It’s SEGA’s second year joining ESGS, one of the Philippines’ biggest gaming conventions. This year they brought 5 games for the public to try out. You are free to play the demo versions of Sonic Superstars, Persona 5 Tactica, Persona 3 Reload, Like a Dragon Gaiden, and Like a Dragon Infinite Wealth at the SEGA booth. While Sonic Superstars is already out, the other four games are titles that are not yet released. The nearest release date is in 4 days, which is Like a Dragon Gaiden releasing on November 8 and the farthest would be Persona 3 Reload on February 2, 2024.
I got to the event venue rather late, as I dropped by after work. There was a blockbuster line for “Like a Dragon”-related games, so I decided to try Sonic Superstars which had an understandably shorter line since the game has been out for around two weeks already. There were 5 stages to choose from with 4 characters available to try. I opted to test out the Bridge Island stage with Amy!
As someone who is unfamiliar with the game mechanics for Sonic, or most sidescrolling games in general, I stumbled at the start as I was unsure how to play. I had a small Eureka moment when I hit a bumper on the curve that accelerated my character and somehow I understood the famous tagline “Gotta go fast!” You zip and zoom through the course at such a speed with little care in the world… until you hit a block and you start building your momentum again from the start, losing your golden rings in the process.
There was also an elemental power-up where I could turn into water but I didn’t get to explore the mechanic much. There was a tutorial for it and everything, but I was still trying to grasp the basic idea of the game at the time. Once you understood how to play, it became really fun! The next step was recognizing the obstacle to know what to avoid.
This game felt like it was a modern take on an old genre. Again, it’s not a genre I am well-versed in, but it feels familiar even though it’s new. It’s a fun, casual game that is simple enough to learn but gives avenues for those who want a challenge. I am curious about how it would differ if it was in multiplayer since the game can accommodate up to 4 players. I wanted to try it out there, but the demo is for single-player trials only.
After trying out Sonic Superstars, I looked around at the other games. There was Persona 5 Tactica and Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth near the Sonic monitors. I watched a bit of the gameplay for Infinite Wealth as I was more familiar with it compared to the Persona series. The game plays more or less the same as its predecessor “Yakuza: Like a Dragon” with a turn-based, RPG style. In the demo, you play as Kasuga and pick fights with threatening men and thugs on the way. But instead of the dark streets of Kamurocho, you are now on the sandy white beaches of Hawaii. Aside from the change of location, we are also getting an additional protagonist with fan favorite Kazuma Kiryu!
I’m pretty excited about Infinite Wealth. The Like a Dragon series with Kasuga is something that I have been wanting to get into. I know that the style is the same as the main Yakuza series, but the turned-based style is drawing me in. Having classes and party members in a modern setting is such a fun take on an RPG style that is mostly consistent with magical fantasy games.
I did not get to try Persona 5 Tactica and Like a Dragon Gaiden this time, but we still have the whole weekend to experience the convention. ESGS is happening on November 3-5, 2023 at World Trade Center Manila. Be sure to be there, and as much as possible be there early, to experience the demos!