But hand off the life-size Atalier Ryza figure’s thighs.
Thursday was half day for the Tokyo Game Show, and even though it was a day earlier than the event would open to the public, we couldn’t help feeling like we’d been waiting a long time for this. That’s because in 2020 and 2021 TGS was an online-only affair as part of pandemic-related health precautions.
For 2022, though, the Tokyo Game Show is back to being an in-person event, held at its traditional venue of Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture. Our Japanese-language reporter PK Sanjun was eager to see what sort of awesome new games are coming soon from Japan’s top software developers…so imagine his surprise when one of the first things that caught his eye was a booth from a furniture store.
Nitori is one of Japan’s favorite budget-priced home furnishings chains, sort of like a Japanese domestic market version of Ikea. But in addition to sofas, futons, and silverware, Nitori has recently started selling gaming furniture setups, and their booth had a sample room layout with a gaming chair, desk, and other understatedly sleek equipment.
Ironically, though, PK was about to try out a game that required him to stand up to play it.
Resident Evil Village (known as Biohazard Village in Japan) has been out almost a year now, but it’s back in the spotlight again thanks to the upcoming inclusion of a PlayStation VR2 mode to be added to the PS5 version of the game. More than any other game being shown at the show, this was the one with the biggest crowds for test plays, so PK recommends heading to developer Capcom’s booth as soon as you arrive and hoping they’ve still got tickets left for the limited number of slots.
Luckily PK was able to grab one, and when the time came for his ticket’s block he was led to the demo area, where Capcom had marked spaces for each individual player on the floor.
That’s because you use your arms a lot during the game. Unfortunately, Capcom wasn’t allowing people to take pictures of the VR unit itself, and there was no way for us to capture in-game footage either, but the experience is extremely immersive, PK says. You use two controllers, one held in each hand, and the process for firing and reloading your gun, for example, goes like this:
1. Place your gun hand near your hip, with the controller pointing forward, and pull the trigger to fire.
2. When you run out of bullets, press a button on your gun hand’s controller to eject the empty magazine.
3. Move your other hand to your waist in order to grab a full magazine, then move that same hand over to your gun hand to load it into the weapon.
4. Simultaneously press a button on each controller to cock the gun and ready it to fire again.
▼ An explanation placard for Resident Evil Village’s VRmode
That’s not the only option you have in combat, either, as the game also allows you to hold a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other, seamlessly switching between the two modes of attack, and also to throw knives at enemies.
As he played, PK began like he and Ethan, the game’s protagonist, were sharing the same singular pair of hands. Of course, if you’ve played Resident Evil Village you know that Ethan’s hands don’t make it out of the survival horror tale unscathed, and PK assures us that those moments of mutilation are all the more terrifying because of the psychological effect that it’s your hands that are on the receiving end of all that physical and mental trauma.
Next up, a visit to the Square Enix booth, which was promoting games such as Valkyrie Profile follow up Valkyrie Elysium and the remastered version of Romancing Saga: Minstrel Song.
But the center of attention here was Crisis Core Final Fantasy VII Reunion.
The title is a bit of a mouthful, so for the uninitiated CCFF7R is to Final Fantasy 7 Remake-style reworking of Crisis Coreitself a 2008 PlayStation Portable prequel to 1997’s Final Fantasy 7.
original Crisis Core had a real-time battle system, but the delay between button presses and on-screen movement sometimes gave it a bit of a turn-based feel. For Meetingthough, the results are much more immediate, PK says, making it play more like a regular action game in terms of tempo, though still with charge times for spells. The unusual Digital Mind Wave, essentially a slot machine that runs in the corner of the screen and provides random attacks and buffs during combat, also returns from the original PSP Crisis Core.
The demo consists of a series of tutorial-style fights, an encounter with Materia-swiping ninja Yuffie as a young girl, and a fight against recurring summon monster Ifrit. Unfortunately, PK’s test play time ran out during the Ifrit fight, so he was unable to view the demo-concluding cutscene with a spruced-up-graphics Sephiroth that speedier gamers got to see.
▼ Ifrit (イフリート), still with half its life bar left
That’s not to say PK went home without any sort of eye candy, however. Over at the koei-tecmo booth they were offering test plays of Atelier Ryza 3.
The latest game in the loosely connected workshop franchise, this RPG has you venturing into the wilderness to search for alchemy ingredients, and PK spent a lot of his play time just happily looking around the lush natural environments. When he did actually start moving around and encountering monsters, he was rewarded with swift, snappy battles, and even though combat is turn-based, the quick and steady pace let him hit the command buttons in a rhythmically satisfying style.
As you can guess from the title, Atelier Ryza 3 is the third game with alchemist Ryza Stout in the starring role, and Koei Tecmo’s booth had a trio of life-sized statues of the character representing her design in each of the three games.
Instead of being in the center, the Atelier Ryza 3 version is on the right, affording a better view from all angles.
Unlike the slender legs that so many anime/video game characters have, Ryza’s thighs are quite a bit more voluminous, either to reflect the fact that she regularly engages in day-long nature hikes to gather potion materials, or maybe just because some people like the look.
▼ For the record, Koei Tecmo specifically recommended we take a look at the statue from this angle, in order to observe its craftsmanship.
No word on whether or not this life-size figure is also going to go on sale for 2.75 million yen.