Once upon a time, Konami held a prominent position among third-party video game publishers. It enjoyed a long period of dominance, with franchises like Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid propelling it to household name status. However, in the mid-2010s, the publisher underwent a major restructure, parting ways with its highly acclaimed studio, Kojima Productions. Despite this setback, Konami has been actively engaged in game development, particularly in recent times.
Last week, our team at Digital Trends had the opportunity to attend a Konami press event that showcased four of their upcoming games. The lineup included high-profile titles such as Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 and Super Bomberman R 2, as well as smaller projects like Super Crazy Rhythm Castle and CYGNI: All Guns Blazing. We had the chance to go hands-on with each game in the diverse collection, providing us with valuable insights into the evolving video game endeavors of Konami.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1
On October 24, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 will bring the iconic stealth series to modern consoles, including the Nintendo Switch. While you may already have a good idea of whether you want to purchase this collection, I had the privilege of experiencing the full scale of the package in a hands-on session. Alongside HD remasters of classics like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, which faithfully retains its original gameplay and visual appeal, the package offers enticing extras that enhance its value. Each game in the collection is accompanied by a wealth of additional content, such as complete scripts, digital books, never-before-seen animatics, and more.
The inclusion of the screenplays alone is worth mentioning, as we rarely get to witness the actual writing process behind video games. This extra layer of depth transforms the collection into a virtual museum that captures the creative essence of the series, instead of a mere compilation of past titles. It is worth noting that the games have been meticulously preserved, although the collection acknowledges the presence of outdated content. Hideo Kojima’s name features prominently, with the original credits remaining untouched. Furthermore, the bonus menu includes a separate credits reel acknowledging the Master Collection staff.
One noteworthy point to consider when deciding on a platform is that the Nintendo Switch version of the collection separates each game into its own launcher, unlike other platforms. If you prefer a clutter-free home screen, you can opt for the PS5, Xbox Series X/S, or PC versions, all releasing on October 24.
Super Bomberman R 2
The long-standing Bomberman franchise continues this September with Super Bomberman R 2, which introduces some exciting new modes. In addition to the traditional battle modes and a 64-player battle royale option, this latest installment presents a unique mode called Castle. In Castle mode, one team assumes the role of defenders, protecting three treasure chests, while the other team attempts to steal the loot by acquiring keys and bypassing the defenders. While maintaining the core Bomberman mechanics, each map is filled with various obstacles along with helpful creatures called Ellons, which aid the defending team.
During my gameplay session with three other players, I experienced the delightful chaos of Super Bomberman R 2. The screen was filled with multiple players simultaneously bombarding rocks and strategically navigating hazardous traps. It deviates from the timeless elegance of a classic Bomberman round, offering a steeper learning curve. However, the clever twist of introducing team-based objectives into the traditional deathmatch formula adds a refreshing dynamic to the game. As an added treat, the package includes over 29 characters, including amusing cameos from Konami icons like Pyramid Head and Solid Snake.
For those seeking a comprehensive Bomberman experience, Super Bomberman R 2 is the definitive edition, set to launch on September 12 for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle
2023 has proven to be an unexpectedly fantastic year for rhythm games, and the trend continues with Super Crazy Rhythm Castle. Developed by Second Impact Games, this quirky music game offers more than just tapping along to the beat. Players embark on a thrilling adventure that combines third-person exploration with musical interludes, all wrapped in a package of chaotic comedy and catchy tunes.
During my hands-on demo, I had the opportunity to engage in four-player co-op, tackling a wide range of musical challenges. Some tasks were relatively simple, requiring timed button inputs reminiscent of Guitar Hero. However, things quickly escalated. In one segment, I had to disable alarms while my teammates focused on playing the music chart, but then a cascade of colorful blocks fell from the ceiling, obstructing the chart. I had to swiftly clear the blocks, allowing my teammates to see the notes they needed to hit. In a climactic battle against an evil eggplant, we split into two teams, with one handling the bass and the other managing the treble. The boss fought back by dropping thick roots onto the music chart, forcing us to temporarily halt the music and fend off the roots with weed killer. Each song presented an unpredictable challenge that reminded me of beloved couch co-op games like Overcooked.
While Super Crazy Rhythm Castle lacks a specific release date, it is set to launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
CYGNI: All Guns Blazing
If you appreciate classic shoot ’em up games, CYGNI: All Guns Blazing should undoubtedly catch your attention. Developed by KeelWorks, a studio with a background in animation, this space shooter pays homage to one of gaming’s timeless genres while also incorporating innovative elements. It offers a fast-paced, top-down shoot ’em-up experience where players face waves of aliens and colossal bosses, all against the backdrop of intricately detailed environments that showcase the studio’s animation expertise.
I had the chance to try out various missions and was met with a thrilling, lightning-fast space shooter. However, CYGNI diverges from the traditional genre in a few crucial ways. Firstly, it introduces a high-stakes risk-reward system, requiring players to power up their ship’s weapons by sacrificing energy from their shield. Additionally, the game incorporates depth by providing players with both land and air weapons that must be strategically alternated. In one unforgettable boss battle against a massive creature, I had to deploy air missiles to neutralize its tentacles while simultaneously launching ground shots to damage its head. Notably, the enemies do not adhere to predictable paths; instead, they showcase intelligent behavior, swarming the screen in unpredictable patterns. This feature adds an element of strategy to the gameplay, reminiscent of strategy games.
While CYGNI: All Guns Blazing does not yet have a confirmed release date, KeelWorks appears to be in the final stages of development, working on fine-tuning and balancing. When it eventually launches, it will be available on PS4, PS5, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
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