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Tokyo Game Show 2011

I lined up to get my media pass at the counter of the Makuhari Messe at around 9:30 AM, half an hour late from what I had planned. There were 30 or so foreigners in front of me at the International Media counter, significantly more than I had encountered in 2009, so I thought today’s Business Day at the Tokyo Game Show would be packed, but as I entered the main convention area (after eating an excessively priced breakfast at the convention that consisted of a tiny slice of bacon, scrambled eggs (and by “eggs” I mean ONE Japanese egg ( Japanese eggs are TINY, by the way)), and a hashbrown for about 400 Pesos), the place seemed to have more staff than visitors.

Practically no lines could be seen at any of the booths, and the longest queue was for the PlayStation Vita, which was about 30 to 50 minutes max. That sounds like a long wait, but 2 years ago, several games had 2 hour queues. Things picked up a little later in the day, though the lines were never very long. This is, however, no indication of the attendance at the game show. Today was after all a business day, which meant the convention was closed to the general public. Saturday and Sunday is when everybody will come to TGS.

I wasn’t expecting much from this year’s show, as I had not really read up on what games I’d be seeing. All I knew was that there would be a focus on mobile games, SNS games, and the PS Vita, none of which were of any interest to me. Not that I think they’re bad, but I’m just more of a home console type of guy.

And so it was much to my surprise that I saw a lot to be interested in. The first game to stop me in my tracks was Ninja Gaiden 3, by Koei Tecmo. The only reason I found this demo was because I wanted to see the game programmed by a friend of mine who works at Koei Tecmo. He said he had a new game being announced at TGS. I had no idea that they’d have Ninja Gaiden 3 at TGS. Ordinarily, the Koei Tecmo booth wouldn’t be something I’d drop into as they’re usually all about Dynasty Warriors, horse racing games, and stuff I’m not so hot about.

The Ninja Gaiden 3 booth had, when I got there, a 10-minute line, which is basically the length of time I walk to the train station every day, so of course I was going to wait for this. And when my turn finally came I was met with an intense no-holds-barred bloodbath. The action was spot on in its direction, and it was non-stop (the killing just wouldn’t stop!!!). It starts out slow though, with some silly cinematic sequence about some kind of English speaking government agent presenting his Japanese business card in some house in a quaint Japanese traditional village that had some kind of modern attack helicopter parked right in the middle. I know, right? It’s really stupid. So I skipped that, and the next thing that happens is Ryu Hayabusa is on top of Big Ben (I think?), after which you control him to jump off the tower and plunge a sword down into an unknowing opponent. Wow. You can almost feel the wind rushing through your body while you plummet to the ground, and as you near the helpless hybrid ninja-soldier, the action slows down to give you enough time to hit the attack button. It’s an amazing experience followed directly by intense lightning fast cinematic-like kills, one after another. What has to be my favorite new addition to Ninja Gaiden is the occasional incapacitated enemy begging for mercy. It’s a simple addition, but it makes you feel like an unstoppable killing machine – and rightfully so. You are, after all, Ryu Hayabusa.

Needless to say, this is a game to watch out for.

Still quite spellbound by Ninja Gaiden 3, I was aimlessly wandering around the convention grounds when I eventually found myself in Sony’s massive booth where demos from various developers were being shown. I saw the soon to be released remakes of Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, both of which looked absolutely gorgeous, but I didn’t feel like playing them right then, since I have a feeling I’ll be getting this as a birthday present soon. Walking around a bit more, I happily found a Street Fighter x Tekken demo. No one was in line, so I jumped right in and asked the kind booth lady if I could try it. I was with Yuki (my girlfriend), so we played versus together. I used Ryu and Sagat (yeah, I’m a fireball spammer) while Yuki, a Tekken fan, selected Julia and Hwarang. It was a tag-team match. The staff only let us play a three round match, which was kind of a bummer, but still I was happy to have been able to try it out. And they gave us each a free Street Fighter x Tekken towel of some sort, which was kind of gross because you can see half of Ryu’s and Jin Kazama’s butts (I’ll take a picture tomorrow). As always, Street Fighter is great, and the feel is always spot on. But I’m not too great at fighting games, so I don’t think I can make any meaningful comments. All I can really say was that I wasn’t as impressed as I was with Ninja Gaiden 3, but I still thought it was pretty good. I’ll try to play it again tomorrow to get more impressions about this game.

It was about only a few minutes after leaving SFxTekken when lightning struck me in the form of Battlefield 3. THIS was the game I was hoping to see at TGS but had not expected to actually see, as the Japanese aren’t big fans of the FPS genre. After having seen it, I immediately rushed to the demo and plopped myself in front of the TV with a big smile on my face. Luckily, no one was playing. I wasn’t able to play a multiplayer match, but they had the first sequence of Operation Guillotine for the demo.

Up until recently I had only seen gameplay clips of the PC version of Battlefield 3, so I was really excited to see how it looks on a console. As expected, the graphics aren’t as finely detailed as I have seen them to be on PC, but they’re still amazingly good on console. So good that I want to say that this is probably the best graphics I’ve seen on the PS3 (for a shooter). It was almost unbelievable that the game was running on a console. And the sound, of course, was superb. It always has been ever since Bad Company 1. That’s one thing that Dice has gotten absolutely perfect. If you haven’t played Bad Company 1 or 2, you really have to even if just to experience the sound effects -- it puts all other shooters to shame (I’m looking at you, Activision). Another point of remark is the gunplay. Although there seems to be a lot more recoil, rather than being annoying, the effect is that the guns feel more realistic, as if real lead is actually being pumped out of your gun’s barrel.

As a campaign mission, it was so-so. I admit that the demo was pretty exciting and very believable, yet somehow it didn’t seem to be that remarkable. Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that my teammates kept running into my line of sight -- I had accidentally shot my allies about 5 to 6 times, even killing one of them. It may be a minor detraction and a common occurrence in most shooters, but it’s a detraction enough to kill the immersive-ness (if that’s even a word) of the game.

Still, I’m buying it when it comes out, of course.

That’s it for now, though there’s lots more to tell. I have to end here because I’m totally exhausted. Other notable stuff at the show which I will probably talk more about tomorrow are:

PS Vita
Sony Ericsson Experia Play (which is actually already old by now)
Mass Effect 3
Need for Speed: The Run
All sorts of Metal Gear Solid remakes
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
New Kinect games (that don’t work)
A wonderful discovery called “Turtle Beach”
The Japan Game Awards
And a stall the sells nothing but arcade controller buttons.

In the meantime, here are some (badly taken) pictures from the show:

1 comment:

  1. One day I'll go to TGS. And then Comiket. I must attend at least once in my life.
    That's my life's goal.


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