Over the past week, I was able to finally do something that was approximately 18 years in the making. I was able to catch each and every officially released Pokemon. With 721 unique monsters in my Pokemon Bank, and the newly introduced 79 all organized neatly in my copy of Pokemon Moon, I now have access to all 800 Pokemon, and feel immensely satisfied by that fact. I may not be the very best, like no one ever was, but I’ve completed my real test to catch them all and I’ve followed my case to train them. I travelled across the lands, searching far and wide. I now understand each Pokemon and the power that’s inside.
That schmaltzy introduction aside, news this week primarily, and by primarily I mean entirely, came from the 2016 iterations of The Game Awards, a commercial guised as a poorly done awards show that I chose not to watch the entirety of, and the Playstation Experience, Sony’s personal little press and community event that is just shy of being an E3 press conference.
Going through events in chronological order with The Game Awards, there really wasn’t anything that I was particularly interested in checking out, as everything featured either failed to register with me as something I was interested, or focused on an aspect that left me worried about the state of the final product. But I guess I’ll talk about them anyways.
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition, the long rumored remastered version of the 2011 first person shooter, except this remaster hopes to go the extra mile with 4K support and additional content, most notably the ability to play through the game as everybody chauvinistic icon of a bygone era, Duke Nukem. All of which sounds like justification for people to revisit this title, at least before realizing that Duke Nukem is pre-order DLC, and this remastered port will cost $50, even though the game was readily available for $5 over the past several years. I know you’re hurting for money Gearbox, but come on now.
Kojima Productions’ Death Stranding looks both upsettingly contemporary with a morose setting and the prevalence of boring old soldier boys, but the presence of a character who is clearly Guillermo Del Toro, a fetus in a jar, and a man who controls soldiers using his flaming wire tentacles are enough to reassure me that this game will be something interesting. Even though I’ll probably not play it, as there is a multiplayer focus and such. (Also, it’s running on the same engine as Horizon: Zero Dawn)
I regrettably must express such a sentiment often, as there simply are game genres that do not interest me. This can be applied to basically all titles with major multiplayer components, and even a few genres, such as first person shooters, which I’ve simply lost interest in. This is particularly unfortunate for me when it comes to games like Prey, which has the whole frantic close quarters shooting that I find to be both difficult to satisfyingly manage and not very interesting. At the same time, its sci-fi aesthetic, metroidvania style world exploration, and featured ability to possess objects are all components that can be used to easily sell me on games, but I just know too darned well that I would not have a good time if I were to check this game out.
I forget if I articulated this worry in the past, but the nature of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild actually has me immensely worried and concerned about the final state of the game, as I fear that I will utterly loathe it after playing it as I play an open world game. You see, when placed in a large world, I tend to explore every aspect of note and search for every collectible and locale as I do so. This becomes boring after 50 hours, and my opinion of the game begins to lessen over time as each new area begins to impact me less and less. They become a collection of geometry that is filled with various goods, and little else.
That said, the newest trailers of the game did imply that there would be more structure to the game, as seen by Zelda’s existence in the game, quest giving NPCs, and various towns scattered throughout the game. That could help, but only if the game world is kept at a manageable size, and is no more than a few square miles long, certainly not the vile sounding 360 square miles that was proposed by people when playing the hands-on demo at E3 2016.
My views are shaped mostly from my completion heavy tendencies that pop up in many games, and I have felt disdain towards too many games that I 100% completed to not be immensely worried whenever I see open world elements pop up in anything. So I’m naturally worried about Mass Effect: Andromeda, which will indeed feature larger worlds, more hub environments, revised and more dynamic combat with enhanced movement capabilities, but also giant worlds to explore, and I will certainly try to explore all of them, after having done almost every possible quest line in the prior Mass Effect games.
Moving to the Playstation Experience, it was actually a pretty relentless showcase of games, and a lot of them were announcements that, while rumored for a short while, were pretty great to see come to fruition. It also brought with it a few surprises, and generally one of the most balanced press events I’ve seen in a while, as it covered a very nice range of titles. However, I don’t have much to say about a lot of the showings.
Ace Combat 7 is a game about planes that belongs to a series I know next to nothing about. Gran Turismo Sport is a very pretty car game with very pretty effects. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom looks quite good, but I’m still not entirely sure what it is trying to be beyond 1980s fantasy anime. Vane is a nifty game about a desert and darkness, and… I don’t know. While What Remains of Edith Finch is a supernatural game with no explicitly shown genre in the trailer. I could go on, but I’d rather focus on the games I have something to say about.
First off, Uncharted 4 will be receiving single player DLC in the form of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which is centered around two female characters as they go on an adventure of some sort in the Middle East. The trailer that announced this game was actually quite remarkable in how I initially mistook it for a new IP set in a war-torn country with a female Muslim protagonist, one that I was about ready to criticize for being so cinematic with its presentation. Instead, it’s a game in a series that tries to be cinematic, and probably the last entry in this series.
This was followed by the announcement of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the rumored fourth entry in the beloved hyper fighting crossover series. The gameplay reveal shows that, certian mechanical changes aside, the game will offer the same insane fighting goodness of the previous games in the series when it launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC in 2017. In the meantime, Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 was released on PS4 to hold fans over, and will be seeing a release on Xbox One and PC in March 2017. This is great news for fighting game fans, I’m sure, but I really cannot play fighting games, or really any competitive game. My coordination skills are lacking when it comes to the fine and fast movements required by the genre, as I have some developmental problems. Most of them are social, but I do struggle with other things.
Going on, after being anticipated by, well, nobody, Knack 2 was announced for release in 2017. Yes, the underwhelming PS4 launch title is receiving a sequel, and one that looks to introduce no new features beyond improved co-op play. There are no immediate signs of improvement being made to the story, gameplay, or general presentation of the prior game, and I’m left to wonder why this both exists and who exactly it is for. I mean, aside from Dunkey.
Continuing the efforts of Sony and Sega to bring the Yakuza series outside of Japan, Yakuza: Kiwami, a remake of the first game in the series, and Yakuza 6: The Song Of Life, were both announced to receive a western release. Kiwami will be released sometime in summer 2017, a few months after Yakuza 0 releases in January, while Yakuza 6: The Song of Life will not be out until early 2018. Considering the monumental effort that must go into the localization of each of these games, and the fairly niche audience that the Yakuza series has, I’m regularly surprised by how this series is continuing to be localized. Surprised and a little upset that I haven’t really had the opportunity to embrace this beloved series, but given my financial forecast over the next year, I can’t see that happening anytime soon.
In addition to these new titles, the conference also saw the announcement of a few remastering of older titles. Seeing as how the original developer shut down several years ago, the futuristic racing game series, Wipeout, will be receiving a PS4 remastering of the prior three games in the series, HD, Fury, and 2048, in the form of the Wipeout Omega Collection. Which, at the very least, looked detailed enough for me to initially mistake it as a new entry in the series.
The previously announced remake of the original Crash Bandicoot trilogy was shown off as Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy, a full recreation of the original titles with modern effects and HD graphics. While I’m sure that some will object to the aesthetic changes, it ultimately looks quite good, but I am curious about whether or not certain levels, particularly those from the first game in the series, will be tweaked to create a better experience. But I’m guessing those details are reserved for another time.
After earning itself a very warm cult following, Parappa the Rapper is being remastered for PS4, with cleaner or entirely new 4K assets and natively rendered at a far higher resolution. This release will eventually be followed by remastered versions of the Patapon and LocoRoco series, two stylish 2D series that really should be played at a higher resolution and be more readily accessible to a larger audience.
Moving on, the third Danganronpa visual novel was formally announced as Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony with a super brief trailer that did little to sell new audiences on the series, and failed to make any mention of the fact that a compilation of the first two installments, Danganronpa 1•2 Reload, will be coming out for PS4 on March 14, 2017. Regardless, the fact that Sony took the time to focus on a visual novel for PS4 and Vita was quite something.
It was almost as amazing as the showcasing of Ys Origin on a western stage. Yes, one of my favorite games in recent memory will be coming out for PS4 and Vita on February 21, 2017. I have no idea why this is happening, but Falcom has decided to give this decade old title its first ever console release. For those unaware, Ys Origin is an action RPG with an emphasis on the action. The combat is rock solid, while the game and its predecessors hold an energy that I have never felt in any other action game. Oh, and the soundtrack is utterly fantastic.
The show also featured a few more lovely oddities, such as the announcement that the eccentric Souls-esque Let It Die from Grasshopper Manufacture would be made available right after the show ended. Nex Machina: Death Machine, a twin stick shooter that honestly does not look too remarkable on its own, and is only as interesting as it is due to the involvement of Defender creator Eugene Jarvis. A man who runs an arcade game studio located in my hometown. While the much beloved flying disc game, Windjammers, is returning on PS4 and Vita in the form or an emulated version of the Neo Geo classic.
The show ended much like it began, with a trailer for a long rumored Naughty Dog title. Yes, The Last of Us Part II was announced and much to the dismay of some, it will indeed be a direct sequel. One that follows Ellie as she presumably goes on a quest that involves murdering Joel after he did a very bad thing that I was initially taken aback by when I played the game, as I was being as nonlethal as I possibly could. My issues with the game, especially that one about how I did not kill that man at the end, aside, I hope that this game is able to meet the high standards of the first game and that the story manages to feel like a justified continuation of what came before it when the game is released.
That is all I have to say about game news, but there is one bit of anime news from the past week that I just couldn’t ignore. The anime series Code Geass will be receiving a third season that will begin airing sometime in 2017. Now, I admittedly do not remember much about the show, as I watched it in 2010, but the one thing that remained prominent in my mind, for years, was how poignant and decisive the ending was, and how much of a sacrifice the main character underwent in the process.
Now, I’m not opposed to the idea of continuing the story, even though it was an instance where I think a happily ever after is appropriate, as the world is under one banner that is led by a benevolent ruler, but something interesting could be done. Instead, the subtitle of Lelouch of the Resurrection and information provided from the production company make it clear that the main character did not actually die, which is just stupid.