Last week I had the great chance to check out the latest releases from D3 Publishing and man, did they have some great looking games. Here, I'm going to run through what I saw and why you should be hyped about them.
First thing I got my hands on was Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury for the Xbox 360. It's a "bullet hell" type of shooter and man is it hard. The main differences I saw between this and other shooters like it are that your quickest way of dispatching enemies is through "counters attacks" instead of just shooting. And those stages aren't linear, but more enclosed areas. The counter mechanic is intense. The amount of missiles you fire (you shoot actual missiles in this game, not balls of colored energy) is determined by the amount of missiles you have coming at you. If there's not a lot, then your counter will only have maybe 100+ missiles. If you wait until you're completely surrounded though, expect a 1000 missile counter! Yeah, a thousand missiles firing in an expanding circular pattern and destroying everything in their path looks like a cacophony of awesome on screen.
Next up on my list was Dream Trigger 3D for the Nintendo 3DS. This is another shooter, but definitely not in the bullet hell category. Play mechanics are interesting with this one. The top screen has you character and "bullets" coming at it, but no enemies. Enemies must be "pinged with sonar" in order to be made visible, shot, and destroyed. This is done by placing "bombs" on the lower screen and then a scrolling time bar, ala Lumines, crosses over and detonates the bombs. It wasn't until I tried it in 3D that I realized you don't shoot left and right, but rather "into" the screen and that you have to be over enemies to shoot them. The visuals in this are very interesting and range from Rez-like to classically "Disney-ish" and all sorts of themes in between.
Following that it was back to consoles for Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon on the Xbox 360. This 3rd person action shooter puts you in the shoes of a member of Team Lightning and dropped into Detroit to eradicate the incoming giant bug invasion. I didn't play any of the earlier games in the franchise, but I learned that there were new classes of soldiers to play as. From a flying airman to a shield using heavy trooper and an engineering type soldier, they all had unique abilities to kill the over sized bug invasion. Oh, did I mention that the bugs are enormous? Ticks being the smallest ones and they were about half the size of the soldiers. There were also spitting ants, jumping spiders, giant things that carried the ticks, and robotic praying mantises. That last one I'm not making up either. Game play in this one is up to 3 people simultaneous via XBL.
The final game of my hands on tour was Gods Eater Burst for the PSP. This was the game I was most excited for as I had heard of the series before and really wanted to know more about it. GEB, is a 3rd person action JRPG where the gods have come down and decimated most of the world. People have figured out how to make weapons from the gods' DNA and are fighting back. It feels a little like Monster Hunter and I can see that from the game play, but the story is much more fleshed out. As with standard JRPG's weapons are fanciful, bright, and obscenely huge. They also transform from blade type to gun, shield, and lastly "eater" where a monster comes out and literally eats your enemies. An interesting thing here is the Player Card system. Since you go out on missions in teams of 4, you can use a card of a friend's character and use that character as an NPC on your missions. The experience and items they get are stored to the Player Card and when you and your friend play together again, they have all kinds of experience and goodies awaiting them. The only thing I'm not too keen on was the dreaded "PSP Claw". Your character is controlled with the analog stick, but the camera is controlled with the d-pad. Not Fun.
Overall I was impressed with what I saw and can't wait to get some of these in for a more in depth review. Gods Eater Burst is available now. Dream Trigger 3DS and Bangai-O HD: Missile Fury Fury are both Spring 2011 releases. Finally, Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon is slated for a 7/5/2011 release date. Check them out and make sure to check back right here for our up coming coverage of these great titles.