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Showing posts from September, 2011

TGS 2011: Lollipop Chainsaw Hands-On

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Lollipop Chainsaw is shaping up to be completely mental, but in a good, Suda 51 kind of way. The TGS demo gave a brief insight into his latest hack-and-slash, and it was one of the more memorable hands-on of the two days. It felt like a mix between Saved by the Bell, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and an abattoir, only with more zombies, chainsaws and mini-skirts. As I say, mental.

Lollipop Chainsaw is about a zombie hunting cheerleader, Juliet Starling, who is trying to rid her high school of the undead. She does this with her trusty chainsaw, which she wields with lumberjack-like confidence, and an impressive set of acrobatic moves that see her leaping and twirling from one gushing zombie stump to the next.

The violence was gratuitous, but very much tongue in cheek, and the action arcade in nature. Vanquished zombies spew all sorts of shiny collectibles, including hearts and coins, which constantly reminded me of No More Heroes. The controls are easy to pick up and combat is fluid, as …

TGS 2011: Resident Evil Revelations Hands-On

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Resident Evil Revelations (Biohazard Revelations) is a return to the pace and style of earlier entries in Capcom’s successful, survival horror series, and it feels just right running on the 3DS. The visuals are sharp, the lighting impressive and the 3D subtle, making for a surprisingly atmospheric, portable experience.

The TGS demo followed series stalwart Jill Valentine – the master of unlocking - through the dimly lit corridors of an antiquated cruise ship that looks to be an intriguing place to explore. The game is seen from an over-the-shoulder perspective, much like in RE 4 and 5, allowing you to take in most of your surroundings whilst retaining some vital blind spots to keep you guessing. The impressive visuals and eerie sound effects create a chilling atmosphere, as fog hugs the floor of an abandoned dining hall and unseen creatures scratch away behind locked doors. The more social of these monstrosities were humanoid in nature, yet a far cry from your standard zombie, and c…

TGS 2011: Asura's Wrath Hands-On

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Before sitting down and getting stuck-into Asura's Wrath, I was given a friendly warning by a Capcom employee not to expect a typical demo. This wasn't just PR hyperbole, as it turned out to be by far the most difficult demo I've come across in six years of attending TGS, and one that gave me a real sense of achievement once I'd finally finished it. I was especially proud, as I didn't see anyone else make it to the end in my 30 minutes with Capcom.

As well as offering up a real challenge, Asura's Wrath took a rather unusual form for a fifteen minute demo. Instead of offering-up a range of gameplay features, representative of the full experience, it focused solely on a hard-as-nails boss fight, which although it may not be indicative of the rest of the game, certainly gave a strong indication of its style: O.T.T action from start to finish. This will be of little surprise to those of you who have seen the early trailers which featured our fallen deity, Asura, b…

TGS 2011: Final Fantasy XIII-2 Hands-On

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After putting over one hundred hours into Final Fantasy XIII last year – a meagre summer line-up and a mild addiction to trophies were the cause – I felt like I had had my fill of all things thirteen. The prospect of XIII-2 was not one I savoured, and the -2 suffix brought back unpleasant memories of X-2.

With this in mind, I approached the FFXIII-2, TGS demo with trepidation, but left with renewed interest in this latest addition. The demo featured a party of three, including Serah, who returns from the main game; Noel, a new addition who sports a very un-FF-like name but bears a slight resemblance to Kingdom Hearts' Sora; and a Moogle who turns into a weapon which, in the demo at least, only Serah could wield. Further characters are expected to feature in the final game.

The impressive visuals and familiar battle mechanics return, including the paradigm shift system, with the demo featuring the roles of attacker, blaster and healer. More importantly, there were some intriguing n…

TGS 2011: PS Vita Hands-On

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I knew exactly where I was headed when the doors opened for day two of Tokyo Game Show: the Vita section of Sony's booth. My previous attempts to get my hands on the PS Vita and play Uncharted: Golden Abyss had been foiled on day one by larger than expected queues, with waiting times upwards of 90 minutes throughout the day. I figured a head start on day two and a bit of sprinting would get me near the front of a much reduced line, but unfortunately pretty much everyone else in attendance had the same idea.

I was in the Golden Abyss queue within a minute of the press being let in. Unfortunately, the wait was already up to 80 minutes and I had appointments to keep which meant I couldn't wait it out. That the line never dipped below eighty minutes across the industry days – it would have been far worse for the public – shows you how excited people were to get their hands on the Vita, as well as Nathan Drake's maiden, portable adventure.

Resigned to my fate, but still despera…

TGS 2011: Binary Domain Hands-On

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Like most developers at TGS 2011, SEGA's booth was smaller than in previous years. However, there was no shortage of quality games, of which Binary Domain was the focal point. SEGA offered a revealing 15 minute trailer for the latest game from Toshihiro Nagoshi - creator of the Yakuza series -  that was immediately followed by an impressive demo.

Binary Domain takes place in Tokyo in 2080, where robots mingle with humans; serving drinks in your local coffee shop and even holding down office jobs and leading human-like lives. Cyborgs have been assimilated into society, and unless you peel back their skin - there was plenty of flaying in the extended trailer - you can't be sure who is made of flesh and bone and who is synthetic.

The trailer made it very clear that this is to be a rather violent affair. The similarities to the Yakuza series do not end there, with Binary Domain also taking place in Tokyo; albeit one far different to the city once ruled by Kazuma Kiryu and co. The…

TGS 2011 - Day Two Round-up

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Day two of Tokyo Game Show is now finished and with it the industry side of the event draws to a close. With the initial excitement of day one a distant memory, today was my chance to check out the games I couldn't find time for during a hectic opening day, as well as attend an appointment with Capcom. However, by lunchtime I was scraping the barrel for games I was willing to queue-up for, just like I do every year.

That's not to say that I didn't have a great time. There was plenty to keep me busy and despite a lingering hangover, and a lack of sleep, I saw the day through to the end. Here are some of the highlights, with plenty of detailed, hands-on impressions to follow in the coming days.

A. Today seemed a little less busy, with plenty of attendees rolling-in long after the official opening. That didn't stop the Vita from boasting queues of upwards of an hour for even the least interesting titles. Saturday and Sunday - the public days - will be a mad house with wai…

TGS 2011 - Day One Round-up

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My feet ache, the bag I dragged around all day has left a large imprint on my red-raw shoulder, I'm far too drunk for a weekday evening and I probably don’t smell too sweet either. Nevertheless, I still have a smile plastered across my face after an exciting first day at Tokyo Game Show.

I'll have to keep this brief if I'm to get any sleep tonight before heading off for day two, so for now here are just a handful of thoughts on day one. Plenty of in-depth previews will follow over the coming days and I'll continue to tweet tomorrow at toomanywiresUK.

A. As expected, the volume of exhibitors was noticeably less than in previous years. This was partly by design – conserving energy in the wake of the March earthquake and tsunami – but also in part a reflection of the state of the industry. Many publishers had significantly smaller booths, in particular Microsoft and Koei Tecmo, and others grouped together, such as EA having their own corner of the Sega stand. Others had n…

TGS 2011 - Quick Hits Before the Main Event

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I'm attending Tokyo Game Show 2011 this Thursday and Friday. Be sure to check back throughout the week for news, updates and hands-on impressions.
There have been lots of interesting developments in the last two days leading up to Tokyo Game Show, about which there is plenty to discuss. Unfortunately, I only have 30 minutes before I have to head-out for dinner (yakiniku with the in-laws) so I will keep this post short and sweet.

In no particular order:

i. Final Fantasy X HD? Well, why not? Its not my favourite of the series, but I think the tropical locales will look great in high definition and it will definitely be worth another play-through.

ii. The most ridiculous name of the last two days has to go to Square Enix's new IP for the 3DS, Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. It will need to be pretty good to overcome such an appalling title. Any other year and Army Corps of Hell would have run away with the prize, but there's just no beating SE's latest.

iii. Vita will be unlea…

Tokyo Game Show `11 - Preview

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I'm attending Tokyo Game Show 2011 this Thursday and Friday. Be sure to check back throughout the week for news, updates and hands-on impressions.
After a long journey through god knows how many different time zones, I`m now safely in Japan. I`m feeling pretty groggy at the moment - 30 + hours without sleep will wreak havoc with your grammar - but I`m excited to be back and really looking forward to Tokyo Game Show. I`ll be off to Akihabara shortly for some video game shopping - the first of many trips - as well as some heavy drinking and eating, as I try to set a personal best for most Japanese food and drink quaffed in the space of a fortnight. A lengthy karaoke session should follow, jet-lag permitting.

But enough of my gluttony. Here is a preview for TGS 2011.

1. The "Nintendo 3DS new product announcement conference"

Many prominent publishers and developers hold press conferences in the days leading up to TGS. These industry get-togethers are spread across Tokyo and e…

Shadows of the Damned - Review

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Shadows of the Damned was a Suda 51 project from the outset. The CEO of Grasshopper Entertainment, and the man behind Killer 7 and No More Heroes, Suda was eventually joined by Shinji Mikami - the creator of Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and more recently Vanquish - in the role of creative producer. The final, high-profile member to join the team was composer Akira Yamaoka, best known for his work on the Silent Hill series.
Despite its noteworthy contributors, Shadows of the Damned is a Suda 51 game through and through, and your opinion of his previous work is likely to dictate whether or not you pick it up. However, Shadows of the Damned can be enjoyed by any gamer, irrelevant of their fondness for OTT violence, juvenile humour and gobshite protagonists.
Garcia Hotspur is our foul-mouthed, demon hunting lead, who is in search of his girlfriend who has been kidnapped by the demon lord, Flemming. We guide Garcia and his ex-demon side-kick Johnson - a skull that transforms into a variety o…

Tokyo Game Show 2010 Retrospective

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I'm attending Tokyo Game Show 2011 next Thursday and Friday. Be sure to check back throughout next week for news, updates and hands-on impressions.
With Tokyo Game Show 2011 just around the corner, now is the ideal time to look back at last year's event and revisit and re-evaluate some of the biggest announcements and no-shows. Despite being noticeably scaled-down in comparison to previous years, many in the industry viewed TGS 2010 as a return to form after an uneventful showing in 2009, though I found myself a little disappointed by what was, and wasn’t, on offer.
2010 was a solid, if unspectacular showing, with no one defining game or moment. Still, there was plenty to keep me busy as I covered both press days for critical gamer and my own blogs. I fought through sore legs, the stench of a thousand men wilting in the humidity of Japanese September, and the stupor of a few too many beers the night(s) before, to check-out dozens of games and attend several appointments. 
Here is…

Taking Requests for Tokyo Game Show

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I will be attending Tokyo Game Show next week, on the 15th and 16th of September. This will be my sixth consecutive TGS, and third since first securing a press pass and saving myself from the sweaty crush of the public days.

I have some obligations to fulfil for other websites, but I'll still have plenty of time to run exhaustive coverage here at toomanywires. This brings me to my point: I'd love to take some reader requests so that I can bring you the coverage you want. Let me know in the comments of any games or hardware you want me to check out and I'll do my best to make it happen, otherwise you'll just get a shit-ton of blogs about gaming t-shirts, how many beers I just drank or the rancidity of the katsu curry being served in the food hall! Besides the comments section, I can also be contacted at toomanywires (at) hotmail (dot) com.
I'm hoping to rent a phone for the duration of the trip, so you should be able follow my coverage live, via Twitter. If you have…

Musings of a Gamer VII

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1. Crysis 2
Do you ever find yourself cruising through a game, neither particularly enjoying nor disliking the experience? That's how I felt for the majority of Crysis 2, playing it on auto-pilot. It is a solid and rather pretty shooter, but for the most part it failed to capture my attention. I appreciated the option to tank or stealth my way through the game, and it rarely punishes you for choosing one over the other, but the armoury is rather vanilla as are the generic aliens that are on your scent.
I spent the majority of the game going through the motions. It was easy to play, but I never found myself wanting to stick with it for extended sessions, nor desperate to jump back in to discover what happens next. The final third did kick it up a notch and it started to click, but by that point I was already thinking about what I was going to play next.
Am I glad that I played Crysis 2? Probably. Would I recommend it to an FPS fan? Maybe. I had intended to write a review, but when it …