Last week I went to the Tokyo Game Show and played a whole bunch of video games. Here are abbreviated evaluations of all of them, followed by a verdict, given as follows:
*Skip – Nothing to see here. Move along, people.
*Consider – Keep an eye on it. If you're a big fan of the series and/or genre, this might have particular appeal to you. If you're not or only fair-weather on that sort of game, then it's kind of a tossup or perhaps too early to tell.
*Buy – I am confident enough in what I know + have seen + have played at TGS that this is a game I can wholeheartedly recommend to fans of this genre or series. For example, I feel that shooter fans should totally get Battlefield 3 and RPG fans should absolutely buy Ni no Kuni.
Ni no Kuni (PS3)
The prettiest game of the generation so far might end up being PS3's best RPG to date. I've now played four different Ni no Kuni demos and each one has wowed me in a different way. This game is going to be killer. Buy!
Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita)
I doubted this game could impress me, because I'm about 50 times more negative and cynical than the biggest downer you know. But here we are. The game had the looks and, more importantly, the gameplay that seemed to be what adventure fans will be looking for when they pick this up. The touchscreen use did seem a little gimmicky to me but I suppose it's inevitable. The demo I played at least kept it to a minimum. Consider!
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention (Vita)
The tactical RPG madness that is Disgaea 3, straight from PS3 to your handheld. Looks a little nicer thanks to the smaller screen. Consider!
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance (3DS)
The best Kingdom Hearts game since the last one. Consider!
Bravely Default: Flying Fairy (3DS)
Remember, when you need to default on your loans… do it bravely. My hope for this game is that it will actually be worth playing, not just an obvious gimmick title showing off AR for no other reason than because it's possible. Consider!
Ragnarok: Princess of Light and Dark (PSP)
Way too easy, even for a demo. Offered nothing you haven't seen in 273 other tactical RPGs, and I say this as someone who can't get enough tactical RPGs. Skip!
Final Fantasy Type-0 (PSP)
Holy flurking schnidt, a Final Fantasy game that actually felt, at most times, like it was a Final Fantasy game! I was on an overworld map riding a chocobo and like "Whoawhoaholyshit is this an RPG?" Yes, yes it is. It actually, really is. And fun, too! Consider!
Battlefield 3 (360, PC, PS3)
Oh, you know this will be good. What am I even doing here? Buy!
The Michael Jackson Experience HD (Vita)
Fuck this game. I'm supposed to take on the role of Jacko, but I have to hold a portable system in my hands and use a touchscreen to watch some onscreen avatar dance? If any system did this game right, it was the 360 with Kinect. How am I supposed to do the Thriller dance when both hands need to be on the Vita and slide along various points on the screen? I was raring to get up there and bust some like, serious dance moves, but Sony just was not having it and told me to settle down. Skip!
Even more hands-on impressions after the break!
Saint Seiya: Sanctuary Battle (PS3)
Yakuza Black Panther 2 (PSP)
Same fun fighting system as the original: good. Same blurry lights on all the building as the original: bad. Same storytelling and animation as the original: good. Same camera angle changes every three seconds as the original: bad. But the angles in question were not as different from each other, so it was tolerable. Also this is set in Osaka. I hope more Yakuza games leave Tokyo some day. Consider!
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime 3 (3DS)
I haven't played either of the other Rocket Slime games so I have no comparison. Um, it seemed like quirky good fun, I guess. I stretched out, slapped things in the face, and shot bullets at a boat until it sank. Consider!
Clan of Champions (PS3, 360, PC)
I love the idea behind this, but the execution is slow, stale, clunky, and stupid. Battle arenas are way too small and the multiplayer combat amounts to little more than hacking and slashing. Too bad, because we really could use another good same-screen multiplayer game this generation. Champions just isn't it. Skip!
Sound Shapes (Vita)
I don't know what the fuck this is. Consider!
New Little King's Story (Vita)
Looks like a good game but the demo's 10-minute time limit didn't let me get very far, since the intro is an unskippable 2-minute sequence and I got one-hit killed twice. Well, it was fun while it lasted… I think. Consider!
Dragon's Dogma (360, PS3)
If you like the thrill of the chase that is Monster Hunter, the open world of The Elder Scrolls, and the climbing upon monsters while you systematically stab them to death like in Shadow of the Colossus, this is the game for you. Consider!
Persona 4: The Ultimate In Mayonaka Arena (Arcade, PS3, 360)
Why did it take us this long to realize that the Persona world and characters are so perfect for a 2D fighting game? This was only playable in arcade form but will be coming to consoles too. If there was something in between "Buy" and "Consider" [Rent? Demo? Share? Ed.] I'd put this right there, but I've painted myself into a corner so… Consider!
New Love Plus (3DS)
Acquire is known for its ninja/samurai games like Way of the Samurai and Tenchu, so this is definitely one to keep an eye on. I had no idea what Shinobido was till I saw trailers of something that looked like a new Tenchu game and was like "The hell?" Consider!
I'll be glad to answer questions in the comments if you've got any.