Monday, October 10, 2016

GameStart 2016 Recap

The third edition of GameStart has concluded, bringing an end to three days of fun and exciting gaming activities. The event continues to draw the crowds and the halls were packed as attendees got to try out some of the new and upcoming games, as well as witness some pulsating Esports action. And with several new activities to participate in there was even more reason to attend.

The weekend is when it is most crowded and it was reported that some stayed overnight to be first in line to check out the latest offerings.

Xbox made their debut at the event this year, bringing with them several new upcoming titles such as Gears of War 4 and Final Fantasy XV.  

Gears of War 4 had a dedicated room where you could try out the game in comfort, and on large screen monitors to boot. 

The game's popularity is evident from the line that formed outside the booth but you did not have to wait too long as there were sixteen stations where you could try the game.

To the Hanzo group in queue, you asked for the photo so here it is. Hope you guys had fun!

The game which interest me the most was NBA 2k17. To be honest I have not followed the NBA since during the days of Michael Jordan back in the 90s, much less played any basketball titles. I found myself liking this a lot and played at least half of a game. The controls were simple enough and I could match the AI almost point for point. I love that I was able to do some various shots! I had trouble on defence though, I could not seem to get any rebounds, block or intercept passes. I did manage to foul the opponent a couple of times though... The graphics looked great and the game ran smoothly. The cut scenes of the players, crowd and announcers are nice but I skipped ahead whenever I could. I just want to get on with the game! 

Over to the Bandai Namco booth which had shrunk quite a bit since last year. There were at most two stations for each of their featured titles which include Tales of Berseria, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and Tekken 7 which will see Miguel make his return to the roster. Tomb Raider VR was also available for try. I had wanted to check it out but it was always occupied on the several occasions I passed by and in the end I totally forgot about it... 

The game which left an impression for me was Little Nightmares. Now that game is creepy. You play as a tiny character and you have to try and find your way out of the ship you are in. In the demo you had to sneak around the kitchen and avoid the attentions of one large and ugly, monstrous looking chef. You have to do so carefully and quietly. One wrong move and you may cause the objects to topple and which will give up your position. And you definitely do not want to end up as the main course! 

PlayStation was back too but mainly in a sponsor and hosting capacity for the Southeast Asia Major 2016 (SEAM 2016) which was held at GameStart for the first time. The event saw several top players from around the world compete including the likes of Momochi, Infiltration and Xian. With regards to the Street Fighter V the winner was Tokido using Ryu who pulled off a Shinku Hadoken right at the death to take the match against Momochi! 

And here is the winner of the Street Fighter Asia Amateur Tournament. I cannot recall his name but I believe he is from Japan.

Now I know they already have their hands full with the tournaments but I have to say I am disappointed PlayStation had no trial and showcase booth. Off the top of my head I would have liked to check out Gravity Rush 2 and Star Trek: Bridge Crew.

Sticking with Esports another hot tournament to catch was the Overwatch Champions Singapore which was won by Avalon. 

One positive of less mainstream games being showcased I guess is that more folks will check out the various Indie Games. I have already touched on some of the games here.

I like to bring up another game which caught the eye and that is Mr Catt by 7Quark, a Taiwan based company. Mr Catt is a puzzle type game and you take the role of the black cat who goes in search of his friend, the white cat who has gone missing. The objective of the game is to clear the blocks with the stars on each level. To do that you have to match three or more blocks of the same colour. 

You have to use the blocks given at the bottom of the screen. The blocks do not immediately disappear. You can place your blocks on the board first and then activate them when you want to clear them and get combos. Forming more blocks of the same colour together can activate some special blocks to help you such as lightning and rainbow blocks. There is a limited number of moves for each level so some planning is required to make full use of your given blocks. I tried out some of the later levels and it was challenging. And I'm only talking about level 20... I scrolled through the tab at the booth and noticed there are over 200 levels!

The game is already available on Android. I'm not too sure about iOS. I will be getting it for sure. 

Kinetiquettes unveiled their fully painted statue of Alyse (GameStart mascot) 3.0 and she looks gorgeous. The statue was digitally sculpted and then 3D printed. All in all it took the Kinetiquettes teams around 6 months to produce. The statue was up for pre-order at the event but production would only proceed if a certain number was hit.

Not seen in initial pics is Alyse mask accessory. She's looking badass.

Also unveiled by Kinetiquettes is the statue of Daigo "The Beast" Umehara. We have seen the concept before but this is the first time we are seeing the statue in person. For me anyway. Daigo is part of The Beast Unleashed diorama which also features the statues of Ryu and Evil Ryu.

Various panels and programmes were held on stage. I just caught a couple of the segments. One of the most popular ones was the Touken Ranbu - Online showcase where Executive Producer Yuta Hanazawa talked about the game and met the fans. He brought along some exclusive miniature swords from Japan where attendees would get the one they forged in the game on stage. 

Yuta Hanazawa (cente)

There were two special music performances. I only managed to catch a portion by guitarist Az Samad from Malaysia. His playlist include the theme from Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda. Az is a gamer himself and he would talk about the game first before he played the piece. His playing was beautiful and very smooth.

I picked a bad spot for the Game On! Cosplay Runway. And if that was not bad enough people kept creeping up in front of me. I didn't want to kick up a fuss about it so I just let it be. I was already blocked by the speakers and monitors anyway. The competition saw a number of game-based costumes as it should be considering the event. Most of the characters were from Touken Ranbu and Overwatch. 

I think we were spoilt last year. I can't help but feel this year's event was a bit scaled down. There were less big name studio booths. PlayStation not showcasing and the smaller sized Bandai Namco booth were certainly felt. There was a big focus on Esports which is fine. The matches were exciting but there's only so much one can watch in one sitting. I don't know if it's asking for too much but it is preferable to have both Esports and game showcase, not sacrificing one for the other. The amateur Street Fighter tournament is a good for those who want to get some competitive action. I was happy with what the Indies had to offer. Probably it's because I play more mobile games nowadays than console. I also liked the Retro DNA (which has been a staple of GameStart) and the NAJ Arcade booths which offered free play time for some classic games.

I'm going to end off for now. I leave you with some additional pics.

The galleries as follows. Just click the links:

GameStart 2016 Game On! Cosplay Runway

Thanks for viewing!

1 comment:

Kim Dubuisson said...

Wow! Very cool! Just shared it on our Twitter!