326w ago - One of the more unique games that we got to play for the first time at this year's Tokyo Game Show was Echochrome, the PSN puzzler that uses optical illusions as its gameplay foundation. Making use of really simple visuals -- black outlines on a white background, or vice versa -- the game has you rotating the environment in order to see your character progress through various optical challenges. See a gap between two ledges? Rotate the screen so that a column obstructs your view -- now that gap is gone.
The first thing the game teaches you are its five basic laws.
1. Subjective Translation: Changing your perspective can connect paths.
2. Subjective Landing: If an object looks to be below you, your character can land on it.
3. Subjective Existence: If you can't see a gap because it's obstructed, a path exists.
4. Subjective Absence: If you obstruct a hole from your vision, it no longer exists.
5. Subjective Jump: By rotating your perspective you can jump to new areas.
Using these laws, you're then tasked with making it through an example stage that presents a challenge for each one. You control a white faceless dummy that's supposed to follow a black one. The dummies walk on their own -- your only interaction with them is by manipulating the environment.
326w 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...
326w 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...
326w 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...
326w 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...