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Found 1,042 results

  1. Aaaaaand the other thing I saw that excited me incredibly was the reveal of this game. This means we potentially have up to 3 Resident Evil games launching in 2015. Resident Evil REmake HD, Resident Evil 7 (confirmed to have been in the works since October of 2012,) and now this. Again, like the Persona 5 announcement trailer, let's discuss. I wanted to make a few separate threads for these just because when you have one big news post it can tend to get a little cluttered in terms of comments. I know it's literally just a concept trailer that shows nothing except that the game exists, but I'm happy it does. Revelations was a step back in the right direction in terms of Resident Evil. While it may not have been perfect, and I actually would have preferred it as Co-Op, it definitely impressed me. How about you guys? Thoughts, concerns, comments?
  2. Steve Bitto

    $9.99 PSN Flash Sale this Weekend

    Sony is running another flash sale this weekend on the Playstation Network. This go around there are a number of Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita titles all for the low price of $9.99. Even included are "Ultimate Editions" of games like Bioshock 2 and Starhawk. The full list is shown below: BioShock Infinite (PS3) BioShock 2 Ultimate Edition (PS3) DmC Devil May Cry (PS3) Dynasty Warriors 7: Empires (PS3) Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two (PS Vita) God of War Collection (PS3) God of War Collection (PS Vita) Lost Planet 3 (PS3) Metro: Last Light (PS3) MX vs ATV Alive Ultimate Edition (PS3) PayDay 2 (PS3) Persona 4 Arena Ultimate Edition (PS3) Prototype 2 (PS3) Resident Evil: Revelations (PS3) Starhawk Ultimate Edition (PS3) Street Fighter x Tekken (PS Vita) Tales of Graces f (PS3) The Sly Collection (PS3) The Sly Collection (PS Vita) Wonderbook: Walking With Dinosaurs (PS3) XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) Source: Playstation Blog Which of these games are too good to pass up at this price?
  3. WildCardCorsair

    Review: Abyss Odyssey

    Developer: ACE Team Publisher: Atlus Platform: PlayStation 3 (PSN) Xbox 360, PC (Steam) Release Date: July 15, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen Abyss Odyssey, the latest from Chilean developers Ace Team, is a bit of an odd duck. It's a combination of rogue-like, RPG, and fighting game with Chilote folklore for added flavor. Truth be told, my fondest experiences with this game was not actually playing it, but finding out more about it. Is that a bad thing? Well you“re about to find out, if you keep reading of course (which I highly recommend you do)! From the character designs and 2D character portraits to the setting and premise of the story itself, Abyss Odyssey is exotic and full of personality. The Chilean art style designs are particularly captivating. Characters like the Paganini, a devilish, skeletal violin player, partially based on the legend of Italian violin virtuoso Niccolo Paganini, is a hauntingly alluring character. Other creatures and deities like La Pincoya, Invulche, a manticore (referred to as the “living creature”), and caballos marino chiloe (a.k.a. water horses) are outstandingly gorgeous. Designs for even regular enemies are fantastic, a reason that allows me to forgive their repetition (across multiple playthrough especially). I certainly had my share of fun playing, but throwing myself deep in to Chiloe culture was a major bonus brought about by Abyss Odyssey so when I say I had more fun researching the game than I did playing it I totally mean that as a compliment. The only negative is that the story doesn“t receive much closure (perhaps due to a community threshold I“ll talk about later) and it“s almost entirely ”opt in“. The story is mostly found in the collectable pages of the warlock“s journal, which are seemingly randomly dropped by enemies throughout the game; without reading these you“ll basically know little to nothing about what“s going on. When it comes to the game itself, its design is every bit as interesting as the setting“s. As I mentioned before, the game is a very odd hybrid, though it won“t appear that way in the screenshots. At it“s heart it“s definitely a rogue-like. I know that“s a term that is generally a catch-all in gaming press so here“s the skinny. You have an abyss with multiple paths that is randomly generated. Layout, enemies, hidden rooms, altars (at which you can set respawn points or revive your character), all of them will be scattered around to different locations and rooms each time you go it. The enemies also appear to scale in difficulty to your level, though they are in a relation to you based on the room. This makes every playthrough different. Be prepared to curse your fate when altars are placed several rooms apart, or rejoice when you come across hidden rooms with lots of gold and items. The action RPG elements come in through your character's“ progression. You start off with Katrien but you can unlock the Ghost Monk and La Pincoya fairly quickly as well. Each will retain the levels they earn or the skills they improve, but items and weapons are a blank slate each run. Though many people reference Super Smash Bros. for the “brawler” style fighting game combat, the truth is that isn“t a fair comparison. There are two attack buttons, one for regular attacks and one for special attacks. Unlike regular attacks, special attacks can be mapped to any (or multiple) combinations. Pressing forward+special can unleash a flurry of sword thrusts much like Chun-Li“s Hyakuretsukyaku. Or you can map it to down+special. Or up+special. After you“ve decided on a proper placement for your special attacks you can further customize them by enhancing them. Each move can have its damage increased, the MP it generates increased, or added damage mitigation or invincibility frames. In addition, each move has three slots for enhancements, and there are several moves to choose from (though they must be found before they can be used). You can even use skill points to cancel out regular attacks with special attacks allowing you to chain together longer and more impressive combos. You don“t start off with the ability to do any of this really, but as times goes on and you unlock new attacks and skill points the game grows with you which is pretty neat, I think. So where as a game like Smash Bros. doesn“t really have much (or any) combo ability, this game takes the brawler gameplay type and gives it the kind of customization and move set that encourages players to experiment and develop their own play styles. But as nice as the gameplay is, it does have some shortcomings. In particular, platforming aspects within the abyss are made harder by a few design choices and bugs. Your character can“t turn in the air, so if you jump past an enemy, or attack too quickly after hitting the ground you“ll likely be facing the wrong way, leaving your back exposed to enemy exploitation. There are also a few times in which you“ll have to jump across a hazardous sea atop these large floating jellyfish. I don“t know quite what causes it, but occasionally your character will slide around on them. If this happens there seems to be about a fifty-fifty chance you“ll lose your second jump, causing you to drown (or whatever) and spawn just before crossing with a chunk of your HP gone. I can“t begin to explain how frustrating it was for me to lose valuable HP because of this. Lastly, co-op is wholly unappealing due to “friendly fire” occurring between players. I“m not sure why this ever seemed like a good idea, but I assure you it is not. Thankfully the developers have been public about removing this, or at least adding an option to toggle it off, but until that update happens (if at all) co-op is far more trouble than it“s worth. So all of this so far has been all well and good. There are some definite highs and some definite lows. There is however more to this game, which frankly I can“t fully explain unfortunately! You see, the developers can track how many times players have beaten the boss. Once that happy mask wearing brujo takes enough dirt naps, he“ll undergo some kind of change. As I mentioned before I feel like this will probably allow more closure for the story to take place. In addition to changes to the boss, there are a few other changes ACE Team has said will take place, though specifics on what those might be are probably being held tighter than dudes trying to pull the sword out of the stone. All I do know is these changes will continue to take place each time the warlock“s mask breaks, which you can tell because the progress is reflected in-game at altars bearing the warlock“s mask. This game has the potential to be a lot better than the score I“m about to give it, and from the looks of it (via comments by ACE Team developers on a number of public forums) it will. Which makes me happy because the ideas behind Abyss Odyssey are truly top notch and it would be great if this game could succeed so other developers might be inspired to think outside the box as well. It might not be perfect, and it deserves some more work to fully realize the ideas that were envisioned by the developers, but the game still does a great job setting itself apart from other titles. The eclectic blend of various genres and gameplay mechanics makes it a pretty unique experience worth checking out for anyone looking for something new. The experience, even without the post release changes ACE Team has hinted at, is solid but I can only hope a few of the more nagging flaws do indeed get some attention. Until then, rest assured there are few games out there quite like Abyss Odyssey. Pros: + Beautiful and exotic artwork/designs + Bursting with interesting Chilote folklore + Plenty of character/combo possibilities + Ongoing player base-driven changes Cons: - Combos and special attacks must be earned - Co-op frustrating due to "friendly fire" - Jumping related issues make platforming harder than needed Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Abyss Odyssey is highly unique and has a lot to offer players looking for something out of the ordinary, but a few nagging bugs/design choices and a slow build up might turn players away from the otherwise rich design. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  4. Jason Clement

    Resident Evil Remake Coming in 2015

    It was originally remade for the Gamecube some 12 years ago but now Capcom is finally remaking the original Resident Evil for the modern era. This new versioin of the game will feature enhanced textures, resolutions, 1080p support on next generation consoles, classic and enhanced control schemes, the option to choose 4:3 or 16:9 widescreen aspect ratios, and even remastered sound with 5.1 surround support. Of course, the story involves the origin of the whole saga, with the player taking on the role of S.T.A.R. team members Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine as they investigate the disappearance of Bravo Team in Raccoon City and must survive their way through the mysterious mansion there. No release date or pricing has been announced just yet, but you'll be able to buy Resident Evil digitally in early 2015. Source: Press Release Are you interested in replaying Resident Evil on today's consoles?
  5. TT Games has a recognizable formula with their ever-popular LEGO titles, but their distinctive formula continues to evolve with each new license and generation of console. The traditional cooperative gameplay still provides one of the best co-op experiences to date and goes so far as to transcend generational divides. The path that lies ahead for licensed LEGO games can only be determined by taking into consideration past adventures. Changes in the radial menu, dynamic split-screen game play and expansion to a world beyond a stale hub are just a few examples of how TT Games is constantly searching out areas of improvement for their craft. One of the most prolific changes has been the evolution in the way the stories unfold. Familiar Surroundings Made Better The standard hubs found in LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Star Wars appear as little more than a relic when placed side-by-side with the overworld experiences found in LEGO The Lord of the Rings and LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes. This alteration truly broadened the potential for all future LEGO games by expanding the experience beyond the confines of a story mission. Unfortunately, licensed LEGO games fall into the same pitfalls as any other multiple platform title and are typically held back by the constraints of the weaker systems. A compelling argument can be made that much of the squandered potential in the original LEGO Batman and LEGO Indiana Jones were a result of reluctance to abandon the Playstation 2 and Nintendo's Wii. This reluctance, however, is based in a reality where the consoles still held a significant market share well into the life cycle of the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. The Playstation 2 and Wii are completely out of the picture for development purposes and companies that thrive on easily ported games now find themselves with a set of more powerful base systems to thoroughly explore. Although the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 will likely remain the base launching platform for most upcoming LEGO titles, despite the existence of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, the margin for potential is greater than ever before. TT Games officially wrapped their release of LEGO Marvel Super Heroes in late 2013, but were already neck-deep in studs with The LEGO Movie Videogame and LEGO: The Hobbit. The media focus may be on the new generation of consoles, but the next few projects will undoubtedly play a major role in determining the viability of future licensed LEGO brands in console video games. Recent upgrades in the TT Games formula suggest the company is firmly facing forward, but there is also room to suggest that the company should also be looking backwards. Premature Release One problem that the LEGO: The Hobbit game now faces echoes an issue that plagued [/size]LEGO Indiana Jones all the way back in 2008. The date of release for the ill-fated installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, came a mere month prior to the LEGO Indiana Jones game and the content was conspicuously absent. LEGO: The Hobbit only follows the adventure through The Desolation of Smaug, which leaves the events of The Five Armies hanging in the balance. WB and TT Games had two distinct paths before them: release a standalone title akin to Lego Indiana Jones 2, which was a major source of discontent with their fanbase, or embrace the digital age. In an unsurprising move, WB and TT Games chose the latter, announcing that The Five Armies conclusion will be available as downloadable content. This does not rule out the potential for a "Complete Edition" with all available Hobbit content or even a "Tolkien Edition" that includes both franchises on a single disc, but this is certainly a step in the right direction as it leaves the door open for franchises with the most content-hungry fans. From Cooperative To Party Another aspect of the licensed LEGO formula which remains static is the number of players. Several franchises exist which could greatly benefit from expanding the number of players to four. The solid online capabilities offered from consoles could allow for even greater drop-in and drop-out game play. So why not make it a party? What better franchise to begin the four player experience than with a LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game? A featuring LEGO Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a voice over from the Nickelodeon reboot cropped up on Youtube in June of 2013. The video, sitting at over a million hits, led many to ponder the possibility of this fantasy becoming a reality through video games... assuming certain licensing issues did not prevent such marvelous ideas from coming to fruition. Online capabilities, expanded cooperative experiences and major story downloadable content are just a few areas which licensed LEGO games could easily explore in the future. Questions can be raised when it comes to the direction of TT Games, but if LEGO Marvel Superheroes and LEGO City Undercover are examples of the quality we can expect from the next generation of LEGO games, then this is one gamer who will remain anxiously excited. What changes would you like to see in new LEGO titles? What licensed franchises would you love to see tackled by TT Games?
  6. Developer: Arc System Works Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PS3/Vita Release Date: June 24, 2014 ESRB: M for Mature For as commonplace as Visual Novels are in Japan it is quite rare that we see them in any official form overseas. Regardless, it seems like the publisher Aksys has gone out of their way to help break this trend and has seemingly struck its niche from cult-classics like Virtue's Last Reward and 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors to bringing over games with a more specific "Otome" demographic like Hakuoki or Sweet Fuse. Continuing this trend of visual novel releases is the arrival of Xblaze: Code Embryo, a visual novel prequel to the critically-acclaimed fighting game series Blazblue. Is this visual novel just fanservice or does it manage to oust its source material in terms of storytelling? The story focuses on the young man, Touya Kagari, who lives Shin Yokozaki City during the year 2050 (150 years before Blazblue: Calamity Trigger). Despite coming off as a normal high-school student, he is one of the very few survivors of the horrific Wadatsumi Incident: a mysterious disaster that claimed the lives of thousands and literally left no trace of their remains. On his way home from part-time work one day Touya hears a bell-like chime near an empty construction site like area and curiously follows the noise. Unfortunately for him, he then comes face to face with a "Union", a person with mysterious powers and far-removed sanity. Before being nearly incinerated by the "Union", Touya is both saved and almost nearly killed by a mysterious blonde girl, Es, who claims it is her mission to hunt down "Unions". Shrugging off the strange happenings as a dream, after unwittingly being knocked-out by Es, Touya quickly learns upon returning home that the bizarre events that transpired were in fact reality. Es, as well as a strange/eccentric man, Unomaru, vaguely briefs Touya about Unions. Unomaru then offers Es as a personal bodyguard and eventually guilt-trips Touya into using his unique ability to detect "Unions", the "Discover Call", to help Es capture them as a means to protect innocent citizens as well as himself from their powers. At first glance it may seem like this game is only for Blazblue fans, but Xblaze: Code Embryo's main narrative and entirely new cast of characters are detached enough to not alienate people who aren't already existing fans. The title does lay quite a bit of narrative groundwork for a bunch of things that transpire in Blazblue (and actually clears some plot holes), which is of no surprise since it is a prequel. That said, the storytelling is easier to follow than Blazblue, and frankly, better delivered with a way more consistent narrative pace than recent iterations, so it can be played by newcomers without feeling too left out beyond having to look up a specific terminology in the in-game database. For the actual storytelling, Xblaze strikes a good balance between both serious and light-hearted storytelling. It also has its storytelling told entirely without narration and just through character actions and dialogue, which attributes to a faster pace than most visual novels. While the cast of characters aren't wholly original, like a suicidal do-gooder main protagonist who proclaims to be normal, to an extremely stoic, but strong blonde swordswoman who is out of touch with cultural norms (Fate/Stay Night, anyone?), and plenty more. Still, even if it wears its character cliches on it sleeves, it somehow made even me warm up to the cast after enough time through the different narrative paths. Having said that, when the storytelling does get serious it is more bleak than you'd expect. Xblaze definitely expects players to see its various narrative branches to gather to full story because most endings are definitely not satisfying on their own, though, they contribute to the grander story. Even if the storytelling is solid, despite a lack of originality at times, it does expect a completionist mentality to see all of it. But, if the main narrative is too depressing, there is the very entertaining, and non-canon, "Gag reel" which really plays on the expectations of the main story. I'm being totally serious when I say it is probably worth seeing every ending in the game to unlock it, since it is seriously that hilarious. Unlike other visual novels that tend have their narrative alter based dialogue choices, Xblaze uses the "Toi" system to dictate the story progression. It is explained weird, but ideally, Touya will react to events in the story based on prior knowledge obtained from in-game articles that you choose to read, and thus, triggering new story scenes as well as different narrative branches and endings. It is far more interesting on paper than in execution, unfortunately. Even if the Toi system has a neat direct tie to the overarching storytelling, it allows next to no flexibility because of the strict narrative paths and abrupt bad endings (with the exception of the hilarious non-canon "gag reel" story, where the bad ends are more in-depth). Far worse is how it is actually very easy to lock yourself into a bad ending and have no idea what you did wrong, like I myself did. So, due to bad design, Xblaze: Code Embryo's enjoyment relies rather heavily on having a guide at hand to steer the player through the different narrative paths. In regards to presentation, Xblaze is quite honestly the best looking visual novel I've ever seen overall. I may not inherently love the art direction (kind of derivative to me), and some of its pretty unnecessary "fanservice" moments, but the way presented as a whole does a really great job at encapsulating an anime feel. Everything from casual character conversation to fights have smooth and varied transitions, and is just a different class from visual novels or RPGs I've seen that utilize such an aesthetic. Characters even have their Japanese voice acting sync with the their mouth movement, which is a nice touch. It just has a high amount of attention to detail for a genre that relies on minimalistic presentation and low production values and I'd really like to see other visual novels going forward take some cues from Xblaze. Not all of Xblaze is pleasant to look at, however, and it is at its ugliest when it comes to bugs, for the Vita version at least. While I went through about 95% of the game, including multiple endings, without any problems-- when the glitches of my playthrough hit they were pretty much game-breaking. I got to a point where I was unable to save, manually or auto, without the game consistently freezing, and even when I tried to blitz to the end without saving... the game crashed on me twice at the very end of the game. The only saving grace to my series of problems is that I learned that the PS3 release didn't have these problems at all and how the Vita release has received a patch that apparently fixes these issues shortly after release (though, it wasn't present during my playthrough of the game.). Xblaze: Code Embryo is a solid visual novel that is brought down by a couple of serious caveats to fully enjoy it. The first caveat is how it basically requires a guide to progress through the story properly, and the second caveat is that the Vita port should only be played after downloading a recent patch to eliminate what would otherwise have really serious game-breaking glitches. For as significant as its problems are, Xblaze is a pleasant surprise that manages to be better than the sum of its parts due to its solid narrative pace and a presentation in particular that other visual novels could benefit from learning from. It certainly is not the most wholly original or narratively rich visual novel ever, but Xblaze: Code Embryo deserves a chance to surpass your expectations for what it is. Pros: +Solid narrative pace with multiple endings/narrative branches + High production values for a visual novel with very smooth and varied anime-like transitions + Helpful database, recap, and system options + Non-canon "Gag Reel" story mode is hilarious Cons: - Neither the characters or the overall storytelling are wholly original - Abrupt bad ends and pretty specific ending/branch requirements prevent any narrative flexibility with the "Toi" system - Game-breaking save/freezing glitches specific to the Vita version (apparently fixed in a recent patch) Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Xblaze: Code Embryo is a worthwhile visual novel title that features well-paced storytelling and great anime-like production values, though, it basically requires having an ending guide at hand, and for the Vita version a very important download patch, to fully enjoy it. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using PS3 downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  7. It was previously known that LittleBigPlanet 3 would be launching in November later this year, but the actual release date remained unknown until today. Sony has now confirmed that both the PS4 and PS3 versions of the game would be releasing on November 18. Also, a number of pre-order incentive packs were detailed, including... a Sackboy plush for those that pre-order from Target a Dragon Age: Inquisition costume pack for everyone who pre-orders the PS4 version (retail or download) a mythical creatures costume pack for those that pre-order at GameStop a hidden creatures costume pack for those that pre-order from Best Buy Or... ...my personal favorite—the PlayStation Favorites Costumes pack, which features costumes from Journey, Tearaway, Jak & Daxter, Sly Cooper, Ratchet & Clank, Patapon, and LocoRoco. Also, anyone pre-ordering off the PS Store will get instant access to the LittleBigPlanet 3 T-Shirt Pack. The t-shirts will be wearable in LittleBigPlanet 2, LittleBigPlanet Vita, LittleBigPlanet Karting, and LittleBigPlanet 3. For a look at all of the different exclusive pre-order DLC, see the link at the source below. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you interested in any of the exclusive pre-order DLC?
  8. Today XSEED announced that Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed is confirmed for an August 12 release date on PlayStation 3 and PS Vita. Along with that news is the fact that the game is also confirmed for release on PlayStation 4 later this Holiday season. The game features an unusual and quirky plot where vampires invade Japan's popular Akihabara district, and the only way of detecting and killing them is by using the protagonist Nanashi's in-game smartphone app and then "ridding" them of their clothes, thus exposing them to sunlight that destroys them. Our own Marcus Estrada recently had an opportunity to demo the game at E3 2014, so be sure to check out his hands-on impressions if you're interested. Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed will be released physically through retail and digitally on the PlayStation Store for PS3 and PS Vita on August 12. Source: Press Release Are you interested in Akiba's Trip?
  9. Jason Clement

    PS Store PLAY 2014 Games Lineup Revealed

    Every year around late July, Sony reveals a special promotion for the PlayStation Store called PLAY which focuses on pre-order discounts for four new, spotlighted indie games. This year's selection is especially interesting given that all four games feature Cross-Buy across all three current PlayStation platforms. The games and their schedule are as follows- Note: Red indicates the pre-order price July 29 - Rogue Legacy (PS4, PS3, PS Vita) - $13.59 | $16.99 August 5 - The Swapper (PS4, PS3, PS Vita) - $15.99 | $19.99 August 12 - Hohokum (PS4, PS3, PS Vita) - $11.99 | $14.99 August 19 - Counterspy (PS4, PS3, PS Vita) - $11.99 | $14.99 Also, the more of them that you pre-order, the more you'll save. For example, if you pre-order 2 of the games, you'll get a $3 credit to your account. Pre-ordering 3 will net you $6, and all 4 will net you $10. You can check out gameplay for all four games in the trailer for the event below. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you interested in any of the PLAY 2014 titles?
  10. barrel

    Review: Drakengard 3

    Developer: Access Games Publisher: Square-Enix Platform: PS3 Release Date: May 20, 2014 ESRB: M for Mature In the PS2 era, Drakengard 1 and 2 were almost unanimously regarded as games that were mediocre at best and horrible at worst. Still, for the very few stubborn players that stuck with those titles, they were treated to some rather dark and mature storytelling that was very unlike most games at the time. Long after their debut, an indirect spin-off to the series by the name of Nier managed to garner quite a cult following despite receiving both a poor critical and commercial reception. Seemingly not discouraged by this concept in the slightest, a lot of the former staff from the original Drakengard as well as Nier, including director Yoko Taro, decide to rekindle the former PS2 relic with Drakengard 3 on PS3. The world of Drakengard 3 relies on the five Intoners (magical songstresses) who are heralded as goddesses because of the supposed peace that they brought after calming a global conflict as well as mending the land. To disrupt the self-proclaimed peace of the world stands the main character Zero and her dragon companion. Zero sets forth to systematically kill her five other Intoner sisters (conveniently and numerically named One, Two, Three, Four, and Five). With her ruthless approach to slaughter any who stand in her way, Zero makes it quite clear that she fully intends to follow through with the sororicide of her siblings by any means necessary. Despite being the third release in the series the story is, for the most part, an independent prequel to the previous games. So, oddly enough, the primary aspect that may throw people off the most is not so much continuity of the storytelling but rather the inherent absurdity of the setting. The storytelling is fairly dark and goes through several very interesting and different narrative branches and endings that seem progressively more messed-up. Not only is the setting fairly grim in tone, with brutal murders abound, but it plays with other adult themes a lot—like sexuality. Intoners, for example, have much stronger sexual urges caused by maintaining their musical power and they need their male disciples (servants that help amplify an Intoner's song magic) to help satiate that need regularly. If that wasn't weird enough, most of the main characters in Zero's company are not respectable by any means. The main characters mainly conceive of extreme sociopaths or deviants of some sort, with the exception of Zero's dragon, Mikhail, who is naive and kind-hearted in sharp contrast to Zero and her company. Much like in Nier, however, the game knows to not take itself too seriously and there is a surprising amount of comic relief and interesting banter between the cast, even in the midst of combat. While the extremes of the characters' personalities are often times overplayed—like Dito's sadism, Decadus's masochism, and Octa's penchant for sex—the interactions do usually manage to be entertaining more often than not because of the amusing writing. However, the relationship that develops between the cold Zero and her mostly lovable dragon, Mikhail, definitely stands out the most during the storytelling and interactions. What is less noteworthy is the actual gameplay. Combat progression is a standard, albeit strictly linear, hack & slash affair as you wade through batches of faceless soldiers. It is sort of akin to Musou-styled games, but with a faster flow and far less enemies on-screen at once. Initially, the gameplay starts out semi-promising with a steady progression of new weapons, foes to square off against, to even more unique flight sequences when controlling Mikhail, but that tapers off quickly. The on-foot combat fairs the best since Zero is a fairly fast and responsive character and her attacks are satisfying in a brutal, sadistic way, but an awkward visual presentation, shallow moveset, and scare variety in enemies/environments prevent it from being anything other than mindless, although occasionally fun at times, button-mashing. The on-foot combat in general may be unrefined, but it's clear that even less attention was paid to the parts where you control Mikhail. Ideally, the sequences where you control Mikhail are supposed to serve as a contrast in scale to Zero since he can easily trample standard foes for her like ants and even goes into Star Fox-esque flight segments. How it actually turns out is that these Mikhail-controlling situations become a chore to play because the framerate easily acts at its worst and it seems like both the aiming reticle as well as the camera prove to be bigger foes than the opposition you face. For as clumsy as the flight portions may be, what is the most devious and awkwardly designed sequence in the entire game is the final boss battle. I won't go into specifics, but I'm mentioning this primarily because I wouldn't be surprised if most players find it nearly impossible to beat. Seriously. Though it is presented very creatively, it requires a very specific skillset that doesn't follow the mechanics established in the game at all. The final fight is incredibly unforgiving and infuriating for reasons that I can't even begin to describe in this review, because of how it is presented, or rather, how important stuff is NOT presented. I'm harping a lot on the presentation, but honestly, that is probably the main reason why Drakengard 3 is bogged down in general for what would be mostly serviceable as a game. I“m really not one to normally bring up, or even care about production values just for the sake of it, but this game just reeks of a shoe-string budget that clearly goes against its intended design. Constant visual oddities abound with huge framerate hitches in random moments of combat. It also has a technical prowess that would only really feel at home in the PS2 era with its extremely unimpressive character models and lifeless 3D environments for most sequences. This is one of the few games where I strongly feel like one could've had a dramatically different (and a far more positive) impression of the game if its vast amount of technical quirks were simply fixed or optimized with a bigger budget. For as easy as it is to nitpick or be disappointed by the aspects that Drakengard 3 doesn't do particularly well, every now and then the title has its really pleasant surprises. The soundtrack is great and is mostly composed from none other than Keiichi Okabe, known for his fantastic work for Nier. I don't think the soundtrack here is as consistent as that game's was, which stuck to more memorable and serene vocal themes, but it is also way more eclectic in its style. It certainly utilizes familiar elements from Nier like calm, orchestral pieces with vocal accompaniment, although, it just as easily goes crazy in other moments like the boss themes that go from Heavy Metal to Trance musical styles. I think the most creative use of the soundtrack is when it shifts the score in battles to complement the Zero's Intoner mode. Normally this mode makes Zero temporarily invincible and also increases her offensive capabilities/mobility as a game mechanic, but it also adds a vocal layer to what may have originally been a classical styled piece to a far more beautiful, yet haunting, vocal composition that is unique to each theme. Actually, in general, the audio is fairly well-done. Some poorly done audio mixing in cutscenes aside (which is surprisingly significant), both the English and Japanese dub hold up rather well, which, for a fairly character interaction-heavy game, goes a pretty long way in conveying the engaging storytelling. Similar to both Nier, and to a lesser extent Deadly Premonition (ironically made by the developers behind both), Drakengard 3 rides on mostly less-than-serviceable gameplay to tell a much more interesting story. Unfortunately, its poor presentation, absolutely glaring repetition to the gameplay, and questionable mannerism is likely to push away most would-be onlookers of the title. That said, much like a certain lovable baby dragon that likes to roll around the mire, it is easy to become very frustrated with Drakengard 3 when constant filth is stuck to its exterior and design, but you know that, deep-down, it may be worth putting up with the fella in the long haul—that is, if he doesn't make you rage-quit near the end and you happen to also be very forgiving to its many faults. Pros: + Intriguing, albeit weird, dark storytelling with multiple endings + Great, eclectic soundtrack and solid English/Japanese dub + Entertaining character interactions + On-foot combat can be fun at times Cons: - Overall combat is shallow and there is a ton of glaring repetition to the enemies and stages - Airborne dragon sequences control extremely rough - Poor presentation with really significant framerate problems - Infuriating final boss Overall Score: 6.5 (out of 10) Decent Drakengard 3 is likely to leave most players with a wide-range of mixed emotions due to its hugely significant flaws as a game. But, for those who are curious about its setting may find just enough intrigue to its dark storytelling and bizarre overall style to warrant putting up with its many substandard quirks. Disclosure: PS3 downloadable code was provided by the publisher for this review
  11. Dead Island 2 was only announced just three weeks ago but Deep Silver seem to be heavily investing in this particular universe as another new entry was announced today, Escape Dead Island, for release this Fall. As you might have guessed, Escape will serve to bridge the stories of the first and second Dead Island games, and Deep Silver's Alexander Toplansky has confirmed that it will also explain the origins of the virus as well as where the events might lead to. The story will be told through the eyes of Cliff Calo—the spoiled son of a powerful media mogul—who has stolen a yacht with his friends and is bent on exposing the truth behind the Banoi outbreak to the public by filming a documentary. You'll freely explore a new, top-secret, quarantined island in the archipelago called Narapela, but things won't necessarily be as they seem as Cliff slowly loses a grip on his sanity and begins to experience stranger things than just zombies. Also, Cliff's moments of delirium are actually shown through comic-inspired visuals to give these parts an added emphasis. Of course, you'll have to wait until the game releases this Fall to discover what exactly is going on with the island, and what becomes of Cliff. Escape Dead Island is slated for release later this year on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC. You can view the teaser trailer for the game below. Source: PlayStation Blog Are you interested in Escape Dead Island?
  12. Tecmo Koei recently announced that Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star will release on PlayStation 3 in North America this September. This title is actually a continuation of a Japanese-only release, Ciel nosurge, which was released in 2012. It also serves as a prequel to the Ar tonelico series, which is a trilogy of games in which the latest, Ar tonelico Qoga: Knell of Ar Ciel, was released in 2011. The game will be shown along several other titles such as Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland, Samurai Warriors 4, and Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate at Anime Expo in Los Angeles this weekend. Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star will be released on the PlayStation Store and via retail for $49.99 on September 26.
  13. NIS America has finally given their "hardcore strategy" RPG Natural Doctrine a release date for North America. The game will be available in both retail and digital formats on Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita, September 16. Natural Doctrine will feature cross-play and cross-save on all platforms. In addition, NIS America announced a Limited Edition which will retail for $20 more than the regular versions which cost $59.99 on PS4, $49.99 on PS3 and $39.99 on Vita. The Limited Edition will include soft cover art book, tear-resistant poster and Explorer's Bag. The game was not well received by the media or gamers of Japan so it will be interesting to see what Americans think when they get their hands on it. Source: Playstation Lifestyle Is Natural Doctrine what strategy RPG fans are looking for?
  14. Developer: Idea Factory Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PlayStation 3 Release Date: May 6 ESRB: M (for Mature) Visual novels have certainly hit their stride in the Western world lately. More publishers are willing to bring the genre that used to be seen as uncouth and shallow dating sims over to a small, but steadily growing fanbase. As exciting adventures like Steins;Gate thrill players and hybrid experiences like Virtue's Last Reward give players a bit of gameplay with their text dumps, more gamers come to learn the value of visual novels amongst the many other games and genres available. Even so, while visual novels are in more of a demand, the otome game--essentially a visual novel where you play as the girl as you build relationships with boys--is widely ignored. While Sweet Fuse seemed to make some waves amongst the fanbase, there are very few otome choices out there... and though the Hakuoki series has actually seen a few titles released Stateside, Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi hopes to win a new audience by being on the PlayStation 3. Will this enhanced port of the PSP and 3DS title Demon of the Fleeting Blossom hold a bright torch for the console visual novel and otome game, or will that torch fizzle out? In Stories of the Shinsengumi, you are Chizuru (whose name can be changed), a young girl who came to Kyoto to look for for her father, who had gone missing a few months before. Upon reaching Kyoto, though, she is accosted by rogue ronin (despite being disguised as a boy to deter that very thing). One thing quickly leads to another, and the girl stumbles upon a dark secret of the Shinsengumi, a group responsible for upholding the peace in Kyoto. After learning of Chizuru's search for her father, who happened to also work with the Shinsengumi, they decide not to kill her to keep their secrets, and instead take her under their (mostly begrudging) care to help find the doctor. Stories of the Shinsengumi follows the path of the force through the entirety of its historical life, from 1864 to 1869. As you might expect, the characters you meet and can eventually build relationships with are actual Japanese historical figures; of course, they have been prettied up a bit to appeal to audience. However, the game isn't purely historical; fantastical sub-plots involving demons and "furies" (which are best described as a form of vampires) add an extra layer of tension to the wars and battles and more weight to the protagonist herself. Granted, these sub-plots are better written into some character paths than others, but for the most part they're a decent, though not particularly great, part of the story. As for the title's overall writing, it usually stays on a pretty high mark. All of the eligible relationship interests and even some of supporting cast get a fair amount of depth to them, mostly avoiding the typical tropes of the genre and giving an interesting plot to work through. Since the men are all loyal members of the Shinsengumi as well, it adds the perspective loyalty, and what everyone does when things take a turn for the worse. The more interesting conversations of the game are between the different captains themselves rather than their relationship with Chizuru, and while it can be questionable why the members of the Shinsengumi would allow a random girl to be privy to all their private conversations, it's an excusable offense to really get a glimpse at the depth these characters have to offer. Due to the fact that this 8- to 10-hour visual novel covers a fiveyear span, the action moves by at a pretty brisk pace. Stories of the Shinsengumi will skip months at the time, and mostly only focus on the major battles of the group, and their eventual downfall. As such, while you get an interesting amount of growth and changes amongst the characters, there isn't too much time for romance. Thankfully, the Hakouki Stories help a little with that, with the Memories of Love offering more tender moments with the eligible bachelors, and the Shinsengumi Adventures are more comical, light-hearted affairs. It's a bit of a shame that these stories aren't integrated into the game proper, but it also makes sense as the small stories would have probably interrupted the flow of the overall story. As you play through these extra Stories, you can bloom your cherry blossom in the Eupherma mode; and as you do so, you'll unlock even more little pieces of content, which is new to the PS3 version from the portable releases. These little bits include random conversations in the Hakuoki world, as well as stints where the the characters are cast into a modern school setting. Honestly, these bits are mostly throwaway, but as you'll likely want to play through the Stories for the extra characterization anyway, it's a nice, but ultimately unneeded, little bonus. Whether or not you'll enjoy Stories of the Shinsengumi depends more on your interest of Japanese culture; obviously, a title involving a historical police force is going to be steeped in Japanese lore. For those not heavily educated on the subject, the game's Encyclopedia helps to explain some of the less known terms, but if you have no interest in Japanese lore, historically accurate or otherwise, it will seem plodding and boring even if it is well-written. Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi is a good otome game, but it will not be everyone's cup of tea. Those that are willing the take the plunge into a game steeped in Japanese history and sometimes strange demon plots will find deep and multifaceted characters and stories that are worth experiencing. Pros: + The potential relationship paths go beyond simple tropes, giving characters with depth + The graphics are surprisingly nice looking on the big screen Cons: - Some character paths have awkward writing or poorly implemented plot threads - The title's setting isn't for everyone Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Stories of the Shinsengumi provides a good story for those that bring an interest in Japanese history and just a bit of tolerance for demons and vampires. Disclosure: A download code was provided by the publisher for this review.
  15. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn launches exclusively on the Playstation 3 next Tuesday, July 1. A few pre-order bonuses have been revealed for those gamers who purchase the game before it releases on the Playstation Store. These bonuses include an extra mission, special mobile suit and exclusive XMB theme. The extra mission titled "Trial of the Crimson Red" will focus on Char and Johnny while the exclusive mobile suit called Beargguy looks like a mechanized version of Naughty Bear. Seriously. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn can be pre-ordered for $39.99 up until next Tuesday if you want to secure these bonus goodies. Source: Destructoid What video games based on anime series have you enjoyed the most?
  16. Developer: Game Arts Publisher: XSEED Games Platform: PS Vita, PS3 Release Date: April 1, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen This review is based on the Vita version of the game Fighting games may be the go-to example for iterative re-releases in videogames, but it seems like those within the “Hunting” Action-RPG subgenre have been just as guilty as of late. The Monster Hunter franchise has seen more versions/releases than you can count on both of your hands, regardless of it being only ten years old itself, and even exclusive Vita titles like last year“s Soul Sacrifice to the the fairly recent Toukiden have quickly made sequels to their prior releases. Now comes the new and supposedly improved follow-up to 2012's original Vita release Ragnarok Odyssey, which is also a loose spin-off to the classic MMORPG Ragnarok Online. Boasting entirely new content and cross-play between both PS3 and Vita, is there enough reason to take another lengthy voyage with Ragnarok Odyssey ACE? Did you play the original Ragnarok Odyssey? Well, for better or worse, that doesn't really matter either way as all players will have to play all of the missions as well the entire story mode from scratch, regardless of the their progress in the original, with minimal transfer functionality beyond importing "skill cards" for returning players. This alone should help give an idea on who this re-release is for—that being specifically for enthusiastic fans of the original or newcomers altogether. In the matter of fairness, it needs to be mentioned that the new content in this version includes new post-game bosses/quests, ACE skills, "The Tower of Yggdrasil" mode, and a few other mechanical tweaks and cosmetic additions. Unlike some of its contemporaries in the genre like Soul Sacrifice, God Eater Burst, or Toukiden, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace doesn“t really have much in the way of a direct storyline. The player can poke NPCs for occasional Norse-themed narrative context, but it really boils down to little more than being assigned to slay a specific number of monsters or big enemy bosses with occasionally humorous quips in-between. The main story mode in particular is absolutely identical to the previous release, so players are not going to see anything new until hitting post-game material with the exclusive ACE chapters, which are still rather thin for story context. What has been, and still is, Ragnarok Odyssey's primary strength is its fast-paced and mobile combat. Even now the combat system is the main difference between it and most other titles in the "Hunting" subgenre which are usually more grounded (literally and figuratively) in their slower, methodical pace. Also, while short in number count, classes have a decent variety in skills and in terms of general moveset: Assassins are nimble and focus on inflicting status ailments, Hammersmiths are slower but pack quite a punch, and Hunters fight mainly from afar. Subtle nuances like Clerics having a technical parry mechanic, or the Mage class requiring charged-based inputs mid-attack for stronger moves, also help each class play distinctly different. In the ACE release in particular, classes have been balanced out so they are more well-rounded overall. Speaking of term "ACE", one of the new gameplay furnishes of this release are "Ace Skills". In the original release there were certain abilities that a character could use by holding down the circle button and were specific to each class. ACE Skills streamlines these abilities by placing them via shortcuts, as well as having outright more of them, so they make each class more versatile and the skills themselves more viable in the midst of combat; so, in the case of the Cleric, they can draw from more healing spells as well as status increasing buffs that they couldn't before. The most substantial new addition is the newly added "Tower of Yggdrasil mode" which appears after the main story and is introduced in the new ACE chapters. Unlike a good majority of the missions of the game, which only have you kill X amount of certain enemies, this mode brings a randomly-generated dungeon component to the game. During this mode, side-objectives also spontaneously appear and upon completing them can yield tremendous, albeit brief, benefits to the player's stats and item drop rates, so the gameplay structure is more actively rewarding and interesting. Where the game buckles down—and this newest release only reemphasizes— is just about every else. My biggest complaints primarily stem with its overall gameplay flow, balance, and the lack of mission variety in general. It may sound like a weird complaint to have, but Ragnarok Odyssey's combat system does not seem to particularly suit the structure of the game. Most enemies are massive damage sponges, and generally unflinching at that, so it seems at odds with battles that are supposed to move fast. This is only more obvious as the player fights a ton of recycled enemy types and bosses through most of the chapters. For a more technical complaint, a lot of the skills come off as rather clunky due to their protracted animations, many of which can not be canceled through jumps/dashes, so bosses, for example, will get many free hits because of attacks you outright can't react to. In general, most of the combat fails to hit a sort of satisfying sense of finesse despite having decent base mechanics. Another oddity is that multiplayer isn't designed to encourage it, ironically enough, at least early in. In these type of games where you'd normally want to team up and help each other, it can actually be less practical with other players, online or locally, because the entire team shares the same three lives pool. It may not sound like a big deal at first but if you take into account stuff like the instant kill moves that many bosses have, it is not too hard to imagine one person (or more) accidentally messing up and ruining an entire team's effort rather quickly. That said, one significant improvement Ragnarok Odyssey ACE makes over its predecessor is the ability to hire CPU characters join during mission. This can be beneficial not only because CPU characters do not deplete from the player's life stock but also because they infinitely respawn and can help divide the enemy's attention (despite being dumb as bricks). Progression in general is done in a very limiting and oddly linear way. You could relish in the death cries of adorable slime or mushrooms monster all day but still won't directly get stronger as a result. You see, a character's overall base stats are mostly only increased at the end of each story mode chapter. Even the game's attempt at player customization with "skillcards" (which enhance certain skills and stats) or weapon upgrades are often times funneled generally by later game missions or rare item drops, leading to a very awkwardly formulated progression style. To not sound totally down of the game, Ragnarok Odyssey ACE is still a good-looking game in motion on the portable system. It is, of course, less impressive nowadays since little has changed visually, and because technical standouts like Tearaway and Killzone: Mercenary exist. However, there is something to be said about maintaining a colorful art direction, with charming visual quirks from time to time, and a fairly smooth presentation throughout, despite situations where the player is pitted against huge bosses or hordes of enemies, or both. Ragnarok Odyssey ACE is in many ways inoffensive in its execution, but there are so many seemingly minor chinks to its design that really add up and bog down the entire experience. By squandering its opportunity for renewal there has been very little added to the ACE release to entice many players to return except for the chosen few that have a lot of diligence to play through the exact same main story and missions again just for the sparse new content. It may have a decent core combat system and production values, but overall Ragnarok Odyssey ACE feels like it tries to serve multiple masters without really satisfying either, so it continues to leave this release mostly indistinguishable and muddled even among titles in its own subgenre. Pros: + Decent core combat mechanics with varied playable character classes + Very clean overall presentation with stylized visuals + Tower of Yggdrasil mode brings a welcome attempt at variety to the standard mission routine Cons: - Limiting character progression for most of the game -Mission design is very repetitive with a bunch of recycled enemy types throughout - Multiplayer isn't balanced in a way to actively encourage it -Save transfer functionality is woefully short for returning players - General combat lacks a sense of finesse Overall Score: 5.5 (out of 10) Average Beyond a template for a decent combat system, most will struggle to find too much staying power in this release because of the very few enhancements that are introduced in Ragnarok Odyssey Ace. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  17. During Sony's E3 conference, Adam Boyes alluded to exclusive Destiny content coming to Playstation 3 and Playstation 4. Yesterday, Sid Shuman revealed on the Playstation Blog just what that content would consist of. In addition to the Alpha offered this past weekend and a few early days in the Beta, Bungie will be giving PS4 and PS3 owners exclusive access to a co-op Strike mission, a competitive multiplayer map, guns, armor and ships. The Co-op mission entitled, Dust Strike Palace, has three players fighting though an abandoned skyscraper on Mars against the Psion Flayers. The multiplayer map takes place aboard mid-sized ship called the Exodus Blue and is best suited for Control and Skirmish game modes. There will also be an exclusive assault rifle, handgun, armor set for each class and three ships. All of this content will be available when the game launches September 9. For further Destiny updates, stay tuned to Game Podunk. Source: Playstation Blog
  18. Marcus Estrada

    Akiba's Trip Screenshot 2

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  19. Marcus Estrada

    Akiba's Trip Screenshot 1

    From the album: Marcus's Album

  20. Have you ever wanted to visit Japan“s famed “electric town” Akihabara? This gamer paradise has been shown in both films and anime but Akiba“s Trip: Undead & Undressed is one of the few games to use it as the backdrop. As the story goes, Akihabara is filled with vampires but no one can really tell because geeks are super pasty and weird anyway. You just happen to have a magical smartphone that can detect the presence of vampires by taking photos. Once discovered, you confront them, strip their clothes off, and watch as they fry in the sunlight. Yeah, it“s pretty weird. Of course, the vampires don“t just let you steal all their clothes. They fight back with whatever weapons are available. Players have a high, mid, and low attack which correlate to attacking their hat, shirt, and pants. Once an item has been worn down enough your character can then rip it off. You don“t have to go vampire hunting alone, though. An AI partner can come along and fight as well as help launch a special strip attack. These are far stronger moves that leave vampires with only their underwear, effectively skipping the need to concentrate on the three clothing bits. Anything that comes off a vampire is yours to keep. If you want to wear some of their old clothes then go ahead! The same holds true for their weapons. Fans, manga magazines, and more constitute some of the weaponry. As for clothes it appears there“s a huge variety of options. One more unusual bit of customization on display was walk animations. You can go so far as to make the main character walk and run with his arms flailing madly about if you like. As players progress through the story they will also receive e-mails and Pitter updates from characters. The e-mails are a fun addition and you can even receive junk mail. Pitter, as you might guess, is a play on Twitter“s “microblogging” service so it“s filled mostly with silliness. There are also a few mini games to mess with when not on the prowl for vampires. Akiba“s Trip is both amusing and a social commentary but the demo didn“t showcase any story segments. Because of this, it“s impossible to judge if the story will make the experience of discovering, attacking, and stripping vampires worthwhile or not. As it stands, the concept seemed much more entertaining than the execution. PS3 and Vita owners can get their hands on Akiba“s Trip: Undead & Undressed later this year.
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