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Stephen Duetzmann

E3 2019 – Dragon Quest Builders 2

Dragon Quest Builders was a title that first came across our radar as a humble PS4 title with big ambitions. The game utilizes the beautiful art style of Akira Toriyama (Of Dragon Quest, Dragon Ball, and Chrono Trigger fame), blending it with Minecraft style construction and level design, on top of Dragon Quest RPG. The sequel was debuted at Square Enix’s E3 2019 presentation and seeks to top even those lofty goals. Dragon Quest as a series has always been a mainstay in the RPG genre, being one of the few games with a lineage going all the way back to the original NES.


The Dragon Quest Builders series paints itself in a much lighter tone than the Dragon Quest series.  Specifically, Dragon Quest Builders 2 integrates co-op multiplayer that shows promise for both epic exploration, combat, and construction to put it in league with Minecraft in terms of its possibilities. Unlike Minecraft though, the story of Dragon Quest Builders 2 is meant to also serve as a tutorial and narrative focus for its block based construction.  This is in contrast to the much more open world that is traditional Minecraft. The play dynamic will give some structure to keep the sprawling options presented in a meaningful way and keep the more casual fan engaged in the gameplay.

Dragon Quest Builders 2 is slated to be released on all major platforms on July 12th to both the PS4 and the Switch. It is built for a very specific audience in mind, but for that audience, this looks to be a stellar experience.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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E3 2019 – HALO Infinite

Halo Infinite has been officially been revealed as the first game associated with Xbox’s next generation console, currently code named Project Scarlett.  This is huge news as this is the first time since the original Xbox console that a Halo title has accompanied the launch of a new console. The trailer provided at the Xbox E3 2019 Media Briefing did not include much in the way of details but instead was a way of introducing back to a newly remastered and super detailed Master Chief, who is found floating in space.

The developers have already confirmed that this will be a great opportunity for new players to get into the Halo franchise.  They intend to give call backs to the previous games and lore but provide a fresh experience and story to new players. Already, die hard Halo fans have been picking it apart the trailer frame by frame to see what can be gleaned from it, including some of those aforementioned callbacks.  There are plenty of theories and conjecture about what we are actually seeing and what it means and when the game takes place in the overall timeline, but at this point that is all they are. Obviously there will be much more to come with this over the next year. I would expect that come the Xbox E3 2020 Media Briefing we will see much more as Project Scarlett is finalized and they are able to actually product game play content.

Xbox has the opportunity to take full control of the proverbial hype machine by linking these two releases together and fully leveraging the capabilities of their new console.  They have the attention of their legions of rabid fans and I expect that to be cultivated over the next twelve months till E3 2020. Please be sure to keep an eye out here for updates and additional information as the Engaged Family Gaming team scours the multiverse for more information.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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dark crystal tactics

By: James Pisano

If you remember Jim Henson’s “The Dark Crystal”, then you had a fantastic childhood.  If you also played Final Fantasy Tactics, or are a fan of the Final Fantasy universe, then your childhood was even better.  If one or both of those statements applies to you, then I have AMAZING news for you!

On the same day that Netflix is releasing “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” prequel TV series, they’re dropping “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics”.  Yep. It’s a Dark Crystal turn-based tactics game, borne out of a partnership between Nintendo, Netflix, and Bonus XP (The developer behind the Stranger Things games).  You’ll be controlling squads of soldiers from the Dark Crystal universe, on a grid based map, and fight using a combination of swords and sorcery. The aesthetic, while simplistic, looks stylized and appropriate for the game.  The animations also look a bit simple, but this was never going to be a graphics powerhouse. If it delivers a sound strategy game, dripping with personality from the world of The Dark Crystal, I think we will all be very happy.

Now, they’ve planted a flag in the ground by putting the word “Tactics” on the end of a game.  That’s definitely a statement, and one that has not gone well for some other games. However, I have faith that they’re going to nail this.  By the short trailer we’ve seen, and my gut instinct, I’m declaring this one a winner, sight unseen. Will I be right? Time will tell.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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E3 2019 Nintendo Direct – 5 Things Parents Need to Know!

Nintendo’s E3 2019 Nintendo Direct was full of fun announcements and surprises! Take a look below for five things that parents need to know!

Animal Crossing: New Horizon Delay

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was unfortunately delayed at the E3 2019 Nintendo Direct.  And while all of us were saddened by this news, we’ve already been waiting 7 years for a new Animal Crossing game, we can wait a few months more.  With its charming design, relaxing atmosphere, and neverending hours of fun, we’ll have plenty to enjoy when it hits the shelves in March 2019.

Two New Smash DLC Characters

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is still rolling out the characters in its fighter pass. The first character was Joker, from Persona 5, which made just about any character to ever be a part of a video game possible. Nintendo revealed two characters during their direct: The Hero from Dragon Quest XI, and Banjo-Kazooie!

Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is without a doubt, one of the greatest games ever to come out of Nintendo.  It’s got action, puzzles, story, amazing visuals, and so much more. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t enjoy their time in this version of Hyrule.  So when Nintendo announced that the sequel is in development, jaws around the EFG war room dropped. We all suspected, but now we know its coming. Whenever its ready, we’re bracing for what might be a very different look at Hyrule, and we are 100% OK with that.

Secret of Mana Collection

Let’s see… we’re getting Final Fantasy Adventure (actually part of the “Mana” Series), Secret of Mana, and Trials of Mana, which is actually hitting the US for the first time in history.  Trials was previously known as Seiken Densetsu 3 in Japan, and fans of the “Mana” series have been wanting a US port for a very long time. This collection is available today on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $40.  Additionally, a full 3D remake of Trials of Mana will be coming to Nintendo Switch in 2020. All aboard the Mana Hype Train!

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi’s Mansion 3 was announced for later this year. Nintendo revealed a ton of gameplay details during their Direct. This looks like it is going to be a great game for families to enjoy when it comes out later this year.

Honorable Mention: Dark Crystal Tactics

On the same day that Netflix is releasing “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” prequel TV series, they’re dropping “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tactics”.  Yep. It’s a Dark Crystal turn-based tactics game, borne out of a partnership between Nintendo, Netflix, and Bonus XP (The developer behind the Stranger Things games).  You’ll be controlling squads of soldiers from the Dark Crystal universe, on a grid based map, and fight using a combination of swords and sorcery. The aesthetic, while simplistic, looks stylized and appropriate for the game.  The animations also look a bit simple, but this was never going to be a graphics powerhouse. If it delivers a sound strategy game, dripping with personality from the world of The Dark Crystal, I think we will all be very happy.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Square Enix E3 2018 Press Conference – 5 Things Parents Need to Know!

Square Enix held their E3 2019 Press conference on June 10th, 2019. They actually took Sony’s normal spot after they bowed out of the event. I knew as soon as that happened that Square had something to show, and they didn’t disappoint.

Take a look below for five things parents need to know!

Final Fantasy VII Remake

The Final Fantasy VII Remake is coming, and sooner than we expected.  On March 3rd, 2020, we’ll get to play this labor of love that so many fans have waited so long for.  On top of that, they seem to have expanded and fleshed out the story, to give us a deeper look into Midgar.  One of the best benefits of today’s gaming technology is it can be used as a tool for more immersive, more complete storytelling.  In the case of the Final Fantasy 7 remake, I think evolving and maturing the storytelling is a smart, and very welcome decision.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles was a Square Enix title released during the Nintendo GameCube Era that featured a heavy co-op multiplayer element. The popularity of the game was hamstrung by requiring a combination of Gameboy Advance and GameCube for its most in depth features. In 2003, this is a game where the premise did not quite fit the technology of the times. Almost 15 years later, online and mobile phone technology have closed the gap to making this game accessible to a larger variety of players. This in addition to a fresh HD graphics upgrade makes this an appealing title to investigate for the Winter of 2019.

Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition S

Dragon Quest 11 celebrated it success with announcements of its recent port to the Nintendo Switch on both Square Enix and Nintendo’s E3 Presentations. The Definitive Edition combines its adaptations for both the PS4 and the 3DS into a single experience on the Nintendo Switch. As a family gaming experience, this game’s best feature is its consistency in gameplay. Dragon Quest has found its appeal, as well as its detractors, by sticking to its core gameplay and theme and moving with the times only to improve its overall quality. Dragon Quest has been an iconic high fantasy story since its original incarnations in the NES era, and it uses its own nostalgia as its best advertisement. The Switch release comes in the fall of 2019, and its PS4 release is available now, making this a must have in the family gamers library among multiple consoles.

Oninaki

Oninaki is a diablo-esque game with an anime aesthetic. It is being made by the Tokyo RPG Factory and will release August 22, 2019 on the Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PC. Players equip spirits that provide them with weapons and special skills.

Tokyo RPG Factory has struggled out the gate with its past few games, but this looks like it could be their best game yet!

Marvel’s Avengers

Crystal Dynamics finally revealed Marvel’s Avengers. They had announced it a few years ago, and it was a sight to behold. We can’t wait to play through a single player story featuring Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, The Hulk, and Thor. We especially can’t wait for the multiplayer missions that will be expanded with new maps, mission, and heroes – for free.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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Ubisoft E3 2019 Press Conference – 5 Things Parents Need to Know

Ubisoft held their annual E3 2019 Press Conference on June 10th, 2019. The vast majority of the conference was dedicated to updates for their various M-rated games like The Division 2, For Honor, etc. There were a handful of announcements that families need to know.

Take a look below for five things parents need to know:

Just Dance 2020

Ubisoft announced their next iteration of Just Dance for all major platforms during the E3 2019 presentation. It continues to be a family friendly rhythm and dance game that combines popular music with controls and difficulties for a variety of play styles. The song list is being revealed as it gets closer to its November release date. Which internet and radio favorites will be immortalized into this family game? We look forward to telling you soon.

Adventure Time X Brawlhalla

Brawlhalla is a 2D Fighter available on all major platforms that attempts to capture the free for all aspects of Smash Ultimate, the weapon based combat of Samurai Showdown, notable inclusions of indy games like Shovel Knight, all while spelling out the stats of individual characters with an eye towards serious play. Their most recent expansion includes new playable characters and cosmetics from the hit animated series Adventure Time. Finn, Jake, and Princess Bubblegum are added to a roster of 30+ characters, as well as custom animations and effects for the entire cast inspired by the animated series. We find it a neat addition to Ubisoft’s rollout for the year, and are curious how this game will carve out its own niche in a crowded field.

Uplay +

Ubisoft announced a subscription service for PC (and eventually Google Stadia) that will grant access to the deluxe versions of all of their games as well as all of the DLC. The service will debut this September and will cost $14.99.

The cost may seem a bit high, but when you consider the cost of digital deluxe editions for Ubi games (and the DLC for those games) the numbers start to sound much more reasonable.

Roller Champions

Ubisoft announced Roller Champions during their press conference. It’s a roller ball game that includes bright colors and fast action. I felt a distinct Rocket League vibe while I was watching the trailer.

Ubi released a demo for the game on the same day, so we should know more about the game soon.

Gods and Monsters

The team behind Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is definitely putting in extra hours at the office. God’s and Monsters is an action RPG focused on mythology that bears more than a passing resemblance to Breath of the Wild. We don’t know many details yet, aside from the the February 25, 2020, but we can’t wait to learn. This looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest surprises of the show!


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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E3 2019 – LEGO Games at E3 This Year!

This weekend Microsoft had their Xbox E3 2019 Media Briefinghttp://engagedfamilygaming.com/videogames/5-things-parents-need-to-know-from-the-xbox-e3-2019-media-briefing/ and we had two Bricktastic announcements that raced into our hearts!

To our surprise Microsoft announced some AWESOME DLC for Forza Horizon 4 involving LEGO Speed Champions! LEGO Speed Champions is LEGO’s line of model kits based on real life cars like the McLaren Senna model. (They actually had a full size LEGO car on stage!)

The DLC pack features a new area that mixes real cars rendered with realistic textures and cars constructed from virtual LEGO. The racers even drove past iconic LEGO Expert sets and then onto realistic scenes. I am not into racing games normally, but this is a day one purchase and even convinced me to sign up for Xbox Game Pass. The DLC comes to Forze Horizons 4 on June 13th and will be sold at a discount with Game Pass

Changing gears..

Not so long time ago in a galaxy not so far away Xbox gave us hope by announcing LEGO The Star Wars The Skywalker Saga! It’s a new LEGO game that features levels from all nine of the movies including Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The trailer shows that they’ll be going back to the silent comedy we enjoyed from some of the first games in the series. We are most excited to see what scenes from all of our favorite movies make their way into the game even making light of the most iconic scene of Empire Strikes back and blended into a very cute Darth Vader Snowman and then Kylo Ren and Rey show us some action.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be out next year in PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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spiritfarer logo

So there I was, watching the Xbox E3 2019 Media Briefing, and my eyeballs and emotions were being bombarded by images and video clips of some of my most anticipated titles (Jedi: Fallen Order, anyone?), and then in the ID@Xbox segment, where they feature indie titles, a rather unique game came across the screen.  Spiritfarer.

Spiritfarer comes to us from Thunder Lotus Games, the makers of Sundered and Jøtun.  Their games have always been dripping with personality and style, so I was immediately intrigued.  

According to their press release:

“In Spiritfarer, you play Stella, a ferrymaster to the deceased.  Build a boat to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife.  Farm, mine, fish, harvest, cook, and craft your way across mystical seas. Join the adventure as Daffodil the cat, in two-player cooperative play.  Spend relaxing quality time with your spirit passengers, create lasting memories, and ultimately, learn how to say goodbye to your cherished friends.”

So, I didn’t expect to be as hyped as I am for this.   Spiritfarer has a unique and endearing art style, and what sounds to be a ton of fun, stress free content.  The whole game seems to be focused around building, crafting and relationships. However, those relationships are made to ultimately be broken, and in a game like this I am sure I will grow to love the characters, and that will lead to powerful, emotional moments when I have to “learn how to say goodbye” to those characters, as the developer puts it.  

I truly cannot wait… and I think we’re in for something special when this comes to Xbox Game Pass for PC and Console, Xbox One, Windows PC, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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tales of arise

Bandai Namco released a cinematic trailer for Tales of Arise the next installment of The “Tales” Role Playing Game series during the Xbox E3 2019 Media Briefing. The Tales series, with Tales of Berseria and a Remastered Tales of Zestiria being the most recent releases, is full of great games for casual players and Tales of Arise looks like it will continue that trend!


The Tales series has a history of offering flexibility in gameplay. You can actually change the difficulty settings on the fly, allowing families to adjust the difficulty if sharing the game between players of differing skill levels. Game controls can be set to being either partially or fully automatic, allowing for easy one button controls during combat, or putting your character in complete computer control.

In terms of content, the Tales series is on the lighter side of the Teen ratings of the ESRB, with violence focused mainly on monsters and the supernatural, and with games often taking the light hearted approach to their side stories.

The teaser trailer itself is gorgeous and revealed a world that we are excited to spend time in. We’re look ing forward to more information to see if the how the family friendly features have changed or improved in the update.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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psychonauts 2

Xbox Game Studios announced during their E3 2019 media briefing that they had added the whimsical and downright weird Double Fine Studios under the Xbox Game Studios banner. They capped that announcement off with a gameplay trailer for the long awaited Psychonauts 2, which has big shoes to fill from its ancestor.

The original Psychonauts was a PS2 era cult classic which turned the story and game design of Banjoo-Kazooie, Super Mario 64, and Donkey Kong 64 on their head. With the retro homages to these games making their debut now with Yooka-Laylee and A Hat in Time, the market is primed for this one.

They didn’t give us a release date as part of the announcement, but we look forward to more information from this off beat, but family friendly title.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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