E3 2019 Hands-On Impressions: BANDAI NAMCO (Part Two)

Friday, June 21st, 2019

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BANDAI NAMCO | LogoDuring E3 2019, Josh Speer (oprainfall‘s editor-in-chief, review manager, and all around staff/cat-herder) split up BANDAI NAMCO’s playable demos due to the sheer number of them available. During his hands-on demo, he picked up CODE VEIN, Man of Medan, and RAD (a procedurally-generated game that I had also previously covered at GDC 2019). You can check out Part One of our BANDAI NAMCO coverage here, and I highly suggest you do so.

For my half of the games, I experienced DRAGON BALL Z: Kakarot, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered, and Disney Tsum Tsum Festival. In addition, there was a demo for Bless Unleashed present that I had previously covered at GDC 2019.

Please read on to see my thoughts on all of these upcoming games!


Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

BANDAI NAMCO | Dragon Ball Z Kakarot Logo

Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 2020
Website

BANDAI NAMCO’s marquee title at E3 2019 was DRAGON BALL Z: Kakarot, and I wrote up a full article about it here for you to check out what I called “a gorgeous cel-shaded game that I wanted to explore more in depth.”

In short though, I thought that DRAGON BALL Z: Kakarot is the DRAGON BALL universe game that I have been waiting for since the Game Boy Advance Days.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot | Fighting

This game was a lot of fun to demo at E3 2019, and it quickly shot this title up into my ‘must buy’ category when it comes out. (Image courtesy of BANDAI NAMCO).

You can pre-order DRAGON BALL Z: Kakarot now for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.


Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered

BANDAI NAMCO | Ni No Kuni Remastered Logo
Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, PC
Release Date: September 20, 2019

Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch [Re-Release]
BANDAI NAMCO | Ni No Kuni Switch Logo

Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 20, 2019

One of the biggest surprise announcements from E3 2019 was that the 2013 Studio-5/Studio Ghibli classic JRPG Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was being re-released in its original form for the Nintendo Switch and it was being remastered for the PlayStation 4 and the PC.

When we reviewed the game back in 2013, we held that Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was “a game that focuses primarily on superb storytelling and defined gameplay, both brought to life with vibrant visuals and a hint of Ghibli music magic” as it earned 4.5 out of 5 stars.

After playing a demo of the Remastered version at E3 2019, I can safely say that the classic gameplay has returned intact, and it is more beautiful than ever. My demo took place during a very early fight against an enemy boss, Gladiataur, with Mito, Lemahl, and Sid as my familiars. While the battle system is still a bit odd for my tastes (you’re ordering around both Oliver and he also orders around his familiars that you can freely switch between in combat), it hasn’t really changed from what you used to know. But the graphical upgrade for 2019 is stunning, as there is richness to the environments and character models present now that couldn’t be depicted on the PlayStation 3 engine back in 2011 during its original Japanese release.

BANDAI NAMCO | Ni No Kuni combat

The combat and cutscenes in Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered are amazingly gorgeous, and the combat is as you remember it from the North American 2013 release. (Images courtesy of BANDAI NAMCO).

BANDAI NAMCO | Ni No Kuni cutscene

If you haven’t picked up the game before or you simply want to dive into this world once more, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch should be picked up by anyone who loves JRPGs.


Bless Unleashed

BANDAI NAMCO | Bless Unleashed

Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO
Platform(s): Xbox One/Xbox One X
Release Date: 2019
Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube / Mixer / Twitch / subreddit

BANDAI NAMCO also brought a demo of Bless Unleashed to E3 2019. It was the same demo that I previously played at GDC 2019, for which you can read my hands-on impressions. You can also check out my GDC 2019 interview with Bless Unleashed Producer David Jalosa to find out more about the game, its economy, and its future content schedule.

 

While the next beta round has not been dated yet, I know that I am going to jump into it when I can.


Disney Tsum Tsum Festival

BANDAI NAMCO | Disney Tsum Tsum Festival
Publisher(s): BANDAI NAMCO
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Release Date: September 2019
Website

Disney Tsum Tsum Festival was the final game I demoed of BANDAI NAMCO’s at E3 2019, and I managed to pull Josh Speer in to play it two player with me in two different modes. Before playing, Josh and I selected one of more than one-hundred Disney Tsum Tsum characters to play as. As I grew up during the Disney Renaissance, I picked Ariel to play as. All of the characters look a lot like their physical stackable-toy incarnations to an uncanny degree, and it is clear that this is a game meant to appeal to people who have gotta collect ’em all.

 

The first game, Tsum Maze, is a child-friendly take on Pac-Man with up to four players competing to collect as many dots as possible in a maze while avoiding enemy Tsum Ghosts. Every so often, a star appears which, when collected, makes all the player Tsum Tsums giant and invincible, and makes it so they can knock the Tsum Ghosts into the air. When a player is hit, however, they spin around, lose points, and dots will reappear on the field to collect. Whoever has the most points at the end wins. This game was fairly simple and minimally difficult (obviously, as it is aimed towards children) but it was still fun to play. The enemy Tsum Tsums AI are nowhere near as intelligent as Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde/Sue and that makes it perfect for small children who maybe aren’t quite ready to ‘praise the sun’ in Dark Souls or work with rising idols in THE iDOLM@STER franchise.

BANDAI NAMCO | Tsum Maze

BANDAI NAMCO | Tsum Maze

Tsum Maze is a much more Disney-friendly take on Pac-Man in Disney Tsum Tsum Festival. The goal is to earn more points than anyone else! (Image courtesy of BANDAI NAMCO).

The second we played was Bubble Hockey, which was pretty much air hockey on the Switch. We were on teams of two versus two, and the goal was to knock the puck into the opponent’s goal. I am going to go ahead and say that this was waaaay too fast paced for me to keep track of, especially when there were multiple pucks that appeared on the field. This is a game that I could see young ones enjoying, but I think it required a bit more strategy than any of the other games that I played in Disney Tsum Tsum Festival.

BANDAI NAMCO | Bubble Hockey Gameplay

Play a type of air hockey in Disney Tsum Tsum Festival’s Bubble Hockey. (Image courtesy of BANDAI NAMCO).

The final game was for the Switch as well, only the hand-held was turned vertically and it was played using the console’s touchscreen. The gameplay for Tsum Tsum Puzzle was a mash-up of Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine and Bejeweled: Tsum Tsums drop from the sky, and you have to draw a line to match like ones up in order to make them disappear and get points. This is a game that is almost a direct port of the mobile game LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum, only for home consoles. And the concept is just as addictive here as the mobile version with the time limit to want to try to get an even better score than before. I had no problems matching like Tsum Tsums in order to get rid of them, and the screen was incredibly responsible to the lines I drew between Tsum Tsums in order to connect them for removal. This is a great matching game for children, and one that I can see young ones use their critical thinking skills to play.

BANDAI NAMCO | Tsum Tsum Puzzle

Tsum Tsum Puzzle is a fairly accurate reproduction of the mobile game LINE: Disney Tsum Tsum. Just match similar Tsum Tsums to clear them off the stage. (Image owned by BANDAI NAMCO).

Overall, Disney Tsum Tsum Festival is a title that is geared towards a younger audience, and it is one that kids will clearly have a blast playing with the forgiving controls and the extremely easy difficulty.

You can pre-order Disney Tsum Tsum Festival now for Nintendo Switch.



And there we have it for BANDAI NAMCO’S E3 2019 titles! 

What do you think of them? Are there any you can’t wait to get your hands on when they release?

Let us know in the comments below!

About Quentin H.

Likes pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. And video games. Cannot forget those video games. Anime too. Should not forget that either.