E3 06: Genji 2 hands-on

The original Genji for PS2 was a beautiful and engaging - if short - samurai action game. The PS3 title looks like more of the same. The big difference is that the visuals are amped-up considerably for the series' PS3 debut. Check out our trailer, linked from the "movies" tab above, to see for yourself.

The fine level of detail really brings the world of Genji to life. The level begins with a burning castle, with fire all around and heat warping your view. Every so often when you play, the game will cut into a cutscene, with characters almost as detailed as you could expect to see in a CG movie in a PS2 game.

On the other hand, the gameplay doesn't seem to take a big leap from the PS2, so far. Genji is an action game in the vein of Onimusha. It stars two characters, a nimble swordsman and a powerful monk who swings a giant pillar. The canned combos you unleash on enemies look very impressive and the feel is just right - targeting is simple and the action is fast. However, it's absolutely nothing new, at least at this stage. Though there are more enemies on screen than in the PS2 edition, they're currently content to patiently wait their turn to be beaten. By hitting the L1 button you can also go into "kamui" mode, which allows you to press buttons (indicated on screen) and blow out special attacks. However, it's nothing we haven't seen before. At least you can switch between both of the playable characters whenever you want. The level ends with a big boss who's impervious to most attacks - finding his weak point is the key.

As it stands, Genji for PS3 feels much like its predecessor. That game was beautiful but unoriginal samurai action, and this seems much the same. We do admit that the game is early on in its development, and also that the visual sheen and polish it possesses will be enough to get many excited. Still, hopefully new ideas can be injected into the gameplay before the game hits shelves. According to Sony, it may even launch alongside the PS3.

May 11, 2006