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Yomawari photo
Yomawari

Creepy NIS Vita horror game is actually kind of cute


Yomawari
Jul 02
// Steven Hansen
NIS (Disgaea) recently teased a spooky game with live-action first-person flashlight footage and a requisite creepy child. It ended up being for Yomawari, which is coming to Vita in Japan on October 29. It's about a young gir...
Persona 4 Dancing photo
Persona 4 Dancing

Persona 4: Dancing All Night coming to Europe without delay


We shared the same mad potion
Jun 30
// Kyle MacGregor
It looks like Persona 4: Dancing All Night might arrive simultaneously (or close to it) across Europe and America, as NIS has followed Atlus' lead, announcing the rhythm game for a "Fall 2015" launch. In addition to the stand...

Rodea: The Sky Soldier might be a bumpy ride

Jun 25 // Kyle MacGregor
Rodea: The Sky Soldier was initially conceived as a Wii game, but it came too late in the day for a system nearing the end of its life cycle. It needed to be reworked as a Wii U and 3DS title. The thing is, the Wii is a special console, and Rodea was developed with its unique attributes in mind. Motion controls are a tad different than standard inputs, and the transition between the two seems to have left an indelible imprint on Rodea's design. Taking to the skies in this aerial action game doesn't come as second nature. With the press of a button, Rodea lifts into the air and hovers for a moment as you aim where you want him to go. He can't fly indefinitely, though, and will fall to his death unless you find another object for him to bounce off within an allotted time frame. It seems like the type of interface that would work seamlessly with the Wii's IR pointer, but on Wii U GamePad, I found myself flying off at odd angles, often coming frustratingly close to objectives that seemed just out of reach. Perhaps it's the sort of thing that comes with practice, but in a brief demo on the E3 show floor, only got a glimpse at what sort of joys Rodea might have to offer.  Though it never felt intuitive, there were flashes when I managed to soar through the air with some semblance of precision. And in those fleeting moments I could really feel Yuji Naka's (Sonic Adventure, NiGHTS into Dreams) fingerprints all over the game, as I bounded from one floating isle to the next, collecting rings in this ethereal obstacle course. More than anything, my time with Rodea: The Sky Soldier made me oddly happy the Wii U version is coming tethered with a copy of the game on Wii. I'm not sure how much easier it will be to pilot on its original platform, but it feels like that's how it was intended to be experienced. Either that or flight isn't a skill easily mastered in a few mere minutes.
Rodea impressions  photo
Awkward aeronautics
My first flight with Rodea: The Sky Soldier wasn't a smooth one. But perhaps that's to be expected of a title that's seen such a turbulent development history. The project went dark shortly after its initial announcement in 2010, then underwent a change of platforms -- something that seems all too apparent after a few minutes with the final product.


Obligatory scary child photo
Obligatory scary child

NIS gets creepy with new teaser


Obligatory scary child
Jun 23
// Steven Hansen
These days, Japanese games being creepy usually has more to do with upskirts than spooks. Fatal Frame couldn't even get squeezed into Nintendo's E3 event. Still, very-anime publisher and developer Nippon Ichi recently upload...
Trailer photo
Trailer

Lost Dimension brings anime paranoia to PS3, Vita


New E3 trailer
Jun 21
// Steven Hansen
Have you ever felt like you can read snippets of your friends' thoughts and that some of them are out to get you and you'd be better off killing them? Same, same. Lost Dimension tasks a group of 11 capable warriors with stop...
The Legend of Heroes photo
The Legend of Heroes

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel hits Europe this fall


Falcom loves you
Jun 11
// Kyle MacGregor
The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is coming to Europe this fall, NIS just announced. The good word follows news that XSEED Games is publishing the upcoming PlayStation 3 and Vita RPG in North America this autumn. We'...
Rodea: The Sky Soldier photo
Rodea: The Sky Soldier

Rodea: The Sky Soldier launch delayed


Now coming in October
Jun 10
// Kyle MacGregor
The wait for Rodea: The Sky Soldier has been a long one and it just got a little bit longer. NIS America has revised its plans, pushing back the upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS action game's September launch until O...

Review: Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy

Jun 09 // Chris Carter
Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy (PlayStation TV, Vita [reviewed])Developer: Experience Inc.Publisher: MAGES, 5pb. Games (JP) / NIS America (EU, NA)MSRP: $39.99Release Date: July 24, 2014 (Japan) / June 5, 2015 (EU) / June 9, 2015 (NA) Operation Abyss opens up with a bang -- your character has just woken up in the "gloomy darkness," next to multiple severed, bloodied bodies. Holy shit, right? It gets a little bit goofier from there, as a hooded man suddenly appears and tells you "basically, you've been kidnapped," as an army of half-human zombie monsters attack. You're immediately offered a choice: trust the man or not, which doesn't really end up mattering. Then a Magical Girl shows up and fights a giant crocodile. It pretty much never lets up from here. New Tokyo Legacy is set in a near-future version of Japan. Those creatures? They're called Variants, and it's up to the government-funded Code Physics Agency, which you've just been forcefully inducted into, to save the day. It must be said, if the silly intro wasn't any indication, the art for the game is incredible, and full of life. A lot of scenes may feature static portraits, and the dungeon designs might be on the bland side, but the art style (and by proxy, the main cast) is always colorful and interesting. Likewise, the darker elements of the game are just that -- dark. Creatures look suitably horrific, the narrative can go darker when it needs to, and on occasion, I was straight-up creeped out. There's also a ton of weird story elements like the blood of Florence Nightingale, Leonardo da Vinci, and Hanzo Hattori used for "Blood Codes," to gain abilities and special powers. No one can say that Tokyo Legacy isn't unique. [embed]293318:58901:0[/embed] Like most lengthy dungeon crawler experiences (this one is roughly 40 hours), it takes about six hours of walking until it takes off sprinting, and by then I was sucked into the world. Dungeons aren't obtuse, but as previously mentioned, they are on the bland side. After about 10 hours of play some of them started to blend together, and there isn't enough indication on-screen to denote hidden areas or locations of interest. I definitely don't want a streamlined "go here" indicator, it would just be nice if there was an inkling of uniqueness to the dungeons, since everything else is painstakingly crafted. There's lots of customization involved, including equipment and ability choices and statline tweaking. In terms of choices in relation to the narrative, there's not a whole lot here. This is an old school dungeon crawler through and through, and although there are some light forks in the road, none of them are emotional or engaging. Your key plan here is to go and defeat monsters to further the overarching story -- not your personal one. That's partially because each playthrough uses randomly generated characters, which can be customized, but don't necessarily play any real role. That extends to a lack of any real romantic element, since your party is essentially a collective. Unlike Demon Gaze, Operation Abyss' recent predecessor, Legacy is a bit more forgiving. For instance, you can now go freely back to your base if you wish, which is where you'll level up and sort through your massive inventory. The good news is that there's no "rent" or statistical hit to worry about, and if you're having trouble, heading back to rest up isn't a terrible idea. There's still a lot of menus to wade through and stats to painstakingly tweak back and forth, but it's more accessible than a lot of other crawlers since it doesn't penalize you at every turn. Because of that design decision though, it loses a bit of its edge. Despite the fact that Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy can be a bit by-the-numbers inside dungeons, it's anything but in nearly every other facet of the game. While I probably won't be rushing to complete it again anytime soon, it was a lengthy enough adventure that will stay fresh in my mind for some time. [This review is based on a retail build provided by the publisher.]
Operation Abyss photo
The Walking Variants
One of the very first PC games I ever played was a dungeon crawler. It was called MadMaze, a title released on 1989, playable on the Prodigy internet service -- yep, it was during the dialup era. While crawlers may not be one...

Dungeon Travelers 2 photo
Dungeon Travelers 2

Censored RPG travels to Europe October 16


チーズ トイレ
Jun 05
// Kyle MacGregor
[Note: This image was created by Destructoid. It is not a reflection of Dungeon Travelers 2's in-game graphics, or how Atlus has gone about applying "minor edits" to four of the game's images. Sorry for any confusion.] A...
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

The new Danganronpa launches in September


Another PS Vita exclusive is on the way
Jun 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is on its way to North America on September 1, publisher NIS America announced today. After that, the plan is to bring it to Europe on September 4. Here's the premise: "Komaru...
Witch photo
Witch

Here, have some Witch and the Hundred Knight Revival PS4 footage


Enhanced port for PS4
Jun 03
// Chris Carter
The Witch and the Hundred Knight is getting a new lease on life on the PS4 in the form of the Revival remake, set to debut later this year in Japan. Developer Nippon Ichi Software has provided a new set of vid...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold charts western release


Soon in America, not so much in Europe
May 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight is penciled in for an August 4 launch in North America, Atlus has announced. Oh, and Europe will (predictably) have to wait until February 12, 2016. The dungeon crawler is an enhance...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

Lost Dimension finds Europe on August 28


One month after North American launch
May 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Lancarse's Lost Dimension is coming to Europe on August 28, NIS America announced today. The tactical role-playing game debuted on PlayStation 3 and Vita in Japan last year and is on its way to North America on July 28, ...
High fashion photo
High fashion

Danganronpa: Ultra Despair Girls gets limited edition


Want to rock a game tie and eye patch?
May 19
// Steven Hansen
Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is coming to North America and Europe this fall. It's a weird little third-person megaphone shooter with light puzzle elements set between the first and second games in the mai...
Lost Dimension photo
Lost Dimension

Lost Dimension will launch on July 28 with free DLC


First character trailer released
May 13
// Alissa McAloon
It's a good news day for fans of the upcoming tactical sci-fi RPG, Lost Dimension. In addition to the announcement of a July 28 release date, Atlus has announced that $20 of DLC will be given away for free during the tw...
Witch and the Hundred photo
Witch and the Hundred

The Witch and the Hundred Knight 2 is happening


In addition to that remake
May 12
// Chris Carter
NIS has announced, by way of the above teaser trailer, that a full sequel for The Witch and the Hundred Knight is in the works. This is in addition to the PS4 remake of the first game, entitled The Witch and the Hu...
Disgaea photo
Disgaea

Disgaea classes will pop up in Operation Babel: New Tokyo Legacy


Choose the top six
Apr 30
// Chris Carter
Operation Abyss: New Tokyo Legacy is still on track for a release in June in the west for the PlayStation Vita, but you'll get a chance now to vote for some extra characters from the Disgaea series to appear in the seque...
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

Western Danganronpa sales reach 200,000 for both games


Nice work, NIS
Apr 29
// Chris Carter
Good news Danganronpa fans -- NIS has announced that both Trigger Happy Havoc and Goodbye Despair have sold over 200,000 units in North America. For a niche visual novel that's only available on the PS Vita, that's prett...
Witch and the Hundred photo
Witch and the Hundred

The Witch and the Hundred Knight is getting re-released on PS4 for some reason


Metallia is playable now
Apr 21
// Chris Carter
I had a chance to check out The Witch and the Hundred Knight at launch, and it was the definition of "all right." It had pacing issues among other problems, but NIS is keen to bring it back on PS4. Protagonist Metallia w...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

NIS announces a bushel of Atlus games for Europe


RPGs and tigers and bears! Oh my!
Apr 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Poor European Atlus fans... They're always so upset. I wish I could brighten their day somehow. Oh, hey, what's this? A press release from NIS... Four Atlus titles coming to Europe? Hot damn! Apparently Shin Megami ...
Danganronpa photo
Danganronpa

Destructoid solves a murder: Danganronpa Edition


It's pun-ishment time!
Apr 13
// Mike Cosimano
From the beginning, this murder (and I've seen a lot of them over the course of my career) struck me as too simple. Kyle Hebert -- a voice actor you may recognize as the voice of Ryu from Street Fighter -- was found de...
Rodea release date photo
Rodea release date

Rodea: The Sky Soldier lands on 3DS, Wii U, and even Wii in late September


A little bit NiGHTS into Dreams, a little bit Sonic
Apr 02
// Jordan Devore
In my mind, Rodea: The Sky Soldier has two things going for it. First, "Rodea" sounds like something that would get into a brawl with Godzilla, and I'm all about that. Second, this Wii U and 3DS title is centered on a sky kin...
Rodea: The Sky Soldier photo
Rodea: The Sky Soldier

Rodea: The Sky Soldier looks great on the 3DS


For a 3DS game that is
Mar 26
// Jed Whitaker
Rodea: The Sky Soldier looks beautiful on the Wii U and this new Japanese trailer proves the 3DS version isn't to be scoffed at. This aerial combat game has been in development for around five years at Prope, the studio...
Nippon Ichi Software photo
Nippon Ichi Software

Nippon Ichi Software now committing to PS4 and Vita


We need more publishers to do the same
Mar 23
// Chris Carter
While I'm definitely grateful for the long shelf life of recent consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360, there comes a time where having progress impeded by previous and current-generation co-development gets old. In an era where ...
PS3 photo
PS3

Hey Eurotoid, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters is out now!


It's looking at me, Ray!
Mar 14
// Stephen Turner
As a Brit, I do miss the weirdness that defined the PS2. Play novels, especially, had to make do with the DS. And yes, several years later, I'm still upset about Cing. But fret not, my niche loving console chums! NIS America ...
Vita RPG photo
Vita RPG

Atlus, NISA team to publish Shin Megami Tensei-inspired PS3/Vita tactical RPG Lost Dimension


Coming summer 2015 to North America and Europe
Mar 11
// Steven Hansen
Lancarse's Lost Dimension (PS Vita, PS3) is coming to North America and Europe courtesy of Atlus and NISA, respectively, this summer. The tactical RPG came out in Japan last year. There's a lot of pedigree behind it, too. La...

Review: Criminal Girls: Invite Only

Mar 07 // Brittany Vincent
Criminal Girls: Invite Only (PS Vita [Reviewed], PlayStation TV)Developer: imageepochPublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: February 3, 2015MSRP: $39.99 Criminal Girls pulls you right down into Hell with a brand new job ahead of you. You're now Warden to a menagerie of young women who acted out during their time in the land of the living and are now suffering for it. Your goal is to push each one through a so-called "Redemption Program" so that they might become rehabilitated members of society. If they can complete the trials and tribulations ahead of them, they can escape eternal damnation. Not one of them like you, however, so motivating them or even getting them to do what you want can be a monumental task. As such, the girls act independently of you during pivotal game moments. You're given four of them to rehabilitate to begin with, and tasked with seeking out the rest as you play. There's a very unique battle system in place as you navigate Hell, and to complicate matters further monsters and other nasties begin popping out that you must contend with. This means while you're working on getting these wayward souls rehabilitated, you'll have to deal with monster encounters as well. [embed]288638:57646:0[/embed] When you're thrust into battle, you don't select which attacks you'd like for the girls to perform. Instead, they will suggest their own moves, and you can select the one that makes the most sense. While this could result in moments where one team member is in dire need of healing or damage isn't dealt because there wasn't a suggested offensive attack, most of the time it works quite well. You can choose from four different options each match as well, so you're usually served up at least one action that makes sense in the context of battles. It's not difficult or even a bad battle system, but there are some bizarre machinations in place you'll have to work with in order to be successful, and that stems from the "Motivation" sequences you're required to take part in. As previously mentioned, your new female charges don't like you very much. Motivation finds you dripping things onto the girls or even prodding them with cattle prod-like devices in order to get them to cooperate. The girls will assume sexually suggestive poses, though they're mostly enshrouded in a strange pink mist (I'll call it the adult fog of war) and stay silent while you "motivate" them using the touch screen to simulate a BDSM-style punishment. These sexual mini-games are comprised of several tiers, though the girls are never completely nude in-game. As you complete your motivational tasks, each girl will come to you with a specific Order that you need to complete. Basically, you'll be asked to find an item, a piece of equipment, a snack, or other special item the girl would like from you. You'll want to do all you can with this system in order to earn new moves, combos, and other useful mechanics for use against the game's plentiful enemies. In short, motivational moments are completely necessary, and while the game is actually a very competent role-playing game without these segments, as always, it will be touted as completely inane and unnecessarily sexual. The time you put in with Motivation games, fighting off enemies, collecting specific Order items, and getting to know the girls is extremely rewarding, however. Throughout the course of the game you'll come to learn more and more about each of the diminutive delinquents, like why Ran's such a little firecracker or why some of the girls have diffficulty chatting with you at all. The beauty of it all is you can experience character growth while still enjoying a title that's simple to pick up and put down with little fanfare. It's perfectly at home on the Vita, though it's clear that many of the backgrounds and areas you must explore were in fact recycled from the original PSP version of the game. Not too big of an issue, but it can clash a bit with the emotive and vibrant anime-styled character portraits. Completing the compulsory mini-games may be uncomfortable for some players, but Criminal Girls: Invite Only is very much a competent game and deserves a look, especially if you've all but converted your Vita at this point into a waifu-collection machine. That's basically what I've done. The edits to the original Japanese version are tasteful, the girls are witty, and the battles are engaging in a very "mobile game" sort of way. You can decide how you feel about motivating these young women on your own, but for me? It feels right! I'm going to make upright citizens out of these ladies yet.  [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Criminal Girls photo
What they need is a good defense
We all know the PlayStation Vita is now the de facto home for all things Japanese. Ports, remakes, re-releases, and original content all trickle down similarly to the little handheld that could, and the Vita port of 2010's PS...

Rodea: The Sky Soldier photo
Rodea: The Sky Soldier

NIS confirms Wii release for Rodea: The Sky Soldier


A collector's item
Mar 04
// Kyle MacGregor
It looks like Rodea: The Sky Soldier will be the Wii's swan song. Today, NIS America confirmed first edition copies of the Wii U version will come equipped with the original Wii prototype. The aerial action game was...

Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary

Feb 22 // Josh Tolentino
htoL#NiQ: The Firely Diary (PS Vita)Developer: Nippon Ichi SoftwarePublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: February 24, 2015MSRP: $19.99 First, to that bit about minimalism: htoL#NiQ has virtually no written or spoken dialog, or even text. Apart from some prompts explaining the basic controls and a brief crawl in the opening, players won't even encounter so much as a lettered sign in the background. The plot, such as it is, is delivered almost entirely in-game, via environmental clues and lightly interactive flashbacks.  The game screen itself is largely free of HUDs and icons, and combined with low-lit environments that flicker as if beaming from a vintage film projector, gives off a universally gloomy, unsettling aura that contrasts well with the cutesy character design. The flashback scenes are rendered in a totally different, isometric style that recalls older RPGs like Contact. [embed]287859:57450:0[/embed] Exploring this downbeat dystopia is Mion, a silver-haired waif with big eyes, a pair of branches growing from her head, and all the self-preservation instinct of a videogame lemming. Accompanying her are Lumen and Umbra, the titular fireflies and the only means by which players can guide Mion through the wilderness. Players can use the touch screen to move Lumen, with Mion following her Navi-esque companion wherever it goes. Lumen can also signal Mion to throw switches, push boxes, and other puzzle-solving interactions. Umbra, on the other hand, resides in Mion's shadow, and can only be controlled by shifting to an alternate dimension with a tap of the rear touchpad. From there, Umbra can move through shadows freely - including those cast by Lumen's glow - and interact with objects too far away for Mion to reach. Manipulating the environment and using the firefly duo to help maneuver Mion past various hazards forms the bulk of htoL#NiQ's mechanics. This all sounds simple enough, but the game in which these mechanics are employed is an artifact of what I can only describe as gleeful, knowing sadism. htoL#NiQ is one of the most difficult games I've ever played, and the bulk of my playtime has been spent dying, over and over and over again. That's not necessarily a bad thing, seeing as the last few years have brought a new renaissance for tough, uncompromising game design, but the type of pain dealt by htoL#NiQ is of a very particular type, one that's been justifiably abandoned by most modern titles. Simply put, this game trades in pure, trial-and-error frustration. Thanks to a combination of deliberately lethargic controls and deathtrap-obsessed level design, virtually no challenge the game poses can be passed on the first try - or the 48th try, for that matter. That's how long it took me to overcome just a single checkpoint in the second level, a checkpoint that, performed successfully, takes about a minute to transition through.  Since Mion can only be moved by moving Lumen ahead of her, a slight delay accompanies every movement, and Mion herself hits her top speed at "leisurely stroll", even when pursued by rampaging hellbeasts made of shadow. The awkwardness of using the touch screen and rear touch pad to control Lumen and Umbra can be alleviated somewhat by switching to an optional control scheme that uses the analog stick and face buttons, but the precision and sluggishness in movement remains. Worse still, some challenges demand precise timing to trigger environmental actions using Umbra, but the pauses that accompany attempting to switch to Umbra's dimension make that timing even tougher to nail down. Add in hidden enemies, barely-telegraphed hazards, instant death, and occasional randomized factors that cheapen every death, and htoL#NiQ ends up embodying a strange sort of videogame Murphy's Law: Anything that can kill Mion, will kill Mion. Several times.  To clarify, there's nothing wrong with deliberate, "slow" controls. As a fan of Monster Hunter and the Souls games, I can appreciate that style, and intention behind them being in this game is fairly clear. htoL#NiQ aims for the kind of dynamic that defined the likes of classics like Ico. The problem here is the decision to combine the tension of having to escort a helpless charge with such demanding level design. The stress of both having to keep the charge safe as well as perform feats of precision timing and speed is almost too much that would stand to gain the most from the game's low-key storytelling and unique aesthetic. Extending the comparison further, if htoL#NiQ were to be compared to Ico, the difference between the two in terms of difficulty would be akin to trying to shepherd Yorda through the Tower of Latria from Demon's Souls.   It simply isn't fun to have to redo every section just to pass - or replay certain portions perfectly just to access all the game's collectible flashback scenes (which form its most substantial narrative payoff), but then again, I did retry a single section forty-eight times in a row, so there may be something to htoL#NiQ, after all. The creepy atmosphere and interesting visuals were just enough to keep me hooked alongside its grim, intriguing story. And of course, there's the stubborn, bitter, vengeful thrill of finally defeating a game that's seemingly designed with the middle finger extended towards its players.  I won't lie: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary feels like an ordeal to play, but it is worth noting that historically, surviving an ordeal was often taken as a sign of being blessed by a higher power. That notion may appeal to some types of players, and it's they who'll find the fun in this gorgeous, cruel game. Everyone else should just hang back and ask how it went. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
htoL#NiQ Review photo
Oh Dear, Diary
No, that isn't an encoding error up there in the headline: "htoL#NiQ" is indeed this PS Vita game's title, and is essentially a very stylish way to type "The Firefly Diary" in Japanese. Whatever personal peculiarities led the...

Rodea: The Sky Soldier photo
Rodea: The Sky Soldier

Rodea: The Sky Soldier coming to Wii U, 3DS this fall


Sonic programmer's long lost action game is finally on its way
Feb 19
// Kyle MacGregor
NIS America just revealed plans to localize Rodea: The Sky Soldier for North America and Europe. Expect to see the aerial action game hit Nintendo 3DS and Wii U sometime this autumn. Rodea has an interesting development hist...

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