Showing posts from September, 2017

TGS 2017: Code Vein Hands-on

This is the last of my Tokyo Game Show 2017 posts. You can find the rest here:
Roundup TGS in Pictures Metal Gear Survive Hands-on Dragon Ball Fighterz Hands-on Monster Hunter World Hands-on Yakuza Kiwami 2 Hands-on
I originally posted this preview at Critical Gamer
It has been dubbed “Anime Dark Souls”. A lazy categorisation, but it’s easy to see how the comparison might arise. Code Vein is an unforgiving action role-playing game, where you will die over and over again, fight infinitely respawning enemies and be expected to learn the intricacies of combat if you want to succeed. You’ll also swear a lot and perhaps throw a controller or two. Sound familiar?

According to the press blurb, Code Vein is set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia, where the consumption of blood grants power. Exploration is key, and the full game will be open-world, though just how open remains to be seen. The Tokyo Game Show demo was set in a dark cavern - dark, but lit well enough to avoid excessive fumbling. I…

TGS 2017: Yakuza Kiwami 2 Hands-on

I originally posted this preview at Critical Gamer
Tokyo Game Show and the Yakuza series go together like wine and cheese, Sonic and Tails, Nintendo and needlessly complicated voice chat functionality. Going back to the days of Yakuza 3, the series has had a major presence at the show and has dominated Sega’s booth almost every year since. It’s just not TGS if there isn’t a new Yakuza to play.

Yakuza Online and Hokuto ga Gotoku, a Fist of the North Star game with a Yakuza twist, were both present but not playable this year. Yakuza Kiwami 2, however, was playable across two different scenarios. A remake of Yakuza 2, with many added features, it was available at both Sega and Sony’s booths.

The demo was lifted from Chapter 2 of the full game, and contained two different scenarios. The first followed series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu in Osaka, as he visited Sotenbori, a fictionalised version of the Dotonbori district in Japan’s second city. The other scenario starred the sometimes antagon…

TGS 2017: Monster Hunter World Hands-on

I originally posted this preview at Critical Gamer
When the doors opened on day one of Tokyo Game Show, I ran straight for the Capcom booth and the Monster Hunter World demo. It had been a last minute decision, but it turned out to be a good one. It was perhaps the most in-demand demo of this year’s show, and I was able to try it twice, in both multi and single player.

I’m a lapsed monster hunter. I briefly dabbled in the PSP games, played about two hundred hours of 3 Ultimate and continued for another fifty in 4 Ultimate before I lost interest. I was happy to hear that the series is returning to Sony, and more specifically home consoles, but I hadn’t paid much attention to the details. Monster Hunter had largely passed me by, but if the TGS demo is anything to go by, then I’ll be back on board from here on out.

The demo featured three quests: easy, moderate and hard. Each one focussed on a single monster, though other creatures could be found wandering the map in each scenario. The …

TGS 2017: Dragon Ball FighterZ Hands-on

I am a fighting game ignoramus. I don’t watch Evo, I don’t have a favourite Street Fighter character, and I don’t know if it’s pronounced “Blaze Blue” or “Blaz Blue”. I was convinced for many years that Dead or Alive was a volleyball game; I think that Mortal Kombat is for knobs and can’t imagine anything worse than having to play Smash Brothers. My mother-in-law once beat me at Street Fighter V.

I have minimal interest in fighting games, yet my 10 minutes with Dragon Ball FighterZ might’ve been the most fun I had at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. And I’m going to try to explain why, without using any fighting game parlance or researching any of the details about Bandai Namco’s latest brawler. This is me trying to share the reasons why I was so impressed by Dragon Ball Fighterz, without the aid of Google, Wikipedia, a press kit or spell check. Apologies in advance.

You start by choosing three characters from a roster of familiar faces. Goku, the other Goku, the guy who looks a bit like…

TGS 2017 in Pictures

Tokyo Game Show is well and truly over. I have returned to reality, a reality where I don't get to play new games for two solid days, bump into industry luminaries, drink on a school night, talk about games with strangers or buy a Sega Saturn phone case without fear of reprisal.

All I have left to remember TGS by is a Monster Hunter World Towel and a massive bag with Kazuma Kiryu on it. Well, those things and a folder full of badly lit photos of booths, people playing games, and me standing next to signs.

Bethesda's Psycho Break 2 was everywhere at this year's show. The front of the main exhibition hall was plastered with huge posters for Shinji Mikami's sequel. Known as The Evil Within 2 in the West, it was playable at Square Enix' booth, as they have a partnership with Bethesda in Japan. The line was consistently long, so I didn't get to try it, but then it's out next month anyway.

The picture that received 200 Likes and 50 RTs on Twitter. That's a y…

TGS 2017: Metal Gear Survive Hands-on

Konami has received a fair bit of flak since their very public separation from well-loved movie critic Hideo Kojima. Everyone decided that Konami was evil and that anything they did from there on out would be bollocks. The prospect of them continuing the Metal Gear series without Kojima was blasphemy.

It’s fair to say that Metal Gear Survive has been up against it since the outset. The internet was outraged, there was uproar on social media, morons committed to boycotts, and there were snarky comments and pissy previews from people who should know better. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather see the franchise continue in the capable hands of its creator, but I’m also not going to dismiss Survive out of hand. It’s based on the MGS V engine and gameplay, both of which were near flawless, and the development team is stacked with series veterans. That’s a pretty good foundation, I reckon.

I went into the Tokyo Game Show demo with an open mind, and found a game that was solid but far from s…

TGS 2017: Roundup

My Tokyo Game Show is finished, as are my feet. Two days of games, socialising, drinking and standing in queues was two days well spent.

Video games are lovely, aren’t they?

It was a hectic 48 hours and I’m looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep tonight, before I tackle a few previews tomorrow. The show floor was busy and there was a good mix of games, though it was missing a big, dominating attraction, like VR last year.

I originally intended to post a Day One round-up last night, but I accidentally attended a two hour, all-you-can-drink session, and then went to a post-TGS party where I continued to drink myself silly. By the time I got back home, I was in no fit state to blog. So instead, I’ve put everything together here for your perusal.

I’ll be posting a photo blog and some tasty previews over the next week, so keep an eye out for those.

The Games

There weren’t many games that I needed to play this year. As the doors opened on Day One, I wasn’t even sure which demo to run fo…

TGS 2017: A Preview of my TGS

It’s Tokyo Game Show week! I have my press pass, business cards and a vague idea of what I’m going to check out. I’ve picked out a t-shirt, selected a pair of fairly comfortable shoes and charged all my electronic devices. I’ve pre-warned my family that they’ll barely see me for two days – they seemed indifferent – and told my work to shove it until Monday.

I say it every year, but I fucking love TGS. I shall play new games, meet interesting people, drink lots of beer and write a few thousand words about “robust multiplayer”, “stylish UI”, “stunning graphics” and “immersive gameplay”. I will claim that something is the Dark Souls of something else and will have to re-Google the definition of “Rogue-like” for the umpteenth time. I shall moonlight as a video game industry man, wear my lanyard to bed and nod knowingly at other people wearing lanyards. I shall make the most of my two days at TGS.

This will be my fifth TGS with a press pass, and eighth overall, so I have a fairly good ide…

You Never Forget Your First

The excitement of tearing wrapping paper on a Christmas or birthday morning, then rushing to the TV to hook-up a Nintendo or Sega. A tortuous ride home from the shops, clutching our brand new toy, impatiently leafing through the instruction manual and pleading with our parents to drive faster. Memories of our first game consoles tend to stick with us.

My first console came one Christmas, either in 1991 or 1992. It came at a time when my classmates and I were obsessed with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and wrestling. However, video games were starting to challenge the playground duopoly of smart-mouthed reptiles and large men in spandex. The cooler kids would bring their Gameboys to class on the last day of term, while the rest of us made do with our Hulk Hogan and Sting action figures. I was eight or nine and highly impressionable.

I took note of video games, and began to make plans.

I have vivid memories of perusing the Argos shopping catalogue, flicking through the game section an…

Game Think

I haven’t blogged in over a month, and with TGS just a week and a half away I need to practice forming sentences about video games. I need to write something, anything. A song, a poem, a review, even a lazy Top 5 list.
1. Top 5 buttons 2. Top 5 Final Fantasy bits 3. Top 5 reasons why The Last of Us is overrated 4. Top 5 versions of Skyrim 5. Top 5 times I’ve fallen asleep playing games this week 
No, I think I’ll just share some thoughts on games. This is a stream of consciousness, a Sunday afternoon game think. About games.
I finished Final Fantasy VII the other week. Varied, vibrant and quirky as fuck, it has aged fantastically. I can still enjoy it for all the same reasons I did when I first played it back in 2000, but I also appreciated it in new ways this time around. The level of detail and beauty in the pre-rendered backgrounds stood out more than ever, and I took the time to fill my HDD with screenshot after screenshot. I noticed a karaoke corner in a Midgar bar, countless k…