Hidden away down a small road in Richmond is the Bandai Namco UK building. It would not be unusual if trying to locate the place you walked past it several times before spotting the small and unassuming Bandai Namco sign next to the door. Within its wall's waited rooms filled with the latest and greatest games due to be published by Bandai Namco over the course of 2017. We were given the chance to play through Bandai Namcos 2017 games and give you our thoughts.
It is hard to believe that it has been six years since the last Tekken game. Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was the last game to be released on console back in 2011. Tekken 7 has been out in Japanese arcades since 2015, and after many updates and balancing changes it will finally arrive on console in July of this year. Boasting a huge cast of characters and multiple gameplay modes Tekken 7 is looking to be the next big thing on the fighting game scene.
Tekken still remains the most accessible fighting game to date. You never feel like you are missing out with Tekken and 7 still lives up to this style of gameplay. With the few games played at the event each move and hit felt connected and powerful. That is what Tekken has always excelled at, making a player feel like a master without having them input complex combos. That isn’t to say that Takken isn’t for the hardcore fighting game enthusiast. At the event a group of guys exclusively played the game and some of the abilities on show were exceptional. Unfortunately only the multiplayer side of the game was available for us to play but the game does come with a story mode.
From the small indie studio Mojo Bones comes the survival game Impact: Winter. You play as Jacob, the leader of a group of survivors trying to survive for thirty days in a rundown church as help slowly and surely makes it way to you. The usual survival elements are here with you going out collecting resources such as food, water, building supplies and so on to keep your group of survivors alive long enough for the rescue party to arrive. It is an interesting concept and what we got to play was intriguing but that doesn’t mean it didn’t suffer from problems. It is early days for Impact: Winter so understand that the problems highlighted will more than likely be fixed by the time the game comes out.
Within the demo we got to play it had an extensive tutorial of every system the game wanted to show off. This however made the whole experience a chore to play. Textbox after textbox told us elements of the game we couldn’t hope to understand at that point in the demo. Eventually, we get to the meat of the game and it was so marred by the tutorial that it was painful to play through. Other than that tutorial, the game has some interesting concepts in place. The group of survivors each have daily tasks for you to complete but you can only focus on one of the characters at a time. Do you want to expand your technology or improve your food supplies? The exploration of the game also comes with an interesting mechanic of giving the player a limited supply of energy within your robot companion, Ako-Light. This means if Ako-Light stops working while outside, you are left with no light and no map, this will kill you pretty quickly. Hopefully on full release Impact: Winter will create a better tutorial that doesn’t completely overload the play at the start.
Project Cars 2
A technical marvel indeed and one of the best looking games at the event. Project Cars 2 comes hot off the heels of the first but with more involved. As stated the game looks fantastic with its weather effects and incredibly high detailed cars. The driving is unforgivably difficult but this is a simulation of driving and not something that follows in the footsteps of Need for Speed. When you play Project Cars 2 you are investing in a lifestyle of racing and not a fantasy. This is a simulation in every single aspect.
Bandai Namco also had Project Cars 2 set up with a VR rig that included a wheel, pedals and racing seat. It placed you in the driving sheet and you really do feel immersed. Looking around you can see everything within the car from the dashboard to the speedometer, along with just about everything else you can imagine when driving a car. The racing continues to be the same but you are completely immersed within it. One particular moment occurred where the sun came up over the race track and blinded me while driving. That was a spectacular demonstration of how powerful VR can be within the racing genre.
This was the absolute highlight of the event. An exploration horror puzzle game that looks like each environment and character came straight from the mind of Guillermo Del Toro. Aesthetically it is a masterpiece even this early on in development. Everything has a modelling clay style to it that just makes everything that extra bit creepy. That is definitely the mood and style the game achieves even this early on. It is very creepy and unsettling to play. Little to no music was present in the demo and it left you with ambience of the ship type area you were moving through - the sound of metal under extreme amounts of pressure and leaking pipes. It has vague reminders of Bioshock’s Rapture but with the creepy turned up to eleven.
The demo has you playing as a little girl in a bright yellow raincoat. Using parts of the environment it is your job to work your way through this nightmarish underwater to reach a kind of goal. The overall goal was never stated in the demo but hints at a bigger story were there. Raincoat has a few abilities at her disposal. These come in the form of a trusty lighter than can be used to light certain objects on fire and the ability to drag boxes and other items around. Using a combination of these abilities you have to progress. The enemy that was present in the demo was a blind short creature with impossibly long snake like arms. Before catching you he would let out this panic-inducing scream that had us running in game and eventually leaving the demo. Little Nightmares is shaping up to be something special and with a release in April we won’t have to wait long to never sleep again.
Bandai Namco has already released some cracking games this year in the form of Digimon World: Next Order and Tales of Berseria. But going forward Bandai Namco will be offering up some great titles from AAA studios and indies alike, and we can’t wait to play them on release.