Rundown (6/04-6/10) PRE3 2017: Lower Your Expectations for Maximum Happiness!

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Well, it’s the middle of June, and you know what that means. It’s time for the Electronic Entertainment Expo. Yes, an event full of announcements, dubious trailers, and manufactured hype. I could be cynical about the whole thing, as it is ultimately one big commercial, but I always have a good time zealously devoting my attention to the event and working hours on end to provide write-ups on just about everything announced, while giving my own opinion on them and each conference. Yet as is always the case, pre-E3, or PRE3 as I like to call it, is in full effect, so let’s just go for it!

Starting off small, Capcom have announced Mega Man Legacy Collection 2, a sequel to the similarly named compilation of the six NES Mega Man games that came out in 2015. Legacy Collection 2 will contain the latter portion of the mainline original Mega Man games with Mega Man 7, 8, 9, and 10, all bundled together in a $20 package coming out for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on August 8th, 2017.

Now, when the first Legacy Collection was announced, I recall contemplating why exactly Capcom was being so selective with the collection, as I feel that collections should be all encompassing and feature every game they could reasonably include, such as the weird spin-offs and handheld titles. A sentiment I carry over to this collection, especially when considering it is only 4 games. I doubt it would have been that much more work to at least include Mega Man & Bass, which is basically Mega Man 8.5.

As part of Devolver Digital’s lead-up to their own press event, which I am probably not going to cover on account it it starting at midnight where I live, they announced Swords of Ditto, or as I like to call it, Devolver Digital presents The Legend of Zelda but with co-op and an adorable 2D art style. Being a fan of 2D Zelda titles in particular, I have been wanting to play an entirely new overhead adventure for quite a while. However, it was later revealed that if a player character falls in combat, they stay dead, and whatever equipment they had will need to be recovered by another character. While I am not completely opposed to the idea, I do not like this approach to permadeath, and will probably skip out on this game accordingly, which is a shame seeing as how I like everything else about it.

Koei Tecmo and Gust, the developer of the Atelier series, have announced that their latest, and from the look of it biggest, RPG, Blue Reflection, will be coming to the west. From what I can tell, the game is a JRPG centered around a bunch of high school girls who can become magical girls and fight against *insert one dimensionally evil threat here* while the characters all grow as persons throughout the experience, and probably some feminist undertones. Which sounds exactly like something I would like. The game will release for PS4 and PC on September 26th, and I’ll hopefully get to it, along with the other games Gust recently released on PC, before too long.

Speaking of localization, Atlus USA has announced that they are indeed giving the 3DS one final push by localizing three JRPGs throughout fall 2017 and early 2018. Those games are Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth, Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology, and Shin Megami Tensei Strange Journey Redux. Due to the company’s workload on Persona 5, I am unsurprised that it has taken them so long to announce these titles, but it is good to hear that they will indeed be localized and be available to people who are not fed up with the rapidly obsoleting of the 3DS.

On that note, GameFreak held a Pokemon themed Nintendo Direct and revealed three games. Pokken Tournament DX, an enhanced version of the Bandai Namco developed Pokemon fighting game with 5 new characters added to its roster and a few extra modes, will come out exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on September 22nd. On the same day, Pokemon Gold and Silver will be released on the 3DS Virtual Console, complete with Pokemon Bank support just like the first generation titles. While the truly big announcement was that of Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are obviously the enhanced third and fourth versions of Sun and Moon, and they will feature what one would have expected after Game Freak did something similar with Pokemon Black 2 and White 2. The story will be revamped, there may be a few new areas, things will be laid out a bit differently, and some new Pokemon will be added, despite there being more than enough already. The game is set to pull a Final Fantasy II and launch 364 days after its predecessor, on November 17th, yet it was strangely only announced for the 3DS, and not the Switch.

This is very confusing as reliable source of leaked game announcements Eurogamer claimed they had multiple sources who said that “Pokemon Stars”, a third version of Sun and Moon, was being developed for Nintendo Switch. The transformation of that into Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon for the 3DS and Switch is plausible, but the lack of a Switch version is confusing. However, there was a teensy tiny misstep by the Pokemon Company International, where they listed that Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were coming out for 3DS and Switch. Only to remove said listing from their website and claim it was an error. Yeah, a Switch version is coming. There is no way that The Pokemon Company would make a mistake like this unless a Switch version was in development. Also, why would they admit their fault in a junction such as this?

After the game has been out in the wild for quite some time, Square Enix has finally announced that the Team Ninja developed arcade game, Dissidia Final Fantasy, will be headed to PS4 as Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. While my personal interest in this title is limited, seeing as how it is a fighter, a genre I am notoriously bad at, it is always nice to see fighters continue their resurgence and see the Dissidia concept, which people spoke highly of when it was first introduced, continue to exist. The game is only confirmed for PS4 and will be out sometime before the year’s end.

Shifting over to a piece of news that is so bizarre that I genuinely thought it would never happen, a new Bubsy game has been announced. Yes, another installment in the series about a wisecracking bobcat in a white t-shirt that promptly died with one of the worst 3D platformers of all time back in 1996. This new installment, entitled Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back will be a 2.5D platformer that hopes to revive this series and makes it actually good this time. As for how it looks based on the trailer, I am a bit dubious. It unsurprisingly resembles 2012’s Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams due to the two games sharing a developer, but Bubsy generally looks like a straight sequel with a lower budget despite being an entirely different IP, and one that failed to show off much beyond a standard platforming affair.

Even if the game is good though, I kind of preferred the narrative where Bubsy was a fully dead IP and the games he graced are almost universally derided. A narrative where the character can be part of a surreal satire game by Arcane Kids, or reinterpreted as a bitter broken down transwoman who is appearing in her own fangames. Actually, I really do not even care for the latter interpretation, as she is such a downtrodden and pitiful person, one that could be seen as a negative representation of a transgender person. She is miserable, looks rough by design, and was also a prostitute for some reason and is a complete.

To close this section off with some softer news, WayForward has announced The Mummy: Demastered, a metroidvania title for PC and consoles that genuinely looks like an interesting game, yet is bizarrely tied to some film that is part of an attempt to revise the Universal Monster squad by turning it into a series of action movies. Still, WayForward has a history of pretty good licensed games behind their back. I just wish they offered more than this single screenshot.

For the next bit, I am going to need to offer a brief history lesson Back in 2013, Idea Factory released a Vita game called Monster Monpiece, a strategy RPG about vigorously rubbing one’s fingers against images of monster girls that attracted some light controversy when it was released in the west. It’s actually part of the Genkai Tokki series, which has received an annual installment since its inception, and parts 2 and 3, Moero Chronicle and Moero Crystal, were both given English translations when they were published in English speaking Asian markets by Sony.

I bring this up because Idea Factory International announced that Moero Chronicle has been announced for PC via Steam, much like its predecessor, which was released on Steam a few months ago. Meaning that a new audience will be able to enjoy this, um, ecchi monster girl dungeon crawler. It’s not really my style, but I’m glad that perversions such as these are being made easily accessible.

However, as if to show that they are still classy, the publisher also announced that they are bringing Hakuouki: Kyoto Winds to PC via Steam after it released for Vita last month. It is an otome visual novel set during the end of the Feudal period of Japan that apparently features some really well rounded characters, a surprisingly good story with a lot of content to explore, and an interesting look at Japanese history. Hmm… while I have never really been into otome as a concept that much, I should probably add this to my list of games to check out.

Now that the general news has been taken care of, it is time to indulge in the first press event, which is not formally associated with E3, the EA Play Event. Which I will be mostly skimming over as I am not really interested in EA’s output, and never really was beyond Bioware titles.

Ellie’s Tro-Karts had been a historic sponsor of the Electrifying Edutainment Exposition, using it as an opportunity to sell their wares to all the good little K-8 schoolers whose extracurriculars and honor roll badges earned them a right to attend this convention. At least before Ellie Trokerts married Earl Arter, turned her into a cuttlefish he promptly boiled and ate for his dinner, and revamped her company in order to focus more on delivering guns and sports to the children, which is what kids these days truly want.

However, seeing as how adults are not allowed in the convention center, (they would turn into frogs if they so much as set foot in there) he had his 13-year-old step-daughter, Ellie Arter shill out his hot and erotic wares to adrenaline fueled boys. Possibly some other demographics, but Earl only cares about young impressionable boys.

Going through the line-up in a loose chronological order, and ignoring the eye rolling banter because I normally pause and then skip through that stuff, there was the usual showcase of their trio of annual big sports franchises with Madden, NBA Live, and FIFA. All of which tried a bit too hard to win over an audience who likely does not care about the games, trying to sell them based on the technology behind them and the fact that the games come with story modes after that trend was popularized with the Livin’ Da Dream from NBA 2K16. Except I doubt these story modes will involve ghosts, and are thereby a lot less silly, mockable, and fun.

Need For Speed Payback, which looks to have firmly accepted the fact that it is basically a video game adaptation of a car driven action movie based on the very choreographed snippet of gameplay and mass amounts of slow motion vehicular destruction shown. Beyond that likely heavily scripted story mission, the game promises to be an open world driving game set in the American southwest where the player can discover scrapped and abandoned classic cars that can be customized and rebuilt, which reads like an almost formulated way that EA devised to make this game appeal to a broader audience. Regardless though, I’m sure people will fine enjoyment in the game when it comes out for PC, PS4, and Xbox One on November 10th.

Continuing the EA Originals initiative the publisher announced last year, they showed off a game from the director and many of the developers of the 2013 hit Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, who left Starbreeze Studios in order to form Hazelight. The game, A Way Out, is about a pair of prisoners who need to work together in order to both escape from their confinement and take care of their needed business while avoiding law enforcement. However, the big kicker is how the game is entirely co-op based and is always split-screen. It is a concept that interests me conceptually, yet I really do not understand the choice in making the game so realistic.

Between the photorealistic art style, dour tone, and full voice acting from the two rigidly defined protagonists, the game actually reminds me more of a prison escape film, rather than a given game based on how clearly certain scenes are trying to be cinematic. Part of me feels that I would be immensely more interested in this concept if it featured even a semblance of abstraction, as was the case with Brothers. Instead, it seems like EA intentionally decided to make the game a more realistic experience, as they were under the impression that it would do better. I guess they will find out in early 2018.

The showing ended with EA’s Star Wars Battlefront II, which looks to have taken many of the qualms levied against the original and attempted to make a modern Star Wars shooter that will appease to everyone. As it will contain maps of all three eras, a full single player mode, and will not feature an overpriced season pass, as all downloadable content will be free. It certainly is a more commendable package than the overpriced and hastily thrown together game that was the first EA Battlefront, and will surely do well accordingly. I would express a modicum of interest in what was shown, but I have not watched a Star Wars movie in nearly a decade and my interest in the wheelhouse of first person shooters basically shriveled up into nothing in recent years.

Oh, and Bioware’s new IP was briefly shown. It is called Anthem and more will be revealed at the Microsoft press conference tomorrow.

Ultimately, the showing was typical of Electronic Arts, and that is about all I can say. There were irritating moments that seemed inappropriate considering the target enthusiast audience of E3, some gameplay that was likely a preconceived mock up, and the semblance of at least one thing that I would have found interesting all wrapped under a coat of things that simply are not for me.

That is all for now, as I am not going to bog myself down in discussing leaks and rumors when the news is literally a few days away. See you tomorrow when E3 begins all proper like, and I proceed to work myself like mad.

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