TGS 2008: Quick Hits From the Sony Booth

I spent the majority of Day 1 at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show creeping around the Sony booth, looking for fun and exciting stuff. And while I still contend that my early game of the show is the remarkably silly Gomibako , there are a couple of more high-profile games that I wanted to call out here to...


I spent the majority of Day 1 at the 2008 Tokyo Game Show creeping around the Sony booth, looking for fun and exciting stuff. And while I still contend that my early game of the show is the remarkably silly Gomibako , there are a couple of more high-profile games that I wanted to call out here to give folks updates on how they're coming along:

Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic

Before there was LittleBigPlanet, there was Rag Doll Kung Fu, a goofy little PC game developed by Media Molecule's Mark Healey (then an employee at Lionhead studios). The game is coming to a PlayStation 3 at some point, and based on the match I had with the entirely pleasant Sony booth assistant, it looks to be relatively unchanged from the last time we saw the game at PAX in August.

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Come get some, easily embarrassed Japanese floor attendant!

Before my match with the lovely Sony attendant began, we chose our combatants. With a number of characters to choose from, I opted for the Afro Samurai-looking fighter, while my attractive Japanese opponent choose an older-looking sensei-type. She then proceeded to explain to me in a coy mixture of Japanese and English that this was a King of the Hill match and that the goal was to see who could stay on the top ledge the longest. Little did she know what I had in store.

Before she could even finish her explanation I pounced on her… sorry, I pounced on her character… like a chubby guy at a meat bar. "Haha! I seem to be beating you handily," I said loudly over the noisy TGS din that surrounded us. She nodded and gave me a politely nervous smile while doing her best to continue to appear as if she enjoyed my company.

"Did you see that punch I just layed on you?" I screamed while my Sony companion looked for a coworker she could try and sub out for. "That's the same shot that put down Kimbo Slice!"

"Hey, are you even trying to win? I can't stand it when people lose to me on purpose!" I roared while kicking her rag-doll avatar around like it owed me money. Then, pulling myself out of my rag-doll-physics-induced reverie, I looked around to find my new Sony best friend having moved on to a friendly looking, non-screaming, TGS attendee. Geez. Women.

MotorStorm 2: Pacific Rift

Sony's showing off the volcano level in this game again, and even though we've had a build of the game in our office for a few weeks, I still do not tire of this ridiculously over-the-top track. In fact, this build of Pacific Rift looks to have more stuff going on visually--I seem to remember our earlier build having less grass on the ground than the one I played this morning. Still, the essential component to the volcano level--loads and loads of fire--is still in full effect, and it makes for an invigorating racing experience.

Watching your car or bike become engulfed in flames as it jumps over a blazing river of molten lava is fantastic, and I really appreciate the tangible effect it has on gameplay. By greatly increasing the speed at which your engine heats up when using the boost, the fire makes the use of boost a much more strategic aspect. I also love the misting shower installations that you can use to counteract the flame and cool your jets.

It also helps that the track design is relatively simple here too. Unlike some of the relatively twisting and narrow circuits in Pacific Rift, the volcano level (which I believe is formally known as "Wildfire" is essentially a circle) has huge wide-open paths that are perfect for bullying your way through traffic toward the front of the line.

It's nice to see the drab desert setting of the original MotorStorm is nowhere to be found here in Pacific Rift. Here's hoping that Wildfire is the very first stage in the final game because it certainly goes a long way toward selling the game.

WWE SmackDown! vs. Raw 2009

Here's my (admittedly somewhat fictionalized) recollection of my time with SVR 2009 today--told in a dramatic style. Feel free to use this script with your local acting troupe:

Me (as CM Punk): Punch, punch, punch, kick, kick, kick, arm bar, arm bar, arm bar.

CPU (as Undertaker): "Ha ha ha!"

Me: Punch, kick, arm bar, attempted pin.

Referee: "One!"

CPU: "Stop it, you're funny."

Me: Kick, kick, Irish whip. Kick over the ropes. Pose.

CPU: "Lulz. I like your pose."

Me: "Grr!" Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, punch, kick, kickkickkickkickkick. Attempted pin.

Referee: "One!"

CPU: (Kickout) "ROFL! You're cute with all your kicking!"

Me: "Argh!" Kick, kick, punch, leg drop, leg drop. FINISHER! Pin!

Referee: "One!"

CPU: (Kickout) "WTF! Stop tickling me!"

This happened for 10 minutes. No lie. *Sigh.* At least the trip to Yuke's was a lot of fun!

SOCOM: U.S. Navy SEALs Confrontation

I don't suppose playing a three-man match of SOCOM: Confrontation is anything like what the developers at Slant Six had in mind for the Tokyo Game Show. Yet that's precisely how my demo on the show floor went. Granted, this was Day 1 of TGS, with a limited amount of attendees able to get access to the games. And while I fully expect the game to have lots of eager players on Saturday and Sunday when the show opens to the public, it's tough to get a feel for how Confrontation is coming along when you're playing a two-on-one match and your confused Japanese teammate is continually mistaking you for the enemy and attempting to shoot you in the face with his submachine gun, not realizing that friendly fire is disabled.

On the plus side, once my buddy realized we were allies, we racked up an impressive and dominating victory over our foe, who was even more clueless about third-person shooting games than my comrade. At one point, I watched him camp on the second floor of a ledge overlooking a courtyard for a full 30 seconds before finally deciding to put him out of his virtual misery with a well-placed headshot. I mean, hasn't anyone told the Japanese that camping is a crap tactic?

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