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July 17, 2006
Online Chess Kingdoms - PSP Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
15/2/2007AtariKonamiLeviathan Games1-2$79.95

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The 3D graphics look adequate.
When it comes to board games few have the popularity of Chess. Played by millions of gamers the world over the game is one of absolute strategy and skill, and almost never chance. Over the years there have been quite a few chess based games, but this is the first to hit the Playstation Portable. Rather then just a plain vanilla game though the development team is aiming to make this much more interesting, with animated battle sequences and 3D visuals.

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Just flying around the board.
Konami's Online Chess Kingdoms also features a unique story mode, which offers the player the choice of five different Chess sets. Set in an ancient world, five distinct regimes are vying for tactical supremacy over their foes. These factions - magicians, an aquatic race, cybernetic beings, forest spirits and servants of chaos - are represented by different Chess pieces and use different animations to show them taking and losing pieces. The story mode also features hidden story elements that can be unlocked by completing pre-set tasks.

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Actually Konami should improve the visuals...
In addition to the 3D option Konami are allowing users to view the game in the more traditional 2D, top-down view, and hardened players will revel in the 'Speed Chess' option which ups the pace and move all the pieces on the board at once. The game uses the PSP's 'Ad Hoc' and 'Infrastructure' modes to facilitate multi-player tournaments via the Internet, and players can participate in a single match or enter an online tournament which will track the ratings of the world's best players.

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10 minutes 18 seconds elapsed.
So at this stage Online Chess Kingdoms doesn't look like the best game on the PSP - far from it in fact, but since when has chess been about the graphics or style anyway? There's a reason the board game has remained the same for thousands of years. We haven't seen the 2D graphics yet but we expect these to be quite crisp and clear to see for traditionalists.

With a release set for February 2007 this game, at least in terms of potential gameplay, should be a winner.