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Found 138 results

  1. barrel

    image2013 0806 0911 0

    From the album: Senran Kagura Burst

    © XSEED press site

  2. barrel

    image2013 0806 0916 0

    From the album: Senran Kagura Burst

    © XSEED press site

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    hebijo mirai battle 002

    From the album: Senran Kagura Burst

    © XSEED press site

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    hebijo homura battle 001

    From the album: Senran Kagura Burst

    © XSEED press site

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    hebijo hikage battle 001

    From the album: Senran Kagura Burst

    © XSEED press site

  6. barrel

    Review: Valhalla Knights 3

    Developer: K2 LLC Publisher: XSEED Games Platform: PS Vita Release Date: October 15, 2013 ESRB: M for Mature A download code was provided by the publisher for this review For as much of an advocate I am of the system, new Vita releases have been very few and far between for this year. While it is certainly easy to make a checklist of solid ports and re-releases this year with titles like Muramasa: Rebirth, Rayman Legends, Atelier Meruru Plus, etc- to make an honest list of exclusive, original titles would be far more difficult. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that aside from titles Killzone: Mercenary and Soul Sacrifice, the Vita hasn't really seen too many noteworthy exclusives for this year. To lighten the English-speaker's system drought, one of the three handheld localization holy trinities, XSEED (the other two being Aksys and NIS), decided to lessen the blow with new game releases- one of which is Valhalla Knights 3, a new action-RPG for the system. After my unpleasant experience with the original Valhalla Knights on the original PSP, I have been sort of ambivalent towards trying out its localized sequels: one which was a direct sequel on PSP and another title on the original Wii. That said, enough time has passed, and I've decided to finally to give the series another go with the newest installment, Valhalla Knights 3. I mean, XSEED hasn't done me any wrong this year, and likely won't in the near future with Ys: Memories of Celceta, so what is the worst that can happen with this game? Valhalla Knights 3 starts off with the description of a legendary treasure, known as the Flockhart Legacy. Details surrounding this treasure have been just as vague as to what happened to the person who found it, Flockhart, who vanished along with it some time ago. Despite that, it has been a desired commodity by a tyrannical king, who intends to turn the tides of a losing war by obtaining it. Some time later, the player character, who is branded with a deadly curse by the fiendish tyrant, is sent to Carceron Prison as a spy and is forced to find Flockhart's legendary treasure after new rumors emerge, under the guise of a convict. Carceron Prison, however, is now known as a 'Prisoner's Paradise', since the former royal guards were overpowered by convicts and the prison is now under control of the convicts themselves, and pretty much anything goes there. This title makes it pretty apparent that the prison setting is dark and oppressive, emphasizing "might makes right," with the intro killing off new arriving convicts and some females convicts being outright kidnapped and sold to prostitution. Later on, the narrative also shows signs of political intrigue with not only an internal struggle in the prison with mob-like "families" as well as external political matters unraveling. In an almost sharp contrast, it feels like the events that lead up to the more story-pertinent stuff (and sidequests) are pretty weird and quirky. Just about every sidequest does not take itself seriously at all and some of the earlier main story events have bizarre context as to why you are doing what you are doing. Still, even if individual aspects about it can be interesting, it never really seems to capitalize on the story or setting, whether it be the dark or the quirkier aspects, and by the time I stopped playing, it simply made me simply think: "Man, this is a weird game..." more than anything else. What is probably Valhalla Knights 3's greatest strength is how much customization it has overall. The player can tailor their own main character with a standard set of tools like race, class, appearance, individual stat focuses, voice samples, and sex. It also allows you to obtain various other party members, which can be customized in the same fashion or recruited through other means. The job system in particular has a noticeable influence from titles like Final Fantasy Tactics, or a newer example with Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, where you can directly carry over passive skills as well as combat abilities you've learned to other classes. So you can very well have the skills of something like a priest and be able to cast support skills as a warrior, like I did. Make no mistake, Valhalla Knights 3 is a very challenging game: Money is tight, battles are hard-won, and without a solid party formation you are going to get destroyed time and time again. Which is funny, because XSEED even had the difficulty decreased from the Japanese version. Combat is pretty simple and sort of feels more or less like a Phantasy Star Online lite. You can equip various weapons based on class or skills you carry over, but unfortunately have a very limited standard moveset. Though, you do have a fair bit more flexibility with your party and formation, which can easily mean victory or defeat in regular or story battles. It's a shame that stuff like switching your party current member is so slow and clunky, and it goes by party order as opposed to an individual toggle, so much of the time it felt as if there were little room for improvisation due to the fact that when you lose momentum in battle, the chance of victory goes just as quickly. So, more often than not, battles in Valhalla Knights 3 are won with preparation and leveling, rather than mid-battle tactics. The bulk of the experience is centered around accepting quests and grinding, and you will do a lot of it. You need to complete a lot of quests for money, which are more than required for decent armor, weapons, and accessories, and you need not only levels, but the various skills of multiple classes to stand a fighting chance against the game's significant difficulty. Each main story scene will serve as a constant reminder of an all too apparent challenge and difficulty ramp; not coincidentally, this is also where I started falling off the game. Nearly everything about Valhalla Knights 3 goes at a very slow pace, due to various technical reasons and some questionably deliberate design. I need to get this out of the way: Valhalla Knights 3 is a very unattractive game on a technical level. The character models and backgrounds are generally rather bland, even if they probably would've been perfectly fine on PSP, and are a bit of a strain to look at on the Vita's OLED screen. The framerate also stutters significantly the entirety of the experience and load times are very long and frequent. Load times are especially glaring in the central hub, Carceron Prison, because you can literally walk for five seconds and go into a new area that takes even longer to load. This is especially painful considering how compartmentalized many areas are, reminiscent of many 3D PSP games, and I even counted one load time to be longer than twenty seconds. I've also had the game outright crash on me three times after I've done a significant amount of grinding in the field areas, which only added insult to injury. Speaking of field areas, traversal in the game is also rather slow. Sure, you can utilize a sprinting attack animation to traverse significantly faster on foot, but it does nothing about how often you have to do it. There is no quick travel feature, so the player has to revisit individual areas they have already been to a lot, due to quests. This only becomes more noticeable as areas for both quests and story missions become farther and farther from the starting point of Carceron Prison. You do, however, get rewarded for how many steps you take, allowing you to purchase specific items, and you also can use items/abilities to quickly teleport back to town to dull the pain. So I can't decide if I should accept backtracking as a design decision, or the rewards simply being an afterthought, especially considering how negligible the items are beyond trying to recruit random characters/clerks in the prison. In either case, it takes a lot of time to travel to point A to B for how often the player has to do it and, I don't think it needs to be said, there are more than a few lengthy load screens to accompany traveling as well. If there is one thing that will probably make most players uncomfortable, including myself, it“s the addition of the “Sexy-time” minigame. Yes, that is the real name of it. “Sexy-Time” in Valhalla Knights 3 is a hostess-themed mini-game where the player can ”woo“ most female merchants by groping them via touchscreen after buying a certain amount of goods in the shop or giving them random gifts. Just as it sounds, it is more than a bit tasteless and is even more sad in execution, especially since some clerks are in lolita territory. It IS optional, and normally I“d pretend such a minigame doesn“t exist, but considering how you can recruit these clerks to your party (which are unique classes), and even unlock certain advanced classes much earlier in the game using it, it is sort of hard to avoid for those who intend to play the game for an extended period of time. Specific to the U.S. release, Valhalla Knights 3 has an online versus mode, opposed to local ad-hoc of the Japanese version. I didn't spend too much time in it, since it seemed horribly imbalanced, where I either decimated my competitor or I was destroyed very quickly and stun-locked by spells, so there was nothing that had any semblance to a close match. Even so, it's cool that XSEED allowed the functionality to actually be used overseas and there is rewards to utilizing it in the long-term, if you are diligent enough for whatever reason. Motoi Sakuraba composed the score for the game, and while Sakuraba himself is most certainly a talented composer, he does more than occasionally come across as samey with his musical scores in games and Valhalla Knights 3 does little to challenge that, especially among Japanese RPG fans who are likely all too familiar with frequent compositional works. However, there are some decent tracks laced within the game, which are usually more atmospheric than anything, but overall it is probably one of his least noteworthy soundtracks. There is even less to mention with the overall audio design, and even if the voice acting doesn't offend, much of the general audio design is rather cheap sounding. For every one thing I found myself interested in, or liking, about Valhalla Knights 3, I found two or more that outright annoyed or underwhelmed me in the long-run. I found myself interested in the setting, but pretty much underwhelmed by its execution and how it was presented. I liked the customization options, but hated how grindy it was, the technical jankiness surrounding gameplay, and tedious overall structure. There will certainly be those who are willing to overlook the game's many technical shortcoming, and its very grindy/tedious structure, since the series has lasted as long as it has, but I'm not one of them. It has the furnishings of solid games, but the execution of none of them. Players will have to sacrifice more than their time to tolerate their stay at the 'prison paradise' of Valhalla Knights 3. Pros: + Interesting setting that is both quirky and dark + Fair amount of party customization options +Some decent musical tracks Cons: - Tedious backtracking and slow overall traversal - Very lengthy load times, noticeable bugs, and tawdry presentation - Combat is too simple and clunky - Requires a lot of grinding - Tasteless “Sexy-Time” mini-game Overall Score: 4.5 (out of 10) Below Average Valhalla Knights 3 is an RPG with several interesting ideas and a fair amount of party customization but it is unfortunately muddled by extremely poor technical issues and a very tedious and dull structure.
  7. It was a bit surprising to hear that Senran Kagura Burst would be making its way to North America when it was announced in August due to the nature of the game, but XSEED determined there was enough of an audience here to sell it on the 3DS eShop, and now they've announced it's releasing next week. For those not in the know about the title, Senran Kagura Burst is a fighting game that focuses on five girls who wish to become full-fledged shinobi within a prestigious academy that trains female students in the art of ninjutsu. You'll complete different combat assignments for each character, including retrieval missions, multi-character battles, epic boss fights and more in order to progress the story, all while visual novel story scenes unfold between missions. Of course, what separates the game from others in the genre is its more risque nature - during fights, damage to the characters is represented by the gradual destruction of their outfits, leaving them in bikinis before they are KO'd. Senran Kagura Burst will be available for $29.99 exclusively on the 3DS eShop on Nov. 14.
  8. barrel

    Review: Rune Factory 4

    Developer: Neverland Co. Publisher: XSEED Games Platform: 3DS Release Date: October 1, 2013 ESRB: E for Everyone A download code was provided by the publisher for this review The 3DS has had a rather strong and varied lineup for 2013, especially for RPG fans. There has been the AAA heavy hitters like Fire Emblem: Awakening and the newly released Pokemon X/Y stealing commercial acclaim, to stuff like Etrian Odyssey IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV with plenty of critical acclaim. To add to the 3DS's more-than-solid RPG checklist, Rune Factory 4 finally sees a release as well, which intends to satiate a consistent and passionate cult-following. Rune Factory is a spin-off of the long-lasting Harvest Moon series, which maintains core aspects of those titles, like farming, while bringing its own spin with action-RPG gameplay. Fans of Rune Factory have had a lengthy and disconcerting wait for the fourth installment, however, which seemed like it was going to be quietly ignored by the former publisher Natsume. Thankfully for fans, the series merely changed hands to a different publisher, XSEED, so Rune Factory 4 fans can now finally wooly-shear to their heart's content. The narrative in Rune Factory 4 starts off with the main protagonist, male or female, being kicked off an airship, quite literally. Fortunately, he/she avoids a fatal fall by landing on the legendary wind dragon, by the name of Ventuswill. Contrasting Ventuswill's intimidating appearance, and the fact that the lead protagonist fell on her from the sky, she welcomes and mistakes him/her for royalty. The lead tells the legendary dragon that may very may not be the case, however, as they lost all memory of their prior life before falling off the airship. Even so, and after the confusion of royalty is cleared up, Ventuswill allows the main character to start their life anew among the welcoming town of Selphia while taking however long to recover his or her former memory. Despite the easygoing setup, Rune Factory 4 tells a more in-depth narrative than you'd expect from a game of this sort. Sure, it will feel standard fare for Japanese RPG fans overall, but in contrast to previous Harvest Moon or even Rune Factory titles, where the routine of farming/adventuring is usually at the forefront, it's a rather pleasant surprise. More than any Harvest Moon or Rune Factory title I've played, this one has a much stronger sense of community. This is due to the sheer amount of narrative context the title has with a campaign that is easily three times more than previous titles overall, but also in terms of the dense amount of dialogue each character has to say in casual conversation outside of story. In previous games, I felt like most townsfolk were completely out of new things to say after a dozen or so chats, but in Rune Factory 4 I still continuously see new dialogue by the townsfolk daily, even after an in-game year has past (which is more than 120 days in-game time.). XSEED also brings a much higher quality localization to this entry, which adds way more character and personality to the writing. And for a game that is so surprisingly text heavy, it goes a long way in having the player feel that much more invested in Selphia and its inhabitants, while also having players be far more amused than they should be when reading item descriptions. Apparently, XSEED even decided to go the extra mile and up the overall sound quality voice acting, significantly increasing the game's cart size which, for a game with a surprisingly fitting overall dub, is rather neat. Of course, there is much more to Rune Factory 4 than just storytelling and dialogue. Rune Factory staples like the hybrid gameplay between farming and dungeon crawling remain mostly intact in this entry with some noticeable tweaks, additions, and overall improvements from previous games. What easily separates Rune Factory titles from its entirely farm focused contemporary, Harvest Moon, is its emphasis on the action-RPG component of the gameplay. Combat is fast and simple to learn, but progressively gains a bit more depth as your character levels-up various weapons and gains new skills. It's unfortunate that it doesn't seem to receive too much of an overhaul from Rune Factory 3 (which was a huge step up from the first two games, to be fair), though, despite some interface improvements. Actually, even despite the improvements, I still found the interface sort of clumsy to manage weapons, armor, and items in the game. For items and weapons/tools in particular, it would have been nice if you could assign different ones via shortcuts on the D-pad so you don't have to manually equip each item so often mid-battle or during farming. While the focus on farming in each Rune Factory title has fluctuated a fair amount, it seems to have returned in Rune Factory 4 with a greater focus than recent entries. Normally, this would cause me to groan in disappointment, since I don't find farming to be particularly engaging in the long-term in either series (I know, blasphemy.). Thankfully, this entry does make farming less limited than previous installments, and less tedious and time-consuming overall. Combine that with it being outright more rewarding to utilize, and even farming-jaded folks like myself welcome its presence this time around. Even if the player doesn't feel like tending to the farm, they can still recruit/raise monsters to do most of the work, if they are so inclined. In addition, Rune Factory 4 has a new feature I find to be oddly reminiscent of Atelier Meruru, which is the inclusion of "orders." Even though the narrative mishap of having the lead being mistaken for royalty is resolved rather quickly, the player can still issue royal orders to aid the development of Selphia. By issuing orders, players can invite new merchants to town, expand the castle/farm, increase personal inventory, and even arrange festivals. What is also neat is that after the player goes through roughly two thirds of the main story, they can unlock what I define to be a legitimized version of cheat codes to use through orders: which are strangely cool but also outright bizarre. Going back to the community aspect, there is much more unpredictability with the daily structure in this game. Even if there are certainly holidays and events that will go as planned, regardless of circumstance, it seems like most character-related events regarding the townsfolk are completely random. So the player may be surprised to see new scenarios that flesh out the fellow neighbors of Selphia in a seemingly normal daily routine. Of course, after you spend enough time with certain characters, you can also chose to date and possibly even marry and raise a kid, if their romance/friendship level is high enough. In general, Rune Factory 4 just feels like a much more active game than previous entries, where it is dense with things to do for both the short-term and long-term. The game also seems to respect your time more with the process of everything just being outright faster and more rewarding. Also, because of so many minor refinements, which would be hard to justify listing individually in this review, it makes the blend of action-RPG and farming that much more addicting. Still, it's hard not to draw so many parallels to Rune Factory 3, in terms of presentation. Visually, the title looks pretty familiar to those who played the previous entry in the series. Actually, aside from a much more crisp resolution that comes from the jump from DS to 3DS, a lot of the in-game visuals look eerily familiar in Rune Factory 4. Considering how even Rune Factory 3 wasn't necessarily the pinnacle of 3D visuals on even the original DS, suffice it to say that this game being only a slight step up cosmetically is more than a bit underwhelming. Still, at least the 2D character portraits are pleasant to look at for the most part, considering how often you look at them in the story scenes and casual townsfolk conversation. As an RPG, Rune Factory 4 more than proves its worthy place among the many other strong 3DS releases of this year. It's a title that offers a ton of things to work towards and is also deviously addictive. I do wish it made just a few more significant improvements to what Rune Factory 3 established, at least from a presentation standpoint. Still, this is, without a doubt in my mind, by far the best title in the series to bear the name. It's an endearing title, that is only punctuated by a great localization and many other seemingly minor improvements that contribute to a much more satisfying experience overall. Pros: + Endearing localization with plenty of funny writing + Absolutely dense with content, with a lengthy main story and plenty of optional content to work towards. + The gameplay hybrid of action-RPG/farming sim is still quite addictive Cons: - Managing inventory and equipment can be a bit clunky - Underwhelming presentation that is eerily reminiscent of Rune Factory 3 Overall Score: 8.0 (out of 10) Great Rune Factory 4 is an endearing title, that offers as much charm as it does addictive gameplay with plenty of things to do.
  9. barrel

    page 11 screenshot 2ds

    From the album: Rune Factory 4

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    page 23 screenshot 1ds

    From the album: Rune Factory 4

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    page 11 screenshot 4

    From the album: Rune Factory 4

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    page 11 screenshot 3

    From the album: Rune Factory 4

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    eb9369b757320a18b46c1157f2772574

    From the album: Rune Factory 4

    © examiner.com

  14. Jason Clement

    Valhalla Knights 3 Coming to Vita in Mid October

    We're fast approaching XSEED's last remaining releases of the year, and now that Rune Factory 4 has released for 3DS, next up is the Vita's turn to get a game; Valhalla Knights 3, namely. The plot in Valhalla Knights 3 puts players into a medieval prison full of criminals where they search for a long lost treasure. You'll be able to create your own fully customizable character and allied party members from among seven races and 20 different job classes. From there, you'll experience the game's real-time combat as you explore the prison, lower dungeons, and more. Boasting over 200+ quests and over 500 in-game items, weapons, armor and more, Valhalla Knights 3 features more than 40 hours of gameplay as well as online connectivity so you can play against friends and other players. XSEED has announced the game will release on October 15th as a physical retail and digital download release for PS Vita. Are you looking forward to Valhalla Knights 3?
  15. Rune Factory 4 had previously been all over the place earlier this Summer, with estimated release dates ranging from July to August and even September, but now the farming sim/action RPG has been pinned down for a cold, hard release date in North America: October 1. That's right, come October, you'll be able to experience the first new Rune Factory game in years, complete with several new first-time additions: the ability to choose between male and female characters and then playing as a prince or princess and managing your royal duties by fulfilling requests from townsfolk. Of course, all of the typical Rune Factory mechanics return here, including farming, mining minerals and crafting weapons, and wooing eligible bachelors and bachelorettes from among the townsfolk for marriage. Rune Factory 4 will be available for purchase through retail or the 3DS eShop for $39.99, so grab your swords and pitchforks and get ready for its release come October 1. Are you excited for Rune Factory 4?
  16. It all started with a small tease on Twitter when XSEED's community manager tweeted what looked to be a pixel of an upcoming game but was revealed in subsequent pictures tweeted to be a super zoomed-in picture of none other than Trails in the Sky's Agate. Yes, XSEED has now officially confirmed that The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC (or Second Chapter) is now on its way to the West in 2014. Trails in the Sky FC (or First Chapter) was originally released in 2011 on the PSP, and its ending left no doubt that there would be another game, though fans were left with no indication as to when it would arrive. Part of the reason for Trails in the Sky SC's long localization process is the game's legendary amount of text, which the first game's amounts to 1.5 million Japanese characters according to some reports. XSEED's Jessica Chavez previously mentioned that it took "3 translators and 1.25 editors" (her and another that came in at the very last moment). To help ease some of the burden on XSEED, SC's localization is being handled by indie studio Carpe Fulgur. Meanwhile, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC will release digitally on PSP (with Vita compatibility) and on PC (via Steam) in 2014. XSEED has also announced that they will release The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (also known as the first chapter, or Trails in the Sky FC) on Steam later this Winter. Are you excited that Trails in the Sky SC is coming to the West?
  17. Here's likely the most unexpected news of this gaming week. A fighting game by the name of Senran Kagura Burst is heading to 3DS systems in the West thanks to XSEED Games. If you've never heard of the series before that wouldn't be surprising although it is incredibly well known within specific circles. What makes this game so infamous among gamers? They might suggest that it has a deep story, great gameplay, and interesting characters, but the biggest reason the series has any notoriety is due to the cast of fighters being incredibly well-endowed women. At multiple points in the game it also offers the "feature" of utilizing 3D mode to get a serious eyeful of these samey body types. Despite all that, the game is getting a T rating. One must wonder if a fighting game featuring men with egregiously large, bouncy genitals would be awarded the same rating. Possibly because of the incredibly niche audience, Senran Kagura Burst is also coming to 3DS via eShop only. The game will retain its original Japanese voice acting and is heading to 3DS this Fall.
  18. Bad news for Rune Factory fans. Although Rune Factory 4 was supposed to be a summer release, it appears that those waiting for the latest entry in the Harvest Moon spin-off series will have to wait just a little bit longer. There's a good reason for Rune Factory 4's delay, though! Here's the post from XSEED's official Facebook page: "... [Rune Factory 4] is absolutely massive and taking much longer to QA (play through the English for quality assurance) than we originally anticipated. Right now we could be looking at a late September or October release, but it will definitely be worth the wait." Let's hope that's the last of the delays!
  19. Good news, Suda51 fans. Killer is Dead now has a release date and details have emerged on extra goodies included in all launch copies! Here's all the cool stuff you can get for only $60 when the game releases: Killer is Dead game 80-page hardcover art book Soundtrack CD with 25 songs "Smooth Operator" DLC, alternate costumes for Vivienne and Mika, and a bonus "Gigolo Mission" with Betty Additional "Episode 51" Killer is Dead will be hitting stores for both PS3 and 360 on August 27th.
  20. Marcus Estrada

    XSEED Announces E3 Lineup

    Sure, a lot of eyes will be on Sony and Microsoft as they discuss their upcoming consoles in detail, but that's not all E3 will be about. A great deal of new games will also be showcased for those consoles as well as all the devices currently available. With E3 right around the corner, XSEED Games have shared a list of products that they'll be bringing to the event. Their main games are as follows: Killer is Dead (360/PS3) Ragnarok Odyssey Ace (PS3/Vita) Rune Factory 4 (3DS) Valhalla Knights 3 (Vita) Ys: Memories of Celceta (Vita) Under the brand Marvelous Online, they are also bringing a handful of smartphone and Windows-based titles, which are the following: Battle Space (Browser) Cross Horizon (Android/iOS) Knights in the Sky (Browser) Ninja Warrior (Android/iOS) Pandora Saga (Windows) Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine (Windows) Of course, the main attention of the gaming world will be the first list of titles, especially in regards to Killer is Dead and Rune Factory 4. Regardless, it looks like their booth will be pretty jam packed for this year's E3! Which XSEED property are you looking forward to most?
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