Tokyo Game Show 2016: Lots of VR and a sense of identity

The Tokyo Game Show 2016 had a healthy mix of international and Japan-centric content on show, some major announcements and lots of cool trailers.

The Tokyo Game Show isn’t as ancient as its country of origin’s passion for gaming. It’s a fairly recent concept (relatively speaking), and has been running since 1996. In addition to the showcasing of new technology and console, PC and arcade games, it has always been a haven for cosplay. This year was going to be no different, with a healthy mix of international and Japan-centric content on show, some major announcements and lots of cool trailers.

Let’s get the big stuff out of the way first. We got nearly twenty minutes of new gameplay from The Last Guardian, which is finally set for release this December 6th. It featured some new footage, while covering familiar ground from earlier trailers. It certainly seems to stacking up as an emotional experience from the folks at SIE Japan and genDESIGN.

Meanwhile Hideo Kojima revealed some stuff about his latest post-Konami project Death Stranding. The Norman Reedus (aka Daryl from The Walking Dead) starring game will be an open world title in the action genre. He also revealed that the stuff hanging off the letters in the game’s logo are “strands”, by which all people are connected. No doubt a fair chunk of the deeper meaning has been hopelessly lost in translation, but that’s how we like it, right?

 Tokyo Game Show 2016: Lots of VR and a sense of identity

It’s also been confirmed that Death Stranding will be a PS4 Pro title with 4K and HDR support.

Now, let’s move on to open worlds with mechanical abominations. Expectedly, the Japanese trailer for Horizon Zero Dawn adds just the right amount of drama to the proceedings. We get a glimpse into the world inhabited Aloy, the game’s red-haired, bow-wielding protagonist. The broader meaning of all spoken dialogue will make complete sense to you even if you’re not particularly fluent in Japanese.  

There was a lot of Final Fantasy XV stuff going on as well. A limited edition FFVX “Luna” Edition PS4 slim console was announced for Japan (availability in other territories is still unknown). The console will be bundled with a copy of the game and a digital copy of CG movie, Kingsglaive Final Fantasy XV. It will be available in Japan on November 29th for 39,980 Yen (around Rs.26,000).

FFXV PS4 Luna Edition

A new trailer for the game showed off some real-time hair physics among other things. As always, the characters and animation look incredible.

Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja’s Nioh, with its Dark Souls and Devil May Cry inspired combat and cinematic presentation is looking better every time we see more of it. Nioh also had the most brutally difficult demo I’ve ever played. Check out the TGS 2016 trailer.

Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs_2 got an unspectacular subtitled trailer, but it was the France based publisher’s Samurai trailer for the game For Honor which hit all the right notes with its sharp cutlery and menacing voiceover.

For Honor seems to be shaping up well, particularly with its deliberately paced, almost Dark Souls-y combat, which should translate well into the PvP focused gameplay its targeting.

There’s no Tokyo Game Show without a JRPG or two, and we weren’t going to be disappointed. In addition to Final Fantasy fans being kept happy, there was some Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD, an odd bundle of a remastered PS4 version of the Nintendo 3DS game Kingdom Hearts 3D, an animated movie (a running joke or recurring theme it would seem), and a new game, Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage.

Atlus’ Persona 5 got some play time as well. Don’t miss the launch trailer.

No word on international availability yet, but the Japanese version is available, and you should be able to import a copy if you’re a series fan.

If you’re into fighting games, the new TGS 2016 trailer for Tekken 7 featuring heavy metal music, several thousand punches and some neat looking graphics is a must-watch.

With Sony’s PlayStation VR coming out early next month, there was a lot of virtual reality buss at TGS this year, with live demos and content announcement.

I’ve always maintained that PS VR is the only product which has the potential to reach mass adoption on account of its relative pricing. The suite of content in the trailer is so varied that this is close to becoming a reality. If you’re looking to check out more detailed PS VR demos, the official PlayStation Access YouTube channel has a constantly updated playlist with gameplay from various titles.

Competing brands such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift were present as well, hawking their wares to Japanese audiences. An interesting evolution of VR has been experimental content. You need not look further than this trailer for Square’s Kai-ri-Sei Million Arthur VR demoed on the HTC Vive.

Project Hikari is another interesting game, set in an interactive hand-drawn, monochrome anime style world.

It’s good to see developers moving away from stereotypical settings which accentuate the VR gimmick, instead choosing to go down different paths and innovate. After all, great content is going to be the sole driver of hardware sales, and even the biggest sceptics have to agree that the stuff on display at TGS 2016 was both technically impressive and creatively interesting.  

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