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  1. Developer: Experience Inc/Team Muramasa Publisher: Nis America/Experience Inc. Platform: Vita/Xbox One Release Date: April 26, 2016 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the PS Vita version of the game It is sort of easy to use Etrian Odyssey games as the catchall example for recent handheld first-person dungeon-crawlers. Which, in all fairness, they are held in high regard for a reason. Still, the Vita has managed to sneak in a few solid, though admittedly often fanservice-y, titles of their own on the often overlooked library. My own personal favorite dungeon-crawler of the batch was Experience Inc's Vita release, Demon Gaze. It managed to be surprisingly approachable as a game for a subgenre that is often steeped in archaic design, as well being fairly dense with audio and visual personality. So, as soon I heard about a new title from Experience Inc. called Stranger of Sword City, I was on-board to check it out. That said, boarding planes seems to be a bad idea in accordance to the lore of this game. This is because planes have a tendency to disappear from the modern world that we know of and crash-land into a new, and harsh, world that this title is based off of. Those that survive such abnormal plane crashes tend to become regarded as "Strangers," as they often possess abilities stronger than those that naturally inhabit the land. So, after some crazy old man tries to kill you and a lady in a school-girl outfit saves you by decapitating monsters, the player character eventually finds themselves in "Sword City." It's basically a sanction for Strangers because they are in high-demand for their combat prowess and can easily find work. The most common work for Strangers is hunting powerful foes known as "Blood Lineages" in various dangerous labyrinths. Even though the art style could not be more different... well, for the one art style that matters (there are technically two to choose from), Stranger of Sword City strongly feels like a spiritual successor to Demon Gaze. If the directly lifted assets such as certain audio effects did not tip one off, some of the familiar dungeon motifs will. Not that either aspect were by any means bad, far from it, it is just that I got around to finishing Demon Gaze recently so it certainly stood out. Thankfully, Stranger of Sword City manages to not only distinguish itself but it also refines upon Demon Gaze in many ways. For one, Stranger of Sword City is much more challenging on the standard difficulty. The biggest factor for this is through the threat of permanent death (except the lead, though they can be injured.). This may sound like a contrived mechanic in nature but it actually smartly encourages the use of different party formations rather than forcibly sticking to one party through thick and thin like most in the genre. It works even more because inactive party members gain experience (unlike Demon Gaze...), and you can simply try something different with another character while others are knocked out and recovering, or... replace "vanished" characters (i.e. dead.). Like most good first-person dungeon crawlers, customization is a strong component of the experience. Creating characters and allocating stats from scratch D&D style are all there and then some. What is different from Demon Gaze in particular is that you can reclass characters, like Final Fantasy Tactics, and transfer skills. While it is unlikely that you will fully level multiple classes to complete the game, it can be hugely beneficial to steal some early abilities and transfer them to one's likely primary class for that character. For instance, I made my main character a tanky Knight. But, before committing her to the would-be Knight profession, I had her learn the Counter skill from the Fighter class, which I found very valuable for someone who's destined to get attacked so often. In addition to the abilities you get from various classes, you can also gain unique abilities from the various faction leaders in the main story. By giving "blood crystals" that you get from killing the "Lineage" bosses, you get the choice to earn powerful skills that consume "morale," which will be the key to survival against tougher encounters. Of course, with something as ominous of a name as "blood crystals," this mechanic helps decide the fate of the world in a classic Shin Megami Tensei style (with some obvious Law, Chaos, and Neutral narrative counterparts) based on which leader you favor too. Unfortunately, neither the characters or the storytelling seem to be very deep (or as philosophical as SMT tends to be), but it is still is a neat concept and a fun take on skill trees. Though it has its unique elements, Stranger of Sword City just plain feels like an all-around solid title. What it lacks in likely budget (considering some familiar Demon Gaze dungeon themes) it makes up for in the developer's clear experience with the subgenre. Useful tools one should expect modern dungeon-crawlers like the ability auto-move to places you've been, various clean interface options of combat, and the satisfaction of learning the lay of the land are all certainly there. I even dig the original art style and music (though, you do have to option to make it more... anime, with the less detailed character portraits and adding a vocaloid accompaniment to the soundtrack, if you so choose so.). Most importantly, however, the moment to moment dungeon-crawling is enjoyable and addictive despite its fairly mean, old school feeling difficulty at times. Perhaps the most annoying aspect that Stranger of Sword City even has is the varying requirements to encounter certain "Lineage" enemies. Many of the requirements are inoffensive with their scripted events associated with them, like carrying an item on you that they like, paying attention to shopkeep rumors, or simply going far enough into a dungeon to stumble upon them. That said, the most obnoxious Lineage types tend to be entirely luck-based to encounter when you are "hiding". While the "hiding" mechanic itself is cool, as it is the primary means to getting random loot as you ambush enemies in specific parts of dungeons, having to rely on luck in order to have the chance to encounter the boss you want to find is far less compelling (especially since defeating them is required for the main progression.). Stranger of Sword City is one of those bizarre games where I actually don't really have many strong criticisms against it. It generally sets out and achieves what it intends to do with an addictive, well-made first-person dungeon-crawling formula that also allows for a lot of party flexibility. The game is certainly challenging, and sometimes the progression can be needlessly obtuse, but that often comes with the subgenre's territory. At the end of the day, if you want an enjoyable first-person dungeon-crawler without too many unnecessary frills, or possibly an improved spiritual successor to Demon Gaze, then Stranger of Sword City is a great example to check out. Pros: + Rewarding character progression that allows for a lot of control over your party composition + Addictive, well-made dungeon crawling gameplay +Provides a satisfying challenge despite the threat of character permadeath + Great (original) character art and solid music + Shin Megami Tensei-ish approach to endings Cons: - Some entirely recycled assets from Demon Gaze from sound effects to even certain dungeon motifs - Encountering certain "Lineage" bosses is basically random, which can needlessly slow down progress - Main story/characters are unremarkable Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Stranger of Sword City does not attempt to reinvent first-person dungeon-crawlers by any means, but it manages to stand out amongst others in the genre with the sharp execution of its addictive gameplay. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  2. Developer: Compile Heart Publisher: Compile Heart International Platform: Vita Release Date: March 29, 2016 ESRB: T for Teen I tend to forget that Compile Heart now has a lot of former Nippon Ichi Software staff. A large part of that was because of some big business scandal inside of Nippon Ichi Software in Japan (known for Disgaea) that involved not paying for a lot of overtime hours a few years ago. So, after many of them justifiably transitioned to Compile Heart, the first project for much of that former staff became Trillion: God of Destruction. Though it is directed by Masashiro Yamamoto, who led such projects as Disgaea 4 and also a certain roguelike that I adored called The Guided Fate Paradox, Trillion: God of Destruction does feel very much like its own beast. As you may have guessed, the setup is based around the titular villain, Trillion- The God of Destruction. What is less apparent is how grim and ominous of a presence Trillion ends up being. Trillion not only kills the main character, the "Great Overlord Zeabolos" right at the start, but also destroys most of the netherworld army and even eats Zeabolos's own brother alive in front of him just beforehand. Of course, the game doesn't end there. Zeabolos is given a chance at revenge after being revived in a weakened zombified state by a girl named Faust, so long as he agrees to give up his soul to her after his fight against Trillion. Little surprise that Zeabolos agrees to the sketchy terms of service for any chance of revenge. However, Zeabolos himself is no longer capable of fighting and he has to turn to the fellow "Overlords" whom work under him to continue the fight. He promises these Overlord women that they can claim the title of Great Overlord, and rule the netherworld, if they defeat Trillion before he utterly destroys the netherworld and everyone within it. As Faust would say: "You are not powerless as long as you are alive", so Zeabolos takes it upon himself to help train the other Overlords to pick up for where he failed. Trillion: God of Destruction has a pretty unique structure as a game. I would use the comparison to Princess Maker but I doubt most people would even recognize the name. Instead of saying that then, I'll just say that Trillion uses elements of turn-based roguelike, time management, and even some light dating sim elements (which can occasionally be rather questionable considering Zeabolos's relationship with certain characters...) in preparation for the big fight against Trillion himself. A deceptively big, and likely very divisive, portion of the title is how you utilize your time. After Trillion destroys a portion of the netherworld he will also rest a few weeks because of the previous battle or a full stomach. During this time you can strengthen the heroine's stats through training, recover fatigue, collect taxes, participate in a brief roguelike dungeon called the "Valley of Swords", and see many random events through various menu options. How effective or not in the pending fight(s) against Trillion will hugely be based on how you spend your time, and also how fortunate, or not, you are during random events. Occasionally it can be tedious with a few too many practice battles, but, for the most part, the basic day to day loop is surprisingly addictive since time moves fairly quick and the storytelling itself is intriguing. The actual fight against Trillion is one of immense turn-based attrition. He is the first, and last, boss of the game and only gets stronger as you try to whittle him down. Trillion literally has one trillion health points and you'll be lucky to see a small portion of it disappear before the first Overlord meets their gruesome demise. This makes the game's setup all the more somber as you will knowingly send much of the cast to their doom. To be frank, it is very possible to have none of them actually be capable of defeating it. Even if I managed to beat Trillion, it is very difficult to do so on the first playthrough and I certainly save-scummed random events (to get better results or pick the right dialogue choice) and retried many battles in order to do so. It honestly feels as if both narrative and gameplay are designed with the intent that you'll fail during the first time around. With this clearly in mind, even the gameplay is built upon the concept of sacrifice. Just before characters die, or retreats too many times, they can either cripple Trillion or help make the next Overlord that much more effective with their parting by supporting them. This can make a world of difference towards making Trillion less terrifying or helping the next Overlord's training become much more fruitful. For instance, with my first character sacrifice I had her enhance the weapons of the next overlord, which also happened to turn her default weapon absurdly huge. This in turn lead her to be able to one-shot enemies in the roguelike portion called "Valley of Swords" and also noticeably hurt Trillion, whereas the previous overlord couldn't. Admittedly, the roguelike portions are not very deep, or polished (with its choppy 3D presentation), since you can only climb one randomly generated floor (likely to prevent grinding), and a limited amount of times at that. Still, it utilizes the combat in a different light and the loot within dungeons can be fairly rewarding. Because of the inherent despair that the narrative tends to leans towards, it is also quite likely to bring mixed outlooks on the title. A bulk of the storytelling, and character-development, is written under the assumption that you are contentiously losing the battle in order to encounter most of it. This makes aspects like the many more optimistic character endings, and especially the "best ending", almost strictly reserved for New Game+, which allows you to carry over a portion of stats each playthrough. It is not even that Trillion is always doom and gloom. There are plenty of quirky moments and humorous writing throughout. Honestly, the depiction of the "Netherworld" concept would feel right at home among Nippon Ichi properties, despite not breaking the fourth wall nearly as much. The thing is that when the narrative is cruel, it's downright merciless. I fully expected to not like many of the characters based on their bad first impressions and apparent anime archetypes, going as far to pick the ones that I liked the least first to get them out of the way. Before I knew it, much of the cast grew on me since they actually deeper backgrounds than you would expect, and the storytelling succeeds in making their likely parting that much more harsh. I fully expect Trillion: God of Destruction to be a divisive experience. It is a unique title in a lot of ways: everything from the battle of attrition with Trillion to gameplay elements that range from roguelike to time management. For what I found to be an addictive gameplay formula with a lot of creative components that work well together I could just as easily see another being put off by them individually by their possible lack of polish or depth. To further cement its love it or hate it nature, the narrative and gameplay tone manage to be surprisingly bleak throughout despite its deceptively its colorful setting. You will knowingly send much of the cast to their doom in order to hopefully defeat Trillion, and even then you are not even close to guaranteed to succeed at it on the first playthrough. It is all the more cruel since it actually does a decent job at making you warm up to many its characters over time despite their questionable first impressions. Still, I consider Trillion: God of Destruction to be fascinating title and for its many rough patches, both intentionally and not, I found myself fairly engrossed throughout and it has become my favorite title from Compile Heart thus far. Pros: + Deceptively grim, but engaging, setup where you knowingly send much, if not all, of the cast to their doom to hopefully succeed + Addictive structure that plays upon a lot of systems from time management to roguelike + Develops its characters and setting well + Creative sacrificial mechanics that allow you to debilitate Trillion or help make a successor become that much stronger Cons: - The combat portions are not very deep and sometimes become tedious - Random events sort of encourage save-scumming because of how rewarding, and punishing, they can be at times. - Game fully expects most to fail at defeating Trillion on the first playthrough, which can be pretty disheartening Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good For a concept that could've easily missed its mark, Trillion: God of Destruction is an intriguing title with a lot of cool ideas. It is likely to be lost on many with its intentionally bleak circumstance, and noticeable lack of polish in several areas, but for those who can overlook that will find a unique, and possibly addictive, RPG experience that is really unlike most others Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  3. In today's GP Daily, an old classic returns, yet another Kickstarter game is put on hold, a beloved outlet dissolves, and new games come to the PlayStation Store. Check out the headlines below: Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate is coming to Vita this Summer These days it seems like the only time you see a Mystery Dungeon game in the West is when a new Pokemon Mystery Dungeon releases, but the roguelike series seems to be having somewhat of a revival thanks to last year's Etrian Mystery Dungeon from Atlus and Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon from Nintendo. Aksys must have taken notice of this because they recently announced that they'll bringing Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate to the PlayStation Vita in North America this Summer. The game is set to feature loads of items, monsters, epic quests, and Vita-exclusive dungeons, so if you're a Mystery Dungeon fan, keep an eye out for more info on this as Summer nears. Source: Press Release Final Fantasy Tactics Director's Unsung Story on Hold Remember Unsung Story? It was set to be Final Fantasy Tactics director Yasumi Matsuno's next big game, and it even had a successful Kickstarter. Alas, it appears that the game's developer Playdek has been having issues with development in the last few months, which has caused the company to have to put the game on hold to focus on more profitable ventures. This likely won't go over well with Kickstarter backers but Playdek cites the loss of several key personnel as one of the major reasons for this. Perhaps the game got too ambitious for its own good? In any case, Playdek isn't giving up on the game altogether, but there's no word on when they'll return to development on it either. Unfortunately, backers will have to wait and see what happens. Source: Kickstarter GameTrailers closes its doors In news that's a bit more sad, GameTrailers was suddenly shuttered yesterday. Even the staff apparently only found out hours before the announcement was official, which is pretty shocking to hear. The outlet has been one of the biggest resources for trailers and clips of video games in the last 15 years, and its staff and work is well-beloved, so it's a shame to see them go. Source: Twitter PlayStation Store Update 2/9/16 Like last week, there are some fairly big games debuting on the PlayStation Store today, not the least of which are Firewatch and Unravel. Check out the full list below: PS4 Arsland: The Warriors of Legend Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia Dying Light: The Following (Enhanced Edition) Firewatch Level 22 (out 2/11) Lovers In A Dangerous Spacetime Mop: Operation Cleanup Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Rugby Challenge 3 (out 2/10) Siralim Unravel PS3 Arsland: The Warriors of Legend Level 22 (out 2/11) PS Vita Breath of Fire III Level 22 (out 2/11) Siralim We Are Doomed For a list of all the games on sale, check out the source link below. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you excited for a new Shiren the Wanderer? What are your thoughts on Unsung Story and GameTrailers? And will you buy anything new on PSN this week? Let us know below!
  4. Developer: Nihon Falcom Publisher: XSEED Games Platform: PS Vita, PS3 Release Date: December 22, 2015 ESRB: T for Teen To say it is surprising that not one -- but two -- The Legend of Heroes games got localized in 2015 is more than an understatement. It was a miracle in itself that extremely patient RPG fans of the original 2011 PSP release, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, got its nightmarishly hard-to-localize sequel, Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter, after a four-year wait from its original debut. But then XSEED managed to pleasantly surprise series fans even more by starting to localize Japan's most current trilogy to the series: Trails of Cold Steel (which I actually imported because of how convinced I was we wouldn't see it localized anytime soon). The point is, XSEED Games paved the path for Trails of Cold Steel despite all likely expectations. Trails of Cold Steel diverges from its The Legend of Heroes predecessors in a lot of ways. For one, it completely omits 2D sprite work in favor of complete 3D. Another key difference is the setting. Opposed to the mercenary-ish and on-the-road "Bracer" lifestyle that was featured in Trails in the Sky, Trails of Cold Steel often takes place in a military academy... that is basically a high school. It technically resides within the same world as Trails in the Sky (and the unlocalized Zero/Ao no Kiseki), however, both the main story and primary cast of Trails of Cold Steel are quite self-contained from previous games, minus a few noteworthy cameos here and there. The narrative itself starts off on the first day of school at the prestigious Thors Military Academy. Opposed to a normal first day of classes, the lead character Rean, and other distinctly red-uniformed individuals, are dropped into Class VII. Quite literally, as a brief introduction turns into a trial-by-fire and surprise trip through a monster-infested underground facility. After some begrudging alliances through the ordeal, and awkward introductions, the students learn that Class VII was made to test the combat aptitude of "ARCUS" units, and does not divide it members by social class or background. Though given the option to back out, Rean and the others decide stick around to see what Class VII has in store. The actual curriculum of Class VII tends to be divided between school life and the "field studies" to other towns and cities every month. As for the school life in Trails of Cold Steel, it's very reminiscent of titles like Persona 3 & 4, as it was clearly influenced by them. There are "bonds", which are basically P3/P4 social links, that flesh out party members in addition to progressing combat perk unlocks. Even beyond bonds, the great localization helps make the members of Class VII stand out throughout and become surprisingly likable in the long haul, though their early narrative moments may suggest otherwise. Rean can also do odd jobs for the student council that are basically sidequests within the town of Trista. The sidequests themselves tend to be nothing too special but there is an oddly homely sense of world-building that it creates for its denizens by doing unique, but minor tasks. Then there are field studies which are when the rest of the gameplay elements usually come into play. Day to day Class VII gets a set of tasks to complete during their trip, somewhat similar to Rean's student council stuff, that range from investigation, simple monster slaying, or hearing out the woes of random citizens. Exposition may often be at the forefront of Trail of Cold Steel but the combat, character customization, heck, even the occasional mini game are rock solid. Much of the basic combat refines upon systems that were introduced in previous The Legend of Heroes titles, yet are frankly more enjoyable in Cold Steel. The turn-based combat is smart and relies on both positioning and learning to manipulate turn phases to one's advantage. The flexible "Orbament" system also returns and allows players to slot "quartz" skills to grant a character many different abilities and stat bonuses primarily in combat, and lends to fairly versatile party compositions. What unfortunately cripples Trails of Cold Steel the most is its pacing. Trails in the Sky fans likely know it comes with the territory for a series that loves its character development and world-building (going as far as to place multiple optional short novels to causally read about some of it). However, there is an unnecessary slowness for even that. As much as I like the writing, which is outright dense with personality, it can certainly feel unnecessarily long-winded in most contexts. There are plenty of main story scenes that have no problem with going at-length for casual character banter or in-depth about the current political landscape. Which would be fine if the overarching main story did not basically take more than half the game to kick in to actually justify it. The presentation also faces growing pains with this newest entry. Neither the environments or character models look particularly impressive. The characters models in particular are disappointing compared to their key concept art, with their stiff animations and awkward mouth flaps, making me wish me wish they took the Atelier Shalie route with models that complement it. Though, Falcom does tend to prefer being functional gameplay-wise over showing off visually, the Vita release in particular suffers from noticeable technical quirks. There is an occasionally erratic framerate that rears its ugly head when traversing certain towns and noticeable frequent load times for Vita. To go back to pacing, there is also an odd obsession with lengthy environment pans that bogs down the presentation too. As with Falcom tradition the soundtrack the JDK band whips up has some awesome rock battle themes, though admittedly, most other parts of the soundtrack don't particularly stand out. The more pleasant surprise about the audio is actually the surprisingly fitting English dub. It is honestly a shame that more of the game is not dubbed, because of how noticeably absent it is during certain story scenes (very likely because of budget). This is coming from someone whom often times turns off the dub outright in many Japanese RPGs. As numerous as its changes may be, Trails of Cold Steel certainly has the heart of recent The Legend of Heroes titles. The military academy setting did seem like a recipe for disappointment (and shameless pandering), but the charming script and surprisingly likable cast defy initial expectations over time. Unfortunately, at the same time, the unnecessarily slow pace for both its gameplay and storytelling, and occasional technical grievance on Vita, prevent Trails of Cold Steel from reaching greatness. Though it is a promising debut for Class VII, one can only hope that the upcoming sequel capitalizes upon what is built up so strongly in Trails of Cold Steel. Pros: + Well-written script and cast of characters that have a lot of personality + Good turn-based combat system with flexible mechanics + Lots of detail towards its world-building + Sweet battle themes and solid English dub Cons: - Pacing is very slow at times - Rather underwhelming 3D visuals overall - Occasional technical problems on Vita Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Trails of Cold Steel is a promising debut for the newest The Legend of Heroes series from its characters and in-depth world, but remains just shy of greatness during the inconsistently paced path towards it. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher
  5. News is a bit light today due to it being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there are still a few interesting tidbits that have arisen over the weekend. Read on to hear about Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Minecraft: Story Mode coming to new platforms in addition to some other news around the industry. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Coming to Steam in February Ever since the Danganronpa series began, the PlayStation Vita has always been its home, but it looks like that's about to change come February when Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc will be making its way to Steam. It appears that series developer Spike Chunsoft will be self-publishing the game as well. If sales do well, it seems likely we'll probably see the game's sequel and spin-off in due time as well. Is this the beginning of Spike Chunsoft's new relationship with Steam? Considering that the Vita isn't selling gangbusters, it seems like they're trying to increase their revenue stream with a secondary source, meaning that we could begin to see this with many of their titles going forward. Haven't played Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc yet? Be sure to check out our official review! Minecraft: Story Mode Coming to Wii U Well this one was certainly a surprise. Sort of. Telltale's episodic games aren't usually known for coming to Nintendo consoles (with the exception of earlier titles such as Tales of Monkey Island, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, and Back to the Future: The Game), but perhaps this one is coming due to the recent arrival of Minecraft on Wii U. Perhaps it's part of a clause in the licensing agreement with Microsoft? Who knows. This port of the game will feature off-screen play and mirroring, and the first episode will be available for download on the Wii U eShop on January 21 (hey, that's this Thursday!) for $5. Subsequently, players can buy a season pass for $20, which nets them episodes 2-5 as they come as well. Source: Press Release The Witness Not Coming to Xbox One... For Now Jonathan Blow's first-person puzzler The Witness is nearly upon us with its release on PlayStation 4 and PC next week, as well as on iOS a little bit later. An ESRB rating was spotted for an Xbox One version as well, but Blow mentioned that they have no plans to put it out on Microsoft's ecosystem for now. So why does the ESRB rating exist? "We only put XB1 on there because it doesn't cost anything, and if we were to want to do an XB1 version later, we don't have to go through ratings again," Blow mentioned . "But it is totally provisional, we have no plans for an XB1 version right now." Sorry Xbox fans; looks like you'll have to get your The Witness fix on PS4 and PC for now when both versions arrive on January 26. Source: Polygon Bertil Hörberg speaks on Gunman Clive HD Sales Numbers Gunman Clive 2 was a nifty little action platformer that launched on 3DS last year, and then later on Steam and as part of the Gunman Clive HD collection on Wii U. The game's developer, Bertil Hörberg, spoke out on NeoGAF on the HD Collection's sales progress, saying that it sold 9,000 units so far (not counting Japan). Although, Hörberg lamented that it wasn't an amazing number, he did mention that it was profitable in the end. If that sounds surprising, also take into consideration that both Gunman Clive titles have been entirely developed by Hörberg alone, so that does help things a bit. Even more surprising, however, is the fact that the HD collection has sold 10x more copies than Gunman Clive 2 on Steam, though Hörberg pins the blame on poor promotional efforts on his part. It's unknown if a third Gunman Clive will be developed at some point, but if you haven't played Gunman Clive 2, it may have made a certain Jonathan's Top 10 Games of 2015 list, so definitely give his take on it a read if you're interested. Source: NeoGAF (via Destructoid) Shadow Moses: Fan Project to Remake Metal Gear Solid 4 in Unreal Engine 4 A fan project called Shadow Moses has been announced and their aim is to recreate Metal Gear Solid 4 using Unreal Engine 4. Admittedly, this sounds pretty interesting, though it's hard not to think that it won't get shut down by Konami right away. Still, the project's creator, Airam Hernandez, believes honesty is the best policy in this case, opting to announce the project with the hopes that Konami may let the project proceed with their blessing. If I was a betting man, I... probably wouldn't bet that Konami will let this happen given their erratic behavior in 2015 (not the least of which was their public breakup with famed developer Hideo Kojima), but then again, stranger things have happened. Would you be interested in this if it were to continue? Let us know! Source: Facebook (via Destructoid, Game Informer) And hey, let us know what you think of this new format! If you like having all of the days big news in one place, we'll likely keep doing this (where possible). And on the flipside, if you think this is the worst thing ever, let us know as well (hah).
  6. Jason Clement

    Superbeat: XONiC Gets Early November Release

    If you're a big rhythm game fan, you'll want to pay close attention to Superbeat: XONiC. It's a new game being brought to North America by Acttil and developed by PM Studios, the very same studio behind the widely acclaimed DJ Max Fever for the PSP - and features 45 different tracks that range from Rock to R&B, Techno, K-Pop, and more. Also featured will be musical tracks from Arc System Works titles like Blazblue, Guilty Gear, and Magical Beat (some of which will be available as DLC). Additionally, there will be three different difficulty settings for players to master, and you'll be able to check your ranking online via local and worldwide rankings in case you're feeling competitive. Superbeat: XONiC is slated for release in North America on November 10 for PS Vita. Check out the latest trailer for the game below! Are you interested in checking out Superbeat: XONiC?
  7. Developer: Atlus Publisher: Atlus USA Platform: Vita Release Date: September 29, 2015 ESRB: T for Teen Persona 4 used to be a relatively easy concept to understand. As bizarre as its inherent setting was, it won the hearts of many back in 2008 on PS2 and is heralded by many as one of the best RPGs ever -- myself included. It did a great job at resolving most of its character and story arcs, so a direct sequel honestly seemed far fetched for those that played it. But, warranted or not, Persona 4 saw multiple canonical spin-offs in the last few years and each one couldn't be more different from one another. Such spin-offs included Arc System Work's fighting game take with Persona 4 Arena, the Etrian Odyssey influenced dungeon-crawler Persona Q, and -- perhaps the strangest of them all -- a rhythm game called Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Knowing where to even begin to describe Persona 4: Dancing All Night's concept is an ordeal, but like learning any new dance it comes from getting the first steps and going from there. In P4: DAN's case it feels like it was designed with rhythm newcomers in mind. Probably the biggest incentive for RPG fans that are likely not well-versed with rhythm games to even check it out is because of its surprisingly in-depth story mode. Yes, an actual story mode for a rhythm game... and around ten hours of it at that. Like Persona 4 Arena before it, Persona 4: Dancing All Night has a visual novel-esque story mode taking place after the events of Persona 4. Unlike P4A, however, it may actually contribute more to the series as a sequel story. It starts off six months after the end of the original Persona 4 and has the pop idol 'Rise' asking the main P4 cast to help with her return debut at the "Love Meets Bonds Festival" as backup dancers. After a month of rigorous dance training, and days before the LMB Festival, eerie rumors start surfacing from the new idol group "Kanamin Kitchen"'s random disappearance and a mysterious video clip at midnight causing people to fall unconscious. Seemingly similar to the Midnight Channel case before it, the P4 Investigation Team decides to uncover the truth behind these rumors. I give Persona 4 spin-offs a lot of flak for their storytelling. Persona Q felt completely inconsequential with its shallow narrative tie-ins, and Persona 4 Arena had the glaring issues of disregarding character development and using redundant story devices -- but both basically forgot what made P4 good in the first place. It is for this reason that Persona 4: Dancing All Night's story is in a weird place. The story mode itself is probably the most sincere spin-off sequel of the series, by treating the original cast with actual respect towards their development, but the conflict they are wrapped up in is quite heavy-handed and predictable. Also similar to P4A, the story is more so centered around the newcomer, Kanamin, but unlike Labrys of P4A whom had a solid character arc, Kanamin still seems rather vapid by the end of it all and does not really earn her narrative place. Ultimately, the story mode is inoffensive fanservice. There are some cool callbacks to P4, but unless you are an established fan you probably won't get much out of it -- like most of Persona 4: Dancing All Night. More than anything else, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is an outright spectacle on the Vita's screen. You can certainly feel the influence of Atlus's brimming amount of style from the seemingly cel-shaded look, incredibly slick menu interface, and frankly, the Persona 4 cast has honestly never looked better in a 3D space when they are showing off their sweet dance moves. It also oozes with P4 fanservice, from the casual quips made by the characters throughout (voice actor change for Rise disappointment aside) to even using Tanaka's shopping center to get new outfits/accessories. Whether you want to use give Teddie an Igor outfit, giant nose and all, or picking one of the seasonal outfits for everybody else it is very clear this was made with strong fandom in mind. Heck, it even goes as far as having players being able to use character voices for "scratch" notes during gameplay -- it goes all the way with fanservice. All of this is there which is why P4:DAN is disappointing as an actual rhythm game. Don't get me wrong, it is generally polished and the core rhythm gameplay is fun, if hardly original. The way notes are presented also makes it easy to commit inputs to muscle memory or using knowing when to flick the analog for scratch notes. Still, it also has minor annoyances to the gameplay. One annoyance is that it can be difficult to tell when you actually miss a note. The game uses audio quips to indicate many its mechanics, like fever time, but the characters won't usually make a remark about you missing a note if you doing fairly good overall, so your combo chain may break and you are not when it happened. Scratch inputs can also cause visual overload on higher difficulties, which is a similar issue to the Hatsune Miku: Project Diva releases (Both games have the common developer Dingo) but nonetheless is still a problem. I mean, the game itself is easy, and I managed to get all the trophies and unlocks without much difficulty even on hard mode, but a lack of finesse can be a serious issue for those hardcore enough to try the highest Dancing All Night difficulty. The biggest issue is that Persona 4: Dancing All Night is simply lacking in content compared to most rhythm titles nowadays. The song selection is sparse with just over 20 tracks, and this is made more glaring by some songs getting multiple so-so remixes and overpriced DLC in addition ($5 for one Hatsune Miku song). And, honestly, for as much as I enjoy the original renditions a lot of the song remixes aren't particularly great by themselves despite borrowing heavily from the Persona 4: Reincarnation album from a few years ago. You can certainly feel the production values have been pushed to the limit for the system but it should not have been at the cost of actual songs to play. Ultimately, a lack of content is the game's most apparent issue and I probably completed/unlocked everything in about the same amount of time it took to simply read through the story. As complicated as it is to even understand why Persona 4: Dancing All Night came to fruition, it is just too complicated to describe its place for fans. As a spin-off sequel it is probably the most sincere of any Persona 4 spin-off to date with its sizable story mode alone, even with its narrative qualms. Also, if looks could kill, Persona: Dancing All Night would have it in spades with its overwhelming visual charm and fanfare. However, amongst fellow rhythm releases P4: DAN is simply lacking in content to play through, especially with its lukewarm and sparse song library. For as much heart as it may convey through its dance, Persona 4: Dancing All Night is best left to the most devout Persona 4 fans and not for those seeking greatness in either its storytelling or gameplay. Pros +Gorgeous presentation and incredibly slick interface + Somehow has an in-depth story mode for a rhythm game + Oozes with Persona 4 fanservice + Comprehensive, fun rhythm gameplay Cons -Many P4 remix tracks don“t stand out very much - Quite limp on the amount of playable songs -Story is really heavy-handed and predictable - Somewhat off when it comes missing note feedback Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent For a title that was clearly made to have P4 fans rejoice with its gorgeous aesthetic and style it is disappointing that as an actual rhythm game Persona 4: Dancing All Night simply does not have enough to tide over most of its potential audience with its sparse performance of songs. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  8. If you're hoping for Sony to announce a successor to the PlayStation Vita sometime in the near future, prepare to be disappointed. PlayStation executive Shuhei Yoshida was recently asked at EGX about the possibility of releasing another PlayStation handheld, and his response was less than enthusiastic. Yoshida mentioned that the climate was "not healthy" for portable games right now, mostly due to the dominance of mobile games and how easy it is for people to play them instead. While he didn't say that they would never make another PlayStation handheld, it does appear that it won't be happening anytime soon, leaving the PlayStation Vita to keep up appearances on that end. Despite the Vita not selling as much as Sony had hoped, it retains a healthy indie game community at the moment, with more titles releasing every week on the PlayStation Store. Source: PSU Are you disappointed to hear that Sony might not develop a successor for the Vita?
  9. Developer: Spike Chunsoft Publisher: NIS America Platform: Vita Release Date: September 1, 2015 ESRB: M for Mature Even with the Vita's ever-dwindling library of exclusive games, the Danganronpa series managed to catch many Vita owners by surprise last year. We not only got its first visual novel/adventure entry with Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc but also its sequel Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair in that same year. Eccentric characters, bizarre murder mysteries, a mix of both very dark and hilarious writing, and an intriguing narrative underpinning kept many fans gripped through both releases despite their quick successions. The newest entry, Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, remains faithful to the series's spirit regardless of its spin-off label and different gameplay formula and hopes to make that loud and clear. Talking about Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Girls at all is a touchy subject for anyone who had not played the previous to visual novels to completion. It is a wholesale spoiler on Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc with its premise alone and can ruin several story revelations in its sequel as well. Still, I'll try to not cause despair and hope to avoid many easy spoiler trappings, even if some may not be possible to avoid as it is a title that directly takes place between both games. Another Episode starts off with the girl named Komaru being imprisoned for reasons that even she doesn't know. After almost being acclimated to her imprisoned life she finally gets a chance escape but... it comes at the cost of a Monokuma trying to lacerate her to death in the process. A chance encounter with a mysterious organization on her way out does grant her a hacking gun/megaphone to fight Monokumas but otherwise she is told to fend for herself in the meantime. But, even with a means to protect herself, she is captured by masterminds behind the Monokumas. These masterminds, or rather children that call themselves "The Warriors of Hope," force her to participate in a "Demon Hunt" game. This "Demon hunt," however, means the genocidal extermination of all who classify as adults, or "Demons," by the Warriors of Hope whom intend to create a paradise solely for children. At first glance the title gives off the feeling of a survival horror game — limited ammunition, shambling enemies, and features a very dark introduction sequence. But, despite its consistently grim tone, it starts to show off more and more of the series' signature personality and feels more like an action game that happens to have suspense elements as well. Maybe not too unlike recent Resident Evil games in that regard... Regardless, the series' weakest point has pretty much always been the disjointed gameplay, so to see a radical shift in styles actually works to Another Episode's benefit. Komaru's megaphone-like weapon has a variety of uses that are progressively unlocked over time. Some of the uses have rather typical gun-like implementations but the more creative ammunition brings a puzzle-like mindset to encounters and, well, actual puzzles. For instance, she can use dancing bullets on alarm-like foes to cause other enemies to literally follow their beat or using knockback shots to send Ball-Monokuma rolling into their friends. Battles are quite bizarre but can be fun as well. The game's biggest problem mainly has to do with balance. It is an incredibly easy game to the point that it honestly ruins some of its atmosphere in the process. Komaru's playable friend trivializes battles even more by outright by being invincible for a short period of time and can be activated instantly, like before you anticipate taking damage. The camera is an issue too by being too zoomed in, but ironically, the lack of difficulty makes it less prevalent. This carries over to pacing too like with some backtracking. Not only that but the puzzle rooms, which generally encourage the use of abilities in different ways, wear out their welcome by simply having too many of them, especially by the end which breaks up the narrative's pace unnecessarily. Still, the main draw of Another Episode is its narrative. Pacing issues aside, it is very engaging for fans of the series. The storytelling is unapologetic with callbacks to the visual novels, many of which are quite spoilery, and does seem to lay a fair amount of groundwork for a would-be Danganronpa 3 despite being a spin-off. There are not quite as many twists or humorous asides as those games, but Another Episode does savor its twisted atmosphere much more and it works. It's deceptively darker than even the visual novels with the many gruesome situations and implications that occur throughout the narrative, making the latter half in particular quite intriguing. The title oozes with style as well. It somehow blends the 2D Danganronpa's signature colorful quirkiness with its oppressive, dreary 3D setting. The 3D animations may not be consistent, like certain pre-rendered cutscenes, but the art direction masks many of production shortcomings and the animated cutscenes are well-done too. Certain visual flourishes like Komaru's friend's killing spree animations or... the vivid dreams she has are amusing too. The soundtrack meshes well with its presentation even more going from jazzy tunes to unsettling jubilant jingles. Though, like Danganronpa: Goodbye Despair there is a fair amount of recycled music tracks from the first game, unfortunately. In a lot of ways Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a spin-off title that many fans probably did not know they wanted. Despite however much it does different gameplay-wise from its predecessors, it ends up being a worthwhile diversion, especially with its narrative implications for a would-be Danganronpa 3. It is not without its share of gameplay quirks, but it is ultimately carried by its intriguing, dark storytelling and rich amount of personality. Pros + Very dark but fascinating storytelling + Creative implementations of its gameplay mechanics + Dense with both audio/visual personality Cons - Awkward camera that is too zoomed in - Some pacing issues with backtracking and a few too many puzzle rooms - Complete cakewalk difficulty Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good With an intriguing narrative and distinct gameplay style Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls ends up being a success even with its many blemishes. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  10. Developer: Arc System Works Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: Vita, PS3 Release Date: August 11, 2015 ESRB: M for Mature This review is based on the Vita version of the game Few things are more confusing than the storytelling in the Blazblue series. There is convoluted internal jargon up the wazoo and massive visual novel components to each of their fighting games that has made it quite overwhelming for even fans to keep track of it all. Adding even more to the narrative fuel of the series was the visual novel spin-off named XBlaze: Code Embryo. Devout fans of Blazblue lore were able to extrapolate some callbacks to the series in Code Embryo, but for non-fans they were likely confused by its mere existence. Now that a pseudo-sequel to Xblaze: Code Embryo by the name of XBlaze Lost: Memories has arrived, even I'm confused by its existence... but for entirely different reasons. In a lot of ways I feel like I played the original XBlaze: Code Embryo at the right place at the right time. Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma was fresh in my mind, and — for a spin-off that I expected next to nothing from — it easily exceeded my expectations. It certainly was not flawless (having several quite cliche storytelling aspects, and questionable visual novel design to boot, but its overall portrayal of its narrative was better than the sum of its parts. Despite its shortcomings, it felt like it had a sense purpose for at least being entertaining enough as a visual novel and interesting lore-wise for Blazblue fans, which I really don't think XBlaze Lost: Memories even achieves. The central story starts off with the pink-haired, and player-named, protagonist living alone with her younger sister (which Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma fans may recognize both by their actual names). Upon returning home one day the main protagonist notices that her sister has outright disappeared in what seems like out of thin air. When searching the house for her, including their absent father's basement, she accidentally stumbles upon a mysterious realm called the "Phantom Field." It's here that the lead character meets the eccentrically named and scantily clad, white-haired "Nobody," whom tells her that her lost sister is in the Phantom Field as well but in order to get to her she needs to collect crystallized memories. Explaining what XBlaze Lost: Memories even is as a game is quite the conundrum. In essence, it is supposed to tell its own story while also serving as a sequel/retelling of XBlaze: Code Embryo. The best way to describe its overall design is that there are two parts: The 1st half basically gives an excuse to collect "memories" from lead characters of the 1st game with some extremely light dungeon-esque elements in-between, while the 2nd half is a direct sequel story to Code Embryo and is a pure visual novel. To be frank, the first half of the title shouldn't really exist because of how little it adds to the story in either of its intertwining narratives. Lost Memories' biggest issues stem from how obnoxiously redundant the narrative style is by almost quite literally splicing the entirety of XBlaze: Code Embryo with extremely minor perspective variations into XBlaze Lost: Memories. If you watch the optional memories too, which I foolishly did, this issue is basically ten-fold. Problem is, even if you hadn't played the 1st game, I don't think any of the memories recaps would make much sense because you kind of need the context of the original to know when each event occurs since it jumps between chronology quite a bit and forgoes many character introductions as well. In a half-baked attempt at variety from the filler-like recaps, they try to add a dungeon-like structure as you collect each memory. It is presented in a cute, pixeled art style that is very reminiscent of Arc System Works fun puzzler called Magical Beat. Unlike Magical Beat, however, these portions are not any fun to play and they will likely spur an existential question of "Why am I doing any of this?" Ultimately, the first half in general feels like largely unnecessary padding that shouldn't be there in the first place, especially for what should be the game's intended audience. Then there is the second portion, which is certainly better but not compelling enough to balance it out the whole experience. This half is a pure visual novel that correlates after the ending of XBlaze: Code Embryo. But, rather than feeling like a complete narrative package, it feels like it just adds a bow to the original's ending. It is not terrible, and certainly shows off its anime-like production values for a visual novel, but feels unmeaningful at large. If this was an anime it would feel like one of those bonus episodes that released months later because it couldn't meet the seasonal cap (or in this case over a year.). XBlaze Lost: Memories feels more like a slight dilation of XBlaze: Code Embryo's content than any true meaningful sequel. It goes from being a woefully dragged out recap for more than half of the game to its actual new content simply not being enough to warrant a separate sequel. Ultimately, even as I look at the easily obtained Playstation platinum trophy, I am still left trying to reel in the purpose of its existence. XBlaze Lost: Memories is simply a sequel that exists and I do not know why. Pros +Solid production values for a visual novel Cons - Storytelling style is incredibly redundant for those that played the previous game - ...What new story it has isn't particularly interesting either - Lots of recycled assets from the previous release Overall Score: 4 (out of 10) Below Average Being far too poorly paced with excessively retold XBlaze: Code Embryo recaps, and what is actually new being not substantial enough to warrant a sequel story, XBlaze Lost: Memories generally fails to justify its existence as a visual novel Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  11. Jason Clement

    PlayStation Plus Vote to Play Coming Soon

    Being a PlayStation Plus member certainly has its perks, such as being able to download a number of PSN titles each month for free. Unfortunately, members have never quite had a say as to what free games would appear for free — that is, until now. Sony has announced that an upcoming "Vote to Play" promotion will enable PS Plus members to vote for the game they want to see as a free PS Plus game in one of the upcoming monthly lineups. Of course, the game with the most votes will have that honor, and in the first promotion, players will be able to get the runner-ups for a discounted price. More details about this promotion are forthcoming, but it sounds like this will be an ongoing thing from now on, which is great to hear for PS Plus members. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you glad to hear that you'll be able to vote for a game to appear in future PS Plus lineups?
  12. barrel

    Review: Lost Dimension

    Developer: Lancarse Publisher: Atlus USA Platform: Vita, PS3 Release Date: July 28, 2015 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the Vita version of the game "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer". And, in Lost Dimension's case, they are rather close to being one in the same. Etrian Odyssey developer Lancarse has decided to take a detour from their frequent dungeon crawling expeditions with their newest property Lost Dimension. Having some novel concepts like a traitor mechanic for both narrative and gameplay (as well as Shin Megami Tensei and Etrian Odyssey pedigree for its development), it seems predestined for good things. Yet, it is certainly possible that a gifted staff can be betrayed by their own ambitions, and Lost Dimension may be the result of just that. The setting starts off with a bang, quite literally, when the self-proclaimed mastermind called "The End" declares a nuclear doom upon the entire world after 13 days. So, a special unit known as "SEALED," each imbued with different psychokinetic "gifts", attempt to assassinate The End. The assassin ends in failure, however, and thus leaves the group stuck in a mysterious tower referred to as the "Pillar." The End then tells the group that if they want to reach him they have to climb to the top of the tower while also being mindful that there is a mysterious traitor in their ranks. Treachery or not, the group has to work together through the course of its many Strategy-RPG battles. As an SRPG, Lost Dimension is actually surprisingly decent. Each character brings several different strategic options and there is a strong emphasis on working together through many confrontations due to follow-up attacks. One character may be able to teleport through the terrain to attack behind an enemy while another character can essentially copy another ally's skills, along with any heals/buffs they receive, bringing versatility to party formations. It is also rather encouraged to use different team formations to help fully utilize the main character Sho's precognition skill, which I'll get into later. Where the SRPG formation sort of dismantles is how it is presented. Frankly, Lost Dimension is not a good-looking title on PS3 or Vita for its 3D visuals in particular. Animations are rather stiff and hardly complement their anime character portraits while the framerate dips quite low both in and out of combat. In battles specifically it also has a similar problem as Code Name: S.T.E.A.M does in which enemy attack phases last a bit too long even if they aren't in your peripheral vision. Not only that, but a bit too much of the combat's strategy involves clumping your allies in groups to do lengthy attack chains. The gameplay is mechanically solid, but its lack of polish is certainly apparent as well. Far more interesting than the aesthetic is Lost Dimension's traitor system. Every playthrough of Lost Dimension is basically randomized with who will betray the party. What isn't random is how you determine and react to the traitor(s). At the end of each section of the Pillar The End forces the group to choose who to outright "erase" the existence of in order to proceed. There is no elaborate courtroom scene like you'd see in something like Ace Attorney or Danganronpa, guiding you to the correct solution, these Judgement rooms are concise and decided by majority vote. Right or wrong, someone is going to die the further you climb up (and it'll make sure of it due to some mean auto-saving.) and hopefully it ends up being the traitor. So, how do you go about correctly determining the traitor then? Well, that's where Sho's precognition ability comes into play. After each battle, Sho hears distorted voices which gives a lead on a possible traitor in that group (encouraging the use of different members). Sho can then affirm for sure in a strange, but limited in use, minigame called "Deep Vision" which weeds out the suspect. However, Sho alone is not enough even if he does find out, so he also needs to be on good terms with fellow party members to influence their votes in Judgment Rooms. This is done generally by chatting with party members or simply working together in follow-up attacks, which will then in turn have them ask Sho on who he think the traitor is or isn't at certain random points. As interesting as many aspects of Lost Dimension are conceptually most of them don't feel fully realized. This issue is most apparent with its storytelling. Many characters and the conversations around them are not very interesting to the point where it is sort of hard to get attached to a good majority of the cast. Figuring out the traitor doesn't require any real deduction skills either, it is just a situation of having a minigame basically give you the answer. Lost Dimension also buries its storytelling in a "true ending" matter, wanting you to do at least two playthroughs to get it, and even if you do obtain it it is not exactly worth an 2nd run for it. Lost Dimension is generally better than the sum of its parts but one can't help but feel like its potential is underutilized throughout. Lost Dimension is a clear example of taking an interesting premise and running with it the entire game. But, in that same stride, it doesn't quite flesh out the other aspects around it because of its lack of hindsight and polish. Lost Dimension serves well enough as a strategy-RPG but your investment in what it has to offer overall is almost entirely based how sold you are on its intriguing, but not fully realized, traitor concept. Pros + Strategic turn-based combat system with a strong emphasis on teamwork + The concept of a traitor amongst the party brings a fairly fascinating take on how the storytelling and gameplay are presented Cons - Rough, unattractive visuals - Many of the characters and the conversations with them are not very interesting - Enemy attack phases are too slow Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent Lost Dimension wraps itself around its intriguing concept but loses sight on several portions that would support it to the fullest. It serves as a solid foundation but can't help but leave those who play it feeling somewhat under-served by the end of it. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Vita code provided by the publisher.
  13. Jason Clement

    PSN Flash Sale 7/17-7/20

    https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/flash-sale/cid=STORE-MSF77008-FLASHSALEPSVGAM If you haven't already heard, there's a new Flash sale going on right now on PSN (presumably through Sunday?), and this time it's exclusively for Vita games. Since I'm not a Vita owner, I couldn't tell you exactly what you should be excited for here, but there are a few notable things, such as a few Hyperdimenion Neptunia games, and some higher profile indie games like The Swapper, Bit.Trip Presents Runner 2, TxK, Kick and Fennick, and more. A lot of it is stuff that frequently appears elsewhere, but if you end up buying anything, let us know below! UPDATE: Okay, I guess the sale does encompass PS3 and PS4 (and movies) too? Here's a link to everything included in the sale: https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/flash-sale/cid=STORE-MSF77008-FLASHSALEWEBLP?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=July_Flash_Sale&utm_source=US_PS_Blog_Post&utm_term=so-mu-5-79755&utm_content=July_Flash_Sale_US_PS_Blog_Post
  14. Developer: Tamsoft Publisher: Idea Factory International Platform: PlayStation Vita Release Date: May 19, 2015 ESRB: T Remember when Jay-Z and Linkin Park had that awesome mash-up CD? If you somehow haven“t (what“s wrong with you?) there are plenty of times when you might have discovered two things that you never knew you needed together, and — once combined — just make perfect sense. Stuff like french fries and chocolate shakes, eggs and ketchup, or Baloo and an airplane. Much in the same way, Compile Heart collides with Tamsoft at break neck speed for a Senran Kagura-style game set in the Hyperdimension Neptunia universe. The result is something both beautiful and frightening. This time Neptune and the girls team up with journalists Dengekiko and Famitsu (both based on prominent Japanese gaming publications) to get to the bottom of a series of odd quests being filed with the Basilicom. If it sounds pretty inconsequential... it is, which is funny because the game actually breaks the fourth wall and tells you as much very early on. Despite this, the game still features walls and walls of text at times, giving you that trademark Neptunia humor that isn“t bad, but feels sometimes like you“re getting nowhere fast. Without the plot to drive the puns, much of it ends up feeling forced, something rarely encountered in other Neptunia games. For those of you who have never played a Senran Kagura game, the premise is simple. You choose a girl and battle your way through hordes of enemies. The victory conditions may vary from time to time but ultimately mashing that attack button with the occasional well timed special attack or activating Hard Drive Divinity mode is the key to victory. You“ll want to keep on your toes too…because taking too much damage can ultimately lead to some wardrobe malfunction. Basically, be prepared to experience the bare necessities (or not, since you can actually disable clothing damage if that sort of thing is not your cup of tea) if you don“t watch yourself! And of course there“s plenty from the Neptunia side too, as this time you get to pair two characters of your choice and switch between them during battle. This opens up the use of Neptunia“s Lily system as well as giving the player the ability to occasionally shake things up during a mission. Even EXE Drives can be used, bringing plenty of core elements from Neptunia“s core franchise here to play. So when it comes to Action Unleashed, the premise is simple but the problem is the game doesn't really communicate exactly what you need to do to advance the chapters, so you“re left feeling pretty lost among a sea of monsters that just won“t quit. In a way this game falls into the same trappings as "Musou games," a very mindless mashing of a couple buttons to kill literally hundreds of enemies before the boss appears, wherein you will mash a couple buttons until he“s dispatched and you can finally go home, only to do it again in a new area. Many times I found myself hoping for something, anything, to get me to want to kill a few hundred more dogoo in the next quest. Even the promise of randomly dropped items, gear, collectibles, anything could make the next go a little brighter, but none of that exists. And unlike the core Neptunia series (especially the Re;Birth games), leveling up characters doesn“t periodically add new moves and mechanics to play around with (they“re usually only added between chapters). Even more baffling is the fact that unlike other Tamsoft games, combos don“t get any more intricate by leveling up either. But that isn“t to say this game is all bad. In fact, there are a few things I feel like Action Unleashed does well. First of all, it looks fantastic. Character models have been improved from the core Neptunia games, and it“s pretty easy to tell. Dungeons themselves also feel like they benefit from more attention, and the ability to look around more than ever before is probably the reason for their collective facelifts. You can even see the action from any vantage point by pausing the game and using the viewer. While it“s pretty inconsequential in the long run it“s a pretty neat feature to have. And not just for the pantsu. Another credit to Action Unleashed is the fact that characters vary from one and other. Each character has their own speed and method of attacking, making switching girls at least a little interesting. Lily ranks also help a lot, which means combining certain girls often makes them work even better together as time goes on (not to mention getting you closer to the game“s hardest trophy, reaching max lily rank between every girl). But the best this game has to offer comes after the credits roll. First off you“ll get access to Gamindustri Gauntlet, which is a bracketed tournament that will see each CPU fight each other, and not the same horde of dogoo that you“ve been decimating since the first mission. This is more akin to Tamsoft“s Senran Kagura series wherein the goal of most missions is to fight another ninja, and nameless lackeys serve as fodder up until that point. I kinda wish this would have been implemented in some fashion prior to beating the main story, but at least you“ll get to experience it at some point. And make no mistake, the easy setting may be a pillow fight (like some cheesy sorority cliche), but the higher difficulties will make use of all your skill. After you beat your first tournament you“ll unlock Neptral tower, a slaughter fest where you can try to reach ever higher and higher floors in Gamindustri“s worst kept dungeon (seriously, who let“s this many monsters roam around?). Both this and the Gamindustri Gauntlet mode really help the game in an area where for so long it kinda flounders… monotony. Both of these modes could have been parsed out earlier to really help but rest assured, they are there. It“s unfair to say the game doesn“t really start until after you beat it since there“s plenty to experience before the credits roll, but it can get repetitive. Even so, the game does still have plenty of shine to it — polished graphics, a collection of neat in-game options, and a whole new take on the Neptunia franchise“s characters. But when you have finally cleared it, the game gets some much needed change of pace, and is much easier to enjoy. Ultimately though, Action Unleashed feels exactly what it sounds like — Neptunia stretched over Senran Kagura“s skin. That isn“t necessarily a bad thing though, since it can serve as a flawed but enjoyable palate cleanser for Neptunia fans coming hot off Re;Birth1 and Re;Birth2, before playing the recently released Re;Birth3. But for people curious about the franchise? Well, this probably isn“t the best jumping on point. Pros: + Humorous plot Neptunia is known for + Great graphics make familiar areas seen new again + Additional game modes after the main story mode Cons: - Undefined chapter requirements can be frustrating - Repetitive gameplay until you beat the main story mode - Story is surprisingly anticlimactic/inconsequential Overall Score: 6.5 (Out of 10) Decent Hyperdimension Neptunia U: Action Unleashed scratches a very specific itch, but may cause irritation for players not already invested in the world of Gamindustri Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher
  15. Jason Clement

    XSEED's E3 2015 Lineup Revealed

    E3 2015 is rapidly approaching next week, and in keeping with other companies, XSEED has revealed its lineup for the show this year, and it might just be its biggest and most diverse yet. First off the bat is The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel for PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita. This installment in the series will take place on the same continent as Trails in the Sky and features a story where players take on the role of a military students at a time of great upheaval. For Vita purists, you'll be happy to know that Cross-Save functionality between PS3 and Vita will be implemented. Corpse Party: Blood Drive will be coming to the PS Vita, and it's the latest and final installment in the horror trilogy that began with the original Corpse Party on PSP. There will be 11 story chapters and 8 supplemental chapters that cap off the story in a big way. Sci-fi games Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space and Earth Defense Force 4.1: Shadow of Despair will be making their way to PS Vita and PS4, respectively. Invaders From Planet Space is a "greatly expanded remake" that will add a number of improvements and additions to the game while Shadow of Despair is a reimagining of Earth Defense Force 2025, featuring improved visuals and over 50% new content. Onechanbara Z2: Chaos will be coming to PS4 and is the latest in the bikini zombie slaying series, which will feature four members of the squad to play as in addition to being able to listen to English voice-acting or Japanese; a first for the series. PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale is coming to 3DS and merges the popular PopoloCrois series with Story of Seasons, and will feature turn-based combat as well as farming elements. The story is said to be some 25+ hours long and there will be nearly 100 quests to undertake. Last but not least, XSEED is bringing two new installments in the Senran Kagura series: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson for 3DS, and Senran Kagura Estival Verus for PS4 and PS Vita. The former takes place after the events of Senran Kagura Burst while the latter features the cast traveling to an alternate dimension to face off against their rivals. What are your thoughts on XSEED's E3 2015 lineup?
  16. Jason Clement

    Mega Man 8 Coming To PSN On Tuesday

    Mega Man 8 is somewhat of a red-headed step child in the mainline series given that it was the only entry that released outside of a Nintendo console (at least until Mega Man 9 and 10 came along some 11-12 years after) and it was the first to feature voice-acting (that was unfortunately pretty bad). Still, it was a pretty solid game in its own right, and now fans will have the chance to play it again soon because it's coming to the PlayStation Store this coming Tuesday (5/26). This marks the sixth Mega Man game to come to PSN, making Mega Man X6 the only PlayStation Mega Man game left unaccounted for. Might we see Mega Man X7 and X8 as PS2 classics sometime in the near future as well? Only time will tell, but this release pattern indicates that Capcom is open to that and it might not be long before we get them. Source: Games Radar Are you interested in playing Mega Man 8 again?
  17. Jason Clement

    PSN Flash Sale 5/15 - What Are You Buying?

    https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/flash-sale/cid=STORE-MSF77008-FLASHSALEWEBLP Another week, another PSN flash sale. Actually, these pretty much happen every few weeks now, but it almost feels like every week. For me, there isn't anything huge I really want to buy, though I might pick up LittleBigPlanet Vita for $4 (even though I don't have a Vita yet, and I haven't even really been that big into LBP either). Mass Effect Trilogy for $4 is really tough to pass up as well, even if I do all three games on PC. What about you? Is there anything you're eyeing in the sale this time around?
  18. WildCardCorsair

    Review: Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo

    Developer: A+ Games Publisher: Arc System Works Platform: PlayStation Vita Release Date: March 24, 2015 ESRB: T for Teen Have you ever wanted to pilot a giant robot? Woah, okay—that was a dumb question. So when you are reminded of your own unearthly longing for piloting a giant robot, what is it about that experience that you like the most? Is it tons of ordinance? Is a fast, nimble mech with a sword that can cut down swaths of enemies more your thing? Do laser canons get you all hot and bothered? Well I have good news everyone. In Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo, a downloadable title from Arc System Works (best known for the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fighting games), allows you to pick and choose from a variety of customizable robot parts and smash any robot that stands between you and...whatever it is you want in that game. Well, spoiler alert—despite this thing being about super awesome mechs called GEARs, this isn“t actually a prequel to Guilty Gear. Sad, I know. And honestly I might have been okay with that fact if there had been an interesting story to replace it but there really isn“t. There are some super angry robots out there and it“s your job to disassemble them like the angry robots from Short Circuit. Okay, that“s a bad comparison because that movie had some decently interesting characters where as Damascus Gear unfortunately does not. The other pilots you encounter are flatter (personality-wise) than day-old root beer, and most of them make no sense to boot. The operator Mirai, spends the first couple missions putting various speech affectations after your name just before admitting, “That really doesn“t go there, does it?” But after that, she never does it again; I assumed it would be a running gag (one that I didn“t understand in the least), but it“s discarded before you can finish scratching your head. I wish I could say that this was clever satire. Which brings us to another problem. The localization is dry, but functional, aside from a couple odd factors. For one, the text seems very close together, and since there is no English language voice option (though there is really no full voice option at all), you“re going to have to do some reading that is made more difficult by text that seems to run together. Another odd factor, albeit one that doesn“t really bother me so much is the fact that (like in most Japanese games on Sony platforms) the “X” button is used to cancel and the “O” button is used to confirm. It takes some getting used to, and there are plenty of other games that also do this (especially in the Metal Gear franchise) but it can throw you for a loop for a bit. So what about the game? Well if you“ve ever played an Armored Core game you“ll know what you“re getting into mostly, but if you haven“t, here“s the skinny. You“ve got a big honkin“ robot and the parts of said robot changes all sorts of stuff about it. You can change the weapons (with a maximum of three equipped at once), the head, shoulders, body, arms, and legs. Customize your robot and you can take it from a big fat slow robot that can“t even pick up a soccer ball, to a lean mean fighting machine with super robot fist action. Obvious Big Hero 6 reference aside, since you don“t “level up”, upgrading your GEAR will be what helps you climb the ranks from lowly D-rank “Shinji” to a crazy “Hiro Yui” S-rank badass while you navigate top-down levels crawling with RAGE baddies. There are plenty of parts to choose from as you progress through the game, so you can make a heavy walking tank with high output and huge freakin“ guns or a light and maneuverable mech with laser swords to anything in between. Basically, the customization and variety of parts is the best part of the game itself, allowing players to create a mech that best reflects their play-style. You can even paint the thing different colors for added personality. But the crux is you“re going to have to play to get the parts that will really turn your GEAR into a crazy robot death machine. And while the game isn“t as technical or in-depth as other mech games (cause really, who can match Steel Battalion?) it is accessible to more than people who“ve watched every Gundam series. Honestly, despite the numerous flaws I“ve mentioned, and even a few that I haven“t (super repetitive environments), the fact remains that Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo is a $15 title and not a full blown $60 retail game that might weigh a lot of these criticisms far more. Taking price into consideration, the game still isn“t amazing, but it is accessible and fun, even if it is still quite lacking in story or interesting characters. It isn“t going to redefine the mech genre—and it“s far from perfect—but it“s worth a try, if for no other reason than who even knows when the next Zone of Enders game is coming. Pros: + Plenty of parts to customize your GEAR + Textures and visuals show lots of polish Cons: - Nonexistent plot and characterization - Repetitive environments - Localization quirks Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Damascus Gear: Operation Tokyo won“t turn heads, but it has enough robot shenanigans to keep players entertained. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher
  19. If you loved the PS2 classic Shadow of the Colossus, Devolver Digital and indie developer Acid Nerve's Titan Souls just might be right up your alley. In it, you play as a lone archer with just one arrow and a single hit point as you battle to take down mythical titans throughout the land. Each titan has a weakness that you'll exploit to help defeat them, after which you'll harvest their soul. The game is also chock full of secrets, hidden areas, and unlockable challenges for those who really want to get a lot of mileage out of their playing time. And last but not least, it's brutally challenging, so Dark Souls fans, this one's for you! Titan Souls is available for purchase today for $14.99 on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita. Source: Press Release Will you be checking out Titan Souls today?
  20. WildCardCorsair

    Review: Criminal Girls: Invite Only

    Developer: Imageepoch Publisher: NIS America Platform: PlayStation Vita Release Date: February 3, 2015 ESRB: M for Mature Has anyone ever told you to go to hell? Well, most of the time they *probably* don“t mean that literally but in Criminal Girls: Invite Only, you find yourself with a personal invitation to the fiery depths. This ain“t no vacation, though; you“re here to work! You have to escort the souls of seven pre-damned girls in hopes they can be redeemed and revived on earth. The catch is they don“t like you, and there“s no guarantee they“ll listen to a word you say, even if it means saving their own lives… Typically in an RPG you never have to worry about anyone downright refusing your commands (save for Pokemon, if you don“t have enough badges) so immediately my interest in how this game works shot up through the roof. Starting up the game for the first time, I wasn“t disappointed. Each of the girls that start your party downright hate you (if you were in hell for something you didn“t even do, wouldn“t you?). Only by properly motivating them (which we will discuss at length later, promise) will they begin to pull their weight. For example, on the first floor only one of them will even bother attacking! Shortly after some motivation you“ll have plenty of combat options for the girls to use, but smooth sailing it is not. The girls will let you know what they want to do, allowing you to choose one option from among them, and never the full repertoire of what they can do. Sure, it“ll feel like you“re babysitting a bunch of spoiled wicked stepsisters, but in a way what happens next makes it all worth it. So if you“ve ever wanted to torture someone… wait, let“s start this differently. Channel your inner Christian Grey…nope. If you“re into kinky...OK, I“m going to stop myself right there. Let“s face it—there“s no easy way to beat around the bush here, you are going to beat these girls. Most of them will even like it. Motivation is a very political way of describing the minigame that is essential to Criminal Girls“ progression system. In this minigame (accessible from save points) you can use a riding crop, cattle prod, massage oil, and a feather tickler to give these girls the incentive they need to pull out all the stops in combat. Doing this ensures they have plenty of new attacks to use in combat and their stats are always... heightened (I“m the worst). Proper motivation (please stop me) will also open the girls up to you, and occasionally they“ll share their desires with you... in the form of a quest that, when completed, will further increase their performance in combat. Motivation isn“t really optional either; you“re going to have to do it if you want to raise stats or learn abilities, many of which help greatly with bosses and tougher monsters. So basically, if the idea of sexually charged torture is a turn off for you then this game really is not for you. Hilariously enough, I encountered quite the controversy while researching this game. NIS America, while localizing this game made some minor changes that proved quite divisive. During these motivation minigames, a pink fog shrouds the ladies and their provocative poses. As you raise their motivation level with each of the devices, the pink fog becomes more scarce, and their poses even more suggestive (sometimes downright exposed). NISA ensured that none of these girls“...erm, "goodies" would be on full display by covering those particular parts with a permanent fog that never clears. The original Japanese audio for the girls during the motivation minigame was also removed entirely because some of it was downright pornographic (sexual gasps, moans, etc.). NISA explained they never enter such situations lightly and only after contacting ratings boards for multiple regions did they decide on what edits to perform to ensure the game wouldn“t land them an Adult Only rating. So whine if you want to but I for one think the game is far better off with the changes. What really set this game apart for me was the premise of never really being able to give orders. Basically you“re a terrible dom because these girls all do what they want. As you head to into combat each of the four girls that are currently in your party will all recommend a command, literally one of possibly anything they“ve learned through the motivation minigame. It can go from a single attack to a team attack from all four party members, to special attacks, to even special unlockable combo attacks. The problem (and the interesting part) is there is no guarantee any of the girls will suggest anything even remotely useful. There are a few healers to choose from, but there“s no guarantee they“ll feel like healing anyone when the time comes. You are allowed to switch out one girl per turn, and use one item per turn so you always have a chance to not suffer some terrible fate. Personally, I loved this aspect of the game with one exception. I expected the girls to feel a bit “temperamental” perhaps acting up because of how you choose to treat them, or certain things that happen in the story but I never got the impression that had any effect during my playthrough. It“s a shame, though a minor one admittedly, because I feel like it could have driven the concept behind the combat system home. The thing that will most likely drag this game down, though, is the fact that aside from combat there is so much about this game that just doesn“t stand out. Most of graphics look like they were lifted directly from a PSP game (which indeed they may have been since Invite Only is the enhanced port of Criminal Girls on PSP, which never came to North America) with only a select few effects reminding you that you are indeed playing on a Vita. And while I“m hardly a graphics snob, the fact the game is visually uninteresting just compounds the disappointment. Dungeons themselves are vibrant enough, but their layouts and fixed top down view make them seem far less like the eye candy they deserve to be. Combat suffers even greater problems in this respect, with nothing but a fade-to-black screen and 2D sprites for the girls and enemies alike, and limited animation for attacks. NISA was content to focus on the girls being the only eye candy here and that“s disappointing because you“d never guess combat was actually interesting by looking at it. So despite the highly (implied) sexual tones to the game, ultimately I left feeling pretty unsatisfied. And you should never be unsatisfied by climax! Between the very “holdover” graphics, a story that could have been fleshed out a bit more, and a combat system that can get periodically boring due to the irregular/infrequent addition of new combat elements, there are quite a few things that could have been changed to make this feel like a worthy addition to the Vita library. As it stands now, it really just feels like an overpriced PSP game with an interesting combat premise and a bunch of fan service. If that“s all you“re in it for then you won“t be let down; otherwise Criminal Girls: Invite Only can be a bit of a cold shower. Pros: + Highly unique combat system + Party variations are fun to experiment with Cons: - “Motivating” girls may creep out or offend players - Visually uninteresting - Graphics hardly better than a PSP game - Can get stale at times Overall Score: 5.5 (out of 10) Average Criminal Girls: Invite Only teases with interesting combat, but not much else to truly please players. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher
  21. Marcus Estrada

    Review: La-Mulana EX

    Developer: Pygmy Studio Publisher: Rising Star Games Platform: PS Vita (PSN) Release Date: March 3, 2015 ESRB: T for Teen It was nearly a decade ago when La-Mulana first launched on PC. Since then, 2D pixelated titles have really come into their own. No longer simply trips down memory lane, many games feature retro aesthetics along with compelling new twists on classic gameplay—or are much harder than ever before. In the span of time since La-Mulana“s arrival and now, trends have also pushed toward roguelike action experiences ala Spelunky and Rogue Legacy. On its face, this title may seem similar to both these properties (and in particular, Spelunky with its hat-wearing, whip-equipped explorer) but don“t be fooled! La-Mulana EX thrives on difficulty in some very different ways. The story of La-Mulana is simple, but effective. You are a wily explorer by the name of Lemeza Kosugi (an Indiana Jones-like) who sets out to explore the ruins named, well, "La-Mulana." Inside the ruins are many dangerous areas, monsters, traps, and tons of puzzles and secrets. Your task is to uncover a whole host of secrets by solving ancient puzzles, but doing so is much harder than it might first appear. Unlike so many games which would offer really flimsy puzzle concepts, this one tends to require careful thought (and action). Before you can even really get started exploring you need to stock up on supplies. This is just one example of its difficulty. Sure, the digital manual provides some strong tips as to what to do first, but in-game you“re basically free to wander about. Heck, you can encounter a massive boss in the first few minutes if you are super exploration-minded, but you“ll die trying to harm it! In a similar vein, you“ll accomplish very little without first buying a few choice items from shopkeepers. These allow you to read and translate ancient text scattered about the ruins. Read everything. Practically every bit of information you“ll come across offers hints ranging from fairly obvious to super obscure. A skillful puzzle-solving mind isn“t all one requires to succeed at La-Mulana EX. Lemeza must also be gracefully guided throughout his explorations to stay alive. See something that looks a bit off? Be careful as it“s almost certainly a trap. Try and get accustomed to the feel and duration of jumps as there“s minimal air control. This often leads to overshooting a platform and falling in some place you really don“t want to be. Of course, becoming skilled at butt-kicking via weapons is another needed skill. Become a well-rounded explorer and the experience will be a tad easier, but even so there“s all those puzzles to obsess over. Seriously though, don“t ignore the possibility of checking a guide as this title isn“t holding back in the least. High difficulty in a non-platforming/action gameplay component might turn off some potential players, unfortunately. There are some exclusive new features in La-Mulana EX to presumably entice existing fans to pick up the Vita version. This includes a Monster Bestiary which updates whenever you encounter a monster for the first time. It provides monster details as well as a bit of artwork. While cute, it“s not particularly game changing. The best tweaks are in regards to making the game slightly more accommodating to new players. Some puzzles have been modified and there“s a teensy bit more handholding to get players prepped. That“s all, though, so really it still doesn“t matter much where you go to get your La-Mulana fix. La-Mulana EX is not the first time the game has landed on a console, but it is the first time Sony platform owners can get a crack at it. For whatever reason, the game is currently exclusive to Vita, with no PS4 release in the works. But hey, the game is confirmed to play via PlayStation TV! My biggest gripe with the game is its tiny screen. The Vita has a lovely little widescreen view, but this title runs in 4:3 with borders on both sides. Lemeza“s already a small dude exploring vast locations and shrinking down the screen further makes it even more of a strain for players“ eyes. As such, it“s definitely suggested to play via PS TV if you“re fortunate enough to own one. At its core, La-Mulana EX is still the same ”ol excellent game that launched back in 2005. However, the push to a mobile platform has done more harm than good by forcing folks to play via a miniscule window. As long as you can handle that, then you“ll have some heavy exploration and puzzle solving to look forward to. And seriously, don“t be afraid to check out guides or other resources every so often as this journey is fraught with peril. Pros: + Same core La-Mulana experience that fans originally fell in love with + Tons of terrific puzzles and traps to work through + A wide set of locations within the ruins to explore Cons: - Little pixelated player and enemies have been transformed into even tinier versions - Unexpectedly challenging for players expecting a more action-oriented platformer - Minimal additions don“t really call for an “EX” label Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good It's hard to deny the appeal of La-Mulana, but EX doesn't add much for existing fans and new players might feel their eyes tire out after playing for a while. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable PS Vita code provided by the publisher