Pokémon Sword and Shield[addtoany]
So I arrived at E3 early today and immediately got in the line for Pokémon which has been crazy popular the whole show, but so has all of the Nintendo booths.
And I learned… it’s Pokémon. I mean really, I haven’t played this series since it hit the 3DS, I never had one, to be honest, but this is a great version of Pokémon, with a huge cast. I was told there are 800 Pokémon in the game, I’m unsure if that’s accurate, or how many are catchable with just one or both games but it sounds massive.
In the demo of the game, I worked my way through a water-based gym. The puzzle of the gym was a switch puzzle that felt a little simple. There were three color pipes, red, blue, and yellow, and each switch swapped between sets of the same color for water to flow out of.
This sounds simple and perhaps it was, but the final moves of the puzzle challenged me. There was a small clever trick that engaged my mind and gave it a feeling that I was challenged, though it was light.
After I made my way to the gym leader Tessa and took her down in an epic fight (well 6 Pokémon to 2 Pokémon, a little easy). However, during that battle, I saw a new feature called Dynamax which makes your Pokémon grow…. Though part of me really wants to make a Might Morphin’ Power Ranger joke there, I’m sure it’ll be made many times by people better than me.
The huge forms of the Pokémon appear behind the character, but it feels like your characters turn from normal Pokémon to epic monsters, and my understanding is that can be used once a battle, and every Pokémon has a big form. Though I only was able to use it in the final battle. It feels like a strange step, but it’ll be a question of when do you want to trigger the ability as it only lasts for 3 turns.
I do want to call out my personal favorite Pokémon in my set of 6. Yamper, he might not be the strongest, in fact, I’m sure he isn’t, and he might not be the best, but he’s a corgi like Pokémon and thus he’ll be my main, and knowing how much I love dogs, I’ll run a six Yamper team.
I swung by IndieCade twice today. I just wanted to check something small out, and Dicey Dungeon was available. I’m a fan of Euro Board Games, dice games, and RPGs, and Dicey Dungeon has all of that, but it also contains what appears to be an interesting Rogue Like or Rogue Lite style, I’m not sure which.
The game is played on a dungeon map where the player can move and will walk into enemies. The entire game is played with a mouse, making for a simple and easy setup.
Combat in the game is interesting, players will automatically roll dice and the dice can be used in one of up to three skills that are set up. My three were “Attack” “Reroll” and eventually an “Earth-based attack that weakens an enemy”. Weakened enemies change an ability for a lesser form, it’s an interesting mechanic to harm an enemy outside direct damage. The dice roll though was my power, so using a 6 does more damage than a 4.
Over the course of my dungeon, I gained a level and got an extra dice, as well as extra abilities. The abilities are where the game is at. There are a number of them and I can think of loadout possibilities. There was an enemy ability to split a dice up to 1s, so a rolled 5 became 5 dice, and some abilities have limits, such as can use max value of 4, or need a number of 1s to trigger some powerful ability, if you don’t roll a 1 that’s locked off, thus my enemy had a good synergy for the second.
This is an indie game, and I do have to be honest there are small things that I really missed. There’s no rolling animation, the player just gets dice, and the attacks are done a bit plain. But I do like the entire process of diving into a dungeon and the gameplay felt right, it’s more the visual fluffery that is missing, and in fact, probably isn’t as necessary.[addtoany]
Here it is. The Cyberpunk 2077 was a hands-off demo, but dear god there was a lot shown. The game starts with the player sitting down to talk to an NPC, and right away there’s a timed response. The player only has a few moments to really decide what to do and say, and it is a small window.
According to the developers your choices matter, if you press issues, NPCs might get cagey. You can ask about certain things going on or be subtle. In fact, there’s even a new stat called Cool, that I understood to be a dialogue skill ability that allows you to unlock more quests and dialogue options. There are a number of places in the game where I saw little stat indicators as well during the conversation, though they weren’t talked about much.
Keanu made an appearance in the demo I was watching but, he felt like a call out, showing off that he is there, saying his line and then hanging out in frame for a single moment. I’ve heard he’ll be with you the whole time, but in this case, I didn’t see much more than most of you have.
This world is all about Cyberpunk style though, and it shows. It’s a fictitious place in the world, and there’s a number of groups, two big pieces shown were Netrunners which are people who know how to hack efficiently, and there’s actually a government run counter hacker group (though I forget their name, NetWatch maybe?). These two groups are at odds with you, or at least the group you were aligned with in the demo, though it feels like there’s a space for the player to join their group as well.
There was also an interesting hacking minigame about collecting certain pairs of hexadecimal numbers from a grid, and this unlocked the enemy’s networks as well as giving different boosts to the player from the hack. I haven’t seen anything like it before, so that’s a good sign.
The demo also showed off a motorbike the player was able to drive, with the promise players will be able to own vehicles. And it sounds like a range of vehicles is possible here.
The devs also played through much of the demo twice, once with a skillful stealth, hacker setup, that looked great in motion, and a second time with a strength augmented fighter, who eventually had a large shootout with the enemies. Though to be honest, the gunplay looked a little slow, especially after playing Doom and Wolfenstein. I also think it’s clear these are different games for different players and the gunplay here feels right for this world.
There’s a ton more, a lot of hackable objects, such as once you breach their network you can even trigger a weight rack to raise the weight to kill the person working out on it or change a training bot into a murder bot. There are other pieces like using a human shield to block a turret as you approach, or just ripping the turret out of the socket if you’re strong enough, even hacking the turret is an option.
You can even hack a human and then use his info to hack his squad, making them pull the pin on their own grenades or just forcing them to shoot themselves in the head. It’s … .well honestly it looks great.
The fact is I walked out of the demo with just one desire, I want to see how much truth there was in the dev’s words. I wanted to see what happens if you did anything other than what they showed. I wanted to see the rest of the world. Really, I just want a hands-on, so I can finally play this game.
But I also realized that much of what I really liked about Watch Dogs: Legion’s world, the future version of London, appears to be done a bit better in Cyberpunk and it’s going to be interesting, these games are now one month apart and I foresee them going head to head in a few ways. But I also think Cyberpunk doesn’t have much to worry about… but Watch Dogs going head to head to them might have issues.[addtoany]
I got to see a hands-off of Marvel’s Avengers, from Eidos and Crystal Dynamics. This is the new game from the studio who did Tomb Raider… and well. Ok, we’ll have to talk about this.
Marvel’s Avengers looks weird and I didn’t want to say that but I’m almost forced to. Something is off about these characters, and while maybe there’s something graphical, I believe at the end of the day it’s due to the fact that you’re seeing the non-movie versions of these characters. I don’t think this should be a huge problem, but it’s hard not to notice.
This isn’t the Captain America, Tony Stark, Thor, and Black Widow we’re used to, and the game is going for an ultra-realistic look that makes it hard to avoid comparing the models. Perhaps as the game goes on, the player’s mind will learn to accept these new versions of the characters, but it was definitely jarring for the demo we saw played.
With that said, the game looked great outside of the main characters. In addition, it seemed like each character had his own flair for gameplay. Thor seemed to be similar to God of War’s style, Ironman seems to be more of a shooter, tech guy using his suit’s technology. Hulk becomes a pure brawler, and also I think Hulk looks great in this game. Banner is more noticeably different but Hulk feels and looks better to me. Captain America has a shield based style, both with blocking, and throwing his shield, and finally, Natasha uses her guns, shooting enemies and can easily dodge out of the way of attacks.
The level played were very linear with each character getting a chance to shine. I’m unsure if that’s to show off the characters, or if the game will be as linear, but the game did a great deal of storytelling alongside the adventure.
The demo showed off Taskmaster as the villain of this piece, though Marvel fans know he’s a mercenary and Black Widow was the one fighting him, but the entire time, the game was set up as a larger story. However the boss battle was far longer than I expected and, with no health bar for Taskmaster, I was curious how much damage he was taking.
The demo ended with Captain America falling, and the Avengers being blamed, which is a strange tone. One of the most popular characters in the Avengers dying in the opening cinematic makes me think this is some level of fake out, and the entire world turning on the Avengers feels weird because they were being celebrated at the beginning of the demo, but this may just be a level set up for the demo, and the story is open for more.
There was a mention of opening up the game more, customizing your heroes, and expanding your team. I honestly am cautiously optimistic, the style of the characters is still strange, but if the game played anywhere close to how exciting it looked, this could be another major entry in Marvel’s video game franchises.[addtoany]
A quick note, I forgot to get a press pass for this, and due to the late hour, I may not get one until it’s too late. This is 100 percent my fault for not asking or keeping the card they gave me.
However, Borderlands is back, and it looks like Gearbox brought back all the right elements. There are a whole set of new characters, but a pair of villains who have a loyal band of zealots willing to follow them to the ends of the planet as they idolize them as new gods… and yet still crack wise the entire time.
This time around, Borderlands 3 sets up the player to explore multiple planets using a flying spacecraft called the Sanctuary III. It seems they are showing off a new planet called Eden-6 and it looks great, though admittedly it reminded me a lot of the areas of the Zombie DLC, Zombie Island of Dr. Ned. Though there’s all new wildlife, and it did look great, I’m sure it’ll stand out in the final game.
There are three announced characters at this time, with a new character found in Moze who can summon a giant mech, I played the demo with her and I have to say, the experience was excellent, and it reminded me of Titanfall with how she summons a giant mech and rides around in it. In addition, a second player can climb up on top of her mech and use an additional turret. It’s an interesting new addition and it makes me wonder what other changes we’ll see.
There are also multiple action skills this time around, Moze can use two actions skills, one for each weapon on her giant mech,/ where other characters appear to have only one, but each character can have a selection from numerous choices.
At the same time, Gearbox seems to really be pushing the social interaction, saying that even players in single player can now see guns your friends sells, share random enemies, and send items to a friend even if they’re offline. That’s a really interesting idea, though I would say that the type of player who is in single player, which is where I like to play, isn’t the one looking for these features, however, each does sound useful to players of any type and will likely be popular to multiplayer fans.
There’s also a large amount of customization, where some previous games stuck to very tame options, there appear to be all new heads such as horse heads and more. There are also bodies, emotes, and weapon trinkets that allow you to customize your gun, and reusable gun skins. All of this allows you to create your own look, and the fact the company is proactively saying there are no microtransactions is a good sign.
There also was an appearance of Tiny Tina in the video, though no voice, I still found it hopeful to see her back as well.
Overall, I think Borderlands 3 is in a good place, and I found myself laughing at the demo that we played. I’ll probably check it out again in the fall.[addtoany]
I was invited to check out Terrorarium at the IndieCade booth. Terrorarium is an interesting little game, it definitely looks like Pikmin when I was playing it. You walk around an area and throw your “moogu”. There are a number of different types of the moogu, which are mushrooms looking characters in the game such as heavy, fire and glue. I find the game to be charming with the main character here is an alien known as the gardener.
The levels are all small puzzles, with a number having simple solutions and processes to win the game. There’s an interesting mechanic where the dead Moogu’s can be harvested to create more Moogus, so even if the player makes mistakes the player will have a chance to restore some of the Moogu and continue onwards. At least that’s the theory.
Most of my Moogu died in lava and respawns explode outwards sending at least half of the new Moogu into the fire again. Also, the Moogu mindlessly chase the dead corpses that they wanted to respawn into danger like lava.
At the same time, the levels are quite short. They’re meant to be played in a quick sitting and failure is intended to be fun according to the developers. I’m unsure if that’s exactly what happens, especially with some of the frustration about the replanting system, but I still did find myself wanting to take one more crack at the game. I never found the game to be overly frustrating. I do think some levels, especially those that required jumping took too fine an aim, and others with lava aren’t very clear how to avoid it.
The game comes with a fully functioning editor and that editor made all the levels in the game out of a series of templates, so creators can find something to do here beyond just beat the levels available.
But this game does remind me of games like Overlord and Pikmin, it’s just not fully there, though the developers are talking about adding a campaign, and personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing longer maps or a more fleshed out experience. The games that clearly inspired this game come from a solid pedigree, and there are not many games like Terrorarium on PC so I hope it can do well.
Finally, we come to the final game of the final day of E3… Of course, it’s[addtoany]
Final Fantasy VII Remake
How could it not be, this is one of the biggest games being showed off this year, and I made a special point of ensuring I could see it, and I got in on the last show. So yes, this is the Final Final Fantasy VII Demo… ok, I’ll stop.
I also will say this was a VERY well done presentation. Most presentations are like Borderlands, where you come into a room, watch a video, or hear a dev talk, then move to a second room and play a game. However Final Fantasy VII upped the production levels, where they had everyone sit down and they started a rather dull video about mako production. I started to look down to get my notebook out and suddenly, the video glitched.
There was a hack attempt, and on the screen was Jessie, a character from the original game, giving us a briefing about shutting down the Mako Reactor. It was unexpected, and the lights in the room started flashing red, it was a great way to set up the demo and honestly, I just wanted to call out the presentation because it was that extra mile that you would never be able to experience at home. It’s the same reason why theme parks stand out.
Jessie explained the game and talked about pretty much the same information that fans heard in the Square Enix Press Conference. Use small attacks to hurt the enemy, then use ATBs to kill them, blah blah blah, magic is a thing. However, when I played the game, the smaller attacks pretty much took out the majority of enemies. That’s not really a problem, and I’m sure it’ll change over time in the game.
There’s a lot I’ve heard and want to talk about, Some people say there’s swearing, I heard Damn, but that was it and I‘m ok with that. Also, I could talk about the game, the length, but I don’t have new information about that so maybe another time.
When Jessie’s presentation was over, the video showed the iconic opening of the train pulling into the station and Cloud jumps off ready to fight, and I actually got a little choked up. It’s strange but Final Fantasy VII was the first video game I bought for myself after I got my first job, and it was the game I bought the original Playstation for, so there’s actually a lot of history for me there.
So the demo itself does feel good. The combat is tight, and fluid, there’s no transition and I like the way the ATB almost stops time. I was able to queue up attacks, use limit breaks. The demo goes through the same opening boss battle in the Mako Reactor, and it’s a solid experience, though it is what was shown in the Press Conference.
I do want to say I noticed some pixelation or some artifacts on the Cloud and Jessie’s hair, and I’m not sure if it’s intended or a bug, but this is an early build, so hopefully, that gets fixed.
Though I do want to say I noticed when watching the videos this time through there’s more expression in both characters, and even if the story is the same beat for beat, just the looks and movements of the character will deepen the experience, but I also believe there’s more to the story such as Cloud seeing a black feather.
I’m hopeful for Final Fantasy VII Remake, I do have a lot of opinions based on what I’ve heard, the number of discs, the total costs and the number of changes, but I also left the booth hopeful. I work hard not to wear nostalgia goggles, but… damn it, Final Fantasy VII Remake pulled me right back to who I was 21 years ago. For good and perhaps for bad.
Though I will also point out that I’m sure a significant number of attendees at E3 this year were born after the original game came out, which…. made me feel so tremendously old.[addtoany]
So that’s E3 2019 I’ve done a report on every game I played, admittedly I did play a Pixel Cube that was very hard to photograph, so I left it off here, but it was unique.
So while that’s the end of E3 2019 recaps, I do want to talk a little more about E3, but admittedly…. Guys, I’m tired, I’ve had 3 hours of sleep each of the last two nights because of videos, and I’ll probably be up late again to get this set up and published due to forgetting to get a press kit
I’ll take a day or two off and then I’ll wrap up E3, I’ll pick my game of the show after some deliberation, to avoid recency bias, and I’ll answer the question “Should you go to E3?” It’s not a simple yes or no for anyone. We’ll talk about it then.
Until then, Like, Share and Subscribe, do all that youtube stuff, it’s appreciated and I will see you next time.