TORONTO — With the busy fall season in the gaming industry looming, console makers and game publishers showed off some of their anticipated upcoming releases at last week’s Fan Expo in Toronto.
Here is a review of gaming goods that were on display, and which are expected to be available later this year:
“IRON MAN VR”
Available on: PlayStation 4 (VR headset required)
Given his penchant for cybernetic adornments and slick visual battle interfaces, it’s fitting that Iron Man is getting his own title for PlayStation’s virtual reality headset.
The upcoming “Iron Man VR” title will be tasked to using the PlayStation’s VR interface with giving gamers a good sense of what it’s like to soar through the sky as the famous Armored Avenger.
The tutorial content available to try at Fan Expo showed a hint of the game’s potential. Using the VR system’s motion controls to fly through a seaside obstacle course at top speed felt satisfying and surprisingly intuitive. Aiming and firing at target drones with Iron Man’s gauntlet-based repulsor beams took a bit more getting used to.
Players not used to VR gaming might find the experience dizzying as they spin around to fire at targets or manoeuvre through the air, though they will be able to use buttons on the controllers to pan the game’s camera instead.
“Iron Man VR,” developed by Camouflaj and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment, is due out later this year.
NINTENDO SWITCH LITE
Nintendo’s hybrid Switch console was a hit when it was released in 2017, with a key selling feature being able to seamlessly switch from playing on a TV in console mode to taking the system on the go in a handheld configuration.
Nintendo is hoping to extend the system’s reach with the Switch Lite, which trades in the original system’s console mode for a lighter, more portable device that comes in at a lower price point.
The Switch Lite is over an inch shorter than the Switch (with Joy-Con controllers attached) at 8.2 inches and about a quarter of a pound lighter at .61 pounds, with a slightly longer battery life.
The smaller screen (6.2 inches for the Switch compared to 5.5 inches for the Switch Lite) runs at the same resolution as the original model, and at a recent test event it smoothly ran some of Nintendo’s upcoming titles, including “Pokemon: Sword and Shield” and “Luigi’s Mansion 3.”
The Switch Lite launches Sept. 20 with a suggested retail price of $260, about $140 less than the Switch.
Available on: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
While the NHL still trails far behind the NBA in celebrating the player as an entertainment persona, it has been taking some baby steps toward becoming more interesting.
Some of those steps, from the mildly cheeky post-goal antics of snipers Auston Matthews and Patrick Kane, to the Carolina Hurricanes’ “storm surge” post-win celebrations — a fun display of team unity so abhorrent to hockey’s old guard that veteran hockey commentator Don Cherry famously dubbed the players a “bunch of jerks” — can be found in the new iteration of EA Sports’s popular NHL franchise.
Other new features include “signature shots” for star players, new online game modes for both casual and hardcore gamers and new customization options for creating a player from scratch.
Some key updates, however, are under-the-hood tweaks. Creative director William Ho said during a recent game demo that improvements in animations for shots, as well as the ability to layer skating animations over other actions such as passing, have improved game speed and fluidity in NHL 20.
NHL 20, developed by EA Vancouver, is due out on Sept. 13.
Curtis Withers, The Canadian Press