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September 19, 2015

The best of the Tokyo Game Show (so far)

by John_A

How does lining up for 40 minutes to play five minutes of a new game sound? It’s definitely a trade-off, but it’s often (usually) worth it. At this year’s Tokyo Game Show, we saw a giant 20-foot griffin thing play ball, nothing from Microsoft and a lot of games that are unequivocally geared toward Japanese gamers. Anime tie-ins and Dynasty Warriors-esque crowd-em-ups aside, there was still plenty for us to play. These are the ones that left an impression.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 6 (Gyakuten Saiban 6)

Phoenix Wright is back, or at least, back in court. The next game takes him outside the usual settings of a Japanese courtroom in favor of a fictitious Asian country that hates attorneys — poor Phoenix — but loves clairvoyants. Yep: The new courtroom-based innovation this time around centers on watching these visions and (courtesy of the “five senses” that are conveniently displayed in writing on top of the murder scenes) finding contradictions to their commentary. The game has the same graphical polish as Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies​, but backgrounds seem a bit more detailed, with little hints of movement that help to make them appear less flat.

Dark Souls 3

Five minutes of playtime. Six deaths. And that’s only because I was excessively cautious for the first three minutes. Dark Souls 3, while not exactly easier, is meant to be more accessible for first timers. I repeat: That doesn’t mean it’ll be any easier. New Battle Arts for each weapon will allow you to execute more heavily powered attacks, although these will be as limited as any other resource. While I didn’t play long enough to determine whether there’s an easier learning curve versus the last two installments, the game certainly looks equal parts moody and beautiful. If the other Dark Souls titles didn’t quite do it for you, then you’re probably going to feel the same here. The formula doesn’t appear to have changed much, but for those of you clamoring for another brutal challenge, it looks like you’ll get it.

Gravity Rush (PS4)

Gravity Rush was one of the early few original titles on the PS Vita way back when. And it was a whole lot of fun. Now, like Tearaway, it’s expanding onto Sony’s flagship console. Yes, a sequel is also on the way, but now the original will benefit from a leap in resolution to make the art direction and character design really shine. The question you’re probably asking: How do the controls fare? To be honest, I found them easier than on the Vita. Since the screen isn’t attached to your gyroscopic controls, it means it’s much easier to swing around and target tricky foes. It also looks substantially better too. But will you buy it again? Well, that’s a trickier proposition.

The Tomorrow Children

This is a very strange game. It’s as if all the fun (and intermittent progress) boils down to the eventual fights with giant alien-looking titans. Gathering resources and, well, doing things to gain experience all felt a bit dull to me. Though I only borderline-enjoyed my demo, it’s fascinating to think about where it’ll all go: There are plans to allow players (who appear when they interact with the environment, then disappear again) to vote for a city mayor in their particular domain. That person would then be able to make decisions as to the future direction. Or at least a color scheme for their tiny town. (Yes, you can paint up a storm if you’re willing to pay for all the necessary paint.)

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