DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ / PROJECT CARS 2 / NI NO KUNI II [E3 2017]: Bandai Namco!
While everyone’s so busy at this massively crowded #E3 camping in line for the new Assassin’s Creed, Spider-Man game, and next big Nintendo hit, yours truly had the pleasure of going behind closed doors with three of the show’s most impressive demos, courtesy of Bandai Namco. Yes–the very same company thar delivered my #2 overall GOTY thus far, Tekken 7.
Hell yes, I was excited.
What better start to E3 2017 than getting my ass handed to me in Dragon Ball FighterZ! Yeah, pretty embarassing for T-Money–especially since I was reppin’ Bandai Namco T in the form of a King Tekken T-shirt. I knew the kid was a shark. Either way, there’s no question that DBFZ was the highlight of my great morning stay with Bandai Namco. With anime graphics so dreamy you’d think you were watching a Netflix series instead of playing a game, DBFZ‘s 3v3 gameplay moves at the speed of light (or, 60 fps). Monster energy required.
So, for those into the more plodding, technical efforts of.. Tekken might not quite enjoy the hyper killer instinct of the Z-Assists and Z-Changes. These two new fight-game methods, courtesy of Arc System Works (see: Guilty Gear Xrd, BlazBlu), are a pair of unique ways to multi-hit combo in-n-out of partner assists and alternate fighters in the middle of aerial combos. Throw in some vanish teleporting, and it’s all just so very fuckin’ hype! The six confirmed fighters are Vegeta (former villain), Goku (Saiyan hero), Innocent Buu (Kid Buu absorbing Grand Supreme Kai), Gohan (oldest son of Goku), Frieza (cocky mad emperor) and Cell (designed by Dr. Gero). No word on how many actual fighters we’ll get to choose from, and, to no surprise, the kick-ass score sounds heavily inspired by the DBZ anime series. The closed beta can’t come fast enough. 4.25/5 Bibles.
The first BCD presentation came courtesy of Slightly Mad Studios’ crowdfunded racer, Project Cars 2. Before today I knew nothing of the game, living in my own Forza bubble. The facts were daunting: the largest track roster in any racing game (including multi-class cars and iconic brands like Porsche and Ferrari), laser-scanned seasonal change (differing snow on Mt. Fuji) and dynamic, localized weather — to the point where PC2‘s Livetrack 3.0 system will show where rain started on the track but dried up on the backend, feature dynamically generated puddles, etc.
Yeah. As if that wasn’t enough, drones were used to snatch that extra layer of detail, mathematical and visual accuracy. Although the developers laid out an impressive “Real Driver’s” Career mode and the option to become a Factory Driver (i.e. brand advocate), where I was slightly turned off was PC2‘s focus on eSports and online championships. When I got to play later, the game’s visuals and physics were beyond impressive, despite some tough gamepad handling (that Slightly Mad had said to have improved). Otherwise, Project Cars 2‘ pedigree is certainly enough to give it another spin this fall, 3.5/5 Bibles.
Got to play a cute, little Japanese RPG today, too, titled Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. It’s for PlayStation 4 and PC (out November 10th). If you’re an Xboner like me, that sucks. Because it’s a ton of fun, with a story aiming for “relatable” high fantasy that bleeds the fine line between anime and gaming. Although my demo–just one, semi-lengthy boss battle–was short, sort of akin to the FFXV demo at E3 last year, I was able to grasp the combat pretty well.
In addition to moving quickly around a volcanic crater and tossing magic around, your hero, Evan, must use special sprites humorously named Higgledy Heroes. This fun little bunch can grant Evan a slew of special commands: healing, attacking, and charged attacks. From what I could tell from the demo video and preview art, Nino Kuni II‘s best traits are in its unique and fresh character design, courtesy of Yoshiyuki Momose of Spirited Away fame and its sweepingly vast arenas, land/water/aircrafts, monsters and kingdoms (especially the funny Goldpaw Casino Castle). Yeah, I’ll have to convince my roommate to purchase. 3.75/5 Bibles. – Travis Moody