Even after another full day at TGS 2016, there are still so many things to talk about that it is really problematic to fit it all in.
Anyway, I will try my best. Yesterday I spoke about the great revolution happening in the Japanese gaming industry from above.
Going around the show it is pretty surprising that with all the latest technologies on show (VR helmets, Mangas in 3D, etc..), Japanese gamers are still so in love with 2D fighters, old style RPGs and sequels of niche markets, such as Earth Force Defence (now at its 5th instalment).
Also what is really interesting is how all the software companies here are trying a different approach to the new VR hype. The most interesting is Square-Enix’s ‘Project Hikari: VR x MANGA Concept Showcase’ which, if taken mainstream, could see future mangas also include little movies to be seen in 3D. The effect at the show with their monitor is really interesting, even if it must be stated, it was projected in the dark.
Anyway, all of these demonstrations - as at E3 - are mostly at a conceptual level (by the same name), but regardless it is good to see so much effort being put into exploring new ways to improve the videogame and/or entertainment experience.
More information about Square-Enix’s Project Hikari can be read on the company’s official website.
On the other hand, today I have got the space to talk about some interesting and underrated games, which are finally playable here. First up, releasing on the 27th of October, we’ve got W+Force team: Berserk!
Check it out by watching this short video:
Kentaro Miura's manga once again comes back to consoles (PS3, PS4 and PSVita to be exact) to entertain all the fans of the Musou genre (i.e. Japanese hack 'n' slash) as well as the fans of the anime, which has got a new series this year.
The new anime series will cover the second part of “The Branded Swordsman" and the last part of the comic named "The Hawk of the Millenium Arc", where the main character will seek vengeance against his old friend. Interestingly, you can also revive the first part of the series named "Golden Age Arc" (which was released on Dreamcast and Playstation 2 years ago).
The game itself reminded me very closely of the manga and, if I’m being honest, that’s not surprising as the porting of all Musou genre games have sincerely never let me down. Yeah, they can be repetitive, but for Otakus and fanboys for which this game is made for, the timing is perfect.
Check it out by watching this short video:
So if you are a fan of things like 'Fist of North Star' (Hokuto no Ken) you'll love this. Out on the 27th October (Japanese edition) at 7,800 yen (around 57 GBP / $75).
Second but no less important is Tekken 7.
If you have already read our coverage of the Japan Amusement Expo 2016, you already know that the 7th installment has only been available in Japan since March 2015. You’ll also know that the new update named 'Fated Retribution' is available for the Japanese arcade centers, with Akuma and presumably other Street Fighter characters soon to follow into the Tekken roster.
If you are like, “what’s a Tekken?!” then watch this video and get hype:
So what is it like? Basically for those who had not got the chance to test the game prior, the main difference between Tekken 7 compared the 6th instalment (or 'Tekken Tag 2') is basically a more balanced rage attack, some quick time events while the opponent is doing a superior super move or combo, and the availability to keep doing combos while the enemy is attacking you.
But wait, there’s more! The gameplay is more fluid (example: the titles "Ready for the next battle" between the flames) are more cinematic than the original Japanese arcade versions. Also, in the arcade edition before entering the battle you have the traditional "Ready for the next battle", while at home in this 'Story mode' there is something similar to the typical 'Ryu ga Gotoku' scene (Yakuza in the west) before a fight (i.e. gradually the player is thrown into the action after having seen a long movie scene).
Also (second big spoiler), characters during the fight speak to each other! I love it, but - and here arrives the bad news - they do not speak much because Tekken 7 finishes after only 5 matches (5 stages)! So the 'Story Mode' of this 'Mishima Saga' (this is how the Story mode is named now) is pretty short. Yeah, I know it is pretty scary because the usual 'Story Mode' we got used to playing had 10 to 13 stages before the final credits (as in 'Tekken TAG 2').
Someone may wonder how we were able to discover this important particular. Well, at the fairs: 'E3','JAEPO' and here at the 'Tokyo Game Show' only demos are shown, but if you go around Akihabara (the retrogaming & arcade district of Tokyo) there are plenty of arcade centers where Tekken 7 is available and we played it until the end! So you can imagine our face when we realized the game was finished after 5 stages in the 'Story Mode'!
When questioned about this issue, the Bandai-Namco staff told me they intended to incentivize in this way the online battle in the arcade environment.
The game looks good though and will retail at the price of 7,800 yen (57 gbp/ $75).
A now let's talk about an another big game of the TGS: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.
At the Capcom booth a demo is available (just a little bit more extended though) of the game as already seen at the Gamescom in Germany in August. The good news is that the controllers have finally been fixed and the action sequences are not fuzzy as I experienced when I tested the demo at E3 this year.
Reactions to the game itself - sharing comments with colleagues from all around the world – are pretty mixed (most argued), but sincerely as a gamer and a person I am always interested in something new and I think it is a good idea.
In my opinion the reason why this Resident Evil will be remembered in the future is not for the story back to its origins after the last chapter, but for its VR immersion. It delivers the dark atmosphere and full immersion that the audience has been waiting for from a title like this.
I do not want to say it will be the killer application for PlayStation VR, but for sure I will be tempted to buy it at its launch next month.
The story takes place in a old mansion with a new character looking for his wife and a tape recording.
The game itself is clearly a kind of reboot with what we have already seen in the previous chapters, but is that what hardcore gamers really want? Take a look for yourself though and make the call. Out for PS4, Xbox and PC on 24th of January, 2017.
Next up is Final Fantasy XV.
It is probably one of the most discussed games at the fair (only after Resident Evil 7), and in general of the last few months in my opinion. Not only because the game has gathered lots of discussion and commentary, but because this new instalment has a very distinctive, larger than life look, especially for the characters’ hair (the look seems to be out of one of those Sentai TV series seen in the 1970s).
I can understand how the game must appeal in Japan, but honestly I think it would be difficult for a westerner to warm to the aesthetic. Anyway, take a look now and make up your own mind on whether it is a good look or not.
Hair styles and look aside, the game is graphically really impressive. The development has been long and it is clear that it will deliver long hours of play. The only point that I am not sure about is if it will convince the hardcore gamers’ base that has followed the series up to this point.
Final Fantasy XV is out worldwide on the 29th of November.
And finally, bringing up the rear, we have Earth Defence Force 5.
This is probably one of the most underrated games produced right now in Japan. This first installment of this title came out in 2003 and today, after more than 13 years, it is back by popular demand (especially from the west). Check out the video to see what it is all about.
The major feature of this third person shooter is its apocalyptic scenario where aliens invade and try to kill you. Even if the gameplay is simple, the action and the tension is really catchy for any kind of gamer: from the casual to the hardcore gamers.
The demonstration here at the Tokyo Game Show 2016 really gives gamers what they loved about the series, with many old bosses back for more action, so if you never played the game before I would totally check it out if you can. Earth Defence Force 5 will be out in 2017 for PS4.
Ok, time to go. See you tomorrow for T3’s Day 3 report.