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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


Naruto The Movie: Road To Ninja

was £19.99
For my friends and family, I'll risk my life for this mission!
Long ago, a masked shinobi unleashed the Nine-Tailed Fox onto the Village Hidden in the Leaves to spread chaos and destruction. But the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, and his wife, Kushina Uzumaki, sealed the Tailed Beast into their newborn son Naruto to save the village, foiling the shinobi's plans.
Years later, Naruto and his friends succeed in driving away the infamous Akatsuki, who have mysteriously returned from the dead. Upon returning to the village, the young shinobi are praised by their families for completing a dangerous mission. Reminded of how alone he is, Naruto begins to wonder what it's like to have parents, when a strange masked figure appears before him - the same masked shinobi responsible for the death of his parents!
Languages: Japanese, English
Subtitles: English
Bonus Features: Japanese Commercial Videos, Japanese Promotional Videos, Japanese Trailers



Naruto: Now & Then

Matt Kamen weighs the difference between the original series and the newer Shippuden episodes of Naruto.
With hundreds of episodes under Naruto’s belt, it can be easy to forget just how far the world’s favourite orange ninja cadet and friends have come since their first days at school. The release of the complete first season of Naruto Shippuden seems the perfect time to look back at some of the key players in the saga, and see where the new series finds them – and haven’t they grown…?

Time Travel in Anime

Paul Browne rewinds from Naruto Shippuden: The Lost Tower into the past
In the latest Naruto film The Lost Tower, the title character and his comrades embark on a mission to capture Mukade – a missing ninja who has the ability to travel through time. Mukade’s plan is to travel into the past and take control of the Five Great Shinobi Countries. During the battle with Mukade, Naruto and Yamato find themselves hurled back twenty years in time. Will Naruto and his friends be able to return to his own time? And will their actions in the past save the future?



Hugh David on the full monty
Asian-American animator Monty Oum passed away tragically on the 1st February this year at the age of 33. RWBY (pronounced Ruby, the lead character’s name, but also an acronym of the four lead characters) is his legacy, a fully CG-animated web series that is as close to anime as a series made outside of Japan can be, so much so that Warner Bros Japan have bought it to dub and release locally.
Charlotte visits the Himouto! Umaru-chan cafe in Tokyo.
Live-action remakes of classic anime titles are the subject of controversy and fan-rage in the anime community - Akira being a rather hot topic on that front, but could this be the saviour we’ve been looking for?

We're Off to AnimeJapan!

One of the biggest, best and most jam-packed weekends of anime madness yet
“By focusing on 'Everything about Anime,' and 'offering more opportunities to experience animation,' we aim to create an event that can be enjoyed by people of all ages and that contributes to the future of animation.”

The magnificent 47 Ronin

Stephen Turnbull asks what (if anything) went wrong with the 47 Ronin?
When T. H. White’s great Arthurian fantasy The Once and Future King was first published the New York Times described it as “a glorious dream of the Middle Ages as they never were but as they should have been.” A very similar comment would not be inappropriate to describe the strange world of old Japan conjured up in the movie 47 Ronin.

Japan Rising... in Brighton!

Tom Smith on three of Japan’s rising talents
moumoon, PASSEPIED and Yosi Horikawa will perform at The Great Escape in Brighton on Saturday 16 May as part of the JAPAN RISING Showcase, taking place between 12-4pm at Queens Hotel.

Robots in Anime and Manga

Man-made humans, mecha and merchandising
Japan’s technophilia was born and fostered during the Meiji Era (1868-1912), as it sought to catch up with the American and European powers that came knocking on its door and opened the country up to the wider world.

Berserk Movie 3: The Advent

Anime's answer to the Red Wedding... but what was the question...?
The BBFC, which rated the first two Berserk films '15,' rated the third part a hard "18," with "sexual violence, strong bloody violence and strong sex." Believe us, they’re not kidding.

Psycho-Pass music: Ling Tosite Sigure

Tom Smith finds another band with an unspellable name
Meet Ling tosite sigure. Their name may be confusing to pronounce (for anyone interested, it’s more like ‘rin tosh-teh shi-goo-reh’), but that didn’t holdback Japan’s music-loving community from rushing to their local CD-shops and grabbing a copy of the band’s latest album i’mperfect, out now also in the UK thanks to JPU Records.

Usagi Drop

The acclaimed anime born from a controversial manga
Produced for Fuji TV’s late-night, more adult-focused noitaminA slot by the legendary Production I.G, the 2011 anime could have been a disaster, with a first-time screenwriter in charge, a senior staffer debuting as director and a vocal fanbase awaiting it. Instead...
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