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E3 '11: Konami Booth Roundup

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Konami had quite a lineup at their E3 booth this year, but I skipped out on a few of the games so I could focus on the ones I know you want to hear about. I mean, I'd already played Metal Gear on the 3DS over at Nintendo, and the third installment of the Karaoke Revolution Glee series is just going to be more of the same (although I couldn't get an answer as to whether it would feature full songs like the first volume or short ones like the second). But Konami contained one of those pleasant surprises and also mild disappointment. I'll put it all after the jump since it'll be a bit long for the front page!

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The first game I saw was Never Dead, which is due out on the PS3 and Xbox 360 this winter. Basically, it's a third-person action/adventure where you play a character who cannot die. Well, unless a monster eats your head. Oh, and you can lose if your female partner dies, which makes me worry that it's just going to be one continuous escort mission. *shudder* But it is clever the way the game lets you be creative with your severed body parts. You can distract monsters with an arm or a leg, or even roll your head into an otherwise inaccessible area to grow your entire body back once you're inside.

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Leedmees is a Kinect Xbox LIVE Arcade game that proved to be one of those surprises of the show. I'd never heard of it before, but it's a very cool puzzle game that I'm now looking forward to. Using the motion sensor, your body controls a stick figure on the screen that creates pathways for little creatures to travel along. Using your arms and legs as paths, you lead them from the entrance portal to the exit, making sure to guide them over stars along the way to meet the requirements to finish the level. There's even co-op multiplayer! I played a couple of levels, and it was really a lot of fun. In fact, I wanted to play more, and would have if it wasn't only the second game I saw and I knew I had plenty more to check out!

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When I saw the demos of Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights, I immediately had to check it out to see just how close this 3DS adventure game is to the Professor Layton series. As it turns out, while they swapped a professor for an archaeologist and there's still a sidekick, it's quite a different experience. Instead of clicking your way through still images, you explore the areas like a traditional action/adventure platformer. And when I reached the treasure at the end, it turned into an RPG game as I had to use the spirits from treasures that had already been collected to beat down the spirit in the treasure I was after. You have to be careful to use only spirits that will bring the target's health down to a certain point without killing it, so there's even some strategy in the mix as well. Yeah, I don't know why the treasures have spirits. The story wasn't entirely clear in the demo. Although I will say that there were far too many cut scenes in the demo for my taste. You're trying to get a feel for the gameplay, not what the cinemas will look like! (By the way, they're a mix of 2D animation and 3D polygon scenes, so it's a bit weird to have this whole mix, especially on the 3DS, where the 2D looks extra flat.)

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Next up was a hack-and-slash action game called Blades of Time that's coming to the PS3 and 360 in early 2012. While there's no multiplayer yet, you'll have more than enough help in this game because the basic concept is that you can go back in time to team up with yourself and get through tough scrapes. You can do it over and over again and have up to 10 different versions of yourself at one time. So while it's your typical hack-and-slash, the time jumping could prove to be quite the brain melter!

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Puddle is a puzzler to be released on the PlayStation Network. You'll use the Move controller to tilt the environment to move liquids to the end of the stage. Obviously it's going to get more complicated than that, but that's what I saw demonstrated. It's also set to release on Xbox LIVE Arcade, so presumably, you could also control the game with the SixAxis controller, though that's not confirmed at this point. It would still be a better option than using the analog stick on the Xbox controller to do it, though!

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They were also showing off No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, which is an HD remake of the first No More Heroes game on the Wii. This ones' a PS3 Move title, so expect to use the wand in the same manner as the Wiimote. But with prettier graphics.

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I left Silent Hill: Downpour for last because I wanted to be able to spend some time with it. Unfortunately, the only open demo station was the one in 3D, and it was awful. First, I couldn't even get the glasses to work, but even after I did, I thought the 3D looked terrible. I put the glasses and the controller down and declared I would wait for a 2D one to open up. This guy came over and asked what was wrong, adding that he works on 3D TVs for Sony, which is what I was playing on. I told him the graphics looked really harsh and jaggedy, and the 3D effect simply wasn't good. At first he thought I was just not able to see 3D or that it was giving me a headache, but when he tried it himself, he agreed it was sub par. Hopefully they'll fix that up before its final release.

Anyway, the game. Once I got onto a regular demo station, I gave it a shot. There were some outdoor areas that did very little to dispel my fear that Downpour was going to feel like Silent Hill: Alan Wake. I mean, approaching an abandoned gas station and climbing up the back of the building to jump onto some rocks and head into the woods? Alan already did that. Once indoors, it felt a bit more like Silent Hill, with the world shifting into the dark universe with the walls and floors turning to ash and floating up just like in the movie adaptation. And I was given a little hope by one bit where you're running away from some kind of "wall of death" that's bearing down on you and as you run down a hallway it keeps extending at the last second so you can't quite reach the end to turn the corner. Very dreamlike and trippy. But overall, it felt very action-oriented like Homecoming, and that has me still a bit nervous about this one. When it comes out, I'm definitely going to wait for reviews from other sources before making the decision to play it. I won't be burned again!

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