Summer of Gaming (Friday) • Top 5

Yesterday, there were two prE3 presentations worth watching: Tribeca Games Spotlight and the IGN Expo. Both were about an hour long in total. Tribeca’s presentation focused on a total of twelve games with more details and behind the scenes. IGN had plenty of short trailers and world premieres.

There was a third presentation yesterday by Koch Media. I didn’t watch the entire thing but it seemed to be about two hours of people talking over zoom, with barely any gameplay or footage. I think it would have done better as a mix of trailers and gameplay footage with some developer interviews.

It’s very cool to see Tribeca (a popular film festival) show interest in games. They chose to showcase some very artistic and stylized games — two of which I’ve been waiting for since first hearing about htem. Because Tribeca is known as a film festival they were also able to get some great acting talent to present each game: Norman Reedus, Melissa Joan Hart, Daisy Ridley and others.

IGN Expo was hosted by Akeem Lawanson (@geekheavy) and Brian Altano (@agentbizzle). Akeem and Brian would show off some trailers then throw in some commentary before going back to more trailers. It was nice to get two different events back to back. A deep dive into a few games, followed by an IGN trailer-thon.

I picked my Top Five moments from these two showcases yesterday and I’ve listed them below:

1. Kena: Bridge of Spirits

Now that Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart has arrived, the next big game on my PS5 radar is Kena: Bridge of Spirits. Ever since the first trailer I’ve kept an eye on this one. The art direction is beautiful. Something I learned from the Tribeca Spotlight is that Ember Labs (the studio making this game) is owned by two brothers who are filmmakers. They also love games and this is their first attempt at making one of their own.

My hype levels for Kena have always been through the roof, but a few months ago I watched this Zelda fan video by the team at Ember Lab. This Majora’s Mark tribute video shows not only that the team is made up of fans of gaming and the Zelda series, but also the quality of work they put out.

Watching the expressions on Kena’s face in the trailers alone makes me think I’m watching a Pixar movie (why does everyone always compare high-quality animation in games to Pixar? Because they are at the top of their game).

Kena: Bridge of Spirits is coming to PC, PS4 and PS5 on August 24, 2021.

2. 12 Minutes

When I first saw the reveal for the game 12 Minutes it got my attention for a few reasons. First, the bird’s eye view mixed with the art style. Even though this is going to be a serious and sometimes unpleasant game (based on the subject), it still looks wonderful. Second, the actors: Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe and James McAvoy.

Although I’m a fan of my video game voice actors (Troy Baker, Nolan North, Jennifer Hale, Ashley Johnson and so much more) it’s always fun to see what these big name actors do with games. I do think it’s extra special when you find out one of these actors is actually into games.

And third, there’s the whole time loop element where you’re reliving the same twelve minutes over and over again. All of these elements together make this look like a very unique video game and I’m excited to give it a try.

12 Minutes is expected on PC, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S some time this year.

3. Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions

Back when EA was making Fight Night games on the Xbox 360, I was obsessed. For a long time boxing games were my favorite, or most played games. We haven’t had a great boxing game in a long, long time — probably since the last Fight Night game. There was already a Creed-themed boxing game (Creed: Rise to Glory), but that was a VR game and I don’t have a PSVR (or any VR rig for that matter).

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions looks sort of like a mix between a boxing sim like Fight Night or Knockout Kings and something like Ready 2 Rumble boxing. It seems to mix elements of real life boxing with arcade-style games. I feel like this is the perfect type of boxing game for today, something that’s not to realistic or serious, but also feels like boxing.

I love that Fight Night adopted the joysticks for throwing punches, and I hope this game will do the same.

Big Rumble Boxing: Creed Champions is coming to PS4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PC (via Steam) on September 3, 2021.

4. SIFU

SIFU is a game created by the Sloclap who also developed Absolver. Although I only played Absolver for a few hours, I really enjoyed the combat. After seeing a few SIFU trailers I can already see big advancements in the hand-to-hand combat in this game. You’re able to use your environment more during fights to knock out opponents.

The story progression in SIFU looks to be more in my wheel house. Absolver was a sort of strange online game, and I was never sure what was going on, but I did enjoy the combat. SIFU seems to be a more story-based game, or at least a more linear adventure.

SIFU is coming soon to PS5, PS4 and the Epic Games Store.

5. Unbound: Worlds Apart

Metroidvanias are probably my most played games on the Nintendo Switch, and I’m very ready for a new one. Especially a hand-drawn one that focuses on magic and the fantastical and stars a little cute robed wizard.

Brian ended the IGN Expo stating that a demo would be available on the Nintendo Switch. I didn’t find it when I checked but I will check again this weekend. Hopefully I can try out the demo and talk about that later on too.

Unbound: Worlds Apart is coming to PC (Steam, Epic Games Store, gog.com) and Nintendo Switch on July 28th.

One More Thing… Wild West Dynasty

I don’t know how excited I am for the game itself, but I would definitely recommend watching this “trailer” to see how they built the world for their game. It’s quite impressive and now I may be ready to go build my LEGO Bastion (from Overwatch) one day.

You can watch the entire Tribeca Showcase right here:

Here is the IGN Expo from yesterday:

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