After quite a bit of trouble with my video capture setup, I've finally managed to encode the first 10 minutes of Magatama. First 10 minutes not really aptly named, since the video is a bit longer than that. Explanations and first look inside...
First it's important to note that Magatama is definitely not an import friendly game. All text and voices are in japanese, not really a surprise of course, but more importantly a lot of required explanations are thus totally missing, making the game unplayable. I'm stuck at the second level, not knowing at all what to do next.
For this reason the intro and the tutorial of the game has been cut out of the video. The intro is a dialog between Shinato and a "spirit", not really interesting graphically, and totally boring if you do not understand japanese. I'll encode it later on for the most curious out there.
The video is also 12 minutes and a half long, because I did not want to cut the first level right before the boss battle. Sue me :)
The game itself is not the best Xbox game ever that's for sure, but it's still quite interesting for a few reasons. Graphically the game is quite nice, with detailed textures and models, and a very nice drawing distance. It runs at 60fps, and I could not detect one slow down, even with a lot of ennemies on the screen at once and absolutely no jaggies in sight.
The cinematics scenes look very nice, even if they use the game engine. They are the best way to realize that the characters are very nicely done, especially the faces, looking a lot like the one you could see in Shenmue. Also worth noting for the anime fan, the dubbing is done by professional Seiyuu's, and it shows.
Gameplay is rather classic. Shinato does not seem to have a lot of movements, but his sidekick Orochi is also here to help add some variety in the game. Orochi can be customized by legendary stones (called Magatama), and can make him have new habilities like fire for certain type of ennemies, or multiple target attacks. Orochi moves freely, but you can make him attack any target you are already fighting by pressing X. While attacking, Orochi also builds up a power gauge. When full, you can have him launch a super attack by pressing Y.
Sound effects are average, and music is nice but not great either.
Magatama is an effort in the good direction from Microsoft Japan. It's obvious that Team Breakout, in charge of that game, had a quite big budget and it shows with very detailed graphics and excellent dubbing (something the japanese really enjoy). Magatama is definitely a game done by japanese, for japanese gamers. I would not be surprised if that game really never reached us.
If you someone can help me on the 2nd level, I'll try doing some more videos. Tomorrow I'll put online the intro, and what happens after the end of the first level (dialog, Orochi customization, hub level).
As always, I'm waiting for your comments !