The Rising Sun rises on PS3

Out on Saturday, 11th Nov in Japan. Here's what's happening.

The Japanese always look so friendly and courteous on TV, don't they? Lies. Have you seen that new Fast And Furious film? Filthy. Scratch the surface and it's wall-to-wall sass over there - and we're onto them. Indeed, it's with F' And F' in mind (however hard we scrub), that we imagine there's been a sizable backlash in Nippon. The language barrier means we're not subjected to it, but there has to have been one - after all, they've only got 80,000 units.

Launch Titles

Admittedly that's 80,000 more than we've got, but it's less than 20 percent of all the PlayStation 3s Sony's built. And this is for a country that does more than any other regular-sized territory to sustain them; a country that's already bought more than 40 million PlayStations and more than five million PSPs. "What on earth," they must be wondering over there, "did we do to deserve this?"

Still, no use crying over spilt milk, and - as has been the point of all this - we're not entirely sure whether they are crying about the spilt milk. So instead, with PlayStation 3 due to be semi-available to buy in the Far East from Saturday, let's talk about what's available - not least because, with the discs region-free and first party titles expected to launch with all the language data on them, some bright sparks might very well decide to buy things early. Not that we have. Well, Tom's bought Ridge Racer 7, but we're not sure he plans on actually putting it in the PS3 anyway.

There might be 21 games out on day one in the US, but that number's actually significantly smaller in Japan, with just a handful making their way to town along with the hardware units. What follows, then, is a quick and handy guide to what's available - including impressions of the games we've played - along with a brief rundown of what's happening in the days and weeks that follow 11th November.

Genji: Days of the Blade

1
Genji: Groundhog Days of the Blade?

Genji drifts through Game Republic's gorgeous vision of a feudal Japan that famously mixes historical battles with improbable creatures like giant enemy crabs. (Yes, our build of the game has one, and yes he's a bit preposterous - although smacking him in the face until his head falls off is quite entertaining.) You have four characters at your disposal - sword-swinging Yoshitsune, the slow but powerful Benkei, yo-yo tossing Shizuka, and Buson, final boss of the first game - and the idea is to switch between them like you would tools in your inventory.

Early impressions suggest the game places great importance upon finding the right approach for each situation - whether it's a tricky boss who only yields to a particular attack or a basic puzzle that demands a certain character's intrinsic skills. Despite amping up the visuals, the feeling is that Genji merely offers more of the same - although its stylish Kumui attacks, where one character vanquishes a sequence of enemies by matching button prompts, should help enliven the general atmosphere of hack-and-slash.

Resistance: Fall of Man

The big one, as far as the US launch is concerned, and certainly in healthy form judging by the code we've been playing through. With an emphasis on weaponry over typical FPS interchangeables like "dynamic AI" and "Nazis", fun in Resistance stems partly from developing tactics based on bullets that fire through walls, blasts that bounce off ceilings and tags that allow you to fire round corners, and partly from the glorious way in which these sights and sounds are brought to life by the PlayStation 3 hardware.

The big question we have is whether the game manages to sustain the level of fun we had playing around with weapons - a hangover from the excellent Ratchet & Clank platformers - or whether perhaps it slips into a spectacular but otherwise uniform routine. And of course we'll be interrogating review code to find you the answer to that as soon as possible - certainly within the next fortnight. In the meantime, why not see if Ted Price can convince you in our most recent Eurogamer TV Show, or have a read through our jolly first impressions to keep the buzz alive? It's the polite thing to do.

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Billed as PS3's 'big one', but it'll need to do a lot to impress.

Ridge Racer 7

Slick, polished, and really a lot like the Xbox 360 version, Ridge Racer 7's principally going to be of interest to people who pick a PlayStation 3 instead of Microsoft's console. The thought of owning both 6 and 7 - and playing what's clearly quite a similar game to death in order to eke out the differences - is something that's only likely to appeal to the ludicrously rich and stupid, or financially irresponsible fanboys like Tom.

Based on the demo version we've been running rings around, the big changes seem to be a greater visual diversity and a new slipstream system, whereby players can increase their following speed by lurking in another racer's wake. It will be interesting to see whether - battling it out online or in the latter stages of the single-player game - the slipstreaming feature has a big impact, but it's hard to tell on the evidence of our preview code; it rarely takes us longer than one lap to make it to the front of the pack.

Otherwise, the biggest news to report is probably that the nitrous system is the same (earn it by drifting, burn it by crashing your fingers into the triggers), albeit with a slightly different visual effect - a sort of scoring of the screen around the edges, as though the glass of the monitor's being plunged into liquid nitrogen or something.

SEGA Golf Club

There have been mixed reports about this one, with the Tokyo Game Show build in particular criticised for being pretty straightforward, visually a bit ropey and scarcely a patch on the Xbox 360 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07. Famitsu gave it four 7s, only really giving it credit for its simplicity and ease of use. We're more interested in Sony's first Everybody's Golf effort, frankly.

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