Tokyo Game Show 2011 report: Day 1

By Garnett Lee, Sep 15, 2011 10:15am PDT

While it’s become impossible to ignore the dwindling size of the Tokyo Game Show, it hasn’t lost its ability to spark my enthusiasm for video games. During day one of the show I found a couple of games up to the task, and picked up a few new tidbits of information on the Vita, which the tech geek in me more excited for every time I see it. Here are the highlights.

Project Draco

Without doubt, the most exciting thing I saw was Project Draco, the Kinect controlled dragon flying shooting game for XBLA. Several members of the team that made the legendary Panzer Dragoon are working on it, and it shows. Despite the dragons, though, it’s not a high fantasy; it’s set in a sci-fi setting where humans have colonized a planet inhabited by dragons and learned to work with them.

The Kinect control looked comfortable, with the person giving my demo smoothly leaning back and forth to control his dragon and using both hands to fire his primary and secondary weapons. A fairly deep sounding dragon customization system supports the shooting action. Experience earned in each mission builds up a dragon’s basic abilities and unique main attack. The secondary and action skills, though, offer 150 different options that become available based on the food fed to the dragon. To top things off, the game supports three-player online co-op.

Steel Battalion

As the proud owner of the massive controller for the Xbox Steel Battalion, I’ve been curious to see how the game would work without it. Now I’ve seen it in action and I’m at the very least intrigued. For the first time I saw Kinect used while seated, and it did a good job of creating a virtual cockpit. It still offered a number of controls to operate from running through a multi-step start up procedure to things like a vent control for getting smoke out of the cabin. All of these were used by reaching into virtual space, which zoomed in closer to the corresponding instrument cluster.

PlayStation Vita

Sony got the day started with its keynote on the Vita, After recapping some of the release information from its press conference, some new features were demoed that offer a lot of potential for using the Vita with the PS3. Remote Play with the Vita was shown, with a demo of Killzone 3. The game looked great on the Vita’s screen, even blown up and projected for the crowd. A second demo showed the potential for using the Vita as a controller for a PS3. Playing a custom level in LittleBigPlanet 2, one player controlled their character normally, with a DualShock controller, while the other used the touchscreen on the Vita to trace a flight pattern for an airplane to fly through the level clearing a path for the other player.

Vita games are also a big story for the show and I’ll have more on them up as well as more from the show in my day two report. Hit our Tokyo Game Show 2011 page for all our stories, screens, and videos from the show.

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