Namco Bandai Games America hosted a preview of its 2009 holiday game releases at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles to a steady stream of press eager to try them out.
I made straight for the Katamari demo. In Japan, the game is called a tribute version and promises to please all its fans with new variations on all the old favorites. That’s not to say there’s nothing new. There are more choices of game play modes and you also can choose the look completely, opting for a comic book graphic style, a wood block style, or of course, the classic style. All is presented with the same off-beat collection of objects and whimsical humor of the Katamari brand.
WE CHEER 2
Version 2 of this popular game for the Wii console now lets both guys as well as gals cheer. The game uses 2 Wii remotes, one in each hand, and asks you to do ever more complicated moves to a brand new soundtrack of licensed hit songs. This is a game and it’s also a workout. You have to really commit to moving your body, swinging your arms in full circles, reaching and turning in rhythm. The game sets up each move with a moving arrow and then you have to follow the direction set in time with a star that traces the same lines. It sounds simple. It looks simple. But it is a real brain workout along with a body workout.
SOULCALIBUR: BROKEN DESTINY
This latest in the Soulcalibur franchise is a game exclusively for the PSP and includes Kratos, a character from Sony’s “God of War” franchise as a guest character. This fighting game has many returning characters as well as some new ones. There is a new single-player mode to develop player reflexes and fighting skill. Plus there is almost limitless character customization in the game for players who want to create their own fighting figure.
MAGNA CARTA 2
This RPG is only for the Xbox 360® and features beautiful graphics in a mythic setting and uses a combination of turn-based battle with real-time game play for a unique game experience. The graphic style is a kind of photo realism with manga-style influences and aims, with fully voiced dialogue, to draw players into a completely immersive gaming experience. The game is designed to be seamless, with no load screens or abrupt changes in action when a battle ends. For players who like mastering moves, there are special attacks and the fighting style shifts with every change of weapon.
DEAD TO RIGHTS: RETRIBUTION
This is a mature crime fighting game for the PS3 and Xbox 360 that follows vice cop Jack Slate and his dog, Shadow, as they fight the underworld excesses in a crumbling city. Players can take control not only of Jack but of Shadow as various points in the game in both weapon and hand-to-hand combat. The game introduces a new hybrid combat system that aims to put the full range of action that a real life law enforcement officer would have into the player’s hands. Gritty, violent, and bloody, this game is beautifully dark but not for everyone.
DRAGON BALL - versions for the PS3, XBOX and DS
Namco Bandai has two different versions of this game based on the popular anime series. Dragon Ball: Raging Blast for the PS3 and XBox is a fighting game that allows you to play one of over 70 of the characters from the entire series against each other. This is a great game for beginners and young gamers who like fighting games because of the simplicity of the moves. Some fighting games require elaborate button combinations to execute the special moves and powerups. Here, the combos are streamlined so that new or young players can get real pleasure from their matches.
Dragon Ball Z: Attack of the Saiyans for the DS is a turn based RPG which again means that the game does not depend on complicated button patterns to play. Instead, you configure your team as best you can and then watch as it plays out. There are never-before-seen storylines that reveal secrets of the Dragon Ball universe and sub-missions where players can collect special items for special rewards.
ACTIVE LIFE: EXTREME CHALLENGE
Active Life: Extreme Challenge for the Wii lets you play extreme sports without the extreme danger. The game comes with a floor mat that lets you engage in full-body workouts. It is amazing just how quickly the game gets your heart pumping. Even something as simple as jumping rope, which can seem like a kiddie no-brainer, is actually a super cardio workout. The game also lets you play in direct competition with friends without the need of an extra pad. If you select a head-to-head game, the pad allows you each to use half of the pad each so that the feeling of competing is direct and immediate.
Namco Bandai Games America website