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E for All: Metal Gear Solid 4 Demo Impressions

Posted by Steve Van Neil Categories: Action, Konami, PlayStation 3

MGS4 pic

My mission was clear.  Behind a barbed wire facade and slew of No Camera signs lurked one of the few worthwhile E for All offerings: a playable Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots demo.  The official word was that this short demo was the only taste we Americans would get of the latest Solid Snake outing before its release next year, so Konami’s booth was naturally my first stop at the show.  The line snaked around the entire booth.  I queued up and waited.  And waited some more.  Finally, we were led into a makeshift theater (appropriately outfitted with sandbags and cargo netting) where a company representative gave us a crash course on the game’s controls.  Afterwards, the door opened and we were unleashed upon the demo kiosks.


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Bionic Commando Returns!

Posted by Steve Van Neil Categories: Action, CAPCOM, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Bionic Commando screen

Remember Bionic Commando?  The classic NES side scroller, which introduced a grappling gun to the system’s action-adventure slate, blew us all away with its sheer difficulty when it debuted in 1988.  Popular with gamers and critics, Bionic Commando pretty much disappeared, only to resurface as a GameBoy and GameBoy color game.  Gamers were left to pray to the Capcom gods for a sequel.

Well, Capcom has answered, announcing that a new Bionic Commando is on the way to the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.  Little is known about the game except that it will be developed internationally; indeed this new iteration is being produced by Capcom America, creatively advised upon by Capcom Japan, and actually developed by a Swedish studio called GRIN.  Oh, and fear not…the game’s storyline will be as ridiculous as ever.

Read More | GameSpot

New Assassin’s Creed Video

The developers of Assassin’s Creed have always boasted of their game’s high level of environmental interaction.  They claim that every wall, object, or person in their highly anticipated Xbox 360/PS3/PC action-adventure game can be scaled, moved, or shoved.  And now here’s the video to prove it.  Watch Altair (the game’s featured assassin) try to escape the city’s guards by running, climbing, and jumping all over this Middle Aged playground, and kindly ignore the futuristic glitches and flashes that hint at a more mysterious storyline that Ubisoft will not divulge.  Gape at the mind-boggling geometry that for once actually does permit the level of interaction promised by its enthusiastic creators.  Raise an eyebrow at the anachronistic Hans Zimmer-esque musical score.  Breathe a sigh of relief that this long in development game looks like it could conceivably hit that once nigh-unhittable November release date. 

Read More | IGN

Saints Row 2 Announced

Saints Row 2 Logo

THQ announced that sequel to the GTA-style next gen game Saints Row is in the works. Saints Row was an Xbox 360 exclusive that followed the criminal underworld/open world model of Rockstar‘s key franchise pretty closely but included a character generator and several minor improvements that made it a hit with early 360 adopters.

Saints Row 2 takes place years after the original in the same city (Stillwater), but things have changed with the passage of time. As described in the press release, “Saints Row 2 has a much darker and more sinister story that leads your character down a path of betrayal, revenge and redemption against the city that has left him for dead.”

Unlike the original, which was a 360 exclusive, Saints Row 2 will be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 sometime in 2008.

Read More | Business Wire via GamerNode


“White Knight Story” Gameplay Video

This year’s TGS is awash in media from loads of promising Japanese RPGs.  The spiky-haired adventurers in Infinite Undiscovery (ouch at that title), The Last Remnant, and Lost Odyssey promise to take the genre to new excruciatingly emotional heights.  But the most impressive of them all, the one that may even melt the heart of the most cynical hater of all things spiky and stat-laden, is Level 5’s White Knight Story.  Level 5 is the development studio behind Dragon Quest VIII and Rogue Galaxy, so you just know this game will deliver the goods when it comes exclusively to the PS3 next year.

And now we have this video.  It isn’t direct feed, runs about 4 minutes long, and Obi-Wan Kenobi blocks the screen for part of it, but trust me…the whole thing is worth the watch.  The animation is so fluid and seamless that the game’s battles come across as balletic performances, not turgid turn-based fights.  And check out the awe-inspiring transformation near the end of the footage.  You’ll be nodding your head wondering what the fuss is, and then the White Knight will appear and you’ll smile and say, “Okay, that was pretty cool.”  Bank on it.

Read More | GameSpot

PS3 Finally Gets Rumble…in Spring ‘08

DualShock3

At Sony’s pre-TGS press conference, Kaz Hirai announced that rumble is coming back to the PS3 in a big way, in the form of the new DualShock 3 controller.  Gamers have been clamoring for force feedback ever since Sony first unveiled the PS3’s Sixaxis controller sans rumble.  We just couldn’t properly enjoy shooting aliens without the little vibration telling us that we were shooting aliens.  At any rate, Sony heard the call and is making amends. 

“We have not made any changes to its outward appearance and design, but it does have vibration,” Hirai said.  And fear not, motion control fans…the waggle feature isn’t going anywhere.  The wizards at Sony have found a way to include both features.

Which brings us to the catch: the DualShock 3 will be available this year, but only in Japan.  Everyone else will have to wait until next Spring.

Read More | Eurogamer

Playable Metal Gear Solid 4 at TGS

Posted by Steve Van Neil Categories: Action, Konami, PlayStation 3, Sony

MGS4 picKonami has announced that the PS3 game the whole world wants will be playable on the showfloor of this year’s Tokyo Game Show, which kicks off later this week.  That’s right, Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots will make its playable debut to the tune of fifty demo kiosks at Konami’s booth.  Knowing the history of the franchise, you have to wonder if a PSN demo isn’t too far behind.

Drool over impressions of Metal Gear Solid 4 in the next week.  Finally break down and buy the game and that damned PS3 (it’s exclusive, kids) when the game is released next year.

Read More | Kotaku via Gamefront

Castlevania Creator Talks About What’s Next For the Series

CastlevaniaKoji Igarashi, creator of the popular Castlevania franchise, is featured in an interview with Game Informer where he talks about what’s next for the series.

[Next,] I will be working on a DS version, but I am thinking of moving to the home consoles for the future. I will continue to use 2D for the DS version, but I’m still trying to figure out which console to do the home console versions. I think the Xbox 360 would be the best platform for the U.S. market.

Another DS Castlevania wasn’t really a bold prediction, but focusing on the 360 is a little unexpected. Igarashi goes on to clarify, “The U.S. market is the biggest market for the Castlevania series, so I will give the first priority to the U.S. market. The platform will be the Xbox 360, since the PS3 isn’t doing well everywhere in the world.” He does later suggest that he thinks Metal Gear Solid 4 could easily increase the PS3 base in the US which would make it more attractive as a target for a Castlevania game.

As for the Wii, which represents an even larger market than 360, Igarashi says he hasn’t quite figured out how to make the gesture controls work with the game saying that the motion for cracking a whip might be too hard on users but some kind of abstraction would be “not so good.” “I will have to think about a way to accomplish this,” he concludes.

Read More | Game Informer

Harmonix Co-Founder Answers Questions About Rock Band

Rock Band Guitar ControllerThe Official Xbox Magazine’s podcast has an interview this week with Harmonix co-founder and president Alex Rigopulos about their upcoming game Rock Band. In the interview he talks about the game bundles, although light on concrete details he does confirm a band-in-a-box bundle that will include a guitar, drum kit and microphone. However, he goes on to say that the PlayStation 3 version will include a wireless guitar controller while the Xbox 360 version will have to include a wired guitar because Microsoft‘s wireless technology is too expensive to make the bundle reasonably priced. Since the 360 also has only two USB ports, the 360 Rock Band bundle will also be packed with a USB hub.

Rigopulos goes on to discuss the game’s career modes a little, saying there will be both solo career mode that progresses in a linear fashion similar to what Guitar Hero players are used to, but they are also including a less linear band career mode. In this mode you traverse to various venues trying to build up your fan base and in some cases return to previously played locations to maintain your fame there. Also it’s worth noting that the solo career mode will not include a bass career track so your options are vocals, guitar and drums in solo career mode. But Rigopulos did reveal that the finale songs for each career path (and therefore likely the difficulty distinctions throughout) will be different for each instrument, and he even said that at this point the drum finale will be The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

Read More | KOXM Podcast

Silent Hill V Video and Developer Interviews

Check out the video featuring footage and interviews with developers of the upcoming spook-fest sequel, Silent Hill V. Development of the game has been handed off to The Collective, but they seem to be determined to return the game to territory more akin to Silent Hill 2 than the mixed reception of IV. They’ve got a pretty solid looking engine running that features a lot of the familiar effects now rendered in real-time plus they’ve worked to enhance the combat which was always kind of a series weak point.

Unfortunately the interview doesn’t dive too deeply into how well The Collective can manage to retain the creeping psychological unease Silent Hill is famous for (versus rival series Resident Evil‘s shock and gore approach).

Silent Hill V is due sometime in 2008 for PS3 and Xbox 360.


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