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Preview: Conquer China on the go in Dynasty Warriors Next photo
Preview: Conquer China on the go in Dynasty Warriors Next
by Samit Sarkar

I assume I'm not alone in lacking the ability to tell the difference between Dynasty Warriors games (or at least, between the ones of a particular console generation). I've played, or watched friends play, DW6 and DW7, but from those experiences, I mostly remember just hitting square and triangle a lot. That's not to say that I have anything against the series -- I mean, who doesn't enjoy hacking and slashing hordes of peasants with ancient Chinese demigods, at least every now and then?

It makes sense, then, that Omega Force and Koei would want to make sure to differentiate the PlayStation Vita iteration of their long-running franchise from its console brethren.

After spending half an hour with Dynasty Warriors Next, I can confirm that it's impossible to mistake it for any other game in the series... and that's not just because it doesn't feature high-definition visuals.

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Preview: Slicing samurai in Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus photo
Preview: Slicing samurai in Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus
by Samit Sarkar

In case you were wondering, that silver line in the right half of the header image above is Ryu Hayabusa's katana. It's a long samurai sword, and I couldn't fit all of it into the picture. That sleek blade is the last thing that many of Ryu's foes ever see -- if they see it coming at all, that is.

In "The Way of the Ninja," the first chapter of Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus, Ryu deftly wields his sharp-edged instrument of death, effortlessly slashing lesser samurai. It's not surprising that his exertion seems minimal; this isn't his first time around the block. Sigma Plus, a PlayStation Vita launch title, is a port of a 2007 PlayStation 3 game, Ninja Gaiden Sigma -- which itself was a port of the Ninja Gaiden title that launched on the Xbox in 2004, and was re-released on that platform the following year with additional content.

Confused yet? That's not even all there is to Sigma Plus.

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Preview: Street Fighter X Tekken through a noob's eyes photo
Preview: Street Fighter X Tekken through a noob's eyes
by Ryan Perez

A friend once told me he thought fighting games had cool characters. After he wiped the blood from his head, he quickly apologized to me and said, "Perhaps I should rethink that statement." Then miraculously, out of a nearby TV jumped Roger from Tekken, Voldo from SoulCalibur, and Rufus from Street Fighter. Though I wasn't surprised in the least, my friend stood perplexed as he watched Roger jump around adorably, Voldo slither on the floor and hiss in a homoerotic fashion, and Rufus consistently break wind while yelling PG-rated obscenities because, you know, he's American and we're all fat and obnoxious these days.

Just in case anyone couldn't tell by my facetious little anecdote, I'm not the biggest fan of the genre. From an outside perspective, most of it looks silly and doesn't seem to change much. So when the opportunity to preview Street Fighter X Tekken came up, I thought, "F*ck it, I'll step outside my comfort zone." The result was a loud, bass-laden event, filled with sweaty geeks, free drinks, and lines of kiosks featuring a game I knew little to nothing about.

I had a mission with three objectives: one, find out why people liked Street Fighter X Tekken, two, figure out what I liked about it, and three, GTFO.

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Preview: Mortal Kombat Vita has more ways to Finish Him photo
Preview: Mortal Kombat Vita has more ways to Finish Him
by Abel Girmay

The last half of this generation has been extremely kind to fighting games. Street Fighter IV returned the series to form, newcomers joined the fray with BlazBlue, and my personal favorite fighting franchise experienced a much needed rebirth with last year's Mortal Kombat.

The trend doesn't show any signs of stopping, and continues on the handhelds with Mortal Kombat for the Vita. This isn't a simple port, mind you. With all the costume and character DLC, as well as new outfits, modes, and Vita-specific controls, the only thing holding it back from being the definitive version is its gutted online play.

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Preview: The roads are empty in Ridge Racer for PS Vita photo
Preview: The roads are empty in Ridge Racer for PS Vita
by Abel Girmay

Another PlayStation machine is about to launch, and with it comes another Ridge Racer, of course.

The new installment for PlayStation Vita is somewhat of an oddity. I can't remember a time when my opinion of a game had ever been influenced by the business model used to release it. Already out in Japan, and already taking plenty of heat in the West, Ridge Racer for Vita is a bare bones experience out of the box, as most of its content is planned to be released later on via download.

While at its core, Ridge Racer remains a solid racer, you have to ask yourself, how much can you enjoy a game when there isn't much of it to enjoy?

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7:00 PM on 12.16.2011

Little Deviants is cute and cuddly fun times

One of the launch titles accompanying the PlayStation Vita is Little Deviants, a cute, cuddly ensemble of mini-games that are designed to showcase the new handheld's features. Ranging from rear-touch functionality to Sixaxis ...

Keith Swiader







Modnation Racers: Road Trip is better with touch controls photo
Modnation Racers: Road Trip is better with touch controls
by Abel Girmay

I am not a fan of motion gaming, waggle, touch screens, or other so-called "casual controls." It's not that I write them off the moment I see them. I just have yet to see a game that uses those control options to make the experience better to gamers like me, who are well accustomed to a standard controller.

Just recently though, I saw a game that's finally change my mind, and its name is Modnation Racers: Road Trip. Using the touch screen and back touch pad of the PlayStation Vita, the team at SCE San Diego have created a game that streamlines the creation tools that we know and love while maintaining all of the depth that we expect. 

 

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Preview: Hustle Kings (PlayStation Vita) photo
Preview: Hustle Kings (PlayStation Vita)
by Steven Hansen

Developed by the small, UK based VooFoo Studio, Hustle Kings released on PlayStation Network in early 2010, receiving a positive review from us. Though I didn’t play that release, I’ve always been a bit of a pool fan and I have played a number of pool games in my lifetime.

The well received pool -- or billiards, if you prefer -- game is being now being brought to the PlayStation Vita, utilizing the Vita’s touch and other capabilities in ways that work well with the core gameplay mechanics in conjunction with what is the deepest billiards game I’ve ever played.

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Preview: Wipeout 2048 photo
Preview: Wipeout 2048
by Abel Girmay

Oh happy days! The PlayStation Vita has an official launch date, and with that, a release date for its lineup of launch titles. We recently had the chance to play around with some of these including Wipeout 2048, the latest installment in Sony's hyper-futuristic racer.

With 2048, players get all the same hardcore, precision heavy racing that the series is known for, with added features that make use of the Vita's hardware.

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Hands-on: Rayman Origins photo
Hands-on: Rayman Origins
by David Rayfield

The Rayman Origins booth at the EB Games Expo on Australia's Gold Coast was an area I thought would be largely ignored. Given the hours people were waiting to play Battlefield 3 or merely watch a section of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, I was under the impression Ubisoft Montpellier's reboot/prequel to the Rayman series would be all mine to play at my leisure. Not so.

For two days, I couldn't get near the thing. Milling around the two screen set-up often, I had no chance to get hold of the Xbox 360 version they were showing. Only due to blind luck did a third player spot open up and I sat down with a kindly couple to play Rayman Origins.

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Hands-on with Virtua Tennis 4 on the PlayStation Vita photo
Hands-on with Virtua Tennis 4 on the PlayStation Vita
by Keith Swiader

[Editor's note: Say hello to Keith Swiader! He's joined our New York preview coverage team and is starting off with some previews on upcoming Sega games. -- CTZ]

Of the launch titles that will accompany the PlayStation Vita's release, Sega's Virtua Tennis 4 is one that many of you should keep your eye on, whether you're a sports fan or not. Utilizing nearly every aspect of the Vita's specs, Virtua Tennis 4 is quite frankly the complete package. Everything from the Vita's graphical power to its gyro sensor and accelerometer are used here, and to full potential.

Sega hopes that they can offer a seamless port from Virtua Tennis 4's console brethren to the sleek, new Sony device. After my brief time with it, I'd have to say that Sega is stepping in the right direction. 

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Gravity Rush is my first must-own PlayStation Vita game photo
Gravity Rush is my first must-own PlayStation Vita game
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

There's always that one game, the one that finally helps someone decide if they're really going to invest hundreds of dollars into a brand new gaming system. I've been hesitant about getting the PlayStation Vita, as nothing has really impressed me yet. That is, until I saw Gravity Rush for the first time this past week.

I never even heard of this game before. In fact, Destructoid seemed to miss this completely, aside from user Stop Spoilers who blogged about it on his Community Blog during Tokyo Game Show. So what exactly is Gravity Rush? It's a game where you manipulate gravity in order to kick the sh*t out of everything.

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TGS: Popping it with Pop'n Music Portable 2's party mode photo
TGS: Popping it with Pop'n Music Portable 2's party mode
by Allistair Pinsof

One of my favorite things about my local arcade is its Pop‘n Music cabinet. Slamming the machine's big, illuminated buttons to remixes of classic Konami themes is one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. Most gamers, however, aren't lucky enough to have a Pop'n Music arcade cabinet near them, not to mention an authentic Japanese arcade.

A PSP controller is a poor substitute for the cabinet's eight buttons, but fans and newbies might be happy to know that it's at least an option. After getting some hands-on time with the series' latest portable release, I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that the game holds up as well as it does with the PSP's buttons and d-pad. It's unfortunate then that some of the other features don't fare as well.

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TGS: Hands-on with Final Fantasy Type-0 photo
TGS: Hands-on with Final Fantasy Type-0
by Hamza CTZ Aziz

I really f*cking loved the gameplay of Final Fantasy Type-0 on the PSP. I'm pretty much the opposite of a Final Fantasy player (role-playing games in general, really) largely because of the fighting mechanics. With Type-0, the combat and exploring is all streamlined and presented similarly as a Dynasty Warrior game (but with way less enemies on the screen.) Fighting is going on all in real-time and you use melee and magic attacks that are tied to each face button on the PSP.

There were a couple of other characters in my party as I was running around killing people and I could easily switch who I was playing as via the D-pad. Each character of course had different play styles, such as one who relied on nothing but magic and another who used only a staff to attack. 

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Music makers will dig PS Vita's Sound Shapes photo
Music makers will dig PS Vita's Sound Shapes
by Dale North

Platformers?  Love 'em. You can't make enough. Platformers of any type appeal to the gamer in me. But upcoming PS Vita game Sound Shapes also speaks to the musician in me. It's slick platforming and musical creation. You can create music that actually becomes the levels that you platform in. After spending a bit of time trying both sides of this game out and then seeing how they come together, it has moved up to be one of my most anticipated titles. 

Sound Shapes creators say that it is both a 2D platformer and a musical instrument. Several games have attempted to mix musical elements into gameplay, but this one goes a step beyond and gives the player total freedom to create a sequence that actually becomes the level. It's not some kind of abstract thing where some somewhat random musical cue will sound after being triggered, either. In this game you're platforming to "play" the music.

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E3: Check vs. Mate offers a new spin on Chess photo
E3: Check vs. Mate offers a new spin on Chess
by Conrad Zimmerman

TopWare Interactive showed me this strange little game, already released in Europe as "Battle vs. Chess." It's been renamed to "Check vs. Mate" for the North American release to avoid potential conflicts with Interplay's Battle Chess, which is probably a smart move considering the similarities to that classic game. 

There's more going on here than just a simple Chess game, however. TopWare is claiming that Check vs. Mate features the most sophisticated chess engine to date, based upon Fritz! 11 chess algorithm software. 

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