Hyper Japan report: the UK goes oriental once more
|FEATURES - OFFWORLD|
It's Hyper Japan! No, seriously...that's what it's called...
Hyper Japan once again descended upon London, allowing attendees to sample the delights of the orient in the big city. The three day event held at Earls Court has grown from its humble beginnings as a one day convention in a leaky studio area, to becoming that last con before the Christmas period and the end of the year.
The show has a lot of charm; everything is geared towards letting you taste the flavours and experience the culture of crazy old Japan. Of course a writer like me has one thing in mind when it comes to Japan, and that's games and animé. Sadly the animé front was a little lacking from my visit on the Sunday. The best I got were stands that sold the various series, much like any convention.
Gaming, however, was a genre well-received, with many promising prospects throughout. Underneath the giant cartoon reindeer, Tony Chopper from the animé One Piece, you could play the latest in the Warriors series, One Piece: Pirate Warriors. Nothing new to report there, if you've played any of the Dynasty Warriors games, you'll know the drill - Square. Square. Square. Triangle! Rinse and repeat. Added points are given if you're a fan of the animé (and it at least tries to throw in some wonky platforming for good measure).
And yet, no matter how popular the series is though, it still doesn't have the draw of a brand new franchised competitor - it's been out for a couple of months now already.
Wii-U join me, Mr Gaiden?
Instead, the real fun could be had playing on the Wii-U. Probably the last show that the console will appear at before its big release at the end of the month, there were some interesting and varied games on offer, many of which had a good flavour of Japanese nuttiness. First up is the exclusive version of Ninja Gaiden 3, aka 'oh-my-god-why-do-I-die-all-the-time...-this-is-so-hard' three. What we get this time around is the option to play as Ayane from the Boobie jiggle simulator series of games, also known as Dead or Alive. Before you start crying out in anguish, yes she actually is part of this franchise, and there's too much violence on screen to take much notice of her well endowed mammaries. The game still has that cool as hell feel to it, but can we have an easy mode please, just this once?
Next up on another cross console release, Tekken Tag Tournament 2. Now the game has already been well established on the 360 and PS3, and one might say that there is little reason to buy it, but I give you four words as to why you need this: Hwoarang as Fox McCloud. In fact he's not the only one with a Nintendo themed costume. It's utterly hilarious, and well worth it just for the silliest of all costumes - Ganryu as Bowser. The humour, interestingly, doesn't come from them being replaced by the Nintendo character, but instead simply them being dressed as them.
My God...did I laugh so hard at this notion. Oh and by the way, if you're that way inclined, Anna Williams can dress as Zero Suit Samus. Not that I'm into Video game girls, but...damn! Of course everything else is the same, but it's nice to see Namco put that little extra touch into an already brilliant game.
Tank you for the experience!
The other most notable addition to the line up of WiiU games is a little gem called Tank Tank Tank. It's definitely not the prettiest of next-gen games - in fact it reminds me of the old PS2 shooter Global Defence Force; lots of insectoid, mecha monsters to destroy, but much more colourful and cartoony. A simple game, with simple controls - you move forwards and back; your tank auto aims at the nearest enemy, and you let rip on them - but wholly satisfying. Furthermore, enjoyable large missiles, machine guns and nukes are among the smorgasbord of weaponry , each bringing unprecedented destruction. One big shark looking missile actually ended a boss octopus with a mushroom cloud explosion. There's over kill, and there's Tank Tank Tank.
Oh, and the game's a real blast in Multiplayer, with instant respawns and lots of screaming, “Aaaaargh get him! Blow his face up! Nooooo dodge the bees!” However whether or not it can warrant itself as a full single player experience is yet to be seen.
So...to festival, or not to festival?
The major problem with Hyper Japan is as follows; the amount of time that it took to read this article is how long you'll be occupied by the games on display. Unless you love your Japanese card games, or have a worrying fondness for cosplay, you wont find yourself spending any more than a couple of hours at best there. Unlike MCM Expo, that bombards you with films and games every second, Hyper Japan focuses on a rather niche clientèle; those who care deeply about Japan and its exports. It isn't the place to scoop the latest releases, but to enjoy what is on offer now.
In other words... if you're desperate for games, or looking for some in depth Sci-Fi panels, head on over to Memorabilia instead.
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