Nintendo has provided a blend of indie games and titles from popular franchises, at this year’s Eurogamer Expo. Many people have visited the booth and queued for the forthcoming releases, and it featured a swag wheel, cosplayers, and a special room for filming people telling about their experiences with Nintendo. I’ve been to Earl’s Count and spent most of Thursday checking out new titles, from QUBE to Mario Kart 8, to Bayonetta 2. Here are my opinions on this year’s titles that I have seen and played:
I’m sure people out there are curious to know on how good the sequel to Bayonetta is, and I’ve played a small part of it during the expo. The show demo contains a level based on the recent trailer, in which Bayonetta tackle various angels on a plane, and use her new abilities to tackle a huge monster. It’s a long demo but because it had a slightly long queue, I’m only granted about 10 minutes to play it through.
The game features the same winning formula from the 2009 original – which is good – where the player can make combos with kicks, punches and tricks. It comes with a return of the slow-motion ability ‘Witch Time’, awarded for correctly dodging the foe’s attacks, as well as Torture Attacks, QTE’s and medal ranks awarded for performance in each part of the stage. It does have a few new features and tweaks, including the most obvious, the powerful (ultimate?) climax that can be activated during the battle for huge attacks, and punishment attacks that work like grabs, leading to button-mashing sequences.
I had a blast with the game, as I was whipping out combos and huge damage to enemies. It really feels like an improved version of Bayonetta, but that can also sound like a fairly bad thing, since it didn’t show a lot of unique features in gameplay. It even used the Wii U Gamepad only for off-screen play, unless it’s used for touch-sensitive controls, instead of the traditional button scheme. But I did see a huge difference in an array of enemies to fight, and even a bigger focus on boss battles. I can safely say that Bayonetta 2 is not likely to disappoint fans, as the gameplay is still great, and if it’s going to shine with fresh batch of levels and foes in the final release, then that would be splendid.
Sonic Lost World
I fetched a go on this latest Sonic game, and I have to say that this is a fantastic sequel to Sonic Colours. It’s closer to the cancelled game Sonic X-Treme than Super Mario Galaxy, in which Sonic runs forward through the parts of the stage via the Crash-Bandicoot-style camera angle; in fact, even the other worlds don’t have planets as stage parts, and each of them involves in getting to the goal point or two. The level design there is brilliant, as it’s easy for Sonic to reach secret places, and it has sections in which the player needs to jump on the right platforms, in order to go for the next part. Casino world, for example, has got laser lines flowing over the floor for the player to avoid, as he/she collects the silver coins dotted on the stage, which gives out points upon finishing the part of the level. There’s even a pinball sub-stage, in which the player use flippers to shoot Sonic into bumpers, and hopefully into a hole to the exit.
I believe it runs on the ‘Hedgehog Engine’ of Sonic Unleashed, for that it looks impressive at 60 fps, but it looks vibrant, cartoony and nicely shaded, which could please many gamers who always wanted a Looney Tunes style to Sonic games. The controls are also very good, especially with the dash ability of the previous games being replaced with a run button, so Sonic can now either ‘walk’ or run at player’s will. The Wii U gamepad is even put to a good use, as the screen shows on how far Sonic has progressed through the stage; it can be touched on as well to control Sonic’s ‘colours’ abilities. For instance, I’ve made some swipes on the screen in order to aim with laser ability, and shoot through a section of the level.
It was a very good demo, and it got me convinced that Sonic Lost World could turn out to be one of the best in the series so far. It got it right on the camera, the levels, and the graphical style, which will appeal to gamers of many types and it’s not just the fans. The game will come out on 18th October (or the 29th in the US), so it won’t be long before we can finally breeze through the “lost world”.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
This should-not-be-overlooked game was also on show, and I get to play on it with a Wiimote-Nunchuk combo. Well the gamepad was not used for the demo, but it should be compatible with classic controls for the final release, I hope. I’ve played one level of this game, and so far it’s quite fun (should’ve came back for an extra turn). There’s a good amount of platforming, shooting from barrels and carrying objects, like in the 3DS and Wii releases of DK Country Returns. There’s even rocket-pack support with Diddy Kong, giving Donkey an extra jump boost.
I haven’t played the 2010 original, which would otherwise allow me to notice some new changes to the gameplay. But after some research on the net, I’ve realised that I have actually swam on the underwater sections, which are new to the game. The player would use (ground stomp) to make DK swim to the top and take out foes. I also found a new feature of pullable sprouts in the level, which after plucking them out, it revealed more platforms leading to the exit. These got me fascinated.
I have no doubt that Tropical Freeze will feature a bunch of improvements, and the demo does indeed display some of them. Also the graphics are surprisingly good, especially it’s got actual ‘fur’ on the kongs and the gameplay runs well at 60 fps. All that should make up for some brilliant levels, and this is something that people should really get excited about. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is delayed towards 2014, which is a shame, but Retro Studios should hopefully make use of the time to smooth out the game, and ensure that it’s going to be a classic on the Wii U.
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