n00b squad
N00b Squad at the Tokyo Game Show
N00b Squad at the Tokyo Game Show
Headline: Tombo Terrorizes Tokyo Game Show
Posted by Tombo on 10-17-08

This year I was able to go to the Tokyo Game Show thanks to my extremely kind and generous girlfriend Yoshiko. Although TGS was extremely busy, there were apparently less people in attendance then last year. The organizers of the show were considerate enough to have walkways about double the size of E3's (in its heyday) and triple that of PAX. Also, none of the booths had giant walls directly beside the main walkways, which made getting around easier except for the corridor of doom between Capcom's and Square Enix's booth. Few men entered this packed space and came out alive.

Most lineups for games would take about thirty minutes on average. What better way to get the most of out a situation then to check out the shunned Xbox 360 in Japan where games were plentiful and attendants were sparse (for the most part).

First, I checked Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, which maybe had the shortest wait out of all the games I played with only 2-3 people. The first level I tried featured dominoes spreading outwards in a circle and the goal was to knock down as many as possible. It was very simple and straightforward but a good way to start off the game. I only had to fly to the centre while not touching any dominoes and fire a bomb. The only awkward part of flying is that I could not go forwards while increasing altitude, which didn't make much sense to me. However, the game looked so good that Ifll let them get off easy on that one. Flying in another level had easy, forgiving controls and was easy to go through ring targets. Unfortunately, I was not able to try the most intriguing part of the game: vehicle building.

Next up was Sonic, a game that apparently the Japanese people in attendance at TGS haven't given up on unlike most North Americans. I tried the playable level only to be shocked that it was ACTUALLY FUN, perhaps even better than Sonic Adventure. About 50% of the levels had a 2D camera view while the other 50% were behind the back. Gameplay was solid and I didn't get thrown into the abyss using Sonic's homing attack move. However, I did not see the werewolf version of Sonic playable anywhere at TGS. Could that be foreshadowing how terrible that mode will be? It may turn out that way but at least it's the equivalent of only one other character that isn't the true Sonic.

Ninja Blade from From Software for the Xbox 360 looked impressive but only had a short demo to play. From Software made Otogi last generation so this game may end up being a great but not classic title as well. Fighting enemies wasn't too inspired but there was a section where the main character was falling/running down the side of a skyscraper and could attack enemies. Sure, Sonic did it first but I felt that I was actually in control this time around. Many parts of the demo were quick time event sequences requiring button presses. Oddly enough, missing a button press only resulted in restarting the cinematic from just before where the last button press was required; Usually, I expect some sort of negative feedback for doing poorly in a game. There was a spider boss that looked fantastic but was a typical boss. Running up to fight him was the best part since he shot out shockwaves that had to be avoided using a ninja-sense mode AKA slow motion with trippy effects. Ninja Blade is due to come out in 2009 so there's plenty of time for From Software to work on it.

Sega had a Yakuza 3 video running in a theatre in their booth. Yakuza 3, not actually called that in Japan probably due to actual Yakuza, appeared to be as ambitious as Shenmue. There are a huge amount of mini-games, including Karaoke, wide variety of environments and an A-list of Japanese voice actors. Then of course, there's the brawling from Yakuza with more enemies on screen and Dead Rising-like blur effects and weapons usage. Looks extremely promising if it ever comes out in North America and at least the PS3 is region free.

Biohazard 5 (AKA Resident Evil 5 in North America) was one of the most popular games at the show and was simply "closed" at Capcom's booth due to the long lines that were already present at the beginning of day 2. Fortunately, the game was also at Microsoft's booth where they also had bandana swag for it. They said the wait was two hours but it turned out to be a completely-worth-it 80 minutes. There are now two control schemes in the game: Resident Evil 4 style controls and "Action Controls" with strafing. The action controls work more like FPS controls where the left stick moves and strafes while the right stick aims and changes direction. However, unlike an FPS you can only run forwards while holding A with the action control scheme. Holding A and pressing backwards will turn the character around.

The game was very much like Resident Evil 4 but with motion blur and more enemies on screen. (Formula is RE4 + Dead Rising*Detail*2 = Biohazard 5). At this point, the only downside is the partner who "helps" you in the game. Ashley in Resident Evil 4 stayed out of the way when zombies were around. Biohazard 5's Seba gets into the action but sometime's this action was directly in front of me where I wanted to shoot zombies. There was no friendly fire but I would rather fight off zombies without a player AI dancing around all over the place. Because of this, I think co-op will be far better overall. The game also featured a semi-transparent item box that could be used in-game instead of going to the menu all the time.

Had my ass handed to me in Street Fighter IV. I was expecting that in Japan. I couldn't tell any difference between the PS3 version from the arcade version.

And finally, Bionic Commando was my unsung game of the show. Grin, the developer, managed to make the grappling arm work perfectly in a 3D environment. There may be some issues with it in the complete game but I didn't notice any in the decently long demo. Grappling across pits sometimes took a couple tries but the game never felt cheap and was rewarding afterwards. Fighting enemies was a blast since I could grab them with the arm, swing them around, punch'em a couple times, swing'em around some more and then fling their lifeless body away. I did this so much that the attendant at the kiosk informed my girlfriend to tell me that there also was a gun that I could use; I didnft need it. After no longer being skeptical of the controls, I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

And now for an abbreviated summary of some the remaining games that I played since I don't have much time left to type this as I'm still in Japan:

Prince of Persia: Cell Shaded Edition: Platforming's great for the most part but controls are touching on some wall clinging areas. One boss enemy had far too much health and was repetitive.

Little Big Planet: AWESOME with four players. No problems with there being a z-axis and jumps weren't that floaty.

-Tombo


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