While the Tokyo Games Show only kicks off today in person, both Sony and Nintendo brought us a flurry of announcements this week, with their State of Play and Direct presentations respectively, so it’s time for us to pick through the exciting nuggets to bring you the things we’re most excited about.
Microsoft will have their own showcase from 6pm BST on Thursday 15 September, so keep an eye out for more reactions and hot takes on Twitter.
Has anything caught your eye? Comment below, or come and chat about it with us in our Discord.
The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, Pokémon Stadium and Like a Dragon: Ishin | Liam Andrews
I’ll be honest, I came away from the Nintendo Direct a little disappointed. After hearing rumours that this was for sure the show where we’d get a The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD announcement (yet again), I couldn’t help but think this might finally be the time.
Alas, the best Zelda game remains absent from the Switch, and I’m starting to think that might be just how it’s going to be.
There was still plenty that piqued my interest. It was definitely cool to see a solid release date and name for Tears of the Kingdom, and also Pokémon Stadium and Goldeneye 007 coming to the Switch. The N64 collection is looking more robust these days, and it’s made me consider renewing my lapsed Online subscription and shelling out for the expansion pack.
Although I’m still not a PS5 owner, I do enjoy the State of Plays and adding games to a backlog of a console that isn’t yet in my possession. Rise of the Ronin certainly goes on the list.
Elsewhere I was intrigued by the concept of Like a Dragon: Ishin. I’m still working my way through Yakuza Kiwami but the idea of a similar game set in 1860s Japan certainly sounds interesting. Fortunately this is also turning up on Xbox, so it’ll be going in the backlog of a console that is in my possession.
Tekken 8 and Pacific Drive | Chris Brand
The latest Nintendo Direct didn't do it for me, but Sony's State of Play kicked off with a strong opener and kept up the standard. There wasn't a great deal shown of Tekken 8, though we already know what to expect.
Many of the same fighters will return with updated move sets, new characters will be introduced, there'll be wacky outfits aplenty and the Mishimas will never die.
Tekken has long been a solid series and it gets better with every instalment. It's one of those that's easy to pick up and play but difficult to master. The feeling of pulling off a 10-hit combo is surpassed only by pulling off a 10-hit combo with one hand while a handful of people watch.
Pacific Drive had me hooked right away, with the visuals giving me classic horror vibes. It's a first-person driving, survival, rogue-like (or "road-like" as the developers refer to it) which already sounds unique. I usually shy away from horror games these days, what with being an abject coward and all, but this looks like something I could handle without too much stress.
You'll be making your way across a reimagining of the Pacific Northwest, heading for the heart of the Olympic Exclusion Zone. Your car is not only customisable but it will develop its own quirks and personality, leaving me wanting a much darker, supernatural, Knight Rider-esque experience. In my mind, all of these details would add up to a narrative-driven, interactive story, rather than a rogue-like, so I'm interested in seeing how it pans out.
We won't have a Team Talk next week, as James will be heading to EGX London to get us all sorts of details on upcoming games and as many developer interviews as he can bribe with chocolate Hobnobs.
Keep an eye out for our coverage, also you can subscribe to us on YouTube to catch our wrap up video and any fun interviews we do.
With the centenary of the House of Mouse right around the corner, a new game has come to transport us to Disney’s fairytale land. We see what all the fuss is about with Disney Dreamlight Valley in the latest entry in our quick-look review series.
You mentioned Mickey and co., what sort of other characters are there?
Part of the fun is discovering characters as you go, but to give you an idea of a few you’ll meet at the start, there’s Merlin from The Sword in the Stone, Remy from Ratatouille and Wall-E from…well…I’ll let you guess.
At certain points when you are introducing new characters you have to choose between one and another, and it’s not clear from what we’ve played so far if you’ll eventually be able to unlock everyone, but our gut says you will.
Each character has their own relationship with the player, so you build friendship levels by interacting with them, doing activities with them while “hanging out” and giving them the aforementioned gifts.
What’s the gameplay like?
The experience feels very similar to Animal Crossing, with mining, planting seeds and watering them, and crafting items from recipes all present and correct. The look and feel has the cartoony look and feel of Disney, as you’d expect, but the animation and user interface has definite influences from the likes of Fortnite and The Sims.
A lot of the time you’ll be talking to the other characters, fetching things for them or making food for them. Particularly fun is cooking with Remy, as a nice bit of attention to detail sees the colourful squiggles you might have seen in the film in the game itself.
So, what’s the verdict?
At this early stage the game is still feeling a bit rough around the edges, with visual bugs and game-breaking ones causing us to quit out and reload numerous times. That said, developers Gameloft are definitely on to something here.
The game is easy to pick up and play, and gradually clearing the darkness and scary thorns out of the world is very satisfying. Add to that the opportunity to potentially befriend your favourite Disney character and things start to get even more exciting.
How far the fantasy world will go remains to be seen – will we see a tiny Grogu going about his business in Dreamlight Valley in future? – but already there’s potential, and an Autumn update is confirmed to bring at least Woody and Buzz from Toy Story (notably without Tom Hank’s voice however) and The Lion King into the fold.
Everything is quite surface level, but it’s wholesome and fun, and a great game to enjoy with your loved ones, particularly those who are less comfortable with gaming.
The game is already a bit of fun and with a bit of polish could be something truly magical.
Have you been playing Disney Dreamlight Valley? Let us know what you thought in the comments, or in our Discord.
Speculation is mounting this week, following the official confirmation of Assassin’s Creed Mirage, the next game in the long-running stab-em-up franchise, following a leak reported by Eurogamer.
Ubisoft announced the game with a reassuringly assassin-y and stylish piece of artwork, and promised more details at a special Ubisoft Forward event on Saturday 10 September.
The question is, what will the game be about? What elements from previous games will continue and what will have been changed up to keep things fresh? What do we hope to find in Assassin’s Creed Mirage? Leave your own ponderings in our Discord.
Fewer distractions | Liam Andrews
I’ve only played a handful of AC titles, the latest of which was Odyssey, though I didn’t finish it. It wasn’t because it was a bad game, I enjoyed the hours I put in, but there was simply too much of it and my interest fizzled out long before I got anywhere near the ending.
I don’t usually have a problem with Ubisoft’s icon-littered open worlds, but Odyssey just felt too big, too cluttered, which I don’t think helped its cause.
With Odyssey, it was quite easy for the main missions to get buried by all the distractions, so I’m hoping Mirage cuts back a bit by reducing the number of collectables, events and side quests in favour of a clear main quest. Perhaps even the in-game map itself could also be scaled down, though given the success and size of Valhalla, I’m not totally convinced this’ll be the case.
The concept art used for the reveal could suggest a return to the series’ roots, however. The protagonist pictured is wearing an outfit like those seen in the original AC titles, and the crowded streets and buildings are also reminiscent of the early settings.
More modern-day gameplay | Chris Brand
When I played the very first Assassin's Creed, I thought the real world would be quite a significant part of the game and fully expected to utilise our new skills in the modern day. However, as the series evolved, it seemed to be less and less of a focus.
Even though the present day has been featured more, it felt like it was merely there to hold all the various story threads together (and then it went a little weird with Assassin's Creed 3). With this outing, I'm wanting to spend more time putting those assassin skills to good use outside of the animus.
With so many rumours and leaks it's impossible to know which ones are accurate, but from what I can tell, Mirage sounds like a return to Assassin's Creed's roots, with fewer of the RPG-style elements from the more recent titles. I did enjoy the mini-revival with Origins, though not enough to play either of the games that have followed since. The world was bigger and busier, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but after playing other Ubisoft titles it just felt like more of the same.
The setting itself is of little importance to me; there's tall buildings to scale, foliage to hide in and all the other sneaky/stabby things we've come to expect. The combat has always been adequate, though far from perfect, and I'm sure that whichever direction Ubisoft take, it will be passable. These gameplay aspects are important, sure, but AC tells a story. A strange story, that oftentimes makes no sense, but one that I still find captivating, and a lot of that comes from the modern day setting and wondering how (if?) it will all come together.