Games Watch: the 5 best new games coming out in July

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Between button-mashing and VR stick-waving, it’s all too easy to miss some magnificent game releases.

Not any more, though. See, we’re always on the hunt for the next game to steal months of our lives – and the last thing we want is to miss it because we’re too busy playing the last one.

So, with that in mind, here’s your monthly compendium of the five most scintillating new releases coming before August rolls around. You can thank us later.

FINAL FANTASY XII: THE ZODIAC AGE – 11 JULY

Released late in the PlayStation 2’s lifespan, Final Fantasy XII doesn’t have quite the same legacy as, say, Final Fantasy X, and didn’t seem to reach as many players as the better-known games in the series. But it was rightfully acclaimed, and stands as one of the series’ best.

And if you missed it – and you’ve already finished Final Fantasy XV, of course – then you can finally fix that mistake with Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. This remaster takes the enhanced Japanese PS2 revision and gives it a glossy update for PS4, along with a refreshed soundtrack. This epic role-player could be the perfect game to dig into during these slower winter release months.

Platforms: PlayStation 4

Price: R810

DESTINY 2 BETA – 18-23 JULY

Destiny 2 releases in September, but you don’t have to wait until spring to start looting and shooting in Bungie’s next big time sink: just hit the beta test later this month.

It’ll be a brief taste, of course, but it’s sure to set our excitement on overdrive all the same. If you pre-order the game, you’ll gain access on PS4 starting 18 July and on Xbox One starting 19 July, giving you extra time to dig in.

Everyone else who doesn’t pre-order the game can start playing on the 21st, and it’s all done for everyone on the 23rd. As for PC players, well… you’ll have to wait until late August for your beta to begin. Sorry.

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One

Price: Free

SPLATOON 2 – 21 JULY

Arms was the opening shot in Nintendo’s one-two punch of Switch quirkiness, and Splatoon 2 aims to be the knockout blow.

Splatoon 2 doesn’t seem to make major leaps over the original, keeping the same premise – spattering paint guns to cover as much of the stage for your squad as possible – and even some of the same content. But it was a solid concept the first time around, and we sweetened on it over time once the game expanded a bit. What’s more, the sequel has a new single-player mode that will hopefully be more compelling than the last.

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Price: R800

FORTNITE – 25 JULY

First announced six years ago (!), Epic Games’ Fortnite seemed like it might be lost forever to development hell. But here it is, and it might prove to be our next big multiplayer addiction.

Granted, it’s releasing in a premium Early Access version, so it’s not entirely done – and the full game will be free-to-play next year if you can stand to wait. But this blend of Left 4 Dead-esque co-op zombie blasting with defensive fort construction seems really intriguing, with a great cartoon-like aesthetic to pull it all together.

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

Price: From R630

PYRE – 25 JULY

Pyre is the latest effort from Supergiant Games, makers of Bastion and Transistor, so we’re automatically onboard – and naturally, given its heritage, it also looks really fascinating.

It’s a party-based action role-player, and you’ll bring a trio of combatants into ritualistic battles that feel a bit like sport, as you try to put out the burning pyre on the opposite end. And there’s a clever twist: even if you fail in battle, the game never ends. You’ll just have to deal with your defeat going forward. Add in an expectedly dazzling hand-drawn look and this could be a serious late-month indie treat.

Platforms: PC, PS4

Price: R200

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