A teaser trailer for Gears 5's campaign premiered during Opening Night Live, giving us a brief look at the terrifying creatures we'll be taking on come September. This left us pondering the big set pieces in some of our favourite games.
This may look like someone used photos of Psycho Mantis to make a collage of Psycho Mantis, but in 1998 he was frightening.
Sam | Soul of Cinder - Dark Souls 3
In a series famed for its boss encounters - many of which see you face off against unspeakable, towering horrors - Dark Souls 3’s concluding encounter with the distinctly humanoid Soul of Cinder might seem like an underwhelming choice.
Soul of Cinder is the game’s cover star, with everything from the moment you first set eyes on the game building towards the final battle; not just of Dark Souls 3, but the entire Dark Souls trilogy. A trilogy that’s one of my all-time favourites, beautifully brought full circle by an ending that mirrors and also furthers that of the first game.
I could mention the amazing original track that accompanies the fight, but then that’s nothing unique - the same applies to pretty much every Souls series boss fight. Without spoiling too much, the encounter is a sentimental one years in the making. Anyone that finished the original Dark Souls knows this character well, in both of their forms, thanks to the significant mid-fight phase changes introduced in this third entry.
You’re given a very literal taste of your own medicine by a character skilled in all distinctions, plus you can’t parry them, avoiding the encounter being trivialised as with the first game’s conclusion. You could summon a co-op buddy to help, but that’d just be wrong for such a personal duel.
You'll get no spoilers from us.
Liam | Moldorm - A Link to the Past
Boss fights are usually all about learning patterns and memorising attacks, a deadly ballet where even the slightest misstep means failure. And then there’s Moldorm.
Moldorm, if you’re unfamiliar, is the worm-like creature with the disturbing eyes that can be found guarding the top of the Tower of Hera in A Link to the Past. Its attack - if you can call it that – is extremely simple; all it does is charge around its small arena bouncing off walls and edges, wiping out anything standing in its path. I’m not 100% convinced it’s even aware of what it’s doing, or that you’re even there, which raises several moral questions when it comes to ending it.
Despite only needing six hits to the tail for a victory, Moldorm was one of the more challenging bosses in ALTTP because it could knock you down to the floor below, forcing you to start the fight again from scratch.
I always enjoyed the chaotic mess that were these battles. Trying to avoid the wriggly bastard as it careened around like a headless chicken was a frantic and often hilarious experience, especially when you factor in the limited range of movement afforded by a SNES controller.
Again, the graphics don't really do Moldorm justice.
James | Saren - Mass Effect
The Mass Effect series made a splash on the Xbox 360 and it all began with the first game in 2007, ushering in a new era of story-driven RPG/action games.
One of the shining stars of the game was the antagonist and fallen Spectre, Saren Arterius, who sided with the original trilogy's big bad, the Reapers, to act as the Darth Vader of this sci-fi tale.
Like many compelling villains, he feels as though he's working for the greater good, enabling the Reapers to "reset" the galaxy by destroying the Mass Relays used to travel between star systems, a fate you must work through the entire trilogy to prevent.
Saren's fight goes through multiple stages, forcing you to call on the powers of your class to take him down, and in fact you can even avoid the first stage of the final fight altogether by convincing him he's possessed and so must take his own life.
The sort of depth to his character is atypical and your numerous interactions with him through the game, constantly trying to get him to see your perspective, only build the impact of the final showdown. Without it, there's no doubt the series as a whole wouldn't have had as much impact as it did.
Saren was far more charismatic than anyone we encountered in Mass Effect: Andromeda.
Share your favourite boss battle with us in the comments below.
E3 has disappeared from the rear view mirror and the next stop in the 2019 gaming road map is Gamescom. With new content and announcements promised right from the get go during Opening Night Live (hosted by The Game Awards creator, Geoff Keighley), here's what we're looking forward to.
Will the Avengers be bolstering their ranks?
Sam | Death Stranding
It’s been confirmed that Hideo Kojima will be taking a break from crunching on Death Stranding with the team at Kojima Productions, what with its 8 November release fast approaching, to join best buddy Geoff Keighley at Gamescom 2019’s Opening Night Live event.
Making the trip to the show, which takes place in Cologne, Germany, for the first time since 2014, it’s reasonable to assume that the former Metal Gear Solid director has big news regarding his latest project to share. It’d be about time, as Death Stranding remains shrouded in an air of mystery less than two months ahead of its PS4 release.
Long-term Team Talk readers may already know how devastating Silent Hills’ cancellation was for me, largely due to a collaboration between some of my favourite talents from multiple mediums - namely Kojima himself, film director Guillermo del Toro, and actor Norman Reedus - being wrestled from almost within my grasp. Now, albeit in a different form, that majorly mouth-watering meeting of masterminds is back on.
As such, I already know that you can count me in wherever Death Stranding is concerned, but I’d rather like to find out if the game really is about an incredibly devoted package delivery service assigning babies in jars as co-drivers...
Every image seems to reinforce that theory.
Liam | Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s absence from the E3 public meant that my predication - along with pretty much every other guess I made - failed to come true. So, it’s up to Gamescom to get the hype train back on track after the summer’s minor derailment.
I was initially excited about the reboot following an announcement trailer in which we get our first glimpse of the grounded, modern day setting and a fresh-faced Captain Price (complete with his iconic boonie hat) but since then my enthusiasm has waned somewhat.
So far, I’ve seen nothing of the campaign and very little of the multiplayer, save for a brief round of Gun Game and a trailer that dropped earlier in the month. Whilst the latter started off well, highlighting new tactical abilities like being able to peak through doors before entering a room, it quickly descended into some trademark Call of Duty silliness.
I'm not totally against some over-the-top action, but I’m hoping that next week's show will present something similar in style and tone to the announcement trailer, especially if it includes a look at the campaign. Even if the final product is only half as good as the original Modern Warfare, I’ll still be satisfied.
War never changes, but it does look better each year.
James | Astral Chain
There are still quite a few games due to come out this year which we'll hear all about at Gamescom, but I feel fairly confident that none of them are quite like Astral Chain.
Platinum Games' latest jumped to the top of my Switch list after the Nintendo Direct at E3. The game comes from Takahisa Taura, who was previously lead game designer for Nier: Automata, and sees you fighting alien-like monsters from another dimension with help from your Legion, a powerful weapon who fights independently in combat.
Platinum is known for its slightly off-beat approach to action games, with Bayonetta, Vanquish and Neir under its belt, which has me thinking this could be one of the most original releases due out this year.
Better still, it's a Switch exclusive, so it has the best possible chance to be well-optimised and the gameplay shown off so far looks really impressive. Plus, with potentially all of what we'll see about Pokémon ahead of its release out of the bag, this is the Nintendo game that really tops the excitement-o-meter.
While it's not likely to make the biggest smash of the show (especially when some have the Hulk in their corner), it's an experience which is sure to be unlike anything else.
Platinum Games' portfolio has us eager to see more.
Lets us know what you're most excited to see at Gamescom 2019 in the comments below.
Last week an email popped into the PTC inbox informing us that Garfield Kart Furious Racing was coming to Xbox One, PS4, Switch and PC this November. For some reason, James saw this as an opportunity to pitch a Team Talk on games that nobody ever asked for… Not one to pass up a freebie, Sam ran with it and here we are.
Things have been quiet since the game’s debut, which is understandable, given the trailer has 326K downvotes vs. 24K upvotes...
Chris | Needless yearly updates
I'd like to make it clear that I'm not cheating and picking every single sequel. There's a certain type of game that doesn't need a new release each year but gets one anyway. FIFA, NBA, NFL and the rest of EA's '19 series are probably the most advanced digital recreations of ball touching that have existed to date, yet there's not a great deal that separates them from their predecessors.
It isn't just sport sims or EA, Infinity Ward are obviously not looking to break the mould with Call of Duty '19: Modern Warfare, Again. An argument could be made that any big changes in the franchise are often met with resistance, potentially hurting sales, though this feels too much like blaming ourselves.
We don't always know what we want until it's right in front of us, so developers shouldn't be afraid of thinking outside the box every now and then. Ubisoft's reboot of Assassin's Creed was a resounding success which breathed new life into a series that, for many, had grown stale. Whilst there's not much chance of FIFA being rebooted in the same manner, there's very little on offer that we haven't already seen.
Can you tell which iteration of FIFA this is?
James | Garfield Kart Furious Racing
When the news that Garfield already has his own kart racing game reached me this week, and not only that but we're getting a sequel in November, I was perplexed. I'm partial to a kart racer (as I've mentioned in a previous Team Talk) and on the surface I don't think it's fair that Mario gets a monopoly on them, but I mean...come on now, Garfield?!
The lasagne-loving feline jumped back into pop culture in 2004 with the almost certainly dreadful movie (which I did not see), and 9 years and a number of cash-ins later, the game to truly capitalise on/sell out the character - Garfield Kart - was released on iOS, Android, Steam and 3DS.
With the remake of Crash Team Racing out and performing well, an alternative to Mario Kart is there for you already, and even Sonic Team Racing feels like it earns its place with a few unique mechanics.
Most importantly of all, a kart racer needs characters, and, while Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes the kick on this a bit, Garfield alone does not a compelling roster of players make.
Here we see Garfield, surrounded by all of the memorable characters from the franchise.
Liam | Angry Birds Star Wars
It’s fair to say that most game concepts are so bizarre it would be a bit of stretch to expect people to even think them up, let alone ask for them.
Take Super Mario, for example. Before it came into existence, I'd wager that no-one was going about their day thinking, “You know what I need in my life? A game about an Italian plumber stamping giant turtles to death in a land inhabited by mushroom people."
Angry Birds falls under the same category. In any other industry, pitching the idea of slinging kamikaze birds at pigs with giant catapults is more likely to get you a very awkward meeting with the HR department instead of a multi-million selling, movie-spawning game series.
Even if the original concept of murdering pigs with birds was already lurking in the deep, dark recesses of someone’s mind, I highly doubt they had the foresight to blend it with George Lucas’ iconic space opera.
Yet, that’s exactly what Rovio did when they came up with Angry Birds Star Wars, which, to this day, remains the strangest franchise crossover I’ve ever played.
The Force is not very strong with this one.
Which game's simple existence most baffles you? Let us know below!
Following a recent game update rectifying accessibility issues on Xbox One, we were finally able to dive back into the unique stealth and XCOM-like combat of Mutant Year Zero for an all-new adventure in the Seed of Evil expansion.
So you would still recommend SoE for MYZ: RtE fans?
That’s a tough one, honestly. We loved revisiting the rich gameplay and setting, but the shambolic technical state that Seed of Evil finds itself in on Xbox One is frankly unacceptable.
It doesn’t completely wrap everything up with a neat little bow, which in a way fits the fiction, but otherwise it’s more of a great thing - when it works. If you’re looking to play on another platform, this is a good way to invest £12.99, but Xbox fans should definitely wait with crossed fingers for a significant patch.