At this year’s E3 I had the opportunity to preview some amazing upcoming games from one of gaming’s legendary companies, Konami. Even though they didn’t have a huge press conference like some of the other game publishers, I was invited to get a sneak peek of two announced titles, and one unannounced title that would be revealed at the beginning of the E3 conference. The titles covered some of the genres that Konami is famous for…sports, action and family fun, and I left excited for the games Konami has in store for us.
My first meeting was with the fine folks behind Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) 2019, a game looking to claim the crown for best soccer franchise against its rival FIFA by EA. First, they gave us a presentation of the highlights of the game and the numerous changes that went into PES 2019. Some of the key components that would promise to make this THE premiere soccer game on PC and consoles were the dynamic lighting and weather effects, fully licensed leagues and stadiums, and the opportunity to play as legends of bygone eras. The focus of the game was to bring the individual player’s talents to the forefront, ensuring that more skilled players played similar to their real-world counterparts. This would mean that each player would feel different, and a team made up of the most skilled players would play distinctly differently than a team that was not. A new fatigue system is built into the game as well, where players will be sluggish to the ball and visibly out of breath encouraging arm chair coaches to substitute more often. A refined substitution control scheme has also been implemented and this ensures that coaches are given the information needed to substitute as successfully and easily as possible. PES 2019 looked like a great game and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on it when it releases later this year.
Next up was the opportunity to play Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars, a VR and 4K remaster of Zone of the Enders. For those not familiar with the game (like myself, as I had not played the original), you control a giant mech type robot, who fights similar mech and non-mech units. I played the PC version in 4K and must say that it looked absolutely incredible, reminding me of the Shogun Warrior cartoons I used to watch on Showtime back when I was a kid. I unfortunately did not have the opportunity to play the PS4 VR version, but from what I had heard from other participants it makes the transition to VR perfectly. Look for Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars to arrive in early September.
Last was the opportunity to play a newly announced game for the Nintendo Switch and honestly the one I was looking forward to the most. If you grew up in the 80’s, you probably spent a fair amount of time at your local arcade, competing against other teens to see who could out-do each other. Back then, video games were all about the leader boards and entering your initials when you surpassed others with your superior dexterity and hand/eye coordination. One such title, and one that was a lot of fun but difficult to master, was the original Track and Field by…you guessed it, Konami. So, I was excited to hear about their new game – Hyper Sports R, which has you competing against other players in Olympic style sports. Hyper Sports R brings back a genre which has sadly been absent from most PC and console platforms for a very long time. I had the opportunity to play three of the four sports that had been announced, the 100m dash, the javelin throw, and the long jump, only missing beach volleyball which had been announced but was not a playable demo. In traditional old-school style, there was a lot of button mashing to speed up your character and then maneuvering the Joy-Con pad to select your angle. The game also involves some character driven RPG style events, where your athletes must learn to get along to work cohesively as a team, which brings an unusual, yet interesting twist on the sports game genre. Even though only four events had been announced, there are many additional events that will be introduced prior to the game being released. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I’ve always been a fan of Olympic sport type games (I played the original Decathlon game by Activision on my Atari 2600 so much that I broke 3 joysticks) so this is a title I will definitely pick up when it is released.
Konami certainly provided an excellent glimpse of the titles we can expect this year. The games are sure to satisfy both young and old alike, as well as sports and action fans. They certainly have me excited for these games to be released as well as the future titles that will surely follow. It’s great to see the passion and drive that goes into developing these games, and how Konami is constantly striving to improve on formulas that have been successful in the past. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to hunt down an old Track and Field arcade game, so I can practice my long jump and javelin skills. I’ll see you on the competition field.