What the hell is it? It's called Tokyo Jungle, and it's a PS3 (Play Station 3) video game featuring animals fighting each other in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo setting.
My first reaction was - "What? There's a PS3 fighting animal game in post-apocalyptic Tokyo? Why wasn't I not informed earlier?"
I've been using the 'reaction' set-up a lot lately. Sorry... I've been surprised a fair bit lately.
Sony needs to start giving me free testers to review. Hell... I could always go back to Nintendo... I always had fun with my Nintendo (Famicon, Super Famicon, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Gameboy et al).
I like video games. I make no apologies for this. I've always been into fantasy as a shy, quiet and reserved youngster who could not seemingly fit into reality. And, video games - along with comic books - gave me a readily available outlet from the reality of real life - which always seemed suck for me as a teenager.
Trust me... being 5-foot tall until you were 17-years-old does not give you a lot of self-confidence with the real world.
Even now, as a maladjusted adult who seems to fit into more areas of society than one can shake an Atari 2600 joystick at, I still enjoy floating away into nothingness. Perhaps I still am that shy, quiet child... I grew one-foot (30 centimeters) taller in a year (and 7 years later lost and inch and a half - fortunately only in height! with a bad back where stuff compacted a bit), gained a lot of self-respect back after getting into a lot of fights - or what I call pay-back - and eventually learning that I wouldn't self-destruct if I talked to a woman...
Of course, I do a lot of writing, both at work and here at home. I also have a wife and child and I suppose one must be expected to spend time with them, so I do my best. It's all I've ever done, and I make no excuses for that. Okay... I was a slacker until I was maybe 24... but since then, I make no excuses...
As such, the extent of my video gaming over the past three years has been quite limited. Prior to me going to once-a-day writings of this blog back in October of 2010 when all Hell was breaking lose around my family unit - not because of anything I did or didn't do - my escape was in playing video games. Since then, it's been writing.
I do get to play video games now, however, but it is pretty much limited to LEGO video games on the PS3. Lego Batman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a Marvel Super Hero Squad and a Scooby Doo game - all of which have been great. Just because some video games are for kids, does not mean an adult can't enjoy them, too - or at least one's inner shy, quiet child.
But sometimes you want a game that's a bit more violent. I've played the Final Fantasy games (It's why I actually bought a Sony system in the first place).
I actually hate the 1st-person shoot'em ups, and prefer games with an adventure to them... a fantasy, if you will... but sometimes, I enjoy the old-fashioned beating up of things.
And, while scouring the Internet looking for topics for myself and the readers, I find that there's a video game that combines beating up things with Japan - though I have also played a couple of Yakuza games). A post-apocalyptic Japan? Cool... but, until now, this game - Tokyo Jungle - has only been available in Japan.
Now, it is coming to European and Australian consoles... though not North or South America or Africa. However, since there is actually no difference in the regions (it's region-free), you can buy a game from Europe or Australia (or from Japan if your Japanese is very good) and play it in Canada et al.
But... just note that it's not out for the west, yet. And it might actually be coming out for the PS4. Yes. I did type in the #4. But those lucky Japanese folks are playing it on the PS3, right now.
What's it like?
Well, from the trailers... I was expecting it to be like the old Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat games - but featuring a hyena versus a chimpanzee in standard fights - but boy, was I wrong.
It's like Dungeons and Dragons (D&D)... but instead of elves, dwarves and humans growing stronger fighting trolls, zombie dragons or liches, you get to choose from a wide range of critters one might actually find in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo:
Let's say you want to be a Pomeranian dog (plenty of those in Tokyo), or a hyena (think Tokyo Zoo)... you wander the ruins of Tokyo attacking other animals just like you might fight an orc in D&D, and you get stronger, moving up levels to gain additional abilities - like better strength, or defense. You also find healing devices to regain health... but apparently that can also be regained from sleeping back at your nest.
In the trailer below, I noticed that you can also find a female critter in heat and have sex with it. Gross? Think about what you were doing in Grand Theft Auto III - banging hookers or sleeping with your lady friend (yes, I have that version).
It's a survival action game.
As you continue on in the game, the animals (you) will learn more and more about what happened to the humans.
There is no excuse, however, to explain why the humans left behind a pair of elephant-sized roller skates. But, since you can be an elephant... we assume you can wear the skates - should you be able to find them... and why wouldn't you? They're frigging huge!
Other cool or wacky things you can find and perhaps use, include: a sumo wrestler obi (belt) that can be worn by a Tosa inu (Tosa dog) - a beautiful Japanese dog that is banned in many countries around the world. More information on it HERE. Anyhow... it makes the dog 'aerodynamic' perhaps giving it better jumping abilities.
There is also cheap pet food, some jerky made of some sort of meat that tastes terrible but gives great stamina, and flea removal shampoo - because you never know just what you are going to sleep with.
Now... I have to admit that the graphics are piss-poor, in my opinion. It's a side scroller (left to right) with movements up and down that are quite limited. It's got nothing on the latest Final Fantasy games. The background animation also looks less than detailed.
But... considering that the news that this game is finally heading out from Japan to the West - which means the words in it are being translated - the game play's the thing, to completely butcher a Shakespearean adage.
Trust me - they have to fix the way the animals 'speak' as well... In English, we hear a dog as a bark-bark... or a ruff-ruff... the Japanese make it sound like a whon-whon. All are equally bad... but let's just say that when I used to amuse my student by barking like a dog, I would mimic my old rottweilers perfectly. If this game can mimic animal noises well, I might be happy.
As for how I am doing right now? I'm finishing off the LEGO Harry Potter Years 5-7 video game doing all of the little things my son is bored with... I do it so we can get 100% completion. I hate it when things are less than that. It's what drives me to beat every video game I play. I don't know if you can do that in a 1st-person game like Halo... I guess I have a dogged determination. But, this Tokyo Jungle game looks like fun and I am sure I will get along with it like man's best flea-ridden friend in a sumo outfit.
PS: Along with the fantasy adventure games, I really love a good western. In my opinion, by changing the game controls around so much, the PS2 version of Red Dead Revolver was far superior to the PS3 sequel Red Dead Redemption. I also found the repetition of Batman Arkham Asylum to make the game sucky. And just know that I have about 2,000 different Batman comic books. I really like the character. I think that's why I enjoy the puzzles and strangeness of the LEGO games. I actually get to use my brain a little bit. Hmmmm... come top think of it, I might actually hate Tokyo Jungle. Damn. I guess I'll publish this article anyway.