Hands-On With Star Wars Outlaws, Weighing In On Dragon Age Discourse, And More Takes For The Week

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Image: Ubisoft, Sony, BioWare / Larian Studios / Kotaku, Sony, Bandai Namco, Devolver Digital, Fellow Traveller, Screenshot: Microsoft / Kotaku, Capcom

With Kotaku in attendance at last week’s Summer Game Fest, we got to go hands-on with some of the biggest games on the horizon. Read on for our impressions of Star Wars Outlaws, Horizon Lego Adventures, and the delightful-looking Astro Bot, among other games. We’ve also got an early look at one of next year’s most promising RPGs, Citizen Sleeper 2. And, with all the Dragon Age: The Veilguard news out of SGF, we’re also in the early throes of some intense discourse about the game. We weigh in on that, too. Click on for these stories and more.

Kay Vess and Nix walk towards a derelict ship.

Image: Ubisoft

Kay Vess, lovable scoundrel and star of Ubisoft’s upcoming action adventure game Star Wars Outlaws, has a data spike shoved through her ponytail like a number 2 pencil. Alongside Kay at all times is her adorable companion Nix, a Merqaal that can help her snag hard-to-reach objects or distract enemies by running in front of them and playing dead. When repelling down ledges with Kay’s grappling hook, he’ll hop on her back and peer down with excitement while panting. On crime-hub planet Mirogana, neon signs inject bright pops of color into dark, seedy alleyways, droids cook strange foods at little stalls, and citizens enjoy some back-alley gambling. As Kay walks through this bustling world, a Mon Calamari asks for some credits to feed his gambling problem. - Alyssa Mercante Read More

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Image: Sony

The first thing to know about the recently announced Horizon Lego Adventures is that it’s a Lego game first and an adaptation of Horizon Zero Dawn second. It’s not attempting to be a one-to-one, brick-by-brick recreation of the expansive open-world RPG or even an abridged version. Think of it more as a Shakespeare for Kids spin on the sci-fi adventure, except instead of translating the Bard’s iambic pentameter into contemporary English, it’s taking the familiar bones of a Lego adventure game and putting a pre-historic robot-smashing twist on it. - Ethan Gach Read More

 The Veilguard and Baldur's Gate 3.

Image: BioWare / Larian Studios / Kotaku

In 2023, Larian Studios’ award-winning game Baldur’s Gate 3 filled a void in RPG fans’ hearts. As of last year, BioWare, the developer behind Dragon Age and Mass Effect, hadn’t released an RPG in six years. Larian’s take on the Dungeons & Dragons ruleset checked off a lot of boxes for fans who wanted a party-driven RPG full of game-changing decisions, lovable and complicated characters, and a sprawling, impressively designed world. - Kenneth Shepard Read More

Marcus and Dom look somber, firelight reflecting in their armor.

Screenshot: Microsoft / Kotaku

The “one more thing” at the Xbox showcase during Summer Game Fest was a reveal trailer for Gears of War: E-Day, a prequel to the original Gears trilogy starring everyone’s favorite bros, Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago. Naturally, Gears fans (myself included) were very excited at the reveal, though it’s not clear when it will launch. - Alyssa Mercante Read More

Gif: Strange Scaffold / Kotaku

I have no bullets left in my handgun. I’m low on health. In front of me is an armed soldier ready to shoot my head off. I don’t have more than a second or two before I’m dead. So I chuck my empty pistol at the dude, knocking him down. Meanwhile, I grab his gun and swiftly kill him and two more guards running toward my location. This all happens in about three seconds or so. It feels amazing. And it’s the kind of thing you’ll do a lot in the new Steam Next Fest demo for I Am Your Beast. - Zack Zwiezen Read More

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Image: Sony

I can’t remember the last time I played a PlayStation game and felt this happy. I’ve loved plenty of first-party Sony games and their expensive melding of Hollywood cinematics, refined gameplay, and dense systems. Astro Bot is in many ways the antithesis of that. It’s no less refined, perhaps even more so. And it certainly doesn’t look or feel cheap. But it does play like a game unsaddled from the self-conscious baggage of an industry chasing the emotional weight of prestige TV and the content expectations of $300 million blockbusters. Astro Bot is whimsical, delightful, and most importantly, just a whole lot of fun. - Ethan Gach Read More

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Image: Bandai Namco

Fans have been waiting 17 years for a sequel to Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, a PS2 and Wii-era arena fighter that celebrated the beloved anime with a story mode that retold all of its biggest moments, a massive roster full of iconic characters and deep cuts alike, and spectacle-fueled showdowns that leaned into the series’ hyper-violent pomp and pageantry. Dragon Ball: Sparking Zero looks, sounds, and feels like Budokai Tenkaichi 4 in all but name, and despite some small caveats and concerns, it seems well on its way to being the next-gen revival that diehard fans have been desperate for. - Ethan Gach Read More

Alba and Neva wake up from a nap under green foliage

Image: Devolver Digital

When the action-adventure game Neva was first revealed a year ago with a trailer that included the immediate emotional death of a large wolf-like creature, I knew this game would be a tearjerker. That isn’t surprising given developer Nomada Studios’ track record. Its first game, 2018’s emotional platformer Gris, required a box of tissues handy at all times. So I thought I would be prepared for the emotional weight of Neva during my hands-on demo at the Tribeca Film Festival’s official games selection. Turns out I wasn’t at all. - Willa Rowe Read More

Soh prepares to fight in the night.

Screenshot: Capcom

In Kunitsu-Gami: Path Of The Goddess a demon that looks like a giant stomach with a big purple tongue coming out of it appears out of a portal at night and tries to ensnare a mountain village in evil energy. I strike him down but more waves of enemies follow, each snaking along different routes to try and get to the Maiden Yoshiro whose divine powers are the only thing that can cleanse the shadows. Some village archers pick off a couple while others get stuck on a gate. Another group of conscripted locals attack with axes, slow the enemies’ advances with auras, or heal one another with medicines. It’s classic tower defense presented in a very novel way, and I have a hard time putting it down when my appointment ends. - Ethan Gach Read More

A mechanic humanoid floats in space on a yellow background

Image: Fellow Traveller

As an avid fan of 2022’s Citizen Sleeper and its subsequent DLCs, I consider myself an expert on the narrative-heavy RPG. So when I booted up my first playthrough of the Citizen Sleeper 2: Starward Vector preview build provided by developer Jump Over The Age, I was sure I would make all the right choices. I was wrong. - Willa Rowe Read More

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