[News] [Computer Gaming] [TGS]
I'm now ensconced in the Crowne Plaza Metropolitan in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, which has a much higher standard of service than the last two hotels (which says more about the Metropolitan than the other hotels, as they were both pretty good). I've managed to wheedle a three-pronged power adapter out of the desk staff and my laptop is charging even as I type this.
Here's my last thoughts from TGS. If you're lucky, I'll follow up with a photo post full of booth babes and insane crowd shots.
The PS3 Controller - The first thing that struck me about the PS3 controller is that, now that they've ripped the vibration motors out of it, it's exceptionally light. It's about the weight of a Sega Genesis/Megadrive controller, or maybe a little lighter. Otherwise, it looks and feels like a PS2 peripheral. I've only tried two games that use the tilt sensitivity but from what I can tell it at least has the potential to be very responsive and inuitive for gentle tilting motions. I'm not as sure about things that require you to swing the controller around or jerk it quickly - the use of that sort of function in Lair was not exactly a barrel of laughs, but that might just be poor coding on Lair's part. Overall I suspect that the capability (or lack of same) of the controller is not going to be a deciding factor in the choice of whether to buy into the new Sony console.
PSP vs DS - Over in Japan, the sales war between the DS and PSP is already over, and the PSP was not the winner. Oh, sure, Sony had a big PSP booth, and they were giving away the latest firmware update and some downloadable game demos (that my PSP couldn't get, possibly because of its PAL origin). But a look at the show floor told the real story. Throughout all the developer booths, only Namco and Konami appear to be in serious development for the PSP. I can count the new A-list PSP titles I saw on one hand, with fingers to spare. But everyone, everyone, including the itsy-bitsy developers no-one's heard of, had forthcoming DS titles. Sega alone had about 20. You couldn't turn anywhere without some outrageously dressed Japanese model inviting you to try out some crazy thing on a DS Lite. And remember, Nintendo wasn't even present at the show. My sincere advice is if you haven't already bought a PSP, don't get one now. The best PSP titles are going to be re-released for the PS2 or PS3, much in the manner of Liberty City Stories. The DS wagon is the one to climb on board, because we're about to be saturated in quality software for it.
Warhawk - Another Halo-esque title, this time for the PS3. It's fairly ambitious, in that you wander around on foot, in jeeps, in tanks, and (in the only part of the game that's particularly memorable) in aircraft. I played the multiplayer demo, which was reasonably fun. Zooming around in planes is done with a control system much the same as Lair - you use the tilt function of the controller to angle up, down, left, and right, and a button on the controller sets you into "fast" mode or "slow" mode. Dogfighting in these planes is actually pretty cool, if a little simplistic. Unfortunately, you can only get into the planes by finding one on the ground. Movement on the ground is done with the analog sticks, which is a really jarring transition from the elegance of the flight controls. The surface-bound part of the game is unobjectionable, but it's devoid of really anything at all that makes it special or worth talking about. Myself and the other players almost completely ignored the availability of ground vehicles and just kept camping the aircraft spawn points. One nice touch worth mentioning is that homing surface-to-air rockets are plentiful, meaning that although you can't just shoot distant planes out of the sky, if you are strafed by the enemy while surfacebound you can put up a very effective defence. I think I'll need to see more of the single-player campaign before I can make up my mind whether this is a dud or not. By the way, if you saw the impressive trailers that were orginally claimed to be in-game footage, it's now brutally clear that the game itself does not look anywhere near as good, or even particularly good compared to the other PS3 launch titles, or even some PS2 titles. Its graphics are about on a par with the original Halo.
Dynasty Warriors BB - The new online extension of Koei's Three Kingdoms battlefield brawler had a line so long it wrapped around the booth twice, so I didn't get a chance to actually try it out. Luckily, however, by staking out the booth attendees I managed to get issued with a free CD containing a demo of the thing (which, by the way, is for the PC), so I intend to fire that up over coming days and check it out.
Eye of Judgment - This is the card battler I've been talking about that uses proprietary camera technology to actually show you handling real life cards on screen, but with CGI monsters standing atop the cards, ready to go into battle. I didn't get to play it (I was told I couldn't have a go unless I spoke Japanese) but from what I saw of others using it, it seems to be kind of cool, but the gameplay is a bit shallow, and also either the camera or the software associated with it is a little squirrely insofar as detecting your hand motions and keeping up with the movement of the cards in the gamespace. I still have a suspicion that this is never going to leave Japan anyhow, so we'll see.
Capcom Shop - I don't mean a game called Capcom Shop - I mean, the actual Capcom Shop, which was at TGS. There was a line to get in that was half an hour long, so when I actually got inside I kind of went crazy and bought some stuff without looking at it too closely. So in short, while I have no regrets about getting the Devil May Cry soundtrack, which may or may not be earmarked as a souvenir gift for someone I know, I do have the following excess stuff up for grabs to people who know me well:
1 x black shirt in the style worn by Leon Kennedy in RE4, Japanese medium size (western small to medium)
1 x weird Umbrella Corporation shirt in black with Japanese writing and a cartoon girl holding an umbrella, Japanese medium size
Also I got myself a Phoenix Wright 4 shirt in black and red which I may keep or give as a gift, I haven't decided yet. Actually managed to get that one in large (which is to say it's a tight fit on me).
Okay, that's me done. There's other stuff I saw that I've forgotten to write about, so if you have specific questions about a title leave me a comment.
For those in Perth, I'm doing a panel at Fandomedia next weekend with Grant Watson in which I'll certainly be talking about TGS. I'll also be showing game trailers, but I don't know if that'll be in the form of a scheduled panel, or just an "everyone come back to my room and watch stuff" sort of thing.
In Canberra, I might actually throw a TGS night when I get back, with more trailers than you can poke a stick at, plus dissection of the veritable rainforest of promotional brochures I acquired, and the dissemination of Japanese souvenirs. You'll hear more once my travels are over.