At the core of Q-Games' latest PlayStation Network title PixelJunk Shooter is a simple yet ambitious gameplay mechanic: liquid manipulation. Sure you can terraform the environment and flying around in a tiny ship blasting enemies to pieces with a mini-laser cannon is always a good time, but the way water and lava (and their various states as they come into contact with one another) are incorporated into the game is quite impressive, even at this stage in the game's development. To see the liquid brilliance in action, just look down and behold the new trailer.
Tokyo Game Show
What We Know: Dead Rising 2, like Crackdown 2, is a game that should have been announced ages ago. For whatever reason, it took forever for Capcom to move forward with Dead Rising 2 and even when the game was announced, it was revealed Capcom Japan wasn't even developing the game -- Canadian developer Blue Castle is behind the game. When Capcom announced Dead Rising 2, the main takeaways were that Frank West was no longer the main character, the setting was Las Vegas and a good portion of your time would be spent running around casinos.
What's New at TGS: When I showed up at Capcom's Dead Rising 2 event after the second day of Tokyo Game Show, I didn't expect a controller to be thrust in my hands. Capcom was highlighting the newly introduced multiplayer features of Dead Rising 2, albeit in a severly limited capacity. The version on display was four-player simultaneously competitive multiplayer spread amongst four different game modes. Connecting each game mode to one another was a MadWorld-esque game show motiff. The four game modes -- Ramsterball, Headache, Pounds of Flesh, Slicecycles -- each involve having gamers compete against one another to multilate zombies in different ways.
By far the most popular mode shown here at TGS was Slicecycles. Are you ready for this? Imagine an arena filled with thousands of zombies ready to be ripped apart by motorcyclists who have strapped chainsaws to the sides of their bikes. The laughter was infectious across this and the other game modes, as well. Capcom attempted to conduct a multiplayer tournament, but most players in attendance groaned at the concept, since it was clear Dead Rising 2's scoring system was far from balanced at this point.
What I Want to See: More of these game modes. If these four modes hint at a multiplayer system just as imaginative, gamers are in for a treat.
You might not like fighting games, or even like the PlayStation Portable, but if these gameplay videos of Tekken 6 don’t make you question your staunch opposition to both of these categories, then nothing will. Seriously, if you hadn't told me this was the PSP version, I probably wouldn't have been able to tell you what platform it was being played on. Don't believe me? Well, check out the videos for yourself then, Mr. Doubty Von Needsconvincington.
Click through to see another round of beat down.
"There are certain moments a man never forgets..." So begins the new trailer for Assassin's Creed II, which gives us extended looks at the game's combat system, the various locations we'll be murdering our way through, and most importantly, a glimpse as to how protagonist Ezio became the man he is today. This game is just looking absolutely killtastic.
What We Know: Before Tokyo Game Show, Okamiden (tentative title) was a Capcom fanboy's wet dream. Well, I should say "before the Famitsu scans hit the Internet," but that's neither here nor there. The PS2 cult favorite (and Wii almost-cult favorite) has always felt like a game that would go together with a touch screen like pickled plums and shiso or peanut butter and jelly. Apparently, Capcom thought so too. That's why it commissioned another adventure for the great white wolf goddess Amaterasu. Also, from what I can tell in my limited Japanese, it seems to be a prequel.
What's New at TGS: An Okami game for DS, that's what's new. It's Okamiden's worldwide debut this week at the show, and of all of Capcom's lineup for TGS, it boasted the longest booth lines with a 45 minute wait today. More than Lost Planet 2, more than Resident Evil: Darkside Chronicles, and more than fellow DS debutant Ghost Trick. Demos were restricted to 15 minute playthroughs, but that was enough to get an idea of how it works. Also, enough time to overcome the language barrier that made simple puzzles more challenging.
The basic idea is that you control both Amaterasu and a child. The child rides on Amaterasu's back as she performs many of the same mechanics we saw in Okami. Those include shattering clay pots for items and using the Celestial Brush to overcome obstacles. The brush, if you haven't played Okami, allows you to draw brushstrokes in the environment that affect the game. A slicing motion can clear a path of forest trail. Filling in the parts of a broken bridge with paint can restore it. And in Okamiden, the brush is as intuitive as you'd expect, thanks to the touch screen. Although I couldn't read the differences, it appears that two types of ink are used, depending on the character. Puzzles for the child use red ink to lead him to a point on the map. Puzzles for Amaterasu are similar to Okami and use black ink.
I used both inks for a handful of puzzles during the demo, and although it took a little time to get used to when and where to use them (it helps if you can read Japanese), the gameplay felt perfectly intuitive to anyone who invested time in the first game. Combat also feels like the PS2 game, since Amaterasu has similar button-based attacks.
It also helps that Okamiden boasts the same stylized art design that the prior game had. Although it's not as clear in visual fidelity, several DS games have proven that you can do cel-shading well on the platform, and Okamiden is no exception.
What I Want to See: A time machine that will fast forward me to the English translation. Barring that, I'm simply looking forward to more time with Okamiden. My short 15 minute demo showed off an experience that seems to pack all of the beauty, magic, and Zelda-like gameplay into a portable package. Whenever Capcom announces it for the US, it'll immediately be one to watch.
What We Know: Splinter Cell: Conviction epitomizes the term "reboot." Two years ago, it was launguishing as a dark, Assassin's Creed-like game in which Sam Fisher went rogue, grew out a beard and sat on park benches. Good thing that version's gone. It's been replaced with a sleeker-looking game that really updates the series from the Xbox era (Double Agent was good, but it still had the trappings of an Xbox game) to today's consoles and design philosophies.
Basically, the new Splinter Cell: Conviction rocked faces at E3.
What's New at TGS: Why Ubisoft picked a Japanese show to give first hands-on is beyond me. But I'm glad I got to finally play it. And although some of the Ubisoft Montreal team balked when I said "it feels like Splinter Cell," it's a compliment. I know it's revamped. You, the gamer, know it's revamped. But underneath some of the amazing tech (such as the drive-in movie style projections of clues and background information on walls) and some of the new features, the game will hand your ass to you if you waltz in carelessly.
The moment you run into Sony's hall at Tokyo Game Show, you might be tempted to run over and play God of War III or Heavy Rain, but before you do, you have to run through the slightly Metal Gear Solid-looking ID check on the show floor.
Meet Zevran. He's an assassin with a swarthy attitude and a sweet Eastern European accent to match, and he's the star of this Tokyo Game Show 2009 trailer for Dragon Age: Origins. Get a look and check out his badassedness. That's not a word, but you know what I mean.
We Americans are already running behind on the Yakuza series, which makes the sting of this Yakuza 4 trailer extra painful. If you'd like to see the Yakuza games and their fairly accurate portrayal of Japanese organized crime come over to the West as much as we would, contact your local congressman. But you probably shouldn't mention the words "Japanese organized crime."
And also watch the trailer so you know what you're talking about.
Wow, the Crystal Chronicles series seems a lot more rock 'n roll than I remember. Of course, I haven't paid much attention since the first GameCube game, so that's on me. Glad I watched this, though, because Crystal Bearers just landed on my radar. It should make for a fun appetizer before FF13 next year...
Some things that happen at Tokyo Game Show are only available to the assembled masses that happen to be there. Lucky for you, we have some assembled masses of our own, and they have cameras. And they managed to get this star-studded trailer for Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, starring Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle, and Mr. Malfoy himself, Jason Isaacs.
There's a lot of cinematic here, as well as some combat action that looks especially cool, but you'll see all of that for yourself when you watch the video.
What We Know: Until 24 hours ago, none of us knew it existed. Ghost Trick (which I imagine will have a new name if/when it shows up on US shores) seems to be a supernaturally-focused game from the creators of the Ace Attorney series over at Capcom. The art design is quite different from the law and order focus of Capcom's other series. It's got a more stylized look that's reminiscent of the art trends of the 1960s. Other than that, no one at the Capcom booth spoke English, and the only Romaji in the entire demo was the game title.
What's New at TGS: Everything. It's Ghost Trick's worldwide debut. From what I could ascertain from the demo, the game's hero has the ability to jump out of his own body and momentarily inhabit objects. It seems to be his tactic to scare off enemies. I can't tell if he's dead or if he just has out of body experiences. The demo starts in a junkyard with a gunman aiming to kill a young lady. After what I can assume is some "I'm going to kill you" explanation, the would-be assassin gets ready to shoot. Suddenly, the action stops, and the screen turns red. A blue flame pops up onscreen, and everything in the environment is outlined. The blue flame seems to represent the hero's spirit, and can be controlled with the DS stylus. When you flick the flame over an object that can be possessed, it glows blue. From there, he can inhabit the object and use it to scare off enemies. In this case, he jumps into a gate and slams it open to spook the gunman and give the woman a chance to escape. She does, but ultimately, the shooter manages to pick up his gun and fire off a shot.
She falls and seems to be dead. The gunman escapes, and the hero regains consciousness. He goes to her body, but before doing so, he's interrupted by what appears to be a talking lamp. Maybe it's someone else's soul inhabiting the lamp? Hard for me to tell when it's all in Japanese. The lamp, which I'll dub Tutorial Lamp, tells the hero that he can "jump" across different objects to possess them in a chain combo. I tapped the stylus and moved the soul across some junk in the area in order to move the spirit flame around the environment. After reaching Tutorial Lamp, I led the flame over to the young woman's body, and it reanimated her. At that point, I had to wrap up the demo, but I have an idea of the main mechanic of Ghost Trick.
What I Want to See: An English translation. I'm a huge fan of the Ace Attorney games, and I think that the team is totally capable of creating cool, weird experiences that outpace other Japanese-produced games out there. The idea of possessing objects and chaining together objects with the touch screen is a novel one. Based on my personal experience last year at TGS, I imagine we won't be seeing any translated versions of the game for some time -- after all, Ace Attorney Investigations debuted at last year's TGS, and although it's probably close to finished, it's still not out in the US. I imagine that we in the gaming media won't see much more about Ghost Trick until at least spring of next year. But when we do, I'll be one of the first in line to try out a translated demo.
What We Know: Microsoft didn't need to say much more than "hey, Crackdown 2 is coming" to get people excited at E3. A Crackdown sequel has been a long time coming, but thankfully, the wait is nearly over, as Ruffian Games, comprised of many folks who worked on the original game, is hard at work at making Crackdown 2 a playable reality. Other than the game's new focus on a viral outbreak amongst the citizens of Pacific City and a night and day mechanic, however, gamers have been simply living off the knowledge that Crackdown 2 is in development.
What's New At TGS: I expected to walk into Tokyo Game Show and see more of Crackdown 2, but I did not expect to walk into the hotel where Microsoft and Ruffian were holed up and be handed a controller for a few rounds of Crackdown 2 deathmatch. After walking us through several of the major feature additions to Crackdown 2 -- four-player online co-op, more orbs, a much more robust melee system, missions with sub-objectives to keep all players busy -- a series of Xbox 360s were turned on and we were let loose.
Let it be known: Crackdown was made for a robust, sprawling series of multiplayer options. Deathmatch is a perfect compliment to the Crackdown gameplay and the sense of verticality means the eb and flow is completely different from anything else out there. Unlike a great many other shooters coming down the pike, Crackdown 2 doesn't have to worry about the monster that is Modern Warfare 2; this is another beast entirely. Players are rewarded with varying point values depending on the kind of kill they pull off, whether it's a head shot, a melee attack (which awards the most) or a straight run-and-gun. The environment I was exploring had a few scattered power-ups and weapon pick-ups, but it felt more like a proof of concept than anything else. It proves its point, though: Crackdown 2 multiplayer works really, really well and the more toys they add to the mix, the better it's going to get.
What I Want To See Next: Though it's clear Crackdown 2 single and multiplayer have a long ways to go -- Ruffian was saying development is roughly at 60% completion -- it's already giving off very good vibes. The only ding against the multiplayer that was shown here at TGS is a lack of sandbox toys to play around with, but it sounds like that's assured. More Crackdown 2, please.
It's obvious that No More Heroes 2 has an even more twisted sense of humor than the original game. I mean, they were hanging out rolls of toilet paper with Travis Touchdown on them at PAX, that's just hilarious. This week at the Tokyo Game Show a new trailer was released that shows off the fact that there will be a second playable character in the sequel, the lovely and deadly Sinobu Jacobs.
But that's not all! Two other trailers were released that show off some of the hilarious, old school 8-bit style mini-games that we pressume will get you cash for additional weapons. Check out those trailers after the cut
Dead Space: Extraction is coming out next week on the Wii, so here's a quick montage of developers at Visceral Games explaining what they did to make it just as creepy and tense as Dead Space on PS3 and 360. Jake, who's reviewing it for us, just told me about a certain part of the game...I won't spoil, but it made Extraction jump back on my radar. CREEPSHOW.
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