E3 2017 has come and gone, and I have escaped from it largely unscathed. There were a whopping 68,400 people in attendance this year, all attempting to wait on line in order to get a chance to try the latest game in their favorite franchises. Yours truly was there for his very first E3, and I’d like to share some of my experiences with you regarding the three days I was in attendance at the show (hint: it involves me playing a bunch of games).
Far Cry 5
Fun fact: if you don’t book appointments with publishers before flying to LA, you have to wait on long lines in order to try out new gaming titles. Such was the case with Ubisoft, where I ran to the Far Cry 5 station on my third day at the conference as soon as the floor opened up. I only had to wait ten minutes to try out the game. As I strapped on my headset and grabbed my controller, a Ubisoft representative with a lovely French accent strapped on a headset as well. She would be guiding me through my playthrough and providing hints should I need them.
The Ubisoft rep explained the first screen you see when you started the demo, which was the companion select screen. You could pick Nick Rye to help you out with air support, Grace Armstrong if you wanted a stealthy sniper aiding you, or Boomer the dog if you wanted a pet that could bite enemies and steal their guns. Guess who I picked?
Boomer is best boy
The Far Cry 5 demo at E3 consisted of a small area that needed to be liberated from the crazy cult introduced in the game’s very first trailer. Starting out, the rep told me I could pet Boomer by approaching him from the front and holding square. Clearly, I made the right choice. After cuddling Boomer, I attempted the stealthy approach, sneaking behind enemies and bashing their skulls in with a bat. Interestingly, Far Cry 5 does not have a mini-map like the previous entries in the series, so I had to make due with Boomer’s special “tag all enemies nearby” ability. Of course, I was spotted at some point while performing a stealth kill, so I had to retreat to the rooftops while shooting all of my foes with a machine gun. I took out one of the alerter enemies, threw some dynamite at a car with some cultists in it, and performed a head shot on the last enemy on the map, who was preoccupied being bitten by Boomer (I was actually quite worried I was going to accidentally shoot my best buddy). After liberating the area, the demo ended. My partner, who accompanied me on my E3 excursion, had actually beaten the demo way before me and was in the middle of their second playthrough, so it’s clear who the better shooter is in the relationship. Afterwards, we received a complimentary voucher for a free meal at a nearby food truck.
Seriously, why would you pick anybody else as a companion?!
All in all, Far Cry 5 feels very much like, well, Far Cry. The control configuration was the same as 4, the weapons were all satisfying to use, calling on Boomer to maul enemies was great, and the lack of a mini-map brought a layer of strategy to the series that I found quite refreshing. If you liked previous Far Cry titles, I see no reason for you to not pick up 5 on February 27, 2018.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
On one of the days at E3 over at the Bandai Namco booth, I was treated to a video presentation of Dragon Ball FighterZ. Here’s what I learned:
Dragon Ball FighterZ is a 3 versus 3 fighting game developed by Arc System Works, the makers of the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series (when I had initially found out this news, I nearly passed out from excitement). The game will feature both Japanese and English voice work. Dragon Ball FighterZ will run at 60FPS in 1080p, while cutscenes will run at 24FPS (the same as an anime television show). All characters are 3D models. The title features moves like Z Assist (where you call a partner in for an attack), Z Change (where you swap out with another character you chose), and Vanish (where you teleport behind an enemy). You can Z Change twice within one combo based on the footage I saw, aerial combos will be key to victory, backgrounds can be destroyed, partners called in to assist can be damaged by the opposing player, and a Ki Gauge will fill up that causes you to do super attacks. This fighter will also have a closed beta by the end of the summer. The actual game is coming out Early 2018, on the PS4, Xbone, and PC. It will also take advantage of the souped up PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
Check out that giant beam!
That’s not all, though! I got to play Dragon Ball FighterZ, too…when there was no one in line next to me. Disheartened, I chose to fight the CPU with Goku, Gohan, and Vegeta. There were two punch buttons and two kick buttons as far as I could tell. Special moves and supers came out by doing specific button combinations. I couldn’t figure out how to call in a partner to attack or switch for the life of me. The game is gorgeous, everything runs silky smooth, matches are fast, intense, and super anime, and I managed to get a perfect on the brain dead AI (hopefully they are not that easy in the final build). I’m very excited for Dragon Ball FighterZ both as a fan of the anime and the creators of the game, but I feel that anyone that enjoys a fast, fluid fighter will find plenty to like here. Watch the sick trailer below!
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Another game featured during the presentation was Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. An action Japanese RPG from Level-5, the title immediately reminded me of the films in the Studio Ghibli franchise (which makes sense since someone who worked there is a character designer on this title). Ni no Kuni II tries to marry both film and videogames into one beautiful work. The same team that worked on the original title is returning for Revenant Kingdom. A lot of story elements were revealed that I won’t spoil here; all you really need to know is that the game is coming out on November 10th, 2017.
I played a bit of Revenant Kingdom, as well. I tried one part of the two part demo, which saw me facing a trial of courage as the young boy king, Evan. While traveling on the map towards the trial, I laughed at how cute Evan and his party looked, due to them being rendered as chibis on the world map. Upon entering the trial area, I had to face a great beast with my partners Tani and Roland. As Evan, you are free to wail away on enemies using the face buttons as your partners fight as AI. Strange creatures known as Higgledies also provide support. The Higgledies usually form in a circle based on their colors, and can provide assistance with Evan’s magic and abilities (they helped heal me and raise my defense, for example). I wailed away at the boss creature to no avail, seeing his health barely decrease in the slightest. Luckily, the beast would charge up some of his attacks, which left him vulnerable. When I spotted him charging up, I would unleash my mighty magic and sword attacks, which emptied his health bar drastically. After some time, the beast dropped an orb that charged up my attacks. From then on, it was an easy path to victory.
For someone like me who is a big fan of Kingdom Hearts and Secret of Mana, I greatly enjoyed Revenant Kingdom. It’s just so satisfying to pummel enemies by mashing buttons, in my honest opinion. Having the Higgledies boost my stats and magic was also a great new way to experience an action RPG. Even though I had never played the original, I’m psyched to play through Ni no Kuni II when it launches later this year. More than anything, the delightful characters made me smile, which is what has me eager to play Ni no Kuni II in its entirety. Check out its magical trailer below!
Project Cars 2
The last game I saw during the Bandai Namco presentation was Project Cars 2. Unfortunately, I did not play the game because I am not into racing games, but I found out a lot of information about the title. Project Cars 2 is crowdfunded like the first game, has the largest track roster ever featured in a racing game, has dramatic weather and dynamic puddles, and laser scanned tracks due to the use of drones. The game will feature many iconic brands and models (Ferrari is now on board), tracks have actual traffic mixing in with the various racers, and uses real racer names for the driver AI. The title will also contain online championships, track stats, a career mode, sidequests, multiple endings, and you can edit your racing footage as a director or broadcaster. Project Cars 2 will be coming to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on September 22, 2017, in 1080p at 60FPS. Gamers with fancy curved televisions also have the option of running the game in 21:9 (I don’t know what that means, but it sounds quite impressive).
In addition to being rich in features, Project Cars 2 is also GORGEOUS
You bet your ass there’s a pretty trailer, too:
The last game I actually played at Bandai Namco’s booth was Gundam Versus. I had no idea the game even existed before E3, but I am glad I played it. The player gets to pick from two Gundams, one as an AI assist to your character, and you can pick from the series’ whole catalog. Since I am only familiar with Gundam Wing, I picked the Wing Gundam and Deathscythe as my partner. I went through fifteen waves of enemies, some of which were boss characters, and blew up everything in sight. My Gundam was able to dash towards enemies, shoot laser beams and rockets from afar, and I had a badass laser sword for slicing and dicing. I couldn’t figure out how to block (though the representative on the floor aided me with other information as he was walking around) but I only died once, so it wasn’t so bad! There was also a Burst system in play, Blaze Gear and Lightning Gear, so I just attached the different Gears on my two different Gundams. Once triggered during battle, melee combat was enhanced, so I set a lot of robots aflame. For a title that I was so unaware of, I had a blast playing it. Gundam Versus will be coming stateside Fall 2017.
How can you say no to giant robots?
Take a look at Gundam Versus in motion, as well!
That’s it for part one of my E3 2017 experience. Shout out to Bandai Namco for having a space solely for media that contained free coffee and water. Check out part two of my adventures in the coming days!