I didn't play 2007's Bladestorm: The Hundred Years' War, but I might play Bladestorm: Nightmare, an expanded version of the real-time tactics game for PS3, PS4, and Xbox One.
The core remains the same -- you still side with ... read
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is coming to PlayStation 3 in North America on March 10, 2015, Koei Tecmo has confirmed. Gust's latest role-playing game will then arrive on European shores a few days later, March 13. Who's ready to get craftin'?
Koei Tecmo America [Twitter, Koei Tecmo Europe] read
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round, supposedly the last one with a five in the title, is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360 on February 17, Koei Tecmo announced today.
Team Ninja's upcoming fighting game will carry ... read
While Nintendo has mostly talked about its upcoming amiibo figures in the context of Super Smash Bros., other games including Mario Kart 8 and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker will also support the near-field communication toys... read
Oct 21 //
Samurai Warriors 4 (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], PlayStation Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Tecmo KoeiReleased: October 21, 2014MSRP: $59.99 (PS4) / $49.99 (PS3) / $39.99 (Vita)
Samurai Warriors 4 is the biggest game in the series yet with 55 total characters, and 12 full story campaigns. It's massive. Old favorites return, such as Geomon Ishikawa, Kojiro Sasaki, and Musahmi Miyamoto, and there are a number of characters who make their appearance for the first time in the series. Whether you're a newcomer or an old fan, this is a great place to start.
Warriors 4 follows Omega Force's tried-and-true two-button combo system, with both light and heavy attacks that morph into stuns, area-of-effect, or juggle attacks depending on the order of operations. The neat thing about Samurai Warriors is that it opens up an entirely new combo system with its heavy attacks, called "hyper combos." Instead of using the same light-to-heavy moves you'll also have the reverse available, which gives each individual character at least ten unique powers.
This is added on to the fact that every combatant has their own signature power, which can be a special grapple or even a grenade attack. Omega Force has done a great job of further mixing it up with a rock-paper-scissors system, where enemies, officers, and generals may be more prone to normal, hyper, or special attacks. In Samurai 4, you can to use more advanced moves like air recoveries, shadow dodges, guard breaks, and ripostes. You can also switch between two characters at will, which is a nice touch for instant fast traveling. While it's not overly complex, it still offers another layer on top of the traditional Warriors formula.
Having said that, missions can blend together over the course of each campaign. There are a lot of actual venues that range from indoor palaces to vast expanses of woodlands, but at the end of the day you're still going to move from officer to officer, slaying all who are in your way as you carve your path towards the boss character.
Past Warriors games have mixed the action up with siege weapons and additional tactics, but Samurai Warriors 4 brings things back to the basics, for better or worse. While the actual combat system has more legs, missions tend to be linear affairs. Playing on hard will force you to try more, like kill enemy banner holders to lower morale, but it's still not as deep as prior games. Thankfully there is full split-screen support for the console versions, as well as online play for the entire campaign and free mode to help alleviate the feeling of repetition.
Even if you start to feel in a trance due to the blending mission structure, the sheer variety of the roster will keep you interested for a while. Samurai Warriors 4 does a great job of making you feel like a badass with faster gameplay (especially on PS4, with more enemies on-screen and a superior frame rate). Characters can employ ninja tactics (Kotaro Fuma), use demolition-like weapons (Ujiyasu Hojo), glowing demon swords (Nobunaga Oda), or more traditional methods of combat -- odds are you'll find a style you'll like.
The actual quality of the stories vary, but they tend to all have some form of cheeseball humor characteristic of the franchise. It's performed by way of Japanese audio, which is actually perfect for the Samurai line, but there's just one problem -- it's tough to follow what's going on in-game with constant babbling, so you have to constantly look at subtitles to figure it out.
While the story and free modes had me occasionally stopping for breaks, the new iteration of the "Chronicle" mode had me playing late into the night. Simply put, it's an Empire-like open-ended gametype that allows you to take your created character on a tour across Japan. You can start off serving the lord of your choice from the story, and from there, you'll begin your travels as a foot soldier into something greater.
Not only do the missions themselves have greater variation from the core modes (instead of grand battles every time, you might just stop a band of thieves, for instance), but you'll also have a small amount of choice in terms of how your story plays out. Whether it's denying certain missions from your superior officer or expanding your personal army, there is an element of unpredictability involved.
It helps that the character creation process is robust. Not only does Omega Force provide you with a large amount of customization options, but the studio also offers over 20 different weapon styles, from polearms to dual daggers. When everything is said and done, odds are you'll be able to create a male or female avatar you're happy with.
Samurai Warriors 4 suffers from the same pratfalls as the rest of the Warriors series on occasion, but the strong offering of content and robust Chronicle mode will keep you interested for quite a while. If you have a friend available to play with locally or online as well, you can expect to play even longer.
Goemon is back, baby While the Dynasty Warriors series is often heralded as the pinnacle of Omega Force's hack-and-slash catalog, the lesser-known Samurai franchise has been churning out some of the best games in the stable.
Based aroun... read feature
Tomorrow, tomorrow I love you tomorrow, you're always a day away
// Kyle MacGregor
Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea will arrive in North America and Europe sometime next year, Koei Tecmo announced today. Everyone knew it was coming all along, but now we know know. Also, you can bet your bottom dollar on a Vita port turning up sooner or later.
Koei Tecmo Europe [Twitter] read
Oct 17 //
Hyrule Warriors: Master Quest DLC (Wii U)Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja, NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: October 16, 2014MSRP: $7.99 (part of the $19.99 Season Pass)
Let's start with the additional campaign. Put simply, it's a prequel and a side-story to the events that unfold over the course of the narrative. You'll see Cia's rise to power, how she recruited Wizzro and Volga, and her interactions with the denizens of each of the "portal" worlds like Skyward Sword and Twilight Princess. It takes place over five missions, all of which re-use maps from the story mode but offer new scenarios.
Where these maps really shine are with the game's Hero difficulty. They're some of the most challenging ones on offer, and you'll have to employ some actual tactical thinking to best them without a few retries. The first map in particular is really cool in that it features three armies, all of which are constantly warring as the battle rages on. It also gives you a great look into the character of Volga, who is easily the star of the new update.
Link's new Epona weapon is surprisingly one of the best parts of the package. It functions very similarly to horses in the Warriors series -- outside of the fact that you can't actually get off said horse. Attacks range from charges (with the classic carrot icons from past Zelda games) and area-of-effect abilities. In other words, Epona can be used in every map without an issue and kicks a lot of ass. I really liked the added touch of the shadow aesthetic when using the Dark Link skin.
The new map is titled the "Master Quest," and gives you another board to work through in Adventure Mode from square one. Although hardcore fans probably breezed through the first map without too much difficulty, Master Quest is going to put your skills to the test. Every piece of the map features a certain challenge requirement, like "no healing of any kind," or a time limit on your objective.
This is on top of the fact that a lot of the levels are just harder in general, and some require the use and mastery of the new characters. In my mind this is a great way to do DLC, as it's a natural progression from the first map. I would have liked to have seen something drastically different like a monochrome or Game Boy Color-themed Link's Awakening map, but the missions speak for themselves. Having said that, if you didn't dig the first map, you probably won't bother to complete this one, and you should wait for the next DLC pack to hit -- unless you like the idea of costumes and 8-bit weapons for your troubles.
Finally, the last part of the paid Master Quest add-on is two costumes for Cia and Lana. These are essentially holy-themed getups, and while Lana's isn't all that special, it drastically changes Cia's appearance from evil to good, which is something. Still, it's not nearly as enticing as a Fierce Deity or Toon Link skin, per se. While the three free extra characters aren't technically part of the DLC, buying Master Quest unlocks a few perks, like their higher-level weapons and the ability to use heart containers on them. They're also some of the most fun characters in the game by far.
Cia's badassery speaks for itself. As one of the core villains of the game, she uses her magic abilities and her whip as weapons. She can throw energy balls, summon flying discs to attack groups of enemies, and even summon a small army of Dark Links to lay waste to the battlefield. She's an AOE-oriented character but still holds her own in one-on-one situations. She also feels completely unique, even from Lana. As a neat bonus you'll also get two extra costumes right off the bat, including a hatless skin and a skin without her mask.
Volga took me completely by surprise, and ended up being one of my new favorite characters. He plays similarly to a polearm character from the Warriors games, which should make more than a few fans happy. His "dragon" aspects are also well done to the point where it doesn't feel like they're overdoing it, and wings and claws will sprout during specific attacks. In terms of raw power he's one of the stronger characters in the game, giving you an extra viable roster option if you're the min-max type.
Wizzro on the other hand feels weaker at first, but he's a highly technical character that shines in co-op. What's cool about him is that the vast majority of his attacks are ranged, putting him in a class of his own. He's adept at juggling and has a very useful beam attack that can be aimed at single enemies or even groups. I really like how the developers allowed him to use some of the basic moves of the Poe enemies but keep his own style.
Hyrule Warriors is on a roll. Not only does the base game have more gameplay than nearly anything released in 2014, but the DLC does a decent job of augmenting the experience. While I'd like to see a little more original content in future DLCs, the three characters alone will add hours of entertainment.
It's not as new as I would have liked, but it keeps me going Hyrule Warriors is a massive game. If you want to 100% everything, get every weapon, and max out every character, it could last you roughly 200 hours or more. I'm hitting the 100-hour mark myself, due in part to the new ... read feature
Hyrule Warriors will have no shortage of DLC, that's for sure. The first major add-on, Master Quest Pack, hits on October 16 and includes a new weapon, scenario, Adventure mode map, and costumes. Funny thing about that "weapo... read
Omega Force has gotten its hands on properties like Gundam, One Piece, and now The Legend of Zelda and Dragon Quest -- but, in an ideal world, the studio would be working on something bigger: Star Wars. Yes, a Star Wars Musou... read
Toukiden: Kiwami is coming to North America and Europe in 2015, Koei Tecmo confirmed today.
An expanded version of Toukiden: The Age of Demons, Kiwami features an extended story with new characters, fresh weapons an... read
After brief glimpses, box art, and screens, we've finally got another look at the upcoming Fatal Frame: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden in the form of this trailer out of TGS 2014.
The trailer does a decent job of building th... read
I will stand by you forever, you can take my breath away
// Kyle MacGregor
Square Enix has released some new images of its newly announced collaboration with Koei Tecmo, Dragon Quest Heroes, and they look just stunning. The action role-playing game is slated to debut in Japan next spring for PlaySta... read
Sep 17 //
Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)Developer: Omega Force, Team Ninja, NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: September 26, 2014MSRP: $59.99
The madness that ensues in Hyrule Warriors may not be canon, but it's explained rather well. Characters provide their typical grunts and guttural sounds over a text-based dialog system, but every level begins with a special voiceover narration -- a first for the Zelda series. The actor that provides the voice fits the mystical theme of the game well enough (even if she under-delivers a tad), and I found myself enjoying the story, no matter how tertiary it is to the real action at hand.
What you're getting is a typical tale of dark vs. light, with Link and his crew battling the evil Cia (a newcomer created for the game) and some villains from the hero's past. It's all very predictable, almost in a comical fashion, but a lot of love and authenticity was put into the characters, as they all operate how you think they would after meeting each other. The development team also put a lot of work in when it comes to differentiating every character (both aesthetically and mechanically), and the cast feels wholly unique.
Control-wise, Hyrule plays like your typical Warriors game with the addition of one extra (items, which I'll get to in a moment) -- meaning it's insanely easy to pick up and play, even with no prior knowledge of the series. The "combo" move setup returns, allowing players to press the standard attack button any number of times for a full combo, with the option to alter it with the special attack button. For instance, if Link attacks twice then uses a special, he'll summon a projectile with his sword, and if he attacks three times then prompts a special, he'll use an air-juggle launcher, and so on.
All of this works seamlessly with the Hyrule cast, since every character has a radically different moveset. This is rare in a Warriors game, but I found myself liking every playable combatant, and since characters have two distinctly different weapons that alter their movesets on top of that, odds are you will find a play style you'll gel with. For example, it's amazing how they translated Fi into a hack and slash so well, as she looks and plays like she was transplanted 1:1 from Skyward Sword. No one feels like a clone character.
Sub-weapons are also included, and seek to differentiate Hyrule from its pedigree. Bombs, arrows, and the hookshot (among others) all make an appearance, and all serve a purpose -- like bombing rocks in the overworld just like a real Zelda game. You can also level-up each character individually, and earn "badges" -- a huge skill-tree like system that you can progress through by earning Rupees and materials through normal play. It's an easy and fun progression mechanic that encourages players to replay levels for items without feeling like a grind.
The lock-on system is one of the best I've seen in the series, as it actually works as intended. While locked on, you can dodge with the press of a single button, or guard by holding the left trigger and circle around your opponent. The only problem I found is that sometimes the camera gets a little wonky while locked on, but this only happens briefly once every 10 levels or so. When playing on the TV, the visuals are beautiful (though not as amazing as some other current-gen games), and there is hardly any slowdown to speak of.
Once again, I'm finding myself glued to the GamePad as a control method. It's my favorite controller out right now, and I absolutely love how it feels. Players can also opt for a Pro Controller or Wiimote and Nunchuk if they please, and controls are fully customizable. There's just one major problem -- Off-TV play feels rushed in Hyrule Warriors, and really exposes the lack of power on the GamePad.
Simply put, Warriors games typically display up to 100 models on-screen at once in heated situations, and the GamePad cannot handle it. In some levels -- the Twilight maps in particular, with looming towers in the background -- I've gotten full slowdown spurts as lengthy as 30 seconds (again, this doesn't happen on the TV). Now, the game is doable, and for the sake of experimentation, I completed the entire campaign on hard using Off-TV play. But if at all possible, it's not recommended.
While the story and characters are wonderfully presented, the missions are going to be your typical Warriors fare. Even on hard mode the game isn't that much of a challenge, and although many levels have objectives like "capture this keep" or "kill this captain," your main goal 99% of the time is to enter the enemy base and kill the big boss. It can get tiring if you're going at it alone to say the least, since your fun factor is cut down by obtuse objectives, sometimes forcing you to slog to and fro across the entire map.
You'll also have to gradually unlock characters by playing the story, starting with Impa by completing the first level, and so on. You won't even have the full cast until you complete the game, which fits in terms of the story (as you have to meet them first), but with many levels limiting you to just one character (Link), it feels restrictive. Thankfully, there is an exploration element in Hyrule Warriors that somewhat mirrors the Zelda series proper to help break up a lot of the repetition.
As previously mentioned you can look for rocks to bomb, cuccos to find and mess with, hidden chests to grab, and special items to gather. When there isn't an imminent need to press on, I liked running around levels trying to find things, and it gets even more fun as you accumulate sub-weapons throughout the story. Slashing grass for health and breaking pots never felt this fun in the Warriors games.
Your enjoyment is going to be increased ten-fold if you play the game with a friend. Hyrule Warriors features a full co-op mode for two players, but like other aspects of the game, it's very particular. For one, there is no online co-op of any kind. It's a huge bummer that really makes the package less appealing if you can't wrangle up a friend locally. Another thing to keep in mind is the aforementioned poor off-TV play. In Hyrule Warriors, there is no support for split-screen -- one player has to use the GamePad screen, and another has to use the TV -- no exceptions.
The good news is that every single level and mode (except the first stage after booting up the game) is playable with a friend. What's really cool is that the second player can pick anyone unlocked so far in the story, even if the first player is limited to say, Link-only. Despite the lack of online play and inherent issues, couch co-op is an absolute blast, and I've played at least 30 hours with my wife, even though the campaign is roughly 10 hours. I cannot state strongly enough how much fun it is to share the experience with a partner.
There's also a big bonus that makes up for the repetitive campaign -- adventure mode. This is also fully playable with two people, and features a retro-flavored map from the original NES The Legend of Zelda. You'll explore the entire overworld from the first game as you tackle each "square," which is a challenge level of sorts. Some squares might require you to kill 400 enemies in 10 minutes, and some might task you with killing three or more bosses on-screen at once. After beating a stage you might earn an old-school item like a lantern or a bomb, which can be used on the map to open up even more areas.
It's crazy how fleshed out this mode is, and it cuts down on a lot of the fatigue from playing the campaign -- especially since many levels are actually challenging. If you're looking for even more to do, there's 100 collectible Gold Skulltulas that are hidden about the game. If you wanted to complete the story, adventure mode, find every Skulltula, and max out every character, it would probably take around 100 hours at minimum. That's not including the planned free updates and upcoming paid DLC. For instance, over the course of the review, a new challenge mode was even added as an update that essentially delivers more story-like missions.
Hyrule Warriors can fall into the same trappings as any hack and slash, but the amount of effort that went into making it enjoyable for Zelda fans is staggering. This is one of the best couch co-op games I've ever played, warts and all.
A Skyward Link to the Twilight Ocarina We never could have imagined this mash-up in our wildest dreams.
Nintendo, Team Ninja, and Omega Force together, co-developing a game based on the Legend of Zelda and Dynasty Warriors series. Few stranger things hav... read feature
Fatal Frame: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden has an awful title as well as some decidedly bland box art, but the recent issue of Famitsu has revealed some details about the upcoming Japan-only (boo!) Wii U survival horror titl... read
Gust RPG Ar Nosurge: Ode to an Unborn Star is coming our way later this month. We've got fresh screenshots from Koei Tecmo on this upcoming PS3 release, showing its music-based battle system and the relationship-based ch... read
Dead or Alive 5 Last Round is currently in development, set to release on PS4, PS3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 next Spring. It puts together all of the content from the Dead or Alive 5 games alongside brand new content. It... read
Hyrule Warriors is already out in Japan, though we have about a month left to go here in North America. Drat. An early update for the game scheduled to go live in Japan on September 1 will add a Challenge mode, the ability to... read
According to a report by Sankei, Capcom is going after Koei Tecmo for patent infringement. Capcom filed a patent in 2002 on the works behind content coming from the combination of new and existing software. Almost 5... read
Some people got real squirrelly when they thought Link might have been a woman in the new Legend of Zelda. None of you, I'm sure. Our community has a noted love for the idea of Link as a woman.
Anyway, here's some pictures fr... read
The things I do for Final Fantasy...
I'm back and feeling better. I got sucked into the shady money scam known as Final Fantasy All the Bravest, got annoyed by Hyrule Warrior's retail-exclusive pre-order bonuses, and recount mistakes made with Fireball whiskey. read feature
Hyrule Warriors' triforce of corporate garbage is complete. GameStop got the fan-favorite Ocarina garb, while pre-ordering from Amazon nets you Twilight Princess threads for Link and Zelda. Best Buy has Skyward Swor... read
In all of the Hyrule Warrior Nintendo Direct coverage we never got around to mentioning the limited edition Europeans will see. Which is that you all will be getting that awesome looking scarf that Japan will receive too... read
Cutting grass is an important part of The Legend of Zelda, you know. So, we were happy to hear series producer Eiji Aonuma confirm during tonight's Nintendo Direct that this time-honored tradition would be making a glorious return in Hyrule Warriors.
Who needs online multiplayer when you can chop up grass by your lonesome?
Hyrule Warriors Direct [Nintendo] read
Those flowing red locks rival Amarant, whom I always thought was some sort of chicken man rather than a pasty dude with red dreads, but whatever.
In a nice appeal to nostalgia, Hyrule Warriors also has an Adventur... read
This is a Longshot from good news
Nintendo confirmed that Hyrule Warriors will not have an online co-op story mode. A lot of Zelda fans have been excited for this creative treatment of the series, but how much of a blow will this news be to the hype? If nothing else, this at least sucks a little. read feature
If this were Senran Kagura, that towel would fall straight off
// Brittany Vincent
As if there weren't already a ton of outfits available for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate characters, here's yet another collection that may or may not be worth your money. If you like watching people fight in towels and bedroom a... read
Koei Tecmo bought developer Gust in 2011. According to a recent press release, Koei is absorbing its former subsidiary, which is known for the Atelier and Ar tonelico series.
While Gust will no longer exist as a com... read
YouTube bobrossfreak has graciously translated the new Fatal Frame trailer into English for adoring Japanese horror fans the world over.
Now you can scare the bejeezus out of yourself even easier as an English-speaker, if th... read
Next you're going to tell me someone is remaking Runaway with Tom Selleck and Gene Simmons. Well, that would be less surprising. What's a random movie from 2007? Someone's going to remake Stardust? In the Name of th... read