E3 2016 is days away, and PRE3 2016 is in full effect. Reveals were made, trailers dropped, and leaks are still dripping from the sweaty underbelly of the video game industry in anticipation for the hype driven commercialized video game event of the year. I could be jaded and cynical about the whole blasted affair, but I’d gain nothing but smug satisfaction in doing so. It’s a fun and exciting time in the world of video games, so I may try to enjoy it and everything related to it.
There are a lot of stories I want to touch on, and I think I’ll begin with Agents of Mayhem, the next game from the Saints Row developer, Volition. As detailed in a lengthy pre-rendered CG trailer, the game is about a playable gang of destructive government agents who are the only ones who can stop a comically evil force bent on world domination in a futuristic Asian metropolis. The game’s art style features exaggerated and angular character designs with basis in well established and well executed archetypes, while the color palette of what was shown… actually veers a bit too much on darker shades accompanied by blue or red lights, but it may just be the trailer.
A trailer that briefly confused me about what genre the game would be, but as detailed by an IGN article, Agents of Mayhem will be an exclusively single-player open-world affair, which is exactly what I wanted to hear. Being a fan of the Saints Row series 2 and IV, I have some worries, concerns, and questions about the game. All of which will surely be touched on or answered as more information is revealed, or by playing the game when it comes out in 2017.
After many years of speculation, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age has been announced as a remastering of the retroactively beloved PS2 title that many consider to be the last time that the Final Fantasy series was good in roughly a decade. However, it’s also the one Final Fantasy game that I know the least about, as nobody really talks about it, its story, its gameplay, or its characters beyond Ashe, but that’s for obvious reasons. The game will launch as a PS4 exclusive in 2017, will likely receive a competent PC port a year or two later. Hopefully I can then understand this entry a little better.
Why do I seem to care about understanding this game so much? Partially the same reason why I reviewed Final Fantasy XIII, XIII-2, and Clairevengenace, I really do like the series and want to love it. This includes World of Final Fantasy, the chibi character filled crossover made to introduce a new generation to the series of RPGs, and manages to combine a lot of characters, imagery, and ideas that originate from the high points of the series.
It looks to be imaginative and fun, but also convoluted and ripe with the more negative narrative aspects that Square Enix has always been known for. I just wish they would not try to make a game with Chibi Claire Farron and Squall Leonhart a 100+ hour long epic of some sort. I truly have no clue where this game’s quality will land, but I’m sure I’ll find out around October 25th, 2016.
Horizon Zero Dawn is one of the most appealing AAA I have seen in quite some time. Mostly due to its world, which is set centuries after a societal collapse, where humanity has reverted to a tribal based society and the world transformed to a state where the now modern world is nothing but ruins. Also there are robot animals, and by animals I also mean dinosaurs. It reminds me a lot of the world design from the underappreciated Enslaved: Odyssey of the West if it were explored in more detail.
That said, the grandious presentation of the story in this trailer, along with the reveal about the main character being a destined heroine are both off putting to some degree, but that could just be a sign of a trailer poorly explaining a story. Nevertheless, there is much reason to anticipate this game when it releases on February 28, 2017.
The Banjo Kazooie spiritual successor Yooka Laylee, received a new trailer that shows just how far along the game is, and how it is shaping up to be something special. With interesting, detailed, and colorful worlds to explore, a diverse range of gameplay types built upon what looks to be a solid platforming foundation, and characters whose very appearance makes me immediately interested in them. I’m actually feeling a bit bad of being skeptical of the game during its Kickstarter, but I suppose that’s all the more reason to check out Yooka Laylee when it rolls onto PC and consoles in Q1 2017. Get it… because Yooka is a lizard who can roll and… shut up!
Dead Rising 4 has leaked, and the game appears to be a reimagining/remake of the first game, featuring a series of new mechanics, a new Christmas themed setting instead of the underutilized Talk Like a Pirate Day setting from the original, and 4 player co-op because why not? I would be interested, but sources say that the PC version will be relegated to the crappy Windows 10 store, and the dour dirt hued aesthetic from Dead Rising 3 seems to still be in effect. Lovely.
Speaking of needlessly dreary aesthetics for something that should be silly and fun, The DC Comics fighting game Injustice 2 is coming from the fine folks at Netherrealm and the scumbags of WB Games. It was revealed with a CG trailer that was very reminiscent of the tone featured in DC’s more recent films, because people want a dreary and superfluously serious fighting game about people in colored spandex punching each other. Or rather people wearing colored armor, as everybody now has a battle suit, which could be cool if there was anything else even remotely cool featured in this reveal trailer.
Watch Dogs 2… actually looks better than I anticipated. The new location of San Francisco is a pretty obvious choice given the hacker fantasy the series is partially built on. The new protagonist, the boringly named Marcus Trailer, is far from the most interesting looking protagonist, but being a racial minority who is a crafty hacker instead of some dude with a super powered phone puts him far above whatshisname from Watch Dogs 1. While the ability to forge and 3D print unique weapons makes gameplay seem more interesting than it was before.
Well, aside from how the actual gameplay footage looks pablum, especially when guns are involved. Plus, for as much as I want to enjoy this art direction, it’s pretty clear that the people behind this game only have a shallow and tertiary understanding of hacking culture, and idealize it in a way I can’t view as genuine. Even if they were being silly about it and turned a faction into a group of Anonymous members with the personalities of 4Channers… actually, that would be amazing, but Ubisoft is making another installment in one of their AAA franchises, so a decent amount of creative energy is probably deemed too risky. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong, but I doubt I will when Watch Dawgz 2: The Race War launches on November 15th, 2016.
You know what does a far better job at portraying hacker culture? Deus Ex, particularly a new game mode included with the upcoming Mankind Divided. This new mode, The Breach, is effectively a cyberspace playground built off the gameplay foundation of the base game, with a series of VR missions that have you infiltrating higher and higher security systems while gradually gaining goodies as you progress.
It actually looks and sounds stylish enough to support a standalone game, but instead it will be a nice little extra for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided when it launches August 23rd, 2016. I’d actually be excited far more interested in the game after hearing this, but I know I’d just end up doing a nonlethal run where I use melee takedowns 95% of the time. It’s a problem with me and stealth games that are not Metal Gear Solid.
XSEED announced that they are localizing a variety of games, namely the recently revealed action RPG Akiba’s Beat, the next iteration of the much beloved farming series, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns, and a musou-esc spin-off of Type-Moon’s Fate series, Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star. The latter two of which fall well under my radar, and I already talked about Akiba’s Beat last week.
I’m more interested in the likelihood of them picking up Tokyo Xanadu eX+, a PS4 version of the Falcom developed stylish modern action RPG that adds side story, a new playable character, and a series of additional features. It was weird how the company simply didn’t pick the game up shortly after its release, but with an improved version due out in Japan this fall, their actions make a lot more sense. It’s like why it took so long for Bravely Default to come outside of Japan, the developers wanted to make an improved version. Also, Square Enix of America didn’t want to publish it so Nintendo had to… Oh, I’m sorry I keep pooping on Square Enix. It’s just far too… tempting.
So, I recently went through the first two Zero Escape games (I’m still working on my review of Virtue’s Last Reward) but as I did so, I was aware that there was a possibility that Spike Chunsoft would bring those two games to PC, as the company has expressed much interest in the platform. Which they are. They teased a port of the first Zero Escape game, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, by showing a short clip of the titanic, a central element of 999, and the game’s director, Kotaro Uchikoshi, commented by saying it looked like a “STEAMship”.
It’s as subtle as as dump truck blaring speed metal, but I’m not complaining. If anything, I’m excited. Considering they’re bringing a DS game to the platform, and likely reworking it quite substantially, it’s a safe bet that Spike Chunsoft will also bring Virtue’s Last Reward to the platform, as bringing over a Vita game would take considerably less work. I’ll certainly end up checking these ports out, but not for quite some time, as I cleared both of them less than a month ago.
A pair of two new Pokemon leaked from an issue of the Japanese magazine CoroCoro, namely a pure normal type koala that is forever holding onto a block of wood, which I like as a design, but koalas in real life are blind, stupid, and filled with disease, so I’d rather have the Pokemon equivalent not be anywhere near as cute. Or if it is, I want it to have toxic drool. The other is a pure rock dog, who looks both cute and cool enough to justify intrigue, but pure rock is a pretty poor type. They’re weak to grass, water, ground, and fighting, while their resistances and high defense rarely make up for it as far as I’m concerned.
At the same time, on the same day really, it was revealed that the the alternate forms of the legendary Pokemon Zygarde, which I talked about a very long time ago, will be featured in Pokemon Sun and Moon. Meaning you will probably get the Zygarde dog sometime early on in the story, and will be able to assume the super powerful Zygarde golem stage at a later point. While I like the designs, the alternate forms thing really doesn’t appeal to me as I think everyone can agree that Mega Evolutions weren’t a very good idea in the long run, and people would have rather seen proper evolutions in their place. Oh but if I had a nickel for every time GameFreak did something questionable with the Pokemon series… I would be able to pay for a day’s transit fare with and have some pocket change left over.
Sony has confirmed the existence of the PS4 Neo, also known as the PS4K, but also stated that the company will not be showing their new hardware at E3 2016, which seems rather odd, as the enhanced Playstation 4 is allegedly launching later this year. What isn’t launching this year, at least in North America, is Persona 5, which comes out on February 14th, 2017, and the game will receive a playable demo at E3 in case you want the game spoiled for you ahead of time.
There are also rumors about the Bethesda’s E3 conference, but I think I’ll wait until tomorrow when E3 begins with day -1. With Ellie’s Tro-Karts, Bethany Esda, and even Katie Kawaii all hosting their own press conferences. While Monday will host Mika Saft, Penelope Cooper, Urbi Softich, and Soni Entin. While Tuesday will feature a performance from Nina Tensen.
I spent way too much time coming up with those silly names. But I learned what a Tro-Kart was, so it’s all cool.