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Bandai Namco has quite the line-up at GamesCom this year. We didn’t check out every game and sadly Ace Combat is delayed to next year. But the games we played all are fun and promise a good year and reveal a bright future for the publisher!

Jump Force

As part of the big presentation at Bandai Namco there was also new information about the at E3 announced Jump Force. First, some new characters were announced: Vegeta from Dragonball , Sanji, Sabo and Blackbeard from One Piece and Gon and Hisoka from Hunter X Hunter. So, together with Bleach and Naruto already 5 known Jump licenses are ticked off.

And a completely new character: namely yourself! Jump Force has a character editor that you use to create your own fighter who then joins forces with Luffy, Goku and Naruto to fight an undefined dark force in Story Mode. The last trailer gives us a shot of how this character might look, I suppose it makes sense to assemble it from different parts of the known heroes. In story mode, there is more precise info about how the worlds merge with our real world and plunges Frieza’s spaceship in the Alps. And on Namek are the remains of the Statue of Liberty.

Then we could finally give it a go. My first impression: The game is surprisingly… simple. For each fight you put together a team of 3 heroes, similar to -Marvel vs. Capcom- during the fight you can switch back and forth. There are fast and heavy blows, one key can be used to dodge, another one to fill the energy bar. Pressing the R1 button and one of the face buttons releases cinematic staged super attacks such as Kamehamehas and 1080 Pound Phoenix Cannons. I’ve rarely been able to put my character in the “Awakened” mode. This will allow you to use the latest powerful attacks, such as Vegeta’s Final Flash or Luffy’s attack in Gear Fourth.

After the first impression I have to say that I really like the semi-realistic look of the game. The characters all look a bit like wax figures or elaborately painted anime statues. Freeza’s glass dome head looks like it could really break and the longer a fight goes on, the more the fighters are covered in scratches and wounds.  It was definitely playful, more accessible and easier to follow than J-Stars Victory and could be a nice newcomer in the Bandai Namco line-up.

Taiko No Tatsujin: Drum Session

Here follows a very subjective, hysterically pleased contribution to the best game of GamesCom. No, forget about Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Spider-Man, I’m talking about the real gaming boss, who will make you excited and sweaty. To the drum, get set, go!

It’s something magical that keeps me coming back to rhythm and music games. The Konga drums have been worked on for years on the Gamecube and there is hardly any more relaxing action than Chime or Lumines. So where did it take me on the first day of GamesCom right at the beginning? Of course to Taiko no Tatsujin on the showfloor! The arcade music fun spills from Asia now also to Europe and can be connected from this fall with drum peripherals to the Nintendo Switch or PlayStation 4. The principle is well-tried and perfected: notes race to a musical range from anarchic J-pop to ear-worming classics across the screen, and at the right time you want to hit the drumstick on the drum. Easy right!? 

The controls of Taiko have the “easy to learn, hard to master” principle. Red notes are struck on the eardrum, blue notes are played on the outside of the drum and big notes are hits with both sticks. Drum rolls are wildly (uncoordinated) smashed at lightning speed. What sounds easy, is quite tricky due to a rapid sequence of notes and tricky combination. The difficulty levels keep what they promise. If you are an experienced music game veteran you will do fine on medium setting, but the next stage is really nerve wrecking.

Great that the European edition gets almost the same song selection as the Japanese version.  A sugar-sweet look reminiscent of the Katamari games with a mix of anime-inspired designs and photo realistic backgrounds complete the fun. A true sensitive overflow for eyes, ears and tense hand muscles! I visited the Bandai Namco booth with high expectations and got exactly what I dreamed of. A rock-solid music game, in overdone Japan-style, full of catchy songs, which will certainly strain my nerves (and annoy the neighbors) for the next few years.

Soulcalibur VI

Six years after the release of Soul Calibur V, the fighting game gets its follower. Including: Geralt of Riva from CD Projekts the Witcher series. True to the motto “a happy guest is never a burden”, the Witcher reinforces Bandai Namcos fighting game and even comes along with English voice over. The game also gets a second story mode called “Libra of Souls,” where players can create their own character from 16 different races. The first story mode “Chronicle of Souls” has been known for some time now.

The battles take place once again in arenas surrounded by abysses. The goal is to beat the opponent with the strongest possible KO moves or throw him out of the arena. New mechanics with promising names such as “Reversal Edge” or “Lethal Hit” should help to further optimize the proven combat system. Our first impression: hard, epic and with a lot of impact. Soul Calibur VI does not show any nudity and is competing for the 2018 fighting game crown.

Twin Mirror

In Twin Mirror, journalist Sam Higgs returns to his hometown of Basswood. He left years ago for the death of an old friend. The return is difficult for him because his emotions and memories come up again. Despite his inner conflict, he tries to help people with his abilities and to clarify various cases.

Finding out the truth is not easy. At first, Sam appears to his double, who warns him not to go to the bathroom after getting up. Nevertheless, Sam decides to go in and finds the bloody shirt lying in the sink. However, since he can not remember anything, he can find out in the hotel room in the real world as well as in his Mind Palace, which key items led to his having landed there. At Mind Palace, Sam has the opportunity to play different scenarios that give him the memories of the past. For example, he can find clues in the room that help him in his search in the real world.

Twin Mirror is especially reminiscent of Life Is Strange, which was also developed by Dontnod Entertainment. Also recalling the function of remembering memories when the player thinks they have found the right combination is reminiscent of Max’s rewind ability. An example of this in Twin Mirror is that Sam realizes in the hotel room that he did not go to bed before going to sleep. A broken cell phone, a remote control and his seat print on the bed give him the clue to what he did. By the way, the right combination is that there is a hole in the wall next to the TV. The broken phone is on the ground, but Sam first has to find out how it got there.

11-11: Memories Retold

Bandai Namco will not only focus on Japanese in-house productions over the next few years, but will also increasingly release games from the West. One of the titles of this initiative is “11-11: Memories Retold”. We were allowed to watch the adventure in World War I at GamesCom.

The game is created in cooperation between the French developer DigixArt and the British animation studio Aardman (Wallace & Gromit). As a result, the title unfolds a very special look, reminiscent of a moving oil painting. Especially on the move, the digital brushstrokes look really fantastic and draw a glimpse of the First World War like you’ve never seen before. The very bright style with many different colors is a contrast to the really gruesome events that one experiences in a war. The look alone will certainly split the players, but if you want to see something different on your TV, you’ll be absolutely happy here. In addition, every moment of the game is actually worthy of hanging on the wall as a painting.

The story of “11-11: Memories Retold” revolves around the fortunes of Canadian Harry and German Kurt. Both have more or less their reasons why they go to war. Harry is more passionate about photography while Kurt, an engineer in a Zeppelin factory, is looking for his son Max, who is reported missing. It is also interesting that all German characters speak only German and all English-speaking characters also English. Only the two protagonists have spoken in English. In this demo (after a short blackout) the game kept switching between the two protagonists and we could see the sections why they go to war and how they face each other at the Battle of Vimy.

Playfully “11-11: Memories Retold” is an interactive, linear adventure where you can experience history in just under six hours. You steer Harry and Kurt from the third-person perspective and follow one goal at a time. The puzzles were so far simple. That sounds unspectacular, but that is not what this game is about. After all, there was still a bit of variety, as in the demo could also be played a cat, which chases after a white dove. The two animals then connect the paths of Harry and Kurt. But what exactly is behind it and how many scenes there will be, where you take the role of them, remains so far unknown. Overall we had our fun with the game, even though it may not appeal to everyone.

My Hero One’s Justice

There was also a new demo of My Hero One’s Justice , the new 3D fighting game of Cyber ​​Connect 2 based on the manga/ anime of My Hero Academia. My Hero One’s Justice is a 3D fighting game without excessive pretensions. It just wants to be a hymn to the animation work taken from Kohei Horikoshi’s manga, honoring its protagonists with a chaotic and spectacular gameplay.

At GamesCom we tried a demo dedicated to Duel mode, testing ourselves against AI opponents. Equipped with a very simple and immediate combat system, My Hero One’s Justice gives the impression of concentrating most of its efforts on fan service, recreating the movements and characteristics of the characters in a perfectly faithful way. A fighting game that wants to address mainly My Hero Academia fans, offering intuitive gameplay and a very accessible learning curve.

Cyberpunk 2077

*We couldn’t tell you at the time, but Bandai Namco their Daan “best account manager in the world” Hermans was super generous and got us in to the Cyberpunk 2077 presentation at GamesCom 2018 🙂

CD Projekt Red’s newest RPG is first person and takes place in Night City, a fictional city in California. In cyberpunk you take on the role of V. The developers showed us 50 minutes of live gameplay. We as an audience were able to make choices that influence the story. As a result, they showed that what we were seeing at the time was all real-time and therefore not a pre-recorded video. You start the game by creating a character. You can choose to be a female player or a male player. Your name will always remain “V”. You can then fully adjust your character to your own preferences. Nothing new for an RPG.

The first remarkable thing the developers managed to tell us is that the entire game is 100% seamless. You start the game, you load in the game and that’s it. No in-game loading screens! During the play through we have not seen any loading screens and moving your character in the city and in / out of buildings is completely without a loading screen. These are the first characteristics that characterise Cyberpunk 2077 as a creation that I have never seen before. Although only 50 minutes of the game was shown, it already looks like the most complete and extensive game made of all time. Why am I saying that? Not only will you not be bothered by loading screens, but you also shape the whole story in Cyberpunk.

You have a certain mission, how you carry it out is entirely up to you. Do you want to enter a black market exchange in the proper way and pay neatly? Which can. Do you want to run away as if nothing has happened? Fine. Or do you want to shoot the whole gang after the exchange? That is also possible! Really every mission in Cyberpunk, at least, that’s what it looks like right now, can be fully designed by you as a player.

As an example, a deal was made with a number of traders during the playthrough. We had to buy a spider bot. During this deal, we had the choice to inform the traders that malware was installed on the money chip. If we had not told this and they had found out, our visit would probably have ended less smoothly. Fortunately we were honest and the traders were grateful for that. Deal once closed and on the way to the exit the traders commented on V.’s clothing style. Result: We finish everyone.

As you can read, the developers have been very creative with the development of different approaches in different segments of the missions. This is not only the case in missions, but also in personalisation, upgrades and so on. You can choose to go to legal “doctors” to upgrade yourself, but if you look for something better, you will also come across some underground things that perform less legal acts. Fortunately for you as a player, these not so legal practices are a lot better. Where do you make the choice?

Night City is a city that is in full swing. You see different kinds of peoples wandering through the city, each with their own role in the world. Cyberpunks, businessmen, etc. The developers have worked hard to make the city look lively and, as far as we have been able to see, it has been quite successful.

* update 16-10-2018

About author

Jorge Wolters Gregório

Gamer dad who loves the classics, indies, racers and the occasional shooter. Have been in the industry for almost two decades now and am as enthusiastic as ever! #4theplayers

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