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AOU 09: Razing Storm Hands-on

Bandai Namco's new gun shooting game is intense!

The Razing Storm cabinet.

I was totally denied in my attempt at playing Razing Storm at JAMMA last year. But this year, Bandai Namco had the game open to all -- and in both Chinese and English no less!

I was somehow left playing the Chinese version, but this wasn't too much of a deal. No matter what the language, Razing Storm is easily the most intense gun shooting game I've ever played.

From a technology side, there's no questioning that this is as good as it gets as far as gun shooting games go. The game uses the PS3-powered System 357 board for detailed backgrounds, characters, and robots. This is coupled with a 62 inch monitor and a 6 speaker DTS sound system, complete with a voice speaker placed right in front of the two players, to really immerse you.

In typical Bandai Namco gun shooting fashion, you make use of both a gun and a pedal to play. The pedal is held down when you want to shoot and released to defend and reload. Your defensive move actually brings up a shield, rather than making your character take cover. The gun, actually a machine gun, is one of the game's main attractions, as it provides powerful feedback, making you feel every blast. Just shooting is fun in Razing Storm.

Now for the best part of the game: the on-screen carnage. There's so much going on that it's almost overwhelming at times. You'll find screens filled with enemies, and just as you've cleared them, a giant robot will break through the wall and engage you. The fully destructible environments certainly add to the intensity, as walls, pillars and other items can be blasted at and destroyed, making the screen continually alive with flying objects.

[end_p text="Continue reading for further impressions of Razing Storm" /]

To the left, the giant first stage boss, who stalks you throughout the stage. The right shot doesn't really capture the full sense of on-screen carnage. Trust me, it gets a lot more intense, with enemies filling up the entire screen.

I got to see just a couple of stages. The opening stage takes place in and around a desert Middle Eastern city similar to the opening area of Metal Gear Solid 4. In addition to facing off against hoards of terrorists, you're being stalked by a giant mechanized four-legged beast. It occasionally faces off with you as a mid-level boss attraction, but the real confrontation comes at the end of the stage as you board a car and assume gunner position, blasting at the beast while slowly weaving through the city buildings.

I only got a glimpse of the second stage. This one is set in a market, also with a Middle East theme, and requires that you deal with innocents. More than the brief bit of gameplay that I got to see, I liked the opening of this stage, which had your group of soldiers speeding onto the scene in their car, taking out enemies by ramming into them. It's too bad that the voices were in Chinese in the version I was playing, as I was eager to hear some horrible video game acting.

The second stage, set in a market.

Bandai Namco's press materials notes three points about the game: "Feel good through your eyes," "feel good through your body," and "feel good through your ears." That seems to be a pretty accurate description of Razing Storm. You'll definitely want to give this one a try if it should appear at a game center near you. But make sure and keep a supply of 100 yen coins nearby, as this is one intense experience that you won't want to come to an end.

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