Namco’s next batch looks unmissable
With Gamescom all wrapped up for another year and none of us here at GGS having made the trip, Namco invited us over to have a quick look at some of their upcoming games. With Supermassive Games’ return to the fray with Man of Medan, Dontnod’s latest IP: Twin Mirror, and the 11-11 Memories Retold from Aardman and Digixart all on show, it seems like player decision was the motif of Namco’s Post-Gamescom show, but have a read and see what we made of the games on offer.
The Dark Pictures Anthology: Man of Medan (Supermassive Games, 2019)
Those crazy kids behind Until Dawn, Supermassive Games, are at it again it seems. This time around they’re swapping out a creepy cabin in the woods for a ship in the middle of an ocean – well if the demo we played is anything to by anyway.
We only played the opening 15 minutes or so but we saw enough to see that all the things that made Until Dawn a new kind of horror game are very much present and accounted for in Man of Medan. A captain by the name of Fliss is stuck couriering a group of 20-somethings across the ocean to explore a shipwreck and, by some series of events, Fliss and one of her passengers, Brad, are being escorted through a part of the derelict ship at gunpoint. Read more…
Twin Mirror (Dontnod, 2019)
It’s difficult to see how Dontnod have managed to find time to work on another new IP this year, having already wrapped up Before the Storm, releasing Vampyr, Adventures of Captain Awesome, and with Life is Strange 2 on the cusp of release. But Twin Mirror sticks to their tried and trusted episodic style, as well as their weird… surreal tone of game.
Unlike the teenage drama that plagues Life is Strange, Twin Mirror puts you in the shoes of an actual adult by the name of Sam. In the demo we played, poor old Sam wakes up without much knowledge of what happened the night before and he when he stumbles upon a bloodied shirt in the bathroom, he naturally begins to freak out a tad. Read more…
11-11: Memories Retold (November 9, 2018)
11-11: Memories Retold take players on two intertwining stories, following Harry, a Canadian teenager who gets drafted into the war as a photographer, and Kurt, a German soldier who has joined the army in search of his son.
Compared to the likes of Man of Medan and Twin Mirrors, 11-11 is very much a slow-burner. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of challenging gameplay, it’s more a series of fetch quests that ask you to go around the corner to get a box of ammo, drag an ally from a fire to get a lever, or run upstairs to pick up some wine – so if you were looking for a all-out war game, look elsewhere.
Instead, the onus is very much on the story and whilst Kurt’s might be a little cut and paste, Harry’s story of a budding photographer turned soldier looks like it could offer a something fairly unique. Of course, both of these stories cross paths on the battlefield, with our demo finishing on one such encounter.
Add to this a design drenched in watercolour visuals, turning the game into a blurry flutter of colour, and 11-11 looks set to a game for a rainy Sunday. I hesitate on casting a vote on 11-11, it didn’t leave much of a mark on me, but the more I’ve thought about it, it seems like there’s a clever focus on the stories that unfolded under the arch of war – and the fact that we got to play as a cat for the final section of the game certainly earns it some extra points. If you’re looking for something a little different, 11-11: Memories Retold certainly checks that box, just whether or not being different is enough to make it good is a whole other story though.
One Piece: World Seeker ( Ganbarion, 2018)
I’d never heard of One Piece until Viki and I played a bit of Jump Force at an earlier visit to Namco. And whilst that upcoming series crossover has a lot to offer in terms of fun combat and a roster that’ll have any anime fan drooling, World Seeker didn’t really have much to get us interested.
We played through a section of the first level where the simplicity of the game really showed. Combat is limited to a close up combo that never changes, ranged attacks, the chance to sneak up and take guards out with takedowns – that are limited to one or two variations, and a couple of special attacks as you go along beating up a handful of grunt variations to get to the top of a hill. From there, you’re confronted by a villain from the series (don’t as me who) and a generic boss fight unfolds.
World Seeker tries to bring back the classic hack and slack but there are two issues; one, the hack and slack has already been bought back and improved by plenty of other games, and two, it ignores any kind of improvement to the genre, instead taking the gameplay backwards and limiting everything to only a handful of combat choices.
There’s little point to World Seeker apart from cashing in on a popular anime series. If you’re a fan of One Piece, I’d suggest waiting for Jump Force but if you’re adamant about picking World Seeker up well, it looks quite nice.
Ace Combat 7 (Namco, January 18, 2019)
It’s more of the same from the Ace Combat series. We got to play through two wildly different environments, the first seeing us fly through a huge, open desert as we took out artillery guns and enemy ground forces in order to provide a distraction for ally forces. The second mission saw us having to deal with enemy fire as well as the weather with a thick cloud of fog hiding the numerous cliffs and mountains that are trying to pluck you from the air.
Naturally, as with each iteration of Ace Combat, the flying seems so much smoother this time around – and considering it’s been 11 years since Ace Combat 6 that should really be a given. It’ll still take newcomers a while to get used to the manoeuvres, but bobbing and weaving through cliffs felt incredibly reactive with the aircraft’s movement making even us look like we’re any good at flight simulators.
We got a look at four aeroplanes and the customisation that’s on offer, with each ship coming with different stats allowing you to change up your style depending on the obejective at hand. The artillery you carry is also changeable, letting you pick from gaudy rockets that just scream “death from above” but take a little longer to reload, and smaller rockets that deal less damage but fire and reload a lot quicker.
There’s not much to say about the series now, the gameplay hasn’t changed from previous titles to be honest and whilst it’ll be nice to see the iconic series make a return, I do wonder whether there’s room in our games library for a flight combat simulator from the yesteryear of gaming.
But what do you think? Which of Namco’s lineup has you most excited? Let us know in the comments below!