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NIS at E3 2014 photo
NIS at E3 2014

NIS takes us to an island paradise, battles us, then travels back in time

A new series mingles with sequels at NIS' E3 preview
Jun 16
// Natalie Kipper
NIS was a bit of a hidden treasure at E3. The publisher shared a booth with Atlus and it took me stopping and actually looking at what was on display at the demo station to put two and two together. The search was well worth it because I was rewarded with a closer look at three upcoming titles: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Disgaea 4: A Promise Revisited, and Natural Doctrine.

Story of Seasons wants you to connect with your inner farmer

Jun 16 // Natalie Kipper
Story of Seasons puts additional emphasis the "lifestyle" aspect of the game. For the first time, there will be other farmers in your town to interact with. At times, you may be competing with them (like during festivals) and at other times, you will be working together. The Japanese game's subtitle translates to "Connect to a New World" and you can really see that theme appearing over and over again. One of the nice touches in which that idea plays out is the lack of a shipping box. I know, I know. Heresy, right? But, hear me out. Rather than just stuffing your goods in a box and never knowing where they go, Story of Seasons has you trading with other countries in the game's world. Send the citizens goods that they particularly crave and you'll get a postcard back. Little touches like that endear me to this title.  The game wants you to connect not only with the NPCs but also with other players. Using Wi-Fi, players can visit each others' farms. That may sound a tad simple but the rewards you reap from the experience flesh out the feature. Visiting friends can help with things like cheering you on as you work or watering your crops. Your friend's efforts may lead to rare crops growing. Sounds like incentive enough to me. Speaking of rare crops, Nintendo collaborated with the developers on this project, adding in some traditional Super Mario Bros. flora to the ecosystem. Thanks to this partnership, your farmer will be able to grow a Fire Flower, Super Mushroom, and a Super Star (okay, so that last one isn't really flora). These crops aren't just for show either. They'll have special effects. The Super Star, for example, will prevent crops from going bad for a period of time. What might have been considered the more tedious parts of previous games in the series are now streamlined. I'll freely admit how grateful I am that, right off the bat, 3 by 3 square plots can be seeded, watered and harvested at once. To most people, it may sound like a small thing and yes, in previous incarnations you could eventually upgrade your equipment to do this but I just love that the developers got rid of the process altogether. I think the new, quicker method actually adds to the experience, allowing you to focus more on other aspects of the game.  Beyond farming, customization looks like a big part of the experience. You can design the look of your farmer along with the layout of your farm as well as certain areas of the town. Some of the previous titles gave you free reign over your town's layout but Story of Season's has limited it to sections of land that you win ownership of during festival competitions. I can see some people being disappointed at this design choice but it looks like there will still be plenty for those customization maniacs to meticulously plan. And can we just take a moment to admire the game's aesthetic? Look through the screenshots in the gallery and if those happy critters in the lush meadows don't warm the cockles of your potentially jaded heart, I don't know what game will. I certainly came down with a case of the warm fuzzies. Get ready to reconnect with the land when Story of Seasons releases this winter.
Story of Seasons photo
The pastoral life never looked so friendly
Fans of farming and lifestyle sims are no doubt familiar with the confusion surrounding the Bokujō Monogatari series. Natsume owned the trademark on the English title, Harvest Moon, but XSEED had the relationship wi...

Akiba's Trip photo
Akiba's Trip

Pull off strangers' clothes for fun and profit in Akiba's Trip

Who knew vampires like the taste of otaku?
Jun 13
// Natalie Kipper
Being an otaku has its drawbacks, chief among them apparently is that they're the favorite food of the "Synthisters," blood-sucking beings who walk in the daytime. Now, you, a newly-bitten Synthister, must fight back against ...
Senran Kagura photo
Senran Kagura

E3's Senran Kagura showcase is both titillating and ridiculous

Ninja gals show off their assets at E3 2014
Jun 13
// Natalie Kipper
The Senran Kagura series takes fan-service to new heights in the upcoming brawler Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus and Senran Kagura Bon Appetít!, a rhythm cooking game. Both titles were available to demo at XSEED's booth at E3 2014.

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