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Boobs, boobs never change photo
Boobs, boobs never change

Boobie mouse pads included with Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 Collector's Editions

Also some playing cards and photo books
Nov 13
// Jed Whitaker
Sample images of items included with the collector's editions of Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 in Japan have been released, and as you could have guessed, they feature young girls wearing next to nothing.

Review: Sword Art Online: Lost Song

Nov 13 // Josh Tolentino
Sword Art Online: Lost Song (PS4, PS3, PS Vita [reviewed])Developer: ArtdinkPublisher: Bandai Namco GamesMSRP: $39.99 (Vita), $59.99 (PS4)Released: November 17, 2015 (NA), November 13, 2015 (EU), April 28, 2015 (SEA), March 26, 2015 (JP) [Note: This review is based on the English-language version of Lost Song released in Southeast Asia on April 28, 2015. While there may be some differences between this version and the North American/EU ones, we expect the core experience will be highly similar, if not identical.] Let's not mince words: Like its predecessor Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, Lost Song is meant for existing fans of Sword Art Online (or at least of Hollow Fragment), and few else outside that sphere. In fact, Lost Song's main plot virtually ensures that only those invested Kirito and the gang's adventures and interactions will find fulfillment from the game's narrative.  But first, an aside: When it came to the anime and novels, the reason the ALO-set story arcs felt so weak was the overriding sense that the show was treading water. In contrast to original's grand hook of "dying in the game means death for real", the goal of Kirito playing ALO to search for Asuna carried not nearly as much weight. This was exacerbated in the second season, which followed up an excellent murder mystery set in Gun Gale Online with Kirito and his pals literally just doing a raid and some quests in ALO for a nice sword. It came to pass that when ALO was onscreen, Sword Art Online became less about exciting adventures and speculative future game design than essentially watching a bunch of nonexistent Let's Players play a nonexistent game. Lost Song falls afoul of ALO's curse as well, with even its central story afflicted with the same sense of meandering and lack of stakes. Still placed in Hollow Fragment's alternative timeline (which saw the cast stuck in SAO for much longer than in the "canon", and adding characters like Sinon under different circumstances), Lost Song sees Kirito and his posse moving to ALfheim Online right on time for the game to debut "Svart ALfheim", its first expansion, consisting of five massive floating islands. Being the top-class gamers they are, the crew resolves to be the first to burn through it. [embed]318569:61096:0[/embed] The quest for "world-first" (a motivation familiar to anyone who's played an MMO) eventually brings them into conflict with Shamrock, a massive guild run by Seven, an idol/scientist (!) who's taking the opportunity run a big social experiment within ALO. If the whole premise of Lost Song's plot sounds like the kind of inter-guild "drama" that plays out on forums and social media feeds for actual games today, one wouldn't be too far off. This puts the bulk of the game's narrative appeal in the interactions between cast members new and old, told via entertaining Tales of-style vignettes, in-game events, and lengthy personal quests, some of which adapt storylines from the canon like the well-received "Mother's Rosario" arc. In a nice touch, these events are mostly encountered semi-randomly and often without explicit prompting. A minor thing, to be sure, but one that channels the "live" qualities of MMO play, where impromptu encounters and stories grow even against otherwise static environs and content. Ultimately, though, those invested in seeing the characters of Sword Art Online again, sporting their ALO-styled redesigns and touting long-running in-jokes, will get their fill, but players seeking epic adventure or the kind of JRPG saga that ends with the heroes saving the world will come away disappointed. It doesn't help, either, that Lost Song doesn't work very hard to introduce players to the characters themselves. In some ways that's to be expected, seeing as this is a sequel to Hollow Fragment and mostly features the same faces (with a few more added), but curious folks who just want to know what the fuss over Sword Art Online is all about would be better served by picking up Re: Hollow Fragment (the "Director's Cut" PS4 port of Hollow Fragment), or just watching the anime. Narrative pitfalls aside, Lost Song is at least less of a slog to play, mechanically, bringing some new, entertaining gimmicks to the table. The combat system ditches the auto-attacks, casting times, and menus of Hollow Fragment for a straightforward, directly-controlled action-RPG setup. Players can string together combos of light and heavy attacks, controlling any three of up to seventeen playable characters (they can even replace Kirito as the leader!), each wielding a number of weapons with signature skills and magic. Special moves and magic can be triggered by combining shoulder and face buttons. New attacks, spells, and passive effects can be unlocked by leveling up their weapon skills through use, and assigning them to preferred button combinations. A Union gauge fills up in battle, and when triggered enables devastating "Switch" attacks involving the whole party. While simpler and arguably less deep than Hollow Fragment, the new system is more engaging and wastes less time. Most low-level foes can be dispatched in seconds, and fighting large bosses rewards mobility and effective use of buffs and debuffs to chop away at their massive, stacked health bars. AI companions fight and support effectively, and need little in the way of handholding unless severely under-leveled. New gear can be found in the field, or bought, identified, and upgraded at Agil and Lisbeth's shops while Side Quests and Extra Quests can be accepted at the hub town's tavern. Side Quests usually fall into the "Kill X number of Y enemy" category, but Extra Quests usually pose an additional challenge, involving big takedowns of one or more boss-class foes for better rewards. And then there's the flying. Being a fairy-themed game, ALO plants wings on all its characters to enable long-distance travel and a level of verticality rarely embraced in the RPG space. Lost Song gladly obliges, featuring huge, open-world maps populated by roaming enemies and dotted with dungeons at varying altitudes. Players can switch from running on the ground to hovering to racing through the air with a flick of the D-pad. While a bit fiddly at first, this mobility quickly becomes second nature and makes a genuine difference when fighting outdoors, as aerial dashes can be used to set up powerful charging attacks, and hovering up high can put safe distances between players and ground-bound foes. Fighting indoors, however, is more of a chore, as most dungeons prohibit flying and often take place against large numbers of enemies spawning in ways that cause the combat camera and lock-on function to freak out unpleasantly. Worse still, the dungeons themselves are so bland and unimaginative that I initially mistook them for being procedurally generated. Having players visit these dungeons in order to progress just hammers home the apathetic level design. And there's even multiplayer, making Lost Song the only Sword Art Online game that's actually, well, online. Local and online play sessions are available, including a PVP versus mode, and team battles against roided-out versions of the single-player bosses. It's an alright option to have, but there's little compelling reason to engage with it. Players can use custom characters, but the customization options are so limited that anything created just resembles the generic NPC characters littering the hub world. For better or worse, Sword Art Online: Lost Song replicates both the highs and lows of its predecessors. Existing fans of the series will find plenty to like in the further adventures of Kirito and his MMO pals, despite a dull main story. The revamped mechanics also support a steady drip-feed of Sword Art Online fan service mainly by not getting in the way too much. Unfortunately, Lost Song stumbles hardest when trying to engage players outside that sphere of pre-existing investment, and in some ways ends up an even less suitable jumping-off point for newbies who want to get in on enjoying the franchise. My advice to those folks would be to watch the anime or try out Hollow Fragment first. If they're still jonesing for some more of this motley crew of irredeemable MMO nerds when they're done, then Lost Song will be music to their ears. [This review is based on a retail copy of the game acquired by the reviewer.] Fallout 4 (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Bethesda Game StudiosPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksMSRP: $59.99Released: November 10, 2015
SAO: Lost Song Review photo
Familiar Tune
Ask most folks who watched the Sword Art Online anime series, and they'll likely tell you that the show's weaker moments usually coincided with events set in ALfheim Online (ALO), a fairy-themed virtual reality MMO that ...

PS Vita photo
PS Vita

That's a damn fine PlayStation Vita

Japan, though!
Nov 12
// Jordan Devore
I like this PlayStation Vita design even more than that metal slime PlayStation 4. They share a similar theme, but it's the little touches that matter -- the custom d-pad art, the liquid metal slime accessory for the headphone jack, the slick box the system comes in. All great.
Mega Man photo
Mega Man

Brand new Mega Man avatars hit the PSN

From Legacy Collection
Nov 09
// Chris Carter
In the dead of night, Capcom has pushed a handful of new Mega Man avatars to the PSN. They're based on the new Legacy Collection artwork, and will run you around $0.49 each. There's a few cherry-picked Robot Masters here, two...
Skullgirls Vita photo
Skullgirls Vita

Skullgirls dev 'underestimated' PS Vita port job

It'll be ready when it's ready
Nov 07
// Kyle MacGregor
At one time, Lab Zero Games planned to ship a PlayStation Vita port of its latest fighting game Skullgirls 2nd Encore "a few weeks" after the PlayStation 4 version. However, it's been a few months since the title arrived on P...
Tomba 2 photo
Tomba 2

Tomba 2 is back on PSN this week (Update)

This time in English
Nov 01
// Kyle MacGregor
[Update: MonkeyPaw Games tells us "those who have the Japanese version will be able to upgrade to English.] Tomba 2: The Evil Swine Return is making a comeback this week on PlayStation Network. The sequel wound up being Tomba...
Zero Escape photo
Zero Escape

Zero Escape 3 gets new name and release shenanigans

Escape once more in summer 2016
Oct 30
// CJ Andriessen
The third entry in the Zero Escape franchise was announced earlier this year at the Anime Expo. Today, we learned a little more about the 3DS and Vita game. In North America, it will be known as Zero Time Dilemma, and feature...
PS+ November photo
PS+ November

PlayStation Plus has a modest set of free games in November

PS3 has the best showing
Oct 30
// Steven Hansen
It's November, which means it's the month to gives thanks for all the "free" PlayStation Plus games released all year. Next month, in the spirit of Christmas, you can be greedy about the offering. And hey, this month ain't ba...
Dead or Alive Xtreme photo
Dead or Alive Xtreme

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 scores English subs

So import away!
Oct 30
// Kyle MacGregor
Much like a volleyball mid-flight, it remains up in the air whether Koei Tecmo will bring Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 to western shores. However, we received word today from Play Asia that the Asian-region version of the game will...
Legend of Heroes photo
Legend of Heroes

It's here! It's finally here!

LoH: TitS SC out now on PSP and PC
Oct 29
// Kyle MacGregor
It's been over four years since XSEED delivered the first half of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, and now the (hopefully) epic conclusion has finally arrived on PlayStation Network and Steam. The role-playing game is...
PS Vita photo
PS Vita

Never mind, Sony is still making first-party Vita games

No triple-A games in the works
Oct 29
// Alissa McAloon
No one seems to know quite what is happening with the Vita right now. Last week, Sony Computer Entertainment executive vice president Masayasu Ito stated that Sony wasn't working on any first-party titles for the Vita. In an ...

Review: Assault Android Cactus

Oct 28 // Chris Carter
Assault Android Cactus (PC [reviewed], PS4, PS Vita, Wii U)Developer: Witch BeamPublisher: Witch BeamReleased: September 23, 2015 (PC) / TBA 2016 (PS4, PS Vita, Wii U)MSRP: $14.99 Although Cactus starts with a cute little intro video that sets up the whole shooty affair, it's a fleeting moment, as the game quickly centers in on gameplay over exposition. It essentially features a galactic police officer named Cactus, who crash lands into a gigantic spaceship and saves three other bystanders from certain death. United, they band together to defeat the mysterious evil force on board, headed by four guardians (boss characters). Cactus has one hell of a presentation for an indie project. While the narrative might be light (voice acting is few and far between), the visual style makes up for it in spades. Every character looks and feels different, and the enemies are varied to the point where each individual baddie requires a slightly different strategy. The sound effects are spot-on and have a weight them, and the musical score is more than enough to get you in the mood to shoot things. What I really like about Cactus is that each stage feels unique. Most of them are confined arenas, but the vast majority of them morph as the level progresses in interesting ways. For instance, one starts off with mysterious boxes littered about the landscape, which sequentially explode, opening up more of the map, at the cost of another giant enemy to fight. Other arenas feature small scrolling sections similar to a dungeon crawler, or fixed areas that add hectic hazards to the mix periodically. [embed]317399:60845:0[/embed] Each character has a different main weapon (from a typical shoot 'em up single-shot cannon to a shotgun), and a temporary alternate fire triggered by dodging. My personal favorite pick is Aubergine, who has a droid as her main ability (which can be controlled remotely, and independently from her own movements), and a singularity gun as her alt fire. Cactus is a twin-stick shooter for sure, but its core concept is what sets it apart -- the battery mechanic. With Cactus, your battery is perpetually running out, and only killing massive amounts of enemies will yield you a recharge power-up. If you take too much damage you'll simply fall down, with the power to mash buttons and pick yourself back up. For reference, four players are supported locally, and all of them share the same battery. Things can get pretty crazy, especially with the sheer amount of enemies the game throws out. You have to be constantly moving to stay alive, taking advantage of the various pickups like speed or firepower boosts, along with lockdown icons that temporarily disable all the enemies on-screen. If you aren't always moving around and seeking out batteries and power-ups, you won't make it far. The story mode will only take you a few hours to complete (or less), but Cactus shines when playing with friends -- plus, there's additional "Infinity Drive" (survival) and "Daily Drive" modes to conquer. Assault Android Cactus kind of snuck up on me, and is easily one of my favorite shooters of the year. I'm really interested in seeing what developer Witch Beam comes up with next. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Assault Android Cactus photo
A fantastic twin-stick fix
Every once in a while a game slips past my grasp due to any number of assignments that I have to tackle at a time. One such title is Assault Android Cactus, which I really enjoyed during its Early Access incarnation, and happened to launch just recently on Steam. I regret not jumping into the final version immediately, as it's one of the best twin-stick shooters in a long while.

PlayStation Network photo
PlayStation Network

We're in week two of PSN's Sale of the Dead

Lots of Resident Evil
Oct 27
// Jordan Devore
PlayStation Network's Sale of the Dead continues with more deals on horror games. This week, there's a whole lot of Resident Evil and not much else. It's a good time to play the HD remake, so I'm probably going to do that ton...
Deception photo

Tecmo's Deception returns next week on PSN

It's a trap!
Oct 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Tecmo's Deception: Invitation to Darkness is being re-released on PlayStation Network next week in North America, according to the latest episode of the PlayStation Blogcast. Ahem. Before we go any further, let me just warn y...
Legend of Heroes photo
Legend of Heroes

Trails in the Sky SC finally comes out next week

At long last!
Oct 23
// Kyle MacGregor
After leaving us on a cliffhanger for nearly five years, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC is finally coming to western shores next week, the localization team at XSEED announced today. The long-awaited role-pla...
Sony photo

Sony: 'There are no first party titles that are in development for the PlayStation Vita'

Oct 23
// Chris Carter
As we all expected, something is rotten in Denmark when it comes to Sony's position on the PlayStation Vita. Speaking to Sony Computer Entertainment executive vice president Masayasu Ito, 4Gamer recently uncovered that there ...
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir photo
Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir

The new Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir trailer will melt your eyeballs with how pretty it is

Prettier than Trine 2? Just maybe
Oct 23
// Joe Parlock
Just in case you missed it, Atlus announced Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir a few months ago. A full HD remake of its popular (and beautiful) action JRPG, Leifthrasir will also feature some tweaks to the combat system, and making s...
PSN sale photo
PSN sale

PSN's Sale of the Dead doesn't do much for me

There are a few standouts, though
Oct 20
// Jordan Devore
Overall, can't say I'm feeling this October-appropriate PlayStation Network sale. Many of these deals aren't all that noteworthy, but on the bright side, it is only week one (of two, presumably) and the sale does bring Grim Fandango Remastered down to $8.99 (PS4 and PS Vita).
PSN flash sale photo
PSN flash sale

This weekend's PSN flash sale is about survival

Just go with it
Oct 16
// Jordan Devore
Some of the games in this latest PlayStation Network flash sale fit the "survival" theme well. Others require more imagination. But really, it's the deals themselves that matter most. I have a few recommendations. Notably, th...
Senran Kagura PC photo
Senran Kagura PC

Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus PC makeover is primed for summer 2016

The Vita loses another exclusive
Oct 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus is bouncing to Windows PC next summer, XSEED just announced. The PlayStation Vita brawler burst onto the Japanese scene in early 2013 before arriving in the West last October. Now, XSEED hopes to expose a new audience to with an enhanced port. A sequel to this entry, Senran Kagura: Estival Versus, is coming to PS4 and Vita this winter.
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 photo
Dead or Alive Xtreme 3

Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 PS4 trailer is like slapping raw chicken breasts about

Beach volleyball
Oct 15
// Steven Hansen
Costco no longer sells its bulk chicken breasts in individually wrapped two-breast packs. Now it's just a giant plastic sack full of chicken breasts. Imagine: me, you, and some friends. We each grab a couple breasts and proc...
Fallout 4 photo
Fallout 4

Fallout 4 on Vita via Remote Play has been specially tailored

I should say ' tailored'
Oct 14
// Brett Makedonski
When Fallout 4 releases, there will be a few different ways to play it. Most obvious are the announced platforms of PC, PS4, and Xbox One. But, you can play it on the go too via PS Vita's Remote Play function, and Bethes...
Champ-yons! photo

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth launching February 2, 2016

North America-exclusive preorder content
Oct 13
// Steven Hansen
Marvelous photo

Uppers is Senran Kagura creator's new thing

Not those kind of uppers
Oct 13
// Kyle MacGregor
Oh boy. It looks like that Kenichiro Takaki, producer of the Senran Kagura series, is up to no good again, having just revealed his strange new project in the latest issue of Weekly Famitsu. Contrary to wh...

Review: Minecraft: Story Mode: The Order of the Stone

Oct 13 // Darren Nakamura
Minecraft: Story Mode: The Order of the Stone (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesReleased: October 13, 2015 (Mac, PC)MSRP: $4.99, $24.99 (Season Pass)Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit To its credit, Minecraft: Story Mode does a lot well. The use of Minecraft's engine and iconic visual style is a nice workaround to keep the Telltale Tool from showing its age. It's hard to complain about low-polygon models for a world comprised mostly of cubes. Despite having fewer moving parts to work with on the character models, the characters are as expressive as they need to be. By narrowing or widening eyes and tweaking eyebrows, the block people (and pig) can show a range of emotions in a cartoony sort of way. The voice work aids in bringing the low-fidelity characters to life as well. The cast is impressive, including the likes of Patton Oswalt, Billy West, and Paul Reubens, to name a few. Though the characters look similar in the beginning, each has a defined personality that comes through thanks to the actors. Much like a session with Minecraft proper, by the end of the episode my brain stopped seeing everything and everyone as a collection of hard-edged polyhedra and just accepted them as regular places and people. [embed]315133:60717:0[/embed] However, the all-star voice cast does highlight The Order of the Stone's biggest shortcoming. With such big names in comedy doing the dialogue, it's disappointing how little comedy there is in the script. There are a few gags that find their mark, but most are worth only a smile or a chuckle; none really stood out. On the other end of the spectrum, the drama doesn't really deliver either. The elements are there: life-or-death situations, uncertainty, mistrust. Still, none of the prototypical "big choices" felt like they carried much weight. Of the five choices shown at the end, the first is just a judgment call with an unknown and arbitrary outcome, two involve whether you want to be an asshole to a guy who doesn't deserve it, one won't have clear implications until a later episode, and the last is a decision on which of protagonist Jesse's two friends has a better plan for what's to come. The choices highlight an emphasis on the future. Put plainly, The Order of the Stone is heavy on exposition, setting up the backstory, characters, and events for the rest of the season. While necessary, it misses some opportunities to be memorable in its attempt to lay the foundation. Story Mode will probably be more of a hit among Minecraft fans than general Telltale fans. The Order of the Stone features a few Minecraft-specific gameplay bits and references. A couple times during the episode, players are presented with a problem, given some materials, and tasked with crafting a solution. Recipes are given for those who don't know what to make or how to make it, but other craftable objects are present as well. While trying to make a stone sword, I accidentally crafted a lever. After a playful rib about me not knowing what I was doing, the materials were returned so I could forge the weapon. Later on, the group has to hit a pressure plate beyond a hallway filled with arrow traps. Recipes and materials are given for a couple possible tools to use. It would be great if there were other hidden solutions to discover for those who know the source material inside and out. In addition to the crafting puzzles, there is one classic adventure game puzzle found toward the end of the episode. It isn't especially original or taxing, but along with the crafting it does represent a step in a more gameplay-oriented direction from the recent story-only Telltale series. So far, Minecraft: Story Mode is like a Saturday morning cartoon. Sure, there is conflict, but it doesn't feel dire. Sure, there are funny bits, but the comedy isn't sharp or intelligent. Sure, there is a story, but it doesn't feel like it matters yet. There is some hope for this series to be great in the future, but The Order of the Stone is just okay. The Minecraft-specific gameplay is a nice way to shake up the usual formula. The blank slate of the universe allows the tale to go wherever it wants. The voice cast is full of actors who can do great work. But the writing needs to be more engaging if Story Mode wants to be taken seriously among Telltale canon. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Minecraft review photo
Exposition mode
Telltale has seen ups and downs with its licensed titles. With Jurassic Park the studio was still figuring out what works and what doesn't. More recently, The Walking Dead and Tales from the Borderlands have shown the strengt...

A Boy And His Blob photo
A Boy And His Blob

A Boy and His Blob rated for Vita, usual suspects

Everything but Wii U, basically
Oct 12
// Kyle MacGregor
A Boy and His Blob seems to be coming to PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation Vita, according to ratings published by the USK, Germany's video game classifications board. Back in August, Majesco Entertainement reveale...
Star Ocean photo
Star Ocean

Star Ocean 2 coming to PS4, Vita very soon Japan
Oct 09
// Kyle MacGregor
As Square Enix promised at Tokyo Game Show in September, Star Ocean: Second Evolution is coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in the near future -- sometime this month in Japan. Based on the PSP remake of the PS1 orig...
Sony photo

PlayStation Now available now in the UK

Will you be subbing?
Oct 09
// Vikki Blake
Sony's game-streaming service, PlayStation Now, has (finally) launched in the UK. Offering 100+ games for PlayStation 3, 4, and Vita -- including The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune -- you can pic...
Shovel Knight photo
Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight's Xbox One retail version is in limbo due to publishing policies

And that's not all
Oct 08
// Jordan Devore
Yacht Club Games has hit some snags with the retail versions of Shovel Knight. For starters, the studio has abandoned plans for a physical copy on Xbox One this holiday. "We really gave it our best effort, but unfortunately, ...
PSN store credit photo
PSN store credit

Spend $100 on PSN, get $15 back

Promo valid today through November 3
Oct 06
// Jordan Devore
Sony is running another one of its cash-back promotions for PlayStation Network. This one kicks off today and carries through November 3, 2015. If you spend $100 in that time, you'll get a $15 store credit "on or before" Nove...

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