SEGA had plenty of games at its PAX East booth this year, and I've already told you about Hell Yeah!, but there were a few other games I tried out.
First up was Sonic 4 Episode 2. I'm not the biggest Sonic fan, but apparently fans complained about the physics in Sonic 4 Episode 1, so they went back in and redid all the physics and graphics so it should feel like classic Sonic again. And from what I played, it sure felt like it to me. They've announced four zones so far, and they're reintroducing Tails. They've improved his abilities this time around, so that in addition to flying you around, Tails will also act as a propeller to get you through water areas a whole lot easier. The game will be out on May 15 for download on about every platform there is. That includes Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC as well as iOS, Android and Windows devices. There will also be cloud saves between devices, though it will be somewhat limited. For instance, if you have an Xbox 360, you could pick up where you left off in your game on your Windows mobile phone. (Obviously it's not going to be cross-compatible from Playstation to Windows!) Also, if you already have Sonic 4 Episode 1 and purchase Episode 2 for the same platform, you'll get the bonus content Episode Metal, which is a reworked zone from Episode 1 with four levels and featuring Metal Sonic!
Two more games after the jump!
I also played a couple of rounds of Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, which is a new revision of Virtua Fighter 5 due out this summer on Xbox 360 and PS3, but not as a retail disc copy. This time, it's going to be a downloadable game, so it'll be cheaper. It's also not an add-on to VF5, but its own stand-alone title. There will be 19 fighters battling it out on 19 stages, so it's a full game. Final Showdown will feature all of the enhancements the arcade team has developed since 2007. Karate expert Jean Kujo is a new character, and Taka-Arashi is back from VF3. They've adjusted the fighting mechanics to be more accessible to new players while retaining the depth and balance that VF fans want. There's destructible arenas, and online play featuring battles that can include up to eight players at a time. Oh, and if you're feeling like playing dress-up, there's an extensive wardrobe you can use to customize your favorite characters! What I saw played well (admittedly, the PR guy only let me win the first match he whupped me the second one), and I couldn't find a decent screenshot to run with the article. They all look stiff and awkward as still images. But trust me that the animations flow just as smoothly as you'd expect from a VF title. It looks good. (But if you own the original, it's your call whether the improvements are worth double-dipping!)
Last, but certainly not least, I got my hands on Jet Set Radio. I loved this on my Dreamcast back in the day, so I'm thrilled that gamers who didn't own SEGA's swan song console can finally enjoy this terrific game on their Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 or PC this summer. It's basically the same game, because they pretty much just took the original source code and just shined it up a bit to bring it into this generation. Honestly, it looked pretty much the same to me, so I feel like all they really did was smooth out the pixelization and make it look clean. SEGA held a graffiti design contest, and 18 winners will have their art featured in the game, which is kind of cool. Unfortunately, they had a little trouble reconstructing the soundtrack due to rights issues and such, so only about 70% of the soundtrack is there. But they weren't about to re-record things, because they want to keep this as authentic an experience to the original as possible. They have added Achievement and Trophy support, naturally, and there will be online leaderboards. I was also told that there would be some new extras that weren't quite ready to be talked about yet. All in all, I was impressed. They didn't try to make Jet Set Radio better, they just tried to keep it as is. Which is the best way to do it, I think!