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Gamescom 2012

Wednesday 12th September 2012


Matt Kamen reports on Europe’s great gaming event

Gamescom 2012For European gamers – and several from much farther afield – no event holds as much allure as Gamescom. The German event attracts around 285,000 fans to the city of Cologne each year, promising glimpses of the latest and most exciting video games on the planet.

Gamescom 2012 proved to be of particular interest to fans of Asian entertainment. Not only was there the expected presence of Japanese gaming giants such as Sony and Capcom, but South Korea was the official partner country for the event, providing a huge focus on titles from the increasingly influential nation. Given Koreans’ national obsession with online gaming – Blizzard’s Starcraft and World of Warcraft enjoying particular devotion there – it’s little surprise that much of the focus was on massively multiplayer online RPGs, such as TERA and “anti fairy tale” Dragon Gem. There was even a hint of Blade & Soul, currently one of the most popular MMOs in Korea and China, getting a European release soon – one to keep an eye on.

But what of those Japanese titles? Namco Bandai impressed crowds with a final advance look at Tekken Tag Tournament 2, a long-awaited follow-up to the PlayStation 2 original from 2000. Boasting appearances from over 50 fighters from across the franchise’s storied history. Also on display was the upcoming PS3 RPG Ni no Kuni: Wrath of White Witch, a gorgeous-looking game sure to please anime fans thanks to the involvement of Studio Ghibli in its development.

The Osaka-based Capcom displayed more of a western influence in its offerings, however, with both Lost Planet 3 (developed by the Californian studio Spark Unlimited) and Resident Evil 6 focusing more on high-octane shootouts with sci-fi and horror twists. The re-imagined Devil May Cry, DmC – developed by the UK’s own Ninja Theory – retains a lot of Japanese flair though, with a flurry of weird ideas and striking visuals to match its zippy combat. The redesign of series lead Dante remains contentious for some but this is seriously worth a look when it launches in January. Capcom also unveiled the brand new Remember Me, an ambitious cyberpunk thriller dealing with memory hacking that seems as inspired by Ghost in the Shell as it is Total Recall.

Meanwhile, Sony injected the slow-selling PlayStation Vita with a raft of new titles, notably the potentially ground-breaking Tearaway. Developed by the same studio as Little Big Planet, Media Molecule, Tearaway drops players into a craft paper world that they can rip apart and reconstruct at will. It promises the same alluring mix of charm and innovation as its proverbial big brother, along with a raft of gameplay and content creation options that are only possible on the advanced handheld.

Gamescom 2012Above all, the most impressive sight of any Gamescom is the sheer, unbridled passion of its attendees. Unlike the American E3, the public is invited to the German show, many eagerly waiting upwards of nine hours to try out some of the most anticipated titles. Cosplayers roam the halls in abundance, while the outdoors areas of the enormous Koelnmesse centre enjoy a party atmosphere as rides and exhibitions take over. Such is the popularity and impact of the event, there’s even a street festival supporting it, boasting live music and performances throughout Cologne.

Gamescom is now the world’s largest and most successful games fair. Showcasing the limitless scope of gaming as a medium that demonstrably caters to all tastes, it’s easy to see why.

Gamescom 2012

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Dragon Ball Z The Movie Double Pack: Battle Of Gods / Resurrection Of F

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For the first time ever! Two of the biggest anime movies of all time collected into one amazing box set; Dragon Ball Z: Battle Of Gods and Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection of F.

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The history of Dragon Ball Z

Matt Kamen on the history of Dragon Ball Z
Launched in 1984 in the pages of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump, Akira Toriyama’s original Dragon Ball was a very different beast to the one western viewers would eventually meet. introduced the boisterous Son Goku, an adventurous and unusally strong boy with no social graces whatsoever. Raised in seclusion by his adoptive grandfather, he doesn’t even that know what girls are – making for some prime gag moments when he meets treasure hunter Bulma. Soon teaming up, the pair track down seven rare ‘Dragon Balls’ – powerful items that can summon the wish-granting dragon Shenron. These early stories were very loosely based on Chinese fables but Toriyama gave them a fresh twist, his distinctive art style and perfect balance of comedy and action making the series a hit.

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #1

A first look at the who'z who in Dragon Ball Z

Son Goku. Goku was originally cast as a naive but powerful young boy who was spurred onto the path of adventure following the death of his grandfather. By the time Dragon Ball Z rolls around, Goku’s a full-grown adult, the victor of several martial arts tournaments and a married man. He’s only slightly less naive though, and his strict wife Chichi frequently has to rein in his less socially acceptable habits and wilder impulses. The first arc of the series marks Goku learning of his alien origins for the first time – before meeting other Saiyans, he thought he was just another average monkey-tailed boy!

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #2

The next instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
Yamcha. One of Goku’s oldest friends – even if they did first meet as enemies! A reformed desert bandit and an ex-boyfriend of Bulma, Yamcha is one of the strongest human fighters in the world. Having regularly entered World Martial Arts Tournaments and fought against a multitude of foes, he’s earned his place as one of the core Z-Fighters. However, he was overpowered and killed by one of Nappa’s drones in the Saiyan invasion of Earth. Luckily, death is rarely the end in the world of Dragon Ball, and Yamcha’s path continues as he trains under King Kai in the afterlife, preparing for a return to the living world to help his friends against the threats they’ll face on the distant planet Namek.

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #3

The third instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
And so we continue filling you in on the heroes and villains to keep an eye on in the latest super-charged volume of the famous action epic!

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #4

The fourth instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
With a cast of dozens, there still more to fill you in on the heroes and villains to keep an eye on in the latest super-charged volume of the famous action epic!

The cast of Dragon Ball Z #5

The fifth instalment in our character guide for Dragon Ball Z
Cell. The deadliest enemy the Z Warriors have ever had to face – themselves! Cell is a hyper-advanced android from the future, created using the DNA of the present day heroes and possessing all their skills and abilities thanks to genetic memory. Goku’s Kamehameha? Cell can use it and counter it. Tien’s Solar Flare? Just one of Cell’s basic attacks. Piccolo’s regeneration? That serves to make Cell even more difficult to defeat. Already an incredibly powerful figure, Cell has travelled back in time to physically absorb more fighters and add their powers to his own repertoire. His goal? To achieve his Perfect Form and become the mightiest figure in the Universe – and he won’t let anything or anyone stand in his way.

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