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New pac-Man photo
New pac-Man

Namco has made another Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures


Pac it in, man
Apr 22
// Steven Hansen
Coming to PS3, 360, Wii U, and 3DS this fall, a sequel to "an emotionless venture that's devoid of any soul or effort." I guess Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which is based on the new Pac-Man television series, did well enough to warrant a sequel.

Review: Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

Mar 19 // Wesley Ruscher
Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z (Xbox 360 [reviewed], PS3)Developer: ArtdinkPublisher: Namco BandaiReleased: January 28, 2014 MSRP: $59.99 Since the Budokai series on the PlayStation 2, Dragon Ball Z fans have been trudging through the same tired story on a seemingly annual basis. Battle of Z, as both a positive and negative, embraces that many fans have been there and done that. While it’s refreshing to not be bogged down with the same reprized scenes that made the series what it is today, the utter lack of any true presentations makes the whole experience feel rather lackluster. Instead the focus is on four-versus-four team battles. The single-player portion takes players across the same locals that any seasoned DBZ fan has visited numerous times, but now with the expansiveness that cramming eight fighters into an area can afford. Bigger areas to zip through and teleport around, combined with destructible environments like rocks and trees, while enjoyable at first only add later to the tedium of trying to finish off a fleeing opponent. There are 60 missions to fight through culminating in the Kid Buu Saga, but for the most part even when things mix up slightly -- like taking on a single Great Ape Vegeta -- they feel the same since combat typically falls upon the same rinse and repeat tactics. Additionally, in incorporating teams of four into each battle, much of the anime’s canon is thrown out the window, especially when you decide that four Gokus are better than any team with Yamcha on it. Online play is where Battle of Z is hoping to capture the biggest draw for its players. Sadly, a month out of release and the community is all but barren. In fact, I have only found one online match to date and was promptly kicked. The game allows for both cooperative battle -- that I can only assume makes the mission mode more enjoyable -- and team battle modes. Team battle ranges from standard four-versus-four affairs to eight-player free-for-alls, and even has a capture the Dragon Balls mode, but alas since I have no friends playing online and with the complete omission of any local play, I can only imagine that these modes offer more strategy and excitement than the rather mundane single-player offering. [embed]272149:53038:0[/embed] Perhaps single-player missions would be more engaging if Battle of Z felt like more than just a multiplayer serving of the series’ past titles. Combat is regulated to simple button presses to execute each of the character’s special and normal moves. Combos rely on basic, repetitive button tapping and don’t require much skill to execute. It’s the same formula for fighting the series is known for, and even amid the larger scale of events nothing ever amounts to anything more than isolated one-on-one encounters. It may be four-on-four, but aside from the occasional team up or chase attack, things boil down to the standards that made Dragon Ball Z games what they are today. The only things that truly augment combat are the trading cards and the ability to issue basic support commands to teammates. Trading cards are earned after missions and allow each character to be modified and customized to a player's liking. Stats like strength, speed, and Ki can be increased to make characters near godlike with the right selection. I can only imagine this leading to everyone using the same builds online, but as I stated earlier online (at least on Xbox 360) is near extinct. As for issuing commands, they are regulated to different directions on the D-pad. Players can ask their team to focus on fighting, defense, team attacks, or going all out. For the most part the AI reacts properly, but aside from when I asked my squad to go on defense, I never really felt they acted too different. Then again when are fights in Dragon Ball Z presented as anything less than all out? Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z could have been something special with its eight-player battles. Prior games have been all style and no substance and unfortunately the latest is more of the same, possibly even less thanks to its bare-bones presentation. If you’re a huge fan of the iconic anime looking for even more fighting action -- and you have friends who are willing to fork out the cash to join you online -- there is some enjoyment to be had. For everyone else, aside from the increased multiplayer, you've already played this before.
Dragon Ball Z reviewed photo
More like Battle of ZzzZzz
On paper, the thought of participating in an eight-player Dragon Ball Z battle sounds like the stuff of fanboy dreams. Blasting Kamehamehas across the chasms of Namek while fighting alongside your favorite Saiyans could be as...

Super Heroine Chronicle photo
Super Heroine Chronicle

Super Heroine Chronicle is one game NA will never see


Though stranger things have happened
Jan 25
// Wesley Ruscher
If it's one thing An American Tale taught me, it's to "never say never." But come on, what really are the chances of Super Heroine Chronicle landing on North American shores? It takes the mash-up wackiness of the Super Robot...
Soulcalibur: Lost Swords photo
Soulcalibur: Lost Swords

Three more enter the mix in Soulcalibur: Lost Swords


Astaroth, Pyrrha, and Nightmare oh my!
Dec 22
// Wesley Ruscher
I like Soulcalibur II HD Online, but boy oh boy is the online a nightmare. Because of this, I'm holding my breath with the free-to-play offering Namco is whipping up for the next installment of their fabled fighter: Soulcalib...

Review: Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers

Dec 04 // Wesley Ruscher
Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers (PS3, available through PSN only)Developer: DimpsPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease Date: November 26, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers is a fighting game, much in the style of past Dragon Ball Z and Naruto brawlers. Big, beautiful anime characters pulled straight out of their 2D cartoons and transformed into impressively shiny 3D models. In fact if you’ve played any of the Dragon Ball Budokai titles, you’ll be right at home since its developer Dimps also made this game. Like the aforementioned titles, Saint Seiya presents its single-player campaign in the form of letting players relive a part of the story. Whereas DBZ might take players through different sagas (Vegeta, Cell, Androids) Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers runs the gauntlet of three story arcs of its own. Told through a series of pictures and fully voiced Japanese dialog with subtitles, players get to recreate battles from the Sanctuary, Poseidon, and Hades arcs. While I would have liked to seen animation from the show intertwined throughout, what is there paints the picture well enough with (from what I can only assume) the voices from the original show acting out through in-game character models all the angst and drama one would expect. There’s a lot of shouting and evil laughs, but if you’re into the spirit of a fighting anime you’ll be right at home. Which transitions quite exceptionally into the actual fights once they begin. [embed]266797:51672:0[/embed] During each battle in the story mode, characters continue whatever argument that had going on -- though the subtitles can be hard to follow in a heated match -- as they try to pummel one another into oblivion. Additionally this is where the game’s presentation shines the brightest. Every character looks fantastic and is animated down to every last detail of the elaborate costumes. Hair and cloth bounce and sway to the rhythm of the fight and the special effects, especially the Ultimate Cosmos attacks, are beautiful beyond words. Like summon spells from any modern Final Fantasy title, these ultimates border the line of insanity for some characters (my favorite going to Sea Horse Baian, whose tidal wave tornado left my jaw on the floor from its absurdity). They are truly a sight to behold, even if they do begin to where thin with repetition. Unfortunately, the rest of Brave Soldiers' fighting isn’t as spectacular. While all the staples of the genre are present: combos, air juggles, specials, supers, counters, and meter management; fights tend to always boil down to remembering the most powerful combo string and then repeating 'til victory. Story mode attempts to freshen things up, with matches that give players and enemies strength and or health restrictions or improvements, but all they tend to do is affect the duration of the fight. It’s a shame there isn’t more strategy to implement throughout, as the game is real easy to get into and does a great job of making you feel like a god (or I guess in this case a saint) with all the spectacular special effects the game whizzes across the screen. And even as it cool as it looks, the lack of a deep fighting system is even more evident against actual human opponents too. My time with multiplayer was often extremely boring. Most human players I ran across, who’d spent a decent amount of time unlocking some of the more powerful characters in the game (there are over 50 characters, though a good few are just alternate costume versions), resulted in the same tactic of spamming projectiles and then dashing around the ring until time expired -- or, I let them kill me to just get it over with. When the action does get up close, most combos are constantly interrupted with each player teleporting behind one another to avoid the full damage of the exchange. Teleportation costs one bar of meter, but since meter is something that can charged up with the press of a button -- and additionally built through giving and receiving damage -- it’s often rare to land something truly damaging on a human player. For the most part my internet connectivity was solid enough to not notice any noticeable lag. With the game’s simple inputs, timing isn’t as demanding as it is in a fighting game like SoulCalibur II. There are ranked matches -- complete with a league ranking system -- and, better yet, unranked fighting that has lobbies and a spectator mode. Who would have thought it possible for a Namco fighter? The rest of the game serves up a decent amount of distractions for both single- and multiplayer get-togethers. My two favorite modes, Survival and Galaxy, both have some unique features. For starters, Survival mode is more than just your typical fight until you die or defeat every opponent scenario. How it works -- depending on the level of difficulty chosen -- is players choose, from a list, what fights they want to partake in. Win the right amount of fights, on a single lifebar that recharges slightly after each battle, and the mode is complete. Pretty straightforward, but what makes it stand out is each fight has its own bonus challenges (like win without jumping or with 50 percent of your life remaining) that if completed add to your score. It can become fairly challenging to attempt some of the harder challenges while trying to keep your health intact to make it through the duration of fights. Galaxy mode is essentially a single-elimination tournament that can be enjoyed by up eight human players. The fights break down into one-on-one affairs until one fighter is left standing. Again it’s nothing too spectacular, but what made it a kick for me is the announcer that calls the action during the fight. He’s no Jim Ross, and you do have to read the subtitles on the screen to know what’s going on, but paired with the chanting and poorly animated crowd in the stands it’s pretty hilarious. Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers is a decent tribute to anime series that never caught much attention this side of the Pacific. The fighting is pretty looking, but very barebones; the music is catchy, but repetitive; and all the extra modes while solid, don’t do much to make this title truly stand out. Fans of the Naruto: Shippuden and the Dragon Ball Z fighters will feel unfulfilled, but for loyalists of Saint Seiya, Brave Soldiers offers just enough fanfare to make this worth the time.
Saint Seiya reviewed! photo
Even the brave can fall
I’ve never seen as much tragedy in a fighting game before I played Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers. Maybe I should have been more prepared with a fighting game based on the lore of the classic anime, but as a casual partake...

Cyber Monday photo
Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday Deal: Ni No Kuni for $9.99


Slew of deals over at the Namco Bandai Shop
Dec 01
// Wesley Ruscher
If you haven't had your fill of Black Friday deals, then Namco Bandai might just have a few more to keep you busy over the long winter drought. Over at their CLUB NAMCO store, a few deals are currently running and are good th...

Review: Soulcalibur II HD Online

Nov 26 // Wesley Ruscher
Soulcalibur II HD Online (PSN, XBLA [reviewed])Developer: Project SoulPublisher: Namco BandaiRelease Date: November 20, 2013MSRP: $19.99 Soulcalibur II HD Online is visually breathtaking. It’s so impressive that a newcomer might not know this is actually a high definition update to a nearly 10-year-old game. In fact, I had to go grab my copy of Soulcalibur V just to remember how far we've come in the graphics department since the original. From the lighting to the textures that permeate each arena, this is how an HD update should be handled. Everything, aside from some last, last-gen hair physics, holds up and looks fantastic. The Soulcalibur series has always radiated a sense of beauty -- from the outlandishly ornate costumes, down to its buxom and chiseled fighters -- but this HD remake is a true testament to the game’s art style, as rarely do polygonal based games of this age hold up so well. [embed]266427:51577:0[/embed] Unfortunately, the other addition to the remake’s title, “online,” leaves much to be desired. For starters, Soulcalibur II HD Online’s online mode is about as minimal as it gets, offering a mere two modes: ranked and player match. Ranked mode is typical to the genre, allowing players to duke it out in attempts to improve their overall online rankings. Player match, on the other hand -- a mode for casual fights -- is severely lacking some rudimentary features found in most fighters. There are no lobbies to join and no spectator mode to watch; it just drops you into a fight then boots you straight back to the main menu once it’s over. If you want to spend a long night fighting with a friend online, be ready to have to constantly recreate private matches and then invite them again over and over. Worse, without lobbies, there is no way to have multiple friends queued up for an endless night of fun. I’m not sure what the logic was for omitting simple lobbies from the online mode, but it’s a huge misstep. Soulcalibur II’s heart lies not just in its competitive nature, but also in its ability to create a fun nights with friends. To not be able to share the same experience online with friends, in this day and age, is a tragedy. These exclusions are even more unfortunate as the online gameplay itself isn't very good. There is a ton of input lag that is highly noticeable for competitive players. Sure, it might only be milliseconds, but that can make all the difference in executing a successful parry, block, or combo string. My time in rank matches bordered on frustration as I constantly fell to the slew of Talim and Taki players (the game’s quickest characters) that I ran across. With a game so clearly focused on ranked matches, having fights boil down to who can mash the fastest will clearly disappoint devoted fans once the nostalgia high comes crashing down. For casual play, the connection is adequate with rarely any actual slowdown (as long as you are fighting someone in relative proximity to where you live), but there is still much room to improve. Soulcalibur IV’s online suffered from the same fate, which is the reason why so many stopped playing long before the series’ fifth installment. Hopefully, the folks at Namco are working on a patch, but with a release this late in the Xbox 360 and PS3’s lifespan, I wouldn't count on it. If online isn't your cup of tea though, the rest of Soulcalibur II HD Online serves up enough delicious morsels to make it worth your while. As I previously mentioned, when Soulcalibur II first graced consoles many, many moons ago, it was the envy of every arcade-to-home conversion. Packed in the game was a plethora of diverse modes and bonuses to keep even the most casual of fighting game players engaged for countless hours and this HD upgrade contains them all intact (Well almost, as while Spawn and Heihachi are here, Link sadly didn't make the cut).   Aside from the standard arcade and versus modes, there are survival, team battle, time attack, training, and a brilliant RPG-esque outing known as “Weapon Master Mode.” Weapon Master Mode is where players will spend the majority of their single-player time, as it the easiest way to unlock and purchase new costumes, weapons, arenas, special modes (like the Weapon Exhibition theater), and the games remaining characters. And though it may seem like a chore, by today’s fighting game standards to have to unlock a good portion of the roster (something I had hoped wouldn't have been the case for online play), Weapon Master Mode’s fun twist on the base Soulcalibur gameplay -- many of the missions require battles happen under extreme circumstances such as fighting while poisoned or over deadly quicksand -- makes it all worth the energy. Soulcalibur II HD Online is a nearly flawless update of a decade old title. While it’s unfortunate that the online mode isn't nearly as polished as the rest of the game, the true soul of the game has never looked so beautiful. Hopefully Namco works out the kinks in the netcode, but even with its shortcomings there is more than enough game here to warrant another go with this fighting game classic.
Soulcalibur II reviewed! photo
A soul reborn
Transcending more than just history, Soulcalibur II was the envy of every arcade-to-home conversion back in 2003. A feature-rich fighter, Namco’s weapon-based brawler exemplified perfection with deep mechanics, memorabl...

Saint Seiya photo
Saint Seiya

Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers hits PS3 November 26


Do not pass retail, go straight to PSN
Nov 24
// Wesley Ruscher
Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers' destiny clashes this Tuesday, November 26, when it smashes its way onto North American PlayStation 3's. Released last week in Europe, both at retail and on PSN, the NA version of the game is fore...
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New subtitled Tales of Symphonia Chronicles trailer


Hug it out
Sep 30
// Dale North
Here's a nice, long trailer for Tales of Symphonia Chronicles, the upcoming PS3 game, set to launch next year in both North America and Europe. It's in Japanese with subtitles, and contains a lot of hugging, yelling, and swo...
F2P Soul Calibur photo
F2P Soul Calibur

Free-to-play Soul Calibur: Lost Swords announced for PS3


But how will they fight without their swords?
Sep 11
// Steven Hansen
Namco seems to be lovingly embracing the free-to-play model. The free Tekken Revolution is doing well enough that it added new, original characters. The free-to-play PC and PS3 racer Ridge Racer Driftopia just went up on Stea...

These Tales inspired cosplays will soothe your soul

Aug 06 // Wesley Ruscher
Tales of Xillia: Jude Mathis [Yuzu] Elise Lutus [MangaFreak150] Tales of Graces: Sophie [Lumis-Mirage] Malik Caesar [Saiaphi] Pascal [r-lowen] Tales of Vesperia: Yuri Lowell [~bai917] Flynn Scifo [mrdustinn] Tales of the Abyss: Luke fon Fabre [EliotCosplay] & Tear Grants [Ferny-Cosplay] Natalia Luzu Kimlasca-Lanvaldear [Lust-ik] Tales of Symphonia: Colette Brunel [Orga-Kuttie-Tarka] Sheena Fujibayashi [SutekiGo] & Zelos Wilder [KitsuneFaerie] Lloyd Irving [ShamanRenji] Tales of Destiny: Stahn Aileron [regzo]
Cosplay photo
A collection of heroes from past to present
It only took two years for the thirteenth flagship title in the Tales series to reach western shores, but now that Tales of Xillia has finally arrived what better way to celebrate than with a collection of some fantastic cosp...

New Tekken character photo
New Tekken character

Female Vampire wins Tekken Revolution character poll


Muscle Pac-Man was almost a choice
Jul 22
// Chris Carter
Remember that poll that would decide the next brand new character in the Tekken franchise? Well it looks like we have a winner -- the Female Vampire. Right behind her were the "Female Tekken Force" character, and Shin Kamiya,...
Katamari Damacy photo
Katamari Damacy

Katamari Damacy trundles to PlayStation Network next week


Roll up all the things!
Apr 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Katamari Damacy is coming to PlayStation Network! Announced during this week's PlayStation Blogcast, the first entry in Namco Bandai's acid trip of a series is set to arrive as a part of next Tuesday's PlayStation Store ...
Project X Zone photo
Project X Zone

Project X Zone rocks out with an English trailer


Also, Limited Edition copies are free at launch
Apr 11
// Chris Carter
After a long wait, Project X Zone is nearly here. Set to launch on June 25, this Namco Bandai, Capcom, and Sega crossover will feature characters from Mega Man to Bruce Willis. Namco Bandai has just announced today that "for...
Tales of Xillia photo
Tales of Xillia

Tales of Xillia coming to PlayStation 3 in August


Just a little bit longer
Apr 07
// Kyle MacGregor
At long last, Tales of Xillia has a North American release date! Namco Bandai has announced the highly-anticipated role-playing game will finally make its way to western shores starting August 6. Initially released ...
New PSP games! photo
New PSP games!

PSP RPG Sword Art Online looks surprisingly good


An RPG based on an anime about an MMO
Feb 10
// Kyle MacGregor
Let's face it, the Vita is struggling. But that doesn't mean one of Sony's handhelds isn't doing well. Despite the presence of sexy new technology, the PlayStation Portable is still enjoying quite a bit of success&...
New Wii games! photo
New Wii games!

Namco Bandai reveals first footage of latest Wii project


Pretty Cure All-Stars: All Together Let's Dance video get!
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Every Viking burial needs some sacrificial offerings to help fuel the funeral pyre. As luck would have it, Namco Bandai has at least one more parting gift to present before the Wii begins its journey into the afterlife. ...
Ni no Kuni photo
Ni no Kuni

Ni no Kuni arrives on PSN next week as a digital release


Level-5 on your hard drive
Jan 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is almost finally here. The long-awaited game may be arriving exclusively on PlayStation 3 next week, but that doesn't mean players won't have a choice of where to grab it. The PlaySt...
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Namco is planning a restaurant-gaming concept


Pac-Man pie?
Jan 04
// Chris Carter
Polygon has learned of the existence of a restaurant/gaming fusion project that may interest those of you in the US. The project, initially titled "Level 256" (the final levels of Pac-Man and Dig Dug), will deliver high-end f...
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Promoted blog: Why I'm worried Project X Zone will be bad


...and how perverted devs got it right
Oct 10
// Cutie Honey
[Dtoid community blogger Cutie Honey shares his concerns about the upcoming game from Monolith Soft, Project X Zone. For an opposing viewpoint, see our own Dale North's thoughts on the game. (Let it never be said that Dt...
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Smash Bros. is a 'big priority' For Namco


Jul 10
// Chris Carter
Although Namco's involvement with the new Wii U Smash Bros. game was namedropped in the last Nintendo Direct stream, we weren't really sure of the magnitude of their involvement -- until today that is. In an inteview with Now...
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What Namco Bandai characters should be in Smash Bros.?


Jul 06
// Chad Concelmo
The news that Namco Bandai would be teaming up with Project Sora to develop the next game in the beloved Smash Bros. series was unexpected, but very exciting. Namco Bandai is a talented developer responsible for some pretty m...
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Inversion weaponizes gravity for PS3, PC & 360 on Tuesday


Jun 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Inversion is one of those games with the unfortunate distinction of launching during the week of E3. Namco's forthcoming third-person shooter looks like it could be surprisingly good, but that's unlikely to matter what ...
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If there's one thing next month's Street Fighter X Tekken is trying to be, it's accessible. Besides combining one of the deepest fighting game casts -- since Capcom dabbled with the SNK crew -- the dream fighter is throwing ...

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Namco details upcoming Vita game add-ons


Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Namco has announced their DLC plans for the Playstation Vita, and they involve launch titles Ridge Racer, Shinobido 2, and Touch My Katamari. Ridge Racer will be getting a ton of content, including a gold pass program (secret...
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Get your fight on! Namco X Capcom Fight Club


Nov 12
// Becca Roberts
On Saturday, December 3rd at the Namco Station in London, Capcom and Namco are teaming up for an extra special UK Christmas Fight Club, featuring an extra special guest: producer of the Tekken series, Harada-san!! He will be there throughout the day to watch over the glorious fighting not only from some of the best in the UK but from you guys as well, if you think you can handle it that is...
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Soulcalibur V's collector's edition detailed


Oct 21
// Wesley Ruscher
So we know the date, the special guest character, and the pre-order incentive, but what about the uber-fancy collector's edition? Well thanks to Namco, we know that too. Coming in a delectable, collectable book box case, the ...
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Dampierre comes to Soulcalibur V as a pre-order bonus


Oct 21
// Wesley Ruscher
  If you played Soulcalibur: Broken Destiny then you may already be familiar with this quirky jack-of-all-trades and self proclaimed master assassin. Luckily for those of you who missed out on the PSP-only offering, Namc...
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TGS: Enjoy this gallery of Street Fighter X Tekken art


Sep 17
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Well here's a nice surprise! While I was looking for assets for Street Fighter X Tekken I came across a folder full of delicious artwork based on each character that's been revealed so far in the upcoming fighter. Even art for Rolento, Lili, Zangief and Heihachi, who were all revealed as playable characters at Tokyo Game Show this week. Enjoy!

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