Another big Geoff Keighley production has been and gone, this time GamesCom’s Opening Night Live 2021 presentation. As is tradition, both Paul and Matt have a lot of thoughts stemming from the dozens of games that were shown, and as a result, we have another Versus piece for you to enjoy as the duo express their thoughts.
Player 2 Vs Gamescom Opening Night Live 2021
Paul: Kyle Bosman does an awesome job every time he pairs up with Geoff Keighley, his cat drifting through was another highlight, but that aside he had a couple cool titles to work with along with a couple of fairly lame ones. Bus Simulator shouldn’t be getting a gig under any circumstance but it was good to see some potential gems like The Dark Pictures: House Of Ashes, Dolmen, which after learning about it at E3 I’m even keener on following this presentation, Nobody Saves The World has me hyped, and then Dream Cycle, a new game from Toby Gard, the creator of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider?! I’m in!
Matt: House of Ashes still looks great and I think it will be the first of the Dark Pictures games to really pull me in. Dolmen continues to grow on me, looking better each time I see it. Nobody Saves the World seems like something that I would play on my switch for an insane amount of time. Soundfall looks stunning, but it remains to be seen how the combat holds up. Dream Cycle, well that could be a real winner right there.
Paul: Matt, you’ve obviously seen more of this than everyone else, but it’s nice to start to catch up. We’ve discussed the trailer and what you saw of an extended gameplay cut but it was nice to see a little slice of the moment-to-moment in this presentation.
Matt: Check out my in-depth preview of Saint’s Row to get my full impressions, but the short of it is despite the most dangerous man in the universe, Johnny Gat, not appearing, I am still hyped.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns
Paul: One of the biggest get-hyped moments from the presentation. Firaxis had been rumoured to be working on a Marvel game, and while I expected good things, I didn’t expect them to be this good. Midnight Suns, despite being a total CG trailer completely won me over. Expert use of an Enter Sandman cover, the best of the best from the Marvel universe, and a tonne of hype. I’m ready to see some gameplay next week, and to play it in March!
Matt: The Marvel Xcom game appears. Apparently though according to people who have seen it in action it is slightly more on the CRPG side of things than the Xcom side of things, though there are elements from both styles present for sure. This is right in my wheelhouse and Firaxis hasn’t ever let me down.
Call of Duty: Vanguard
Paul: I’m not a Call of Duty guy, but the way they presented Vanguard really spoke to me. The tone, the feeling of complete vulnerability was awesome. Often we’re this overpowered super-soldier, and I’m sure we’ll get there eventually, but the contrast of typical COD to this really won me over. I might even play this campaign!
Matt: Look I am pretty much done with COD and Activision in general until some significant changes happen over there.
Paul: We all knew this was coming after Halo didn’t show up at the Xbox conference a day prior, but then the internet leaked the date in advance. Halo Infinite is coming incredibly hot on December 8, which has me super worried. We’re already getting some modes omitted until a few months after launch, and a December date, which companies always avoid because the peak sales period in many regions has passed, doesn’t fill me with hope that we’re going to get a clean, bug-free experience from the core game. My fingers are so tightly crossed though!
Matt: I am not as worried as Paul, simply because I have played a fair bit of the multiplayer during the test period and honestly that was as smooth as you could have asked for. I think, had they pushed for the Forge and Co-op at release then bugs and such would be an issue, but by taking the pressure off themselves they can ensure that the Campaign and Multiplayer are ready to roll.
Cult Of The Lamb
Paul: YESSS MASSIVE MONSTER! I played Cult Of The Lamb at PAXAus a couple of years ago, though I’m sure it was going by a different name at the time, and I loved every moment of what I played. The rest of the world seems to be on the same page as I am, and it’s awesome to see Devolver throwing their support at what Jay, Julian and the team are working on.
Matt: Aussie developed insanity right here. It looks mental, kind of a cross between Stardew Valley and Enter the Gungeon. Crazy doesn’t cover it. Keen to see more though and how all the different parts connect into a whole experience.
Midnight Fight Express
Paul: A single dev is working on this? There’s a lot of cool stuff going on with Midnight Fight Express, and I’m really keen to see more of it.
Matt: We saw a bit of this in the Xbox show, but getting a bigger look was awesome. It looks unreal. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and the fact it is one person is amazing.
TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge
Paul: The continued resurgence of brawlers continues and TMNT is looking pretty damn cool. We’ve seen what the modern-day brawler needs to do to thrive, so here’s hoping that the devs have played close attention and will develop this title accordingly because it could be awesome
Matt: Aw yeah, April kicking ass and taking names. I am excited as hell for this game, I have many fond memories of both the TMNT arcade game and Turtles in Time. This looks to modernise in all the right ways too, much like Streets of Rage 4 did.
Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania
Paul: I’m not at all interested in Monkey Ball, and the gimmicky “who’s in the ball” thing that ended up being Persona’s Morgana did nothing to change my stance. I don’t mind mini-games but for whatever reason Monkey Ball just is just grinding my gears.
Matt: A new Monkey Ball party game is coming and it seems like every Sega character ever is going to make an appearance. I have never had much patience for the series but with the Dojima Dragon himself making an appearance, I might have to change that.
Paul: I’ve still not played Splitgate. I’ve heard so many good things about Splitgate. I desperately want to find the time to play Splitgate. The devs continue to improve Splitgate. I desperately want to play Splitgate. This loop looks set to continue into the future, here’s hoping I can give it a shot
Matt: Splitgate is good, like really good. I have been enjoying the hell out of it. It feels like a cross between Halo and Portal in all the best ways. Honestly, it is the most fun I have had with an arena shooter since Unreal Tournament. I am excited to see where this game goes.
Paul: This sort of game isn’t really my thing, and you can throw as many open/closed betas at me as you want, and that simply won’t change. I can appreciate the myriad of cool things that Rider’s Republic is doing, but those cool things just don’t work for me. I’m glad to see many others are hyped though
Matt: Another game I have been playing a bit of. I won’t go over old territory, but you can catch my thoughts in my preview.
Century: Age Of Ashes
Paul: The last time I got hyped about a dragon mounted flight game it ended up being Lair, and we all know how that story transpired. I’m keeping my jets well and truly cooled until I hear it’s great. I won’t be burned again (until I’m playing it)
Matt: Ahh the multiplayer dragon thing. It could be amazing, just not sold. Willing to give it a go though.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga
Paul: The delays that keep hitting this game blow my mind. It’s been a very long time in gestation, and an unusually long time for a Lego game – that, in this case, is most likely an awesome sign, but it’s been long enough, time to shit or get off the pot.
Matt: God this game needs to come out already. My son won’t stop nagging me about it and if I am honest… I want it too.
Paul: The style looks cool, but the gameplay of Synced is still a mystery to me, and I won’t allow myself to get excited until I’ve seen it in action. Let’s hope we’re seeing more of it soon then!
Matt: We haven’t had a really good shooter in this vein for quite some time and this could well be it. Loving the style that is for sure, gives me a Crysis feeling and I am ok with that.
The Outlast Trials
Paul: I’m not a glutton for this kind of punishment. I’ve already played too many horror games in recent years that I’m not at all keen to add Outlast to the list. Get it away from me, please!
Matt: Look there are people that love this stuff… I am not one. It looks great… well horrible, but intentionally so, but I am just not the person this is aimed at.
Paul: Dokev looks to be doing some really cool things, but it also looks like it’s trying to do way too many things to be able to pull them all off well. The core Pokemon inspired component looks good, but there’s so much else going on that I’m concerned about the execution of the final product. Good luck to them though, they’ve definitely got my interest piqued!
Matt: A Pokemon type deal, I may dabble with it, but it is just excessively cute and being a grumpy old man that just grates me.
Jurassic World Evolution 2
Paul: I’m all in on Jurassic World Evolution 2. I didn’t try the first because I’d heard things were a bit rough in terms of the final execution, but it seems that with the sequel those concerns are no longer. I’m ready to go!
Matt: The first game was a good proof of concept that had some rough edges, but I expect this one to be a winner. The devs behind this are the best in the biz at sim management games so I have high hopes for another winner here.
Far Cry 6
Paul: After Far Cry 5 began like a house on fire, that energy was quickly extinguished for me, and it became one of the very few Far Cry titles that I’ve struggled to find the enthusiasm to finish. Far Cry 6 tonally has me far more interested, so here’s hoping the final product comes together!
Matt: This is a great story trailer and while I won’t say any more at this stage, stay tuned to Player 2 for more on Far Cry 6 very soon.
Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodhunt
Paul: Not a fan of the Vampire universe, so a multiplayer shooter set in the same universe does absolutely nothing for me sadly. On that plus side, at least it visually looks better than a PS2 game compared to other Vampire games in development
Matt: I love the Vampire setting, not sure how it works as a multiplayer shooter though. I could be wrong and it could be amazing, but it needs to prove that to me. It looks tight though so I will probably give it at least a small go.
Paul: I love theme park sims, and so I’m crazy excited for this title. I don’t have a lot to say about it beyond that, because we need to see it in action, but Park Beyond is immediately on my radar
Matt: A new theme park style game. Planet Coaster is tough competition so this one will need to pull out all the stops to beat it. The idea of combining rides is a cool one and could really mix things up. The key with this sort of game is always the balance between the creative and business sides of the game, so they have to get that right. I have my eye on it though that is for sure.
Jett: The Far Shore
Paul: Jett did nothing for me at the Playstation event reveal last year, and it’s doing nothing for me now. Nothing from this latest showcase did anything for me, and they’re running out of time to win me over. I think I just need to see raw, uncut, moment-to-moment gameplay.
Matt: I don’t know. I am not sure about this one. It could be too artistic for its own good? As always I am happy to be proven wrong but I get the feeling this one maybe a little too vague, a little too unstructured for my tastes.
Horizon Forbidden West
Paul: We’ve known this for a few months now, Horizon was going to be delayed, but in the best news of all time, Forbidden West will be arriving on my birthday! Well, it’ll unlock in NZ on what will be 10 PM on my birthday which cracks the door open to get started. THANK YOU GUERILLA FOR THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT!
Matt: In news that surprised no one, Horizon was delayed into 2022. The game still looks like a cracker though and I am sure it will be worth the wait.
Paul: Nope, I’m already eyeing off ESO and Final Fantasy XIV, and there’s no way I’ll be adding another to that mix. Thanks but no thanks.
Matt: I only have room in my life for one MMO and I don’t think I will be swapping that for New World
Marvel Future Revolution
Paul: I guess it could be cool, but my interest is totally driven by how egregious the monetisation strategies are. We’ll wait and see about that!
Matt: Look I can’t get excited about a mobile game, no matter how good it looks. Monetisation always ruins the experience. I will probably give it a crack at some point and then put it down once I reach that F2P ceiling. I would much rather pay a set amount to be able to play the full title.
Tales Of Arise/ Tales of Luminaria
Paul: Tales of Arise’s demo was great and totally justifies the growing hype for myself and many others worldwide, but it was nice to see another title pop up as well. It’s mobile, so as with Marvel Future Revolution, I’m concerned about how they monetise the game, but it’s a ways off, so I’ll reserve my judgement for now.
Matt: Tales games aren’t usually my bag, but Lindsey Stirling certainly is. She is one hell of an artist. Anyway back to games. I am not the JRPG guy of Player 2 so I probably won’t ever play this one.
Paul: I’ve still not played Yakuza or Judgment, so I’m not yet ready to tackle Lost Judgment, no matter how cool it’s looking. I want to binge the core franchise entries and go from there, but the time commitment to get to that point is my obstacle at the moment. Maybe one day?
Matt: I don’t want to be that guy, but seriously don’t play these games with the English dub. It is the wrong way to play them. Apart from that this game is number one on my most wanted right now and I need it to come out before I do something stupid and start playing Yakuza 0 again.
Paul: The whole Deadmau5 thing does nothing for me so I was immediately disinterested, but the Play, Create, Share model certainly holds water with me, so I’m keen to see the continued growth of this Core platform.
Matt: An interesting concept and it certainly sin in the realm that Dreams inhabits. I am the most uncreative person on the planet so these things are amazing from a distance. But I am all for encouraging more people to get into the dev space and this seems like a great way to do it.
Paul: I cannot believe that the game still hasn’t dropped on both Xbox and Switch yet! The new Jungle Book inspired attire is cool I guess and befitting of the theme of this current season… but meh.
Matt: Fall Guys keep falling. Party fun for the masses, what else is there to say?
Paul: God Replaced looks good, and I’m thrilled to see more, so soon after it premiered at E3, but they didn’t really show us much more that we didn’t already know. I’ll wait for another update
Matt: This game… boy it looks good. Not much more to show, but it is very much on my radar
Age Of Empires IV
Paul: Where’s my Nutri Grain copy damnit! I’m keen to get started now!
Matt: I am so keen for this game. I have hundreds of hours in the first three games so this was always going to be a must-play for me. The new graphics engine looks fantastic and as long as they nail the campaigns (AoE always had the best RTS campaigns) this one has every chance to be in my GOTY discussions.
Paul: The hype around Valheim is huge, but I’ve not yet given it a chance. It does look cool, and the fanbase is happy with the news, which ensures that my interest still exists until I finally get a chance to try it out myself.
Matt: A game I really need to give a crack. It looks fantastic and these new additions are sure to keep players happy. This might be one for the Christmas holidays for me, just in case I get addicted.
Paul: I’m going to start playing Genshin immediately so I can get the Aloy content. This Sony pony needs his Aloy fix, and if you’re pulling her into a JRPG, well, you’re hitting on all the right notes.
Matt: I’ve tried a couple of times to get into Genshin. I actually quite like the gameplay but the monetization is a massive drag. Once again I wish I could just buy a full version of the game.
Paul: I’ve been all-in on Sifu from the moment they showed it off, so the fact that we now have a release date excites me greatly. The new trailer told us nothing more than the Feb 22 release date (which is frustratingly close to Horizon I might add), but I’ll graft out some time for it
Matt: An interesting twist on the increasingly stale rogue-like genre, I am 100% sold because of the martial arts action. It feels very much like The Raid, the game, without the fountains of blood and dismemberment. It is honestly one of my most anticipated titles for the PS5 in the next 6 months.
Death Stranding: Director’s Cut
Paul: The Keighley/Kojima love affair continues, and for as keen as I am to finally play Death Stranding in its best possible form, I can’t get over the fact that it was the end-note of the presentation. It didn’t belong as the final shot from the show no matter how cool this new content might be.
Matt: The weird gets weirder. I still haven’t played the original release and if I am honest, this content makes me want to avoid it for longer. Sometimes restraint is a good idea…even for Hideo Kojima.
Paul: The content of the show was amazing, but the biggest hitters were primarily front-loaded, ensuring that the back half dragged a bit. A simple reshuffling of the announcements would’ve done amazing things for the pacing of the show, but you can’t argue with the quality of what was on show. My growing faith in Geoff Keighley’s shows as a key platform has grown yet again. Bring on The Game Awards!
Matt: While I found the show itself too long, there is no denying the barrage of cool things we got to see. If nothing else, it shows how creative and inventive the industry still can be because there was very little in the way of traditional AAA blockbusters. Lindsey Stirling showing was a nice bonus too. In all a fun, if overly long and little indulgent show that proves that games can still surprise, entertain and excite a grumpy old bastard like me.
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