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DashFight at gamescom 2023: Day 1 — Bandai Namco Presser

Elizbar Ramazashvili
6 min

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DashFight at gamescom 2023: Day 1 — Bandai Namco Presser
Long and eventful day 1

Gamescom is one of the biggest gaming events in the world, with tens and hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe. Last week, we got an invite and a press accreditation, so I traveled to Cologne all the way from Tbilisi, Georgia.

It's not every day that you visit events of this magnitude, and this impression was multiplied by this being the very first time I got a chance to visit Gamescom. I have many friends who have been to the halls of Koelnmesse before, and I knew what to expect in broad terms, but not specifics. That's because the event changes yearly: different games, different publishers and companies, and not necessarily the same audience.

Upon arriving from Dusseldorf, I quickly made my way to the venue and got my press pass. My and DashFight's names look nifty on it, if I do say so myself. The first unexpected realization hit me when I explored several huge halls of Koelnmesse: Gamescom isn't a game show/conference, It's a gaming one. Inside, you will find an astounding amount of gaming peripheral companies, custom gamepad makers, desks, and chairs for the gamers right next to the stands that sell the business to consumers solutions for the developers and publishers. The diversity of lineups is impressive, and it would take you literally the whole day to just walk around and see it all, let alone interact.

But I had a mission today: I wanted to see anything about fighting games, so I went to the halls restricted to the press and trade partners in hope to see the booth or a stand of a certain Japanese company. And sure enough, right next to the bright-red wall of Nintendo corner I saw what I was looking for: Bandai Namco Entertainment. After showing the PR representatives my credentials and convincing them that it'd be valuable for them to let me in, I got inside. There, I attended the closed press showing of some of the upcoming games by Bandai Namco. Recording or photography were restricted, so I didn't get anything: I know better than get kicked out from my very first closed media presser. We watched some old and new footage of Armored Core VI, Park Beyond, Akira Toriyama's (hello, DBFZ fans) SAND LAND, NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS (it's a mouthful even to write), Little Nightmares 3, and Tekken 8. Weirdly enough for my FGC-biased brain, Tekken 8 wasn't the closing accord of the showing; what we got was simply the very same trailer Harada-san showed off yesterday at Geoff Keighley's Opening Night Live. What we got as a finisher was an extended gameplay footage of Little Nightmares by the on-site playtesters. If you're interested how good it was: it's more of the same LN, but prettier (or uglier, depends on how you look at it), with expanded functionality and more co-op puzzles.

After the presser ended, we got to try some of the games that were presented to us. I was mildly miffed to find out that the Tekken 8 build at gamescom is the very same Closed Network Test build we got to try weeks ago, without even a hint of any of the new stuff that was announced since. My disappointment was immeasurable and my day was ruined.

I also tried NARUTO X BORUTO Ultimate Ninja STORM CONNECTIONS, but couldn't find any meaningful and substantial differences from any of the previous entries in the Storm series. Just give me the old-school PS2-era Naruto fighter, not this arena battle thing. Am I asking for too much?

Oh and I also played some Armored Core VI. It's incredibly good, Go buy it.

Bandai Namco staff there was kind enough to offer me beverages which I declined, seeing as it was mostly coffee or coffee or coffee. It was too hot for coffee.

Making my way through the endless maze of halls, I finally reached my other destination: MK1 booth, where I got an MK logo as a tattoo and got to play... the same build we got to play the last weekend during the MK1 console beta instead of the cool new stuff that was announced yesterday. Still, I had fun playing against a real person, and hey, if you're reading this, girl in a dark blouse and with a big merch bag that got matched against me, I'm truly sorry. Didn't mean to make you upset and leave in frustration: I just had the previous beta experience and knew what I was doing as a Liu Kang. And Frost is too good of a Kameo. After I left the booth, nice staff members gave me commemorative plastic shades that I'll make sure to toss like I'm Johnny Cage when I reach my hotel room. In front of a mirror, no less.

My wanderings also brought me to the ArcSys booth, which was weirdly closed. But I'll try again tomorrow and will let you know how it went.

Finally, at the end of the day, I reached the Cygames booth, but to my disappointment, they had no Granblue Fantasy Versus Rising. Instead, I got to try their upcoming JRPG Granblue Fantasy: Relink, which is set in the same universe and features the same characters. It looks gorgeous and plays like a modern example of its genre. The game it reminds me of the most if Tales of Arise, but with its own unique quirks, of course. Like the Chain Burst, which came to this game over from the original mobile Granblue Fantasy. Additionally, I told the person who was minding the queue about Narmaya and the GBF lore in general.

After I accomplished my main missions for the day, I met with some people I knew, almost got lost on the way to the south exit, and ate a very tasty currywurst at the main station in Cologne. See you tomorrow!

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