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9:00 AM on 09.20.2013

TGS 2013: The shopping of TGS

No game show is complete without a place where you can buy lots of branded goods. TGS is certainly no exception to that rule. While it occupies a fairly small space on the show floor, TGS' merchandise area still has plenty of...

Elliot Gay

Updated! Panel details revealed:

Hironobu Sakaguchi Reflection: Past, Present, Future of RPGs

The father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has announced his PAX Prime 2014 panel where he will discuss his history developing role-playing games, along with revealing more about his new RPG, Terra Battle. Find out more info at PAX Prime website.

2:00 AM on 09.20.2013

TGS 2013: New Atelier Rorona comes to life

After reading countless magazine articles about the changes being made in New Atelier Rorona, it's nice to finally see them in action. The character models look fantastic, though unfortunately it'd appear as though the envir...

Elliot Gay

1:00 AM on 09.20.2013

TGS 2013: Sen no Kiseki in action

It's no secret that Falcom's upcomingVita/PS3 JRPG, Sen no Kiseki, is my most anticipated game of the year. There's a lot of reasons for that, many of which I've gone over dozens of times in previous articles. I won't bore y...

Elliot Gay

12:01 AM on 09.20.2013

TGS 2013: God Eater 2 offscreen Vita TV video

I had the opportunity to go hands on with the most recent build of Namco Bandai's upcoming PSP/Vita hunting game, God Eater 2. Before my preview goes up however, I'm here to deliver an eight minute video of folks playing the...

Elliot Gay

11:00 PM on 09.19.2013

TGS 2013: Offscreen J-Star Victory VS footage

I wrote a short preview for J-Stars Victory VS earlier today, and now I have video of the game in action.  This is a complete single player match that I think does a good job of showing what J-Stars is all about. Check ...

Elliot Gay

TGS 2013: Jumping in with J-Stars Victory VS photo
TGS 2013: Jumping in with J-Stars Victory VS
by Elliot Gay

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that nearly three quarters of Namco Bandai's Tokyo Game Show booth is composed of Shonen Jump games. 

Perhaps the biggest of the bunch is J-Stars Victory VS for the PS3 and the Vita. A four player versus game, J-Stars takes a bunch of characters from the past and present of Jump and throws them together in destroyable environments. Sadly, I wasn't able to play with other people, so my 15 minute demo was against three different CPU players. 

My immediate impression upon sitting down with the PS3 version of J-Stars is that while it certainly doesn't look bad, it almost feels like it was developed for the Vita first and the PS3 second. On the flip side, energy blasts are colorful, and the fact that environments can take visual damage does a lot to spice things up. I was playing as Goku, so using a kamehameha blast to toss my opponent through a building felt especially satisfying. The controls reminded me a lot of the Gundam VS series, with a dash button and multiple attack buttons that when pressed together produce different kinds of attacks. 

Each player can select a sub-character that supports you in battle when you press L2 (I might be mistaken about the button). In my case, I chose Luffy, who would dash out ahead of me to attack my opponent, leaving him open to further follow-up attacks. It was messy and frantic, but a ton of fun, especially when you have four fighters on the field throwing out support characters every which way.

One concern I do have is the camera and its tendency to get lost when the action goes close quarters. Any time I found myself up against a wall, I had difficulty tracking my character. It only got worse when I was under attack, and the target I was locked onto was moving around further confusing the camera. These are problems I'm familiar with through the Gundam VS series, so I'm not all that hopeful that this'll be fixed before release. 

That being said, I can see J-Stars being a popular game in groups of people. It's fun, the controls are fairly simple, and there's nothing like seeing Goku and Luffy butt heads with Yusuke Urameshi and Kenshin. 

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9:30 PM on 09.19.2013

Strike a fabulous pose! JoJo: All Star Battle goes west

Is this a dream? Did I get transported into another dimension!? Nope, I'm still in the real world, and I'm surprised to see that Namco Bandai is planning to release JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle in Europe and Aust...

Salvador GRodiles

TGS 2013: JDK Band live was amazing photo
TGS 2013: JDK Band live was amazing
by Elliot Gay

This year at Tokyo Game Show, Falcom's well loved JDK Band put on a mini live performance lasting about 45 minutes. They played six songs from their library of music, including a few newer tracks and some classics.

Six members of the band were in attendance, and the performance was positively amazing to be present for. The JDK Band just has this amazing energy that reflects in their playing, and I'm incredibly happy that I was able to see them live.

I also happened to record nearly the entire concert thanks to the help of a friend. Check out the concert above and below, and sound off in the comments. Which song is your favorite?

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TGS 2013: A look at Tales of Symphonia Chronicles photo
TGS 2013: A look at Tales of Symphonia Chronicles
by Elliot Gay

I didn't exactly have high expectations for Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, but it still somehow managed to miss them by a long shot.

First, I have a confession to make. I've never actually played past the first two hours of the original Tales of Symphonia. At the time, it just failed to sink its hooks into me, and I found myself gravitating toward other RPG experiences over on the PS2. As somebody who eventually became quite the Tales fan, I've always been meaning to go back to Symphonia and give it a real shot. I figured the Chronicles HD re-release would be the perfect way to do that.

In the past few years, we've had some truly fantastic HD re-releases. The most recent, Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix, did a great job of updating the visuals and sound without losing what made the original game so great. The fresh coat of paint really did a lot to make the experience feel brand new again. There are very few excuses for lazy HD ports nowadays, which is why Symphonia Chronicles makes me so sad.

I sat down with Tales of Symphonia for about ten minutes, and I couldn't help but constantly find myself shocked by how poor the game looked. I don't mean this on an aesthetic level either. It felt like the game had been poorly up-resed. Textures were blurry, it seemed like there was no anti-aliasing, and I'm fairly sure I've seen Symphonia look fantastic in Dolphin on high spec PCs. As it stands, folks hoping for a new experience with an old favorite might want to temper their expectations. The new PS2 content and a stable framerate certainly make it worth taking the dive, but don't expect a whole lot else.

There's still a bit of time before the game officially launches though, so hopefully they iron out these kinks before then. 

My fingers are crossed.

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TGS 2013: Partying with Sengoku Basara 4 photo
TGS 2013: Partying with Sengoku Basara 4
by Elliot Gay

I've never been much of a fan of Koei's Dynasty Warriors series. That isn't to say the appeal is lost on me; the idea of smashing through hundreds of weak soldiers has always been an exciting one. I suppose in my case, DW just seemed to take itself too seriously.

Enter Capcom's Sengoku Basara franchise. A rewrite of the Sengoku Era of Japan, SB is ridiculously over the top, featuring absurd redesigns of famous Japanese historical figures that may or may not include giant cyborgs. I remain convinced that Sengoku Basara actually takes place thousands of years in the future.

No, I'm not crazy.

In a year without a big Monster Hunter-like title being premiered, it's not an understatement to say that Sengoku Basara 4 has definitely been getting a whole lot of attention. It's Capcom's most lavish booth by a long shot, and it's clear they're putting a lot of marketing power behind it. The lines were never super long, but they were consistent. Sengoku Basara has always appealed to a large range of people, and it looks like the forth game is set to continue that tradition.

How does the game itself play? I had the opportunity to spend 15 minutes with it, and decided to play as newcomer Ii Naotora, voiced by the always incredible Maaya Sakamoto. As expected, her attacks are slow and methodical, as she wields a huge sword that has an incredible long start up time. Using her heavy attack multiple times gets her spinning, which in turn helps her to send opponents spinning into the air like a tiny tornado. Her style of combat is a nice move away from the more agile female characters from previous games; Ii is a tank.

For the most part, the Sengoku Basara formula seems to be unchanged. You make your way to different areas on the map so you can take down generals and reclaim spots. There are plenty of little UI differences that do a lot to make the whole experience feel much more polished, but overall, if you liked Sengoku Basara before, I don't see that changing any time soon.

There is one massive change that I think long time fans will be fond of. The supporting character you bring with you into battle can now be ordered to attack certain areas. With the click of a button, you can send your pal to the enemy in front of you even while you hammer on baddies. I foresee a lot of cool situations in which you sandwich a tough boss between the player and supporting characters. 

Are you ready to party?

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TGS 2013: Hands on with Geist Crusher photo
TGS 2013: Hands on with Geist Crusher
by Elliot Gay

Capcom's latest attempt at capturing the hearts and minds of Japanese children comes in the form of 3DS action game, Geist Crusher.

Developed by Treasure, makers of many a classic video game, Geist Crusher is a 3rd person action brawler that allows players to switch between three different forms throughout battle. Armor mode sees you using your fists to plow into enemies. The second mode changes your armor into a weapon, and the third mode sees the player character turn into a giant monster of sorts. 

My initial take away from the demo at TGS was that the combat feels very much so like the product of Treasure's developers. It's fast and flows well, letting you switch between attack forms quickly, allowing for more interesting combo strings. The problem is that there's little to no exploration. Levels are little more than running to the next battle that's a few feet away. While the combat is fun, I'm concerned that it won't hold up as a long lasting experience.

Capcom is trying to position Geist Crusher as its next big franchise, given the multimedia push they're giving it. The game features over 100 Geist creatures, meaning that there are more than 100 different armor sets you can unlock. Additionally, the game comes with a cover that can be placed over your 3DS. When you purchase actual Geist toys, you can then attach them to the 3DS cover, and it will read the barcode and download a new Geist into your game to extend play. The whole idea reminds me a lot of Skylanders, but the gameplay end worries me. It certainly doesn't help that Geist Crusher isn't a particularly great looking game.

I was personally hoping to come away surprised like I did with E.X. Troopers last year, but sadly that wasn't the case. I'm a huge Treasure fan, so I can only cross my fingers that they figure this game out before it releases. 

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8:00 AM on 09.19.2013

TGS 2013: The booths of TGS Part 1

Tokyo Game show is a crazy place. It goes without saying that the show floor is constantly flooded with people running around to take a look at the next big thing. It's a sight to behold, which is why I wanted to give you fin...

Elliot Gay