Yesterday Namco Bandai wined and dined the gaming press at their annual Editor’s Day event. Even though I’m technically an 'Assistant' Editor (at least that’s what it says on my business card), I still qualified for entrance. This year looks to bring some pleasant surprises from the east, including a sequel to a popular JRPG and two major franchises coming to handheld consoles, one for the first time.
Portable Soul Calibur
During the initial presentation, it was announced that Soul Calibur would be making an appearance on the PSP this year in a whole new game subtitled “Broken Destiny”. The roster will feature 20+ playable characters and feature a unique single-player mode experience. You should also be able to play against your friends using the PSP’s ad-hoc network. Since this was the first time that the title had been announced, there weren’t too many details forthcoming, but mark me interested.
Another Naruto game, again…
Not much was said about the upcoming Naruto Shippuden Legends: Akatsuke Rising for the PSP other than that you will take on the role of 10 characters in streamlined combat. There will also be a two player co-op mode, but one thing is for sure, this game is definitely getting a nomination for the most flagrant use of subtitles award.
A sequel to the Great Charter of Freedoms
Apparently, there was an RPG for the PS2 called Magna Carta that is now getting a sequel in the form of Magna Carta II. exclusively for the 360. Since I didn’t play the first one, it’s hard for me to tell you what to expect. But from what I saw of the trailer, it looks like you can expect a decent JRPG experience: a protagonist fighting for love and stuck in the middle of a conflict between two warring nations, what looks like a Final Fantasy-influenced art style, and some big monsters. Yep, all the ingredients are there.
Tekken 6 on the go
Along with Soul Calibur and Naruto, it was also announced that Tekken would be continuing their assault on the PSP, which started with Dark Resurrection, with the release of the upcoming Tekken 6. How much this version will differ from its home console counterparts waits to be seen, but this is great news for anyone who happens to be a fan of the series and owns a PSP (i.e. myself).
Hands-On and Demos
The newest incarnation of everyone’s favorite abstract, time-consuming wonder game has gotten quite the fancy touch-up. Not only will the PS3-exclusive Katamari Forever feature some colorful cel-shading graphics, but it will be coming at you in bright and shiny 1080p along with some new gaming features. These include the ability to jump (they call it “prince hopping”) using the Sixaxis functions of the PS3 controls, power-ups that will help you make an even bigger Katamari, and a mysterious new character name Robo-King. You can expect it to roll out this fall.
Invincible Tiger: Legend of Han Tao
Somewhere in between the classic NES game Kung-Fu and Smash Bros. lies Invincible Tiger, a side scrolling beat-'em-up where you fight off waves of enemies in order to proceed to the next area. It has a deliberate '70s martial arts cinema style that is enhanced by the fact that the game will support several pop-off-the-screen 3-D formats, including the new DLP TVs as well as the classic red and blue glasses. Prepare yourself for its debut on the XBLA and PSN later this year.
The remake of this classic platformer is just a week or two away from its release. Some of you may be old enough to remember the original for the PS1, and for those of you who aren’t, well, now’s your chance to check it out on the Wii. It's gotten a major graphics upgrade along with a couple new moves for Klonoa and some exclusive bonus levels to whet your appetite. Klonoa will be out May 5th and will retail for $29.99
Tekken 3 was one of the first fighters I ever tried to master. Since then, my affinity for the series has waned a bit (I’m lookin at you, Tekken 4) but '6' may just be its lucky number (maybe because it’s actually the 7th fighting title in the franchise if you include Tekken Tag Tournament). Six new characters will be making an appearance including a big fat guy somewhat like Rufus in SFIV named Bob and a cute robot girl named Alisa Bosconovitch with chainsaws on her hands. You’ll also be able to break through walls and floors to reveal new areas of levels, dealing some serious damage to your opponents as well. Tekken 6 will be hitting the mats sometime in Q4 2009
Combine Katamari with Pac-Man and you will get the Munchables. The premise of this platformer is simple: Eat everything. That’s it. I can’t explain it any better than that. You control this odd little creature that just gets bigger and bigger as you eat more things. The more you eat, the better you do. I know it’s a hard concept to wrap your head around, but it’s the same sort of odd, simplistic concept that’s made the casual game market so viable. Look for it on the Wii later this year.
Dead to Rights: Retribution
Shooting people in the head, throwing them off balconies, beating the crap out of them with your fists, playing as a dog and ripping people’s throats out – that is what Dead to Rights: Retribution is in a nutshell. It's a cinematic blood-fest of action that allows you to kill how you want to kill and looks good while doing it, especially with the lack of a HUD to really get you into the experience. If you played the first Dead to Rights, then you’re probably looking forward to the second as well. Look for it in the Q4 2009.
We Cheer 2
Although I didn’t actually play it, I felt it had to be mentioned. This game is made for two kinds of people: young girls who want to be cheerleaders and pervy old men who like to watch cheerleaders. Customize your perky young boy or girl avatar and then guide them through Samba De Amigo-like dance motions via the Wii-mote as you shake your groove thing to an impressive catalogue of pop music.