Saturday 25 May 2019

What I'm Waiting For - Volume 7

In August 2017, Volume 6 of What I’m Waiting For dealt with both The Crew 2 and Kingdom Hearts 3. Then almost a year later, I uploaded an E3 special that talked four games without dealing with those that came previously. This volume is set to offer some words on all of those games that have since released, though not including Super Mario Party.

As much as I was ready to get it, I decided to wait for when the next game arrives – which will probably include a lot more now that the restored mechanics are in place. The other three games I certainly have bought and played a lot of, and fully enjoyed. After I talk about those three, I’ve got one new addition to make.

To start with, Forza Horizon 4 brought a great rendition of the UK to a racing game. Driving around and exploring had me in love with everything I encountered, and seeing the visual distinctions between seasons is stunning. The races offered challenge and variety, and the PR Stunts also proved to be a good challenge for gaining three stars on. Stories gave new challenge lists to be gunning for, all the while offering bits of fun writing to listen to.

Changes to the game have been made since release, with new stories and new ways to play online also added, and then the first expansion released to bring a whole new map, a full set of new PR Stunts and a new type of PR Stunt, along with a whole new set of races to get stuck into. There’s been so much that has gone into Horizon 4 and so much to keep someone returning – even if just for an hour to blast around some favourite tracks – that it’s playtime has overtook the previous two games recorded on the Xbox App.

And there’s still more to come, with the second expansion still yet to be revealed, which leads me to believe it might be something big. A radical change in approach to what we’ve had before. Whenever it does get revealed, I’ll be blasting around that map just as I have the other two.

Kingdom Hearts 3 fell away from its 2018 release, but finally arrived not long after. And was it worth the wait? I’ve still yet to be fully decided. In plenty of ways, it certainly was worth the wait. The new worlds all looked great, offering plenty to be seeing while exploring them, and giving some new ways to traverse them.

The character interactions were also great, giving all of them some fun moments and some touching moments, too. Some of the stories within the worlds were well-done. Others, though… Let’s just say that those that translated a story from their world instead of having something original were the weakest of all of them.

As good as it was to see Twilight Town again, and have it feeling like a town bustling with activity, it just seemed included to have it there. It could have served a greater purpose, giving an original world its own original story, rather than just being tied into the main thread of the plot. Rescuing Remy and working the café was fun, but despite being so full of life visually, the world itself felt empty because of it – and when the original stories within the Disney worlds were so great, it really does feel like a missed opportunity.

The gameplay introduced and reworked elements to give a fun moveset to take advantage of, with the ability to use magic while moving a welcome addition. The combat felt fluid and responsive, and that’s all I was hoping for. The lack of reaction commands does get missed when facing off against certain enemy types, but otherwise what is given is a blast to use.

But was it worth the wait? As I say, I’m undecided. On the one hand, there’s a lot here that is amazing to explore, but on the other there’s a feeling of it could have been better. For every good thing, there’s something bad attached to it.

Ah, The Crew 2. I was impressed upon seeing you at E3 2017. I was impressed upon playing you on the beta during E3 2018. So why did it take almost an entire year before I bought you?

I simply forgot. E3 came, Forza Horizon 4 appeared, and The Crew 2 vanished from my mind. The recent sale and free weekend got me to remember it again, so now I have it and I’ve been enjoying it. This isn’t just a racing game. This is a jack-of-all-vehicular-sports game.

Sure, there is racing involved, with cars, boats, and planes. But there’s also destruction derby and monster trucking. There’s drift challenges, slalom challenges, aerial acrobatic challenges, and a whole lot of exploring to be done.

As I said in the beta impressions post, you can just fast travel to all these events by selecting them in the menu, but you’ll be missing out on this world. Sure, it’s large. Very large, but there’s also a lot to be exploring. Exploring means using the physics of the game, and the planes work the best. Cars are a very varied bunch, with each type reacting in a certain way to what you do. Boats are… fun, but exploring in them is more tiresome than the other vehicles.

I’m having fun with the various challenges, and even cruising around in my Mini. Next time I fire the game up, I’m certainly going to just have a long cruise. I’ve been too busy with the events, meaning the last time I actually did have such a long cruise was during the beta.

There’s plenty of games coming out through the remainder of the year, but what do I choose? Animal Crossing, one of the Game Freak projects [Town is looking perfectly nice], one of the two Dragon Quest games, the new Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. There’s a lot that’s interesting me, but for this, I think there’s a series I’m a fan of involving plastic building blocks.

Yes, the LEGO games have always given some great charm and humour whenever they release, and even if the formula changes little, I always enjoy them. Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Batman, Pirates of the Caribbean… There’s a lot. The original game that TT Games made – City Undercover – I herald as one of the greatest LEGO games of the lot. But then, there’s also that very large franchise crossover that just celebrated twenty years of partnership.

The next LEGO Star Wars game is coming. It hasn’t been officially announced yet, but since this is the twenty year celebration, it makes total sense to release one. But… it has to be a celebration of all LEGO Star Wars. Having just the sequel trilogy isn’t really going to cut it – even if there are extra missions based on the other films. It needs to include all of them.

Since The Complete Saga game released, there have been plenty of advancements to the series, and we already got a tease of how the levels could look when The Force Awakens featured the Battle of Endor as its prologue. Hub worlds for each of the trilogies would be grand, or even allowing what The Clone Wars did with travelling to different systems on a ship of some kind.

I’m awaiting this to be announced, and even if it does just turn out to be only the sequel trilogy with extra missions based on the other two, it will be a great adventure packed with the usual LEGO wit, and as such I’ll be enjoying it.

What I'm Waiting For Series
Volume 1 / Volume 2 / Volume 3 / Volume 4 / Volume 5 / Volume 6 / E3 Special / Volume 7

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