When I left the madness of the Tokyo Game Show yesterday, I had two tasks I set myself to fulfill on the second day. The first one was to play the PlayStation 4, no matter how long it took, and the second was to play Titanfall, the Xbox One game that has had everyone who has played it raving about it. Did I achieve both of those goals today? Well yes I did, but I still feel a bit disappointed with Sony’s efforts to seemingly put everyone off buying a PS4, or at least trying out the games they want.
Let me explain a bit about the Sony booth here at TGS 2013. The booth itself is split into three sections, as you might expect. The first is for the Vita and Vita TV, the second for PS3 games, and the largest section – in the middle of the booth, is dedicated to the PS4. Several games were on show, including Killzone: Shadow Fall, DriveClub, Knack, Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag, and Deep Down, as well as several smaller indie games. The queuing system worked by getting in line to pick a ticket from the ever-helpful staff, but the tickets themselves are pretty tightly regulated. The reason given for this is that the lines can’t get too long for each game due to fire regulations, although if this was a genuine concern, surely so many tickets for the game show itself wouldn’t have been sold? If anything, there were even more people at the Makkuhari Messe, and they were still selling tickets at the gate.
Anyway, I dropped in at the Sony booth several times during the day, and never once saw tickets available for Killzone, which was the title I most wanted to try, and was prepared to wait in line for. In fact, considering I got to the convention center 30 minutes before the show opened, and headed straight for the Sony booth – at that point every single one of the games were over-booked! Deciding to head back later, I opted to wait in the other biggest queue at the show, for Titanfall.
When I eventually got to play the game, to say I was impressed was an understatement. I’m not normally that much of a fan for online shooters, but this game just felt ‘right’ in a way that felt fresh and new, while still yet being able to jump right in and know what I was doing. The buzz you get when you get inside an actual Titan for the first time was also well worth the time waiting in line with an aching back!
One other good thing about TGS when compared to Gamescom is that several times I saw actual developers hanging around, gauging public reaction and talking to fans, mainly at the Microsoft booth. I took the chance to speak with an employee of Respawn Entertainment about Titanfall, and he explained that the game was running on PC’s at the show as the Xbox One version is still being worked on. That also explains why the controllers hooked up to the game were Xbox 360.
Win or lose, at the end of every game of Titanfall, you play through the ‘epilogue’ where the losing team tries to escape the battle ground while the victors chase them down. This is another example of the game adding new features to the online shooter genre, and personally I cant wait to play more.
While still at the Microsoft booth, I got the chance to play Ryse again as the line was pretty short. Once again I enjoyed my time with the game, although the question of whether it would get repetitive after a few hours of playing isn’t something that can be answered at this point. I did notice that the button prompts that were so contentious at E3 have been removed, and replaced with a glowing color around each bad guy when you can ‘finish’ them, which corresponds to the color of the Xbox One pad face button. I suppose it is these little things that are still being ironed out and decided on before the release in November.
I also decided to give Killer Instinct another go, and this time picked Chief Thunder instead of Jago. I certainly think this game needs a lot longer to learn its nuances, as I was seemingly pulling off combo moves without realizing it one moment, and then unable to do anything other than jab ineffectually the next! I did look very pretty however, with particle effects everywhere. I tried out Dead Or Alive 5: Ultimate a few minutes later, and the difference between the generations were obvious, with PS3/Xbox 360 games looking pretty basic in comparison.
Finally I could hold off no longer. I was determined to play the PlayStation 4 and I was going to camp out at the Sony booth if I had to! Thankfully that wasn’t necessary, as shortly afterwards they started issuing tickets and DriveClub was among them! I queued up eagerly to get my ticket, but by the time I reached the front of the line it had been removed again! Faced with the choice of Assassins Creed IV, Knack or Deep Down, I opted for the first party game and began my nearly 2 hour wait to play Knack!
Lead from line to line, from the back of the Sony booth to the front, eventually I reached the front of the queue and picked up a PS4 pad for the first time! My impressions? A massive improvement all round, particularly the triggers and the rubberised grip. I’m not too sure about the touch pad, but Knack doesn’t use it so I can’t comment at this stage. The thumb sticks were also much better than the PS3’s, however in my opinion they could have been made tighter, as my thumb slipped from the top just a little bit more than that of the Xbox One pad, nothing major though.
As for Knack itself it was a fun game, if nothing spectacular. In a weird way it puts me in the mind of Kameo, the launch title for the Xbox 360. The graphical style is similar, as is the way you control a monster type thing who gains different powers. I had 15 minutes with the game, and ran through 4 different levels, ranging from a stealth-type level using the little Knack, right through to a later level where you control the giant creature as he throws cars at jet planes and generally causes mayhem. All good fun, and although as I mentioned yesterday it probably wasn’t the best showcase for next-gen technology, it does show off some lovely particle effects as the Knack creature fuels itself with the bits that it finds throughout the levels.
Although I didn’t get much more time at the show, I had at least fulfilled my mission of playing both the Xbox One and PS4, although Killzone: Shadow Fall will have to wait. I am visiting Sony HQ on Tuesday, and I’m holding out some hope that they might have a PS4 there to try out – if that is the case I will let you guys know my impressions of any more games I get to try out.
Before I left the show for the last time, I went on a bit of a mission to seek out the ‘stranger’ side of Japanese gaming culture. I hit pay dirt with a booth dedicated to romance simulation games, complete with male model dressed as a bridegroom! Lucky ladies could queue up for their chance to have their photo taken sitting with this guy in a ‘love chair’ – looking as if it was their wedding day! Oh well, I suppose that is only fair given the sheer amount of female booth babes that dotted around the show floor – many more than at Gamescom and E3 combined!
That’s it for our at-the-show impressions, hope you enjoyed them! When I get back from Japan, expect several more updates and photos with a dedicated guide to Tokyo Game Show 2013 – Sayonara for now!