Last night I returned home from PAX AUS 2014. Long story short, it wasn't perfect, but it was quite possibly the best weekend I've had this year. It was a lot of fun. If you'd like to continue reading, the long story is just below.
Buckle up. This is gonna be...
First off, Bandai Namco wants to make sure that its name is now Bandai Namco throughout all territories. The change may be difficult since the name "Namco Bandai" is still buried in our minds and some official websites have yet to update their URLs and such, but regardless, the Japanese arrangement of Namco Bandai is now permanent. Just keep that in mind moving forward.
That aside, despite Bandai Namco showing off its entire catalogue this year (or close to it) at the well-embellished Hard Rock Hotel in ritzy Las Vegas to GR's Ryan Bates and yours truly, the publisher's message was simple, short, and sweet. The company realizes the potential of free-to-play games, and its new IP, to everyone's surprise, is Rise of Incarnates.
While we didn't hear much about Ni No Kuni 2 , the developer's collaboration on Super Smash Bros. on Wii U and 3DS, or the now-fabled Tekken X Street Fighter, Rise of Incarnates is currently a PC exclusive featuring 2-vs-2 battles based on the popular Gundam Versus franchise in Japan. And it will be entirely free-to-play with minimal microtransactions, so we'll hold the developers to their promise.
In addition to Bandai Namco's aggressive plans for building its presence in Latin America, the publisher will continue its efforts in securing annualized titles for our favorite anime-based video games, many of which you will find previewed in the embedded gallery.below our full preview coverage. Some of the GameRevolution team, including myself, already saw a few of the titles shown at an earlier showcase, like Ranko Tsukigime's Longest Day, but no doubt most deserved a second look.
You can click on the logo of the game below to read our full preview.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam has taken about a three-year hiatus since its last foray, giving enough time for Tecmo Koei and Sunrise to recalibrate the franchise. Based on the Japanese animation that made mobile tech suits extremely popular throughout the world, Dynasty Warriors Gundam Reborn will follow the universal century timeline in Official Mode, where players can view more than fifty scenes licensed straight from the movies and the original airing of the series. Playable scenarios from Gundam Seed and Unicorn will fill the mode for content.
Over 100 mobile suits including new ultra-powerful Pilot MA units will be available, most of which can be manned in Ultimate Mode, where players can select a mobile suit from any timeline. One mech in particular was able to lift off the floor, fire a beam toward the ground, and twirl in the air like a ballerina of death.
From the hands-off demo the developers showed, the game will have more realistic graphics with better lighting reflections and glow. The developers confirmed that the game will have over 100 hours of content, offline and online multiplayer, and Japanese voiceovers with English subtitles. Dynatsty Warriors Gundam Reborn will arrive July 2014 as a PS3 digital exclusive.
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle
Out of all the manga-driven video games out there, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is one of the lesser-known, slightly underappreciated ones despite the manga having sold over 80 million copies worldwide and a high-definition version released on PS3 and Xbox 360 by Capcom in August 2012. With CyberConnect2 behind the wheel of this installment published by Bandai Namco, All-Star Battle will feature all eight story arcs of the manga with over 40 playable characters and spruce up the 3D visuals with outlines to mimic the original source.
All-Star Battle works just as most fighting games do, but comes with a dodge button and a "Style" button that imparts special techniques to each character, whether that Style is Vampirism, Hamon, Mounted, Mode, Stand, and the bombastically-named Baoh Armed Phenomenon. By winning scenarios in Story Mode, players can earn gold for additional support items, and at the end, they can even experience the mode over again as the antagonists. Not bad for replay value, eh?
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle will release exclusively for PS3 on April 29, 2014.
One Piece Unlimited World Red
Developed by Ganbarion Co., One Piece Unlimited World Red continues the annualized One Piece franchise in the States but this title works somewhat differently than the One Piece Pirate Warriors series. On paper, it's just about the same idea, with the One Piece protagonists hitting and bashing their way through a ridiculous amount of marines and rival pirates.
This time around, though, the emphasis on a core set of nine characters, including Luffy, Nami, Chopper, Usopp, Robin, and Zoro, and on the ability to take three people as a team into a mission and switch between them at will (with the other two acting via AI control).
While this means that the character roster will be limited (still hoping that I can play as Smoker), the developers can focus on a core storyline based around an island town that serves as a hub for various missions. Over time, the town will grow as Luffy and his motley crew complete tasks, catch fish and bugs, hunt for treasure, and craft items.
But I can't forget the best part: One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda has created several new characters for the game, perhaps in part due to the 15th anniversary of the manga. The first is Pato, a raccoon who wears an adorable pink hoodie and has the power to create anything drawn on a leaf. The second is an insane pirate who's likely a central antagonist, but we won't know for sure until One Piece Unlimited World Red releases July 2014 on PS3, Vita, and 3DS.
Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution
Okay, no jokes about how long the title for these Naruto games has gotten over the years. (Or we'll be here all day.)
By now, developer CyberConnect2 has perfected the art of the Naruto fighting series with how many installments they've made already, and this year Ninja Storm Revolution will the biggest ever, with more than 100 playable characters on the roster. A tag team of two characters will be also able combine forces together for Combined Ultimate Jutsu attacks, which will be unique to specific pairings.
Similar to One Piece Unlimited World Red, Naruto manga artist Masashi Kishimoto has created a new character, this one named Mecha-Naruto who spoofs on the title character by talking robotically and shooting lasers. On top of that, Ninja Storm Revolution will delve into The Two Uchiha, which fans of the manga and animation will recognize, as well as the creation story of the Akatsuki and how the group formed in the first place.
Look for Naruto Storm Revolution to release on Xbox 360, PS3, and Steam on September 2014, along with Day One bonuses across all retailers with special Naruto and Sasuke costume packs.