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Namco Bandai E3 2019 Recap

June 16th, 2019 by Crowbar Comments

Namco Bandai had a lot to show this E3 and I was pleasantly surprised with what they had.

However, I was disappointed to not see Digimon Survive, a tactical Digimon game that announced last year that still has not hit the states. But Code Vein (which I thought had already come out) was shockingly fun despite how much I hate the “Souls-like” genre. Man of Medan was something I had never heard of until I got to E3. Then there was Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. If I was to rank the three in terms of enjoyment, DBZ: K is 1st, Code Vein 2nd, and Man of Medan 3rd.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was initially announced as “Project Z: Action RPG”. Many people speculated what it would be. What I got from the gameplay demo was a bigger, 3D version of the old school Legacy of Goku games on the Gameboy Advance. Which I adore.

The game revolves around the pivotal stories about Kakarot (Goku) during the franchise’s history. How far Namco Bandai is going with Goku’s story has not been revealed but I hope it goes at least to the end of the Buu Saga. Ideally, it goes to the end of Super, but that is a lot of content to include right out of the gate. DLC scenarios would be nice for DBZ Super content.

The gameplay is simple, you have Ki Blasts (energy balls) and melee attacks. You can dodge, fly, launch specials like the Kamehameha. The demo showed side quests, open-world mechanics, and an epic fight against Goku’s brother Raditz. An interesting comment made by the intro video we were shown was the game intentionally scale the bosses higher depending on which fight you are in. Remember how Raditz completely punks Goku in the first fight? Well, they translated that into the game.

Raditz has bigger moves, faster attacks, and much higher HP than Goku does. He’s able to withstand a lot of standard melee attacks when charging up and can easily dodge your super attacks. The immersion of the Raditz fight was great despite only being a demo.

Namco Bandai wants us to know that this is not a true Open World game. While there is an emphasis on exploring, you cannot go about and do anything at any time. That takes away from Goku’s story. This mechanic is great for people like me who enjoy a lot of content. But not everything is available all at once like in other open world games (Witcher 3, Just Cause, Assassin’s Creed IV).

They’ve added original stories with characters we haven’t seen adult Goku interact with, like Nam, the Hindu fighter Kid Goku fought in the World Tournament in Dragon Ball. The demo was only 20 minutes but it was enough to see how the RPG elements add an extra layer to the DBZ experience without breaking the game. This game’s combat is a lot like Xenoverse but without the complexity of loadouts and more of the storytelling of Legacy of Goku.

When Code Vein was announced and detailed as a challenging action game with vampires, people simply called it anime Dark Souls. And that is exactly what it is. The demo I found was a bit more forgiving with standard enemies. The character movements were much more responsive and I found it a lot easier to dodge, block, and deflect than in Dark Souls titles. I didn’t beat the boss at the end of the level but I know if I had a bit more time I would have won.

It felt like I could beat the game and didn’t keep me pulverized into the ground to the point where I wanted to give up. The game stacks the odds in the enemy’s favor by allowing you to get outnumbered but because of the tight and responsive controls, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is challenging, but not overly punishing to the point where it isn’t enjoyable. You have a wide array of combos that can be interrupted if you aren’t careful. The game makes you plan out your over-the-top anime fighting style and rewards you handsomely for it. You can switch between two different weapons on a whim but I found the standard longsword to be the most fun and accessible. I may actually get this game. I like the style and gameplay.

Man of Medan is a game I had never heard of but hey, I wanted that T-Shirt. So I played it and I liked what I saw. The ability to see how different choices changed your ending is something we see all the time these days for narrative-driven horror titles. This time though, it takes place on a haunted ship. The game’s choice mechanic hinges on how you make your choices, with emotion or logic.

The game doesn’t have much beyond solving puzzles and walking around, but the simplicity allows you to enjoy the story. I want to see more because the demo was just a teaser taste. The visuals were pretty awesome too.

All of the games are multiplatform. Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is for PS4, PC, and Xbox One with no release date. Code Vein is also for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 set to release September 27, 2019. Man of Medan is for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 set to release August 30, 2019.

Crowbar is an angry young man, but he knows his games. We all have our passions and his come alive when his digital self is hammering baddies, solving puzzles or flying. He also has a penchant for dressing like giant penguins, but we promised him we wouldn't mention it.