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Dec 2003
Issue 043

KS Classifieds out NOW!

Top games on the horizon

Whether you are a hardcore gamer, or you are just shopping around for games for the upcoming X-Mas period, this article will give you a run down of what’s big currently, and what’s going to be big on the gaming scene.


In regards to fighting, you can’t go past the just released games Soul Caliber II and Virtua Fighter IV: Evolution. They have some of the smoothest movements and most crisp and beautiful graphics of any games out there, regardless of category. Namco and Sega (respectively) have really hit the jackpot with their games here, in terms of presentation and appearance, but both games offer much more than merely superficial beauty.

Of the two, Soul Caliber II is more realistic in terms of movement and control, but both games offer full 3D movement, and an extensive list of characters (over 15 characters) for you to play and master. Each character also has a unique move list, which pushes the 100 barrier, so you will not get bored, nor will you master any of the characters very quickly. In short, you will get very good bang for your buck.

The games also have a vast array of modes (such as conquest, kumite/quest and survival modes) to keep you busy. These games really do demonstrate what the next generation consoles are capable of. Also, if you truly crave the arcade experience while playing this game at home, you can also pick up an arcade controller for yourself.


Next up, we have the RPG Genre. This genre for many years now has been owned by one title for the mainstream, and that is Square’s Final Fantasy (on both PC and PS2 format). The present is no different.

The current version, titled Final Fantasy X-2, is somewhat of an experiment for Square, with them for the first time having a proper sequel to a Final Fantasy game. FF X-2 is essentially Charlie’s Angels in RPG format.

You take the role of Yuina (Tidus’ love interest in FFX) and you lead a bunch of teenage girls around while you’re on your quest. It’s cute and works to some extent, but it’s going to be a major turn-off for some. The graphics and control in the game are flawless, This is something which Square has never been lax about.

Square also implemented a new battle system for this game, which resembles something out of Final Fantasy V, so if you are looking for more creativity and something new from square… its all here.

If you are more serious about your RPG gaming, and seek something with an element of depth, perhaps the upcoming Xenosaga: Episode 2 released by Monolith soft for the PS2 is for you.

This game has a philosophical base, and asks questions about the existence of god and man’s creation. It does this while also giving the gamer a solid gaming experience in terms fun and adventure. It also as an in depth battle system, with a vast array of spells and attack moves for you to choose from. The game also has beautiful, bright animated style graphics. Also, for you Mecha fans out there, it also has a nice Gundam style backdrop (as each character pilots and large robot called a gear).

Interestingly, Monolith Soft plan to release an English version of the original Xenosaga in Japan in late October, so that might be of interest to potential fans and people interested in getting into the series.


If you are a racing fan, don’t worry you haven’t been forgotten. Gran Turismo 4 on the PS2 and Need for Speed: Under-ground for the X-Box, PS2, and Gamecube will happily cater to your needs.

Need for Speed: Under-ground takes a look at the world of illegal street racing. It provides the player with a huge selection of modifications to make on their car, along with full voice and onscreen explanations about what your chosen modification does.

In terms of car options, you can choose from at least 52 after market manufacturers, such as HKS USA, Konig, and Sparco. What does this mean? This means that while you can drive a car from the maker of your choice (such as Nissan, or Toyota), you have 52 different modification companies to choose from when it comes to making it lethal on the streets.

All in all, the cars move quite smoothly, with very little, if any notice-able on screen glitches, but the physics engine for handling is not 100% realistic, and that could be the games downfall. It’s a hybrid
of realistic driving/simulation and arcade style driving. Electronic Arts apparently did this in an attempt to make the game more fun
from the get go. My advice: go try it and see if it works for you.

If you seek realistic driving, then maybe the Gran Turismo series is for you. Gran Turismo is the game that brought simulation driving into video games. The first version released about 5 years ago, was ground breaking, and has created a legion of loyal fans.

The new game gives players a choice of over 500 cars, which they can modify, and race around many different licensed and unlicens-ed circuits. Players can also race under various road and weather conditions, such as tarmac, dirt, gravel, and mud. This game has everything a racing fan desires, and needs to be a part of your collection if you like racing.


Catering for the wrestling freaks out there, Raw2 for the X-Box has everything you could want. It has matches like: Hardcore, Street Fight, Ladder, Table, Battle Royal, Cage and Hell in a Cell. You can also choose Triple Threat, Fatal 4 Way, Battle Royal,
3-on-3 and Tornado matches for your battle type. Best of all the movement system has been updated to make it more user-friendly. This means it’s now easier to execute the moves that you want. This game is going to be big, watch out for it.


For you sports fans out there, the big game approaching is SSX3 for the X-Box, which is a snowboarding simulation game. It’s looking to be very big, and also will have many different boards and slopes to board down.

Text: H.W.J.


Up to date cinema listings guide so you always know what's on, where and when!


Festivals, performances, shows, gallery openings...your guide to what's coming up in the next few weeks.


Hard Knock Life
The Midori group peers thrugh the tarpaulins of Kyoto's homeless community.


Ski Suki?
The lowdown on some of the best ski resorts in Japan for folks who want to get a jump on the ski season.


Beauty by Coro
Time to dress up for the holiday season.


J Soccer Monthly Review
Soccerphile.com's Sanborn Brown on the latest action in Japanese soccer.


Top games on the horizon
The lowdown on what's hot and what's going to be in the gaming world.


Outback Grill
Sizzling steaks and blooming onions in Umeda.

Kitahorie's Covent Garden Social Club
A Canadian Cheers in the middle of Kitahorie.


Some of the news you won't see printed elsewhere, plus the best of the rest.

:: ART

Ikko Tanaka retrospective and Angkor Wat rubbings, plus other art listings for December.


Ya La Tengo, John Mayer, Clarence Gatemouth and many more incoming live acts...


ELLEN ALLIEN vs DJ MAYURI @ Club Two, Carl Cox @ Under Lounge and more...


Pixars' Finding Nemo, the much anticipated The Last Samurai and many more...


William Kremer A member of the Midori Group, and co-director of "Kyoto Poverty".