We made our way down to the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre on 25th and 26th October for what hopes to Singapore’s premier gaming event. One that could one day rival E3, GamesCom or even Tokyo Game Show. This is GameStart 2014.
Featured Games on the show floor
Unlike most of the other game events that were here previously, GameStart actually has demos straight from the biggest events right in front of us to enjoy! Some of these games are actually making their first overseas appearance here in Singapore!! With PlayStation, Blizzard and Bandai Namco having a huge presence at the event, as well as 2K Games presenting themselves as a mighty contender, every major heavy hitter was there .
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My personal favorite of the event was Bloodborne. This is one of the biggest games coming out early next year exclusively for the PlayStation 4, it is the spiritual sequel to both Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. There was a presentation on stage by Producer Masaaki Yamagiwa on how the game works and how to clear the stage at the floor demo. While the Playstation staff didn’t manage to clear the game, Yamagiwa-san managed to clear the Cleric Beast on stage to the applause of the fans. I had a second go at Bloodborne once again after my unfortunate failure at the Tokyo Game Show, but once again I did not manage to clear the stage, even though I was so close to taking the Cleric Beast down! Bloodborne is set for release on 5 February 2015.
Personal preferences aside, one of the games with a never-ending queue at the event was undeniably Evolve. From the makers of the original Left 4 Dead, Evolve now gives the 4-player shooter a new element – a playable monster. The team of 4 tries to take down the monster and vice-versa. The monster is incredibly strong but with a solid team of 4 players working with each other, the monster will not be a problem to defeat. I had a go at the game as the Medic but our teams were unsuccessful in taking down the Goliath. Seeing how long the queues were and how popular L4D still is here, this is definitely going to be the next big game played among friends and at local LAN-shops.
We also had a world premiere, along with the official local announcement of Sword Art Online: Lost Song, the next PS Vita title set in the SAO universe, now featuring Alfheim Online. This game brings new features such as 360 degree flying to bring a new dimension to the game’s battles. You can also explore the world on air and on land. Another big feature is allowing players to play as characters other than Kirito, such as Asuna. The English version of the game is set for release here in 2015.
Another big Vita title featured was Freedom Wars. The International version brings a whole new set of 50 Panopticons (areas your character is based in) from all around the world, Singapore included! This is a Hunting Action game where your character has a 1 million year sentence and your goal is to reduce it to zero by “volunteering” to help your Panopticon. While there are giant monsters called ‘Abductors’ you can fight, your objective is to rescue civilians trapped inside them instead. It’s a neat concept I took a liking to and the Producer Junichi Yoshizawa was really enthusiastic about introducing the game. I could not resist getting myself a copy! Freedom Wars was released on 28 October 2014.
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I also got a go at some great titles on display as well such as WWE 2k15, FarCry 4 and The Evil Within at the PlayStation M18 booth and LittleBigPlanet 3, Final Fantasy Type-0 and One Upon Light (a local Singapore game coming exclusively to PS4 on 28 October) at the regular PlayStation booth. Bandai Namco also had some of their biggest IPs on display direct from TGS, such as Gundam Breaker 2, Dragonball Xenoverse, Tales of Zestiria, Godzilla and Project: CARS for locals to enjoy. Blizzard brought Diablo 3, Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm for display. There are many local fans of Blizzard here, which drew quite the crowd. It’s really great to see such a huge offering of titles on display at GameStart for all kinds of gamers to enjoy.
Events at a glance
Aside from game demos playable at the event, there were also various features going on at the event! From versus tournaments featuring Gundam Extreme VS Full Boost, Naruto Storm Revolution, and Guilty Gear Xrd SIGN, to DRIVECLUB Time Attack Challenge and Fifa 15 Workshops, there were many challengers from the public who could stand a chance to win prizes! I had a go at the Gundam one but failed miserably but it was great to see the finals with the winners going away with a PG Gunpla each!
There’s also a retro game feature by Versus City near the Razer booth. Featuring retro consoles from the SNES to the Genesis, and even older consoles, it definitely brought back good memories to many gamers. I remember playing some of these games my relatives’ and friends’ places and its great to be able relive these again at GameStart. I really appreciate seeing these golden oldies once again on display. Even Daigo was enjoying himself at the retro game booth!
As for the big feature, the last stage competition wrapping up GameStart on Sunday was the Capcom Pro Tour Asia Grand Finals featuring MCZ Daigo facing off RZR Xian for the Asian spot. The crowds were all gathered at the stage to see our local hero, Xian, facing off with one of Japan’s strongest fighters, Daigo. With his Evil Ryu, Daigo managed to edge out Xian in the final, showing us once again why he’s one of the best in the Street Fighter arena.
As a gamer who has been hoping to see a proper game expo in Singapore, this has far exceeded my expectations and beyond. While its no TGS or E3 yet, it has a promising start that gives us hope for an even better expo next year. Gamers you will definitely want look out for GameStart 2015!