Namco Bandai Gamers Day 2009

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On Tuesday Namco held their annual Gamers Day where a bunch of jerkwad editors rain down on San Francisco to diddle with all of the upcoming games for 2009. A handful of games were announced and/or showcased and you may have heard about them, but if you didn’t then you’re in for a real surprise!

Tekken 6, Katamari Forever, Soul Calibur and Dead to Rights were among the games being showcased. Magna Carta II is your standard JRPG and will be an exclusive for the Xbox 360. Soul Calibur will finally be making its way down to the Sony PSP with Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny as well as Naruto Shippuden.

Hit the jump for some hands-on info, videos and other facts from a few of the aforementioned games.

For starters, here’ the trailer for Magna Carta II.

Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny will launch this summer in North America with over 20 characters and a dedicated single player mode.

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Naruto Shippuden Legends Akatsuki Rising will feature over 10 ninjas to play from with multiplayer mode over an ad hoc network and will launch this Fall.

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The only details Namco would give about Tekken 6 was that each console would be getting exclusive content, but that they’d be comparable. The graphics engine has been tweaked and player movements were also improved. Other than a Fall launch on the PSP, PS3 and Xbox 360, Namco was tight lipped about their prize gem.

And who doesn’t love Katamari?! Katamari Forever launches this Fall for the PS3 with the largest collection of stages, prizes and 1080p graphics. Fans of Katamari will notice some familiar stages that have been revamped with new twists on old classic tunes. The improved graphics I mentioned can be fine-tuned for a two-tone comic book look or a woodtone look.

The storyline is brand new and goes a little something like this: The King of all Cosmos has been knocked unconscious so the Prince and his cousins build a Robo King to replace him but he turns out to be a real jerk. The Robo King has destroyed parts of the universe and your mission is to restore those planets while trying to recover the real King’s memories. For instance, levels that require you to wander through the king’s subconscious will start out black and white and it’s your mission to restore color to that particular level. “Sprinkler” is an example of a Robo King level where your Katamari collects water and reinvigorates a desolate planet with plants, grass, flowers, etc. Scoring points is based on how much land you manage to restore to its former glory.

Another new addition to KF is the ability to jump utilizing the PS3’s SIXAXIS controller. There are also ‘trigger items’ on certain levels that do some pretty amazing things. In one of the two levels that were previewed for us, a broken heart dubbed “King Shock” appeared above a character and when rolled over it allows your character to instantly attract items in the immediate vicinity. Another ‘trigger item’ is King Fever, which has a similar effect that lasts longer, but without the same amount of pull.

There are roughly 30 levels in Katamari Forever with tons of other extras.

Invincible Tiger: Legend of Han Tao is a stereoscopic 3D game that will eventually come to market. I played a few minutes of it on a Samsung HDTV with the DLP chipset and nerdy 3D glasses, but suffered a minor headache after a bit. The depth of field in the game was impressive. Namco is currently working on other 3D formats as well, but they wouldn’t elaborate beyond that. Most of us at CG have seen the DLP 3D technology over the last year since CES ’08, but I’m still not sure 2009 will be the year of 3D.

And last but not least is Dead to Rights: Retribution. Chapter 1 and 7 were previewed and the game is on track for a Q4 launch. It’s a narrative single play that tells you the story of why Jack and Shadow are partners. The dev team spent over 18 months on the story, so they’re hoping you enjoy detail in the 10 hours or so of gameplay.

Chapter 1 starts with a hostage situation in the center of Grant City in the Temple Tower. Jack muscles his way into the tower after a hostage was thrown from an upper floor. Devs from Tekken and Soul Calibur were brought in to consult on the hand-to-hand combat mechanics for DTR, so it’s said to be improved. You now have 360 degrees of maneuverability so you can backhand or sidekick an approaching enemy without diverting attention from the thug you’re currently beating. A slew of new or improved attack modes include Blockbreaker, Clinch, and Disarm. Blockbreaker allows you to take on bigger or stronger enemies. Clinch keeps your pummeling focused on one character. There are transition moves that let you toss a character into the air while shooting him in the face at the same time. One takedown in particular that I witnessed saw Jack throwing an enemy to the ground and immediately shooting him the face with a shotgun. But there was no brain spatter and his head was still intact.

Chapter 7 shows a ravaged Jack who just looks like hell and is trying to get through a certain section of the city, but is too weak to do so on his own so you’ll play as Shadow. Shadow has a couple methods of taking down enemies and the most satisfying to watch is “Stalk” mode. As you can imagine, Shadow is essentially hunting his prey, which happens to be the bad guys in this case and his takedowns are quite violent. To keep thugs from screaming bloody murder, Shadow latches onto their face and then rips them to shreds. You can also bait enemies into certain areas by barking at them from afar. Shadow is also capable of barreling into the bad guys at a high velocity for quick takedowns or when there are multiple enemies in the same area. You can also drag enemies to hide them from their chums.

Namco also showcased a handful of other games for the Wii that included We Cheer 2, Klonoa, Active Live Outdoor Challenge, The Munchables and Food Network: Cook Or Be Cooked.

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