Welcome to the year of the Rooster. For what felt like a Chinese New Year gift, I was kindly invited to the Bandai Namco offices in Sydney to go hands-on with a few games set to be released later this year. I read so much about games online and hear so much about them from friends that they are usually spoiled for me. So, in order to capture some true first impressions, I pedalled blissfully to the Bandai Namco office without knowing anything about the games I was due to play. It’s the perfect cover under which to hide your ineptitude as a games journalist, right?

Relax. As a Rooster, I can do what I want this year.
 


 

Released: May 26th, 2017
Game Type: Action-adventure
Developer: The Farm 51
Platform(s): PS4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One

As Get Even was loading, I couldn’t decide whether it would be a revenge-style horror game, or a maths-based top-down adventure (apparently they were the only two options my collection of neurones could come up with).

Spoiler: the game turned out to be neither of those genres.

Get Even begins in a dingy concrete basement adorned with cracks and graffiti. A voiceover mentions some kind of “cellular breakdown”… it is unclear if this is in reference to genetics or electronic data. And then you’re walking around in first person view with a camera phone held directly in front of you. You are given no direction whatsoever, other than to “save the girl”– is this Taken, the video game?

It’s not long before I’m exploring the outside area of this fenced-in, overgrown concrete compound. Flicking through all the phone apps and discovering that you can use the phone to detect blood or heat or chemical substances in the surrounding environment was a little too enjoyable. Though I’m glad there were no NPCs in-game or IRL people in the Bandai Namco office there watching me as I scanned piles of rubbish and bushes for 15 minutes.

The lack of direction, the overgrown nature of the compound, and the existence of no other lifeforms makes the game have a post-apocalyptic feel. It’s tense. And mysterious. When I press a few buttons and realise I have two guns in my inventory, my suspicions are confirmed. This is not “Nancy Drew has a smartphone.”

Eventually, I have to trek through some tunnels, kills two or three soldiers, and rescue a girl (though nothing can save her from the graphic artist who completed her facial features- yikes!).

Once the girl is saved, I wake up in the bushes (the same ones I so eagerly scanned)… Four years and two days later… with amnesia. Apparently, I am undergoing some form of treatment. It’s all a bit Shutter Island.

This is definitely a game I will explore further, if only to use the Cornergun again (it shoots at perpendicular angles around corners). Get Even is all about gathering evidence to solve puzzles, shooting guns, and making in-game choices that have a real effect on how the game unfolds. And, I presume, getting even? We’ll find out on May 26th, 2017.
 


 

Released: April 28, 2017
Game Type: Puzzle-platformer
Developer: Tarsier Studios
Platform(s): PS4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One

Little Nightmares is, in a word, unsettling. You– a tiny humanoid creature wearing a hooded, oversize yellow raincoat– begin the game in a cartoony bedroom. On the surface, nothing seems amiss- though the cheerful-cum-creepy carnival-style musical accompaniment hints at something more sinister. Thematically the whole scene feels like it has been ripped straight from an animated Tim Burton film.

Soon after you leave the bedroom, you find yourself in a commercial kitchen with a well-zombie from the Walking Dead cross Jabba the Hut figure. He shuffles around the kitchen slicing meat, with laboured breathing and a hacking cough. With the wind whistling, the sound of a dripping tap, and a heartbeat providing the only auditory stimulation, the atmosphere is tense.

The only text that appears is the word “sneak”, along with pictorial directions on how to do so. Little Nightmares is listed as a puzzle- platformer, but it’s clearly also a classic stealth game. You can only move along a linear path on a 3D plane, and the creature’s routine provides opportunities to move past unseen. The movements of your little character are fluid, and the level design is clever.

I only played this demo for a short period of time (presumably there is much more of the world to explore), but I felt a real sense of connection to the vulnerable little figure in the yellow raincoat. I’m told the game is a comment on the corrupt heart of modern happiness. Is it morbid of me to say that I can’t wait to experience that when Little Nightmares is released worldwide on 28 April 2017?
 


 

Released: June 2, 2017
Game Type: Fighting
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
Platform(s): PS4, Microsoft Windows, Xbox One

Fortunately this game isn’t called Fight Club 7. Full disclosure, when it comes to fighting games, I am the personification of Urban Dictionary’s second definition of a scrub. My only experience playing Tekken was many, many years ago at a friend’s place… I think we were 13 years old. So I cannot speak to how different Tekken 7 is to its predecessor.

However, I can talk about the offline Arcade mode. This mode involved three best-of-three rounds against random opponents on random stages (though Akuma, from Street Fighter, always seemed to be the final opponent). The roster of playable fighters seems expansive– I counted 33, though I’m led to believe there could be as many as 37 playable fighters. I piloted multiple fighters, and each felt distinctly different in the way they moved, and how they dealt and received blows. Even as a total scrub I was able to win all three stages of the arcade mode– I can only imagine that this would be target practice for players who knew what they were doing.

Ultimately it just feels like the same old fighters with terrible catchphrases, and scantily clad women fighting game, but with updated graphics. That’s not necessarily a bad things– the game keeps its arcade fighting game roots.

There was mention of a single player campaign called the “Mishima Saga” on the menu, which is supposed to act as a conclusion to the Mishima Clan Saga and have a tone close to that of Tekken 4. I’m not sure there is much to love here for players who are not hardcore Tekken fans.

You think I’m wrong, prove it. I’ll claim that as my catchphrase. Tekken 7 hits shelves on June 2, 2017.

 

Final Thoughts


 
I’m not going to try to rank these games or give you any kind of indication of why one is better than either of the others. These three games are completely different. I found the concept of Get Even to be intriguing, the art and style of Little Nightmares to be very appealing (albeit almost traumatising), and Tekken 7 to be a nostalgic experience. Now please excuse me while I search the App store for an “Evidence Detection” app…

Ellis Longhurst

Ellis Longhurst

Staff Writer at GameCloud
When not patting cats, eating excessive amounts of fruit, and failing the Battlefield 4 tutorial, Ellis spends most of her time cycling around the inner west of Sydney and blatantly disregarding Professor Oak’s words of advice. Oh, and writing... Ellis is GC's eastern states correspondent!
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