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The shoe was on the other foot here as I sat down and was interviewed by Twitch streamer/YouTuber SenseiSolo on the current state and future of Cobra Kai: Card Fighter, a mobile game based off the show Cobra Kai, in my role at the time of brand, marketing, and community manager of BossTeam Games!

I know it’s passé to say this, but 2020 will be a year none of us will soon forget. I don’t need to explain why, but on the gaming front it saw countless remakes and remasters, triple-A delays, and the last generation of consoles sort of limp across the finish line before welcoming in the new—which had really no major exclusive titles at launch. It was a changing of the guard with little to no fanfare on that front, but through it all a handful of games rose to the top. Here are my top five games for an unforgettable year outside of gaming.

#5Paper Mario: The Origami King
Publisher: Nintendo ▪︎ Developer: Intelligent Systems ▪︎ Platforms: Switch

Simply put, The Origami King is the best Paper Mario game since Thousand Year Door. Although not a true RPG like those early games, it makes up for this by providing one of the most intriguing battle systems we’ve seen to date. Transitioning to a ring-based arena to battle, and moving your enemies around to line up attacks based on Mario’s iconic hammer swings and jumps, harks back to grid-based action-RPG hybrids like Mega Man Battle Network. Throw in origami-based powers that you acquire as you progress, and few battles ever play out the same. And I can’t forget it features the best and most humorous writing yet in a Paper Mario game. The Origami King was one of the more refreshing titles I played this year.

#4Watch Dogs: Legion
Publisher: Ubisoft ▪︎ Developer: Ubisoft Toronto ▪︎ Platforms: PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC

Watch Dogs: Legion rolled the dice in a fascinating way: having an open-world game without a true central protagonist. And Ubisoft pulled it off. Able to recruit a roster of up to 45 NPCs from the thousands that populate Ubisoft’s digital London, I collected them like Pokémon, playing different ones in different scenarios to get the job done. Sure, favorites would arise, but being able to switch to a doctor to sneak into a hospital or a cop for a police station, and then a getaway driver to escape the scene in style, made for fun and inventive ways to tackle each scenario and objective. Plus, flying across London on the construction worker’s drone is the only way to travel in the future.

#3Ori and the Will of the Wisps
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios ▪︎ Developer: Moon Studios ▪︎ Platforms: Xbox One, Switch, PC

This was one of my most anticipated titles for 2020, and it delivered in spades. After Ori and the Blind Forest took home my personal 2015 Game of the Year, I was ready to explore and bring life back to a world plagued by decay and corruption as our favorite guardian spirit. Will of the Wisps again delivers tight platforming in a sprawling map that will have you exploring for hours. Streamlined systems like an autosave and easier upgrading keeps the pace fast, and new enemies and massive bosses keep the action frantic. And the art, music, and story all come together with these other elements to make a top-notch sequel.

#2Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment ▪︎ Developer: Insomniac Games ▪︎ Platforms: PS5, PS4

I’m a sucker for a good superhero game, and Insomniac’s Spider-Man on PS4 was one of the best. So, being able to take on even a brief adventure back in that world this holiday season was a welcome way to warm up my PS5. Yes, the world is the same with just a winter wonderland skin, but Miles Morales brings a whole new set of abilities and villains to the story, and a special flair all his own,  while Peter Parker is galavanting around Europe. Sometimes you just want more of a good thing, and that’s exactly what Spider-Man: Miles Morales is—making everyone who played it feel like we made Santa’s nice list this year.

#1Ghost of Tsushima
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment ▪︎ Developer: Sucker Punch Productions ▪︎ Platforms: PS4

As I danced around the field, avoiding my opponent’s sword, and chrysanthemum petals twirled around us, I knew this was my game of the year. This, and other duels on sandy inlets as water splashed the shore, or as fog enveloped us near a monument to fallen warriors, left an unforgettable impression on me like no other game in 2020. Ghost of Tsushima is a Kurosawa film come to life in the best ways possible, and a terrific story all its own. Jin’s struggle as he willingly casts himself out from the only family he knows in order to stop an outside invader was amazingly told, and made you feel the weight of every decision. There was no world I loved exploring, and no adventure I enjoyed more, than Ghost of Tsushima. It strikes a perfect blend of gameplay, graphics, sound, and story, like a samurai delivering the final blow to a rival.

The “Best Replacement for Real Sports in a Pandemic” Award
MLB The Show 20

While most gamers got through the early days of the pandemic with Animal Crossing: New Horizons, I dove deep into another game released around the same time: MLB The Show 20. I always loved the series, but hadn’t picked up an entry in the franchise in a couple years, and there was no better time as it served the dual purpose of being entertaining and the only sports I really had for four months. It prompted me to start my own Twitch channel and dust off my play-by-play skills, and it was easily my saving grace during a tough time for everyone.

The “Best Wind Through My Hair Simulation” Award
Iron Man VR

I look back at where VR was even just two or three years ago to where we are now, and its growth is promising. One of the better games to come out this year showing that growth is Iron Man VR. The PSVR really made it feel like I was playing as ol’ Shellhead when I put the headset on. Being able to use my two gauntlets independently of each other to fire rockets, repulsors, or control my flight, gave a sense of control I’ve felt in few other VR games. And it only got better when I turned my living room A/C towards me so it really felt like I was flying through the skies while fighting great reimaginings of supervillains Ghost and Living Laser.

The “What’s Old is New Again” Award
Resident Evil 3

I gave this award last year to Resident Evil 2, but in a year defined by remakes and remasters more than anything else (Tony Hawk Pro SkaterCrysisMafiaDemon’s SoulsFFVIIDestroy All Humans, etc.)it felt fitting to bring it back and give it to my favorite of the bunch. Resident Evil 3 takes a lot from the original, but the redesign of Nemesis and how he stalks you, some new sections that play terrifically, and a graphical and control overhaul made me thrilled to revisit Raccoon City once again. And, if you splurged for the $60 version, Resident Evil: Resistance was a fun multiplayer add-on, too.

As we near the end of this console generation, it’s understandable that we’re starting to see, in my opinion, more very good games and less great games. Publishers are saving their best games to help launch new boxes, and developers are focusing on the new toys they have to make the best games possible with their dev kits for this new hardware. Developers are also extremely proficient at this generation of hardware now, creating a more level playing field overall. But, even so, there remain a few titles that will always rise to the top of any given year, and I feel these five deserve to be played more than any others from 2019. 

#5Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order
Publisher: EA ▪︎ Developer: Respawn Entertainment ▪︎ Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

I admit that part of why I may be ranking this on my list is the fact it has been so long since we’ve had a good Star Wars game. But Fallen Order is a good game even if it didn’t have the Star Wars brand, and that deserves recognition. It gives us a more in-depth look at how Order 66 decimated the Jedi, especially those not around the central action of the films. It introduces us to new worlds and lets us explore them in fun and inventive ways. And its combat is satisfying in how you balance your saber techniques along with your force powers. Combine this with great performances from everyone involved and you have an extremely solid adventure that shows story-driven Star Wars content can still be done and done well.

#4Indivisible
Publisher: 505 Games ▪︎ Developer: Lab Zero Games ▪︎ Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

Indivisible’s story about bucking destiny and finding redemption is one of the more original, and enjoyable, tales you’re likely to encounter this year. It has an absolutely massive roster for a modern RPG, and each character has a story to tell and their own unique advantages in combat, affording each player the chance to build a roster that best suits their playstyle.The timing element for attacks adds a unique challenge to your traditional turn-based RPG combat, and when you combine all this with a gorgeous hand-drawn art style, it’s hard not to see why Indivisible is a must-play indie darling.

#3Mortal Kombat 11
Publisher: Warner Bros. ▪︎ Developer: NetherRealm Studios ▪︎ Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC

So often fighting games don’t get as much love as they deserve on these lists, but Mortal Kombat 11 is the genre’s best game in years. An expansive Krypt, engaging story mode, and a roster of all your favorite fighters from the series all culminates in a pinnacle for the iconic fighting franchise. It’s expertly balanced, the tower system provides endless replayability, and the new fighters added to the roster this go around perfectly complement the return of many long-time favorites. So whether you like to zone, get up close and personal, or just spam those damn sweep kicks, Mortal Kombat 11 is a fighting game that should not be soon forgotten.

#2Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Publisher: Nintendo ▪︎ Developer: Intelligent Systems, Koei Tecmo ▪︎ Platforms: Switch

I’ve been a Fire Emblem fan for decades now, and it’s a series known for its hard decisions and brutal tactical gameplay. No other entry, though, requires you to make so many hard choices as frequently as this one does. From the near-impossible decision of what house you’ll become a teacher in, to what allies will join you on your crusade to save the world, Three Houses tests your mettle (and how well you keep track of your save files before branching paths) like no other game in the series before it. For fans of strategy games, none greater were released this year.

#1Control
Publisher: 505 Games ▪︎ Developer: Remedy Entertainment ▪︎ Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC

For a game that came onto my radar so late (literally just a couple weeks before its release), I was blown away by what it was able to do.I’ve always been a fan of Remedy (yes, even Quantum Break), but this is easily its best effort yet. It’s all the studio’s strengths cranked up to maximum. It’s just the right amount of weird, with good gunplay, wacky characters, amazing performances, and some cool superpowers that make Jesse the most badass new game heroine we’ve seen in a long time. And when the Alan Wake Expansion drops next year I’ll be first up to return to the Federal Bureau of Control.

The “Not All Russians Are Terrible” Award
Metro Exodus

For a long time this year Metro Exodus was in my top five, so I figured it deserved at least some recognition as the best entry yet in a trilogy that made leaps and bounds between chapters. The struggle of Artyom and his comrades sucks me in each time I start a new Metro game. The scope of this one is unmatched, culminating in one of the most satisfying endings you could expect from a series centered on the nuclear apocalypse. It still gives players the welcome option of being able to stealth through dynamic environments, or go in guns blazing if you think your ammo will hold out. It’s a shooter-survival game not for the faint of heart—and an adventure that will stick with me for a long while.

The “Best Metroidvania” Award
Blasphemous

If you’re making an indie game nowadays, there’s a good chance you’re making a Metroidvania. Heck, even the original creator of Castlevania threw his hat back into the ring with Bloodstained. As good as that game was, though, I found one even better in Blasphemous. Steeped in ancient Christian ideology, the sprawling world you play through is a twisted nightmare of holy relics and torture. For example, you slaughter cherubs for collectibles, and get health increase bonuses from a woman impaled on six swords (each time you find her, she gives you a sword and thus more health). It’s gruesome, gory, and the most glorious Metroidvania of the year. If you love the genre, go serve your penance and play this game.

The “What’s Old Is New Again” Award
Resident Evil 2

Normally I remove remakes from being eligible in my game of the year awards, but Resident Evil 2 being rebuilt from the ground-up in the way that it was means I’d be remiss to at least not shine a light on it. And yes, it’s not just a remake, it’s really a reimagining. Sure, there are weird puzzles still being solved in a police station of all places as Leon and Claire uncover what Umbrella was really up to in Raccoon City, but it’s never looked so good or been so fun. Between this and the launch of Resident Evil VII a couple years ago (my personal 2017 GOTY), it really feels like Capcom knows what to do with its landmark survival horror series after years of floundering. And it’s only made me all the more excited for next year’s Resident Evil 3 remake.

Pokémon has been nothing short of a phenomenon since it first debuted over 20 years ago on the Nintendo Game Boy. Whether you’ve been there since the very start, like yours truly, or came along later, the series has been a constant in the popular zeitgeist since it appeared. And yet, it’s always been on handheld systems. Sure, we’ve had Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Snap and even Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee that reimagined the original Pokémon Red/Blue games for the Switch. But we’ve never had a brand-new generation that debuted on a home console—until now, that is, with Generation VIII’s Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield start off like most any other Pokémon game. You are tasked with becoming the very best, like no one ever was. You quickly meet your best friend and rival, Hop, and his brother Leon, who is the Pokémon Champion for the Galar region and is famous for being undefeated. So, you and Hop set off to do the impossible in a race to be the first to beat Leon and become the new champ. Leon is intrigued by this ambitious mission, and unlike Pokémon games in the past, it is he who offers you your starter Pokémon. From there, you’ll have to take down eight unique gyms across the Galar region, each with a special challenge.

Credit: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.

I chose Scorbunny as my starter, marking only the second time I haven’t chosen the water type in my personal history. Interestingly, Hop takes the Pokémon your starter is strongest against (in my case, the grass type Grookey) and the champion takes the Pokemon you’re weakest against (Sobble, the water type for me). Typically, your rival takes the Pokémon yours is weakest against, and the third stays with a Professor. It’s a small detail in regards to the overall game, but it makes so much sense you wonder why it wasn’t done sooner.

From a very high-level view, Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield then play like most other Pokémon games from here on out. You’ll hear tales of the legendary Pokémon Zacien and Zamazenta that protect Galar (foreshadowing an inevitable meetup), you’ll catch Pokémon in the wild to build a balanced party to take down gym leaders and collect badges to prove you’re worthy to combat the champion, and you’ll quell some inevitable trouble that arises from those who would use Pokémon for nefarious means. The core of Pokémon remains both relatively unchanged and tremendously fun. Where this latest generation of Pokémon both excels and falters, however, is in the differences that the games introduce when compared more directly with their predecessors.

One major upgrade is the look. Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield look absolutely stunning, taking full advantage of the Switch hardware and being on a proper home console. Every location you visit is incredibly detailed, and the world feels more lived in than most other Pokémon games with many more people and homes to explore. The British influence on the game is also evident everywhere you look, with some regions and towns modeled after popular tourist attractions like Stonehenge or the Roman Baths. There’s even a proper Underground that can shuttle you to places around Galar.

Credit: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.

But the Underground is the first, and admittedly most minor, of several elements in Pokémon Swordand Pokémon Shield where it doesn’t feel like developer Game Freak leaned into an idea far enough. It isn’t long after your first Underground ride that Flying Taxis are introduced, representing the game’s true fast travel system and replacing Fly from previous games. In one fell swoop, they make the Underground needless window dressing.

Early in the game, well before you face your first gym, you have to cross an extensive expanse called the Wild Area, a massive field that connects to two key towns in Galar. The field features a bevy of new and old Pokémon alike, and is one of the best places to put together a balanced team for combat. Random encounters of the past are gone, and you can actually see Pokémon floating, flying, walking, or bouncing all around the field. There are still “surprise encounters” occasionally, marked by an exclamation point before the battle begins that are triggered by staying in tall grass for too long. But, for the most part, you’ll know exactly what wild Pokémon you’re trying to capture—and I, for one, am thrilled random encounters are all but gone now.

The Pokémon in the field are also consistently around certain levels in certain parts, offering up a makeshift barrier in the game to let you know to come back to particular parts of the field later on. For example, trying to capture a level 25 Butterfree when you’re only level 12 isn’t going to work most of the time.

The Wild Area also introduces two new gameplay components, the first of which is camping. Camping may not sound like much, but here you can play with your Pokémon and cook curry with them in fun little minigames that also have a benefit in battle. You can earn easy XP to help level up your Pokémon when you make camp, and developing a better relationship with your Pokémon while relaxing could lead to in-battle bonuses like shaking off paralysis or delivering critical hits more frequently. It serves as a nice distraction from constant battling, and I admit it’s pretty fun to play catch with your favorite Pokémon. Camping can be done in other areas later on, too.

Credit: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.

The other new feature is the highly talked about the Dynamax/Gigantamax feature. Dynamaxing a Pokémon is similar to the Mega Evolutions from Pokémon X/Y and Pokémon Sun/Moon, but far better balanced and far more critical to the story. Dynamaxing only lasts for three turns, whereas Mega Evolutions continued until a battle was over. Only one Pokémon per battle per trainer can be Dynamaxed and doing so replaces the moves of your Pokémon with Max moves based on type. For example, fire moves turn into Max Flare when Dynamaxed, whereas water moves turns into Max Geyser. This helps prompt players to ensure their Pokémon have a variety of different moves, not just always play to type. After all, a Pokémon with four fire-type moves would then only have one move while Dynamaxed. The only difference, besides appearance, with a Pokémon that can Gigantamax when they Dynamax, is they have an exclusive G-Max move that’s even more powerful, but the Pokémon capable of doing this are few and far between.

In the Wild Area, you’ll encounter your first Pokémon dens. These are powerful hot spots that cause energy to course through them. Any wild Pokémon that has made a home in these dens will automatically Dynamax. If you can defeat a wild Dynamaxed Pokémon, you’re guaranteed to catch it in its original, de-Dynamaxed form. It’s a great way to quickly build a powerful party to take on the eight gym leaders.

As great as all this was, and as much fun as I had exploring the Wild Area, there’s only one Wild Area in the entire game. If you’re like me and put a priority on becoming champion and taking on all the gyms as quickly as possible, you’ll only need to go through the Wild Area twice in the entire game. Sure, you can go back and visit whenever you want. But it was very disappointing that instead of filling Galar with these Pokémon havens, most of the rest of the game relies on routes and caves that harken back to the original Pokémon games. You can still catch wild Pokémon on these routes, but only the Wild Area has wild Dynamax Pokémon.

Credit: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.

This leads into another issue with Pokemon Sword and Shield: inconsistent pacing. It wasn’t until hour seven of my playthrough that I got to my first gym, which made the game feel like it was going to be a slow burn. Once you get through the Wild Area that first time, however, the pace of the game quickens dramatically. Even with each gym offering a fun mini challenge (like herding Wooloo for Milo), you’ll roll through gym battles at a pretty breakneck pace; I was taking down gyms almost hourly. Just walk down a path, catch a couple more Pokémon for the Pokédex, and snag another badge. Other Pokémon games spread their gyms out more evenly, offering you challenges, puzzles, and sometimes even towns that might not have a Pokémon gym, but which offered other distractions in-between. Had the pacing been more consistent the whole way through, the linearity might’ve been less noticeable and less problematic.

That inbalance may have been less noticeable because, as the titles might suggest, Pokémon Swordand Pokémon Shield is focused more on battling than any previous Pokémon game. It’s not just celebrated in the Galar region—it’s their entire way of life. The goal of completing your Pokédex is a distant second to becoming champion now. This has also led to some user interface and gameplay innovations that I didn’t realize we needed so badly until we got them here. Like, for example, clearly telling players moves that are effective or not effective against Pokémon before you use them as long as you have Pokédex data on your opponent; no longer having to go to a Pokémon Center to adjust your team, instead now being able to just switch Pokémon out of your party with a box on the fly; and even a new feature called Poké Jobs that allow Pokémon not in your party to do missions and gain XP on their own. These were all nice little conveniences that went a long way towards my enjoyment of the game.

And, of course, we need to talk about the Pokédex. Not a second of my game was less enjoyable because the Galar region doesn’t have access to all of the hundreds of Pokémon previously introduced. Instead, I found joy in finding all of the regional exclusive variants the game offers, as well as dozens of brand new Pokémon including Drednaw and Corviknight, who were anchors in my party alongside Scorbunny from almost the beginning of the game. There are still plenty of Pokémon to play around with, and the idea that another region wouldn’t have access to all the Pokémon in the world makes perfect sense. Think of them like the region exclusives in Pokémon GO.

Credit: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.

Finally, I wasn’t able to put the online play for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield through its proper paces, as the servers still aren’t up. That said, I was able to do a local link battle with Mike from the EGM main office. Similar to how you can make a code for private groups in Pokémon GO raids, you can make a number that you share for local battling, which worked without a hitch when we tested it out. That said, there was still a bit of a balancing issue. After the game reset all our Pokémon to level 50—as is standard—since Mike was using early game moves, and all my Pokémon were touting end game abilities, even when matchups would normally favor him like his grass-type Grookey against my water/rock-type Drednaw, I pummeled him. Of course, most people won’t even try battling until they get later in the game, but Mike did me a solid by taking his lumps to test out the link battles.

There’s also features like surprise trades now, where you put a random Pokémon up for grabs and get a random Pokémon in return. And, similar to Pokémon GO’sraids, those Wild Area Dynamax battles can be fought together with up to three friends. Even though Mike joined me for one despite not being anywhere near my level, the game balance battles so that, when you catch the Pokémon, it’s close to the level of each trainer. So, the Pokémon Mike could capture after the battle was a level 20, while for me, it was a level 50. We both get a Pokémon, and at least here the game remained balanced.

Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield are among the best games the series has ever offered. The Galar region is fun to explore, the new Pokémon it offers up are some of the most interesting the series has seen yet, and the Dynamax system adds a new wrinkle that freshens things up like never before. The adventure can be a little linear—and maybe even tedious at times—but it features everything that makes Pokémon great. Hopefully next time, Game Freak will push their new ideas to the limits and really deliver something special.

Credit: Nintendo / Creatures Inc. / GAME FREAK inc.
★★★★☆

The first new-generation Pokémon game to release on a proper home console does not disappoint. New features like Dynamaxing and the Wild Area are fun additions that make the experience of becoming a Pokémon champion still feel fresh. It’s just a shame that Game Freak didn’t lean into the new features more than they did.

Developer
Game Freak Inc≥
Publisher
Nintendo
ESRB
E – Everyone
Release Date
11.15.2019

Gen 5 Pokemon have just started rolling out in Pokemon GO and already three of the new Pokemon have shiny versions ready for players to catch.

More than three-dozen Pokemon originally seen in the Unova region of the game were just added to Pokemon GO if one counts evolutionary chains. If one counts the evolutions for these new shinies, then a total of eight new shiny Pokemon have also been added.

The first of Pokemon GO‘s new shinies is Patrat, a Normal-type Pokemon that evolves into Watchog with 50 candies. Shiny Patrat’s have different color eyes than their normal counterparts and can be found in eggs, commonly in the wild, or in raids.

Next up is Lillipup, another Normal-type, that evolves into Herdier with 25 candy, and then Stoutland with another 100 candy. Shiny Lillipups have slightly different fur coloring than normal, and, like Patrat, can be found in eggs, commonly in the wild, or in raids.

Finally, there is Klink, a Steel-type Pokemon, that evolves into Klang with 25 candy, and Klinklang with 100 more candy. Typically, Klink is silver in color, but the shiny variety has a more golden sheen to it. Klink is also the hardest of the three to find, as it is available in Pokemon GO raids only.

Pokemon GO remains one of the most popular mobile and free-to-play games in the world, and the addition of Generation 5 will only keep players around for even longer. After all, gotta catch ‘em all.

The addition of all these new Pokemon to the game has also added other features, including new moves for battles and raids. Although the three Pokemon mentioned above only require candy to evolve, there are seven Pokemon released with this generation who require the brand new Unova Stone evolutionary item.

The Unova Stone is only available via Research Breakthroughs, which at maximum can only be earned once per week. So trainers out there will need to keep completing tasks as well while hunting for all the new Pokemon out there.

Pokemon GO is available now for mobile devices.

The collector’s edition of Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot has been unveiled this week at Tokyo Game Show.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot was rumored to be in development early on in 2019, and then officially announced around E3. TGS has given Bandai Namco a chance to finally reveal many of the major details surrounding the game; including confirming the Buu arc would be part of the game and the release date.

The Buu arc trailer also shows off what the collector’s edition of the game will have in store for fans. Besides the full game for the purchaser’s system of choice, there’s a collectible steelbook, 10×12 hardcover game artbook, and an exclusive diorama figure that portrays Goku riding a Flying Nimbus with Gohan. The figure’s dimensions are 8x8x8. The collector’s edition will retail for $199.95 and more bonuses are available now if one were to pre-order either the collector’s edition or even just the base game.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is the latest video game retelling of Goku’s life. It’s a story that’s been told many times before, but this time developer CyberConnect2 wants to show it to gamers in an action-RPG format. CyberConnect2 is likely best known for their years working on the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja series.

To help show off what CyberConnect2 is doing with DBZ, Bandai Namco also released a Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot gameplay trailer at TGS. This newest gameplay shows off Vegeta in both combat and free roam and helps depict the game’s immense scale.

Even with Goku’s story being told countless times before, delivering it to gamers via an action-RPG gameplay mechanic could be enough of a difference to entice DBZ fans to experience the story one more time. It’s also a fascinating change considering Dragon Ball Z’s history with fighting games, including just last year’s surprise success with Dragon Ball FighterZ.

Changing the format to that of an action-RPG could also entice a new crop of DBZ fans to give the game a go, though. After all, fighting games often are seen as having a high barrier of entry that could deter certain players.

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot is set to release on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on January 17th, 2020.

Over an hour’s worth of brand new Death Stranding game footage will be revealed next week at Tokyo Game Show.

Death Stranding is the highly anticipated open-world action game from Hideo Kojima, and his first project since his departure from Konami back in 2015. Since Gamescom last month, Kojima Productions and Sony have been ramping up the reveals for the game; like that Death Stranding can be played in first-person, despite revealed footage being exclusively in third-person.

In that vein, PlayStation of Japan will be doing a series of live shows during TGS, and the shows on September 12th and 14th will feature long stretches of Death Stranding content. There are 50 minutes scheduled for the show on the 12th, and 30 more minutes on the 14th. Hideo Kojima will also be present at every show, including an extra one on September 15th featuring the Japanese voice cast. The English version of the game touts a star-studded line-up including Norman Reedus as Sam Bridges and Mads Mikkelsen as Cliff.

In Death Stranding, players will be tasked with linking together a vast world full of isolated communities. The hope of this mission, as assigned by the character Amelie, is that by reconnecting with one another, the people in the game’s world will rediscover something they’ve collectively lost because of cataclysmic events and the ever-present BTs – the mysterious entities that players can detect via their Bridge Babies.

The fact that Sony is affording so much time to Death Stranding could mean several things. There seems to be a lot more questions than answers surrounding the game in regards to what it’s really all about and how it will play. A big reveal like this could be to help assuage fears of questioning gamers and turn those sitting on the fence into sales.

Sony also lacks any other true powerhouse exclusive leading into the holiday season, as The Last of Us II release date remains unknown. While Concrete Genie, the remake of MediEvil, and the remaster of Yakuza 4 are nice feathers in Sony’s cap, they aren’t true headline grabbers. Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding is a tentpole release that could cement a strong quarter for Sony, especially as the Nintendo Switch further corners the nostalgia market, and Microsoft seemingly rests on their laurels and just rides Gears 5 for all its worth.

Death Stranding is a PlayStation 4-exclusive set to release on November 8th, 2019.

If one were to find themselves on the fence about picking up Astral Chain, the new Switch-exclusive action title from developer Platinum Games, then Walmart is looking to make the decision a little easier.

Like most brand new games, Astral Chain normally retails for $59.99. But at least on launch day, if one were to purchase the game physically at a local Walmart, it would ring up at the register for the discounted price of $49.94, or more than $10 off the normal price.

This isn’t the first time this summer Walmart has tried to entice gamers to buy the physical version of a new game. Walmart offered similar discounts in July for Fire Emblem: Three Houses and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, also Switch exclusives. Just like then, the discount was only offered in-store.

Astral Chain is set in the year 2078 where mankind is on the brink of extinction. Inter-dimensional beings called Chimera are trying to destroy the last remnant of humanity, which reside in the megacity called “The Ark.” Players will choose to play as one of two twins who work on the Neuron Police Task Force and that utilize Legions, or subservient Chimeras tethered to the twins by a psychic chain, to combat the threat and keep humanity afloat.

One wonders what could be prompting the day one discounts. There’s the surface level answer that price slashing is an easy way to entice potential Walmart customers away from their competitors. There’s also been worry lately in the gaming world over the lifespan of physical media. After all, brick and mortar stores like GameStop continue to see their stock plummet in a world where digital downloads offer unparalleled convenience for many.

Of course, Astral Chain also did not have nearly as much of a promotional window as many other games. It was only announced in February of this year, leaving it with less time to educate gamers as to what it was about, and relying on recent gameplay videos to try to build up hype.

That said the game is performing extremely well critically. It’s garnered a bevy of 8s, 9s, and even 10s, on the review front. Directed by Takahisa Taura, who was lead designer on Nier: Automata, while under the supervision of Bayonetta and Devil May Cry series creator Hideki Kamiya, it should really be no surprise that critics are responding positively from the latest stylish action game from Platinum.

Astral Chain releases on August 30, 2019, exclusively for the Nintendo Switch.

Although a constant stream of news about Cyberpunk 2077 recently came out of Gamescom, CD Projekt Red’s latest endeavor is far from done with its con-season tour.

September 11th through the 15th have been penciled in to the developer’s calendar now as it is set to appear at Tokyo Game Show courtesy of Spike Chunsoft. Spike Chunsoft is the company handling the Japanese publishing duties for the game. Cyberpunk 2077 is offering an experience unique to TGS, though, including the chance to take pictures with a life-size replica of the motorcycle seen in the game.

TGS will get the same demo that fans at Gamescom have experienced, but translated entirely into Japanese for the crowd there. This Cyberpunk 2077demo will also be revealed to the public in the coming days via Twitch and Mixer, since Germany and Japan is out of most gamers’ travel budgets. Fans at TGS won’t be able to go hands-on with the demo, but will instead be walked through it in a closed theater by one of the devs. If it’s anything like what was seen at E3 2019, players can expect Johnny Silverhand, the character that superstar actor Keanu Reeves plays and helped create, to pop up in the demo at some point.

Courtesy of Google Translate, gamers know that the booth will be in Hall 8 at TGS, where there will be special badges and hand towels given to visitors to the booth, and they’ll able to get a picture taken with a cosplayer and a life-size replica of the Yaiba Kusanagi motorcycle players can ride in-game.

While these sorts of creations aren’t uncommon, it’s interesting to see Tokyo Game Show get an exclusive one. TGS used to be a tentpole convention for many developers, but has taken a backseat to the bigger, western conventions that have popped up over the last couple of console generations. This move could be an attempt to help appeal to a market where Cyberpunk 2077’s performance could be in doubt. However, if Cyberpunk 2077’s story can match the depth and complexity of CD Projekt Red’s last game, The Witcher III, there should be little skepticism that this highly anticipated title will do fine in every market.

Cyberpunk 2077 is set to release on April 16th, 2020, for Google Stadia, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Battletoads made its presence felt at Gamecom in Cologne, Germany, this year with a 4K demo available to attendees.

Battletoads was long rumored to be in development at Rare before being formally announced at E3 2018 that Rare and DLaLa Studios were indeed working on it. Then, at this year’s E3, gamers finally got a gameplay trailer in addition to a playable demo at E3 that featured much of the same content at Gamescom. However, the Gamescom event was the first time influencers and press were allowed to capture gameplay footage and share it with fans outside the show.

The eight minutes of gameplay highlights the three Battletoad brothers, Rash, Pimple, and Zitz, as they are on the hunt for a gang leader named Porkshank. The three trade one-liners as easily as they do fists with the enemies that fill the screen. They then finally catch up to Porky, and the expected boss battle ensues.

The side-scrolling, beat ‘em up action appears reminiscent of the same gameplay that made the franchise famous in the early 90s. Additions like mapping particular moves to individual buttons, and each toad featuring a wide variety of “morph” moves, look to deliver far more gameplay depth than what was had during the NES days. The new art design also looks great in 4K, as the cartoonish style really pops off the screen.

It’s also been confirmed that this new Battletoads will feature three-player couch co-op, and at least one hoverbike level, again harkening back to the franchise’s NES roots.  Whether or not this new game will match the original’s infamous difficulty level is yet to be seen.

Even if it falls short of that lofty difficulty mark, fans of the series are likely just happy to see the Battletoads back in some form or another. If the new Battletoads hits its 2019 release window, it will have been 25 years since a standalone Battletoads game, Battletoads Arcade, was made available to the public. There were cameos made by the Battletoads in Shovel Knight as bosses, and Rash in Killer Instinct but if anything, it only whet the appetite of fans even more so to have a standalone entry in the series again.

Battletoads is slated to drop sometime in 2019 for PC and Xbox One.