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TGS '07 Preview: Bumpy Trot 2 for PS3

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357w ago - The PS2 version of the game looked perfectly fine -- more refined than the original, smoother gameplay and a less jarring frame rate -- but on PS3 the game shines. It's not the best-looking title on the console, but the cell-shaded visuals are somewhat similar in quality to Eternal Sonata, albeit with more subdued colors and less fanciful character designs. The "trotmobile" mechs retain their sense of real-world practicality, more closely resembling actual utility vehicles than the baroque robot suits common in most video games. Characters seem like normal people -- both of which seem important to selling the story, which (going by the game's trailer) revolves around an impoverished young man in ragged clothing who falls in love with the pretty flower girl he sees while working as a shoeshine boy on a frigid, snowy street.

The Bumpy Trot 2 video showed off a bit of gameplay, which seems very much in keeping with the original game: the hero sets out in a trotmobile along a girl and man who closely resembled Steambot Chronicles' Connie and Basil. The trio find itself in combat with a massive river-based mobile platform operated by the Killer Elephant gang -- a sequence that seemed almost directly lifted from the first game, and undoubtedly included in the trailer for the sake of comparing the series' PS2 visuals to the...
 

TGS '07 Preview: Valkyrie of the Battlefield for PS3

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357w ago - Not since Smilebit's Japan-only Dreamcast real-time strategy game Hundred Swords has Sega put so much effort into the genre as it has with their upcoming PS3 shooter Valkyrie of the Battlefield: Gallian Chronicles. A significant portion of Sega's TGS presence this year is devoted to what at first glimpse looks like a collision between Studio Ghibli-quality visuals and pseudo-real-time tactical gameplay a la Medal of Honor, and eventually evolves into something much more compelling than that bizarre description suggests.

When we first lined up to give Valkyrie a shot, we were subjected to a verbal tutorial (what is with Tokyo Game Show and mandatory, live tutorials? See also: Metal Gear Online) by a lady dressed up in the style of the game's characters. We also got a taste of the backstory of the war-torn, otherwise peaceful nation of Gallia, which was invaded by Hellghast-style forces. Fiercely proud and independent, an uprising of Gallian nationals tries (via the player) to push back and repel the invasion, using classic 'rock, paper, scissors' tactical game mechanics, played out with a small, balanced squad of specialist freedom fighters.

Using a cel-shaded, sketch-style of 3D rendering, each character looks distinct, wrapped in soft brown and blue clothing, shaded by cross-hatched pen strokes that evokes...
 

TGS '07 Preview: FF XIII Versus for PS3

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357w ago - Final Fantasy Versus XIII may not turn out to be a very good game, but it's going to damn fun to watch.

That's not to criticize the game or take a pessimistic view -- it's just that, well, Square Enix hasn't shown a single frame of gameplay footage since its debut at E3 2006. So we don't know what the game is about, or how it plays, or even what genre it will belong to. But its FMV could best be described as smokin' hot, eclipsing Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children or even the real FFXIII.

The new Versus trailer shown behind closed doors at this year's TGS seemed like a sad rehash of the video-only trailer that's been shown for the past year and a half... for about ten seconds. And then the new stuff kicked in.

Set to a rousing operatic score and punctuated by random phrases in Italian, the new Versus clip shows the outcome of the previous trailer (in which the mysterious white-haired protagonist rose from a throne in a city to confront a small army of gun-toting soldiers, himself armed with an arsenal of mystical weapons). The outcome goes like this: He totally kicks their asses. Using the magically-suspended swords and blades, the unnamed hero (or not?) slices through the troops as their bullets ricochet off what appear to be magical shields. At one point, the battle takes to the air...
 

TGS '07 Preview: Final Fantasy XIII for PS3

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357w ago - Like its spin-off Final Fantasy XIII: Versus, the "true" Final Fantasy XIII seemingly exists more as a story and FMV than as a game at this point. In its defense, though, the FMV is pretty much completely jaw-dropping.

Shown only in Square Enix's TGS "closed mega theatre," the newest trailer for FFXIII has no gameplay footage whatsoever -- but it does contain a ton of new scenes and some narration to help give context to the glimpses we've seen over the past year and a half. The general noise level of the show made the narration difficult to hear, but here's what we've gathered:

Like most Final Fantasy games, XIII seems to be set in a futuristic fantasy world with aerial cities connected by mighty airships. But this world is beset by something called the "Cocoon," which appears to be ravaged by monsters -- Bahamut and Ifrit were shown, among others. To maintain the peace, or perhaps for more nefarious reasons, some people are relocated to a place called Pulse. The train seen in previous trailers apparently serves this purpose.

Lightning, the powerful woman warrior who has dominated XIII footage to date is described as having been chosen to put an end to Pulse. More of her battle on the train is shown before a dropship releases an army of yellow-clad soldiers who descend by rocket and surround...
 

TGS Preview: White Knight Story for PS3

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357w ago - At TGS last year White Knight Story (Shirokishi Monogatari) stole the hearts of many RPG fans with its amazing debut video. The buzz went white hot almost immediately, with everyone wanting a chance to find out more behind the gorgeous graphics and get a taste of how it would play. In the subsequent months, though, the lack of any new information let it drift out of the spotlight with so many other high profile titles getting attention. But when it came out that the game would be playable on the floor at TGS this year, it all came rushing back. So when the doors opened, that made White Knight Story stop number one.

The demo opened into an area called the Balastor Plain. Lead character Lenard and two companions stand beside a loaded wagon that needs to be escorted up the road. Camera control for looking around the 3D world offers complete freedom, and -- at least in this area -- the boundaries seem to extend a comfortable distance beyond the road. Running around and exploring the fields to either side of the road, we found a smattering of low-level creatures goofing off. With no random battles, these made a comfortable introduction to the combat system.

RPG veterans will recognize the system as somewhat similar to that used in the last Star Ocean game. Approaching an enemy will automatically put you in...
 
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