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TGS '07 Preview: Final Fantasy XIII for PS3

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358w 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 '07 Preview: Yakuza 3 for PS3

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358w ago - We should clarify up front that there is no game known as "Yakuza 3" at this point. But in Japan, the Yakuza series goes by a different name, and that series is getting a third incarnation. So using the good ol' transitive property, we decided to call this game Yakuza 3 until we hear otherwise.

Okay, so here's where things get weird. Yakuza 3 no longer takes place in a modern setting, moving things all the way back to 1605. We're not going to claim there weren't any shady business dealings back in that era, but something tells us that's not exactly the "yakuza" Sega of America's marketing department came up with when thinking of the U.S. title for the series.

Naming conventions aside, we got to check out a bunch of video footage from the game today, and it looks fantastic. Despite the drastic setting change, there are plenty of connections between Yakuza 3 and the first two games in the series -- being able to move through a crowded city, fighting people, playing tons of mini-games. Seeing them applied to new subject matter with impressive visuals (specifically, the game throws a lot on the screen at once and uses bright colors to make nearly everything pop) adds up to an exciting package.

Thus far, we've seen glimpses of the following modes/mini-games players will come across: flirting, playing...
 

TGS '07 Preview: Pain for PS3

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358w ago - There's just something about outrageous physical harm that you can't take your eyes off of; at least, that's what the developers of Pain are banking on. For a game that's all about shooting your character (we recommend the Nurse) out of a large outstretched rubber band in order to create the most painful descent possible, the game spends a lot of time early on teaching you to sharpshoot monkeys off skyscrapers, and making sure you know exactly how much force you need until you can soar into that giant donut.

But this PSN game's controls are really simple to grasp from the get-go: the left analog stick controls aim, the right stick controls power, you press X to launch, R1 to relaunch, and Triangle to replay your last launch. Once in the air you can also use the left analog stick to control your drift, moving to the left or right in midair or slowing down and extending your distance. Unfortunately, the tutorial section seems unnecessarily long and particularly hand-holding; you do a series of launches according to the on-screen instructions, but most of your controls are restricted until the game decides you should use it in a particular launch.

Most of the launches don't even allow for you to aim yourself at all, because the game wants you to be knocking into very specific items or buildings. It seems...
 

TGS '07 Preview: Tori-Emaki for PS3

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358w ago - One of the bizarre yet pleasant surprises at Sony's pre-TGS event tonight was EyeToy title Tori-Emaki. The game's Japanese calligraphy visuals immediately caught our eye -- it looks a lot like Okami, except in high-def.

However, don't get too excited just yet. The gameplay we saw was rather simplistic -- you guide around a flock of crows by motioning in directions with your hands. And that's about it. While moving the flock, you explore a rather beautiful animating world, but as far as we can tell, it still doesn't reach much further than that.

Ironically, despite the distinctive visual style and the event it's debuting at, Tori-Emiki is not being developed in Japan -- it's from Sony Europe and developer PlayLogic. We're cautiously optimistic, so look for more on Tori-Emiki soon.
 

TGS '07: Preview: LittleBigPlanet for PS3

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358w ago - The first noticeable difference with the Tokyo Game Show build was the addition of a new display to house and showcase your and others' created games: a globe. All of the levels that you, your friends, or random others create appear as little patches on a big world. Although it wasn't visible in the TGS version of the game, the idea is that your world will eventually fill with patches -- some through your own doing, sure, but mainly by being populated via the network.

To help promote the game's viral nature, your world will fill up with some of the best or most popular levels from others -- but you can also apply all sorts of filters, such as to display only levels from friends, or levels above or below a certain rating, and so on. Also not implemented in the TGS version, you'll be able to zoom in and out of the globe, so as it fills with hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of levels you'll still be able to navigate through them.

Interestingly, the developers hope to see lots of players placing levels according to geography or proximity (for instance, some people may want to place levels near each other). In fact, according to the developers, the concept of the world as a hub for the game came about from LittleBigPlanet's mission of incorporating and celebrating elements of countries and cultures from around...
 
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