Namco held their Holiday Video Game Tour in New York City on July 19-20 in the swanky SoHo Grand Hotel, and MyGamer was on hand to see exactly what they had to offer. Robert Cogburn and Eddiemae Jukes were our gracious hosts, offering food and beverages as soon as the doors were opened. Apparently, they feel that either games or press events (or both) are better enjoyed at some level of inebriation, an opinion that’s hard to disagree with in either case.
Six stalls were set up with nearly a dozen games on display, some from established Namco franchises and others that are brand new. This event showed why Namco is one of the leaders in the industry; even though all of the games on display were in development, there were no awkward errors or glaring bugs. The entire show went smoothly, we were allowed as much time as we wanted with each game, and the entire staff were professional, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about what they were showing. The room wasn’t crowded with journalists and plenty of personal attention was paid at each station. Can you tell we were impressed?
The biggest draw by far, and the first thing we saw as we walked in (well, after the bar), was the Soul Calibur 3 display. A large portion was playable, and the depth of the game, along with its graphical quality are already beyond all expectations. Soul Calibur 3 is a PS2 exclusive, allowing Namco to concentrate on squeezing as much as possible from the hardware. This is apparent in the background detail and the character models, which look flawless and are animated as fluidly as a Pixar film.
More exciting than the technical improvements are the gameplay additions. Three new characters join the lineup: Zasalamel, an evil warrior with a giant scythe who plans to resurrect Nightmare and find the Soul edge to conquer Europe; Tira, a thief with a new bladed ring weapon (think big, painful hula hoop); and Setsuka, who is looking to avenge her mother