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Namco Bandai

Review: Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

Feb 10 // Chris Carter
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth (PS4 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: Media VisionPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: February 2, 2016MSRP: $59.99 Cyber Sleuth stands tall as a cute, vibrant adventure full of interesting setpieces. For those of you who scared of hearing "Arurururu-mon" over and over like previous iterations, the tone is amusing without being too cutesy and annoying, and the option to turn off monster voices in battle helps (I'm sure people would love that for Pokemon). In other words, Media Vision found a good balance between the series' mature and childish elements. The developer has also gone full Internet again. In this edition, your avatar is at the epicenter of a cyber world, complete with Digimon battles and a personified world wide web. The setting is EDEN, a virtual consumer-oriented network run by Kamishiro Enterprises, that prides itself on shopping first and foremost, which the game has mild commentary on to boot. Over the years, viruses and hacking have started to run rampant as a fringe movement, however, and that's where said monsters come in. EDEN is beautiful, to put it bluntly. The blank skies are actually an endearing quality that help differentiate it from many other renditions of the Internet, and the upbeat soundtrack is reminiscent of the Persona series in all the best ways. Avatars also chat about real locations like Roppongi and Shinjuku, and it's generally fun to hang around the world even without a purpose, just like in the .hack games. This is partially because the world is believable. The team put a lot of work into building up its lore and foundation. [embed]340181:62208:0[/embed] Cyber Sleuth doesn't exactly look like a current-generation RPG (mostly because it was originally released on the Vita in Japan), but the brief anime cutscenes help breathe some life into it. As a note, the entire cast is comprised of Japanese voices, and the avatar (male or female, your choice) is mostly a silent partner, only speaking to him or herself. The rest of the characters probably talk half of the time. This halfheartedness spills over to the story somewhat, because while the universe itself is compelling, the "hacker" angle doesn't really go anywhere, and suffers from an overly long intro/tutorial section. The Persona comparisons don't stop at the presentation. The world map is also a menu, with larger hub worlds to explore after making a selection. It's deceptively large, because while it's not truly open world (or even open map like Final Fantasy games), you'll unlock so many areas over the course of your adventure that it will take quite a while to explore them all fully. Since you can save nearly anywhere (Cross-Save is also in), the segmented zones don't become anything more than a minor nuisance. The battle system is basically everything you've seen before from the past few decades of JRPGs. There's an easy-to-read timeline on the side showing turn order, and your 'mon can attack, use a skill, guard, or change out. Yes, random battles are in, which is either deliciously or inexcusably old-school, depending on your tastes. At this point in my life, I'm kind of at a middle-ground mindset. I still love JRPGs dearly, especially those with great world-building and infectious casts, but I can do without the random battles. At the very least, it would be nice to see enemies on-screen -- or, as several games have done lately (such as Bravely Default or the modern Final Fantasy re-releases), allow the option to eliminate them at will, though you can reduce the frequency at some point. As expected, 'mon can level up to gain new skills, and since each one can house up to 20, it can get very deep very quickly, especially when you consider that there's over 240 in all. Party members also follow you, which is a nice touch as you're wading through all of the random battles. Feeding, a DigiFarm meta-game, a lab that levels up non-active 'mons, and evolution are also in, so there's plenty to mess around with if you aren't feeling up to a dungeon crawl at any moment. Said dungeons, however, are mostly linear. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth plays it safe in a lot of ways, but for many of you out there, that's going to be perfectly fine. Just don't expect it to convert you if you're sworn off the formula. [This review is based on a retail version of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
Digimon Story review photo
More Persona than Pokemon
For the past week or so, people have been asking me non-stop if we're going to review Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. I wasn't actually sure if Bandai Namco was going to send a copy (it sent everything else), so for the gam...

Dark Souls III photo
Dark Souls III

Come watch Dark Souls III's opening cinematic


Scholars of the First Spoiler
Feb 08
// Joe Parlock
Bandai Namco and From Software have released the opening cinematic of Dark Souls III. Be warned, though, as it obviously contains massive spoilers for both the story and, presumably, at least some of the bosses. They're ver...
Pokken photo
Pokken

'All' amiibo figures will work with Pokken Tournament


Puttin' those toys to work
Feb 08
// Chris Carter
According to an official listing from Nintendo's website, "all" amiibo figures will be compatible with Pokkén Tournament for Wii U, and will unlock "in-game items" upon use. While we've known that using the Shadow Mewt...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Tekken 7 Retribution updates Steven 'Don't Call Him Steve' Fox's outfit


Oh and Akuma has an EX meter
Feb 05
// Chris Carter
Bandai Namco has provided a ton of new screens for Tekken 7 Retrbution, their update of sorts to the base game, and it gives us a few new looks at characters like Paul, Hwoarang, Devil Jin, Alisa, and of course, Fox. Interest...

Dragon Ball photo
Dragon Ball

Dragon Ball Xenoverse sold the most in America


Europe was second
Feb 05
// Chris Carter
Europe may love its One Piece, but North America loves its Dragon Ball. Bandai Namco has shared the sales statistics for Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and they clock in at a massive 3.13 million copies shipped. Shipped, sold, whatev...
Pokken photo
Pokken

Learn how to play Pokken Tournament with this instructional video


Helpful even if you don't know Japanese
Feb 04
// Chris Carter
I think Pokken Tournament is pretty easy to pick up, and within a few sessions of playing it in arcades I had the hang of it. But if you haven't been able to take the trip out to Japan to experience it, this video is the...

Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4

Feb 04 // Laura Kate Dale
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: Cyber Connect 2Publisher: Bandai NamcoReleased: February 9, 2016MSRP: $49.99 Much like the previous Ninja Storm games, this is a combination of 3D multiplayer fighting with a truncated re-telling of the story of Shippuden. Starting in the midst of The Great Ninja War, Ultimate Ninja Storm 4's story mode tells the same tale as the manga and anime, cutting out any side action and pruning what’s left to the bare essentials. Where did Kakashi get his Sharingan? Who is the guy in the orange mask? Will Naruto ever convince people to “believe it”? As a reminder of the story’s progression and to round off my enjoyment of Naruto, Ninja Storm 4 was a solid, satisfying experience. Featuring full English and Japanese voice tracks from the cast of the anime, the story mode tends to switch between ten-minute chunks of anime cutscene and short fight sequences as appropriate. There's an awful lot of watching compared to playing, but as someone looking to get through the story, that suited me just fine. The combat, which remains unchanged between the single-player story and multiplayer modes, favours style over substance. Characters use the same combo button presses and control in much the same way as each other. The primary difference between the cast is in visual flourish, the speed at which they move, and the type of over-the-top special attack they employ. It's designed so that once you have wrapped your head around controlling one character, you can switch and play as another with very little additional practice needed. [embed]338210:62087:0[/embed] In versus mode, you pick three characters from which to build a team. While you can switch characters mid-battle, the most interesting aspect of team selection is that pairing together characters with pre-existing narrative ties can result in the ability to perform special combination moves unique to the game. Put Sasuke and Naruto together, for example, and you'll see a pretty cool-looking lightning Chidori Rasengan combination attack. This simplification of combat mechanics is, in many ways, a welcome blessing, as the roster in Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is enormous. There are multiple variants of the main cast with unique move-sets, everyone from end-of-the-story villains to minor characters. I spent hours with the game just trying to see every character's top-end skills pulled off, and am well aware there's a whole bunch of combination attacks I still have not seen. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 is fairly simple as a fighting game, and has evolved little mechanically over past iterations. Thankfully for me, it really didn't need to do either of those things. It's an extravagant, over-the-top spectacle where you get to watch teenage ninjas blow up chunks of the planet using magic attacks, and that's pretty cool. If, like me, you fell off the Naruto bandwagon during the early parts of Ninja War, it's a great way to put a few hours in and still know how the whole narrative ended up playing out. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Naruto photo
Simple, flashy, over the top
Almost a decade ago, in my mid-teens, I was hugely into Naruto. As a socially awkward nerd who had just discovered that Dragon Ball Z and Sailor Moon were part of a larger media genre, I spent years avidly following the adven...

One Piece photo
One Piece

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 pushes one million copies, sold worst in North America


Europe came close to Japan!
Feb 03
// Chris Carter
It's pretty well known that there are a lot of European One Piece fans out there (which is why they got this EU-specific special edition), and now hard data from Bandai Namco supports that fact. According to the publishe...
Tales of Symphonia photo
Tales of Symphonia

There's already a fix for Tales of Symphonia's bad PC port


You can always count on Durante
Feb 02
// Jordan Devore
Tales of Symphonia released on Steam this week, and buyer beware -- you're in for a scare. Bandai Namco's PC version is based on the PS3 port of the PS2 port of the cherished 2003 GameCube title, and even by modest standards,...
Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

So Chandelure actually looks pretty badass in Pokken Tournament


Home Depot: The Fighting Game
Jan 31
// Alissa McAloon
I stopped buying Pokémon games about when Chandelure entered the universe, so honestly I didn't know what to expect from the fighting light fixture. I definitely didn't plan on seeing it beat the shit out of Pikachu Li...
Super Smash Bros. for NX photo
Super Smash Bros. for NX

Rumor: Super Smash Bros. to be a launch title for Nintendo NX


Might be a port, might not
Jan 28
// Jed Whitaker
Dr. Serkan Toto, the CEO of a Tokyo-based game industry consultancy, has taken to Twitter to reveal some inside information from an unnamed source. Supposedly, Bandai Namco has several titles in development for Nintendo's upc...
Idolm@ster Platinum Stars photo
Idolm@ster Platinum Stars

Get your body Lady for Idolmaster: Platinum Stars' trailer


Prepare for EXTREME LIVE
Jan 28
// Josh Tolentino
It wasn't enough for Bandai Namco to merely announce that Idolm@ster: Platinum Stars was on its way to PS4 this year, oh no. No, they had to show the thing off in motion today, and I have to say it's looking quite good....
Dark Souls 3 screens photo
Dark Souls 3 screens

Hot new Dark Souls III screens include eerie tiny king


New Dark Souls locations, characters
Jan 27
// Steven Hansen
Ah, screenshots. Some real classic, old-school video game journalism. More than anything I want to know what it is that compelled Bandai Namco to put out new Dark Souls III screens on a Wednesday night. Maybe something's fun ...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Nina Williams confirmed for Tekken 7: Fated Retribution


Miss Havisham eat your heart out
Jan 27
// Vikki Blake
In tonight's EVO 2016 announcement, Bandai Namco confirmed that Nina Williams will be returning to Tekken 7: Fated Retribution. Here, check out the video, which proves that even in heels and a tattered wedding dress, Williams...
Idolmaster on PS4 finally photo
Idolmaster on PS4 finally

PS4 Idolmaster game readied for 2016, gets a name


I'm Ready, I'm Lady
Jan 26
// Josh Tolentino
It took them long enough, but Bandai Namco's finally making good on its promise to put an Idolm@ster game on the PS4. Details and screens have arrived in the latest issue of Famitsu, giving the game a name and a timefram...

Nintendo 3DS's spring is an oasis of JRPGs

Jan 26 // Steven Hansen
Project X Zone 2 is full Japanese gaming fan service with appearances by the likes of anyone from Street Fighter's Ryu to Devil May Cry's Dante and Vergil to Shenmue's Ryo Hazuki to SPace Channel 5's Ulala. It's coming to 3DS February 16. Bravely Second: End Layer hits Europe on February 26 and the states on April 15. There are 12 new jobs in this old school JRPG from Square Enix, including Catmancer, a class that trains cats to use enemies' skills (like the past game's Vampire). Another involves throwing cake at people. It also tried to "take the pain out of the grinding" with a "let it ride" system where random battles will flow into one another so you don't have to run back and forth to trigger another. The caveat is that if you finally lose, there goes all the accumulated experience from those battles. It also "might be longer than Bravely Default." Plus, here are some actual lines of dialogue from Bravely Second: End Layer. Note: "Ba'als" is pronounced "balls." Like balls. "She studies Ba'als." "Ba'al buster Magnolia Arch is on the job." "A new Ba'al is headed this way and it's my job to bust it." "It's...it's huge [referring to a Ba'al]." "I'm Magnolia Arch and it's time to bust some Ba'als." The localization team went Ba'als to the wall with this joke. Oh, hey, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow -- yes, the originals -- are coming to the 3DS eShop on February 27? Time to find out how well that game is actually balanced 20 years later. Also to argue over which version's sprites were best. Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King and Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past are also coming to 3DS in 2016, with Dragon Quest VII coming first. It won't have random battles, instead getting treats like Dragon Quest VIII with enemies on a world map and other additions.
JRPG spring lineup photo
Six within a month
Fire Emblem Fates is just a few weeks away (February 19) and I'll finally have a reason to re-glue my face to my 3DS and play nosy match-maker. But the two versions of Fates are just, uh, two of the JRPGs (and adjacent genres...

Pokken photo
Pokken

The Pokken Tournament controller's limitations have been confirmed


Based on UK listings
Jan 26
// Chris Carter
When the beans first spilled for the Pokken Tournament controller, things didn't look good for prospective buyers. Apparently it not only can't be used by player one, but it also will not work with other games. It is now...
One Piece: Burning Blood photo
One Piece: Burning Blood

One Piece: Burning Blood EU release date confirmed


US should be coming soon, we hope!
Jan 26
// Vikki Blake
Bandai Namco has confirmed that One Piece: Burning Blood will release on June 3 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox One. Although the North American date has yet to be finalised, we are expecting to see Burning Blood...
Dark Souls III photo
Dark Souls III

Those Funko toys everyone loves are going Fallout, Dark Souls


Red Knight
Jan 20
// Chris Carter
Every time I walk into a store, it feels like their Funko sections grow double in size, and provide figures for franchises that are increasingly obscure. Well a lot of parents are probably going to be puzzled by this toy when...
Tekken photo
Tekken

Akuma is likely coming to Tekken in Japanese arcades in February


Tekken 7 Fated Retribution
Jan 18
// Chris Carter
It's official: Akuma is invading the Tekken world, and he's probably coming to Japanese arcades soon by way of a series of location tests. If you happen to reside in Tokyo, Fukuoka, or Osaka, you can catch the tests...
Project X Zone 2 photo
Project X Zone 2

Project X Zone 2 is getting a 3DS demo later this month


Right on, demos
Jan 15
// Chris Carter
Did the holidays completely warp your sense of time? Because Project X Zone 2 is coming out next month internationally. And before it's out, you'll have a chance to play its demo in North America. It'll arrive on January 26, ...
Pokken Tournament release photo
When your hunger is Pokken at you
Just last night we heard about Chandelure joining the cast of fighters in Pokkén Tournament, which immediately increases my interest in the title. Sure, it makes sense for Lucario and Machamp to be fighters in the game...

Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

Another new fighter revealed for Pokken Tournament, and it's a hot one


Can(dle) you guess who it is?
Jan 14
// Ben Davis
Earlier this week we found out about three new Pokkén Tournament fighters joining the roster: Garchomp, Braixen, and non-shadow Mewtwo. However, none of them matched the clue Bandai Namco gave earlier this month, teasi...

I'm a regular Jack Nicholson at Winning Putt

Jan 14 // Steven Hansen
[embed]334326:61872:0[/embed] First, remedying a legitimate problem I had when I was just playing Hot Shots, Winning Putt has an incredibly in-depth character creator, as often seems to be the case with Korean games (their regional MMOs, at least). Aesthetics aside, you also choose from two classes: power and accuracy. Beyond the character creator, Winning Putt leans into the MMO classification with tons of stat-heavy gear and clothing. Different balls produce different visual effects, but also affect things like shot distance. You basically, "craft, enchant, and reinforce" gear picked up from digital pro shops accessed from a town square sort of area you can chill in, talk to other golfers, or start a round from. You can even create guilds, nab private guild quarters to post up in (some proper country club exclusion!), and earn guild-wide bonuses. The actual golfing is straight forward and mostly realistic (made in CryEngine) and "faithful to all the rules of golf." Click the mouse to start a meter, try to click it at 100% (without going over, resulting in a bad shot), and then try to click again for accuracy to avoid slicing the ball. There's also a Stamina and Mentality meter that drains as you play, but particularly when you use skill shots. The Fade Shot, for example, is good for curving your shot around obstacles (like trees). Using these shots eats at those two meters, and also makes them more difficult to execute by, for example, speeding up the power and accuracy gauge. Taking advantage the minimal boost things like skills offer will probably separate dedicated and casual players (and a stroke or two off handicaps). Every swing nets you experience, which levels your character. Gold (for buying things) and experience are also granted for doing certain "missions," like shooting for birdie on a particular course. And things get granular when you talk about expanding inventory slots in your golf bag for more consumables, applying patches to clothing for additional stat boosts, or upgrading clubs for benefits like a slower meter or wider accuracy range. Paying gold will permanently increase base stats and I imagine that's a big part of the monetiziation plan as the team promised unlimited play. Having never played a golf game with a mouse and keyboard, it felt a bit wonky switching between the golfer's view and GPS view (to estimate where your shot will land), but the golfing itself is all solid. The MMO elements don't appeal at all to me -- I prefer antisocial golf that's 100% skill-based rather than mired in RPG/experience trappings -- but it seems like it'll function as a free, easy to jump in golf game for anyone who just wants that, too. Winning Putt will launch with seven courses at the start of today's open beta, four of which will need to be unlocked. You can also specify how many holes you want to shoot or time of day. The team was particularly proud of an upcoming course that's set on an alien planet and even has weird mechanical platforms to tee off from and small trash drones wandering around cutting grass and whatnot. There's also an "instanced speed run" mode where multiple players play the same hole in real time and you see shot arcs for all the other players while you're shooting in a race to finish the hole first, which is a neat idea.
Preview: Winning Putt photo
New golf MMO from Bandai Namco
Bandai Namco had us drive all the way out to San Francisco's Presidio for its latest game announcement this week. That's the National Park at San Francisco's northern tip overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, which is red, actu...

Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

Three new Pokemon confirmed for Pokken Tournament


Still no sign of Vanilluxe
Jan 13
// Joe Parlock
Last week we reported that Nintendo and Bandai Namco were teasing a new Pokémon being announced for Pokkén Tournament on January 15. Before that announcement, Serebii.net spotted Japanese magazine CoroCoro ...
Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

A new Pokken Tournament character is being teased, and will be announced next week


Who's that Pokemon?!
Jan 08
// Joe Parlock
Nintendo and Bandai Namco have teased that they will be announcing a new playable character for Pokkén Tournament on January 15. Apparently, the Pokémon will have the character ラ (“ra”) in it...
Endless clicker / tapper photo
Endless clicker / tapper

Tap My Katamari - Endless Cosmic Clicker is now available on mobile devices


If you live outside of the US
Jan 05
// Jed Whitaker
So the free-to-play Tap My Katamari - Endless Cosmic Clicker is finally available on Android and iOS devices, pending you live outside the US, but hopefully that will be remedied soon. Since I haven't played the game, a...
Tekken 7 photo
Tekken 7

Akuma is likely the only Tekken 7 crossover character


Don't expect much
Jan 05
// Chris Carter
Tekken producer Katsuhiro Harada recently had a chance to clarify the Akuma and Tekken 7 crossover, noting that he was the only planned Street Fighter character at this time that would make an appearance. Harad...
Tales of Berseria photo
Tales of Berseria

Namco Bandai shares new details for Tales of Berseria


Also, new character overviews
Jan 04
// Chris Carter
Tales of Berseria is still a ways off (it doesn't even have a release date in Japan yet, though a localization has been confirmed), but that hasn't stopped Namco Bandai from sharing some new information. Apparently the theme ...
Bandai Namco photo
Bandai Namco

New Sword Art Online coming to PS4, Vita in 2016


Asuna!
Dec 26
// Kyle MacGregor
The fourth Sword Art Online game, Hollow Realization, is coming to North America and Europe next year on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, Bandai Namco announced this week. This entry sees protagonist Kirito explore a new v...

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