E3 2016: Tripwire

I’m going to start off this review with a bit of harsh truth in the name of full disclosure; I had never really heard of a company called Tripwire much before E3, and while I think I *may* have heard some talk about a game called Killing Floor a while ago, it never really caught my attention. The reason I bring this up is so that you take me seriously when I say that after experiencing a single play session of Killing Floor 2, it is now one of the only FPS shooter I have any desire to play again. Now, that’s a fairly bold statement to make for someone that just admitted to not being too familiar with he brand, so just bear with me here, and I’ll explain myself.

First and foremost, the games graphics are utterly amazing. Every aspect of the game looks as if it were torn from an HD movie, and when the premise of your game is built on carnage and horror, too much detail is never enough. Killing Floor 2 also has some very solid game play mechanics; the controls flow very well, and while there’s a lot of them, I never felt that I had to worry about pressing the wrong buttons. Loading times are fairly short, but during the occasions that you do have to wait, the loading screen presents you with plenty of information to refresh you and keep you on top of your game.

Technical aspects aside, KF2 also has some amazing mechanics behind it so far: there’s an impressively vast range of character classes to choose from, and each of these classes have multiple load out options that are almost entirely customization, so no matter what class you choose, you’re sure to start play with a loadout that will fit your style. And speaking of characters, along with whatever banter all you real people might be exchanging over headsets (and trust me, you’ll want to stay in live party chat for this game) the characters themselves will converse between levels, moments of downtime, or whenever they feel like talking to each other. One of my favorite moments of the demo was when I overheard two characters going from trash talking each other, to noticing how it got very quiet too quickly for any good to come of it. This brings me to my absolute favorite part of KF2: the AI. I’d like to think that in my decades of playing games, I’ve accumulated a decent amount of experience working both with and against AI characters. But nothing, and I mean *nothing* compares to the AI behind KF2’s enemies.

All in all, to say that I’m looking forward to Killing Floor 2 is a gross understatement. And if this is just a tiny example of what TripWire is capable of, I’ll be keeping my eyes out for any and all future products of theirs for years to come.

E3: Koei Tecmo

This year, Koei Tecmo had two big games to announce; Attack on Titan, and Nioh. If both of these sound familiar to you, it’s because they should. Attack on Titan is a game based on an anime, based on a manga, and has been becoming pretty popular, largely due to the amount of gore in the series. Likewise, Nioh is essentially what happens when you take the Dark Souls series and soak it in Japanese culture, and I mean that in the entirely best of ways. It first became popular earlier this year when they released the Alpha demo. I’ll be going over both of these briefly below.

While Attack on Titan has lovely cell-shaded graphics and a hefty amount of features, it is most certainly not something I’d consider to be a pick-up-and-play game. Levels are long, with missions and quests appearing somewhat sporadically, having little effect on the overall level. And while basic movement controls are somewhat simple, controls switch radically when switching to combat mode, and taking on enemies requires you to change back and forth quite constantly, making it difficult to remember what you’re supposed to be pressing and when. Furthermore, successfully attacking enemies requires not only hitting them in a precise spot, but doing so while targeting that spot, and not hitting them elsewhere. In fact, not targeting a spot before hitting it will have little to no effect at all, other than damaging your weapon. Which brings me to another issue: resources for repairing your weapon or refueling your boost line are somewhat few and far between. For those of you that enjoy a challenge, this game is totally for you, but unless they do some scaling back on the precision required, casual gamers might wanna take this one on easy mode. Difficulties aside, the game has its merits. The cast from the anime is all present and accounted for, and your AI partners do a decent job at helping you out. Each character has special abilities, and the voice acting isn’t as ridiculously over the top, as other anime-based games tend to be. All in all, if you’re a fan of the series, check it out, just be warned that there’s a rather steep learning curve.

Continuing on the theme of punishing learning curves, Nioh, like the other games of it’s type, is very difficult at first. I played the demo when it first came out, and even still I spent the first 10 minutes being slaughtered by the same enemy repeatedly while I tried various strategies to get around him. Just like its peers though, there’s something incredibly satisfying about finally killing something that has a history of viciously murdering you. As to be expected, the graphics are top notch, and combat is fairly fluid. Unlike its counterparts however, Nioh has some pretty cool ways of making combat interesting that deviate away from just blocking and parrying., in the form of special attacks, ninja abilities, and sub weapons.  What really takes the cake though is the guardian spirit aspect, which can power you up in a variety of ways, and come in useful against mini-bosses and full bosses. And while I’ve never been a big fan of Dark Souls or Demon Souls or Bloodborne, this game has me both intrigued and slightly hooked.

All in all, Koei Tecmo has some decent games coming out. They might not both exactly be my particular cup of tea, but they still look fun for those that are interested, and neither of them have flaws that can’t be overlooked. I look forward to seeing what else they put out this year, and playing both of these when they finally release.


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