Crystar’s Gaming Round-Up: 8/29/21
Gamescom Announcements Headline A Busy Week
I do like doing these round-ups in bulk if possible, which is why I’ve been spacing these out. Let’s get started then. Lots to cover.
Pokémon Presents is always done separately than the other Nintendo IPs, so they had their own 27 minute presentation here. With Pokémon being the largest media franchise in the world, it naturally has enough to show to fill in those 27 minutes worth of time.
The show led off with the newest Pokémon game, Pokémon Unite. Unite is the franchise’s foray into the MOBA genre. While much wasn’t really announced for the game here, Pokémon Unite’s mobile port got a release date for September 22nd, 2021. If 2.5 million people preregister for the mobile version of the game, all players will receive franchise mascot Pikachu for free as a playable character, alongside a cosmetic outfit for them.
New content for the game was kept vague beyond teaser trailers for Mamoswine and Sylveon coming to the game eventually as brand new playable characters.
Just like another Pokémon mobile game in Pokemon Masters EX — Pokémon Cafe Remix got a name change. They didn’t say much for this game specifically, but it appears it’ll get a revamp overall — with new puzzles, new Pokémon and more. The update is coming this Fall.
A small teaser for Pokemon Masters EX was made here as well, teasing N in a different outfit with Reshiram for the second anniversary of the mobile gacha game. Later, we found that the other units for the Anniversary would be Lillie and Lunala, along with Steven and a shiny Rayquaza capable of Mega Evolution.
Next, we got a much more extensive look at Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. As you can see above, character models strike the same poses as the original, and improvements have been made to the game’s visuals overall since the last showing of it. It’s not particularly amazing by any means, but it certainly looks better.
Features from the original games have returned, but greatly expanded. Not only can players dig for items like the original, the Grand Underground now has better base building. Pokémon now appear in hideaways around the Grand Underground. By this, it seems Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are using the Platinum version of Sinnoh’s PokéDex.
Seals were a feature in the original games that allowed the player to decorate the animation of Pokémon releasing from their respective capsules. In the original DS games, the touch screen was used for this, but it appears its been overhauled and expanded for the remakes on the Nintendo Switch.
Trainer customization returns in the remakes as well, a feature that’s been part of the series since Generation VI. While it doesn’t seem it’s completely customizable like other games or even like the previous games in Sword and Shield, there are at least other outfits that the player can swap into like Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee.
Contests were a side feature in the original as well. Super Contest Shows are a more rhythm-style game where players attempt to put the audience in awe the best they possibly can after dressing their Pokémon up.
The Union Room returns as well, which was the method for players to battle and trade Pokémon with one another online. This returns in the remakes for both online and local gameplay.
Lastly, following Pokémon from Let’s Go return as well. The presentation was topped off by the announcement of a special edition Nintendo Switch for the remakes, which was modeled after the special edition Nintendo DS made for the original games.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus was shown off last, getting a big blow out of information at the end of the presentation. The storyline of the game revolves around the player catching Pokémon to fill the world’s first PokéDex. Although this game takes place in ancient Sinnoh, the region at the time was called Hisui instead. Players will have to use the environment in order to catch many Pokemon — using stealth to sneak up on some. Some Pokémon will be aggressive, others will run away, and others are more docile. You have to be careful though, because the aggressive Pokemon will actually attack you, and if your health drops to 0, you’ll hit a Game Over.
Combat seems to be slightly different as well. Instead of everything being purely based on a Pokémon’s Speed stat, there is now a turn queue like some other JRPGs. The turn queue determines which Pokémon moves first, and at times a Pokémon can move twice in a row. Attacks can be done in a “Strong” style or an “Agile” style. “Strong” style attacks hit harder, but may slow the Pokémon down. “Agile” attacks are faster, but don’t hit quite as hard.
They showed off some of the new characters as well, but didn’t go into them a ton. Cyllene was one that got a lot of attention due to her similarities to the antagonist of the mainline Sinnoh games, known as Cyrus.
Regional forms for the ancient Hisui region were shown off as well, including Hisuian Growlithe — a Fire/Rock type, and Hisuian Braviary — a Psychic/Flying type. The player was shown gliding about with Braviary at different points of the trailer. Regional evolutions were shown too. Stantler evolves into Wyrdeer in the Hisui region, a Normal/Psychic type that the player can ride on. Basculin evolves into Basculegion in the Hisui region, a Water/Ghost type.
Camps acts as Pokémon Centers for players on expeditions. You can craft items for your journey and heal up before heading out.
They announced that Pokémon Brilliant Diamond, Shining Pearl and Legends: Arceus will all receive support for Pokémon Home in 2022. For many competitive players, they were upset to hear that despite this, Pokémon Sword and Shield will still remain the primary competitive game. Whether that games get an update that fills in the rest of the Pokémon or not, we have yet to see.
While its a bit disappointing we’ll never see modern Sinnoh in a modern HD-style, Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl looks like a nice faithful remaster. Legends: Arceus looks promising, but the graphical quality could use some work. I know the Nintendo Switch is capable of looking better than this, but unfortunately it does not look as good as it could be. However, I’m cautiously optimistic about it so we’ll see how it turns out.
Xbox‘s Gamescom 2021 Show
So Xbox did their own show at Gamescom, the day before the main show.
- Dying Light 2 headed this showcase. I’m not sure why it was shown off here and not at the main event. Launching December 7th, the game got a new trailer giving a look at the characters in the game, along with some of the combat.
- They spent an awfully long amount of time on Microsoft Flight Simulator, showcasing that some European countries are on their way to the game — namely Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. For the game’s next World Upgrade, new “local legend” planes will be added to the game as well. The update releases on September 7th. A 4K trailer can be seen here.
- A bunch of Humble Games are coming to Game Pass. Too many to list, so check the image above! Dodgeball Academia is already on the service, most notably.
- Into The Pit looks to be a fast-paced FPS with roguelite elements. A lot of people in the Twitch chat were comparing it to Doom for its fast-paced gameplay. The player is able to use supernatural abilities with their hands as well. Into the Pit will launch on Game Pass on Day 1, on October 19th, 2021. You can see a trailer here.
- Cloud Gaming will be coming to consoles this holiday, Xbox announced as well. Cloud Gaming will be on all of Xbox’s consoles — the Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X. Via Cloud Gaming, Xbox One players will be able to play next-gen games. A small Cloud icon will appear on all compatible games, and they’ll all run in 1080p at 60FPS just like their PC and mobile counterparts.
- This one was a weird crossover, but it happened anyway… you can now get some free Borderlands cosmetics for your ship in Sea of Thieves.
- A trailer for The Gunk was shown off, a game from the developers of SteamWorld. The Gunk is a third-person action-adventure, but no date has been revealed for it just yet.
- Microsoft ended the show with Forza Horizon 5, oddly enough. They showed off eight minutes of gameplay, showed a custom controller for the game, along with the cover art (seen above). You can pre-order the controller right now, which will release on November 9th, 2021 alongside the game. You can watch the gameplay here.
A very lackluster show, I must admit. Too much talking on these games… and surprisingly nothing was included on Halo: Infinite.
Gamescom Opening Night Live
Gamescom hosted by Geoff Keighley, started with a pre-show, where some minor games saw announcements.
- Things began with King of Fighters XV, announced to be launching on February 17th, 2022. The game appears to be coming to PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Steam, the Epic Games Store and the Windows Store.
- Bus Simulator 21 is launching on September 7th, 2021. Game of the Year material right here.
- Another look at House of Ashes, the next horror game by the Until Dawn developers, was shown off here with a new trailer.
- Massive Work Studio gave us a look at their upcoming cosmic horror game named Dolmen. The game is launching on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation in 2022.
- The creators of Guacamelee! showed people their new game called Nobody Saves the World, a top-down Action-RPG with online co-op features. In Nobody Saves the World, players use different character forms, with each form having their own unique gameplay mechanics.
- A teaser trailer for Soundfall was revealed here, a rhythm-based combat game. Coming to Steam, Epic Games Store, and consoles. No release date.
- Dream Cycle is the next action-adventure game by the creator of Lara Croft, Toby Gard. In Dream Cycle, you take control of an apprentice in the arcane. You’ll be utilizing stealth, traps, spells and more throughout the adventure here.
Dream Cycle ended the pre-show. Geoff Keighley did a little pre-recorded interview before the end of the pre-show, tempering expectations for the actual showcase. He insisted we’d see updates on games we know about, and no real major surprises.
- Things began with a look at the reboot for Saint’s Row, a slightly new take for the franchise. I had a bad feeling about this one in all honesty, but some fans do like it. I didn’t quite like the tone myself. There’s a good amount of love for it online. You can watch a trailer here.
- The next surprise was a look at Marvel Midnight Suns — a new tactics Marvel game by Firaxis, known for both XCOM and Civilization. The developer called the game a “tactics RPG”. You play as a customizable protagonist that was designed in collaboration with Marvel, and build relationships with the various Marvel heroes. Firaxis stated that more gameplay will be shown on September 1st, 2021. For now, you can watch the CGI trailer that includes characters like Ghost Rider, Doctor Strange, and Iron Man.
- Halo: Infinite was shown off here instead of Microsoft’s show. We got a CGI multiplayer trailer to start. Then, we learned that the release date is on December 8th, 2021. However, we learned prior to the show that Halo: Infinite is releasing without Forge or a Co-Op in its Campaign. This has caused some controversy, of course. Despite this, we still saw a look at Halo: Infinite’s special edition Elite Controller and limited edition Xbox Series X console.
- Devolver Digital showed a trailer of their rogue-like action-adventure titled Cult of the Lamb, where you’ll make your own cult of woodland creatures!
- Midnight Flight Express is a beat-em-up game made by one man, as Geoff Keighley made sure to state multiple times for us. Quite an amazing feat I must say. Game looks bloody and fun, with tons of references throughout. The ending of the trailer even had a funny reference to the infamous No Russian mission from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
- We saw a small trailer for TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge, which is adding April O’ Neil as a playable character soon. We saw gameplay of her here.
- Morgana from Persona 5 will be representing the Persona series in Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania, and was revealed in a trailer.
- Splitgate has been making the rounds lately as a free-to-play shooter with a portal mechanic and fast-paced combat. They gave us a look at Season 0 of their game, and a look at some of the content coming our way soon. Cross-Play is now available in the game as well.
- After a long wait, we finally heard more details about LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. Unfortunately, it’s been pushed all the way back to Spring 2022, after originally being planned to launch in Spring 2021. The game spans all 9 Star Wars films, and allows players to freely travel to different planets to play them out of order.
- SYNCED: Off-Planet was given a trailer here. A post-apocalyptic and sci-fi shooter where players play in squads of three, where you need to rely on teammates and nano capabilities to succeed.
- The Outlast Trials is a survival horror game, as we all should know. Yes, it’s part of that Outlast series. The game is not a direct sequel, and is more so a spin-off that centers around test subjects from a Cold War experiment. The Outlast Trials can be played either solo or co-op, and was shown in a new trailer here.
- DokeV gave a stark contrast to The Outlast Trials when it was shown right after. DokeV is an open-world action-adventure game with a youthful art style. Involves some whimsical creatures and more. Some people think the art style is more uncanny valley, and I somewhat agree.
- We saw a trailer for Jurassic World Evolution 2 being shown as well. The sequel to the first game offers a Campaign mode, more construction options, along with more dinosaurs and plenty more. Check out a trailer here.
- Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodhunt is a unique vampiric entry into the Battle Royale genre. Here at Gamescom, they gave us a look at one of the groups of playable clans in the upcoming game, the Toreador clan.
- We saw a look at Park Beyond, another rollercoaster tycoon type of game by Bandai-Namco. The game is coming in 2022 to PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5.
- Another trailer was shown for JETT: The Far Shore as well. JETT is an adventure game in space with a focus on exploration and interesting characters.
- Horizon: Forbidden West wasn’t shown at all here. However, the developers gave a minor update on the release date — February 18th, 2022. Meanwhile, Guerilla confirmed that a 60FPS patch was being put out for Horizon: Zero Dawn on PlayStation 5.
- I was very confused about this section, and so were a lot of people. deadmau5 is collaborating with Core to host interactive concerts. The problem is… what the hell is Core? I hadn’t heard of it until this show. Core is a game on the Epic Games Store that’s a lot like what PlayStation Home was. A massive social space with different worlds that players can visit with their virtual avatar, while partaking in minigames and other things of that nature.
- A new collaboration with Fall Guys was shown off here, with The Jungle Book of all things. Accompanying it is a King Louie in-game event that’ll take place between September 3rd and September 12th.
- Viking survival game Valheim is getting a new update on September 16th, titled Hearth and Home. The update will focus around changing the food and stamina system for the most part.
- We got another look at CrossfireX, a first-person shooter that will be an Xbox console exclusive this fall. It looks a lot like Call of Duty, admittedly. Just my opinion, though.
- Some more gameplay of Sifu, a beat-em-up game with combat similar to the Arkham series. We saw this previously at one of Xbox’s showcases.
- The show was ended off by Death Stranding: Director’s Cut. They gave some more context to all of the additions being made to the game. There is new delivery support with thrusters, cargo catapults, and a buddy bot. The firing range has leaderboards, and the new Maser Gun allows players to stun enemies. Boss battles can be revisited from the private room, and an online ranking system is now in place. Check out the full trailer here.
Gamescom started off strong, but quickly became a slog the more the show went on. As always, Keighley is an excellent host and kept things concise while still getting some developer interviews in.
- Crossovers seem so common nowadays but they never cease to make me so “Oh wow, that’s cool.” This is no exception. Announced on the PlayStation blog, it seems like Ratchet and Clank are both on their way to Rocket League as their own cars, completely for free. All you have to do is log into Rocket League on your PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 before January 3rd, 2022, and you’re good to go!
- Maybe I should just make a section for crossovers at this point. SEGA announced that Kazuma Kiryu of the Yakuza series will be joining Super Monkey Ball Banana Mania as a character via a small trailer.
- A new Ace Combat game by Bandai-Namco is in development in collaboration with ILCA, the developers behind Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. They’ve also said that Ace Combat 7 is selling well, with 3 million copies sold thus far, with additional content on the way.
- Believe it or not, Bethesda is releasing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim yet again. On November 11, 2021, the Anniversary Edition of Skyrim will release. Skyrim Special Edition will receive a free next-gen upgrade with enhancements — however, players can upgrade to the Anniversary Edition for a price to receive all of the Creation Club content made for the game so far. Depending on the price, I may buy in. The Creation Club content alone might be worth yet another playthrough. The existence of the Creation Club wasn’t the problem, the pricing of it was.
- Metroid Dread received a new trailer. I’ll warn any Metroid fans watching that Nintendo’s been very spoiler-y with this game, so the likelihood of you being spoiled by either the trailer or their Twitter is highly likely. If you want to go into the game relatively blind, I’d avoid their Twitter account or the trailer yourself.
- SEGA Europe announced that there will unfortunately be delays for the physical editions of Sonic Colours: Ultimate across all EMEA platforms. Don’t worry Australia or New Zealand players, the physical editions won’t be delayed for you. The digital release will still be good to go.
- Destiny 2: The Witch Queen is launching on February 22, 2022. The expansion got a new trailer that you can watch here. A 30th Anniversary Pack for Bungie is coming this December as well. A new pirate-themed dungeon and Thorn-inspired Armor set are coming to the game, alongside some Bungie-themed ornaments and cosmetics. Much more as well.
- Another crossover… Magic: The Gathering announced via Twitter that cards based on other franchises — specifically Warhammer 40,000, Lord of the Rings, Fortnite and Street Fighter. Please make the Fortnite cards good so players are forced to use them. I think that’d be hilarious.
- Wow, look at that. Akuma from Street Fighter will be coming to Monster Hunter Rise. The crossover was revealed in a small trailer.
- Little Nightmares 2 is getting a next-gen upgrade, enhanced for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. Watch the trailer here.
- Monster Hunter 1 and 2 DX are coming to Nintendo Switch and Steam on December 9th, 2021. These versions include more slots, a high-speed mode, and an activity memo.
- Bravely Default II will be launching on Steam, and you can even pre-order it right now if you want. The game launches on September 2nd, 2021.
- Xbox’s Games with Gold for the month of September were announced. The month begins with Action-RPG Warhammer: Chaosbane and fan favorite third-person hack-and-slash series Zone of the Enders HD Collection. The latter half of the month will feature Mulaka, an action-adventure based on the indigenous culture of the Tarahumara people — alongside Samurai Shodown II, a sword and weapon-based fighting game.
- 4X Strategy game Humankind is available now on Steam, the Epic Games Store and on Xbox Game Pass for PC. Humankind is Amplitude Studios making an attempt to create a competitor to the Civilization series. So far the reviews seem decent, but it fails to meet the valor the Civilization franchise has. You can get Humankind for $49.99, or the Digital Deluxe version for $59.99.
- Annapurna Interactive recently released Twelve Minutes, a story-based game where the protagonist is stuck in a time loop, and must repeatedly play through events to solve the game’s mystery. This game has celebrity talent in the form of James McAvoy, Daisy Ridley, and Willem Dafoe. Opinion on this game seems extremely split — people either love the story, or are put-off by the way this game handles it. Grab it on Xbox Game Pass for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, or Steam for $24.99.
- Critically-acclaimed Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut is available now on PlayStation 5 for $69.99. However, PlayStation 4 owners who played the original game can purchase an upgrade for their version for $19.99.
- For those of you foolish enough to purchase it, the next entry in the infamous football franchise Madden NFL 22 is available now on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Steam, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Stadia. Mind you, the PC and last-gen versions cost $59.99 while the next-gen versions cost $69.99.
- Third-person co-op shooter Aliens: Fireteam Elite is available now on Steam, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S for $39.99. The game is a sequel to the original Aliens trilogy, and has mixed reviews so far. I’d wait for a price drop from the sound of it.
- King’s Bounty II is a sequel that had a long-time coming, with the first game coming out back in 1990. King’s Bounty II is a turn-based tactical RPG in a fantasy setting. You can grab it on Steam, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One for $49.99.
- Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 is out now as a sequel to the first game of the same name. The reviews for this tactical stealth shooter are a bit above average at the moment. The game allows players to plan long-distance shots in a tactical manner. However, this single-player game unfortunately has the inclusion of microtransactions within. Reviews seem slightly above average thus far. Grab it for $39.99 on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Steam.
- Long-awaited 3D platformer Psychonauts 2 is available now on Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S for $59.99. The whimsical adventure tackles some mental health issues through its storyline, and has received positive reviews so far. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it, personally. Psychonauts 2, along with its predecessor, are both on Xbox Game Pass as well.
- Lastly, Nintendo Switch-exclusive No More Heroes III is available now. The 11-year gap between entries in the series has finally been filled, with protagonist Travis Touchdown returning to defend the world from an alien invasion in this hack-and-slash action-adventure. I’ve seen rather mixed reviews on this game, so do your research before picking it up for $59.99.