(Ignition for Wii)
By Mike Delano
For real game fans, there’s no such thing as the mythical “summer gaming drought.” Sure, fewer big-name, big-budget titles are released in July and August than are during the surrounding months, but that just means it’s the perfect time to catch up on all of the great stuff you haven’t had time to play. I can’t imagine listening to only music from the most popular artists, or only seeing the most popular, well-known movies. There’s too much interesting stuff that exists in between the big franchises, stuff like Arc Rise Fantasia. It’s not a bucket list RPG like a Final Fantasy or Zelda, but it doesn’t carry the rigid expectations or sequel fatigue of those series, either, so it’s free to carve its own unique path. It doesn’t do quite enough with that freedom, relying heavily on clichés for many of its characters and plot elements, but it shines with its fast-paced, heavily customizable combat and excellent anime character designs. The striking color palette and intriguing architecture of the locales also conjure up good memories of Eternal Sonata, so while the package as a whole might be lacking in ambition, the assured execution makes it worth a look.