Presentation and Hands on, what's not to like?
The first day of the Electronics and Entertainment Expo was rounding down for me and my last appointment for the day was with my buddies at Bandai Namco. It’s always a fun time at Bandai Namco and it wouldn’t’ be an E3 for me without a stop by!
This year was a little different for Bandai Namco because the company doesn’t usually have a presence on the show floor as large as they did this year. They usually have a large area on one of the upper floors in the convention center reserved, to show off their E3 lineup. This year it feels like everyone was changing it up so why shouldn’t Bandai Namco be different? Presentations and hands-on time galore and Bandai Namco always has quite a few games to show so let’s get right into it!
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is the sequel to the game that many consider one of the best JRPG’s around. This is the first time that Ni No Kuni II was available for hands-on time so that was a real treat. For those who aren’t familiar with Ni No Kuni, the best way to describe the genre is animated film meets RPG. It looks like you’re watching a movie while you’re leveling up your fighters!
The developers for Ni No Kuni II wanted to raise the stakes from the first game. They wanted to reimage the story, art, music, and anything else you could think of from the first adventure and push it to the limit.
Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, or the main character, is the king of Ding Dong Dell but gets run out of town. The culprit is the rat bastard, Otto Mausinger, who is literally a rat and becomes the new king. Long story short, Evan will need to do whatever it takes to take his rightful place back at the top of the throne and that will entail partaking in the Trial of Courage. This is the only way to become King again.
You’ll have help on your mission to attain the throne again and that comes in the form of the Higgledies. They have nature/natural properties and can aid you in battle. They’ll be able to “buff” the party by helping their attack power or augment their skills to turn the tide in battle!
Kingdom mode was revealed during the presentation for Ni No Kuni II where Evan will need to build a kingdom at some point during his adventure. You’ll be able to recruit people/characters to your kingdom to build it up. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom launches November 10. Now, let’s get to the hands-on portion for Ni No Kuni II. There were two short demos for Ni No Kuni II on hand and they were both pretty challenging. One was the Trial of Courage challenge where you fought the Thogg beast and the other was against Longfang, a dragon like creature. Both battles wanted you to use the abilities of the Higgledies to your advantage but it was really tough to inflict damage to the monsters. Longfang was so much bigger than you and Thogg was so much quicker. You will need to learn strong attacks and combos fast to survive. A few times, I found myself using the wrong button to defend instead of attacking but that would resolve itself with more familiarization with the game.
Next up is a game that was revealed just this week, Dragon Ball Fighter Z. Bandai Namco does a great job with anime properties and this time around is no different with Dragon Ball Fighter Z. It will run on the Unreal 4 engine and it looks fantastic. It’s slated to release in early 2018 for the PS4/Xbox One and PC.( that’s it for now but with new console announcements who knows) Now that all that is out of the way, this is the fighting game that DBZ fans have been waiting for. Arc System Works and DBZ feel like the perfect match and why wouldn’t the company that knows how the create “anime fighters.” The game is also being considered “Extreme Animation” which in turn can be described as 3D models in 2D space.
Six fighters were all they would confirm right now and they are: Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Majin Buu, Frieza, and Cell. Only two locations to play in the demo, the World Martial Arts Tournament Area and Planet Namek and no word on if either of those would be final game locations.
Battles are three on three and you can create your fighting team, like most fighting games. Fighters might have an attack that they change form mid battle in so study up on your attacks as well as your opponent, it could help in the long run. Strategy will be key in Dragon Ball Fighter Z since there is quite a few options in battle. You can use a Z assist; call your partner during battle for offense or defense. You can use a Z change; change fighter mid battle or Vanish/teleport to get the upper hand on your opponent.
2D side scrolling is where fighting games belong and Dragon Ball Fighter Z fits the bill. It’s quick, fast paced, and action all rolled into one. There will be a closed beta for the game coming soon. Anyway, onto the hands-on and the game is very responsive and again it looks great. You will need to learn the controls fast if you want to win any fights but that’s the case with any fighting game. It was tough to tell how to perform certain moves/attacks but with time/practice/familiarity that will rectify itself in no time. I’m not calling it a button masher yet but it does look like one to me. The Lack of Krillin in the demo however was not ok!
Lastly for the presentation was Project Cars 2. Project Cars 2 will have the largest track roster as well as dynamic everything, such as weather. This is a cool idea where if its raining in real life at one of the tracks, it will be raining in the game, thanks to Live Track 3.0. The development wanted realism to a T and they got it. They even use drone scans of the tracks to make sure they have things down perfectly.
One of the cooler things mentioned during the presentation was the Online Championship Mode Ranking Mode. The reason why I think this is cool is because it can track how you drive and it will match you up with like drivers. If you’re one of those people who drive backwards, you’ll get other people who drive backwards under this method. This is a great idea and allows for everyone who just wants to have fun online to have fun. Another change was to Career mode where it was made way more approachable and less of a hassle. Project Cars 2 looks to be one of more realistic racing games out there with their cutting edge physics!
Two games that weren’t in the Bandai Namco presentation that were on the show floor for hands-on time were Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown and Gundam Versus. Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown was on the PS4 and PSVR, I tried the PSVR version. I have never been inside of a fighter plane before but I can honestly say that this is probably the closest I’ll get. It felt like I was sitting inside the cockpit and when I turned the plane, it felt like I was flipping around and that’s really cool. It was tough to do all that and locate the enemy planes too. I also drove into the ocean once but pulled out of it at the last moment. Gundam Versus felt like a beat-em-up Gundam game where you fight oncoming waves of enemy forces. You have your trusty Gundam for protection. There were RPG elements in the game as well since you could earn EXP after each cycle and purchase attribute upgrades. I couldn’t figure out how to change my laser after I ran out of ammo/ down to limited-one shot and that put me at a disadvantage. I believe there are other gameplay modes but this wave attack mode was the only one the demo I played had.
Bandai Namco has set itself up for success in the future with the likes of Ni No Kuni II and Dragon Ball Fighter Z as well as the rest of the games shown at their E3 booth/Presentation!