Many feel that Tokyo Game Show is less relevant than other trade shows, but I tend of disagree. Despite the absence of big consoles manufacturers like Nintendo and this year Microsoft, the amount of diversity is definitely fantastic, and Japanese games, that tend to be neglected in other shows, take front and center stage.
This year the lineup was very rich, and we got to see a lot of solid titles, from AAA experiences to small indie games, on top of one of my personally favorite (and rather unique) parts of the show: booths dedicated to development schools showing off the work of the developers of tomorrow.
Like with every trade show, though, it’s time to get serious (yeah, sure), and talk about awards. What were the most impressive games this year?
If you’re curious (and if you aren’t, what are you here for, again?) you can find the full list below.
Remember that it’s perfectly ok to disagree with the awards. Taste definitely plays a big role here, so don’t feel bad if your favorite game didn’t get a nod. Many of the categories were very close, but unfortunately only one can win.
Game of the Show: Bloodborne: The Old Hunters
Best PS4 Game
Best First Party Game
I know. I can already hear you: “But it’s just an expansion!” Yes it is, and yes, it doesn’t matter. Bloodborne is a fantastic game, and what I tried of The Old Hunters is more of that fantastic, in a package that rivals with many full games in terms of content.
The only complaint I had, was the demo was too easy, but it was defanged for the sake of the sanity of the show floor crowd. As for the rest, it was just a fantastic ride. It was so good, that I had to play it through twice. Considering the busy schedule, that’s not something I had time to do for anything else.
The new weapons and enemies are a big bundle of fun, and the bow made me really wonder just how good a Souls-like game by Hidetaka Miyazaki and based on ranged weapons would be. Maybe one day we’ll know.
It brings home three awards, and they’re all well deserved.
Best Xbox One Game: Arslan: The Warriors of Legend
This award was a difficult one to pick. There was one massive contender (and I’m sure many of you can guess what it was), but in the end Arslan came on top by a hair.
Not only it offers some of the best Musou gameplay I’ve seen in a long time, but it ties it up with the story in an extremely enjoyable way. The IP itself provides the game with a very deep narration and a great cast.
Anime tie-in games are often rather shallow, but Arslan seem to be well on its way to change that trend. That, for me, is definitely award-worthy.
Best PC Game: Final Fantasy XIV: Heavesnsward
Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward is the best MMORPG expansion that I ever played. Not only its content is extremely solid and varied, but the story is jut on a different level compared to the shallow narration MMORPGs normally have.
It’s even much superior to A Realm Reborn, which already had a great story, and it blows everything else out of the water.
Great dungeons, great environments, awesome new classes… It has it all and more. The army of moogles and their million of menial tasks gave me a tiny bit of hesitation, but the many powerful moments and even quite a few tear-jerking instances (yes, in a MMORPG, let that sink), blew that hesitation away.
Best Wii U Game: Uexplore: Affordable Space Adventures
This was another difficult award to assign. On Saturday morning, I was pretty literally in a panic, spinning around the show floor to try and find a Wii U Game… Any Wii U Game. Truth is that finding one of those was harder than finding games for Xbox One, and that says it all, in Japan.
When I found out that Affordable Space Adventures was at the show, I drew a breath of relief, because this title would have been a very serious contender even if Nintendo itself was at the show.
It’s simply an extremely fun, immersive and almost cathartic game, with its deliberate pace and absolutely stylish graphics. Since it’s already out in the west, if you have a Wii U, you owe it to yourself to try this out.
Best PS Vita game: Tokyo Xanadu
Tokyo Xanadu is the perfect embodiment of the Nihon Falcom JRPG: big, deep, with a great story, and a ton of very interesting characters.
The only problem, is that we still don’t know if it’ll ever come to the west. So please Xseed, pretty please with sugar on top… Let me play this game without having to haul a dictionary along with my Vita? Thanks in advance.
Best 3DS Game: Monster Hunter X
Some would say that Monster Hunter X is ultuimately just another Monster Hunter, and it’s honestly difficult to blame them.
Yet, “just another Monster Hunter“ is still an enormously fun and addictive game to play. If only Capcom made more of an effort in the story department, this would be a clear Best of the Show contender, but it still has a very easy time in grabbing a platform win on gameplay alone.
Best Shooter Game: Metal Gear Online
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a masterpiece, but if you finished the game, the fun is not over yet. I’m notoriously bad at multiplayer shooters, so games belonging to the category need to be really, really good for me to enjoy them.
Metal Gear Solid Online fits the bill, and then some. The variety and freedom of gameplay offered by the fact that it’s based on an extremely deep single player experience like MGSV are quite extreme, providing features that even dedicated multiplayer shooters like Call of Duty don’t even get close to have.
Quite obviously, I didn’t do very good in the matches I played, but I still walked away with a smile. That definitely says something about the game. And no, it wasn’t due to the half-naked character that shamelessly teabagged me after I ended up eating dirt. That naked butt was way too close…
Best Adventure/Action Adventure Game: Attack on Titan
Before seeing this title’s gameplay I was nervous. “What if it sucks? Tie-ins like this always suck” was pretty much the thought spinning in my mind.
Then I saw the gameplay, and my worries faded. Attack on Titan looks exactly like it should look, and plays (at least from what we saw) exactly like it should play.
The 3DS game utterly failed to capture the feel of the manga and anime, but this new title on PlayStation consoles has the potential to knock it out of the park with great scale, awesome titan battles, and vertical fighting done right.
The big question mark is the control scheme, but if Omega Force nails that, oh boy… We’re in for a treat.
Best RPG: Final Fantasy XV
Every time I see something new about Final Fantasy XV, I’m actually surprised by just how much this game can charm me. An enormous open world, awesome characters, incredible graphics, and the potential return of a solid and moving romance to the Final Fantasy franchise, have me sitting on the edge of my seat.
Absolutely no words are said in the latest trailer, but they really aren’t needed. The music and the expressions of the characters say more than dialogue would, and if the game is even close to that, we might be in for the best JRPG in ages.
Incidentally, if you’re wondering, receiving the award with Director Hajime Tabata in the picture above is Noctis’ Japanese voice actor Tatsuhisa Suzuki.
Best Sports Game: Pro Evolution Soccer 2016
PES is back, baby! After a period under the weather, the FOX Engine-powered soccer game came back with a vengeance.
Great AI, lovely gameplay and controls that even a klutz like me can handle, make it one of the best of the series, if not the best, and considering how good some of the old ones were, that’s not a small achievement.
Best Platformer: Airship Q
This really came from the left field. I will admit that I didn’t know much about this game, and the couple of trailers I had seen before Tokyo Game Show simply didn’t do it justice.
When I sat down with the PS Vita to try it out, I was simply charmed. You could say that it’s the love child of Terraria and Castlevania, but that’s not enough to describe this little gem.
The ability to freely build blocks on your airships, turning it into a flying dreadnought, is fresh and addictive, and honestly I can’t wait to see this come to the west.
Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter V
I still remember the first Street Fighter, and it’s amazing to see just how far the series has come. Street Fighter V has some if the best animations I’ve seen in a long while, and the cast gets better and better with any reveal.
I tried Rashid at Tokyo Game Show, and while the game’s producer curbstomped me into the ground mercilessly, it was hard not to perceive just how much love and care goes into developing and tweaking every single character.
Street Fighter V also doesn’t feel the need to censor itself to appease modern trends, which is an additional value in my book.
Best Indie Game: The Tomorrow Children
Deep and interesting gameplay with a ton of freedom? Check. Graphics that make quite a few AAA Games cower in shame? Check. Absolutely adorable art style? Check.
The Tomorrow Children simply has it all in spades. It’s also one of the most difficult games ever to describe, which is honestly a good thing. “Charming” is a good word, but it doesn’t even come close to fill the blanks.
It’s something that you’ll have to try for yourself to understand, but luckily a beta is coming.
Biggest Shocker: NiOh
I bet you’re you’re thinking that this award is due to the shock of seeing this game return after ten years lost in limbo, but you would be wrong. As a matter of fact, with the new trademark and Kou Shibusawa’s not-so-vague hints on Japanese TV, I saw it coming from a mile away.
The shock was due to just how absolutely sweet it looks. And I’m not just talking about graphics, that are indeed fantastic. Its gameplay feels like Dark Souls, Onimusha and Ninja Gaiden had a three-way love child, and I have a feeling that it’s going to be really, really great.