July was not a busy month when it came to retail releases. However, August is making up for lost time with eleven retail releases that we deem to be the most exciting. It's just our opinion, of course, so feel free to disagree or list a game that we missed. Just remember that these North American dates are subject to change, as we've found out the hard way with Rayman Legends! What games are you getting this month, if any?
Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Release Date: 8/4
Already getting positive critical reception across the globe, Pikmin 3 has been a game many years in the making, and fans of the series have had to wait nearly a decade for the third installment. Offering up three captains to split up the various duties, Miiverse functionality to share pictures taken in first-person view and new Pikmin types like flying and rock. Players can utilize either the Wii Remote and Nunchuk or Wii U GamePad (or a combination of the two) to play the game. Pikmin 3 looks like the best installment yet, and you can be sure that SuperPhillip Central will have a review for you this month.
Tales of Xillia (PS3)
Release Date: 8/6
Tales fans have waited a long time for this one, over a year to have it localized to the West. It's Tales of Xillia, and in its home country of Japan it broke pre-order records for the Tales series and wound up selling over a half million copies in its first week alone. To say that there are high expectations for Xillia would be an understatement. That said, Tales of Xillia looks to scratch the itch for a well crafted RPG on PlayStation 3 with its quick battle system, lovely visuals and dynamic story. We can think of no better game to whittle away the last full month of summer than with a deep and meaty RPG like Tales of Xillia.
Dragon's Crown (PS3, PSV)
Release Date: 8/6
Developed by Vanillaware, makers of such jaw-dropping and beautiful games like Odin Sphere and Muramasa: The Demon Blade, Dragon's Crown looks to be the studio's most ambitious project yet. The game itself is a 2D action-RPG with many beat-em-up sensibilities to it. Players have the choice of six unique characters to use, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Dragon's Crown also allows up to four players to hop onto the PlayStation Network and cooperatively play through the game together. It is all of these reasons that Dragon's Crown is hotly anticipated by PlayStation fans. The game comes out next week for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita owners.
Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)
Release Date: 8/11
The fourth entry in the Mario & Luigi RPG series, and the first to hit the Nintendo 3DS, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team has a higher focus on Luigi than past games. Mario can enter his brother's dreams at specific spots in the game and solve puzzles. In the dreams, Luigi is a much braver figure than his real world self, and that makes for some truly awesome moments. Word from Japan and PAL players is that the game is highly humorous, well written and mostly plays like... well... a dream. Mario & Luigi: Dream Team will finally release in North America on Sunday, August 11.
Disney Infinity (Multi)
Release Date: 8/18
Get ready for the next children's sensation, Disney Infinity. The game uses a similar concept to Activision's Skylanders series, having figurines that players use to insert characters into the game world. The starter pack will feature three sets: Monsters University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lone Ranger. New figures and packs will be released in the future for series like Toy Story, Wreck-It Ralph and Phineas and Ferb. With the Toy Box mode, players can essentially create their own custom experience, using any piece and figurine from any set. Disney Infinity is the Disney corporation's $100 million gamble, and if it plays as good as it looks and resonates well with customers, it will be one that certainly pays off.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Multi)
Release Date: 8/20
Coming with a much touted gameplay feature in the form of Killing in Motion, allowing players to quickly highlight enemies while on the run and swiftly take care of them, Splinter Cell: Blacklist is the sixth installment of the Splinter Cell franchise, and the first to not feature Michael Ironside as the voice of Sam Fisher. Ubisoft Toronto (for the PS3, 360 and PC versions) and Ubisoft Shanghai (for the Wii U version) seems to be putting great effort in all versions of the game. For the Xbox 360 version, voice commands via the Kinect peripheral will be allowed, while the Wii U version will use its mighty GamePad to access gadgets on the fly and for gyro and touch-based actions.
Saints Row IV (Multi)
Release Date: 8/20
Since Grand Theft Auto IV, in retrospect, was disappointing in many regards, we've grown quite fond of Volition's Saints Row series. Saints Row II is still one of our favorite sandbox-style games, Saints Row: The Third dialed up the crazy considerably and Saints Row IV looks to make Saints Row 3's crazy look sane in comparison. The newest installment of the series introduces aliens into the already zany world of Saints Row, where it seems that the only rule is that there are no rules. We can't think of any better way to prepare for Grand Theft Auto V than returning to the wacky antics of the Saints Row series when the fourth installment hits store shelves on August 20.
New Super Luigi U (Wii U)
Release Date: 8/25
The digital release of New Super Luigi U has been around for Wii U owners (all five of you-- we're kidding, don't shoot us!) to download for over a month now. The retail release, in its limited edition run and special green box, comes out on the 25th, a Sunday. For those who complain about Mario games being too easy, this DLC in disc form will put such thoughts to rest. New Super Luigi U is an incredibly difficult game to beat, much more get all of the star coins in each level. Though it may seem like a negative that each level is shorter than what would normally be expected of Mario platformers, you'll sort of be glad they're not any longer, as there are no checkpoints and plenty of easy places to die. New Super Luigi U arrives in retail form on August 25.
Lost Planet 3 (Multi)
Release Date: 8/27
Lost Planet 3 returns to the extreme conditions of the original Lost Planet, where the world is submerged in an ice age like never seen before. Spark Unlimited, the developer for the game, promises a more story-centric game than Lost Planet 3's two predecessors. There will be full mission-based quests that further the story along, as well as optional side quests. The world will be able to be explored fully, and this time your character's thermal energy is not related to health, meaning exploring the world will be much less of an arduous and annoying task. Lost Planet 3 is shaping up to be an interesting take on the franchise, despite it being yet another title that Capcom has farmed out to a Western developer. We don't mind that, as long as the quality is great.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn (PS3, PC)
Release Date: 8/27
After the original version of Final Fantasy XIV was bombarded with immense negative criticism from both reviewers and players, Square Enix decided to completely overhaul the game into a form. That form is the upcoming Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, with a subtitle that is meant to be taken literally, as the game world really is being reborn. This MMORPG is also slated to hit the PlayStation 4, but its release will obviously be later. Expect that version to release some time next year. Regardless, A Realm Reborn hopes to recapture some of the lost faith that fans of the series have had after multiple misfires from the developer. We'll see what happens when the game releases on August 27.
Madden NFL 25 (Multi)
Release Date: 8/27
Are you ready for some football? Then grab a controller, get ready to toss around the pigskin and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Madden NFL franchise. The game is promising new upgrades such as better running animations, updated visuals, improved physics as well as better attention to detail, such as the field wearing down at spots where the most action takes place. The latter upgrade is obviously going to be a major selling point and have the game fly off shelves. We may be a bit sarcastic here. Regardless, Madden NFL 25 is shaping up to be the edition of Madden to get if you've been away from the series for any extended period of time.