Sammy Studios at E3


posted 6/5/2003 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
I saw an awful lot of games at this year’s E3 but not once was I compelled to actually sit down and play any single one of them for an extended period of time; not until I laid my eyes up Seven Samurai 20XX that is. Based on the legendary film that was the basis for the classic American film the Magnificent Seven, Seven Samurai 20XX is an amazing 3rd person slasher that borrows elements from classics such as Devil May Cry, Shinobi and Strider and makes them its own.

What makes this game different from the dozens of other slashers out there? The combat. Simply put this game features one of the easiest, most intuitive, and not to mention addicting, combat systems to have ever been incorporated into a 3rd-person slasher. Fighting enemies is both challenging and rewarding at the same time. When you see another horde of enemies running at you you’ll feel feelings of joy as opposed to feelings of dread. It’s not like “oh dammit, I gotta kill more guys?” It’s actually more akin to “more guys? Hell yea! Bring em’ on!”

Players will be judged on style during combat via a ratings system that is comparable to that of Devil May Cry’s. This will force gamers to mix things up every once in awhile as opposed to going to the same well over and over again. There’s more at stake than just points though, performing a variety of moves will gradually build up a meter. When it fills you can bust out another sword for some dual-sword ass-kicking. Did we mention that the combat in this game is a hell of a lot of fun?

It’s not all action though, Meelad Sedat of Sammy Studios promises that the game will be story driven. In other words, endless minions won’t just be attacking you for no reason, there will be a true motive behind their actions. I can’t remember the finer details of the storyline but it obviously involves an evil force’s invasion of a town. After realizing that he can’t take on the invaders on his own, our hero sets out to assemble a team of samurais worthy of fighting alongside him. With the backing of Kurusawa’s son for the storyline and characters created by the man who designed the characters in the major motion picture The Fifth Element, you can be sure that this is a high profile quality in every respect.

With all of the games coming out this Holiday season it may be tough for Seven Samurai 20XX to make a name for itself but you can be sure that it escape our watchful eyes. Look for this one to make a huge splash on the PS2 in Q4 2003.

All right, so I never played the original Lethal Skies, but it won’t stop me from enjoying its impressive-looking sequel. Featuring new modes, new missions and a bevy of graphical upgrades, Sammy is looking to make you forget that Namco’s Ace Combat franchise even exists. From the look of things early on, it seems like they’re doing a damn fine job of doing so.

Walking that fine line between simulation and arcade-style gameplay, the game features flight physics that are both convincingly realistic and fun to play with at the same time. What this does is it gives you a great sense of the physics of flight, such as drag and lift, without weighing you down with the more intricate aspects of flight.

First impressions are always skin deep but thankfully Lethal Skies II delivers just the right amount of goods on the surface to draw in casual gamers. Each of the realistically modeled aircraft features parts that shift and move as you soar through the skies. In another nice touch the weapon payload is visible underneath the wings of the aircraft. Because you have a visible representation of your remaining munitions you won’t need to depend on on-screen gauges to inform you of your remaining payload.

Also new to this sequel are head-to-head multiplayer dogfight modes and missions that take place at night. I didn’t get a chance to see these features in action for an extended amount of time but I’m certain that they’ll turn out fine in the end. We'll find out when the game is released on the PS2 in September.