Some impressions from last week's event in San Francisco.
Jigsaw wanted us to have a good time
Late last week, I drove down to San Francisco with Laura De La Torre (our photographer) to check out the Konami Gamer’s Day event where some of their upcoming titles were to be shown off. After checking in, we spoke to Mike Pete, Director of Marketing for Hudson Entertainment – and good friend. We caught up and then proceeded to the bar to grab a drink. Moments later Jay Boor, PR boss at Konami took the stage to welcome us and give us some details on the evening’s gameplan. After the intro we were shown some trailers of some upcoming titles including Saw, Six Days to Fallujah and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories to name a few.
For Silent Hill, which is coming to the Nintendo Wii (also on the PSP/PS2) we learned that although the game is a reimaging of the original title, it’s aimed to take a new path and become it’s own game in the series. Harry Mason returns as the game’s hero who’s trying to figure out what happened to his daughter. We were shown how the Wii remote will come into play as you’ll use it as your flashlight, while a cellphone will act as your menu system. With the phone, you can access a GPS, take photos and make phone calls. In one instance, Harry was walking down this abandoned, snow-covered street when he noticed a billboard talking about helping you find lost family members. Obviously this is a clue to give the number a call as it may prove to be useful. It’s hidden hints and puzzles like this that you’ll find throughout the game. Also with the Wii remote, you’ll be able to examine and interact with items to make things more realistic.
When we were shown a glimpse of Saw, we first got a look at Jigsaw who made it clear that he wanted to play with you. The opening scene shows you in a bathroom wearing a “reverse bear trap” that looked pretty damn painful. Apparently the game will be taking place in between the first and second movie to tie up some loose ends and give you an idea as to what took place in the meantime. The game, which runs on the Unreal Engine, looked pretty good and as we were taken around an insane asylum, we couldn’t help but be creeped out - kinda reminded me of a mix between Condemned and Dementium. Some other scenes were shown off and they all looked quite bloody – as in bloody good times that is. Sorta made my cranberry-vodka look a little less tasty though.
Six Days in Fallujah also looked kinda cool as everything in the environment is destructible. If your enemy hides inside a building and has the entrances covered, you can blow up a side of a wall and walk right through to take them out. The game doesn’t look too bad graphically but a step down I’d say from games like Call of Duty World at War and Battlefield Modern Combat 2.
After the presentations were done with, we were invited to have a few more drinks before heading upstairs to check out the games. Of course, Laura and I went right back to the bar as she picked up a Lemon Drop while I ordered a White Russian – my fave!
Liquored up, we made our way upstairs and after conversing again with the guys of Hudson, we went over to check out Saw. The demo began in the same manner that the trailer did – in the bathroom with that uncomfortable looking bear trap on our head. In this game, you won’t be getting any major hints so you have to try and figure out what the hell to do. Naturally my first time around ended in bloodshed as that trap crushed my face as if Jax had just gave me a Fatality for my troubles. Unfazed, I went at it again and this time, using the analog sticks to rotate the thing, I managed to pull it off. Now I was able to walk around and go into different rooms. As noted, there’s plenty of puzzles but not many hints. This makes you think on your feet and after scratching my head and drinking a little more, I figured out how to enter the adjacent room – I had to grab a 2x4 and smash the wall over and over until I broke through. Of course I came across a very hurt looking fellow who probably needed my help about 4 hours ago. After seeing what he had to offer, I moved along to another room that had some kind of trap at the door. It didn’t get me as I walked past it pretty quickly but as I walked back out of the room it decapitated me. NICE! Game over! Not bad for the first demo.
Next up was food time. Though we had been munching on some delicious hors d’oeuvres, we were treated to some really good grub downstairs. Now with our stomachs full and having reviewed Deca Sports for the Wii, I saw that Deca Sports 2 was being shown by Hudson (owned by Konami by the way) and I walked over to give it a shot. This sequel has some new games to play such as Tennis, Skiing, Petanque, Ice Hockey, Kendo (!), Dodgeball and Darts to name a few. Opting to give Tennis a whirl, I took on one of Konami’s head peeps – honestly I don’t recall his name as we both were drinking heavily by then, but a nice guy nonetheless. We got into a game of 5 sets and the matches were pretty heated. The game looked pretty good, about the same as Wii Tennis but with better looking characters instead of Miis. The game recognized my swings fairly well though as in the previous Deca compilation; there was a second or so of delay so hitting the ball required that you swing just a tad bit early before the player on screen swung. It took a little bit of getting used to but once we had it down, it was on. We must’ve been playing for about 20 minutes before we had a winner and by that time, we coughed up the controls to someone else. Goes to show that it was pretty fun as I didn’t get a shot at the other games. When I preview it again, I’ll be sure to check out Kendo and Synchronized Swimming which sounds interesting.
After having a martini and talking about TGS ’09, it was time to check out Gradius Rebirth for WiiWare. Let me tell you; this game was HARD. The game is already available for 1000 Nintendo Points but I hadn’t had a chance to play it yet. It looked great, it played great but ultimately I died over and over and over again. Not a game for the casual gamer I’ll tell you that!
A few more drinks later and after a little bit of more mingling it was time to head out.