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Handheld gaming

Blue PS Vita photo
Blue PS Vita

The US is getting a blue PlayStation Vita


Only at GameStop
Sep 01
// Jordan Devore
After following a link to this aqua blue PlayStation Vita, I had to double check the time stamp -- what year is it? Oh, 2015. It is new. I'm as surprised as you are to see Sony acknowledge the handheld. It's a GameStop exclusive in the United States releasing this November. It'll be $199.99.
Steamboy photo
Steamboy

Portable 'Steamboy' Steam machine coming late 2016


$300 pre-sale price
Aug 12
// Steven Hansen
Do you have $300 and less cents? Want to replace that Nvidia Shield that catches fire and is basically a big 'ol Ouya? The first batch of "Steam machines" -- computers with living room form factors meant to rival traditional ...
Vita photo
Vita

Sony exec calls Vita a 'legacy platform'


That's not a good sign
May 27
// Brett Makedonski
Those who hold out hope that Sony will change course and start avidly supporting the Vita may want to finally give up on that pipe dream. The outlook for the PlayStation handheld has been grim, and is even more so after a top...
New 3DS photo
New 3DS

What if the New 3DS is Nintendo's last 3D handheld?


3D or not 3D, that is the question
Apr 13
// Jonathan Holmes
I was there when Nintendo first announced the 3DS. It was back when the company did actual press conferences at E3. As its presentation wrapped up, Nintendo sent droves of models into the audience, each with a 3DS tethered to...

Forgotten Memories photo
Forgotten Memories

Forgotten Memories iOS debut on April 23, watch the launch trailer now!


Wii U, Vita, Android, and PC will have to wait an ickle bit longer
Mar 30
// Stephen Turner
As you may recall, Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities came out of near-nowhere with its Silent Hill 2 cast additions, after several years off the development grid. If you're still wondering what Guy Cihi's delightf...
Nintendo mobile photo
Nintendo mobile

Nintendo talks NX, mobile game pricing, DeNA partnership


'Nintendo will continue its [console] business with even stronger passion'
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo is finally entering the mobile game space through a collaboration with DeNA. Why now? As CEO Satoru Iwata explained to TIME, "We have come to the stage where we can say that we will be able to develop and operate so...
Criminal Girls photo
Criminal Girls

You have the right to remain sexy with Criminal Girls: Invite Only's latest screens


Or don't, that's your opinion or whatever
Jan 23
// Brittany Vincent
Criminal Girls: Invite Only is a game I've been following for some time now, and right now I'm in the middle of reviewing it for Destructoid. Since there's still a bit of time left before it actually comes out, however, I've ...

Review: New Nintendo 3DS XL

Jan 23 // Chris Carter
New Nintendo 3DS XLManufacturer: NintendoRelease Date: February 13, 2015MSRP: $199.99 Look and feel As a whole, the New 3DS XL feels a tad lighter than the original XL. It's only 0.03 ounces less in reality, but it may have to do with the shifting of internal bits to give it a more centered feel. It also doesn't "creak" when I hold it like a few of my old XLs did, so perhaps the frame is sturdier. Just to get it out of the way, this doesn't come with an AC adapter, so if you don't have one, go ahead and tack $15 on top of the $199.99 price point. It's also a shame that the US isn't getting any "non-XL" units, so say goodbye to those face plates. In terms of general use, it's easily my favorite model yet. I love that the home button is now the only input in the middle of the bottom touch screen (that original melded style and even the slotted old XL style weren't ideal), and the face buttons feel better in general. The power button is now located on the bottom of the device, along with the stylus and the slot to insert cartridges. This is definitely an upgrade, as there's no fear of accidentally popping out a cart while playing or rubbing up on the stylus hole. The most noticeable change is the integration of the entire Circle Pad Pro with a more graceful design. I'll get to the second analog stick (nubbin) later, but the addition of two triggers at the top of the 3DS feels great, and any Circle Pad Pro functionality is already built into previous games which is convenient. It isn't easy to accidentally bump the new ZL and ZR buttons, in case you're worried about that. The only part of the physical hardware I dislike outright is the MicroSD situation. It's fine that Nintendo wanted to switch the memory solution up from standard SD (32GB cards are $20, and it is still better than proprietary Sony crap like the Vita), but you have to unscrew part of the 3DS to actually change it out. That's not really a problem for me since I'm happy with a 32GB card, but it's not particularly user friendly, and it will be annoying if you're the kind of person who switches cards often. It comes with a 4GB MicroSD ready to go inside of the unit if you aren't picky. Extra features The hardware has also been upgraded as a whole, and software boot times are 5-10 seconds faster on the New 3DS compared to past models. There's an extra auto-brightness feature as well, which operates similarly to mobile phones and tablets, gauging the general light in the room and adjusting itself accordingly. You can turn this feature off if you want, which is something I did immediately. Of course, the marquee upgrade is easily the enhanced 3D feature, which now works at practically any angle. The way it operates is that it essentially tracks your vision and instantly makes the 3D easier on the eyes, rather than in the past where you had to hold your 3DS at a "certain" viewpoint to really get the full effect. So does it work? Absolutely. I was skeptical of it before trying it out, but unless you have your 3DS at a really weird angle it will work, and the 3D does look sharp. Just know that it's not magic, and that it will take 1-2 seconds to adjust if you do shift your unit around more than a few inches. If for some reason you don't like this feature, you can also turn it off. The New 3DS has its own built-in NFC feature that supports amiibo at launch by way of the bottom touch screen, but since no games have been updated to actually support it at this time, I can't comment on it. Expect plenty of coverage going forward though, including Super Smash Bros. and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. functionality. Also, keep in mind that Nintendo is going to release an adapter for older models, so you don't need the New 3DS to utilize amiibo figures. At least, that's the plan. The nubbin Ah, the nubbin. The ire of many fans who thought that the 3DS didn't need a second analog stick like the Vita. I've always been a fan of options, and the nubbin allows just that, but without using a percentage of the portable's processing power like the Circle Pad Pro has in the past. As a result, you're likely going to be seeing more games that use it, and given the retroactive support of old CPP titles, it's a win/win addition. Having said that, the nubbin is not a perfect solution. It's a lot more rigid than I thought it was going to be. In fact, the actual nub doesn't move -- it's kind of like an old school laptop ball but without the rolling sensation. It feels weird, but thankfully it doesn't take up a lot of space, make the 3DS look bad aesthetically, or get in the way. If you don't like it, you don't have to use it. My experience using it in-game varies drastically depending on the title. With a game like Majora, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, or Monster Hunter 4, it was perfect for swinging the camera about. For games like Resident Evil: Revelations, where the nubbin is used for precision aiming, it's not so great. I'm glad it exists, but it's not a game-changer, and you shouldn't upgrade just because of the nubbin. Haha, nubbin. Software support Right now buying a New 3DS strictly because of software  is a grim prospect. There is one -- count it -- one New 3DS exclusive announced so far in Xenoblade Chronicles. Because of the enhanced processing power the ability to create Wii ports or more graphically intensive games is there, but we aren't quite at that threshold yet where anyone besides Nintendo has stepped up to announce anything. And even then, this is seemingly a direct port we're talking about with very minor additions. There are a few slight differences right now with at least one new game -- Monster Hunter 4. As a general rule when I compared it side-by-side with an old and New 3DS XL, the latter seemed to have a more consistent framerate, and the 3D effect looked sharper in general. That's not to say that the framerate is bad by any means on the old model, it's just very fluid on the New unit. Slight improvements are the name of the game right now in the New 3DS' lifespan, and that principle permeates throughout the philosophy of the New 3DS as a whole. As a side note, I did test cross-generational play, and was able to play every multiplayer title I owned with an "old" unit -- so don't be worried about segmenting yourself if your spouse or child doesn't pick up a New 3DS right away. [embed]286495:57004:0[/embed] Verdict Only hardcore Nintendo fans need to adopt the New 3DS right now. All of the improvements outside of the enhanced 3D feature are marginal, and even though the feeling of picking up new hardware can be exciting at first, you may even start to feel underwhelmed on your first day. It does feel like an upgrade overall, but Monster Hunter 4 and Majora's Mask play just fine on the older models. Additionally, with a planned amiibo adapter coming out at some point in the future, you should be good to go in March for Code Name S.T.E.A.M., and the only true exclusive in sight is a port set for an April release. Lastly, although bulky, the Circle Pad Pro will technically net you all of the benefits from the added triggers and nubbin for now outside of Super Smash Bros. 3DS. As you can clearly see, this is an "only early-adopters need apply" situation, since a lot of solutions exist, or will exist to accommodate old 3DS users. On a personal level I am enjoying the upgrades and have purchased one myself in addition to this review unit, but the real payoff just isn't there yet for me to make a full recommendation. [This review is based on a retail build of the hardware provided by the publisher. The reviewer did not attend the Nintendo event.]
New 3DS XL review photo
A nice, but nonessential upgrade
Nintendo has an interesting history in terms of portables. Outside of the rare add-on like the expansion pack for the Nintendo 64 or the Game Boy Player for the GameCube, they play it rather conservatively when it comes ...

Nintendo at PAX South photo
Nintendo at PAX South

Majora's Mask 3D and New 3DS XL playable at PAX South


Also Super Smash Bros., for those living in the past
Jan 20
// Darren Nakamura
The New Nintendo 3DS XL is the current hot commodity for Nintendo fans, with special edition units selling out. For those who are not so keen on ordering one before playing, an opportunity to get some hands-on time is coming ...
3DS discontinued photo
RIP 3DS
[Update: Nintendo's official response is as follows: "Nintendo has nothing to announce about the production status of Nintendo 3DS."] We have reason to believe Nintendo of America has completely ceased production of the origi...

Review: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy

Dec 27 // Brittany Vincent
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: CapcomPublisher: CapcomReleased: December 9, 2014MSRP: $29.99 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney had the right blend of Japanese humor and adventure aspects to break into the Western market. Hardcore gamers weren't the only audience to fall in love with Phoenix Wright though. The DS was in part responsible for the now multi-billion-dollar casual gaming industry and the Ace Attorney himself gained fans from all walks of life. The series has only continued to grow in scope and fanbase, and a new sequel is said to be in the works for the Nintendo 3DS. The English version that debuted the character of Phoenix Wright, which released on the Nintendo DS, is actually a port. The original version of the game was released on the Game Boy Advance and has since been ported to Windows, iOS, Wii, and recently the first three in the original Phoenix Wright Trilogy were ported to Nintendo 3DS. Going into reviewing the 3DS trilogy, I was initially concerned that the series wouldn’t stand the test of time, but I was pleasantly surprised. [embed]285044:56734:0[/embed] The first game is by far the simplest of the series. It follows the titular Ace Attorney Phoenix Wright during his first cases straight out of law school, and focuses on his relationships with his law firm boss' sister Maya Fey and childhood friend turned rival Miles Edgeworth. The story still holds up solidly throughout the game's main four cases (and one bonus case), but compared to the later entries in the series, the cases are played in a fairly straightforward manner, with cross-examinations, introduction of evidence, and objections being fairly obvious and non-branching. It’s still an absolute blast to play through, especially if you’ve never experienced it before, but like I felt in 2005, I wish there had been multiple ways to get a verdict. The fifth case is a bit more exotic though, as it’s the bonus case made specifically for the Nintendo DS and as such uses the touch screen and microphone for dusting for prints, or spraying luminol. The second game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, is probably my favorite of the three and is where the series really came together to define the formula that would take Ace Attorney from merely good to excellent. The game takes place roughly a year after the first and all the familiar faces return. It offers four cases to solve, involving amnesia, mediums, circuses, kidnappings, and dirty, dirty, murder. It features the best pace and variety of the three games, and the cases don’t go by too fast or too slow, remaining challenging without being frustrating. It introduces the Psyche-Lock system, in which Phoenix can use the correct evidence to “unlock a witness's heart” and allow questioning that they would otherwise clam up at. Unfortunately though, this game’s cases received none of the DS treatment the bonus mission did in the first game, so after completing it, this game can feel like a step back, even with the addition of Psyche-Locks. Unfortunately, the finale of the trilogy, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, is for me the weakest in the series as far as gameplay is concerned, lacking the originality of the first, or the innovation of the second. It feels like more of the same, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as the story is still quite strong in its own way. Trials and Tribulations serves as a prequel focusing on Mia Fey, Phoenix’s first boss, and on the events directly after Justice For All. However, this game can be quite frustrating because of its expansion of a concept introduced in the second. At times Phoenix can get an answer so wrong that the Judge instantly gives you a game over. In the second title this was fairly rare, and easy to recover from, but in Trials and Tribulations the frequency has increased quite a bit, and for a game that is at its core fairly linear, making a player repeat 15 or twenty minutes of dialogue is a sure way to get them to turn off their 3DS. While the games are still excellent, there’s not really anything new added for their 3DS release. These are basically a port of the iOS version, with a simple yet adequate 3D layer tacked on. What you see is what you’ll get. There are no new bonus cases or ways to play -- just regular old Phoenix Wright un, deux, and trois. It is somewhat disappointing that these games aren’t a true remaster, but at ten dollars a game, it could be a lot worse. I typically do my handheld gaming on my 3DS, so it’s nice to have a copy of the three games that’s sharp, easy on the eyes, and digital. If you’ve never played Phoenix Wright, or if you’ve only played one or two of the original trilogy, this collection is a great way to finally rectify that. However, if you’ve picked them up for the DS, or the Wii, or iOS (or Windows for our Japanese friends), you may want to pass unless you're looking for a convenient way to experience the games. With no new features aside from the rudimentary 3D, this collection is meant to satisfy those who haven’t come to love the unique and colorful world of Phoenix Wright. If you know someone who hasn’t been so fortuitous, take one of those shiny new gift cards you just got and get them a copy. You’ll be doing them a favor. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Phoenix Wright review photo
This old lawyer hasn't lost his appeal
The visual novel has been ubiquitous in Japan since the early ‘90s, but in the West they've never truly caught on. Whether it was the U.S.’s love for its own home-grown adventure games like Sierra’s King&rs...

Review: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Nov 18 // Brittany Vincent
Pokémon Alpha Sapphire (3DS)Developer: Game Freak Publisher: Nintendo/The Pokémon CompanyReleased: November 21, 2014MSRP: $39.96 The plot has remained the same at its core. On one very special day, you embark on a journey to fill up your Pokédex, traveling around the land with the goal in mind of becoming a Pokémon Master. It’s all familiar stuff, and if you’ve followed the RPG series from its inception you’ll no doubt be familiar with what’s going on here. Professor Birch bestows you with one starter monster out of three: Torchic, Mudkip, and Treecko, representing fire, water, and grass respectively. Then, you'll embark on a journey to become the Pokémon Champion of the Hoenn region. Along the way, either Team Magma or Team Aqua (depending on which version they’re playing) will step in to fulfill their roles as the games' nefarious villains, attempting to use a legendary Pokémon to revert the world back to its ancient form. However, the plot has been expanded, with scenes featuring additional details and the inclusion of a plotline (the Delta Episode) in which the player must explore the origins of the Mega Evolutions. [embed]283900:56363:0[/embed] Everything that was originally in Ruby and Sapphire (and Emerald too) was lovingly remade and improved. The view has returned to a more isometric perspective instead of the up-close angles of Pokémon X & Y, although environments do remain 3D. In fact, the 3D features work a lot better in this iteration, with slowdown not being near as much of a problem as it was in X & Y. Secret bases return and can be shared via StreetPass, Wi-Fi, or even a custom QR code. Not only are secret bases infinitely customizable, but one a player accepts your invite to your secret base, their character will appear there for you to move about and interact with! Pokémon Contests also return, this time with an adorable new friend. Players receive a special Pikachu that can dress up in different costumes. Not only do these costumes affect its performance in the contests, but by wearing them while battling, the Pikachu can learn moves it would not be able to otherwise. Pokemon-Amie and Super Training are also available to further customize the monsters on your team, but remain unchanged from their functionality in Pokémon X & Y. EXP Share again rears its head (possibly much to many a player’s chagrin) and like in X & Y takes a lot of the grinding out of building up teams of Pokémon. In fact, the only really noticeable new feature that’s actually missing from X & Y is the ability to customize the appearance of the player character. What you see is what you get for the duration after you choose to be either male or female. Instead of more personal customization, the games' new features are actually a series of refinements of previous series' concepts, which are very welcome. The PokéNav Plus is a suite of tools available for the player that takes a ton of headache out of the game. The AreaNav takes care of the frustration of having to consult guides or memorize locations of Pokémon. After you encounter a Pokémon on any given route, their silhouettes will appear on the mini-map. The AreaNav will also tell you whether or not you’ve collected all the Pokémon in the area. Catching a particular Pokemon also gets easier with visual, in-game cues. Sometimes when traveling, you’ll see a Pokémon's tail sticking out of the tall grass. Each tail is unique to species and gender, so you can know exactly what you’re getting if you head to that square. Once you’re near the square though, you can’t just rush in headlong. You’ll have to sneak up on the Pokémon or risk scaring it off. Additionally, the more you encounter a species of a Pokémon in an area, the more information on them will be displayed on the DexNav, which makes rare species variations easier to track down. Multiplayer is available by selecting the PlayNav feature, and BuzzNav offers news reports from around Hoenn. Horde battles have been expanded into trainer horde battles in which the player may have to fight up to five enemy trainers at the same time. Also, a somewhat late-game addition is the introduction of the move Soar. This move allows you to, in real-time, fly around Hoenn and land where you choose! This opens up areas in the map that have not been seen previously and also allows you to quickly get to any spot you need to, to catch Pokémon without the hassle of having to walk or bike. The Pokémon are still center stage, though these games don't actually bring any new creatures to the table. It’s refreshing to see an abundance of familiar monsters hanging around and see Mega Evolutions for some old favorites, both in the wild and on the belts of trainers everywhere, instead of having to memorize a whole new set of data for 100 or so new Pokémon. There’s a sense of balance that comes with this design decision, as it really seems like a lot of work went into fleshing out existing monsters, and it’s one I appreciate. It’s also great to finally be able to catch them all in one generation of game, as Game Freak has stated (although I'm still well on my way to capturing them all) that between X & Y and Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, every single Pokémon to date can be caught. It's a daunting task for sure, but one that feels good to know is attainable.  Even without venturing out to catch 'em all, which has always been the ultimate Pokémon goal for trainers across the globe, these games have an abundance of content to offer, taking on the role of the ultimate versions of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. With tons of old favorite features returning with quite a bit of polish, and new features which complement instead of overshadowing, players will be able to experience the tightest gameplay in the series to date. Oddly enough, a game that made its debut almost 12 years ago is what it took to lure me back into Pokémania. Although X & Y did an admirable job when it came to transitioning the Pokémon series onto the 3DS, to me (other than the graphics) it seemed like the same formula from 1998 with a new coat of paint. However, this entry feels like a true next-gen title, with all the charm of the Pokémon franchise and just the right amount of features and complexities to have players journeying through Hoenn for years to come. Grab a Poké Ball and jump right in! [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Pokémon review photo
Play it again, Mudkip
For a franchise that’s continually berated for remaining the same over the years, Pokémon is wildly successful, having pushed forward on its own, full speed ahead. It hasn’t needed to change much to sweep t...

Review: Freedom Wars

Nov 04 // Brett Zeidler
Freedom Wars (PlayStation TV, PlayStation Vita)Developer: SCE Japan Studio / Shift / DimpsPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentRelease:  October 28, 2014MSRP: $29.99 Freedom Wars takes place in a future uninhabitable Earth, in which groups of citizens take shelter in underground Panopticons. A Panopticon is a city-state that functions based on the contributions of its citizens. Naturally, this has lead to an intensely Orwellian society. Big Brother is always watching, except here he's an adorable teddy bear mascot that spreads propaganda and cheers on the player to risk their life fighting giant monsters. Citizens are monitored through their Accessories, which are law-spewing robotic companions that never stop watching over them. The player's character has been stricken with amnesia in battle, but, hear me out, Freedom Wars puts an honest twist on the trope. Everything in this universe is a crime; laying down while resting, allowing silence in conversation longer than five seconds, running too much, and a multitude of other offenses all hinder the advancement of the state. Biggest of all is losing one's memory. Physical resources are tight, but nothing is more precious in this world than knowledge. This leaves the player with a million-year long sentence for losing just that. Outside of the core gameplay, managing this sentence is the most prominent mechanic of the game. Completing missions takes many years off, and any resources donated or held back from the state can subtract or add years (if the player is not yet entitled to said resource), respectively. All those ridiculous crimes mentioned earlier are absolutely real infractions the player can commit. They don't add too many years back on, but act as an effective reminder about the setting the player is in. Want to run for more than five seconds without receiving an additional twenty year sentence? Buy the entitlement for it. Want new clothes? There are entitlements for that. The freedom motif is really driven home. To obtain these entitlements, the player simply has to save up entitlement points by being a productive member of the Panopticon. Completing missions and donating resources are the two main ways to accrue entitlement points. The more achieved, the more entitlements become available. Freedom Wars is a hunting game through-and-through, so the main missions break down into a few different categories and that's really it. If variety is the spice of your life, you just won't find an abundance of it in a hunting game. The enemies that attack the player are called abductors, and, as their name implies, they abduct citizens as punishment for being sinners. Hunters are given the option of saving citizens from abductors, straight-up fighting abductors, or participating in firefights with enemy Panopticons. The main weapon types are melee and guns. Melee breaks down into one-handed/two-handed swords and polearms; assault rifles, portable artillery, and autocannons make up the ranged weapons. The player can take any combination of the two of these into battle. Most hunting games emphasize personal style and preference, but the focus of strategy in Freedom Wars is knowing when to use these weapons. For example, melee is the most effective way to take down an abductor, but the same is definitely not true when facing opposing hunters. Verticality is Freedom Wars' most appealing gameplay element, and it comes by way of the player's thorn -- a vine-like lasso that can be used for movement or attack. Trap, healing, and shield are the available thorn types that offer the benefits their names imply. More exciting, however, is that the thorn allows for zipping around the environment and grappling onto abductors themselves. Taking down giant monsters with a sword is cool, but latching onto them and severing limb by limb is even more satisfying. The thorn does a great service in improving the gameplay of Freedom Wars. Characters met throughout the game's progression can be taken along on all missions, but the entirety of it is playable through local and online co-op. The companion AI does a decent enough job, but will only follow exactly where the player goes, and thus doesn't ever act on its own. Obviously, co-op is always more fun and is what the game advises, but with that said, the Freedom Wars can be played solo just fine. End-game missions just don't work with AI companions, however. The plot structure can be completed somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen to twenty-something hours, give or take depending on if the player participates in everything else there is to do. Hunting games are all about finally upgrading your favorite weapon, obtaining even better weapons, and finally getting that sweet new armor (in this case, outfit). Personal achievement is the name of the game, and Freedom Wars has no shortage of it. Weapon crafting and upgrading is nothing new here -- gather basic resources and/or weapons, and this allows the player to use those to upgrade, modify, and create new weapons. It's as addictive as it is in any other game. I found myself more engrossed in the aesthetic customization, as I'm a sucker for it. Every aspect of physical appearance can be changed at any time. There are tons of clothing, accessories, and color palettes to unlock and choose from. These can be used on both the player's model and their Accessory. Fighting monsters for the good of the state is great, but looking good while you do it is even better. Freedom Wars looks stunning. Character models are crisp and detailed, with their textures looking particularly nice. The game handles motion like a champ, and seemingly never suffers from slowdowns while fighting the biggest baddies (particularly impressive considering the amount of maneuverability at play). Even on the PlayStation TV, the game really holds its own on a large HD display (as well as feeling great played with a DualShock 4). Strangely, the main section of the hub world suffers from really bad character pop-in and framerate stuttering while that's happening. It's an odd problem considering how small that area is and how big the gameplay environments are. Freedom Wars starts off painfully slow, but picks up after around the first few hours. The narrative progression is kind of strange during this time, and doesn't add much to the experience at all. It's quite an investment to finally see payoff, but it is worth it to stick around. Loading times are fairly long, and there are a lot.. I could have done with less of them as there is just way too much time spent looking at loading screens as it is. Freedom Wars has an intriguing setting, solid hunting action (with an always welcome grapple hook), insane amounts of customization, fully supported co-op, PVP, all through a beautiful presentation. There are numerous hours of content to keep you coming back again and again. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but, by that same token, there's nothing else quite like it. It's the PS Vita's biggest release this year, and likely will be for some time. If you own a PlayStation Vita or TV, you'd be crazy to pass up Freedom Wars.
Freedom Wars review photo
Hunting with a side of grappling hook
Ever since it came out in Japan earlier this year, Freedom Wars has been high on my list of anticipated releases. Being from the illustrious SCE Japan Studio, the game found success overseas as one of the ...

New 3DS photo
New 3DS

Iwata explains why New 3DS isn't coming west anytime soon


Japan simply needed it
Oct 31
// Brett Makedonski
For those in the US and Europe hoping for a retail launch of Nintendo's New 3DS in the near future, the prospects don't look good. During Nintendo's recent semi-annual financials briefing, president Satoru Iwata explained why...
Minecraft Vita photo
Minecraft Vita

Minecraft on PS Vita is the definitive portable version


Where was this two years ago?
Oct 21
// Brett Zeidler
You know what Minecraft is, your parents know what Minecraft is, and your grandparents just don't understand why that younger family member is on the iPad all the time. It's everywhere, but why has it never received a proper ...
New 3DS photo
New 3DS

Switching face plates on the New 3DS looks easy enough


Screwdriver required for the lower plate
Oct 10
// Jordan Devore
Feels like the New 3DS was only just announced the other week, but it's already available in Japan. Nintendo has been busy uploading videos like this one which details how to swap out the system's face plates. Interestingly, the stylus can be used to pry them open. Neat design! There are also a ton of videos showing the various 3DS themes.
Nintendo 3DS XL photo
Nintendo 3DS XL

Nintendo wants to tempt you with two other 3DS XL designs


The NES edition was a bit of a missed opportunity
Sep 10
// Brittany Vincent
Just when you thought you were ready to jump ship for a New 3DS, Nintendo announces several more systems in an attempt to sway you into buying yet another 3DS XL you don't need. And that's not even counting the sweet Persona ...
New 3DS photo
Available in both regular and XL sizes
[Update: Nintendo has confirmed that DS games will still work, and to not expect an international release anytime in 2014.] Nintendo has revealed yet another 3DS unit -- the "New Nintendo 3DS." It'll feature bigger scree...

Pokémon photo
Pokémon

Mega Slowbro looks happier in motion


Turn that frown upside down
Aug 18
// Jordan Devore
There are certain Pokémon who warrant getting a Mega Evolution for the ensuing stat increases, and others who you just want to see in a new form. Slowbro is unquestionably one I was curious about for the latter reason...
Danganronpa 2 photo
Danganronpa 2

Weirdos abound in this latest batch of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair screens


Seriously, lots of weirdos
Aug 15
// Brittany Vincent
What can I say? It's a screenshot kind of day. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is on the horizon, and NIS definitely doesn't want us to forget about it. Especially with the amount of weirdos in the game, as evidenced above.&nb...
Pokémon photo
Pokémon

There are still more Pokémon Mega Evolutions out there


Surprise, I bet there are even more still
Aug 08
// Brittany Vincent
CoroCoro magazine has revealed a gaggle of additional Mega Evolutions to appear in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, including Mega Altaria, Mega Lopunny, and Mega Salamence. It seems that these are...
Taiko Drum Master photo
Taiko Drum Master

Spice up your 3DS XL with these Taiko Drum Master cases


I'd prefer a new game, but these are fine too
Aug 04
// Brittany Vincent
These Taiko Drum Master (Taiko no Tatsujin) pouches are extremely cute, but there's got to be a limit to the amount of cases, pouches, sleeves, and portfolios I need for my 3DS XL. I think I might make an exception for these ...
Handhelds in Japan photo
Handhelds in Japan

Nintendo 3DS and PS Vita see a surge in sales in Japan


Thanks to Yo-Kai Watch 2 and new bundles
Jul 16
// Brett Makedonski
There's been a lot of talk lately about the gaming scene in Japan. Some reports indicate stagnation that may be worrisome, particularly with regard to the console market. Others find those claims to be exaggerated and no real...
Blue baby butt face photo
Blue baby butt face

Go kill half millipede, blue butt face Gigas in Soul Sacrifice Delta


Also, new costumes
Jul 04
// Steven Hansen
I actually played a bunch of the Soul Sacrifice demo, but never ended up diving into the full thing. Soul Sacrifice Delta has been updated with a new encounter and some whacked out threads (definitely some of the weirder...
Tales: Reve Unitia photo
Tales: Reve Unitia

The Tales of the World: Reve Unitia box art is as gorgeous as expected


The game looks pretty cool, too
Jun 21
// Brittany Vincent
Tales of the World: Reve Unitia is an awesome-looking tactical Tales game, and its official Japanese box art looks just as swanky as the game does. For the uninitiated, Reve Unitia is a strategy role-playing game that include...
End of Serenity photo
End of Serenity

Kemco's PSP role-playing game End of Serenity available June 24


PSP gathering dust? Here's something to play
Jun 20
// Brittany Vincent
Back in April, Natsume and Kemco teamed up to announce the upcoming PSP RPG End of Serenity, previously a mobile adventure that's made the jump to handheld. Now, End of Serenity has been graced with a release date so you'll k...
Final Fantasy Explorers photo
Final Fantasy Explorers

Check out these additional Final Fantasy Explorers factoids and screenshots


Throwback to your favorite jobs, holla!
Jun 19
// Brittany Vincent
If you're a rabid Final Fantasy fan such as myself, you're probably eagerly scouring the web for any additional details you can find about the upcoming projects, namely Final Fantasy Explorers. Square Enix released a bushel o...
Harvest Moon photo
Harvest Moon

Here's the Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley trailer you wanted


Natsume got it (mostly) right, at least
Jun 18
// Brittany Vincent
Just the other day I brought you the "trailer" for XSEED's Story of Seasons, where many of you were concerned with what's going on with Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley. It looks like Natsume's finally come out with an official...
Senran Kagura photo
Senran Kagura

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus looks great in a 3D environment


This new trailer really shows off its assets
Jun 16
// Brittany Vincent
For the longest time while watching this latest Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus trailer, I thought I was looking at a bowl of Jello sitting on a table that someone wouldn't stop tapping. But then I realized it was actually a v...

Story of Seasons wants you to connect with your inner farmer

Jun 16 // Natalie Kipper
Story of Seasons puts additional emphasis the "lifestyle" aspect of the game. For the first time, there will be other farmers in your town to interact with. At times, you may be competing with them (like during festivals) and at other times, you will be working together. The Japanese game's subtitle translates to "Connect to a New World" and you can really see that theme appearing over and over again. One of the nice touches in which that idea plays out is the lack of a shipping box. I know, I know. Heresy, right? But, hear me out. Rather than just stuffing your goods in a box and never knowing where they go, Story of Seasons has you trading with other countries in the game's world. Send the citizens goods that they particularly crave and you'll get a postcard back. Little touches like that endear me to this title.  The game wants you to connect not only with the NPCs but also with other players. Using Wi-Fi, players can visit each others' farms. That may sound a tad simple but the rewards you reap from the experience flesh out the feature. Visiting friends can help with things like cheering you on as you work or watering your crops. Your friend's efforts may lead to rare crops growing. Sounds like incentive enough to me. Speaking of rare crops, Nintendo collaborated with the developers on this project, adding in some traditional Super Mario Bros. flora to the ecosystem. Thanks to this partnership, your farmer will be able to grow a Fire Flower, Super Mushroom, and a Super Star (okay, so that last one isn't really flora). These crops aren't just for show either. They'll have special effects. The Super Star, for example, will prevent crops from going bad for a period of time. What might have been considered the more tedious parts of previous games in the series are now streamlined. I'll freely admit how grateful I am that, right off the bat, 3 by 3 square plots can be seeded, watered and harvested at once. To most people, it may sound like a small thing and yes, in previous incarnations you could eventually upgrade your equipment to do this but I just love that the developers got rid of the process altogether. I think the new, quicker method actually adds to the experience, allowing you to focus more on other aspects of the game.  Beyond farming, customization looks like a big part of the experience. You can design the look of your farmer along with the layout of your farm as well as certain areas of the town. Some of the previous titles gave you free reign over your town's layout but Story of Season's has limited it to sections of land that you win ownership of during festival competitions. I can see some people being disappointed at this design choice but it looks like there will still be plenty for those customization maniacs to meticulously plan. And can we just take a moment to admire the game's aesthetic? Look through the screenshots in the gallery and if those happy critters in the lush meadows don't warm the cockles of your potentially jaded heart, I don't know what game will. I certainly came down with a case of the warm fuzzies. Get ready to reconnect with the land when Story of Seasons releases this winter.
Story of Seasons photo
The pastoral life never looked so friendly
Fans of farming and lifestyle sims are no doubt familiar with the confusion surrounding the Bokujō Monogatari series. Natsume owned the trademark on the English title, Harvest Moon, but XSEED had the relationship wi...


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