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Found 69 results

  1. Aksys has given visual novel and otome game fans a great Valentine's Day gift this year! That gift is an announcement for a visual novel they will be bringing to North America on the PSP called Sweet Fuse: At Your Side. In Sweet Fuse, you are Saki Inafune (niece to famed video game developer Keiji Inafune). Her uncle's brand new theme park is having its grand opening and she's looking forward to a grand day of fun, when suddenly... The evil Count Hogstein blows up the ferris wheel and takes over the park! It is then that Hogstein begins his set of deadly games. Saki volunteers herself to be one of the participants so she can save her uncle. Can she make it out alive with all the other players... and maybe find some love on the way? As silly as Sweet Fuse may sound, getting any sort of otome game in NA is a real treat. It's looking to be a great game for anyone interested in adventure games and visual novels, in any case (especially for those that liked 999 and Virtue's Last Reward)! Sweet Fuse boasts 14 different endings and some crazy puzzles. There's not a concrete release date yet, but you can expect to be enjoying Sweet Fuse on your PSP sometime this summer. Until then, check out the screenshots below!
  2. Developer: Spike Chunsoft Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita Release Date: October 23, 2012 ESRB: M for Mature 17+ This review is based on the 3DS version of the game What would you do if your life was on the line? Would you be willing to trust a group of strangers and seek a way to escape from a hellish nightmare together, or would you betray them in hopes of saving your own skin? Such a decision may not be very common to people like us (hopefully, anyway), but for the cast of Zero Escape: Virtue“s Last Reward, this is all too harsh a reality. And such a twisted scenario certainly makes for one suspenseful, very riveting story. Add that to the game“s elegant visuals, fantastic voicework and music, and the very clever gameplay consisting of “Novel†sections and “Escape†sequences, and… well, let“s just say you may have a hard time sleeping once you get hooked on this incredible visual novel. For starters, Virtue“s Last Reward is actually Volume 2 of the newly-branded Zero Escape series. Volume 1 wasn“t originally called Zero Escape, but rather was the Nintendo DS exclusive 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Now, you may be asking, "Can I play this game if I haven“t played Volume 1 yet?" Well… yes, but you really shouldn“t. Just like with VLR, 999 has an incredible story, and it would serve you better to play it first rather than have its story spoiled in the sequel. Basically, all of 999“s major plot points are detailed in this game, and you would basically be killing much of the story“s magic without having experienced the first game, well, first. The story in Virtue“s Last Reward begins very much like its predecessor: Nine people have been kidnapped by an unknown gas-masked entity known only as Zero, who has hand-picked them all for reasons unknown. These nine captives wake up in a mysterious facility, soon discovering that they have no choice but to participate in what Zero calls the “Nonary Game.†This “game†revolves around the number 9, and each participant wears a bracelet depicting a certain number. As they play Zero“s little game, these nine people must try to find a way to escape their prison, lest they become trapped their forever or wind up dead. Unlike in the first game, this Nonary Game is different, having the subtitle “Ambidex Edition†tagged onto the end. Also unlike the first game, the bracelets depict not only a number, but either the word “solo†or “pair,†as well as both word and number being one of several different colors. These colors determine who goes in which group of three, with pairs joining with solos of a different color in order to go through “Chromatic Doors†by combining their colors and forming whatever colors the doors are. For example, a red pair can go with a blue solo and enter the magenta door while a blue pair can go with a green solo and enter the cyan door. Meanwhile, the green pair goes with the red solo and enters the yellow door. Once a team enters a Chromatic Door, an Escape sequence commences and they will need to solve various puzzles as they “seek a way out†of the room they become locked inside. These puzzles are often very complex, which may tempt you to switch from hard mode to easy mode so that your partners can throw you some hints. But if you desire the extras you can receive for completing an Escape sequence on hard mode, that option becomes less desirable. Once you do complete an Escape sequence, you receive a pair of key cards and enter another Novel section (this is a visual novel, after all), wherein the characters must use these cards to participate in an “Ambidex Game.†This portion of the Nonary Game involves the pair-solo teams entering an Ambidex Room, or AB Room, and making a tough choice. The pairs must enter separate AB Rooms as their solo partners, however, and their tough choice is whether they want to “ally†or “betray†their teammate(s), similar to what is known as the prisoner“s dilemma. Whatever they choose will result in each team member either gaining or losing points on their current bracelet value. This aspect is where the true nature of the Nonary Game is shown, as participants can only escape the facility by accruing a total of 9 Bracelet Points and opening a Number 9 door. Conversely, if someone“s BP were to reach 0, needles within their bracelet would inject them with two different drugs, causing them to drop dead. With such a horrible fate being a possibility, trust becomes an issue, especially when one of the nine players might be Zero himself. And it“s because of this very issue, coupled with your own choices, that allow this game to split into many, MANY possible outcomes. There are 24 total endings to this game, with nine being more important than others. And to make things all the easier to track in this regard, a flow chart has been implemented into VLR, allowing the player to jump into other timelines to make choices they hadn“t made originally. And to help speed things along in your quest for endings, fast-forwarding is allowed during parts you“ve already witnessed, such as the little CGI rabbit known as Zero III explaining things in different accents (play the game to find out what that means). Virtue“s Last Reward is a visual progression from its predecessor, which featured nothing but 2D artwork. This time around, characters have been delightfully rendered with 3D models and backgrounds are, for the most part, 3-dimensional as well. The 3D backgrounds certainly help to give the game more depth, especially when playing the 3DS version, but the characters themselves are given even more depth as they show more expressions and deeper, more emphasized reactions. And there are also times when the game shows off even more of its beauty in the form of full-motion cutscenes. With all these things combined, it“s obvious just how much of a visual improvement this game is from 999. There is also a noticeable audio progression from the first game, as both the music and voice acting are insanely good. The soundtrack of this game is incredibly moody and keeps you on edge while the voices are just a big treat. Gone are the days of hearing nothing but bloops while reading walls of text in 999, as Virtue“s Last Reward features voice acting for all characters (save for Sigma, the protagonist) during all Novel sections. You may find it disappointing that no Escape sequences are voiced, but it really isn“t a problem when you consider how much less dialogue there is and how much more emphasis is placed on just solving the mind-boggling puzzles. And not only is there voice acting in this game, but this is some of the best voice acting any game has ever had. Seriously, props to the VLR voice actors. Of course, no game is without flaws. Perhaps one of the most popular of these flaws is the 3DS version“s infamous save-corrupting bug, an unfortunate pain that might cause people to go with the Vita version. Other unwanted pains within this game include moments when the 3D effect of the 3DS version just doesn“t work, some minor text-related hiccups, and a few bits of sloppy visuals scattered throughout the game. None of these issues really stunt the experience, however, and so long as you don“t save during Escape sequences, the save file problem can be easily bypassed. If you“ve played 999, you“ll have an idea of what to expect from its sequel – a riveting, twisted story full of suspense that you will likely lose sleep over once it pulls you in. If you haven“t played 999, it“s recommended that you do so before immersing yourself in Volume 2 of the newly-branded Zero Escape series. There are a few flaws dotted throughout this game, sure, but once you brush those aside, the wonderfully dark magic it exudes becomes fully realized. With some fun-to-solve and appropriately frustrating puzzles, beautiful visuals, and some fantastic audio work involving some of the best video game voiceovers around, Zero Escape: Virtue“s Last Reward is one incredible game, and as far as visual novels go, quite frankly, it doesn“t get much better than this. Pros: + A deep, twisted, and very exciting story + Plenty of clever gameplay elements + Very elegant visuals + Remarkable voicework and soundtrack + A 30+ hour addiction Cons: - The 3DS version has a save-corrupting bug - A few visual and text-related hiccups Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Regardless of which version you pick up, Virtue's Last Reward is among the best of its class, surpassing its award-winning predecessor in nearly every way possible to make this a truly fantastic experience.
  3. Jordan Haygood

    Virtue's Last Reward 4

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Spike Chunsoft

  4. Jordan Haygood

    Virtue's Last Reward 3

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Spike Chunsoft

  5. Jordan Haygood

    Virtue's Last Reward 2

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Spike Chunsoft

  6. Jordan Haygood

    Virtue's Last Reward 1

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Spike Chunsoft

  7. We've known for a while now that Muramasa: The Demon Blade would be getting an enhanced port on the Vita, but what about for us NA folk? Luckily, Aksys Games has just announced today that they'll be in charge of localizing and bringing it to us under the name of Muramasa Rebirth. What new features does the Vita port have over the original Wii version? Not only will it have hi-res graphics on the Vita's gorgeous screen, but also a completely new English localization from Aksys. Aksys will also be bringing the paid DLC over that allows you to play short scenarios as four different characters. Please note that Muramasa Rebirth will not be a digital-only release! Look forward to nabbing a physical copy, if that's your preference. Muramasa Rebirth currently does not have a release date. What do you think about Aksys handling Muramasa Rebirth's localization?
  8. On Valentine's Day of this year, Aksys Games took a gamble by releasing Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom (review here) to a western market. If the title isn't familiar, it is basically a visual novel/dating sim based on samurai. Hakuoki was released for PSP as both a regular and limited physical edition, as well as a digital download. Although the game wasn't a critical hit, there were a lot of positive things said about it. In an unexpected move, Aksys is now bringing out another game in the Hakuoki world to PSP. They announced that Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi will also be published in the U.S. If visual novels aren't exactly your cup of tea then perhaps this game will be more up your alley as it is a hack 'n slash featuring the male leads of the series. However, while that may appeal to non-fans, fans will probably be less pleased by this vastly different title. So far, there is no release date known but it is at least heading to PSP. The game will come to both retail and PSN again, but the likelihood of another special edition is slim. If you're interested, take a look at the newly launched Hakuoki: Warriors of the Shinsengumi website.
  9. Looks like Aksys will be giving a super awesome pre-order bonus for Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, the sequel to the highly-praised 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors! Like the original 999 pre-order bonus, the one for Zero Escape will also be a wearable wrist watch modeled after the bracelet featured in the game. The Zero Escape wrist watch pre-order bonus is available in three colors: red, blue, and green. This offer is Amazon-exclusive and applies to both the 3DS and Vita versions of the game. Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward will be released in North America on October 23rd. Be prepared! Will you be pre-ordering Zero Escape for 3DS or Vita?
  10. Dominic Dimanche

    Wheel of Fate Turns Again: BlazBlue is Back

    It is a poorly kept secret around here that I have a bit of an unhealthy love for fighting games. The BlazBlue series has been one of my most cherished current generation fighters (Mokoto is possibly as close to having Squirrel Girl in a fighting game), and now the folks at Aksys have produced a trailer for their third proper installment in the series, BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasm. http://youtu.be/giuMI9VEk_w Along with new stages and updated story, it will also feature three new characters to add to the roster. So far, my eyes are set on Bullet with her crazy fisticuffs and rush down play style a la my beloved Mokoto. The other two also look to fit the bill of incredibly detailed and designed fighters with uniquely crazy fighting styles. It also appears like some of the old favorites are coming back with some updates to their costumes as well. Noel in particular looks to be embracing business casual wear as of late. Are you folks pumped for another BlazBlue bout?
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