Naruto, Luffy, and Kirito oh, my!
Day 2 of E3 this year was going to be my busiest one to date and it started eve before the show floor opened. Bandai Namco had the pleasure of hosting me and they were showing off a game that no one even knew they were going to show. There’s a lot to talk about so let’s get right into it.
Before E3 even began, Bandai Namco had emailed me to extend my appointment time to two hours so they could show an unannounced title. It turns out that game was Dark Souls 3 and the first hour of the appointment was a theatre session to show it off. Dark Souls 3 keeps the “oh my god” level of difficulty the series is known for. Dark Souls 3 is going to be a “current generation exclusive console” game.
Dark Souls 3 takes the “sword action element” of the series to new heights where the weapon element of the game becomes deeper. What I mean by this is the gameplay aspect around the weapons/aspects of the weapons has expanded than in previous Dark Souls games. While I was watching the demo, I was getting a large “Legend of Zelda” feeling in that the sword fighting must have been inspired by the LOZ. The swordplay, the shield defense, and the way the characters roll when they’re sword fighting, screams Legend of Zelda to me!
There are many hidden surprises and enemies for the player to find and to be leery of while exploring. Exploration is another huge part of the game. You’ll be able to explore all kinds of environments like the castles in the demo. Players will be able to tell right away that the controls are more intuitive and you’ll be more in control of your characters.
The game will also have new weapons for the franchise like the Great Sword that is a big blade but leaves the fighter vulnerable. These new weapons will take some getting used to but players that are familiar to the series will be able to use the attack patterns of the enemies for their advantage. The Dark Souls franchise has been known for unique character design and Dark Souls 3 keeps up with that trend!
Bandai Namco appears to be the anime supplier in these parts these days and it showed with most of what they showed off during their presentation. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4, One Piece Pirate Warriors 3, Sword Art Online-Re: Hollow Fragment, and J-Stars Victory VS+ all made an appearance.
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 played like most of the other Ultimate Ninja Storm games in the series. You can play as your favorite Naruto characters from the anime and have them beat the daylights out of each other. I hate to call it a “button-Masher” but that’s how I feel about Naruto fighting games. You charge up chakra and then use it for special attacks and combo attacks. The game is scheduled to come out in the fall.
Next up were the Straw Hat Pirates and One Piece Pirate Warriors 3. This game feels like a Dynasty Warriors game and an even better comparison is to Hyrule Warriors. It plays at a fast pace and has missions/tasks to complete during each level. The demo had the Japanese voices for the characters but that’s usually what the fans want in these games. “Button Masher” is the only words I can come up with that can describe a game like this.
Sword Art Online-Re: Hollow Fragment puts the player in Kirito’s shoes along with female partner Philia. Since Sword Art Online was a MMO in the anime, it only makes sense that the attacks would be in “real” time or as close to real time as they could. Also like in an MMO, you find yourself attacking a lot of wild animals and enemies as you make your way across the land. Your Burst Sword Attack gage refills after every battle so it makes it easier to use the same strategy over and over to fight enemies, even though the fights won’t last long.
Lastly, was the highly anticipated J-Stars Victory VS+ and I have to say, I wasn’t too impressed with it. For those who don’t know, J-Stars is an upcoming fighting game with iconic anime characters like Goku. I caught a two-player match and the camera, trying to lock on to the opponent, was spinning all over the place. It was also locking more onto teammates rather than the opponent too. Solo mode plays much better but there were times where I felt I had no idea what was going on. The environmental interaction is common for fighting games and that was done pretty well. I enjoyed throwing Goku into the side of a building. J-Stars is coming in the summer and by the look of this demo, it has a lot to fix before it can be released to the public!