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Dragon Quest Heroes II photo
Dragon Quest Heroes II

Cor blimey! More characters revealed for Dragon Quest Heroes II


But where's Yangus?
Feb 13
// Ben Davis
We just got our first look at the new characters to appear in Dragon Quest Heroes II: Twin Kings and the Prophecy's End a few days ago. According to a page from the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump, it seems Dragon Que...
Flash Sale photo
Flash Sale

PlayStation's new Flash Sale is for lovers


Just like Ohio
Feb 12
// Brett Makedonski
It's time for Sony to throw another PlayStation Flash Sale, an event that challenges the very notion of the word "flash." This sale lines up with Valentine's Day, a holiday for romanticism, conversation hearts, and cheap vide...

Review: Atelier Escha & Logy Plus: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

Feb 12 // Laura Kate Dale
Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky (PS3, Vita [reviewed])Developer: Gust Co. LtdPublisher: Koei TecmoReleased: March 11, 2014 (PS3) / January 19, 2016 (Vita)MSRP: $39.99 (Vita) Atelier Escha & Logy Plus as an RPG centers around two alchemists on a strict deadline to prevent the destruction of their world. Built around an in-game calendar, each mission you take on will require a certain number of your limited days to complete. Longer tasks might yield better rewards, but they carry the inherent risk of running out of time to complete larger objectives as they arise. Ranging from resource collection to battle-heavy dungeons, there's a decent variety of mission types to pick from. The most interesting aspect of this system ends up being how it impacts the party you take into missions and how willing you are to take chances as a player. If you're low on health or resources, you have to weigh the risks of pushing on and failing the mission against the multiple days it might use up to return to town, gather resources, and rest up. This risk management becomes a key part of gameplay, and kept me much more engaged in my performance than I expected. [embed]340946:62241:0[/embed] Giving the player the choice of two playable characters from the start, one male and one female, Escha & Logy's plot follows a very similar narrative structure to Tales of Xillia. While both protagonists work together, spend most of the plot together, and go on largely the same journey, some sections are altered depending on who you play as. The variations in plot are spread pretty far apart, but having the option to have a slightly different adventure on a second playthrough is appealing. Playing as Escha will give players a more alchemy focused, lighthearted view of events as they transpire, while playing as Logy is a more traditional, combat-heavy experience that will feel more familiar to RPG fans not versed in the Atelier's core alchemy mechanics. So, there is one big problem with getting invested in the story of Escha and Logy. While the main plot is well-written and engaging, the opening hours of you're adventure are cripplingly unrepresentative of the rest of the game. Excited for a grand, world-spanning adventure? Better be ready for several hours discussing financial outcomes of investments, business plans, government spending patterns, and uses for awarded stipends. Seriously, the opening hours play out like a Galactic Senate hearing in the Star Wars prequels. A fascinating story follows, but you're going to have to put a few tedious hours in to get to it. Bear that in mind. Where previous Atelier entries have done a poor job of explaining the mechanics behind alchemy and encouraged experimentation early on, Escha and Logy does a much better job of getting players to look at recipes and describing the ways in which they can be modified. While there's still a lot of experimentation in the system, that experimentation is acknowledged early on and not left as a big, daunting barrier that could halt late-game progression. The combat is fairly standard turn-based fighting, but the prep work put into alchemy before missions adds a nice amount of variety to the number of ways a fight can be tackled. Ultimately, Atelier Escha & Logy Plus is probably the best entry point this series has had. Sure, the first few hours are excruciating and I wouldn't blame anyone for not wanting to have to push through that, but the story of personal growth, trust, and ambition that lies behind it was well worth experiencing. The combat is a bit predictable to start, but once you get yourself stuck into the more accessible alchemy system, you'll never go into two fights with the same toolset available, which is refreshing. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Atelier Vita photo
A good entry for newbies
Atelier has always been one of those niche series of RPGs that gets harder to jump into with every entry. Featuring complex and often convoluted alchemy mechanics that have grown tough to break into over the years, the games ...

Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Attack on Titan is getting four player co-op, tons of free DLC


It's the Koei Tecmo way
Feb 11
// Chris Carter
Koei Tecmo might be bad at doing quality PC ports, but it has a good grasp on console development, and generally does a great job of supporting its games over time. That's also the case for Attack on Titan, which is gett...

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...

SQUARE ENIX photo
SQUARE ENIX

Here's your first look at Dragon Quest Heroes II


Just as pretty as the last one
Feb 09
// Kyle MacGregor
Square Enix has shared the first images of Dragon Quest Heroes II, and it doesn't look dramatically different from its predecessor. That isn't too surprising, considering its predecessor debuted just a year ago and looked per...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Curious how Attack on Titan looks on PS3 and Vita?


Take a look
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Attack on Titan is officially Koei Tecmo's first PS4-centric development project, but the game is also coming to PS3 and Vita by way of a downscaled port. While we've seen the PS4 build quite a bit since the studio went ...
Downwell photo
Downwell

Downwell is definitely coming to Vita and PS4


Also a bunch of other indies
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Indie champion Downwell is preparing to make a move beyond the PC and mobile realms. In addition to its Android release earlier this year, Devolver Digital is preparing to publish the game on PS4 and Vita. This has been ...
PS VITA photo
PS VITA

Shiren the Wanderer saunters westward on Vita


Arriving July 26 in North America
Feb 08
// Kyle MacGregor
The fifth entry in Spike Chunsoft's Shiren The Wanderer series is coming west this summer. Aksys Games announced the good news earlier today over at the PlayStation Blog, revealing plans to publish the Mystery Dungeon spin-of...

Review: A Boy and His Blob

Feb 06 // Brett Makedonski
A Boy and His Blob (Linux, PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita, Wii, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WayForward TechnologiesPublisher: Majesco EntertainmentReleased: October 13, 2009 (Wii), January 20, 2016 (Re-released on other platforms)MSRP: $9.99 WayForward's take on A Boy and His Blob is intentionally vague and that's possibly its best quality. In an opening sequence reminiscent of EarthBound, a child is woken in the middle of the night to a crash outside his window. After a brief bout of exploration, Blob is discovered. From there, it's just adventuring for the sake of adventuring, and saving the world for the sake of saving the world. Blob is billed as the greatest asset, a shapeshifter who can perform about a dozen different functions. For example, Boy feeds Blob a jellybean and Blob turns into an anvil. Or a soccer ball. Or a trampoline. Over the course of 40-some levels, variations of this sequence play out hundreds (maybe thousands) of times as the main function of this puzzle platformer. You wouldn't think it from the game's title, but Blob is actually a tertiary character. If it were named more accurately, this would be called A Boy and His Jellybean Wheel. A disconcerting amount of time is spent in a time-frozen state clumsily navigating a menu of the level's eight-or-so pre-assigned jellybeans. After a jellybean is thrown and Blob (hopefully) performs his duties, it's only a matter of seconds until you're forced to again pull up that menu. That process sucks the life out of A Boy and His Blob. Even though most of the game's levels are notably short, they often feel like arduous endeavors because the pace grinds to a crawl. Puzzle solutions are usually easily identifiable -- in fact, there are often giant signs pointing out the answer -- but their execution is needlessly slow and sluggish. [embed]338372:62152:0[/embed] Making matters worse, there are many many instances when Blob simply won't do what you want. Blob has a tendency to shift shapes just ever-so-slightly not quite where intended. It's annoying at first, but becomes a detriment in later levels. That combined with stiff and unresponsive platforming controls often leads to starting the section over from scratch.  And, that's all when Blob is actually on-screen. It's not uncommon for Blob to be missing altogether, either because it was left behind or it hopped into an abyss. When this happens, the game would like for the balloon jellybean to be tossed, causing Blob to eventually float to your position. Mercifully, however, there's a call button that can just be impatiently pressed over and over until it balloons your way automatically, slowly but surely. What A Boy and His Blob has on its side are intangibles, of sorts. They're plucky attributes that significantly and understatedly enhance a game, but don't necessarily make a game. For instance, there's no denying A Boy and His Blob's innocent aesthetic, unspoken emotion, or charming spirit. Those are the qualities that make the game more tolerable than it would otherwise be. Without much option of anything besides leaning on the NES version's method of using Blob (a non-playable character) as the means of gameplay execution, WayForward's take on A Boy and His Blob is frustratingly imprecise and inaccurate. But, by deviating a bit and adding the jellybean wheel, it killed any momentum and turned the game into a slog. That is truly the worst of both worlds. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
A Boy and His Blob review photo
Blah-b
A Boy and His Blob, a 2009 "re-imagining" of the NES game of the same namesake (and recently re-released on current platforms), is an interesting case study. When does retro game design and a devotion to source material becom...

Capcom photo
Capcom

Breath of Fire III launches on PSN next week


'Never say never'
Feb 06
// Kyle MacGregor
More than a decade after launching on PSP in Japan, Breath of Fire III will arrive on PlayStation Network in North America next Tuesday, February 9, according to the latest PlayStation Blogcast. Back in 2013, Capcom's th...
Final Fantasy photo
Final Fantasy

Square Enix might bring that Adventures of Mana Vita port to the West after all


Thanks to you
Feb 06
// Kyle MacGregor
Every time I've written about Adventures of Mana, the new Final Fantasy Adventure remake, just about every one of you have clamored for Square Enix to localize the PlayStation Vita version. In case you haven't been following ...
Tribute Games photo
Tribute Games

Ninja Senki DX looks mega good, man


Releasing February 23
Feb 04
// Jordan Devore
Tribute Games is bringing Ninja Senki DX to PC, PS4, and PS Vita on February 23. This is an expanded version of a rather good freeware action game from 2010, which, from our prior coverage, it sounds like a number of us have ...
Odin Sphere photo
Odin Sphere

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir hits Europe in June


Same as North America
Feb 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Vanillaware's Odin Sphere remake is coming to Europe this June, NIS America just announced. The PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation Vita action RPG will be available both at retail and via the PlayStation Store with...
Toukiden photo
Toukiden

Toukiden 2 looks, well, like this


Devilishly good-looking
Feb 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Toukiden 2 was announced at Tokyo Game Show last fall, but little else has been revealed about Omega Force's upcoming demon-hunting game in the months since then.  That is, until now. Koei Tecmo has opened the open-world...
LEGO Star Wars photo
LEGO Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a thing that's happening


Because of course it is
Feb 02
// Kyle MacGregor
In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, the next entry in Warner Bros. and TT Games' popular LEGO video game series is based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While the companies presumably would have liked to a...
Odin Sphere trailer photo
Odin Sphere trailer

Storybook time! Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir's first English trailer


Die art, die
Feb 01
// Steven Hansen
Now that Odin Sphere's Leifthrasir remake is out in Japan, Vanillaware can focus on the areas that really matter: the Americas. We're getting the 2D action-RPG on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita in the Americas on June 7, 2016 and so ...
Odin Sphere photo
Odin Sphere

Odin Sphere is now officially a browser game


You can play it now
Feb 01
// Chris Carter
Vanillaware said it was working on it, and last weekend, the studio released the Odin Sphere 8-bit browser game. You play as Gwendolyn, who has a standard attack, aerial dive attack, and a glide at her disposal. I h...
Falcom photo
Falcom

Ys VIII screenshots? Ys please!


Debuting in Japan this summer
Jan 31
// Kyle MacGregor
Nihon Falcom recently opened up an official website for Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, the next entry in the studio's brilliant action RPG series, and with it comes new information and pretty pictures. This particular adventure ...
Square Enix photo
Square Enix

Adventures of Mana drops February 4


For mobile platforms (and Vita in Japan)
Jan 31
// Kyle MacGregor
Square Enix's Adventures of Mana is launching worldwide for iOS and Android on February 4, the company has announced. And because we can't have nice things, a PlayStation Vita version will be available the same day, but ...
Bad Updates photo
Bad Updates

New Vita update physically attacks anyone who tries to play with it (Fauxclusive)


You may want to wait for update 3.59
Jan 30
// CJ Andriessen
In its continuing efforts to convince fans to finally let go of the PlayStation Vita, Sony released an update for the device earlier this week that caused a wide variety of problems, including making it nearly impossible to c...
Duke Nukem 3D photo
Duke Nukem 3D

Duke Nukem 3D turns 20 today


[Extremely Buzzfeed voice] 'Feel old?!'
Jan 29
// Chris Carter
Want to feel old? You'll never believe which 3D Realms game turns 20 today! Duke Nukem 3D was released on January 29, 1996, two decades ago. At the time it was not only a great shooter (my favorite by far), but it also s...
Breath of Fire PSP photo
Breath of Fire PSP

Wow! Breath of Fire III is headed to PSN


The re-release is finally coming to NA
Jan 28
// Jordan Devore
Years ago, we ran a post about an effort to bring Breath of Fire III's PlayStation Portable version to North America. It began with the phrase "Never give up hope!" Truly words to live by. It's happening! Capcom has announced...
PlayStation Plus photo
PlayStation Plus

Helldivers and Nom Nom Galaxy free on PS Plus next month


On PS4
Jan 27
// Darren Nakamura
Another month, another set of free games. Honestly, I can't keep up. That's just going to get better/worse (depending on how you look at it) because both of the headliners for PlayStation Plus in February are games I've been ...
Skullgirls photo
Skullgirls

Skullgirls is still alive on Vita, here's proof


Needs to go through Sony submission
Jan 27
// Chris Carter
Mike Z has taken to YouTube to give everyone an open update on the progress of the Vita version of Skullgirls 2nd Encore, which was missing in action last year. According to Mike the port is "done," and all they need to do is...
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...
Marvelous photo
Marvelous

Here's your first look at Senran Kagura creator's new Vita game in action


Introducing Uppers
Jan 25
// Kyle MacGregor
Well now, this looks wild. That was my initial impression of Uppers, the latest game from XSEED parent Marvelous. With its over-the-top street fighting, the new brawler has a bit of a Yakuza feel to it. You know, if Yak...

The evolution of doujin brawler Croixleur

Jan 24 // Kyle MacGregor
To say Croixleur has come a long way since I first encountered the game three years ago would be a massive understatement. The original PC release, or at least the localized version boutique publisher Nyu Media released in January 2013, was light on content and rough around the edges. Inspired by Devil May Cry's Bloody Palace mode, the game initially starred the red-haired Lucrezia, a young noblewoman on a quest to fight her way through a gauntlet of arena battles known as the Adjuvant Trial. While the story was largely inconsequential, the experience of fighting my way up the Nitro Towers and racing against the clock (the story mode must be completed in fifteen minutes or less) was a downright enjoyable, arcadey romp -- and one hell of a challenge. While it certainly took me more (much more) than one attempt to successfully complete the main campaign, once I did, I discovered there wasn't much else to the game other than bonus modes, like score attack and survival, to flesh out the package. It left something to be desired. [embed]336428:61974:0[/embed] That situation improved when Souvenir Circ. debuted the initial version of Croixleur Sigma at Comiket 85, introducing a new playable character, more weapons, a second story mode, two-player co-op, a new challenge mode, voice acting, online leaderboards, and mild visual upgrades. Don't get me wrong, it was (and still is) a simplistic game, but that extra content went a long way toward making Croixleur feel less like a severed bonus mode and more like its own game. The recent PlayStation 4 and forthcoming PlayStation Vita versions improve the experience even more, though, giving the game a dramatic facelift, both in terms of content and visuals. Souvenir Circ. went back and gave the game a completely fresh lick of paint, adding shine and detail to what was once a dull-looking game. Lucrezia and friends certainly clean up nicely. Speaking of those friends, the PlayStation version also includes a pair of new faces, both of which come with 30-minute campaigns that make the original game feel like a cakewalk. Between those and the new 50-floor dungeon mode, the game is definitely no longer hurting for content. And on top of that, there's a myriad of useful new equipment to collect, incentivizing repeat playthroughs. Pulling up the original game and playing it side by side with the new PlayStation release, it's nice to see how far Croixleur has come over the years. And I'm happy to have been along for the ride.
Doujin Dojo photo
From Alpha to Sigma
Doujin Dojo is a sporadic column dedicated to spotlighting independent games from Japan and the people that make them. In the years I've been following Comiket, Japan's biannual indie media festival, one thing ...

Dragon Quest Builders photo
Dragon Quest Builders

You can pick up a Dragon Quest Builders demo in Japan


Coming next week in the east
Jan 22
// Chris Carter
Dragon Quest Builders is massively intriguing. While most Minecraft-like games are usually just straight-up clones from smaller developers, here we have Square Enix and a massively popular property meshed in, and wh...
Gal Gun photo
Gal Gun

Gal Gun: Double Peace is coming west this year


Pucker up
Jan 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Inti Creates' bizarre pheromone-blasting rail shooter Gal Gun: Double Peace is targeting a western release across North America and Europe sometime later this year, PQube just announced. Here's the publisher's synopsis o...

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