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We Love Katamari Preview

Scheduled release date:
Fall 2005
Release Date:

Listen up, Katamari fans–Namco is showing off a playable demo of We Love Katamari here at

E3 and we couldn't wait to tell you about it.

This new game, though it doesn't break any new ground, takes everything that was great about

the original and makes it better.

The egomaniacal King of All Cosmos, and his son, the Prince, are back and up to their old

tricks. Once again, the Prince has to collect clumps off stuff into a ball and give it back

to his pops to be turned into stars.

One of the main things Namco wanted to do with the sequel is make the environments larger…

open up the game, so to speak.

The demo here at the show has two playable levels. One is a single-player area that starts

out in a schoolroom and grows to encompass the entire school grounds. The other is a

two-player co-op level that's set in a grassy garden area.

Early on in the school level, it's only possible to roll around and pick up small objects

such as erasers, notepads, and rats. Once you get the katamari to roughly 30CM in size, you

can start adding trash cans, cats, and dogs to it. Eventually, you're able to roll out into

the halls, where you can enter other classrooms–ultimately adding students and teachers to

the ball as well. Once the ball reaches 2M, you can push it outside. That's about as far as

we got due to the time limit on the level. One particularly cool thing we noticed is that

the school has multiple rooms and hallways, which you can go between and explore. Different

portions of each area are stramed off the disc, and we assume the same increase in scope

will apply to larger scale level (multiple towns, multiple islands, etc).

On the multiplayer side of things, We Love Katamari will include multiple 2P competitive and

co-op levels. The Co-op levels are rather strange, because both players help control a

single Katamari and have to communicate with one another to keep it moving properly.

Specifically, the co-op level in the demo here at E3 has a few narrow dirt paths that

players need to ascend in order to reach flower patches. Both players need to steer the ball

with some level of precision so that it won't fall back down. In this level, once the ball

grew large enough, we were able to pick up large bulls and cows that were grazing.

So what's better, you say? In addition to expanding the environments and adding more

multiplayer modes, they've also kicked the graphics up a notch.

We Love Katamari retains the same simple cel-shaded style of the original game, but the

level of detail and the sharpness has been doubled… easily. We could make out the writing

on the chalkboards in the school and see all sorts of fine details in the glass and paint

that made up the school building. Fans of the original who happen to own decent modern TVs

will be HAPPY to learn that We Love Katamari also supports 480 progressive, so there's an

added level of sharpness coming from there too.

It also looks like they fixed up the twitchy camera that was somewhat of a bother in the

original game. The auto camera is fine, but if you don't like it, you can now also select

multiple camera views with the L2 and R2 buttons.

Sadly, we can't say much about the audio (playing games at E3 is like playing games at a

rock concert)… but the Namco rep tells us the soundtrack will be similar to the original,

but with a wider range of hip-hop and rock inspired songs too. Don't worry, the music won't

be licensed. It'll still sound weird and kooky. From what little of the one song track we

heard (a hip-hop tempo song with a rock guitar, and nutty Japanese singing), we think

they're once again on the right track.

We Love Katamari for the PS2 is set to be released in July in Japan and in early October

2005 in the US.

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