Shin Force | Playstation 2 Previews

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Geoffrey Duke
Sammy Studios
Sammy Studios
1x DVD
Oct. 7, 2004 (Japan)
? (USA)
3rd Person
Action / Hack 'n' slash
     > As some of you know, Berserk for the Dreamcast was a gory Action/Brawler game based on a popular Japanese anime/Manga of the same name centered around a one-eyed knight called Guts, who wields a sword almost one and a half times his size as if the blade itself was weightless (I'd describe the game as a beat 'em up, but the term slice 'em up better applies). Eidos picked up the publishing rights and renamed it Sword of the Berserk: Guts' Rage for western audiences. Aside from the game's excellent visuals (for their time), the English voice acting was some of the best I've heard in any game since.

     > Sammy Studios (a videogame subsidiary of the Japan based Sammy Corporation) has developed the new Berserk game but this time for lucky Japanese Playstation 2 owners. Judging from the latest screenshots, the game looks like it has pushed the Playstation 2 to its limits (remember that the PS2 isn't that much more powerful than the defunct Dreamcast despite whatever PS2 fanboys would like to believe, and even less powerful in some respects). Although the in-game graphics don't seem much better than the graphics seen in the Dreamcast incarnation of Berserk, the locations and the texture work on the characters all look excellent (by PS2 standards).

     > It's no secret that Sammy is intent on tapping into the western markets due to the fact that that's where much of the money lies in the growing games industry now (and where much of Sega’s wealth has come from in the past believe it or not). In fact, Sammy has been trying to establish itself stateside for years, which was one of the reasons why it bought a majority share in Sega's stock. This pleases me since now that Sammy plans to merge assets with Sega, Sammy will take Sega in the same direction. As opposed to what you ask? As opposed to focusing on Japan first, and everyone else second or not at all (yes, even Sega has been guilty of this). I bet you're wondering what any of this has to do with Sega? Well, I wouldn't be surprised if Sammy gives Sega the job of localizing the new Berserk game seeing as how Sega has more resources with which to do it. Of course, my prediction could be way off the mark. Only time will tell. Sammy Studios localized Spy Fiction – a good stealth Action/Adventure game – in all territories (and significantly enhanced the North American and European versions in both graphics and gameplay) while Sega distributed copies of the game, meaning it is likely Berserk will follow in its footsteps sooner or later.

First Impression
     > The new Berserk game is based on events that take place in the Manga (I believe) unlike the first game which was a side story. It promises to deliver more of the same gameplay, and more gruesome enemies to slice in half (in a suitably gory manner). Hopefully "more" means much more. The first Berserk game was good, but the fact that there were more in-game movies than actual gameplay was its single most greatest flaw. Let's hope that the new Berserk game addresses this issue. If so, then I expect that it will provide many more hours of enjoyment (assuming you like hack 'n' slash gameplay). The game has already been released in Japan, so all we can do now is wait for someone to bring it over (like Sega) by adding English voice overs. Don't despair though, as I have no doubts that such a high profile game will arrive on our shores eventually. Sammy would be foolish not to release it outside of Japan in the light of the popularity of this genre (Capcom's Onimusha series can testify to that).
~Geoffrey Duke~

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