Konami, a name synonymous with some of the most legendary franchises in gaming history such as Silent Hill, Metal Gear, and Castlevania, is poised for a significant comeback. In recent years, the iconic Japanese publisher has scaled back its releases, sparking concern among loyal fans about the future of their beloved titles. However, all that is set to change.
Late last week, CGM received an invitation to New York to preview Konami’s upcoming line-up, providing a firsthand glimpse into what promises to be a reinvigorated season for the company. With titles like Super Bomberman R2, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle, CYGNI: All Guns Blazing, and the much-anticipated Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Volume 1 in the pipeline, Konami seems determined to regain its position at the forefront of the gaming world.
Super Bomberman R 2
Starting things off with an iconic Konami title, with Bomberman Super Bomberman R 2, there was a big focus on what we saw here in the new castle mode. In this mode, up to fifteen players, and of those fifteen, up to four can defend the castle. Which is represented by these treasure chests that are locked by keys.
Before you begin in this mode, you can pick from certain play styles of bombers. There are the classic Bomber types, here you will find the red bomber, blue bomber, etc… During our time with the game, the attack style included a special Konami cameo, and the only available character to play in the attack section was Silent Hill 2s own Pyramid Head, in this adorable chibi form.
Alongside this, we had some speed-type bombers that were also filled with cameos, such as Allucard and Solid Snake, and finally, special types. This category still eludes me as to what this entails, as the only special character we could select was Silent Hill 3s Robbie, blood-soaked with an adorable-looking chainsaw.
The big draw with this mode is the level creator included in the game. It seems intuitive enough, and I can see a community forming around just making maps for this mode. Along with this, there are several returning modes from past Super Bomberman games. Standard Battle mode from Super Bomberman R1 and Super Bomberman Online returns, along with Battle 64, which is your classic Bomberman battle royale.
When you drop into the match, if you are attacking, the main focus is to get a key and open a chest. This is made more difficult by needing to bomb through the environment to open up a path and dodge traps. The attacking side is straightforward. Defend your chests by any means necessary. While defending, you have a special bar that grows over time, and then you can unleash an attack that devastates your enemies. It was an interesting mode, a little hard to follow at times, but that is almost inherently Bomberman.
The other mode I got to try out was the game’s story mode. It has been a long time since I played a Bomberman title. I want to say Super Bomberman was the last one I played on the SNES, so to say the story mode has evolved would be an understatement.
The story of this Bomberman is you are, trying to rescue Ellons that are strewn throughout this semi-open world area. It’s got interesting RPG mechanisms where you can level up by collecting experience points that are not only dropped by enemies but also rocks that you can blow up as the titular Bomberman. In the few minutes I played it, it was okay. Bomberman winning mechanic and gameplay has always laid with its multiplayer mode, and I think the same will be the same here.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle
Having just been announced recently, I did not know what to expect going into Super Crazy Rhythm Castle, but I was genuinely surprised with what I played. In Super Crazy Rythym Castle, you play a lovable group of rag-tag adventurers who are climbing Rythym Castle to take down the unhinged King Ferdinand. What it boils down to is a crazy rhythm action puzzle game.
But what I experienced breaking it down like that is a disservice. After going through a few rooms and teaching you the controls, the fun really begins. While you stand on these switches, you are able to do this rhythm game that will further advance something in the room. What sets it apart is during these rhythm sections, distractions and issues come up in the room that you need to stop to deal with before you can continue the rhythm section.
The cooperative function in this game is going to be the big seller. While in co-op, you can have one player to deal with the distractions while the music keeps going. Communication will be critical in your playthrough because bosses are no joke in this game, mixing rhythm and puzzle-based challenges that you have to mix up on the fly to handle them promptly. What makes this a little easier is you are able to test yourself to see which difficulty you should play on, and each character has separate difficulties making it easy to recommend to anyone to pick up and play.
CYGNI: All Guns Blazing
CYGNI: All Guns Blazing is the one I didn’t really get too much hands-on time with while experiencing what Konami has to offer. This is mostly due to the fact that shoot ’em ups never really click with me. CYGNI is a shoot-em-up where you deal with both forces on the ground and in the air, being able to switch between the two on the fly.
The visuals were really cool, and I was told there was an intro cutscene that was few and far between in the genre. While playing, it was hard for me to discern what was happening on screen, but it looked flashy and nice. Also, it was incredibly difficult. I tried a few levels and never managed to get past one, so more of an onboarding difficulty or mode would work wonders.
Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Volume 1
Oh, Metal Gear Solid. I love you. This collection truly packs quite an amount of content for its asking price. Easily the game I spent the most time with while seeing what Konami had to show. For roughly two hours, I got to try every single game included in the package. Included are Metal Gear, Metal Gear 2, Snakes Revenge, Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid VR Missions, Metal Gear Solid 2, and Metal Gear Solid 3. There are also multiple editions of each game included, either the US release, European or Japanese release.
I can’t get over the amount of just games on here. There are also cool bonus features, including the history of the entire series, motion comics, and more. If you love Metal Gear Solid, this collection is for you. The versions of MGS2 and MGS3 were the ones included in the HD collection from a few years ago. While we played the collection on Switch, I can say that the majority of the games ran incredibly well. Except For Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
Anytime there was a lot of foliage or physics happening on screen, there was some pretty rough slowdown. Specifically, in the opening area past the first screen, when you are getting around the crocodiles, there is a significant slowdown, almost to a crawl. It eventually let up and returned to normal, but again, when you cross the rope bridge because of all the physics intertwined with the bridge itself, there was some pretty rough slowdown. If this is just a switch issue or a collection issue has yet to be seen, hopefully, they can iron this out.
The only other noticeable issue was the spelling errors riddled in some of the bonus content explaining the series. This wouldn’t ruin the experience, but I do think they need to make another pass on it before release. On the switch, each title grouping had to be installed separately. Meaning Metal Gear Solid was its own install, but it included Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid VR missions, and special missions. All told, it was five separate downloads which is a lot. Not the cleanest way to release it, but broken up if you have certain games in the series you want to play while trying to save space.
Konami had some really good games on display. I wish I could have clicked more with CYGNI because it seemed to be trying to do some interesting things with the genre, but the Schmup genre has never really clicked. That and I am impatiently waiting for Super Crazy Rhythm Castle because it will hit with my friend group, and I can see lots of fun nights happening with it. The more known suspects, Bomberman and Metal Gear Solid were both good, but between being unable to discern the action happening in multiplayer mode in Bomber Man and the slowdown plaguing Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, I will need to see more before I pass judgment.