Monster Hunter is a huge moneymaker for Capcom, in large part due to the series' success on the Nintendo 3DS. Also, Monster Hunter is a series that adheres rigidly to its traditions and is notoriously difficult for new players at first. Seeing the next big Monster Hunter game exclusive to PS4, Xbox One, and PC, with a focus on the single-player experience, easing in new hunters, and streamlined mechanics that ditch a few of the more cumbersome parts of typical Monster Hunter gameplay, was a surprise. There hasn't been a new Monster Hunter on a Sony system since 2010, and on a Microsoft system since ever. Monster Hunter World is a bold change to the formula of Capcom's hit series, and we'll see if this new approach is successful or not in early 2018.
Sequels are a tricky business in the world of video games. Our expectations tend to inflate over time, particularly when a sequel-bound game is as well-regarded as the original Ni no Kuni. Yet Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom blew away our lofty hopes with aplomb. This charming, Ghibli-inspired adventure cranks up the action with a revamped battle system and a kingdom-building mode that has our collective imagination running wild. The charismatic Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum and his cadre of colorful friends have already won our hearts over.
We were certainly interested in Call of Cthulhu: The Official Game ever since its reveal, but the demo at E3 2017 cemented our high expectations. You can tell the developers are looking to the pen and paper RPG for inspiration, as you aren't expected to directly combat the various eldritch horrors you encounter. You also have to worry about your sanity and any phobias that could kill you just as easily as something that goes bump in the night. We'll have to wait and see if everything comes together in the end, but this is one to watch, folks.
"Do you know the name Adol Christin?"
In less than a decade, the Ys series has crawled out of obscurity and into the spotlight, becoming the premier Japanese RPG series starring a redheaded swordsman on the market. Ys VIII retains the same basic elements as its most recent predecessors — a three-member party system, lightning-quick action combat, and a minimum of one shipwreck — and polishes them to a stunning sheen. It feels great in your hands, plain and simple, and we're getting the ultimate version of the game when it launches this fall. If you didn't know Adol's name before, that's about to change, guaranteed.
Danganronpa V3 has been one of the most anticipated games among the RPGFan staff, especially after the first two entries' prominent showings on Retro Encounter. The third entry, Killing Harmony, promises to start a brand-new tale in this twisted saga of robot teddy bears and dead high school students, and it will feature the series' first female protagonist, Kaede. We can't wait to see what horrors await this new cast of weirdos.
Central to the E3 show floor, yet unfairly overlooked, sat Zwei: The Ilvard Insurrection, a lighthearted action RPG from the luminaries at Falcom. Creative, colorful, and cartoonish, Zwei sees pilot Ragna and vampire princess Alwen engage a blood pact to win back the latter's ancestral castle from mysterious invaders. In the mold of mid-2000s Ys, Ragna and Alwen run, jump, hack, slash and shoot their way across the floating continent of Ilvard. What sets Zwei apart from other Falcom RPGs is its leveling system, in which consumed food grants experience as well as health restoration. Those inclined towards self-imposed challenge runs, as well as lovers of Falcom's unique brand of action, will find a lot to enjoy when Zwei releases later this summer.
Every major booth at E3 this year had long lines and big crowds, but some of them had playable demos, videos, displays, and activities that made them worth the wait. Capcom's large convention space was bordered by a massive Monster Hunter Rathalos statue on one side, an ongoing Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite exhibition tournament on another side, a museum display of videos showing six chapters of the Street Fighter saga from 1987 to 2017, and playable demos of Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite and Mega Man Legacy Collection 2. Any attendee could line up to view the Monster Hunter World live demo, shown in a closed auditorium and played by game director Yuya Tokuda every hour. For its abundance of playable demos and activities, and its beautiful visual presentation, Capcom had the best overall booth of E3 2017.
We were so proud of the ridiculous title of this award from E3 2016 that we couldn't help but bring it back. There wasn't really much new in 2016 to warrant the award, but this year was different, as E3 2017 marked the debut of a key boss battle from the just-released Stormblood expansion. With the massive overhaul to job actions and the battle system that Stormblood brings, this was the first time most people got hands-on time with this updated combat.
Square Enix's decision to run a Stormblood-themed blood drive outside the convention hall also deserves mention. It's an amusing marketing move — and a fun way to get a t-shirt — but it also, you know, could save lives. So kudos to Squeenix marketing for this brilliant idea.
We've been asking for more Metroid for years, and by "we," we largely refer to Rob Steinman and Mike Salbato, but we suppose the countless fans in general have missed Samus as well. There's really no reason we should be talking about Metroid on RPGFan, but since our awards touch on general things like "Best Booth," two new Metroid announcements stand as a big deal in the gaming world. The last time this happened was in 2001, when Prime and Fusion were revealed. It's been a long time coming, as Metroid doesn't see the attention that Nintendo's other main franchises do, despite a fervent fanbase. Welcome back, Samus.
See the breaking glass,
Beneath the underpass.
Mechas tower high,
Beneath the ashen sky.
Alone walks the boy,
Carried sullen, but coy.
Frog Fractions 3 EX Night Burst: Death Stranding Confirmed.
So, are you saying Detroit should Become Human? Or is Becoming Human something that happens in Detroit? Wouldn't it have been a better idea to call it Become Human: Detroit since the setting isn't the focus of the game? Oh, and how do you deal with the implications of telling Detroit to Become Human in the middle of a rise in violent crime stemming from a weakened economy and, oh boy, David Cage you've done it again. You've managed to create controversy around your game before it's even been released. Detroit: Become Human may end up being a good game, but the title is meaningless, has a number of negative implications to real world problems (and remember, David Cage doesn't want to say anything with his games) and it's a whole lot of pretentiousness for something that will — best case scenario — be the second best robot story based in Detroit.
13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim had a prominent display area at Atlus' booth, getting more space than Radiant Historia and Etrian Odyssey V and also being featured on the show's attendee badge. The beautiful design and modern setting with giant mechs looked like a very promising title that would have been fun to play, but it was a disappointment to see so much of the game's artwork, yet not have any gameplay footage or a playable demo. The game would have been better saved for next year's E3 with a booth filled with content.
Seriously, Todd Howard, we get it. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of Bethesda's crowning achievements, and a title that set the standard for open-world WRPGs for a long time. However, between Skyrim for Nintendo Switch, Skyrim VR, The Elder Scrolls: Legends' Skyrim-themed expansion, Skyrim for Toaster Ovens, and Skyrim for Graphic Calculators, it's all getting to be a bit much. One wonders if next year Bethesda will be peddling a Sega Saturn port.
Ni no Kuni II had an incredibly strong presence at E3 2017, as Bandai Namco released a huge helping of media for players to feast on. First and foremost, a brand new trailer showed off more of the anticipated Level-5 RPG sequel that features a familiar fantasy setting with fresh new gameplay ideas. In addition to that, the showroom floor sported a photo op diorama of a beautiful balcony view (mirroring one of the game's promotional screenshots) where you could get a (free) photo printed or emailed to you by event staff. Meanwhile, the Bandai Namco booth had demos set up in a miniature throne room that helped bring the title's colorful and creative environment to life and allowed the public to get hands-on time with the game. For completing this demo (which had two different playable scenarios), attendees were rewarded with a Steelbook case for the game's upcoming release as well as a wearable replica of the protagonist's crown. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the demo was quite impressive; changing elements of the somewhat polarizing gameplay from the first title into a unique action RPG that was challenging, charming, and a joy to play.
From its powerful showroom presence, to the take-home goodies, to the new promotional material as well as a playable demo, Bandai Namco did it all. This is not to say other showings didn't impress as much, but to highlight how Ni no Kuni II brought everything to the table and gave us a sizable appetizer as we wait for the main course on November 10th. (Oh yeah, and they also dropped the game's release date.)
Psst! Publishers, developers and esteemed PR folk: Clicking on the award emblems above will give you a giant PNG version to use as you see fit!