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Friday, Sep. 16, 2011

The 10 video games you must see at this year's exhibition

Special to The Japan Times

Whenever huge games or new kinds of hardware go on sale, fans line up to be the first to make their purchase, sometimes even waiting overnight. Lining up has become a time-honored tradition in gaming culture. However, at Tokyo Game Show, time is precious. Here are 10 games that are sure to be worth the wait:

Anarchy Reigns: Dubbed "Max Anarchy" in Japan, "Anarchy Reigns" is the latest offering from Platinum Games, one of Japan's best new studios. It's an online combat game that features colorful characters from previous Platinum titles such as "MadWorld."

Dark Souls: Mark my words, this will be the hardest game released this year. It's the spiritual sequel to "Demon's Souls," a tough nut to crack that players relished. The graphics, the gameplay and the mood are all top notch. As more video games pander to casual gamers, it's good to see a Japanese developer with some fight left in it.

Dragon's Dogma: Rumored to be the most expensive game Capcom has ever made, "Dragon's Dogma" is a sprawling epic set in a fantasy world. The game is being developed by the team responsible for "Devil May Cry."

Final Fantasy XIII-2: The sequel to the massive selling "Final Fantasy XIII" is expected to be another epic Japanese role-playing game, but could also fix some of the prequel's tepid gameplay. It doesn't quite have the hype that "FFXIII" had, but that's not a bad thing.

Lollipop Chainsaw: From the minds at Grasshopper Manufacture that brought us hack-and-slash game "No More Heroes" comes "Lollipop Chainsaw," a game about a zombie-fighting cheerleader. Her weapon of choice, a chainsaw, is even decorated with little hearts.

Monster Hunter 3 (Tri) G: This is one of Japan's most popular franchises. The 2009 Wii version, "Monster Hunter 3 (Tri)," is coming to the Nintendo 3DS. For the game, Nintendo has created a special tacked on peripheral that adds an extra thumb pad to the 3DS, offering dual-stick control. Forthcoming rival handheld PlayStation Vita has two thumb pads, so the addition will give 3DS players greater control in how they play as well as go further in bridging the gap between the 3DS and the Vita.

NeverDead: OK, so this Konami game is actually being developed by a British studio. But the lead designer is Japanese, and he has worked on a handful of "Metal Gear" games. "NeverDead" follows a protagonist who is able to rip his body parts off and throw them. Clever, gruesome fun.

New Love Plus: A smash hit here in Japan, "Love Plus" is a love simulator that allows players to enjoy the minutiae of being in a relationship. Previous versions were on the DS; this latest one will hit the 3DS, allowing players to get even closer to their virtual girlfriend thanks to glasses-free 3-D.

Ni no Kuni: "Ni no Kuni" is a collaboration between Japan's most beloved animation studio (Studio Ghibli) and one of its favorite game companies (Level-5). The Nintendo DS version has already been released, and the upcoming PS3 version is beautiful.

Gal*Gun: One of the most offbeat titles in recent memory, "Gal*Gun" is a bishōjo (beautiful girl) game in which the player walks through a high school and shoots pheromones at schoolgirls. Originally an Xbox 360 game, an upcoming version is coming to the PS3, complete with PlayStation Move motion controls. Bang bang!

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