Saturday morning, 8 am, me and a few fair-weather friends arrive in front of KL Live. We've seen those who lined up at 5.30 a.m. and now we have to go to the end of the line that was created by those eager fans. By 10 the floodgates open, and though we were approximately half a kilometer away from the venue, the line barely moved. About 500 people stood between me and the temporary gaming Nirvana organized by Sony, with never-before-seen games playable for the whole day, a mini-E3 right in the heart of the city. I only entered the venue at around noon, a whole 4 hours since I arrived. It was glorious.
Most fans on social media condemned the event being at KL Live, calling it too small and whatnot. I for one thought it was a brilliant move. Though yes, the KL Convention Center was only around the corner and would have been adequate for a large-scale event. But KL Live provided an intimacy no other venue could provide, especially when it came to the presentations they had for specific games there. And now for the main event of this article: The games I tried there.
1. Dragonball FighterZ
The minute I entered the hall after the 4-hour wait, I ran straight upstairs to where they had four TVs hooked up with this new 2D fighter by Arc System Works. Being a huge Dragonball fan since I was about 11, seeing a brand new kind of DBZ game was exciting and getting the chance to actually try it first-hand really got my blood pumping. It took me about 15 minutes of waiting to get to my turn and about 5 minutes of actually trying it.
I chose a team of Vegeta, Goku, and Cell and fought the rest of the playable cast, Gohan, Majin Buu and Frieza. The fighting is fun and not terribly hard. It was a lot like Marvel VS Capcom 2, with its stunning visuals and 3v3 gameplay. Combos are pretty easy to string though I didn't have enough time to figure out how to do the bigger, stronger finishers like Vegeta's Final Flash or turning Goku into Super Saiyan 3. The guy after me managed to figure it out, what a bastard. Overall, with Dragonball Super's new episodes every Sunday, last year's Dragonball Xenoverse 2 letting me create my dream Saiyan, it is a great time to be a fan of Dragonball fan right about now.
So while my friends waited for half an hour for the Detroit: Become Human's demo, I had the chance to try Stifled for PSVR. Only because a lot of people were waiting in line for The Inpatient demo and whoever tried Stifled got to cut the line... So yeah, I had an express chance to try it. Made by a team from Singapore, Stifled is an audio based horror game where you use your own voice to echolocate the path ahead, kinda like a Daredevil simulator with no fighting and more horror. It's a neat concept.
Unfortunately, the hardware doesn't hold up. Unlike the HTC Vive, the PSVR comes with no sensors, so its tracking is a little iffy. Also, using it with the controller is unintuitive and the fact that you still have to use the right analog stick to move the viewpoint made the whole thing a little barfy. A usual HTC Vive headset would track your head movement 360 degrees, the PSVR just allows you to look at what's ahead of you with you still needing to move around the camera is just bad practice and one of the worst VR experiences I've had. It's not Stifled's fault, which is a great game with the right hardware. After this experience, I steered clear of any PSVR games.
3. Detroit: Become Human (kinda)
Okay, so I didn't really try this game, I just took a backseat to my friends playing it. Now, I've never been a huge fan of cinematic games, so called "walking simulators" or anything that presents the story on the fore front of the game while the gameplay is more there to just advance the story. But after seeing Detroit: Become Human, I was pleasantly surprised. It is probably Quantum Dream's best use of its usual fare, making good use of the PS4's touchpad to find clues and whatnot.
The whole cyberpunk, Blade Runner aesthetic is cool too, and the fact that your android detective guy can piece together the crime scene from the clues scattered throughout and the demo ends with a hard decision, all of that was packed into a short 15 minutes demo (which the Sony volunteers were a little abrasive about how much time you had to play, only volunteers at this booth were like that though). Overall, a cool game, just not my cup of tea.
4. Monster Hunter World Presentation
There's not a lot I can say about Monster Hunter World that has not been said. All I can say is that, despite the initial reaction I had to the trailer, this game is just same old Monster Hunter with a major graphics overhaul. Which is a good thing by the way. All the new mechanics like cloaking, the little slingshot thing, the open-world, are all natural progressions in the grand scheme of Monster Hunter.
Now, this presentation is why I think KL Live is a great venue for this sort of thing. In any other convention, a major presentation like this would be closed off from the public and be a VIP and media thing. KL Live being a concert hall meant that the presentation was right smack in the middle, for all to see. You could be upstairs, downstairs, left or right, anywhere you are would be a good place to watch the presentation. Truly no other convention would have had this sort of inclusivity with something as major as Monster Hunter World.
5. Ni No Kuni II Revenant Kingdom
I've written about Ni No Kuni II before, I loved the first one. It was like a greatest hits of every good RPG element you can think of all rolled into a Studio Ghibli looking package. Now the sequel is on the way and it still retains the same charm and colour the original was known for. Gone is the Final Fantasy XII inspired battle system, not it is in real time, like in Dragon's Dogma or Kingdom Hearts.
The Pokemon-like Familiars are gone too and are replaced with Pikmin-like Higgledies that buff your attacks. This more dynamic game-style provides for more epic battles, with the demo giving a choice between two bosses, both providing a decent amount of challenge for first-time players and a breeze for JRPG veterans. Both bosses also cover story points of the main protagonist Evan, proving himself fit to be the king of his kingdom. Overall, a great experience which I truly enjoyed and quite possibly my favorite game of all the things I tried here.
6. Marvel VS Capcom Infinite Presentation
The story demo was released during E3, so I didn't really bother on lining up for the demo booth. But the presentation itself lit the room up, the whole event was pumped. The developers showed their skills at the game, announced upcoming DLC and challenge 3 lucky fans on stage. A friend of mine was of these lucky 3 and gave the production designer an ass-whooping in front of the whole crowd. Pity her favorite character, Wesker wasn't playable in this build. Those lucky fans won some cool merchandise and bragging rights for life. I was just glad to be apart of it all really.
7. Knack 2
If you went to PSX and didn't play Knack 2, you missed out. By far the most polished, excellently crafted, masterstroke of a game and it was just by the sidelines with only 4 people in line to play it. It was a travesty, no respect was given to this platforming gem. All jokes aside though, Knack 2 was really fun for all ages and the co-op really helped. It's a fun romp and if you have small children or just a good childhood friend wanting to relive some old platforming memories, Knack 2 is a great time.
8. Dissidia Final Fantasy NT
It was the only line for a game that stretched outside of the event hall. It would have taken me 2 hours to try it, and by then it was 5 p.m and my feet were ready to break into little pieces. I will conquer you someday Dissidia NT.
All in all, the Playstation Experience 2017 in South East Asia was a hoot, it was an amazing event and kudos to the team for doing some great crowd control inside of the hall. I sure had a lot of fun, I'm not one to complain and quite frankly waiting in line for 4 hours added to the experience, I'm just glad I had good company that made the time fly so fast. I'm hoping that there will be more major gaming events like this in Malaysia and really grow the gaming community here. And to top it all off, I got a sweet PlayStation pin from it. Definitely worth it.