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Tokyo Game Show 2009




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From the looks of the gameplay in the latest TGS 2009 trailer for the grimy shooter, it's pretty clear that Tecmo's Quantum Theory is quite clearly the PlayStation 3's answer to Epic's Gears of War franchise. Everything from the character designs to the cover mechanics to the color pallet and weaponry scream Gears. Yet, the inclusion of an AI-controlled partner, who you can apparently throw at enemies, ala Elika in Prince of Persia, looks like it will mix up the straightforward run and gun action. But don’t my word for it. Check out the new trailer, and draw your own conclusions.

Quantum Theory TGS 2009 Trailer »


TGS

Tokyo Game Show 2009 is in full swing, people. Day One is over and Day Two starts up in a few hours. But don't sweat it if you need to catch up on anything, we're got you covered. Below you'll find all of our TGS 2009 coverage!

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Take a gander at Square Enix's new TGS 2009 trailer for Final Fantasy XIV: Online. It doesn't include any gameplay, but that was to be expected. However, it does show off some rather stunning vistas and epic looking combat scenarios, so if you're looking forward to this game at all, you'll definitely want to check it out. And here you go:

Final Fantasy XIV TGS 09 Trailer »




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New Tekken 6 Imagery Reveals More Characters, Maintains Tekken 6 Wackiness

What We Know: At this point, Tekken's no stranger to handhelds. 2006's Tekken: Dark Resurrection did an amazing job of porting the button-mashing action to the small screen. And if you're super-nostalgic, Sony's had Tekken 2 in the PlayStation Store for a long time. That said, Namco Bandai's been awfully gun-shy about showing off the handheld version of its arcade hit until Tokyo. Up until now, the gaming media has only gotten glimpses of Tekken 6 either at arcades (my first playthrough was during TGS last year) or at Namco Bandai's various events. The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions are right around the corner -- October 27 is the magic date -- but the handheld version will come roughly a month later. There's a huge push behind PSP this fall, and alongside several other franchises that have been evergreen PlayStation franchises, this is a huge one.

What's New at TGS:
Everything, actually. Namco-Bandai has been rather coy about the details regarding the handheld version of Tekken 6 until today. I couldn't go hands-on with it, but I got a good idea of what the team is aspiring to deliver.

It retains the main ideas of the arcade game. That means that the core concepts, including combos and environmental damage, have been adapted to the platform. I asked one of the producers for some details on what's been sliced and diced to make room for a UMD -- and for now, it's only on a UMD; sorry potential PSP Go owners -- and the elements are few. Unsurprisingly, the platform's visual horsepower isn't on par with a PS3 game -- the image above is in place until Namco-Bandai sends out new PSP-specific screens. Tekken 6's unique quirks like the rage system and wall/floor breaks had to be adapted to the PSP. As a result, there will be platform-exclusive stages that are designed to give you all of the impact of the other games, but within the confines of the hardware's abilities.

Although the dev team wasn't ready to reveal much during the demo (they're waiting to unveil PSP-specific modes after TGS), I discovered a few choice nuggets. Tekken 6 won't support online multiplayer (fear of lag and performance were cited as issues), but it'll have some online interactivity. The game will support ghost data, which enables you to either upload your best playthrough or put up your worst techniques for all to see. Unless the translation was slightly off, it seems that you can download ghost characters of either yourself or friends and use the data to learn styles and techniques.

What I Want to See:
How it plays. Namco-Bandai hasn't set a firm date yet, but I don't believe the handheld version is trailing too far behind the other renditions of Tekken 6 regarding release. I was hoping for some hands-on time during today's presentation, but unfortunately, I couldn't play it myself. It's gorgeous-looking, from its cut-scenes to the in-game fighting, and I expect a level of quality that's more like Tekken: Dark Resurrection than Tekken Advance. Keep an eye out for this one.



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‘Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles’ Impressions

What We Know: Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is the sequel to 2007's Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles. Both games are retellings of RE classics from the PlayStation era, redone as light gun shooters for Wii. My last hands-on demo came during E3, when I played through a remixed section of RE: Code Veronica. RE: DC offers up some high-octane co-op action while rewarding both hardcore fans and casual gamers (read: loved ones who couldn't understand why those hardcore fans were so into the series over the years) with individualized difficulty settings during each playthrough.

What's New for TGS: Something big, actually. Although Capcom's been showing off levels inspired by Resident Evil 2 and Code Veronica up to this point, the publisher had something completely different up its sleeve today. In a mission titled "Operation Javier," I stepped into Leon S. Kennedy's shoes to play a pre-Resident Evil 4 mission in South America. Leon's partner? Krauser. Yep, "Knife Fight Krauser." The mission aims to provide some backstory to the two characters' mutual animosity in RE4. Both men are special forces members at this point in the series timeline, and they've been sent to South America to track down Javier Hidalgo, a notorious drug lord who's suspected of having ties to Umbrella Corporation. It's no small coincidence that at the same time that the two men are hunting him down, there's been a rash of disappearances in the area.

There are only so many ways that you can describe the play style of a retro-inspired on-rails shooter, but "Operation Javier" definitely has some moments that resemble Resident Evil 5. The flooded village has elements of that game's shanty towns in its art style, and that's no coincidence. Some RE: DC's team also helped out with the level designs of RE5. I also shot my way through new mutated B.O.W. classes, including deadly man-sized mutant frogs. It's an interesting break from the sort of environments I'm used to seeing after 13 years of playing Resident Evil.

What I Want to See: If Capcom can maintain this momentum, I don't need to see much else to be sold on it. So far, if you're a fan of on-rails shooters, Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles is pretty entertaining. It might come off as a bit anemic if you don't have buddies to play with, but it's a blast (pun slightly intended) to play in co-op. If the stages maintain the same level of slightly brain-dead entertainment I've been testing out for the last few months, then I expect RE: DC to be one of the best shooters to grace the Wii this year.

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At Tokyo Game Show 2009, Microsoft and Sony touted their upcoming motion controllers in different ways. Sony actually showed off working games at itsTGS press conference. Resident Evil 5 and LittleBigPlanet were demonstrated on stage. While it was only two games, it was an important showing for two reasons. First, it showed real-world applications of Sony's motion controls on existing products. Secondly, Sony showed that it will have first-party and third-party support.



Microsoft, on the other hand, issued a press release, confirming support from several major publishers and developers. It also held a Natal panel featuring Capcom’s Keiji Inafune, Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, and Konami’s Hideo Kojima . From what I understand, the panel was more about concepts than actual products (it's hard to tell since it was in Japanese and the translation was lacking). Still, Microsoft supported its Natal initiative with star power and big names.

Microsoft Staffing Up For Internal Project Natal Game Studio

In the battle of wave motion cannons controllers, who do you think did the better job at TGS 2009? Do you like what Sony did, with real-world demonstrations and actual games? Or do you prefer Microsoft's broad support and star-studded panel? Do you prefer actuality or potentiality? The motion-control skirmish (a subsection of the console wars) will be interesting to watch in 2010. For this round, I want to know which company used TGS more effectively, in your opinion.



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Lost Planet 2 Co-Op Demo Hits PSN September 24, Includes Two Exclusive Missions

What We Know: Lost Planet was a hit for Capcom when it released nearly three years ago. It seemed to epitomize the publisher's approach to developing Japanese-made games designed with global appeal outside of native soil. It's a shooter that's good enough for Westerners, but also feels well-suited to gamers who can't wrap their heads around shooter mechanics. It also touted some fun, if not forgettable multiplayer.

From the time Capcom unveiled Lost Planet 2 a few months back, we've been hearing all about its co-op multiplayer experience. Allegedly, you can play through a great deal of the game with others. It's part of the difference between the first game and the new sequel, aside from a huge change in locale. The Akrid, the mineral-rich monsters of the first game, are back and as warped as ever. Their soft underbellies are filled with rich loot for you and your friends to snag.

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Sony unveiled a brand new trailer for Team ICO's fantasy adventure title The Last Guardian during Tokyo Game Show. Sadly, the trailer didn't reveal too much new stuff, other than the bird-dog-cat's adorable ear scratching animation. Well, Sony has now released a new "extended trailer" of sorts that includes a brief behind-the-scenes look at the game, as well as an interview with Team ICO director Fumito Ueda about the game's melding of fantasy and reality. Check out the video below:

The Last Guardian TGS09 Fumito Ueda Interview & Trailer »





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Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker TGS 2009 Demo Impressions

What We Know: Hideo Kojima quitting after Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots? Not so much. Kojima-san is back at the helm of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and, as we revealed in our GamesCom coverage, the game is playable for the first time at Tokyo Game Show – in both single-player and cooperative modes. The sequel to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Peace Walker puts you in the shoes of Snake/Big Boss in Costa Rica where the back-story about Outer Heaven’s formation is revealed.

What’s New at TGS: Quite a bit. First off, Peace Walker will have two control schemes. "Action" type is traditional MGS control, much like Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops. But a big improvement is the new control scheme – simply dubbed "Shooter" type. Very similar to MGS4 where the stick controls Snake’s movement, the face buttons control the camera, the left shoulder button arms selected items and weapons, and the right shoulder button fires. The D-pad controls crouches, toggles weapon and item selection, and performs context sensitive actions.

The demo opens as Snake is training his unit of Soldiers Without Borders -- Snake’s new outfit -- which more or less acts as a tutorial level. CQC has also been improved as now you can throw enemies into each other and take them out. There’s also a new CQC move set called Continuous CQC where you can link CQC throws when surrounded by timing attacks correctly. Overall, for someone who struggled a bit with the Portable Ops controls, this new scheme felt quite comfortable and in practice was extremely lethal.

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Assassin’s Creed II Preview

What We Know: I recently saw the game demoed at GamesCom, and I've already noted that Assassin’s Creed II is taking out one of the biggest problems I had with the original -- repetitive missions. Ubisoft is back with an all new demo showing the lengths Ubisoft is going to vary up the gameplay.

What’s New at TGS: The demo features a brand new mission in which Ezio has to take out a team of archers, and then complete a final assassination. As one who got completely burnt on the first game due to doing the same quest types and investigations over and over again, seeing a chunk of a level like this was quite refreshing. Tasked with dropping five archers perched upon rooftops, Ezio clears them out and lets imposters move into place to further the mission. Combat is greatly expanded, and not only did we witness Ezio scale buildings and then pull unsuspecting archers off their posts, but he can also use one as a shield before head slamming two enemies at once. However the coolest kill I saw was Ezio punching an archer, kicking him, breaking his arm, and then picking him up and throwing him off the building. Even though I liked the combat from the first game, Assassin’s Creed II’s combat is looking even more engrossing.

While in Assassin’s Creed you could hide among Priests, now you have two factions to choose from -- Courtesans and Thieves. Courtesans will tempt guards and woo them with their female charms, while thieves will follow you to the rooftops and help you battle enemies to allow you to get to your destination faster. We saw the Courtesans in action, and it was pretty fun to see Ezio send them off to sucker some guards while he slinked by.

What I Want to See: Even more variety! I really wanted to love the first title, but I got about two-thirds through the game and just couldn’t bear picking another freakin’ pocket, or listening in on a conversation. What do I want to do? Kill! When do I want to do it? A LOT! The last two demonstrations of the game have varied up missions quite a bit, and I hope Ubisoft’s promise of variety continues throughout the whole game. So far, I’m hopeful.
 

 

Joy Ride TGS 2009 Preview

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Posted September 24, 2009 - By pklepek



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Joyride TGS 2009 Preview

What We Know: Joy Ride will mark a first on Xbox Live Arcade, as it's adopting the popular free-to-play model and bringing it to a console through a smaller downloadable game. First shown at E3, Joy Ride is an Avatar-starring open world racer (though there are more directed sequences for some game modes, like races) that heavily relies on players hopping online with friends and experiencing the different game modes and competitive options with one another.

What's New at TGS: Microsoft did show off a new map, but that wasn't the big announcement. Rather, I learned one of the methods the community will be experiencing new content in the game -- unlocking it together. In order to gain access to more content, the community will have to work together, not unlike what Namco Bandi tried with Noby Noby Boy. Though Microsoft wouldn't actually tell me what will be tracked or how the new content will be unlocked, the prospect of communal teamwork is an exciting one. I'm still not sold on the game itself -- Microsoft still wasn't letting us play the game for ourselves and the driving looked awfully floaty to be very precise -- but Microsoft is making the right steps in other areas, which hopefully bodes well for the game.

I also learned a little more about your ability to customize cars. There will be an in-game marketplace within Joy Ride with accessories that can be purchased with coins collected in the game, or directly with Microsoft Points, saving players the effort of finding the coins in the world, if they choose.

What I Want to See: A playable version of the game. Communities working together to unlock content is less exciting if the game itself isn't that great. There still isn't a solid release date for Joy Ride -- Microsoft is saying "holiday" -- but hopefully the reigns will be handed over soon.

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Toy Soldiers TGS 2009 Preview

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Posted September 24, 2009 - By pklepek


Toy Soldiers TGS 2009 Preview

What We Know: Zilch. Toy Soldiers was announced by Microsoft and Signal Studios at Tokyo Game Show as an Xbox Live Arcade tower defense game (with twists) for release in 2010.

What's New at TGS: Since this was my first look at Toy Soldiers, there was plenty take in. The biggest reason to keep an eye on Toy Soldiers is because of what Signal Studios is calling tower offense. Whereas other tower defense games emphasize players setting up their bases for a wave of attacks and weeping as you realize the weaknesses, Toy Soldiers provides you with an emergency outlet. That's where the offensive tactics come in, as Toy Soldiers grants gamers the ability to hop into any of their placed towers and assume hands-on control of the weapons. Sometimes that means hopping into a sniper tower and taking out enemies in the distance or manning the cannons and destroying the incoming wave of soldiers. You can even become a tank or a plane -- the point is that the outcome of the battle doesn't solely rest on your tower placement skills, which is ultimately what ends up killing most of these games for me. You no longer have to wonder if jumping into the battle yourself would change how it played out, since Toy Soldiers puts that option in your hands.

While Microsoft didn't actually show me the multiplayer at TGS, it was mentioned as a feature and the prospects of one-on-one battles is already putting a smile on my face.

What I Want to See: How much the player assuming direct control of towers and vehicles actually changes what happens. Can you build an awful base of towers and turn the tide simply because you're fantastic at aiming a cannon? It could make for some really damn good multiplayer.

Alan Wake TGS 2009 Preview

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Posted September 24, 2009 - By pklepek


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Remedy Hints Alan Wake Is PC Coming Later, After 360 Version

What We Know: Remedy Entertainment, developers of the original Max Payne, are describing Alan Wake as a psychological action game. Novelist Alan Wake is on vacation with his wife when things start to go very, very wrong. A thriller he's been writing starts to come to life in front of his very eyes, word-by-word. A dark presents has infested the world around him, creating a strong light and dark dynamic that heavily factors into the gameplay. Wake needs light to survive the horrors of the night. Alan Wake was missing in action for many years, until Microsoft and Remedy pulled back the curtain at E3 this year, promising the game would finally be released the following spring.

What's New at TGS: The demo at Tokyo Game Show actually started with the section from oh. "Oh no," I groaned. Fortunately, Remedy was only running through the E3 section to refresh everyone in the room. After that concluded, Remedy showed off a new section of the game. If Alan Wake's demo at E3 gave you the impression it's focused on keeping enemies at bay with a flashlight and moving around in a Matrix-like slowdown all the time, the TGS slice of Alan Wake proves that assertion wrong. Wake is in the middle of the woods to evade capture from a renegade sheriff convinced Wake is causing all the whacked out things that are happening around town. You do not have access to a flashlight, gun or other items, and finding sources of light becomes an obsession. I also saw more examples of the mysterious "dark presence."

If the E3 demo gave off a Poltergeist vibe, the TGS demo felt distinctly X-Files-meets-Lost, with devilishly swaying trees and monstrous, unidentifiable noises in the distance. There were few new mechanics shown here, however, as it wasn't about showing much new so much as it was proving Alan Wake isn't Max Payne's distinctive slow motion gameplay with a horror coat of paint.

What I Want to See: The open world portion of the game. Remedy is really pushing Alan Wake's focus on serialized TV cliffhangers, which actually suggests a more linear, targeted experience. The studio promises the open world segments have not disappeared. None of that has been shown yet, only furthering the notion that Remedy continues to play its cards very close to its chest.


At the same time of Sony's second press conference during Tokyo Game Show, I attended a White Knight Chronicles presentation about the online modes in the upcoming Level 5 RPG.

White Knight Chronicles has already been released in Japan, but it has been enhanced for its release over here and Europe. One big addition to the US version? Voice chat. It's amazing to think this wasn't in the original release of the game, but apparently it will be added to the Japanese version via patch at a later date. It will be on the disc for us, however.

White Knight Chronicles will also have the live talk feature pioneered in Rogue Galaxy, which simulates conversation between the characters on the screen as players move through the environment, and this should come in a patch for Japan, too. The North American and European versions will also include downloadable content that's been released in Japan on the disc.

In order to unlock the online modes, you must play through the first chapter of the game.

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PlayStation 3 PS3 Slim

Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. group CEO Kaz Hirai claimed that the company has sold one-million PlayStation 3 Slim systems in three weeks. He delivered this info during his Tokyo Game Show 2009 keynote address. As many of you remember, the console went on sale at the very end of August. With the new design attracting some attention and the new $299 price point generating a lot of buzz, Sony knew that the Slim would sell like potato pancakes.

Unfortunately, Hirai only gave the worldwide sales figure. It would have been terribly interesting to see how the Slim performed region by region. The PlayStation 3 is in third place, behind that Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360, in both North America and Europe. While the new price point should help Sony close the gap, experts are divided on whether Sony can catch up to Microsoft. Some believe that it has a good chance, while others believe that the it's too late for the PS3.

What do you think of Sony selling one-million PS3 Slims in three weeks? Is it an impressive feat? Less than you thought it would be? Or just a meaningless number? 

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