Bandai Namco brought a lot to Gamescom, from Jump Force to One Piece and everything in between, I played it all. I wasn’t able to capture any gameplay so all gameplay will be sourced elsewhere and linked with my impressions following afterward!
Man of Medan
Did you like Until Dawn? You’ll love Man of Medan. With an atmospheric setting on a haunted ship, cheesy and expendable characters and an intriguing mystery to delve into then the formula is in place for MoM to be a hit. You’ll be able to choose dialogue options which will impact the story as you play, characters will die or suffer if you make mistakes or even if you choose to allow it. The upcoming Supermassive games’ Dark Picture Anthology is taking a very impressive first step.
Anticipation for Jump Force before Gamescom: 0. Nada. Zilch. Absolutely none. Anticipation for Jump Force after Gamescom: Some. The few minutes of fights I played hardly gave an indication of what the game is, what content will be on offer or how it’ll evolve and develop into a full meta game. What can I say then? It was fun. The moment to moment gameplay is enjoyable, it’s over the top and exciting just like anime should be. The gameplay is very reminiscent of the Xenoverse series and I really loved Xenoverse 2. Now that I’ve played it I’m really looking forward to knowing more.
I have one memory of Soulcalibur. On PS3 I and my brother would play a lot. I would always main Darth Vader. He would always annihilate me. I was terrible at it. Really really rubbish. Since then I have a little more fighting game experience, in the four matches I played in the demo I managed flawless victories in two. The game flows wonderfully, the graphics are beautiful, animations are magnificent and combos are fluid and satisfying to pull off. Series fans have been very excited about this and I think they’ll be pleased when they get their hands on it 19th October 2018.
One Piece World Seeker
I have never watched an episode of One Piece. I have never played a One Piece game. I really enjoyed One Piece World Seeker! Coming 2018 to PS4, Xbox One and PC you’ll step into Luffy’s shoes and explore an expansive world. You have plenty of combat abilities and the opportunity to develop these as you play. Combat is integral to the game and in the demo, I was able to take on a boss after battling my way up a hill. Your abilities allow you to cover distance, change stances to be quicker or stronger and more as you defeat your foes. It’s being touted as the biggest One Piece game to date to celebrate the series’ 20th anniversary. What I can say as an outsider coming in, it’s beautiful. The cartoon graphics are really popping.
11-11: Memories Retold
Ever seen a game this beautiful? I hadn’t. 11-11 is incredibly special. Bandai Namco is collaborating with the legendary Aardman, of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run fame, to bring us this living painting. Each scene features thousands of brush strokes per second as characters are animated in this representation of World War One. The very personal story is inspired by true events and will take you to both sides of one of the world’s largest and most devastating conflicts. Still not sold on it? What if I told you Frodo himself was also lending his voice to Canadian soldier Harry. Bandai is pulling out all the stops to assist talented studio DigixArt in this incredibly ambitious and beautiful project. You’ll find out what happens at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 on November 9th, 2018.
Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown
On January 18th you’ll be taking to the skies on Xbox One or PS4. PSVR owners get a bonus with exclusive missions for that platform. The series’ graphics have taken an impressive step forward here and the addition of dynamic weather signals Ace Combat’s step into this console generation. The game promises an immersive storyline and the mission I played had a lot of dialogue and character interaction. PS VR remains the selling point of this title and I hope there’ll be a demo for this mode closer to release.
Another surprise from Bandai Namco. The strong resurgence of narrative driven titles at Gamescom 2018 was amazing, Twin Mirror is a powerful example. Samuel wakes up with no memory of the night before, a situation we’ve all been in, however with one key difference to what most of us experience: the shirt covered in blood. You’ll piece context clues together and take advantage of Sam’s mind palace to uncover what occurred the night before. Based on the demo this will be as much a puzzle game as a horror thriller and from what I played I was desperate to find out more. Your choices will be vital to the outcome and Sam’s interactions with those around him.
I also got to play Dragon Ball FighterZ on Nintendo Switch, which is very close to release. This version of the game is excellent, I didn’t notice any performance issues whatsoever. All in all, I went into Bandai’s Gamescom with low expectations. I don’t like fighting games. I don’t watch anime outside of occasionally Dragon Ball. I missed the Supermassive announcement while I was traveling. 11-11 and Twin Mirror I simply didn’t know enough about to be excited. I come out of Gamescom thoroughly impressed with Bandai Namco. This is a company who have found their groove. They’re expanding into unique and interesting products. They’re mixing up the way they take advantage of the many licenses available to them. They’re producing fan service with sequels to beloved franchises. This is a confident company willing to prove it. Bring it on.