Previews


The late May announcement that Disney was including over 40 of its characters in Disney Universe wasn’t exactly a shock, coming from a company that had licensed its familiar film and TV characters into video games for decades.

But the idea of combining so many characters into a single title does seem a little odd for a company that usually gives each distinct universe a licensed title of its own.

“If you look at the Disney library, it’s so vast, and really we can’t make a game based on every character,” assistant producer Mark Orgel explained to Gamasutra at a recent demo. “These characters are beloved by game fans, and they want to see them star in games. So maybe they’re not stars in their own game, but we can incorporate them in to Disney Universe.”

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To this point in gaming history, gamers who’ve wanted to dance like Michael Jackson have had to settle for mimicking his moves with timed button presses in Space Channel 5 or kicking and jiving their way through generic bad guys in the beat-’em-up classic Moonwalker. But this holiday season, Ubisoft is cashing in on the late king of pop’s name and the resurgent popularity of motion controls to bring us what the game’s International Brand Manager Felicia Williams calls “an authentic dancing experience … you are going to dance like Michael Jackson.”

(full article)


Given the PlayStation Move’s visual similarities to a sort of futuristic magic wand, it’s perhaps not that surprising that one of the first Move games Sony showed at its E3 2010 press conference used the device to cast spells. At that first live demo of Sorcery, The Workshop Chief Creative Officer Christian Busic promised the game would provide “the grail of development: a total sense of immersion” with “the kind of fidelity … that isn’t possible with any other kind of motion control.” I’m not sure if I’d go that far, but the Playtation Move controller was definitely integral to my enjoyable time with a short, roughly 20% complete demo of Sorcery shown at Gamescom.

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First, the good news: Fighters Uncaged Prodcuer Luc Verdier recognizes that there have been too many casual, family-oriented games announced for the Kinect thus far, and says the game is his attempt to fix this. Now the bad news: based on a recent demo of the game at GamescomFighters Uncaged utterly fails in this attempt.

As you can see in this live demonstration video, the movement recognition for Fighters Uncaged is far from perfect at this point. Punches can be completely finished and retracted in the real world before they even start in the game, making it hard to string together quick combinations of moves. In fact, Verdier said combos in the final game would actually be activated using a quick-time event system, asking players to string together preset poses for an unblockable chain of attacks. A similar match-the-on-screen-pose system is already in place to dodge or block incoming attacks, and feels incredibly unwieldy.

(full article)


We already said this when we talked about the multiplayer gameplay in the upcoming Wii version ofGoldeneye 007, but it bears repeating: This is not your Goldeneye N64 game all prettied up. In fact, an eyes-on walkthrough of the game’s Jungle level at Gamescom this week showed off just how much first-person-shooter game design has changed in the last 13 years.

The changes were incredibly apparent right from the start, when the developers guiding the demo sneaked up behind a guard and took him out with the kind of close-quarters combat neck-snap you might expect to see in every bit of pop culture ever (but not the original Goldeneye). Taking out two more guards with headshots ensured that the alarm wouldn’t be raised and the game could remain a Splinter Cell-style stealth experience for at least a while longer.

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Ubisoft’s entry into the already burgeoning Kinect casual sports game market was roughly 60% complete in a demo at Gamescom this week, so the game was still looking pretty rough around the edges. Of the six different sports available on the menu, only downhill skiing and boxing were available to play.

The skiing game was enjoyable enough, detecting slight variations in my lean to guide the on-screen skier down a pretty basic hill. The experience felt much smoother and more natural than similar games designed for the Wii balance board, which I usually find a bit twitchy in skiing simulations. I liked how the game recognized a low crouch as a way to improve aerodynamic speed, and how swooshing my arms at any time resulted in a satisfying ski pole push. Aside from some frequent graphical glitches (which made my skier look like he was showing off the bottom of his shoe), the demo was a great proof of concept.

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Okamiden on the DS manages to capture the painterly art style of the PlayStaton 2′s (and then the Wii’s) beloved Okami while also adding a heavy dollop of adorableness to the mix. This really comes through in some of the animations, such as tiny wolf god Chibiterasu’s darling backflip attack, or the way he flails his paws in mid-air, Saturday-morning-cartoon style, before he falls from a collapsing bridge.

Okami‘s trademark magical paintbrush is back in the DS game, of course, and the short Gamescom demo showed it being used to manipulate the world in some of the same ways as the original game — slashing rocks and obstacles in half, circling trees to make them bloom, and building bridges across gaps. Using the stylus to do all these things feels a bit more natural than awkwardly painting with the Wii remote, but was essentially similar.

(full article)


Sony had a new, roughly 60% complete build of The Fight on hand at a pre-Gamescom press event, and I have to say, my experience with the game couldn’t have been more different from the one Chris Buffa had a few months ago (when the game still had its “Lights Out” subtitle). For one, I found the artificial intelligence to be at least competitive, if not overly hard. My computerized opponent — a thin, bouncy, tattooed Asian gangster — came at me constantly, using quick jabs to take advantage if I opened myself up with too many attacks and not enough guarding. The player who went before me actually lost to his computer opponent, a beefy black man in a wifebeater who countered an endless series of high, straight punches with some accurate low body blows.

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We already know quite a bit about how From Dust (née Project Dust) uses a few layers of basic elements to create a highly realistic and malleable virtual world. What’s been less clear was how Eric Chahi and his team were going to make an actual game out of this lava-filled sandbox. Until today, that is, when Chahi and producer Guillaume Bunier presented the first details of From Dust‘s gameplay in a Gamescom demonstration.

(full article)


A music game that’s just about singing? That’s so 2003. Or if you’re the SingStar franchise, it’s so, um, today. Sony’s PlayStation karaoke series has proudly focused on grading vocals for years now, but that’s about the change with this fall’s release of both SingStar Dance and SingStar Guitar. I got a chance to try both of these games at Sony’s pre-GamesCom press event, and have written up some quick initial impressions after the break.

(full article)


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