Monday, September 17, 2007

IGN: Yakuza 3 Detailed

Straight from IGN.

If you'd told us that SEGA would be continuing its Yakuza series with a third game on the PlayStation 3, we wouldn't have been too surprised. While the game was a big flop internationally, in Japan, the first two have combined for over a million sales on the PS2.

Now if you'd told us that the third game would actually be a prequel set 400 years in the past, we'd have looked around for a giant cone (or bench, or car) with which to smash you over the head (in case you haven't played Yakuza before, and few of you did, this is a typical scene in the game's battle system).

Officially titled Ryu ga Gotoku Kenzan! in Japan, this PlayStation 3 adventure takes SEGA's adult-oriented franchise back to 1605. Gone are the neon signs of Tokyo and Osaka, now replaced by the neon signs of an Edo Period Kyoto.

The game begins in the enclosed town of Gion, where girls use their bodies for money, and men use their money to buy dreams (that description is translated directly from a Famitsu article on the game... please don't write). Unlike the first two games, which were set in fictional towns designed to look like real places, Gion is a real historical part of Kyoto that was known for its geisha girls.

The story begins when main character Kazumanosuke Kiryu, a bodyguard who will take on any job if the price is right, is approached by a young girl named Haruka. She asks Kiryu to kill Musashi Miyamoto. Musashi Miyamoto is actually Kiryu's past self, and the name he goes by when outside of Gion. This, incidentally, is the same historical Musashi Miyamoto who's regarded as one of the finest swordsmen.

If you're familiar with the Yakuza series, you'll recognize the Kiryu and Haruka names. The two characters may share the same name as the hero and heroine of the first two titles, and they may even share the same basic model design, but they seem to have no actual relation. Presumably, these are the names we'll see in future Yakuza titles as well.

As we've come to expect from the series, SEGA has hooked up some serious talent to do the voices for Yakuza 3. The voices for Haruki and Kiryu haven't been revealed, but here's a sampling of the talent for a few of the other characters.

Kojiro Sasaki (voiced by Shouta Matsuda)
Nagayoshi Marume (Naoto Takenaka)
Itou, the bodyguard (Susumu Terajima)
The mysterious monk (Hiroki Matsukata)
Seijyurou Yoshioka (Masaya Kato)
Toji Gion (Takeshi Tsukamoto)

In Japan, these are some of the biggest personalities in television and movies. They'll be put to use this time for more than just their voices, as SEGA is using face scan technology to make their in-game counterparts share some visual similarities.

Outside of an adult-oriented storyline, Yakuza 3 appears to bring back much of what made the original two games so special. In addition to exploring a living town, now with more detail than ever thanks to the update in hardware, you'll get to make use of an updated combat system. You can now select between four fighting styles: fists (the standard style from past titles), single blade, dual blade and broad sword. "Heat Action" special moves return, complete with dramatic camera angels.

One of the coolest parts of the first Yakuza games was how your character grew as you progressed through the game. Previously, you learned new fighting moves by consulting with a master. That remains in Yakuza 3, but now you can also learn moves just by witnessing key events. Kiryu will even learn special attacks by watching animals move -- for instance, a dog leaping up to fetch a bone.

Mini games and side quests also have their expected place in Yakuza 3. The game will feature over 100 sub quests, some possibly featuring historical figures. Mini games include shogi, dice and archery -- things you might expect from the Edo Period. Hostess clubs are back, giving you a chance to woo the ladies, although these scenes now take place in a seedy tatami room rather than a seedy bar.

SEGA's NE Soft R&D Creative Officer Toshihiro Nagoshi, head producer of the Yakuza series, pointed out to Famitsu in a recent interview that the game doesn't have "3" in the title. That doesn't mean it's an offshoot. In fact, he says the game is being made to surpass Yakuza 2 in all areas, and that we'll slowly learn of the great scale as new information is unveiled.

The information should be forthcoming for this one. Although just announced, Yakuza 3 is already set for Japanese release this Spring, and will have a prominent presence in SEGA's booth at the Tokyo Game Show.

[Via IGN]

PS3 Games: Run New Games Without Latest Firmware

Team PS3-Hacks has done it again. Team PS3-Hacks has apparently achieved a breakthrough in the PS3 exploit scene as it showed us that the team can make new titles run on the high-end console even if you haven't updated to the latest firmware. Confirmations on the validity of this breakthrough have not yet been confirmed.

[Via QJ]

Gamer.Blorge Learns of Rumbling SIXAXIS

Gamer.Blorge learned some new information today. After a lengthy conversation with an important industry insider, they discovered Sony's real plans for the next iteration of the PlayStation 3 controller.

"As usual, the insider can't be named, but, according to her, she witnessed a set of test controllers used at her very important game development company. When I say "very important game development company", I'm talking about super major huge, like Nintendo huge but obviously not Nintendo.

She wouldn't mention if she had a chance to get her hands on one, but she knows for a fact that they rumble and are heavier, although not as heavy as an Xbox 360 controller."

Sounds like it's matching up with all the other rumors on the rumbling SIXAXIS, perhaps a Dual Shock 3.

[Via Gamer.Blorge]

Conan The Barbarian Delayed for PlayStation 3

What did you expect, an advance in the release? September 29, 2007 is the release date for the Xbox 360 in Europe and the US. THQ today revealed in its newest release schedule that the Playstation 3 version will hit stores on October 12, 2007 in both the US and Europe.

No reason for this delay was given.

[Via GFData]

Silent Hill V: New Scans and Screenshots

Here we have some new screenshots and scans from German magazine PLAYZONE on the upcoming Silent Hill V, the renowned psychological horror series on next-generation consoles. The game thrusts players into a shadow world of chaos and terror with atmospheric high definition graphics and an original storyline that sheds new light on the desolate, fog-shrouded town of Silent Hill.

View the scans at the link.

[Via GamePlanets]

WipeOut HD: Eight Teams Lined Up

Straight from Games Radar.

Sony's Studio Liverpool has revealed to GamesRadar the eight racing teams that will appear in WipEout HD when the game is released via the PlayStation Store later this year. They are:

• Piranha
• AG Systems
• Triakis
• Goteki 45
• Assegai
• EG-X
• Qirex
With the exception of EG-X (which is new to the upcoming PSP title, WipEout Pulse), fans of the series will be familiar with all the featured teams. It's also highly likely that this roster will eventually increase in number through additional downloadable content.

As for which tracks will appear, so far we've seen WipEout Pure's Anulpha Pass and Chenghou Project. The developer is keeping the identity of the other six circuits a secret for now, although we do know that two will be taken from WipEout Pulse and the rest will be from WipEout Pure.

[Via Games Radar]

Conan: Magic Vignette Video Clip

Here's another gameplay video for the PlayStation 3 version of upcoming title Conan the Barbarian, entitled Magic Vignette.

This clip shows where Conan got his magic powers that will prove to be handy and useful as he ventures into the different quests in the game. It is also important because unlike any other third-person adventure game, Conan only allows players to have one kind of weapon at a time.

Rumor: Rumble SIXAXIS at TGS 07

There has been so many rumors that look like it's starting to confirm it's existance.

Speaking to an insider, Pro-G has learned that Sony is now supporting rumble for its SIXAXIS controller as revealed in the latest System Development Kit (SDK) sent to developers on Thursday. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, SDKs are essentially packages of tools given to programmers enabling them to develop applications for a specific platform, in this case, Sony's PlayStation 3.

Guess we will have to wait till the show, no?

[Via Pro-G]