Well, I am back from my first day at the Tokyo Game Show, reporting from here in Japan. I have one word to describe the show for you today, and that word is hectic. Seriously, I thought Gamescom was busy, but as the actual exhibitor space at TGS is about half as much as in Germany, with around the same amount of visitors, the three halls here at Makkuhari Messe can get pretty busy, let me tell you!
But you don’t want to hear my whining about queues all day, you want to know about the games – and rightfully so. I had intended on spending most of today getting to know the PlayStation 4 up-close and personal. However, Sony put a halt to that scheme with their utterly ridiculous ticketing system. Basically, because of the size of the crowds, eager gamers had to choose one (and only one) game they wanted to play, and then wait in line for anywhere between 20 minutes (for indie titles like Octodad) to 2 hours for the bigger games. The major problem however, was that when the lines got too big for each game, the attendants stopped giving out tickets for those games completely, until the lines got shorter. Unfortunately that meant that the ‘must play’ launch titles like Killzone: Shadow Fall and DriveClub were pretty much off-limits all day.
The plus side of this set-up however was that you could at least walk through the Sony stand at will, and feast your eyes on all of the latest games, if not your hands! I took the chance to get a good look at all of the PS4 titles on show and came away pretty impressed.
Killzone: Shadow Fall looked like a big improvement on the previous games, ditching the dull palette and looking very colorful, with some wonderful lighting effects. If anything it looked like a Crysis game running on a powerful PC, and that was pretty much my view on all of the next-gen games. Nothing here will send you wild save for the super-realistic graphics, but for the most part each game looked like a high-end PC title, with all the impressive lighting and particle effects that suggests.
It has been announced today that Capcom’s Deep Down for PS4 is to be a free to play title and I know that decision has annoyed a lot of people. Th game itself does look lovely however, with very shiny armor on the player character gleaming amongst the stone walls and fire torches in the dungeons. The enemy creatures shown off in the demo look great, like a cross between a bear and an Orc. The gameplay however did seem a little bit restrictive and boring so if I do get my hands on it tomorrow it will be interesting to see if that is the case. Other PS4 games I saw running included Knack (pretty uninspiring, not really looking next-gen enough), and DriveClub, which has visually come on leaps and bounds since E3.
Figuring that the lines might be shorter for the Xbox One given Microsoft’s lack of popularity in Japan, I took a walk over to their stand. Titanfall had a massive presence here, and again the queues were longest for that game. There was a model of a Titan as the impressive center piece of the stand as well, setting the scene for the game nicely. I decided to hold off on playing Titanfall, and instead waited in line for Forza Motorsport 5 instead. I got my hands on an Xbox One controller for the first time and I have to say I was impressed. It felt very familiar, but the additional rumbles in the triggers really added something to the game, as I felt every rev of the engine. Forza 5 itself was great fun, the lighting effects in particular impressing. The game itself played like the others in the series, being a ‘serious racer’ but still enough fun for fans of arcade racing.
Next up I got to try out Crimson Dragon and Killer Instinct. Crimson Dragon was pretty confusing, partly because it all moved so fast, partly because the Japanese Xbox staff member couldn’t explain the controls to me! Either way it was a fun shooter, and definitely one for fans of the Panzer Dragoon series on Saturn. Killer Instinct I wasn’t as impressed with on my first go, and that wasn’t just because I lost my fight! The graphics all looked very impressive, with tons of particle effects on show, however the controls just felt slightly ‘off’, almost as it there was a slight lag in the response time. I will try to play some more and see if my opinions change.
The final Xbox One game I really wanted to try out was Ryse: Son of Rome, as I had seen some mixed opinions on it. I played a demo based around online co-op, and I have to say I really enjoyed it! The graphics looked really impressive, despite a few v-sync and frame skipping issues which will hopefully be gone in the final game. The gameplay is best described as a more brutal version of the fighting in the Batman Arkham City games, with more timing needed for blocking, and some additional tactical play with objectives set for you in the arena as you play through. If I do get an Xbox One, then Ryse is the first game I will buy for it.
After having my fill of Xbox, I returned to the Sony stand in order to get a hold of the new Vita model. The OLED screen is missed, but honestly the replacement is fine, and the curvier and slimmer body is a pretty fair exchange. My only negative was the more plasticky feel of the unit however, it does feel a little cheaper overall. Still no news yet on whether it will find its way out of Japan, the same with the Vita TV device, which was also on show here.
I finished off my day with a look at some PS3 games, which Sony gave equal floor space to. Beyond: Two Souls is interesting if you liked Heavy Rain, and it looks lovely – unfortunately though it also seems even less interactive than Quantic Dream’s last game though which is a worry. QTE’s were pretty much all this demo consisted of. Batman: Arkham Origins plays exactly like you would expect, with the engine of two excellent games behind it. It also seems a little more colorful than the previous games in the series and has a more comic-book vibe about it.
Anyway guys, that’s about it for my impressions of day one at the TGS, tomorrow I will be definitely playing PS4, even if it kills me! I also intend on playing Titanfall, and giving you a look at the weirder side of Tokyo Game Show! See you all then! Sianara!