A.I. Series Shougi Hands-On

We tackle a Japanese chess game on the PSP.

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TOKYO--Marvelous Interactive's A.I. Series Shougi for the PSP seems to be a pretty standard Shougi game, albeit with a number of nifty features that makes it worth playing on a portable device. For those unfamiliar with the concept, Shougi is best explained as Japanese chess, since it is played with pieces that move around similarly to pawns, bishops, and other chess pieces. Of course, there are a number of differences, including that fact that a Shougi board is nine squares by nine squares, the fact that you can "queen" all your pieces, and the fact that you can use the pieces that you've captured from your opponent. A.I. Series Shougi features standard Shougi gameplay, as well as a number of twists.

A.I. Series Shougi's name seems to refer to the high-quality artificial intelligence that's used for the computer opponent, but the game's AI also comes in handy with your own tactics, since you can ask for advice on your next move when you're playing the game. You can save or load game data, and you can also check your history of moves to learn from your mistakes and become a better player. What's more, A.I. Series Shougi comes with a tutorial mode that teaches you all the game rules in playing Shougi, as well as miscellaneous things like Shougi table manners when facing a human opponent.

If you want to learn how to play Japanese chess, A.I. Series Shougi seems like it'll be a fine game to pick up. However, you'll probably have to understand Japanese, since a title like this has a very slim chance of hitting the States.

For more updates, be sure to check GameSpot's coverage of Tokyo Game Show 2004.

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