E3 is all well and good, but it’s an event concerned almost wholly with the future – games to come in the months and years ahead. But what about right flipping now? In terms of the famous marshmallow test about instant gratification, we want to fill our faces with pink, doughy treats, and we want to do it yesterday. Then, spitting chunks of sugar, we’ll bellow for the sugariest high of all: PC games. The PC games of July 2018.
If anything, July is the official month of not waiting around. Before January and February stuck their nose in, it was actually fifth up in the calendar. It’s time to do right by July, stop waiting in the queue, and seize these new games the moment they come out.
Can’t wait even a week or two? We’ve got you. Here are the best PC games you can play right now.
Seize, because the month is named after Julius Caesar. Yes, we’ve been on Wikipedia. It’s the history book for those who refuse to wait around.
Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered – July 3
We’re returning to the big red planet in this fancy new revamp, the Re-Mars-tered edition. That’s a pun that only really works in southern British accents, so well done on choosing PCGamesN for your gaming news today.
Guerilla probably wouldn’t be so special if there had been any good Red Faction games since, but there haven’t. For that reason, it looms large in the memory as a deeply silly action game with some of the best building destruction we’ve ever seen. That’s saying something, considering that PC gaming is a medium largely dedicated to destroying buildings.
Play it until: The Just Cause 4 release date. Guerilla shares Rico’s wilful abandon and tendency to knock things over.
The Banner Saga 3 – July 24
Trilogies tend to take a long time to come about in the triple-A space – rare is the series that retains its thrust and key writers all the way to its conclusion. But it’s been just four years since The Banner Saga started, and the tiny team at Stoic is now sewing the last threads into its story.
Due to the track record of the series and the BioWare pedigree involved, we’ve no reason to believe this third game will be any less great. The only concern are all those threequel disasters: The Godfather 3, Spider-Man 3, and The Matrix 3. But that curse is just for films, right?
Whereas most RPGs tend to make you stronger over time, The Banner Saga games put you in charge of a dwindling, desperate caravan of refugees. It’ll be harrowing, but we’re here for one last tale of Viking suffering and turn-based combat.
Play it until: The Anthem release date. The Stoic team once led Star Wars: The Old Republic, so despite appearances, it’s coming from the same place as BioWare’s science fantasy shooter.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War – July 12
Under normal circumstances, you would assume a game with this much punctuation in its name would be a sequel or spin-off. But that’s down to the quirks of the license – it’s not a Warhammer game without six or seven subtitles. This is actually the very first 4X game in 40K, if you can believe that.
In a couple of weeks, an unspeakable horror will awaken on Gladius Prime. We’d love to tell you more, but y’know: /unspeakable/. You can conquer the planet as the Space Marines, Orks, Necrons, or the Astra Militarum – which is what they call the Imperial Guard these days. We still prefer the Ork terminology, though. They’re all humies to us.
Play it until: Age of Wonders: Planetfall, the next great hope in the 4X genre. Like Planetfall, 40K is a science-fiction world but steeped in its own history, just waiting to be uncovered.
Defiance 2050 – July 10
Defiance 2050 doesn’t have a huge amount of momentum behind it: the original Defiance felt leaden and directionless, and the TV show it was tied to has since been cancelled. The fact that the game lives on in this new version is, well, testament to Trion Worlds’ defiance.
2050 is described as a recreation of the sci-fi MMO shooter rather than an update – promising larger-scale action, as well as better frame rates and fancier textures, which is always nice if you’ll be staring at them for tens of hours. The developer certainly knows what it’s doing – Trion is behind Rift, one of the last great fantasy MMOs – so there’s reason for hope here.
Play it until: The Fallout 76 release date. The player count of Bethesda’s first multiplayer Fallout game is bound to be far larger, but both games offer futuristic interaction with your fellow man inside huge craters.
Shining Resonance Refrain
Apparently, July is the month we find strange new ways to name remasters. Take Shining Resonance, for instance, released on the PC for the first time as Shining Resonance Refrain.
You probably don’t remember the original since it came out on the PlayStation and only in Japan. But you might know Shining Force, the turn-based tactics game from the olden days. Shining Resonance is related, in the same way we’re all related, if you think about it – very, very distantly. In contrast to its ancestor this is a full-fledged JRPG, mainly about fighting dragons and sometimes in the form of a dragon. Buy it if you like dragons.
Play it until: The Final Fantasy 7 remake. Given the director of that game has said it was “announced too early,” we’re going to need something to tide us over.
The Spectrum Retreat – July 13
Who wouldn’t want to stay in a hotel staffed by robotic Slender Men? You? Oh, that’s really unfortunate. Sort of wish you’d mentioned it sooner. We’ve already booked you into the Penrose Hotel. The TripAdvisor reviews were wonderful, at least by videogame standards – nobody there is trying to kill you.
Wandering through the beautiful art deco environs, you’ll slowly come to understand why you’re there. The only obstacle in the way of you getting to the bottom of the mysteries of your stay are colour-coded, first-person puzzles. Every five-star establishment has them.
Play it until: Transference, Elijah Wood’s creepy VR experience that places you inside the preserved digital mind of another person – like a hotel for memories.
AI War 2 – July
Is it possible to name a game too literally? Yes, as it turns out. AI War 2 might be a fitting title for an RTS about playing against the computer, but it definitely undersells the premise, which is about facing down a super intelligence that has already conquered the galaxy.
You start as the underdog. Your only advantage is that the AI doesn’t consider you important enough to bother with. Winning the game is a matter of stealing territory and technology without attracting the great eye of synthetic Sauron until, eventually, you can make your play for the galaxy.
There’s no exact date for this one – its developer is waiting until an opportune moment between big launches and sales, like any true general.
Play it until: the Age of Empires 4 release date. The classic RTS returns, and the ruthless conqueror is you.