Ever since I moved to Japan, I have always wanted to attend the Tokyo Game Show. This year, I was finally able to attend it! Source Gaming allowed me to enter the venue as a member of the press, and it was amazing. I was only able to attend the public days (September 17th and 18th) as my regular full time job prevented me from attending the business/ press days. There was a lot of people who attended Tokyo Game Show (I believe the number is over 90,000) so Makuhari Messe was packed. From getting off the train to the station exit took about 10 minutes both days.
The venue took up numerous spaces in Makuhari Messe, and every space was used. The booths were organized by section — the bigger companies were in a cluster, while indie games had their own space. Since there were so many people, I didn’t get a chance to actually play a lot of titles. Most of my time was actually spent waiting in lines. There were a lot of booth babes. Every company had models in front, trying to bring customers in. I joked on Twitter that it should be renamed to the Tokyo Belly Button Show 2016 as I saw more belly buttons than games.
Nintendo didn’t have a presence at Tokyo Game Show (as expected) so honestly, the number of titles that I was actively interested in were quite limited. Tokyo Game Show 2016 really focused on VR. Between the Oculus Rift, and Playstation VR there were a number of VR title experiences. It really feels like this upcoming year will be the “year of VR” as it’s clearly a focal point for a lot of companies.
Anyway, here’s what I did play, and my impressions of the demo.
The first game I actually played was a Onsen VR demo for Puzzle of Empires Onsen. Since no one was waiting for the game, I decided to try it. It felt pretty pervy, but the demo (or should I say experience?) was pretty short. Literally, you are sitting in a bath with a girl, and the girl reacts to where you look. For a VR experience, it was pretty immersive, but as a game it wasn’t very interesting.
Samurai Warriors: Sanada Maru is an upcoming game. I’m not an expert on the Dynasty Warriors / spin off games, so I can’t really tell what improvements the games have over the normal titles. I have played Hyrule Warriors quite extensively (Over 300 hours). The combat style felt similar to Hyrule Warriors. However, with the PS4 being more powerful than the Wii U, the number of enemies on screen is greatly increased. Sanada Maru has a tie in with an NHK drama, and the game it kind of split into a story driven section, and fighting. Words that are underlined in the spoken dialog, can be looked up — like Wikipedia, which is great for reminding players about the lore and who everyone is. Gameplay felt solid. I’m not sure if it was just the demo…or if this would be in the final game but my main gripe is that action would be interrupted by news of a new side quest quite often.
Drancia Saga is a 3DS indie title that I got to check out. The gameplay is quite simple, with the player automatically advancing one direction. Jumping can hit enemies, or avoid attacks. Players must try to rack up combos in order to gain experience, and points. It’s a nice little game, but I’m not sure if it’s really enhanced by being on the 3DS it felt like it should be a cell phone game.There’s a lot of characters to play as and there are collaborations with other companies which is neat.
School Girl: Zombie Hunter is an upcoming game for the PS4. The main draw of the game is playing as school girls. The game is pretty bland — the gameplay feels rather uninspiring and the controls don’t feel right. The demo was pretty limited. Girls could take off their school uniform and change into swim wear. The company obviously knows the appeal of the game is the girls as the demo was literally under the skirts of the giant school girls and had models on the stage to promote their game.
The Square Enix area was jam packed. On both days, I dropped by too late to actually have a chance to try anything. I did get to watch some people play the upcoming Kingdom Hearts games but that’s about it.
GameVice is a gaming peripheral that connects to your phone. I was pretty interested in it, as it felt kind of like the concepts that some of the NX rumors have claimed (detachable controller). I played Grand Theft Auto 3 on a phone, using a controller. It was pretty comfortable, and the controller worked out.
I got to check out Resident Evil: Biohazard. It’s the game I was looking forward to the most, and I was pretty disappointed by it. The Capcom booth was pretty disorganized. I asked two attendees if I was in the line for the VR demo, and they assured me I was. However, when I got to the end of the line (over an hour wait with the ticket), I found out the demo was on a regular monitor. The demo itself felt pretty slow. The demo constituted the main character trying to run away. It’s pretty clear that Resident Evil: Biohazard is trying to return the series to its horror roots. If you got caught, then it would restart at the last save point, but it really took the horror out of the game for me.
That’s about all I was able to experience on the first day. For the second day, I started as early as possible. However, I was pretty exhausted as Saturday was my birthday, and the first time I saw friends in three years. So, I haven’t slept much this weekend. On the second day, I went to the PS4 VR first thing. I got to try Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare VR experience. The game took place entirely in space. I drove a spaceship around, and shot other aircraft. The experience really sold me on spaceship simulators for VR. I was wearing my glasses, and because of that the goggles actually didn’t fit properly so it wasn’t that immersive.
After that, I checked out Yakuza 6. Before the demo, Sega played a trailer that introduce the game. I couldn’t take photos or footage of the trailer…I wish I could. It was kind of over the top, which might be appropriate for the Yakuza series. The first part of the trailer introduce the story, and then it went into new improvements to the engine. It was clear that Sega was trying to really sell a couple of key words — “seamless” and “dynamic” (it also overused “and then…”) to the point where it was kind of absurd. For the demo, I chose the pure gameplay demo. It was pretty fun, and there were a lot of side things to do. A lot of tie-ins to actual products…such as Darts Live (a common darts company in Japan). For the demo, I basically ran around and beat up some gangsters. It felt similar to Grand Theft Auto. One thing that is really interesting is the “seamless” transition between gameplay, cutscenes and the battling system.
Afterwards, I checked out Band Hero VR. I talked to one of the developers, and guitars from Band Hero for be compatible with the game (over USB). Band Hero VR changes up the formula as it removed the traditional bar. Instead, players can see what notes they should be strumming, and try to match it. However, players are given complete freedom in how they play. With Band Hero VR, the developers really wanted to focus on the live element of performing. So trying to mix up guitar stances will reward you with extra points. The Oculus Rift Touch goes on the controller so it can track the guitar in game.
Lastly, I checked out Save me Mr. Tako. It is coming out to the Wii U (I played the Steam version). The action/RPG was inspired by the Game Boy’s anniversary. I really dig the art style, and a lot of love is obviously put in the game by the game’s sole developer. The octopus can have a number of different power ups which will mix up gameplay. The default attack for the octopus freezes enemies in place for short amount of time. I played the game in English, and I noticed it has a number of grammatical errors/ awkward phrasing. I hope the script can be revised before it’s launched in the West.
That’s my experience at Tokyo Game Show 2016. I hope next year I can attend the business days so I can actually experience more booths. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!