Friday, September 22, 2006

Tokyo Game Show -Day One

[News] [Computer Gaming] [TGS]

Note: this is a retype and update of the original version of this post.

I'm typing this from a Japanese internet terminal. The keyboard is of the variety which regularly spews forth unchecked hiragana unless I keep it suppressed by means of my mighty mental powers and a handy cat-o-nine-tails. I'm still holding out hope of finding me a three-prong Australia-to-Japan power converter so as to put my laptop back in business, but after some conversation with locals that's seeming unlikely until I get to Tokyo, and possibly not even then. So horrible net cafes it is.

I was pleased to find that my cunning scheme to gain admittance to TGS on the business day went off flawlessly. I had forgotten the near-talismanic significance that the Japanese attach to business cards, and by regularly flaunting my hot off the presses semi-fake cards which suggest I'm the editor of a commercial games website I was able to go wherever my carefree little feet cared to take me.

First stop was the Ken Kutaragi keynote speech: "The Next Generation As Defined By The PlayStation 3". It was dull. It was very, very dull. It was, in fact, so dull that the person in front of me, despite being paid by a certain prominent commercial games website which shall remain nameless to be there and take notes, actually fell asleep during the speech and began to snore. I kid you not. Even the trailers were dull. We saw Moto Storm, Ridge Racers, Mobile Suit: Target in Sight, and something called Afrika which seems to be not much more than a tech demo. The only interesting looking game was Final Fantasy XIII, and it was the old trailer that everyone's already seen. I'll give it this, though - those graphics looked mighty pretty splashed across the big screen. You can see the heroic engines of the PS3's HD graphics whatsit straining epically to bring us sweet eye candy.

Then it was on to the showfloor. The most important thing about the showfloor is this: it was very, very hot, and there were a lot of people on it. I have photographic evidence, which I will display when I come into possession of a computing system capable of resizing the fruit of my mobile phone camera. Oh how that day will dawn brightly in your visual rememberances.

So here's what I saw.

Kingdom Hearts Re: Chain of Memories - For some unfathomable reason, Squeenix have gone and taken the GBA title Chain of Memories and re-released it as a PS2 title, sporting all the gameplay quirks and... uh... inventiveness of the GBA version, with the original PS2 Kingdom Hearts graphics grafted onto it like some horrible Disney-themed cyber-zombie. I said it the first time I attempted this post, and I'll say it again - why would they make this? But it was kind of fun, if you have the necessary tolerance for the Chain of Memories mechanics.

Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix - This is just the Kingdom Hearts II collector's edition. I suspect it'll be much like what they did for the original Kingdom Hearts Final Mix - throw in some new extras, a new boss, and a new super-secret end video, and then never, ever allow us gaijin to purchase a copy, for it must be held tight to the sweet bosom of Mother Japan and nursed like an adored mutant baby.

Devil May Cry 4 - Playable. Oh, how very, very playable. Capcom have wisely steered clear of this "originality" and "innovation" that other, less successful, companies keep babbling about, and just combined and remade the two good games in the series as one sexy, sexy PS3 release. Oh, sure, there's a new fire-hand weapony thing, that basically works like a whip to pull your enemies up close to ensure they get their pre-approved allocation of whoop-ass, and there's some sort of plot shenanigans abounding (Dante appears to be the bad guy, this time around, with the protagonist being... also Dante? I'm confused) but basically this is the same Devil May Cry that you've known, loved, and would sell your grandma's organs to get more of, but better.

Lost Planet - For the XBox 360, so basically spawned from the very nether regions of Satan - and yet, lots and lots and lots of fun. This could well be a killer app for the Little White Box That Couldn't, if no well intentioned executives come along and give it some pre-natal plastic surgery with a crowbar. Basically, it's Halo, if Master Chief occasionally got to drive giant mechs, fought aliens ten to fifteen times his size, and had a grappling hook that let him swing from rooftop to rooftop like some sort of Covenant-killing Spiderman. I've had no less than three rounds of it multiplayer, and by golly it's a thing to be tried, in much the same way as heroin.

Elebits - It turns out that all electricity is generated by little imp-things called Elebits, except they've gone on strike, and so using the Wii remote you have to find their hiding places and then shake them with a gravity gun thing until the Elebits sustain some shaken-baby-type trauma. Given enough of the smirking little hell-critters under your control you can lift damn well anything with the wiimote, including houses, et cetera, which makes this pretty much Katamari Damacy done as a gun game. Huzzah. More reasons to buy a Wii and/or name your children after Konami.

Yakuza 2 - At least, I think it's Yakuza 2. It looks like the original Yakuza, has the same gameplay, and has a big number 2 next to the title. But that's some impressively speedy development, as the first one's barely out. Anywho, solid and meaty combat, with some poor targeting, and a somewhat shallow overworld. Basically, the first game done again, I understand. Top notch booth, though, with fairly authentic Yakuza costuming on booth babes of both male and female persuasion.

Shining Wind - I'm sure someone out there is a Shining series fan, and even if you're not this may be the game to convert you. It's for the PS2, it's by Sega, it's an action PS2, it's by Sega, it's an action RPG, and it's got two player co-op. What more do you need to know? While I'm on the subject, the DS is getting something called Shining Force EXA, which I assume is some variety of port or remake, but I don't know enough about the Shining games to verify that.

E-card thingy - There's some sort of card reader coming for the DS. Basically it brings the collectible card gaming into your portable gaming life. The two titles on display using it are a strategy title called Sangokushi Trisen DS and a girl-oriented thing called Fashionable Witches Love & Berry where the cards let you buy new clothes, et cetera.

Metal Gear Portable Ops - I only got to play the multiplayer of this, but it's looking like solid Metal Gear action. I kicked ass as Ocelot, and got to wander around the multiplayer map. The controls are a bit annoying, as it seems you have to manually center the camera with the analog nub while moving with the d-pad. A bit awkward, but still a heap of fun.

Hellgate London - There are people in third-world countries who will pay you good money to be allowed to cook and eat your pets. I say this not because it is shocking, or even because it is true (it probably isn't), but because you will need the money of which I speak to secure yourself a copy of Hellgate London. This thing, firstly, has a trailer so sweet you will think that a magical sugar god has set up shop in your eyeballs and is throwing a particularly messy orgy.  I can only assume that the good fellows at GameTrailers (whom I met) are uploading the thing as we speak for the sexual pleasure of your retinas. Secondly, it plays like Red Eye tastes, and I mean that in the way that it will be understood by connoisseurs of fine caffeinated guarana beverages everywhere. There are guns, and skills, and oh sweet Jeebers it's like Diablo had an idiot-savant third-person shooter baby.

That's the highlights for today. I'll start doing up the post for Saturday but it might be a bit brief till I get more time on the old information superhighway. Plus this Japanese keyboard cuts my typing speed down to roughly zero. I can see my net-car being overtaken by people browsing with Mosaic, and by golly that smarts. Until next time, you loyal DustBunnies, take care, and try not to read Gamespot and its TGS news - it is full of lies! Wait through the horrible delays and read it here, by Jove!


Chris said...

Can you repost this one when you get a chance, Greg? It's impressively short of spaces, making it rather tough to decode. :)

Jey said...

I second that motion!

GregT said...

Working on it now.

Jey said...

ta :D
glad to hear you're enjoying yourself and no disasters have ensued