The start of the second half of the year looks promising, with solid games heading our way, writes Aiman Maulana

WE’VE officially passed the half-year mark of 2017, and it has been a good year for gaming so far. We’ve had a new gaming console in the Nintendo Switch, an old PlayStation mascot making its comeback in Crash Bandicoot and plenty of solid games around.

If you’re wondering what July has in store for gamers, here are the top picks.

1. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age is a role-playing game set in the world of Ivalice, where magic is common and airships ruled the skies.

The Archadian Empire invaded Dalmasca and Nabradia during the two countries’ holy union and effectively conquered those countries.

Years later, protagonist Vaan decides to infiltrate Dalmasca’s palace during a ceremony to commemorate the Archadian prince’s appointment.

Along the way, Vaan discovers a powerful magical crystal and is caught by a pair of sky pirates, Balthier and Fran.

It turns out that the kingdom is hiding some secrets from the public and they eventually get caught up in a plot to overthrow the ruler.

Without having much choice, Vaan takes a step forward to save the world with the help of various people in Ivalice.

This game is actually a remastered version of the original Final Fantasy XII that was released on the PlayStation 2 in March 2006.

This time around, the HD remaster introduces several modern advancements, including reconstructed battle design and a revamped job system so gamers can expect a whole new experience here.

Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age will be coming exclusively to the PlayStation 4 on July 11

2. Splatoon 2

The sequel to Nintendo’s popular multiplayer third person shooter game, Splatoon 2 takes place nine months after the final Splatfest event of the first Splatoon game.

Canonically, Marie is victorious over her fellow squid sister Callie. The inseparable sister duo started to drift apart due to their growing solo careers and Marie started to worry about Callie being negatively affected by the results of the Splatfest.

Having left Inkopolis to visit her parents, Marie returned home to discover Callie had gone missing and the Great Zapfish had once again been stolen.

Fearing that the evil Octarians were involved and knowing that Inkopolis would react badly to the disappearance of Callie, Marie decided to find an Inkling recruit to infiltrate the Octarians’ headquarters, retrieve the Great Zapfish, and find out what happened to her beloved sister.

Fun fact: Nintendo released a set of prologue stories to give gamers a clearer idea of what happened in the period of nine months between Splatoon and Splatoon 2.

These stories are known as the Squid Sisters Stories, and they are available on the Splatoon official website for free.

Splatoon 2 will be coming exclusively to the Nintendo Switch on July 21.

3. Pyre

Developed by Supergiant Games, Pyre is an action role-playing game that looks somewhat similar to popular indie game Transistor.

It takes place in a fantasy world where players take control of a group of exiles. The group wants to travel through the land of purgatory to cleanse their souls. In order to do that, they must subdue the other exiles around.

As the main playable character is the only one that is literate in the group, you make the ultimate choice on whether to support the group, make upgrades for the party, scavenge for supplies or mentor the other exiles in your party to improve their skills. Fun fact: The concept for Pyre came from when Supergiant Games were prototyping multiple games.

Creative director Greg Kasavin came up with the theme “what happens when you face defeat and dealing with the consequences”.

Pyre is coming to the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC on July 25.

4. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles

Yonder is set on the vast island of Gemea, a lush frontier with eight distinct environments ranging from tropical beaches to snow-capped summits.

Each location has its own flora and fauna, along with changing seasons, and a day-night cycle.

Gemea, once a paradise, has an unseen evil lurking in the corner while maintaining the appearance of a paradise.

As the hero, you will explore Gemea, uncovering the islands secrets and the mysteries within yourself as you embark on a journey of self-discovery.

On a quest to become the island’s champion, you join forces with Sprites, creatures who are the only thing capable of dispersing the murk, to save Gemea and its people. If I had to describe how the game feels like, it would be a mix of The Legend of Zelda: Windwaker and Harvest Moon.

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles will be coming to the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC on July 18.

5. Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire

Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire is a role-playing game by developer YummyYummyTummy. It takes the feel of the PlayStation 1 era with more artistic visuals suitable for this generation of gaming.

For ages, Fenumia has ruled the continent and now the crown is now in your hands.

Among the departed king’s artifacts is a sentient book with timeless knowledge and the power to breathe life into weapons.

Guided by the enigmatic grimoire, the unwavering Princess Cecille journeys on a personal quest to restore her

kingdom’s glory.

As she explores beyond her castle’s border, everything starts to go wrong.

The game utilises a real-time combat system. You can control up to four characters simultaneously to unleash devastating combos. The game will also have quite a bit of replay value as players have to make a choice that will impact the game’s story in terms of ruling the kingdom. They can side with the mercenary Prime Legion, the palatine Council of Princes or the cabalistic March Congress.

Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire will be coming to the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita on July 25.

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