Greetings from the show floor. Or rather, from the couch in the house of a great friend as I wearily type out this information as I get up. Been out and about at the Penny Arcade Expo, and I’m ready to bang out some tidbits from the show floor while sipping from my pipe mug courtesy of $35 and fangamer.net. What follows is some general news as well as game impressions from some of the games on the show floor as well as a small sampling of pictures I took. Lets also not forget…
Retro Community Meet-Up Reminder
Hey now, Seattle is NOT that cold. Plus the community meet up is later today at noon. Don’t forget the details and come check in with other community members and staff. That goes for you too, ShadeVortex.
Sonic CD free with Certain Moga Units
We’re talking about Sonic CD? Again? Also what the hell is a Moga? It’s a snazzy and upcoming handheld controller for Android devices that allow for a more console like experience for smartphones, which allow you to clip one in via a sturdy, strong slider, or just rest your Android tablet somewhere and play wirelessly via bluetooth. I prefer my Android tablets Powered by Tegra™ of course, but any tablet will do. All games supported will feature updated versions with added API for the Moga device and Sega is definitely on board. No pricing details or release date has been revealed yet, however certain Moga units will come with a free copy of Sonic CD via a download code. That is if you didn’t already spend the $5 on it, but still a nice offer!
Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed on Playstation 3
You’ve likely heard the impressions given by other Retro staff on the game, and it’s pretty similar to now. Sega staff has informed me that it is actually an updated build with refined features such as improved framerate, although it was still a little disorienting, possibly due to the after effect processing on the HDTV’s, (Thats what I’m blaming it on anyway,) as well as some multiplayer features that were not available on the PAX floor. Split-screen multiplayer is likely going to be cut down significantly due to performance. I may have to update this, considering the WiiU version can have up to five players at once, but given certain staff at Sumo come from the likes of Blur, it wouldn’t surprise me given all the geometry and action going on. What IS interesting is that the console versions will support system link multiplayer as well as a large focus of online multiplayer.
Otherwise, the game is pretty much the same as reported before. I got to play as Vyse in the Monkey Ball level and BD Joe in the Golden Axe level. Karts feel much heavier than the previous game, making it tougher to perform power slide spamming. Plus the flying environments are much tougher to deal with, especially if you get caught by hazards causing you to aimlessly find your way back to the normal path after being caught by some rubble. The game otherwise does a fair job keeping the frantic pace going. Supposedly there are new weapons, though didn’t run into any of them, and still no All-Star Moves. Bummer.
They also held a “Contest” to give out buttons so long as you got under 4’30″00 in Temple Trouble (The Super Monkey Ball level.) I got 4’20″23. If you ever get the chance to play, see if you can beat my time. I say this as I stroke my hard-earned buttons laughing derisively in your direction. Hah hah haaah.
Sonic Adventure 2 on Playstation 3
More Sonic Adventure! It’s hard to really say what all is new since the game looks and plays exactly as it did during Sonic’s 10th Anniversary. The font has been changed to ensure visual quality on the higher resolutions. The demo showcased Sonic at City Escape without the upgrades. Man, that game is so much tougher to play without them.
I will say that the game is running with all the enhancements seen in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and they’ve gone to the trouble of putting Big back in the level as he appeared before, which likely means he will return for all his cutscene cameos and more.
Jet Set Radio on Vita
Yep, they’ve got the Vita build on the show floor. Seems to run similarly to the PS3 and 360 versions of the game. That is to say, it’s 30 frames per second and still looks fantastic on the handheld. Though the game certainly looks as if it wasn’t made for widescreen as HUD elements appear a little stretched and small reminders disappear before reaching the left or right edges of the screen. The graffiti tag button still centers the camera behind you, although they’ve granted players the ability to adjust the camera with the right stick at all times. Executing sprays with the left analog stick feels completely natural just like on Dreamcast. The only performance related issue to report is that the music seems to cut out and come back every now and then, or if there’s too much action going on. While it is possible that the game is having difficulty due to streaming off of the Vita’s memory card, there’s still time between now and September when the game launches on most of the targeted platforms.
Nights into Dreams on Xbox 360
Its a port of the Playstation 2 version of the Sega Saturn game! The demo only featured one of Claris’ stages and one of Elliot’s stages. It didn’t allow for me to try the Saturn mode out and the other bonus features are not viewable. The game is still just as tough to control since you’ll be moving at fast speeds and the camera doesn’t orient itself to let you see what is coming up like in Journey of Dreams. The game is still enjoyable to play though. Once the layout has been memorized, it’s a matter of building up links as executing maneuvers such as paraloops and stunts. At least the 360 control stick made it easier for more precise movements, which is required for high scores. The 3D geometry also helps distinguish what is happening on screen, especially for the boss fights.
Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit on Playstation 3
Last game I got to check out at the Sega booth is Hell Yeah! Which still kind of bums me out. The game is fine, very colorful and kind of animates like a flash movie, but man that humor is so juvenile, (The story is of Ash, the son of the lord of hell who had pictures posted on the internet screwing/masturbating with a rubber ducky that was seen on the Hellternet by 100 monsters!) and written by people who kind of harp on internet lingo and video game nostalgia a little too much. That really bums me out on the game!
Luckily the game itself plays similarly to exploration based games such as Metroid where it encourages you to explore the environments collecting cash and upgrades from Ash’s servant or from the store. There’ll be certain sections where you’ll have to rely on switching weapons in the middle of combat for when your sawblade vehicle can’t saw dudes in half. Oh, and be sure to hold R2 to make sure your sawblade is in saw action, otherwise you’ll take damage. There are other times where it appears unclear when you’re safe from hazards. Considering that most of hell is on fire, fire geysers will cause you to take damage. Defeating some of the major monsters executes a mini game, some of which you can actually lose and give the boss some health back, and you either take damage or die. The mini games aren’t especially hard, but a nice way to mix up the game as each mini game appeared to be different, and each successful attempt will grant you a goofy animation of Ash inflicting some healthy murder. This game I– ah…the name alone just kind of screams “Pretentious” to me, but they definitely show some well-earned effort. But the aesthetics really are turning me off.
The PAX coverage continues all weekend long. I guess I could end with another random tidbit about Persona 4 Golden. Hey, it’s published by Sega in Japan. Don’t get angry. Turns out the build they brought for the PAX floor is actually a debug build. I accidentally discovered how to turn it on and tried cheating myself a bunch of level boosts and such, walked through walls and turned on visibility for collision detection and such. Though the staff wasn’t happy that they caught me taking pictures of the debug mode in action, so I won’t be able to post them online. Bummer. Also I tried to start a battle mode with an all Chie army. The game thought this was so awesome of an idea that it crashed!
Wait…well at least I can also end with this picture gallery.