TGS 2012: Round-up
Tokyo Game Show is as good as finished for another year. The press are heading home, with only two public days remaining - a weekend best avoided unless you enjoy beefy odours and queuing in a sauna. Much like every other TGS of this generation, this year’s show didn't set the world alight, but there was just about enough to keep us entertained for 48 hours.
Sony kicked things off in style with a pre-show press conference, where they failed to even acknowledge the existence of The Last Guardian or announce any new games of note. Instead, they gave us a slimmed down version of the PS3 at a similar price to the current model, a redesign that looks a bit too much like a 90s PC case and will do fuck all to disrupt the winter of Wii U. We will also be getting two brand new colours for the Vita: red and blue. Rumours persist that the Last Guardian team are now the New Vita Colour department, and that it only took them eighteen months to come up with those colours.
Between new shades of Vita and hardware weight loss, Sony found time to show off a couple of games, the most promising of which was Soul Sacrifice for the Vita. It comes from Keiji Inafune, who was also busy revealing Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, and it would appear that Sony is putting their full weight behind it. Impressions from the show floor were favourable, pegging it as a Monster Hunter/Dark Souls hybrid that is a co-op experience at heart. Sony did announce a handful of other titles that will be of little interest outside of Japan, including God Eater 2, karaoke, mega robots and big-titted ninja girls.
Konami had a lengthy new trailer for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which revealed new characters and plot details. This definitely aint Metal Gear but it looks fun, at least in that Vanquish, lots of flash but little substance kind of way. MGS Social Ops for smart phones is a tap-based card game – piss off – and there didn’t seem to be anything new on Ground Zeroes. In other MGS news, Hideo Kojima was sporting a fabulously sparkly Fox Hound t-shirt which worked wonders for his fashion status, but did bugger all for his cammo index.
As expected, Yakuza 5 was the major draw at SEGA’s booth. A demo and extended trailer offered yet more insight into Kazuma Kiryu and friends’ latest adventures, this time spread across five different Japanese cities. It looked like a prettier and bigger version of the games that I have come to adore, with a brilliant trailer that featured brick shithouse Saejima fighting a bear, as you do. Even more exciting was confirmation that both Virtua Fighter 2 and Taiko no Tatsujin will be fully playable as games within the game – I bloody love Yakuza!
Monster Hunter 4 had its first, full trailer which revealed an autumnal palette and confirmed online play. Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney and Ace Attorney 5 gave the Monster Hunter fans a reason to remain at the Capcom booth once they had finished their sixth session with the MonHun demo, and EX Troopers was likened to Mega man Legends by more than one member of the press – I have no idea if that is a compliment or not. There was a spot of confusion when Capcom announced Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen, which eventually turned out to be a sizeable expansion and not the full-blown sequel that is sure to eventually follow.
Namco Bandai’s collaboration with SEGA and Capcom, Project X Zone, looks delightfully Japanese; it is a tactical role playing game that’s heavy on action, but one that I can’t envision escaping Japan. Final Fantasy XIV, Okami HD and Puppeteer all received brand new trailers, and in an attempt to hijack the show that they refuse to attend, Nintendo revealed the 3DS XXXXL Circle Pad Pro. Unsurprisingly, it just looks like a massive version of the original frankenstick.
By all accounts, this was another low-key Tokyo Game Show. Major publishers were once again reducing their show floor presence - Square-Enix had zero on-site, playable demos – as mobile games continued to steal the spotlight. This year's show reminded me how much more interesting TGS is when experienced in the flesh, and not viewed from afar. When in attendance, you are afforded the opportunity to seek out the games that interest you and are in a much better position to appreciate the buzz and sense of occasion that accompanies an event that is still attracting record crowds, despite its dwindling influence.
After a showing that barely registered with the Western press, the Japanese industry will most likely spend the next twelve months deflecting questions about its faltering health. Fingers crossed that it’ll fare a little better next time around, and that I won’t be covering it from 6000 miles away.
Did anything catch your eye at TGS 2012?