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Review: One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3

Aug 28 // Chris Carter
One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Bandai Namco GamesRelease: August 25 2015MSRP: $59.99 Pirate Warriors 3 is a reboot of sorts (within the confines of the Pirate series that is), taking us all the way back to the beginning. Players will get a recap of Gold Roger the Pirate King, and how his death sparked the search for the great One Piece treasure, ushering in the Great Age of Pirates. After briefly showing us a Young Luffy, stoked by the fires of adventure, the game jumps 10 years into the future as our hero begins to gather his crew, starting with the ruffian Zoro. It's ambitious, starting over like this, but it's a great starting point for players who enjoy Warriors games, and have no prior knowledge of One Piece's narrative. You'll even get all caught up with the Dressrosa arc, the most recent bit of story (albeit with a different ending). With all that in mind, this is a very brief recap indeed, with entire arcs condensed to a single mission. In that way it spreads itself thin in many ways, not to mention the odd design choice of starting all over on the third game in the series. Battles still follow the same Warriors beat 'em up formula you know and love, with light and heavy attacks that can be chained into combos. What's crazy this time around though is the introduction of the Kizuna system, which lends itself well to One Piece's insane over-the-top style. Here, you'll be able to call out teammates for attacks on a constant basis, as well as unleash gigantic supers with multiple crew members, culminating in an explosion that usually kills hundreds of people at once. It's a mixed bag though, because while said explosions look really cool, they're ultimately all the same despite what crew members you have in the mix. So while it's entertaining for the first 100 times, it loses its luster eventually. Also, the regular Kizuna attacks are a bit clunky, as there's a half second delay for your party members to jump in and do their thing. It's not a huge deal, but it definitely could have been handled better. [embed]308138:60166:0[/embed] As for the rest of the combat mechanics, they're rather on point, and as usual, I like to make the point that the system is much deeper than the "button mashing" scheme non-fans accuse the Warriors series of. For instance, Luffy, your first playable character, starts with 14 combos, all of which have a purpose when you're playing on higher difficulty levels. Plus with nearly 40 playable characters in all, the amount of variety on offer is nothing to sneeze at. You'll want to play on a higher difficulty too, because without it, the actual story scenarios will likely start to wear on you. Without a local partner to play with enemies tend to blend together throughout stages, and despite the mixing up of themes (military, rural), they all function basically in the same manner, with the same types of weapons. The dialogue is also poorly written at times, and doesn't do a great job of drawing you into the world beyond the out-of-mission cutscenes. But hot damn, is that world beautiful on PS4. The only time I ever saw a framerate hit was when Kizuna moves were being done in local co-op, but other than that, it's silky smooth. No matter how many enemies are on-screen the game is relatively stable, and it's easy to dash around an entire map and lay waste to hundreds of enemies at a time. While the mission objectives aren't innovative in any way, they nailed the hectic feel of the anime. The story follows the typical Warriors format of roughly 15 hours of gameplay, with 50 or more to try to max out every character. Of course, there's more modes available, including free play, and "Dream" mode, which is basically a remixed version of the story. The latter sees you jumping from island to island, fighting off enemies in unique scenarios and gaining new characters and bonuses in the process. As a note, online play is only available for story mode, but local co-op is enabled for every game type. One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, from a gameplay standpoint, is simply "more Pirate Warriors 2." It doesn't really do anything new outside of the slightly different Kizuna system, and veterans will likely favor the Dream mode instead of the retreading story. Despite its Frankenstein-esque shortcomings, Pirate Warriors 3 is a beautiful game, and still a lot of fun to play locally.
One Piece review photo
From Straw Hat to Dressrosa
I haven't kept entirely up to date with One Piece, but I do read the summaries, and have caught most of the earlier arcs. It's a daunting task (the series has been running since 1997) and there's lots of filler involved, but ...

Dragomon classes photo
Dragomon classes

Dragomon Hunter shows off monster hunting character classes


Chibi, colorful Monster Hunter-like
Aug 26
// Steven Hansen
That Monster Hunter-styled MMORPG Dragomon Hunter has put out a new video focusing on the available characters classes. All the classics are there: scout, mercenary, mage, buscemi, cleric, substitute teacher. The free-to-pla...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

New Attack on Titan PS4 game is lookin' good


A shade or ten prettier than the 3DS one
Aug 23
// Kyle MacGregor
No offense to Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains, which I'm sure Spike Chunsoft put a lot of hard work into, but this is more like it. This is the sort of Shingeki no Kyojin game I've been waiting for. This time around ...
Red Ash photo
Red Ash

Red Ash returns to crowdfunding for more cash


Studio 4℃ wants to make the anime longer
Aug 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Mega Man Legends wannabe Red Ash needs more money. No, not the game. Keiji Inafune and company already secured a publisher prior to the project failing to meet its lofty Kickstarter goal. Animation group Studio 4°C i...

Obscure Video Games: Zettai Zetsumei Dangerous Jiisan DS

Aug 15 // Obscure Video Games
Now while the objective of each mini-game is usually obvious, the reason you are doing them rarely is. So I asked Grandpa for some explanation, and here's what he said: "When you go for a walk, always bring along a bag of dog poo in case a homeless person asks you for food." "Grandpa's inner thigh is feeling very sore today. Could you be a good boy and massage it for me?" "The roaches aren't screaming; they just have built-up air in their shells." "Stop being a pussy; this is how real men bowl." "We're taking a trip to the moon today, but I need you to fill up the gas tank." "Grandpa's gonna get you some ice cream like he promised, but first he needs a visit to the little boys' room." [embed]297486:59891:0[/embed] This is just the tip of the old man's iceberg; there are a lot more mini-games here every bit as crazy as these. So go ahead and touch your Grandpa. You might like it more than you think.
Obscure Video Games photo
Good Touch and Bad Touch
For some reason, when I first heard the name Grandpa Danger, my mind immediately went to "stranger danger," a phrase parents teach their children in order to avoid pedophiles. Thankfully, Grandpa doesn't touch any youngsters ...

Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Tecmo Koei's shonen crying simulator Attack on Titan shifts dev focus to PS4


Before, PS3 was the lead
Aug 13
// Chris Carter
Tecmo Koei's Omega Force is planning an Attack on Titan project, to be released on the PS3, PS4, and Vita platforms. Speaking to Dengeki, producer Hisashi Koinuma notes that this is the first time they are really fo...
New Attack on Titan photo
New Attack on Titan

New Attack on Titan PlayStation game from Dynasty Warriors devs incoming


Officially announced for 2016
Aug 05
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: The website has been updated revealing the above trailer for Attack on Titan (working title) for PS3, PS4, and PS Vita coming in 2016. No real gameplay details have been revealed but I noticed when Eren is flyi...
Senran Kagura photo
Senran Kagura

You can grab Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson in Europe next month


It's almost time to fight some boobs
Jul 30
// Laura Kate Dale
Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is one of those games that probably know full well already if you're interested in buying or not. My job is to let you know when you can do that, if you want to do that. The newest Senran Kagura ...
Psycho-Pass photo
Psycho-Pass

The Psycho-Pass game is getting an English version this fall


Localization not confirmed
Jul 27
// Chris Carter
If you're a fan of Psycho-Pass, you might be interested to hear that the upcoming Xbox One game will be getting English and Chinese versions later this year. Evidently 5pb will provide translations, which can be played by way...
Evamon photo
Evamon

Monster Hunter adds Neon Genesis Evangelion characters, armor


Evamon
Jul 17
// Steven Hansen
Monster Hunter continues its quest to cross over with everything. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has been getting regular, free DLC including Animal Crossing, Devil May Cry, and Final Fantasy nods. Japan's Monster Hunter Frontier...
Arslan photo
Arslan

I can't get enough of Heroic Legend of Arslan Warriors gameplay


It looks so beautiful
Jul 17
// Chris Carter
There's something about gameplay videos for Warriors titles that I can't get enough of. It happened for me for Hyrule Warriors, and it's happening again for the Heroic Legend of Arslan project. We only get a b...
Dragomon Hunter photo
Dragomon Hunter

Dragomon Hunter puts Hatsune Miku in Monster Hunter


That name is art in its purest form
Jul 16
// Joe Parlock
Monster Hunter’s pretty big at the moment, isn’t it? With its unforgiving combat and fantastic enemy designs making it hugely popular, it’s no wonder other developers have been wanting in on some of the suc...
 photo

Platinum's Saito wants to make a Kill la Kill game


Berserk, too!
Jul 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Metal Gear Rising director Kenji Saito currently has his hands full with the upcoming release of Transformers: Devastation this October. But what's next for him and the rest of Platinum Games? Well, if Saito had his druthers,...
Phantasy Star Online photo
Phantasy Star Online

Phantasy Star Online is getting an anime series


Based off the second core game
Jul 13
// Chris Carter
Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation is now in production. It will feature an all-new original story on Earth, and it will be a part of an eight-point initiative to celebrate Phantasy Star Online's 15-year anniversary. Hey you know what would be really cool, Sega? A real Phantasy Star Online 2 localization. Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation [Sega via idigitaltimes]
New Pokemon! photo
New Pokemon!

Brand new Pokemon teased for upcoming film


Who's that Pokemon!?
Jul 12
// Jed Whitaker
It's CliffyBee! But for real there is a leaked image from the upcoming CoroCoro magazine that shows a spooky silhouette of a brand new Pokémon from the upcoming Pokémon XY movie that is releasing in Japan n...
Anime Expo photo
Anime Expo

Check out all this cosplay from Anime Expo in 60 FPS


What is anime?
Jul 08
// Mike Cosimano
Cosplay videos are always challenging, especially when you're at a show where you don't recognize half the characters. I don't watch a whole lot of anime, but I wanted to see if I could make an interesting video nonetheless! ...
Steins;Gate photo
Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate on PS3 and Vita are exclusive to Amazon in the US


Interesting
Jul 08
// Chris Carter
The Steins;Gate visual novel is coming to the PS3 and Vita platforms in the west, and will hit North American shores in August -- exclusively on Amazon, apparently, as revealed at the end of the newest trailer above. Strangely, the Vita version is $49.99 and the PS3 edition is $39.99, and both are physical. You can still find the game on PC at a number of locations if you wish.
Saint Seiya photo
Saint Seiya

Get a much better look at Saint Seiya: Soldier's Soul


More info revealed for Japan Expo
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
Saint Seiya is making a comeback with an all-new anime series and a fighting game, and I'm pretty excited for the future of the franchise. Although I didn't get a hands-on session with Soldier's Soul back when I at...
Waifu bartending photo
Waifu bartending

VA-11 HALL-A's got cat girls, booze, and an oppressive state


Cyberpunk Bartender Action
Jul 06
// Steven Hansen
I've written before about VA-11 HALL-A, which should be the best anime-inspired bartending sim of the year. And I don't say that lightly.  This new trailer shows off some more of the patrons you'll be liquoring up and s...
Crows: Burning Edge photo
Crows: Burning Edge

Crows: Burning Edge announced for PS4 and Vita


Based off the manga
Jul 06
// Chris Carter
Bandai Namco has revealed an unlikely project, titled Crows: Burning Edge, set to debut on the PS4 and Vita at some point in the future. It's based off of the Japanese manga series, which features delinquents in high school ...
Attack on Titan 3DS photo
Attack on Titan 3DS

Attack on Titan now available on 3DS in Europe


Australia and New Zealand, too!
Jul 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Shingeki no Kyojin: Humanity in Chains has finally arrived for the Nintendo 3DS in PAL territories. The action game allows players to suit up in Omni-directional Mobility Gear and take on Titans as either familiar faces from the manga and anime series or characters of your own creation. For €30, the (digital-only) title comes with an exclusive 3DS theme. You can find our review here.
Red Ash photo
Red Ash

Keiji Inafune probably making Mega Man Legends successor


Red Ash
Jul 02
// Steven Hansen
Keiji Inafune is at Anime Expo, which starts today in LA, to make a "special announcement," that "may interest Mega Man fans." The Mega Man co-creator left Capcom and formed Comcept, which recently has worked on two Meg...
Arslan photo
Arslan

Here's our first look at the Heroic Legend of Arslan Musou game


Finally, actual in-game footage
Jul 01
// Chris Carter
The Heroic Legend of Arslan is getting a Musuo game that will arrive in Japan later this year on PS3 and PS4. Arslan is a classic manga series that's pretty popular in the east (and just got a new anime series), th...

Review: J-Stars Victory VS+

Jun 28 // Laura Kate Dale
J-Stars Victory Vs+ (PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Vita) Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentRelease: June 26, 2015 (EU), June 30, 2015 (US) I may not be the most knowledgeable anime fan out there, but I'm always willing to try out a new series if it looks interesting. As such, I was pretty excited coming into J-Stars Victory VS+. I was hoping to experience well known characters I already knew, as well as finding new characters to get invested in and try watching going forward. Unfortunately, J-Stars Victory VS+ was a bit of a disappointment in that regard. The representations of characters I already knew didn't feel accurate and the hooks to get invested in new series just weren't there for me. So, as this is a fighting game first and foremost, let's talk about the fighting mechanics at play. Every character has one light attack button, a heavy attack button, a special attack button, a block and a dash. While these are tailored to each character, the movesets all feel very similar to play using. While it's cool to see Ichigo pull off a Getsuga Tensho and Goku a Kamehameha, both on a mechanical level act near identically. Every move is an approximation designed to fit a specific combat system's mold, which ultimately takes away some of what makes these characters unique. Defensive techniques like cancels are minimal, so if you wait for an attack animation to start then start mashing buttons you'll usually win. J-Stars Victory VS+ is not a game of skill, it's a game of waiting for any enemy to attempt anything slower than a light attack, interrupting with a light attack then button mashing while they remain locked in your combo. [embed]294934:59255:0[/embed] So, ignoring the fact the combat system itself lacks depth, lets look at how this functions as a pure fanservice game. Just looking at the numbers there is a lot here for fans of Shonen anime to love. There's representation from newer series like D.Gray-man as well as older series like Rurouni Kenshin and a whole host of series in between. There's even inclusions from my super niche sports anime, but only as support characters rather than full playable roster members. Damn, I was just about ready to praise this game for supporting my niche interests. So, let's talk about the modes on offer in J-Stars Victory VS+. There's J-Adventure, where you sail around the world on a tiny boat given to you by god to earn your way into a tournament of champions, where everyone involved seems perfectly fine with the fact god gave them a boat that couldn't get most of the places it needed to go and needlessly pads out the experience with narrative fluff between fights. This mode has four arcs, each of them near narratively identical. I couldn't see any reason players would want to go through all four of these, they're all equally padded and dull. Your other options are Victory Road which sets up special fights loosely themed around anime dream team fights, a standard Arcade mode which offers minimal challenge, local free battles and online free battles. None of these modes felt terribly coherent or fleshed out. On paper, the roster of nearly 40 playable characters is certainly impressive, but what makes these characters unique is rarely utilized fully. Each character's ultimate attack feels decidedly less visually impressive than comparable titles like Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4. The story mode offered on disk features static 2D images of characters that may say the odd single word to each other, but otherwise remain silent. Their dialogue feels terribly homogeneous, stripped down so that every character speaks with the same uniform voice. This doesn't feel like a series of characters clashing for the first time, rather it feels like one person in many different outfits badly acting out their alternative universe fanfiction. Where the games opening cinematic gave me hope for a visually impressive, fanservice heavy experience, the single player largely boiled down to watching static images talk to each other in a weirdly unemotional tone then fight for no adequately explained reason. It just wasn't compelling. Ultimately, J-Stars Victory VS+ only succeeds as numbers on paper, the game itself being largely disappointing. The roster have had much of what made them unique stripped down, stopping me getting truly excited about the characters I knew and preventing me getting a sense of which characters were worth me investing future time watching. The mechanics are shallow, the fanservice is surface level and it only succeeds in terms of its pure number of supported characters. Overall, I walked away rather disappointed. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
J-Stars Victory VS+ photo
Mash, mash, mash, mash, mash, mash......
J-Stars Victory VS+ is a game that's mechanically light, heavy on fanservice volume but that only ever skims the surface of the characters it includes. If you want an anime brawler that focuses on the sheer volume of anime ch...

Punch Line photo
Punch Line

999 and Zero Escape writer's new game coming to PS4, Vita


Punch Line
Jun 23
// Steven Hansen
What with Zero Escape not being profitable and the trilogy being put on hold, series writer and director Kotaro Uchikoshi (999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors) went and wrote an anime called Punch Line. It has a pretty ...
Eyes of Heaven photo
Eyes of Heaven

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Eyes of Heaven trailer, release date


2015 in Japan, first JoJo on PS4
Jun 20
// Steven Hansen
Tentacles, muscles, new characters, and a 2015 release date confirmation (in Japan). That's the new from this JoJo trailer for CyberConnect2's first PS4 entry in the series, Eyes of Heaven.  JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle just came to North America last year. I still haven't watched the show, but this looks as insane as people (and gifs) make it out to be.
Yandere Simulator photo
Yandere Simulator

Yandere Simulator lets you poison Japanese schoolgirls


Hey, I didn't use that much poi...
Jun 05
// Steven Hansen
We should talk more about Yandere Simulator, which we last covered when YouTube had a fit about its upskirt creep shots (an optional mechanic for gaining favors) and pulled development videos for sexual content. The Hitman-l...
Oculus' Henry photo
Oculus' Henry

It's the '90s again! Henry the hedgehog ships with Oculus Rift


If it were claymation he'd be Clay Henry
Jun 03
// Steven Hansen
I've been saying Oculus needed a mascot since 2014. I was thinking an anime girl. But I guess a hedgehog could work, too. Everything is cyclical. Henry is a VR movie from Oculus Story Studio directed by Ramiro Lopez Dau, an ...
Mega Man Star Force photo
Mega Man Star Force

Mega Man Star Force anime is now streaming online


13 episodes, dubbed
Jun 02
// Chris Carter
Viz Media has just announced that the Mega Man Star Force anime is up for streaming on Hulu and Neon Alley. It's the dubbed version of the show, which only featured 13 episodes -- a misnomer of sorts as it mixed in multi...

Review: Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven

Jun 02 // Chris Carter
Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven (3DS)Developer: MarvelousPublisher: Marvelous (JP), XSEED (EU, US)Released: October 2, 2014 (JP) / June 2, 2015 (US) / June 4, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $39.99 Magna puts you in the shoes of a humble innkeeper (whose name can be customized at the start), who made a promise to his father to always keep his doors open and be the best proprietor he can be. One day on a standard trip to a cave to gather crystals (a precious resource in this world), he encounters a group of monsters. Fearing death, he retreats to a corner hosting a giant crystal, and summons a magical Spirit Girl named Charlotte (an "Artemis") who saves the day, and pledges her loyalty to him. It gets really goofy from here, in a good way. Maiden Heaven quite literally lays the last bit of its moniker on thick, as Charlotte has six other sisters who end up joining the fray over the course of the game. The narrative is framed as a shonen journey at its core, and the tone and even the presentation remind me of Lunar: The Silver Star, all the way up to and including the short, voiced anime cutscenes that intro new characters -- which is definitely a compliment. It's technically a harem anime setup, but the sexual tension is very light outside of a few scenes (most of which are optional and involve a bathhouse that buffs your party). Plus, you can readily fast-forward any story scene in the game if you wish. As you progress through the game, you'll start to realize that the story is tertiary to your interaction with the Artemis sisters. Think "Social Links" from Persona but much less detailed, and you'll have an idea of what to expect. By talking to characters at hub zones you'll be able to embark upon sidequests, which allow you to increase your affinity towards certain characters, and thus, power up your combat synergy with them. It's an interesting system, mostly because you cannot schmooze everyone in the game. You have to choose between them somewhat, as a handful of these quests will automatically cause the core story to continue. [embed]293142:58774:0[/embed] Magna has a really cool animation style that hosts chibi character models but is also insanely detailed, and for the most part, it works. Backgrounds are fairly stunning on the 3DS even without the 3D effect, and individual moving parts like a random Newton's cradle on a desk look great. The big problem with Magna though is that there is little to no exploration involved. It almost feels like at one point there were going to be massive hubs (you can see a few during quests), but they were cut for time. Instead, cutscenes are the only real way you're going to see Magna's sprawling kingdoms, and even the world map is a boring series of cutscenes. Speaking of cut for time, the English voice acting cast is great, but actual voicework is sparse, and mostly for combat actions and the first few bits of dialogue within a scene. It's unfortunate. Combat, on the other hand, is always a joy to play, and doesn't feel rushed in the slightest. It's a turn-based top-down strategic affair, but it's also grid-less, similar to Valkyria Chronicles. Instead, individual characters have a certain speed rating to determine their turn, and a movement radius. You can traverse anywhere within said radius, and then either defend, attack, or use an item. It's standard stuff, but the way combat actually plays out is just as over-the-top as its cast. The main goal with Magna's battles is to topple as many enemies as possible. Most baddies are grouped up in a formation, with a leader surrounded by tons of minions -- the former of which can summon more as long as he remains alive. For the most part, you'll want to run into these groups and hit an outside member to smash them into others, who fall over like bowling pins.  10-hit combos will grant you extra turns, so it's in your best interest to smash up piles of enemies in rapid succession. It's not the deepest system but it never gets old. Thankfully, individual scenarios have a decent amount of variety to them thanks to random items scattered about the battlefield, like explosive bombs and health potions. It might be turn-based but it doesn't really feel that way if you act quickly, and once you start acquiring more party members you'll have quite a bit of firepower to work with. The standard difficulty setting is spot-on, offering a decent enough challenge right out of the gate. You can also adjust the difficulty on the fly if you want. If you fail a level you can reform your party instantly and buy items before the battle, which is a really cool feature. Lord of Magna has seven endings in all, one for each sister. It's not an extremely lengthy JRPG though, as most of the replay value and extra content is hidden behind this gimmick. Since you can't see all of them in one playthrough it encourages you to do it all over again, but I'm not so sure a lot of folks out there will do that. Personally, I was happy enough with one completion, but years down the line I can see coming back for more. I enjoyed my time with Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven, despite the fact that it felt a tad unfinished at times. The combat system is fast-paced, the cast is likable, and the animation style looks excellent on Nintendo's newest portable. If you curb your expectations a bit, strategy-oriented JRPG fans will find a charming little flawed adventure in Magna. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Lord of Magna photo
Go go Harem Rangers
It's a miracle that Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven even exists. The project was unceremoniously halted after Rune Factory developer Neverland declared bankruptcy, and publisher Marvelous actually re-assembled part of the team t...


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