Five games to watch out for at Hong Kong's Ani-Com 2015
Video game giants are set to show off their full arsenal at the city's upcoming electronic entertainment fair
It may not be as big as the E3 - aka the Electronic Entertainment Expo that is held annually in Los Angeles - but the Animation-Comics & Games Hong Kong (better known as Ani-Com) is the closest local equivalent that previews and showcases the newest titles and products in the game industry. To run between July 24 and 28 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, this year's edition will see the return of Sony with a bigger PlayStation booth as well as Microsoft's Xbox One, expected to unveil the popular Forza 6 franchise. And here are five most anticipated new games that are driving hardcore gamers around the world into a frenzy.
First-person shooter veterans will be delighted to hear about a new exciting addition to the Doom series. Unlike some game companies out there, id Software doesn't do sequels every year. The staff take their time, put in the love and push the current generation hardware to the limit to crank out amazingly 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.
Horizon Zero Dawn
This role-playing game may not be a familiar franchise, but Horizon Zero Dawn is a breath of fresh air among all the sequels and remakes and remasters out there. 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. 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.
Final Fantasy 7
When we talk about Japanese RPGs, there is one title that first comes to mind: Final Fantasy, and its seventh instalment is widely considered the series' apex. This was originally released in 1997 on the original PlayStation, but, after years of requests, it's been remade for the current generation of PlayStation. This remake promises to be faithful to the original yet will be more than just a slight polish in visuals (such as Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy X2). The storyline will be spruced up and the combat will be updated to be more modern and, hopefully, even more strategic.
Other Japanese RPGs of note, include 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 The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes.
Moving on to the West comes the excellent multiplatform Fallout 4, taking the player once again across the post-nuclear war wasteland. It was so well received at this year's E3 it won the best of show award.
If you're a fan who can't wait until the game's November release, developers Bethesda released an addictive spin-off game called Fallout Shelter that should tide you over until then. The iOS game is so popular, in fact, it beat Candy Crush on global iTunes charts. Best of all, the game is free. Android users are out of luck for now, but the game is rumoured to be coming in August.
Some of the biggest announcements at this year's E3 are either sequels or remakes, and all have had their fans holding their breath for many years now. One of the biggest surprises was the announcement of Shenmue 3. Those who once owned a Sega Dreamcast are likely to have heard of this legendary RPG. The previous instalment came out in 2001 so it's been a long wait for fans. This game was actually funded on Kickstarter, which raised a Guinness world record US$1 million in just 102 minutes. The game will be released on two platforms, PS4 and PC.
More than just games
Sony and Microsoft will be showing off more than just games at this year's Ani-Com. Project Morpheus — Sony's upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display unit that tethers to the PS4 — will be on display. The headset should be in consumers' hands by 2016, hopefully with the majority of the 30 in-development titles by then.
There will also be great games such as Xbox's popular franchise Forza 6 and upcoming titles to pre-order such as Hideo Kojima's final (but uncredited) masterpiece Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.
If you're there purely to take in the spectacle, know that there will be celebrities in attendance and plenty of cosplaying attendees. Organisers promise that this year is going to be the biggest and most exciting yet.
Ani-Com 2015, Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Expo Drive, Wan Chai, July 24-28, HK$35. Inquiries: 2344 0415