Just as E3 takes over the gaming world in June, during the month of September Japan gets a turn with the long-running Tokyo Game Show. A four day event with the last two days open to the public, this year TGS was particularly memorable, showing off a massive number of new games coming in the remainder of this year, the next, and beyond. Here’s ten of the biggest games from the convention, with more gameplay than you can shake a stick at.
Devil May Cry 5: Though fans treated DMC5 like an open secret for years, the first concrete proof we had this game existed came during Microsoft’s E3 press conference. We received a story trailer there, and here we get a healthy chunk of gameplay featuring the star of the show, Dante himself. Everyone’s favorite demon hunter slices, shoots, and…whatever that weird axe/motorcycle-looking thing does…through countless foes in this fourteen minute trailer. The game looks gorgeous, and combat seems as fluid as ever, though that’s from my plebian eyes.
This game is set to come out in March 8th, 2019. Capcom has been slowly carving out a space in Q1 just for themselves, where they release titles that have been long-awaited and are well-received when they finally come out. Hopefully DMC5 won’t buck the trend, and will make as big of a splash as Resident Evil 7 and Monster Hunter World.
Death Stranding: Kojima’s first major game outside of Konami still doesn’t have a date, but it definitely has a ton of hype behind it. Death Stranding’s been a major presence at nearly every major show for the past two years. This time we get a trailer that gives us an idea of the type of enemies we’ll be facing in this game, and it’s intense to say the least. There’s still no combat so we’re unsure of what the game plays like just yet, but at this rate a combat trailer is likely the next major reveal we get. One thing we can say for sure: Death Stranding is definitely going to blow a lot of people’s minds…and freak the rest of us out.
Left Alive: Left Alive felt like the biggest new game at a comparatively weaker TGS show last year. It seems to be Square’s attempt at continuing the Front Mission franchise in everything but name, as it’s very much set in the same universe, complete with the “wanzer” mecha unique to the series. The gameplay is markedly different though, shifting from the turn-based strategy gameplay fans were accustomed to into a hybrid third person shooter/action mecha title. Still, the plot elements seem just as strong, with the game following the story of three different soldiers trying to survive against an invading army. From the looks of the gameplay, Left Alive has a lot of potential to be just as interesting as (if completely, utterly different from) the original Front Mission series. Originally scheduled for some time this year, the game was pushed back to a generic “2019” release date for worldwide–which is probably for the best given how much of a blood bath every month from now until the end of February is.
Kingdom Hearts 3: After over a decade between main entries, it’s hard to believe Kingdom Hearts isn’t even six months away now. But whether we believe it or not, Square’s certainly ramping up their promotional work for the game. After making multiple appearances over the past few months, Square popped up again with gameplay in several different worlds, as well as a look at the all-new, all-dangerous Aqua. Kingdom Hearts is due out January 25th.
Dragon Quest Builders 2: Dragon Quest Builders was a cute little title released worldwide in the fall of 2016. Set in an alternate timeline of the original Dragon Quest, it’s a hybrid RPG/minecraft builder type game where the player is left in charge of rebuilding the world after it’s destruction. The game performed admirably, which led to the sequel being greenlit. This time set in the world of Dragon Quest 2, the player must work towards becoming the Master Builder to help restore the world. The biggest difference between this game and the original is the addition of a multiplayer mode, with up to four players being allowed to work together to bring the world back from the brink of darkness. Dragon Quest Builders 2 doesn’t have a worldwide release date yet, but is scheduled to release in Japan on December 20th, 2018.
Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice: Fans balked at the idea of From Software moving away from the Soulsborne games which garnered them so much popularity, but much of that complaining died down once they saw what the company had in mind next. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice retains much of the challenging gameplay the company’s become famed for, but completely ditches all of the RPG elements in favor of a sleeker, more straightforward action title. Set in the late sixteenth century of Japan’s Sengoku period, you play as a shinobi who lost his arm in a battle with a samurai from a different clan. Getting his arm replaced with a powerful prosthetic limb that can be used as a grappling hook as well as equip a variety of weapons, you slay your way through a variety of foes supernatural and normal in an attempt to save your feudal lord.
This isn’t really “TGS” gameplay, but it came out in that period and deserves a spot here. Shadows Die Twice releases March 22nd, 2019.
Yo Kai Watch 4: After allowing the main series to disappear for a brief while, Yokai Watch returns with its fourth installment on the Nintendo Switch. Boasting drastically upgraded graphics, a shift from turn-based to action-focused gameplay, and a shift in art direction, Level-5 seems to be going all out in an attempt to put a series once dubbed as a “Pokemon Killer” back on the map. I’m not sure how well that’s going to work given how little this game’s been promoted, though. Even this is just off-screen gameplay rather than direct feed, and the game’s due out in 2018 in Japan. Still, the actual game looks pretty decent, and reminiscent of Mega Man Battle Network in the best way–maybe they’ll pull something off?
Langrisser I & II: One of the more unexpected announcements of the year, the classic strategy games Langrisser I & II are being remade for the PS4 and Nintendo Switch by Kadokawa Games. Featuring an updated story, new endings, a new main character, UI changes and graphical improvements, this is about as complete an remake as anyone could hope for. And for those who are particularly attached to the original games, there’s even an option to play the games in “Classic Mode” to experience the original version’s music and art. There’s no confirmation of the game’s worldwide release date, but it comes out in Japan February 7th.
Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition: It’s generally not my policy to talk about remasters or “definitive editions”, but Tales of Vesperia is a very special case. Initially released as an exclusive for the Xbox 360, the title would eventually come out in Japan with additional content…but never receive a new localization for either system. Fans have been clamoring for the “true” version of the game for almost a decade now, and finally Namco Bandai have answered their wishes. It’s a little weird to show off so much English gameplay at a primarily Japanese show, but whatever. Take what you can get, right? Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition hits PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch this January 11th, 2019.
Jump Force: Jump Force was one of the strangest reveals of E3 this year. Supposedly set in a version of the real world where characters from the Shonen Jump manga wind up coming over and continuing a massive war, Jump Force is a 3 on 3, 3D arena fighter. At TGS they unveiled a handful of new fighters, including Yusuke Urameshi and Toguro, from classic shonen action series Yu Yu Hakusho.
As awesome as it is seeing Yusuke throw down against HxH’s Hisoka, I’m not sure who this game is for. It’s 3 on 3, which makes it reminiscent of this year’s popular Dragonball FighterZ, but it’s also a 3D arena fighter–which is generally reserved for more casual type games. It feels like this game has zero chance of being taken seriously by the wider fighting game community, but depending on the remaining characters added and modes in the game it could take off amongst casual players who just want to see their favorites beat each other unconscious. One way or another, we’ll know when the game comes out February 2019.
2017 and 2018 have been banner years for gaming, often having at least one high profile title every month, and from the looks of this list things aren’t about to slow down any time soon. One of the best things about this generation is Japan’s stepping their game up and returning in a big way to home console gaming–it’s lead to a more varied industry, offering gamers more options than ever.