2 development cycle and joined up with Airtight Games to lead the development of her latest project, Quantum Conundrum.
After spending some time with the game, as well as talking to both Swift and a member of the QA team, it’s evident that fans of the Portal franchise will be able to easily fall in love with Quantum Conundrum. The game features very quirky, well-written dialog, but a different brand of brain-twisting puzzles. Rather than using a Portal Gun, players instead shift dimensions within the room, causing items to gain or lose mass, thus changing the usefulness of the items in certain situations. The title will be coming to PC this month, and consoles later this summer.
Spec Ops: The Line | Yager Development/Darkside Game Studios | June 26
The world has seen more than its fair share of third person shooters with little variety in the color palette department, but something about Spec Ops: The Line feels special. The game looks to offer players a chance to venture into the desert and battle an enemy that has well hidden motives and even more well hidden allies.
The environment may look docile on the surface, but this desert is anything but. During our time with the game at PAX East 2012, the environment was almost as much of a character as the protagonist squad. If that is carried over into the finished product, Spec Ops: The Line could look to bring a unique twist to the exhausted third person shooter genre.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD | Robomodo | June TBA
The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series burst onto the scene in 1999 to immediate critical acclaim and mainstream success. With the first six entries in the series receiving generally positive reviews and fan approval, the series began to lose its luster with 2005’s Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. Still, the series remained popular all the way up to the peripheral requiring disaster that was 2009’s Ride and 2010’s Shred, which led to the series’ eventual cancellation.
Now, the fabled skating franchise is back with a return to its glory days. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a throwback in every sense of the word. From the levels being shiny remakes from the first two entries in the series, to the soundtrack being mostly comprised of tunes from the first two games, THPS HD looks to be an attempt to bring the series back to a time when it was universally loved.