So Day 2 arrived, instead of an 11 o’clock start time, it was now a 9:00 start time. That’s two fewer hours of potential sleep. Yet there I was at 8:40 ready to tackle the second day. I knew I had to do either Nintendo’s booth first or Kingdom Hearts 3. I chose Nintendo’s and ended up in the Tennis Aces line, instead of Let’s Go Pikachu. Not sure how I chose or if it was the right choice, but I went with Tennis Aces.
So Tennis Aces is coming out in 9 days, not sure why there’s such a large amount of stations for the game. The game was set up for Lan Play, so no lag, two people to a team facing a team on the other side of the second set of monitors. The other team looked a bit clueless, so they continued to get tips while I got to know my partner. We shared some interests so we chatted as we prepared. The other side still looked worried so I knew we were going to dominate. Three matches later, and three painful losses handed to us, and we realized our mistake, maybe we should have asked more questions.
However overall the game played great, was a lot of fun, and even when I got hit in the face by the ball, I laughed quite a bit. No motion control required, and just a really interesting Tennis game. Not sure if I’ll pick it up personally, but it’s a great multiplayer game. If you have a couple of Switches, it’d be great for a four-person game. Not sure about single player but overall I had fun even with the losses.
So from there, I was led into a second cordoned off area for a bunch of Nintendo games. Someone with a Fortnite game suggested I join them. If that sounds good, you can play it yourself, it’s apparently launched on the Switch. (There are some issues with Ps4 and Switch that I’m not fully up to speed on, apparently you can’t transfer a game that has been on the PS4 to the Switch, which is a shame). Fortnite though can be downloaded and played right now for the Switch.
I’ve never played Fortnite before and I’m probably not going to become a serious Fortnite player, but it was a great experience. The ability for four people to gather around and play a game of Fortnite as a squad is something special. We had four different switches and were talking to beat others as a team. The squad ended up with 7th place out of what I assume is 25 and I drew first blood for our team. It played well, and if you have a Switch and like Fortnite, or just are curious, it is a free game and out right now. (PS: I actually played a couple more games, and it’s not going to be my game, but it plays well on the Switch.)
I played Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on the Switch as well. To be honest, there’s not much I can say positively here. The areas in the game were small, the game had loading times between areas, the fight wasn’t that interesting, and the experience was not something I would tackle a second time even if I had the game in my hand. It is an improved version of the 3DS Monster Hunter Generations, but I see the Switch as a full-fledged console and not just a portable and what I might have accepted on a portable isn’t as acceptable on the Switch. Still, I don’t know if I’d have accepted it on the Switch.
Following that I waited a long time for Overcooked 2, I teamed up with two other players who also have played the original and one newbie and tackled the new game. It’s certainly Overcooked, but it’s quite a bit more. The first level we played on seemed semi-normal though it was only 1-2 as a level. We got three stars (the highest grade) in it without a problem. The second level we tried (1-6) started as a hot air balloon, as we started to get a handle on serving salads out of a balloon (Seriously? Who made a kitchen in a balloon?) the level changed. The balloon crashed and suddenly we were in a kitchen serving both the salads and sushi rolls!
The third level we tackled was a spooky ghostly area where there was a set of stairs that kept switching sides, as well as portals to switch between areas. Honestly, this level (3-2 I believe) was overwhelming me, and everyone seemed to fall off the stairs. It was complex, but it was easy to utilize a new feature of Overcooked 2, you can now throw items. It adds a bit more strategy and it’s clear that levels like 3-2 can use it in interesting ways, with the stairs and different heights for the parts of the level, people can throw objects down to each other, but not up. Overcooked 2 does look quite interesting, I’m hoping it can deliver the same gameplay as the first, though my family has shown that Overcooked can lead to arguments, easily. Playing it also reminded me that I still have to review the original.
I finally got out of the Nintendo booth and all its demos and went next door to Sega, I had been eyeing a Yakuza demo but didn’t wait in line, though I was invited to play Team Sonic Racing. Honestly, that was one of the best invitations I got all day. I wasn’t sure how it would stand up to Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed (At least it doesn’t’ have as many words and letters), but I found a really interesting racer.
Sega wouldn’t say the words, but it’s clearly inspired by Mario Kart. However, the game emphasizes teamwork, allowing you to help boost your teammates, and you win as a squad or lose as a squad. The overall position of all three characters determines your position, so it’s better to work as a team, as well as having a “Team Ultimate” that lets you boost together. I had a lot of fun on my three laps, and the fact that it’s not only on the Switch means everyone will be able to play it. Will it beat Mario Kart 8? Maybe, maybe not, but I like the idea of having a good solid kart racer on my PC, as well as on PS4, and Xbox One.
So I met with some friends, and then I decided I wanted to get to play Kingdom Hearts 3. The good news is I got to play it, the bad news is I stood in the line for over two hours. I did make an excellent new friend, known as @Atlas_Risen on twitter. After the long wait, I got a chance to play Kingdom Hearts 3. Admittedly I haven’t played all the Kingdom Hearts games, and may have only played the original… when it first came out 15 years ago, which was back when I was in college. So how is it?
Well, compared to the original game back on the PS2, it’s amazing. Honestly, I had a blast playing it. It’s very colorful and vibrant and I had a good time. But there were a couple of things that I wasn’t on the same page on. There were two demos in the game, and the staff recommended skipping the story, so I didn’t see much (it’s all in the trailers). The first choice was a Boss level against a two headed Rock Titan boss. It was a solid level until you had to run up the boss’s legs to attack his head. There is a system to do it, but it only worked three out of five or six attempts. The game isn’t finished and, hopefully, they’ll polish that up but that was frustrating.
Then I tackled the Toy Story demo level which was really fun, and I loved the fact they used both Magic Mountain and Teacups from Disney World. It felt that the game has a bit of a theme park style (leading you to set pieces and big moments) but it’s a demo so they’re showing off everything you can do, and it is Kingdom Hearts, that’s the idea. The inclusion of Wreck-It Ralph was a welcomed surprise as well. It looks like Frozen and Tangled will also be in it, so it’s great to see modern Disney movies getting a Kingdom Hearts game.
So after playing that, I hit up Ubisoft. They had a ton of demos but not many interested me. I know Division, Skull and Bones, and Assassin’s Creed Origins will excite many, but long lines on demos from series that I think are well covered didn’t excite me. Instead, I found Trials Rising, the latest in that series. I have enjoyed a few of their games before and I decided to see what was new. Admittedly, I haven’t played the more recent games in the series, so I am not sure which pieces are new and what’s already been done.
So in Trials Rising there were a number of levels open, including a few contracts, which appears to be a new system which challenges you to something additional to a level, whether it be performing frontflips and backflips, beating a time, or beating a ghost. Not every level has a challenge, but I assume it means there are more difficult ways to play. There are a number of different ghosts on a level which works well to give you different challenge levels. The level design is just as crazy as ever but there was one level that was a ton of fun and challenge. “I fall tower”. The level kept moving higher and higher in the air and as I played it, I was more and more excited. That one level got me more interested in the game. I tend to only be able to beat half the levels in Trials, so I don’t know if I’ll pick it up. If you’re a fan of Trials and it’s completely physics-based levels, Rising looks like it’s going to be more of the same, and that’s what the fans are going to want. It’s a good game, I just don’t get as deep into them as I used to, especially when they really focus on the physics of the bike.
Finally, I tackled Jump Force as I heard it was a Shonen Jump crossover fighter. On paper that sounded really good, as for what I saw… well, I’d keep an eye on it. The game played a bit like Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and that’s not an awful comparison, but my real problem with it was that there were only about eight fighters available. You had Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, and One Piece. All of them have had fighting games already, and DBZ has perhaps too many fighting games. When I hear Shonen Jump I think Rurouni Kenshin. I know Death Note should be coming, but they weren’t playable. Ultimately, I think about Jump Super Stars, a crossover game already done in Japan for the DS for Shonen Jump and wonder if this game doesn’t have as full a roster due to licensing. I hope this one can be something really special and have an amazing case, but if it’s mostly DBZ, Naruto, and One Piece… well, I’m sure fans of those series will have a good time.
Standing in line for two hours for Kingdom Hearts 3 had worn me out, so after that point, I had played two more games and was done. With all those games played, I got out of the convention center and headed back to my actual home in LA traffic. Thinking about what I experienced and which games I enjoyed the most, I’ll talk a bit more about that in my conclusion, including a Game of the Show.