E3 was full of massive AAA titles such as God of War, Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. But the one game that's stuck in my mind the most is Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. It's half brawler, half farming sim — it's a weird combination, but I can't stop thinking about it.
Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is an upcoming title by developer Edelweiss, releasing on PC and PlayStation 4 next year. It combines exciting combat with a little bit of Harvest Moon. I got to play a short demo on the E3 floor and found myself completely charmed. Players control Sakuna, a harvest goddess protecting a small village by fighting off dangerous demons. Combat has a kinetic energy on par with most fighting games. I was able to easily leap into extended combos and air juggling, which was made even more exciting thanks to a magical scarf that allowed me to leap from target to target with ease. If I focused on a single target, it was possible to knock them into the air, snag them with my scarf, and slam them to the ground. It felt great and was more than enough to pique my interest.
The game features a bright colour palette and slight cel shading that made everything feel right out of a storybook, but the real draw was the combat. It turns out that even a little girl with farming tools for weapons can kick a lot of arse.
I didn't get to spend time with the game's farming gameplay, but the concept certainly has appeal. Between boss battles and level exploration, Sakuna tends to a small rice paddy, planting and sowing the crops. It calls to mind the cooking of Odin Sphere while evoking long, quiet Stardew Valley nights. I'm not sure how everything will play out, but if farming gets the same attention as the combat, I'll have no problem grabbing a scythe and cutting down rice instead of baddies.