An Evening with Bandai Namco

On the 21st of February, I was fortunate enough to find myself at the Bandai Namco UK office for a quiet evening of their upcoming releases.[prebreak]1[/prebreak]

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Hidden away on a cobbled English road, a short walk from Richmond Station in London, the Bandai Namco office stands prevalent as a wonderfully modern building. Upon entering, I was greeted with a beautiful Ni no Kuni box, akin to @AyanamiRei0's gift for his visit to Hever Castle. Sat in one of many funky chairs, I waited in the reception area as more people gathered. As time went on, more and more people began to show up. From Soul Calibur players eager to catch a glimpse of the new game, to other games media representatives looking for a story on Bamco's upcoming releases; the place soon felt alive. Once a merry band of 25 or so people had gathered, we were ushered into another room, gaming PCs with 4k monitors lining one of the walls. Following a short presentation outlining the games available to us, we were set free to do as we pleased with the just over four hours available to us. A sucker for the simplicities of advertising and freebies, I felt compelled to check out Ni no Kuni 2 first.

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Revenant Beginnings


In a long room, just next to the main area, sat three of the four available games. With a newfound resolve to try the sequel to the 2010 PS3 hit, I got stuck in. After a brief adjustment period to the game's overworld and controls, an interesting thought hit me. "Yes, this game is stunning, but how does it look at its worst?" Having a low-end PC myself, and having the PC version available to me, I was curious just how far you could throw back the graphics. Playing with options, bringing the resolution down to the minimum value of 1024 x 768, and all the settings to minimum, I jumped back in. I still found myself impressed. This was no longer the pristine and polished Ghibli experience, rather feeling like a PS2-era Tales of game. It was still incredibly enjoyable, and I hope the footage below can give hope to those of you who just scrape the minimum requirements.

Apologies for the mouse in the middle of the screen, this was a minor issue later resolved.

Back in the unknown realm of maximum quality, I set out to explore the chapters available to us. The first of which saw the party travel to the prosperous city of Goldpaw, as the soon become entangled in perhaps its greatest scandal to date. The city is vibrant, filled with passing pugs and pedestrians, aglow with lustrous light. It paints a scene of a traditional Chinese take on Las Vegas, and does so cutting no corners.

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The other chapter available marked the point of the game truly opening up. Now able to rule over the growing nation of Evermore, the game shows off kingdom building, as well as a different kind of fight in order to defend the population. The footage below shows a glimpse of the alternate fight as I fail to properly grasp it, and a wander around the overworld.


Forever a Lost Soul

After a short break for pizza, I found myself fixated on the Soul Calibur players. Bringing with them their fancy and expensive-looking fight sticks, they were eager to get a chance to play this much anticipated release before it launched. With these people far out of my reach, somebody noticed my interest and decided to teach me the basics. Soul Calibur II being my only experience with the series (and that was only because of Link's cameo), I can assure you it did not go well. Taking a few rounds for myself, I found a little solace in my losing streak. Despite being utterly awful, I found an appreciation for just how incredible this game looked. Everything was fluid and each attack stood out more than the last, as if in competition for a lasting impression. You can check out some footage below.


Office-Time Assault

Gundam Breaker was the unexpected hit of the event for me. Featuring only a small area to engage in 3v3 combat, the demo felt unpolished and rather rough around the edges, but its core gameplay and ideas really shone through. This 3v3 mode put our toy robots on the vast landscape of an empty office to see which team could complete the most objectives in the allotted time. Amidst the chaos, you could attack the opposing team to break off their parts, and in turn equip them yourself in real time. It's this mechanic that sets it apart from Custom Robo Arena, or Little Battlers eXperience I'd played before it. I'm excited to see where this game goes; with a fun story and the promise of this 3v3 battle being playable with friends online, it has a lot of potential in my eyes.

The Melancholy of a Little Witch

With Gundam surprising me as much as it did, I turned to the final game of the night starry-eyed and hopeful. Having launched rather quietly in Japan last year, Little Witch Academia: Chambers of Time had completely fallen under my radar. If it could capture even a fraction of the magic the show exuded, I had no doubt it would be a great game. Alas, I simply couldn't get behind it. For how animated and alive the series itself felt, the game fell flat. Be it from choppy idle animations or a less than fluid transition between actions, this side-scrolling action game failed to impress. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to record this at the time, but footage is readily available online with the game having launched last year, you should be able to form your own opinion.

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Despite more than 12 hours of traveling, I had a great time. While there were a few less than magical moments, they were vastly outshined by the soaring passion and creativity present in the other games. I'd like to thank Bandai Namco for inviting us to such a fun night, and look forward to what they have in store for the future.
 
Last edited by Scarlet,

Scarlet

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That's really freakin' cool. Do you have some video montage on your tour with Bamco or it wasn't allowed?
I didn't actually expect to be able to take pictures since they said it was in their office so I didn't think to bring my camcorder, and my phone's video recording is kinda meh. Only managed to get the pictures in the post, but I'll be sure to take my camcorder to any future events!
 

RedoLane

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This might be a stupid question and too late to answer, but.... is it required to play the first game before the second one?
 

Scarlet

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This might be a stupid question and too late to answer, but.... is it required to play the first game before the second one?
It is not as far as I know. For as well received the first game was, it didn't sell as well as one might assume. I believe they wanted to make it accessible as possible for both those who have enjoyed the original and those who haven't.
 
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Old

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I see Power Rangers/Sentai and some video game characters around....no Godzilla/Ultra/kaiju stuff?
 

Hyborix3

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Can't wait for Ni No Kuni 2. I know preordering is a bad thing to do but I can't resist buying the King edition for it. The other edition looks alright, but dat King Edition tho
 

ov3rkill

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I didn't actually expect to be able to take pictures since they said it was in their office so I didn't think to bring my camcorder, and my phone's video recording is kinda meh. Only managed to get the pictures in the post, but I'll be sure to take my camcorder to any future events!

That's okay. It looks really fun nonetheless. Thanks for sharing your adventure. We get to see what it looks like inside from a temper's perspective.
 
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