Ah, summer. So precious, yet so short. Every year summer comes around, graces us with its presence for a few months, and then disappears to be replaced by school, for the kids out there and the college students as well. Unlike most summers, this one actually saw multiple high quality game releases.
So, before going back to school and hitting the books again, make sure you play these five games first! You won’t regret it.
5. Shin Megami Tensei IV (Nintendo 3DS)
Atlus may be in a bit of a financial quandary right now, with numerous companies looking to snatch the company and its library up. I am personally holding out for Nintendo to purchase Atlus, especially considering their relationship lately, with Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem on the way for Wii U and Shin Megami Tensei IV just releasing a couple of weeks ago exclusively on Nintendo 3DS.
I’ve played Shin Megami Tensei IV, and I can attest that it is fantastic, and it is probably my favorite of the main Shin Megami Tensei line of games. I love the atmosphere, the tough as nails challenge, and the unique demon collecting and fusing mechanics. Shin Megami Tensei IV has assured that my 3DS is getting plenty of love this summer, and while you may not have time to complete it from now until school stars, Shin Megami Tensei IV is still worth a go and if you don’t have enough time to beat it by the end of summer, at least you’ll have time to play it in between classes during breaks, eh?
4. EarthBound (Super Nintendo – Wii U Virtual Console)
Originally releasing in 1995, fans have been begging Nintendo for almost 20 years now to re-release EarthBound or make it available in some capacity beyond having to hunt down a Super Nintendo system as well as the original EarthBound cartridge. It took them quite a while, but Nintendo has finally made EarthBound available to gamers through its digital download service, the Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Wii U Virtual Console.
A science-fiction adventure starring Ness and a group of other kids, EarthBound is a quirky, charming masterpiece that functions not only as a fantastic turn-based RPG, but also as a grand story that is unmatched in its originality in the gaming realm. There’s a reason gamers have been writing petitions and asking Nintendo about EarthBound ever since it released in 1995, and that is because EarthBound is one of a kind. Now it’s available in massive quantities through Nintendo eShop on Wii U. With EarthBound now available, I can’t think of a better time to purchase Wii U.
3. Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Yet another Wii U game on the list, Pikmin 3 just came out and it has made waves in the gaming industry. The most critically praised Wii U exclusive to date, Pikmin 3 is also being called the best-looking game Nintendo has ever produced. Few games have really taken advantage of the graphical power inside the Wii U, but Pikmin 3 is one of them.
This latest Pikmin adventure is the epitome of the series. It uses all the elements that made the first two games great, but it adds even more features, including online leaderboards, challenge maps, and multiplayer gameplay in the form of Bingo Battle. Sporting a number of different control methods, Pikmin 3 can be played any way you want to play it, whether that is with the GamePad, the remote/nunchuk combo, or the Pro Controller on Wii U.
2. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo 3DS)
One of two games that released in the early stages of summer back in June, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is probably now the most-played 3DS game for many people. The quirky charm of Animal Crossing is hard to beat, and New Leaf is definitely the best entry in the series so far, offering an unmatched level of addictiveness that makes it nearly impossible to put down.
In this game, players aren’t just another resident of the town. This time around, they take the role of mayor, allowing players to now customize their towns by building new additions and such. There’s plenty of other new features as well, but players will have the most fun making their town the best it can possibly be by constantly adding new public works projects to it. Multiplayer returns to great effect, and overall, I have to say that Animal Crossing: New Leaf is by far my favorite 3DS title to date.
1. The Last of Us (PlayStation 3)
Was there really any question that this game wouldn’t get the top spot? The Last of Us still has gamers chattering, and for good reason. The game isn’t just one of the greatest survival-horror games released in the last decade, it also brings an incredible story to the table, with quite possibly the greatest characters in the history of the industry, and one of the most memorable gaming experiences to date.
I’ve already spoken at length about my love for The Last of Us, but allow me to reiterate. The Last of Us is the true evolution of survival-horror. Forget Resident Evil 6, The Last of Us is the next step forward for the genre. It features the inventory management demands of the classic survival-horror games, injects a healthy dose of stealth and crippling humanity, plus adds a dash of heart-pounding gunplay to create the perfect gaming cocktail.
Expect The Last of Us to be at the top or at least near the top of many peoples’ end of the year “Top Games” lists. But don’t just take my word for it. Even if you don’t have a PS3, go out and buy a PS3 for this game. That’s how much I recommend this masterpiece of gaming. Every gamer should experience it at least once, but if you’re like me and many others, once just won’t be enough when it comes to Joel and Ellie’s adventure in The Last of Us.
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Did we leave out the game you’ve been playing all summer? Are newer games what you’ve been playing these last three months, or did you return to classics from your collection? Sound off in the comments below!