E3 and ACGHK 2015

This article was originally published on SCMP.


The annual E3 just ended with a bang. If Doom, Final Fantasy 7, Shenmue, ICO, Fallout, Need For Speed means anything to you at all then join the droves of rabid gamers and fanboys across the globe in their screams of joy. Some of the biggest announcements are either sequels or remakes, both have had their fans holding their breath for many years now. Take for example, one of the biggest surprises this decade – the announcement of Shenmue 3. Those who have owned a Sega Dreamcast will likely have at least heard of this legendary RPG. The previous game in the series – Shenmue 2 – came out in 2001 and was never heard of again, leaving gamers waiting and hoping for fourteen long years. What’s even more interesting is, the series’ director Yu Suzuki launched a Kickstarter campaign and achieved a Guinness World Record breaking $1 million in crowdfunds in just 102 minutes. PS4 and PC gamers will be pleased because these are the two platforms where it’s headed.

First person shooter veterans will be most delighted to hear about a new exciting addition to the Doom series. Unlike other game companies we should not name, id Software doesn’t do sequels every single year. They take their time, put in the love and push the current generation hardware to the limit to crank out eye-wateringly impressive, fast-flowing and teeth gritting pure first person shooter action. Although you’re guaranteed to get the best graphics quality on a top of the range gaming PC, Doom 4 will be released for the PS4 and Xbox One as well in early 2016.

When we talk about JRPGs, there is one and just the one that everybody with any remote interest in role playing games would have heard of – Final Fantasy 7. Yes this 1997 Playstation classic appeared at E3, and to years of speculation and request, it’s about to be remade. A timed-exclusive for the PS4, the remake will be faithful and yet will not just be a high definition remaster. The story line will be spruced up and the combat will be updated to be more modern, and hopefully even more strategic.

Other JRPGs of note, includes Persona 5 – a graphically stylish action RPG; Dark Souls 3 – an action RPG with a difficulty level set to Impossible right off the bat; and Nintendo’s triple A series – The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.

Moving on to the West, comes the excellent multi-platform Fallout 4 taking the player once again across the post-nuclear war wasteland. It was so well received, it won the E3 Best of Show Award. And if you’re a fan and can’t wait to get your hands on a copy.. well you’re just going to have to wait some more until November rolls around. But the good folks at Bethesda just knows their fans needed something to tide them over for the time being and released a rather addictive resource management slash city (vault) builder game called Fallout Shelter. The iOS game is so popular, it won out Candy Crush and has been topping charts across the globe. Be sure to grab your copy – it’s free! Android users may have to wait a little longer because it’s rumoured to be coming in August.

Another Western RPG with an unfamiliar name has also sprung up – Horizon: Zero Dawn. It’s a breath of fresh air really amongst all the sequels and remakes and remasters. If you’ve played Monster Hunters then you’ll understand what sort of hunting RPG game Horizon is at heart. The E3 demo showed off a lush expansive world with mechanical creatures roaming the pastures. Some, very aggressive indeed. Make use of tripwires, bow and arrow, explosives and whatever else you can get your hands on to do what it takes to survive. While the world is expansive, developer Guerilla Games has promised it will have no loading screen. This alone is worth the price of entry.

E3 is without a doubt, all about games. But not every announcement there is a game. Microsoft announced that Xbox One will soon provide backward compatibility to Xbox 360 games – something that’s not on Sony PS4’s roadmap. Their futuristic augmented (mixed) reality device named Hololens also made an appearance. Minecraft and Halo was demonstrated as holograms and it really stole the show.

Not to be outdone, Oculus stole the show back from Microsoft, winning in Game Critics Awards’ Best Hardware / Peripheral category. The Oculus Rift – a virtual reality head mounted display – showed off 9 games from varied genres. Of course, the most impressive type of game for the system appears to be the horror genre if all those YouTube clips are to go by. Nothing immerses you better than a pair of high definition display panels couple inches from your eyes that accurately matches your head movement to the action on the screen.

And just in case you’re still doubting all this augmented reality nonsense, Sony would like to join the others to prove you wrong. Project Morpheus makes an appearance also with their head mounted virtual reality system. Designed to work with the PS4 rather than the PC, as is both the Hololens and Oculus’s case, Project Morpheus should be in consumers’ hands by 2016 and hopefully, with the majority of the 30 in-development titles by then.

If you’re weren’t lucky enough to be in LA where E3 was held then that means you never had the chance to get any hands-on with the hundreds of titles that were announced during the event. But don’t despair because Hong Kong has its own video games trade show too and it’s happening [right now]. ACGHK short for Animation – Comic – Game Hong Kong may be local event but historically it has always attracted the biggest names in the gaming industry and occupies 210,000 square feet at the Hong Kong Convention Center. Sony will be making a return, increasing their booth size by 40% over last year’s. Likely this is to accommodate for Project Morpheus and its 15 playable demos. Microsoft will also be there with their Xbox One and you’ll be sure to find their popular Forza 6 franchise to make an appearance. So don’t feel left out, get yourself over to ACGHK and you’ll be able to experience some of the most exciting titles that were announced at E3.

ACGHK 2015

It’s that time of the year again where you can get your gaming, cosplay and comics fix! ACGHK is happening at the Hong Kong Convention Center between the 24th and 28th July covering over 210,000 square feet. There will be 288 exhibitors and 620 booths covering anything from games to apps to animation and comics.

Sony and Microsoft will be there to show off their new and upcoming releases where gamers can get a proper preview hands-on. Project Morpheus – Sony’s upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display unit that tethers to the PS4 is well worth the trip. There will be great games such as Xbox’s popular franchise Forza 6 and upcoming titles to pre-order such as the Kojima’s last (but uncredited) masterpiece Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain.

If you’re there purely for..other sights then just know that there will be stars and celebrities, cosplay contests aplenty, dance competitions and even autograph sessions. This year is going to be the biggest and most exciting year for ACGHK yet so don’t miss out. Tickets are $35 per person.