Last year when I visited Anime Expo, I didn’t have the time to set down and play the video games on display because my focus was on attending panels. For Anime Expo 2016, I decided to correct that mistake, and so I set out to play as many of the games on display as possible. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to all of them, but I played as many as I could.

Many of them had short demos, which would cut you off after a certain period of time, so I didn’t get the full experience. Rather than go through and preview each and every game individually, I thought it would be fun to break down the games by publisher and talk about my time with them. Perhaps next year I can plan to spend even more time checking the games out!

Bandai Namco

Bandai was out in full force at Anime Expo 2016, with a booth dedicated to Bandai Namco for their games and a booth dedicated to their anime titles. Naturally, I decided to check out as many of their games I could, but they had a handful of them available to play. Some were more popular than others, so I decided to spend time on what was available.

God Eater 2: Rage Burst

I’d never played a God Eater game before getting my hands on God Eater 2: Rage Burst, and I still haven’t gotten around to checking out the anime. What I’ve heard is that God Eater is a lot of fun, so I decided to check it out at the convention. Surprisingly, the lines weren’t very long for this one. While I was there, it seemed like it was almost empty. Why that is, I’m not sure, but I certainly didn’t complain.

I played through the first tutorial, of which there are two, before the game kicked me out and let me know that the demo is over. Obviously this setting isn’t as conductive for working on a full impression, but I liked what I played, though it did seem a bit complex. The controls took a bit of getting used to, as they seemed rather odd compared to most titles, but I did eventually get used to them and managed to fight my way through the first tutorial.

I didn’t even get through the second tutorial, let alone the actual mission, so it’s hard to say how the game performed beyond that. What I can say, however, is that the game didn’t look particularly good. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it really showed when compared to some of the other titles that Bandai Namco had on display. The game initially made an appearance on the PSP and PlayStation Vita, but I played the PS4 version. I imagine that it’s a port of the PlayStation Vita version of the game, so that would explain why it wasn’t great looking.

Still, it did seem like a lot of fun. I wouldn’t be opposed to checking the game out when it launches later this year, and I’m sure fans of the series will be more than happy to pick it up.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization 

Prior to playing this one, I hadn’t gotten around to picking up a Sword Art Online video game. I had heard mixed things about the franchise, but from my time with the demo of Hollow Realization, I was pretty satisfied. What I found particularly interesting about it was how similar it seemed to Final Fantasy XIV visually. 

That’s obviously a huge plus, because Sword Art Online is supposed to be an MMO, and that’s one aspect I think the game pulls off particularly well. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the game reminds me of Phantasy Star Online from a gameplay perspective. In the demo it seemed like there was plenty of exploration of the large area. There was also the feeling of being in a live environment, even though the demo wasn’t online, as other NPCs appeared to take on monsters.

Unfortunately, I jumped into the demo halfway through and I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a lot of fun walking around killing monsters and attempting to conquer mini-quests. If you’ve enjoyed previous Sword Art Online games, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 was probably the most packed game at Bandai Namco’s booth during Anime Expo 2016. There were constantly lines to play it, and people would gather around to watch. I still haven’t gotten around to playing the first game, and I didn’t really have the time to wait in line to play the second. From what I saw, however, it certainly seemed like the players and the crowd were enjoying themselves.

NIS America

NIS America had a pretty small selection of games to play, but they also had a lot of other things going on as well. They had a store with plenty of merchandise, but I was trying to conserve money this year so I opted not to purchase anything. Still, I made sure to check out their selection of games, which seemed to be heavy on Touhou this year.

Touhou Genso Wanderer

Touhou Genso Wanderer seems like your average roguelike strategy RPG. The only difference is that it’s Touhou, and that makes quite the difference. The demo of the game I played at Anime Expo 2016 was a very early build, but it played well enough. The focus here seems to be corridors and bullets, which makes sense given the franchise.

As far as how the game plays? Pretty well, and almost comparable to something like Disgaea or The Awakened Fate Ultimatum. In the tutorial for the game which I played, it seemed like there was a lot less open space, but that might just be because it’s the tutorial area. Either way, the game seemed like a lot of fun.

Touhou Genso Rondo Bullet Ballet

Another Touhou game! This one seems to be very much focused on 1v1 battles using bullets and melee weapons. I played a few rounds of this game against another attendee, and I can safely say that it’s a hell of a lot of fun. Out of all of the games I played at the NIS America booth this year, I think Touhou Genso Rondo Bullet Ballet was my favorite. NIS America recently released a new trailer for the game, which you can check out above.

Yomawari: Night Alone

Yomawari: Night Alone is another game that I didn’t get to play, but it wasn’t because the line was too long. Rather, as was explained to me by an employee working the booth, it’s because the build of the game on display at Anime Expo 2016 contained a significant portion of the game. If I had the time, I could have likely spent a large amount of time playing this one, but I opted not to. Instead, I watched as others played, and they seemed to enjoy it. It certainly looks interesting!

Other Exhibitors

There were a ton of other games at Anime Expo 2016, from publishers including ATLUS, Capcom, and Aksys Games. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to check all of them out, so hopefully next year I can plan it out and spend more time checking out games to bring you more from the convention. Until then, stick around as we bring you more content from Anime Expo 2016!

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Adam Capps

About Adam Capps

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Adam Capps is the editor of video games at BentoByte. He spends his days playing video games and his nights writing about them. He's also an avid fan of anime, manga and music.

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