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Destiny photo
Destiny

Here's the top picks from this week's PlayStation Store Europe sale


Hope you like dem zombies
Apr 29
// Vikki Blake
Sony is serving up selection of tantalising treats in this week's PlayStation Store sale. If Star Wars, shooting zombies, and, er, replaying the same missions over and over again are your thing, pay attention. The Deal of the...
PlayStation photo
PlayStation

Here's the best picks from the PlayStation Europe Store Sale


Cheap games. Woo!
Apr 16
// Vikki Blake
PlayStation has discounted a metric crapton of games on the PSN Europe Store from now until the end of April. First up, Dying Light stars as the Deal of the Week, available until April 22 for €49.99/ £39.99/AU$69.99 (previously €69.99/£54.99/AU$99.95). Unless you're in Germany. For some reason. Sorry (not my fault. Honest).

Contest: Win a Titan One and a controller of your choice!

Mar 24 // mrandydixon
*Controller choices limited to Xbox 360, Xbox One, DualShock 3, and DualShock 4
Titan One contest photo
Use any controller with any console with this cross-compatibility device
[Update: Contest over! Winners are Fabio Teixeira, Topken, and TroyFullbuster!] Destructoid has once again joined forces with our friends at ConsoleTuner to offer another awesome contest for the Dtoid community! This time aro...

Flash Sale photo
Flash Sale

This PSN Flash Sale is like whoa


I'll buy that for a dollar!
Mar 20
// Robert Summa
If you have some spare change in your couch or sister's piggy bank, then it's time to put those coins to good use. The Flash Sale currently happening for PlayStation owners features not only a lot of quality games, but they a...
Atlus sale photo
Atlus sale

Hey Atlus fans, there's a big sale today


Bye bye money, hello waifus
Mar 18
// Robert Summa
I don't know what's going on lately, but there seems to be a plethora of sales happening, especially for consoles. Today's big fat deal comes by way of the publisher Atlus. Posted over on their Facebook page, they decided to offer some wallet relief for hump day. Take a close look, because here is what they got for sale:
Vue photo
Vue

Attention cord cutters: PlayStation Vue launches today for PS3 and PS4


But there's a catch
Mar 18
// Robert Summa
For those who have long abandoned the Hell that is cable television or those wanting to break free of its shackles, Sony is now offering its own alternative, the PlayStation Vue platform for the PlayStation 4 and 3. Pretty mu...
South Park photo
South Park

PSA: South Park: The Stick of Truth dropped to $5 on PS3


The greatest RPG of a generation
Mar 17
// Robert Summa
If you don't own South Park: The Stick of Truth or never played it, then what the fuck is wrong with you? Well, if you own a PlayStation 3, then it's time to correct yourself. Now that the game is only $5, there's really no excuse not to play it. You can check out some other price drops here (I know ya'll want that Smurfs 2). PlayStation Store Update [PlayStation.Blog]

Mortal Kombat X introduces online factions and brings back the Challenge Tower

Feb 06 // Abel Girmay
Mortal Kombat X (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) Developer: NetherRealm Studios, Showtime StudiosPublisher: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentRelease Date: April 14, 2015   If you spent any significant amount of time with Mortal Kombat 9, you remember the Challenge Tower. Consisting of 300 challenges, the tower would test and frustrate you to wits' end as you worked your way up to the top. Mortal Kombat X's Living Towers fill a similar role with key differences. The biggest changes are that the towers are now split in three, and the challenges in each will update with new content. To start, you have your quick tower comprising of only five challenges, but it updates every two to three hours. The daily tower carries an intermediate level of difficulty, and updates its eight fights every 24 hours. For those more than confident in their fighting mastery there is the premier tower, built with long-form challenges and events in mind that will run for a few days or even a week, depending on how special the event is. Unlike the Challenge Tower, the Living Towers don't determine which character you can fight with. So if you're like me and only learn about four fighters, you won't find yourself awkwardly trying to learn characters on the fly as everything moves at double speed and the bombs come raining from the sky. That's another major difference -- Living Towers consist entirely of regular fights with various modifiers. Where Injustice's S.T.A.R. Labs and Mortal Kombat's Challenge Tower had silly stages where you'd break into a museum as a cat, or shoot a horde of zombies, these stages have none of that. A change for the better if you ask me. My biggest knock against S.T.A.R. Labs was how often the mission would turn out to be awkward platforming sections or some other distraction from the core fighting.  More noteworthy still is Mortal Kombat X's Faction Wars, a macro-level approach to traditional online clans. When you first boot up your copy, you are going to be prompted to join one of five factions, all based on series lore: Lin Kuei, White Lotus, Black Dragon, Special Forces, or the Brotherhood of Shadows. Once you choose a faction, it really tries to become your game's identity. Menus, interfaces, and even loading screens, will become themed after your faction. So Lin Kuei members may get scenic snowy forests for a main menu, while the Brotherhood of Shadow loading screens will greet you with images of the fire and brimstone Netherrealm. From there, everything you do in both multiplayer and single-player will give you faction points, which feed into your faction's total score. You can clear sections of Living Towers, complete faction-specific challenges, or even face rival factions in online battles. Again, all of this feeds into the collective faction war effort, as well as your individual faction progress. The faction war is platform agnostic as well, so fellow White Lotus accomplishments in the PlayStation 4 version will feed the White Lotus on PC and Xbox 360. The winner at the end of each week-long faction war will be rewarded with anything from profile icons to faction-specific finishers. And if you are the type to swap sides, just know you will not be able to bandwagon to the winning faction. Once a war starts, you are locked into your group, and switching after a war means losing all of your current faction rewards and progress. Of course, what's a fighting game without great fighters, and fight I did. Ermac and Reptile were not available in this build of the game, but all other announced characters were. That did not seem to matter though, as I spent nearly all of my time playing with the Buzz Saw variant of Kung Lao. For those unaware, every fighter has three variations to choose from, each variant adding its own moves to a characters base moveset. Buzz Saw is far and away my favorite. This is the rush-down, in-your-face Kung Lao that you either loved or hated in Mortal Kombat. While Buzz Saw is more focused on projectiles with the classic hat throw and ground hat, it's not in the interest of zoning. Both the ground hat and regular hat tosses are slow, much slower in fact, than in Mortal Kombat 9. The real fun here is to throw out the hat and close the distance. A basic example of this would be to toss it, which does a great deal of stun as your opponent is trapped in an animation of getting buzz-sawed in the chest, and close the distance with a dive kick. Basic I know, but even in my limited time, I honestly felt like Buzz Saw will be the variation of choice for those who previously enjoyed Kung Lao's breakneck pace. Of course you could also try out his Hat Trick variant, which focuses on controlling the hat as an independent entity, or Tempest, which emphasizes control and spacing with his signature spin.  While I still have lingering questions about Mortal Kombat X, what's been shown so far has been great. Living Towers' direct approach to challenges is good fun, and the Faction Wars (all hail White Lotus!) is something I already know will turn into a time sink for me. The last taste before launch has been a good one. Now I just need to hold out for two more months for the real meal.
Mortal Kombat X photo
Karnage with friends
Two more months. Just two more months. That's what I have to keep telling myself while agonizing over the release of Mortal Kombat X. As someone who logged nearly 7,000 matches into the last Mortal Kombat, and still plays Injustice from time to time, any new info is good news, and NetherRealm has recently dropped a lot of details on the game's online modes. Let's dig in.

RIDE photo
RIDE

Take a ride with RIDE


Or just ride it out
Jan 27
// Robert Summa
As a daily rider, when I first heard a game like RIDE was announced, I got a little excited. Not too excited, but just a little. Sometimes I need a virtual motorcycle fix and that's just not easy to get in a car-dominated ra...

Review: Escape Dead Island

Dec 27 // Brittany Vincent
Escape Dead Island (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC [reviewed])Developer: FatsharkPublisher: Deep SilverReleased: November 18, 2014MSRP: $59.99 The game kicks off with a small prequel scene cataloging the events just prior to the beginning of the first game. Xian Mei of the original Dead Island plays Halo's Cortana to your generic Commando. After infiltrating a top secret lab (the only kind of labs video games know about) the two discover that YouTube commenters are right and a big corporation is in fact part of some Illuminati clone, yadda, yadda, yadda. Then a Tyrant or something kills you. The real treat comes when you meet Escape Dead Island's star: the rich kid with daddy issues that is equal parts Frank West, Jason Brody, and Colonel John Konrad. He decides the best way to get his father to love him is to go to Banoi with his two friends/employees and solve the mystery. However, this game lacks the creative writing of Scooby-Doo and the plot only serves to loosely tie the haphazard gameplay together. The only vaguely interesting part of the plot is related to the increasingly tenuous grasp on sanity the main character has, but we’ll get into that a bit later. [embed]284108:56737:0[/embed] Okay, so the plot is a bit generic and uninspired. Common complaints at this point, so what about the gameplay? Well, Escape Dead Island seems to have a hard time deciding exactly what it wants to be. Is it a stealthy survival horror title like Alien: Isolation? Is it an over-the-top zombie-killing free-for-all with photography elements like Dead Rising? Is it a combination of stealth and action like State of Decay? Is it a commentary on the fragility of the human psyche like Spec Ops: The Line? An exploratory action-adventure like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night? It so badly wants to be all of those things, but fails terribly. In the beginning you’ll rely on stale stealth mechanics to channel that genre for good measure. The stealth sections exist solely just to be stealth sections. There’s never a sense of urgency or danger, just “If I don’t do the stealth then I lose.” This goes against any successful concept of stealth as the enemies are not smart or really ever too much of a threat. The photography elements are worthless as well, as there are no point or upgrade systems. Your character will just comment on specific items you take pictures of, and they’re not particularly inspired comments either. Near the end of the game, you’ll have plenty of weapons and will be going Rambo on some zombies, but the controls are so mushy that it’s not very satisfying and makes the previous stealth gameplay seem even more cliche and needless. Oh, and the backtracking. Get a grappling hook? Time to backtrack. Find a gas mask? Better backtrack. With a game like Symphony of the Night, backtracking doesn’t feel so much like a chore because the gameplay is centered and focused to the point where it seems like natural progression. In Escape Dead Island, I couldn’t help but feel like it existed to pad more gameplay time on. The one somewhat unique thing this game has going for it is the growing insanity of the player character. As time goes on, his mind becomes more and more unhinged, as an increasing amount of hallucinations encroach into the game. It's actually quite interesting. However, Escape Dead Island's pacing strangles the one element that could have set it apart as noteworthy. For the first quarter or so of the game, the insanity elements are few and far between and although they grow in note, it isn’t until the last quarter that they really blossom, but by then the build-up was too much and I had grown tired of the whole thing. I won’t ruin it because it is genuinely the one part of the game I found interesting, but unfortunately it was too little too late, and too static of an experience. If there had been a sanity meter a la Eternal Darkness, it truly could have saved the game for me. The visuals at least are non-offensive. They attempt to replicate the cel-shaded comic book appeal, but in this type of game, which tries to tell a gritty and tragic story, the graphic novel look is a bit of an odd choice. Unlike Sunset Overdrive which reveled in its zany disconnection from logic and the real world, or The Walking Dead, where its graphics are an homage to its graphic novel origins, Escape Dead Island seems content to piggyback off of the popularity of cel-shaded games that are far and away better than it could ever be. Last, but not least, the replay value must be discussed. It consists of a host of audio files and data on BigBad Co. experiments and postcards. There are also a ton of pictures that must be taken in order to see everything. The collecting is not terrible, but it gives nothing in return as there isn't anything to really connect you to this world enough to care about the tidbits of info you're after. Unlike the random notes and books in Dragon Age: Inquisition, or the audio logs in the BioShock series, I didn’t ever find myself caring enough to learn more about these people, thus making the collectibles completely superfluous. Escape Dead Island is what would happen if after all the big AAA games were born, after the doctors all shook each others' hands and the bouncy babies went home, someone scooped up all the afterbirth and tried to cobble together their very own abomination. The game in and of itself is serviceable enough, but it’s the lack of any soul that makes it so infuriating to play. There are plenty of games that in theory play worse that I enjoy infinitely more. The first Dead Island was absolutely ridiculous and quite flawed in my opinion, but because I can feel the love that went into the game and thus the care, it's a blast to play in some areas because the developers cared if I had fun. Unlike its predecessors, Escape Dead Island feels devoid of heart or identity. It is a cruel reminder of the shovelware that plagued the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, and the Wii and behind its generic facade hides a malnourished newborn of a game starved for nutrition and attention. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Escape Dead Island review photo
Run, you'll never escape
In my years as a freelancer and staffer at various videogame outlets, I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing a ton of great games. In fact, this year I had the privilege of reviewing pretty much every “AAA” game...

Deals photo
Deals

Best Buy runs Buy 2 Games, Get 1 Free as Xmas nears


Nintendo fans need not apply
Dec 08
// Dealzon
Deals brought to you by the crew at Dealzon. FYI: sales from certain retailers go toward supporting Destructoid. Christmas is just around the corner, marking the return of the BOGO game deals. If you didn't grab anything from...

Review: Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd

Nov 13 // Brittany Vincent
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd (PlayStation 3 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: Sega, Crypton Future MediaPublisher: SegaReleased: November 18, 2014MSRP: $49.99 The Rhythm Game mode is the main attraction, offering over 40 different songs featuring Hatsune Miku, Len and Rin Kagamine, Luka Megurine, and other Vocaloids. They're a chorus of different voices brought to life via the popular singing voice synthesis software, and each has its own unique timbre and quirks. There's a healthy mix of songs presented in this collection, with many returning from previous entries in the Project DIVA series, some with brand new accompanying music videos, and brand new tracks exclusive to Project DIVA F 2nd. For instance, songs like "Melt" and "The World is Mine" were originally seen in the original Project DIVA title released for the PlayStation Portable back in 2009. Songs like "Pinky Promise" and "Doubleganger" are new to the series, giving even veterans plenty of reasons to return. [embed]283791:56320:0[/embed] Players will find several genres and song types to explore as well, from sugary sweet pop to sweeping techno tracks that should please any Vocaloid fan. But, as many Vocaloid faithful can attest to, Miku's voice is a bit of an acquired taste. She'll either grate on your nerves or open up an entirely new world of aural delights to you, and that will make or break your enjoyment of Project DIVA F 2nd. Of course, the music is only half the fun, so even if you aren't as enamored with the tracks as you could be, there's still the excellent framework of the rhythm game left to win you over, which is a unique tonal shift from other similar games on the market. Sure, you're still tasked with pressing buttons on your controller that correspond to the symbols on-screen, but they don't simply appear in a neat and orderly fashion. They pop up in random places about the screen as notes fly in from off-screen as well. Not only do you need to concern yourself with keeping up with the rhythm, but as the accompanying video behind the notes and Miku's dancing plays on, you've got to stay focused to succeed. Some icons require you to simply press face buttons, while others necessitate both a face button and the directional arrow that corresponds to the face button. For instance, with the triangle button you'd also need to press up on the D-pad to hit the note. Others still require flicks of the analog stick, with special notes prompting flicks of both analog sticks on the PS3 controller at once. It can be a lot to take in at once if you're unfamiliar with rhythm games, and even if you're a hardcore devotee to the genre like myself, you might find that the game can be quite punishing at times, even on "Normal" difficulty, which I would caution new players against starting at. Once you work your way up to "Extreme," there's a true feeling of accomplishment in being able to look back on how far you've come, because this game can and will push you. You've got to hit a whopping 80% of the notes in order to clear a track successfully, so you've got to play as though every note matters, because if you want to see everything the game has to offer, it does. That's what makes Project DIVA F 2nd such a robust and inspiring rhythm game. Beyond the glitter and the sugary sweet characters, there's a depth to it that's sorely missing in most music-oriented titles these days. It's exciting to open up new tracks and earn new accessories for a job well done. There's a constant deluge of unlockables to hoard, like new outfits and accessories to dress Miku and company just as you see fit.  If the Rhythm Game mode doesn't keep your attention long enough, you can always head over to Edit Mode to create and edit your own custom music videos using the Vocaloid tunes and an expansive set of tools to create your very own productions. If you're not feeling particularly creative, you can keep up with your Diva Room, which allows you to customize your stable of digital pop stars, whether you change their outfits, the room furnishings, or accessories. You can purchase additional items for the room, but you can also interact with the Vocaloid team there as well. But as previously stated, it's all about the music. You'll quickly find yourself losing hours at a time running through the tracklist, bettering yourself and obtaining new collectible items. It's even worth the slightly longer load times to take in a menagerie of colorful (and sometimes bizarre) fan art of Miku and the gang. There's also more content to come, with Sega making the very same DLC tracks released for the Japanese version available to Western buyers as well. Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F 2nd is a full-featured, intuitive, and challenging pop star simulator dressed up as a rhythm game. Whether you love Miku and the rest of the virtual virtuosos there's something to enjoy here, even if it's just to prove that you know your way around a rhythm game. It's a worthy follow-up to last year's release and with translated English subtitles for each song, planned DLC, and a delightful mix of music, it's a surefire hit. Just don't get too disappointed when you remember Miku isn't actually a real person.
Review: Hatsune Miku photo
I'll Miku-Miku You♪ (For Reals)
Hatsune Miku is an international sensation. Despite the fact that she's a simple digital creation, she's managed to rack up a massive amount of record sales and sold-out concerts, including a tour with Lady Gaga and even an a...

Review: Fairy Fencer F

Oct 19 // Brittany Vincent
Fairy Fencer F (PS3)Developer: Compile HeartPublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: September 16, 2014MSRP: $49.99 You should already be pretty aware of where the story is going when it opens up with the perpetually hungry Fang, who doesn’t really care about anything he’s doing since he’s so hungry. Right when those words spill out of his mouth, it becomes infinitely more difficult to care about anything that transpires during his time in the story -- unfortunately he’s the protagonist, so we’re forced to listen to plenty more drivel about how apathetic he truly is about things. And how he’ll “eat when he wants to.” Riveting. But when Fang hears he can pull a special Sword in the Stone move and wish for whatever he wants as a result (food, of course) he does so and gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. When a fairy jumps out and tells him he’s now forced to gather weapons to be used in a battle to seal away the “Vile God,” he becomes bound to a special sword known as a Fury, and eating just has to wait until he fulfills his new role as a being known as a Fencer. I’d be pretty upset if I were Fang personally, but then again I would have just gone to a grocery store or something, like a rational person. The fairy within Fang’s Fury weapon is a hot-headed pink-haired nymphette named Eryn, and when you combine her haughty condescension with Fang’s apathetic “can’t-be-bothered” attitude, you have a recipe for two of the most grating characters you could possibly have been forced to spend time with. It’s really quite unpleasant, the culmination of the several awful anime tropes you always hope to avoid when it comes to this genre, and it only gets worse from there. [embed]281894:56013:0[/embed] In case you couldn’t already tell, there’s not much of an opportunity for epic storytelling or anything like that here, so thankfully the battles that eventually crop up give some semblance of meaning to the game. It’s a familiar turn-based affair, though you can roam the battlefield and call on your Fury partners in order to give you power. Your partners and powers metamorphosize over the course of the game, making combat the strongest part of the concoction. As you earn weapon points and the ability to customize your equipment, you’ll realize that strategic point assignment is absolutely important. If you don’t upgrade specific things, like your combos, you’ll find that cutting down swarms of enemies is actually an impossibility, finding yourself back at square one if you don’t bother to take the time to upgrade. For anyone wishing to look beyond the typical “press X to bash Y into oblivion” system, Fairy Fencer F delivers, and it’s a genuinely fun, while it lasts. What really steals the show is the “Fairize” ability, which finds you fusing with your fairy partner for stat boosts that go completely off the charts. You’re essentially stabbed through the torso by your Fury weapon, and after a brief, cheesy J-rock interlude, are fused with your partner. You get a fabulous transformation, new attack animations, and a nigh-unstoppable form that you’ll want to call on time and time again. Despite this powerful option, the game’s somewhat unpredictable difficulty curve will undoubtedly end up affecting you at least one point or another, especially when you find yourself facing bosses, who are more difficult than the enemies around them in a ridiculously non-proportionate way. While that’s usually par for the course with JRPG bosses, the level of difficulty they achieve in Fairy Fencer F can get out of hand, and when you’re forced to grind for twice as long as normal to defeat them, there’s a problem. You’ll have to hit the dungeons in order to get to the meatier parts of the game, as well. Combat is engaging, as previously established, but traversing the various dungeons, represented by different elemental affinities, is more drudgery than anything else. You aren't offered the opportunity to freely roam around in any environments, so they’ve got that going for them, but the simple action of moving from one room to another when it comes to dungeon areas isn't exactly scintillating. There's even a drop in framerate when things tend to heat up, which is bizarre, given the fact that the game isn't absolutely mind-blowingly gorgeous to start with. Fairy Fencer F is inherently flawed, but it does boast familiar combat, plenty of items to collect, and JRPG elements that do make up for some of its shortcomings. Unfortunately, dull and grating characters, an uninspired narrative, and the slog of the game’s lengthy dungeons drag it through the dust. If you’re just getting into Compile Heart’s games and are looking for a starting point, you may as well stick to the Neptunia series, which offer more in every department in the long run. Fairy Fencer F should be relegated to footnote status in Compile Heart’s stable of role-playing games.
Fairy Fencer F review photo
Not 'fairice,' but 'fairize!'
If you want to think outside the box, the role-playing genre may not be the perfect playground for you -- at least, when it comes to traditional Japanese titles, which generally confine themselves to a set of tried-and-true m...

Review: Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed

Sep 24 // Brittany Vincent
Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed (PS3 [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: AcquirePublisher: XSEED GamesRelease: August 12, 2014MSRP: $39.99 Akiba’s Trip places you deep in the heart of Akihabara, one of Japan’s most famous shopping districts and nerd paradise. Our hero Nanashi is broke and jobless otaku, following up on a strange job listing he found online that ultimately ends up with him chained to the table and having been turned into a being known as a Synthister. Synthisters feed off of others’ life energy, and it turns out there’s a huge population of them right there in Akihabara. Nanashi is nearly killed off by resident villain Zenya Amou, but the mysterious Shizuku swoops in to save him before things get that serious. Nanashi, Shizuku, and a ragtag group of freedom fighters head out to rid Akihabara of the Synthister threat once and for all. Of course, killing off the Synthisters isn’t exactly as straightforward as you’d think. They’re a lot like vampires, except instead of staking them to death you have to rip their clothes off. There’s a reason behind all this, as silly as it may be: they’re weak to sunlight and will dissolve within it. That’s why you need to strip them down and make them as vulnerable as possible. With Nanashi targeting his enemies’ head, chest, and legs, you can systematically de-pants (and de-shirt, etc.) your adversaries in a strategic manner. Acquire’s familiar brand of brawling is present here, as you chain up attacks to strike away at the baddies one after another. You can choose where you want to attack, but it doesn’t exactly open up a world of variety. Believe it or not, smacking around random passersby in Akihabara until they’re reduced to they skivvies can and does get old eventually. As you wear down the durability of whatever the groups of Synthisters are wearing, you’ll come across bigger and better weapons to do this with, such as boxing gloves, swords, laptops, and other strange options that you certainly don’t normally see in these types of games — think Dead Rising meets Devil May Cry. Once you’ve battered away at the clothing each Synthister is wearing, it’s time to strip them clean. As soon as you do this, they’ll disappear. If you do this when there’s a large group of enemies involved, you can chain these attacks together for a Strip Finisher. If it so happens that your enemies’ clothes aren’t flashing just yet (meaning you haven’t done enough damage to undress them totally just yet) you can engage in a button-mashing QTE, during which you need to aim for a gauge to reach zero. If you can do it by wailing on the face buttons, you’ll tear all the enemies’ clothes off in quick succession. This triggers a new QTE if you’re successful, during which you can execute several clothing removals time and time again for maximum points and efficiency. If you can get this down, you’ll be burning through Akiba’s Trip in no time, but of course these same types of battles completed over and over again do tend to become slightly repetitive over time. But fighting off Synthisters is only a small portion of the game itself. There are also multiple relationship routes to pursue, with several female characters you can aim to become close to. This opens up the possibilities for several different endings, depending on who you decide to spend the most time with. Aside from doting on a specific character, you’ll also spend a lot of time using your in-game smartphone. It acts as your menu, with several “apps” on-board that you use for changing equipment, tracking records, searching glossaries for help on unfamiliar terms, and checking out email programs and parodical social networking programs. Free-roaming Akihabara when you’re not completing missions is intriguing as well, with plenty of pictures to collect, items to purchase, and side quests to finish off. It feels much like the Yakuza series in many ways, with time-sensitive quests to complete, engaging yet silly missions to tackle on the side, and quirky characters to catch up with. You’ve also got several different locations to shop at — goods are never in short supply. So when you’re tired of bashing baddies’ heads in for a while, it’s still entertaining to take a quick break, while still making progress. Akiba’s Trip looks great as well, though there are some muddy textures and dips in frame rate at some points, especially when there are several, several enemies on-screen at once. Otherwise, the 3D models themselves look great on the PS3, as do the anime-inspired cut scenes and character artwork. The localization is spot-on, with snappy dialogue and even fantastic voiceovers that make the game entertaining even when the battles themselves start to wear on your nerves later on in the game. It’s a perfect complement to the soundtrack, an addictive mix of techno, house, and electronica that gets you moving in and out of battles. Unfortunately, the game can be completed in only a matter of hours, if you’re not looking to collect every possible item you can or complete the side quests available to you. You’ll want to go back and try for all the endings, but if you’re one to simply “beat” the game you’ll find that you can in three to five hours if you concentrate. That may not be enough length for some people, even factoring in the additional endings, plots, fan service, and the incredibly accurate rendition of Akihabara. Akiba’s Trip: Undead & Undressed is an interesting culture shock of a good time if you can see past the silliness, especially if “quirky Japanese games” happen to be your cup of tea.
Akiba's Trip reviewed photo
Akiba, strip!
When you're faced with imminent danger, what's the first thing you do? Do you gear up to fight back? Do you see if you can land the first punch? Or do you take all of your clothing off? I'm guessing that's a pretty uncommon r...

Resonance of Fate photo
Resonance of Fate

Sega JRPG Resonance of Fate is now on PSN


Under the radar JRPG from tri-Ace
Sep 24
// Steven Hansen
Resonance of Fate, the PS3 JRPG from Tri-Ace and Sega, is now available for purchase on the PlayStation Store for $20.   There are a few complaints worth leveling at Resonance of Fate. It's a bit ugly and drab in its was...
The Evil Within photo
The Evil Within

Watch Sebastian stumble around a lot in this Evil Within trailer out of TGS 2014


Lots of stumbling
Sep 17
// Brittany Vincent
We're marching ever closer to the release of The Evil Within, which is headed to a retailer near you October 14. Bethesda's latest horror IP is shown off in the latest trailer here, straight out of TGS 2014. If you've been t...

Hands on with Tales from the Borderlands

Sep 01 // Abel Girmay
Tales from the Borderlands (PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [preview], Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation Vita)Developer: Telltales GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesRelease Date: Fall 2014 Tales from the Borderlands doesn't stray from the formula seen in The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. You move around the world, interacting with characters and making decisions that affect your story and how others react to you. The writing takes an interesting approach to player choice. The story in my demo was told through flashbacks, one from the perspective of the Hyperion agent Rhys, and the other from his cohort Fiona. Playing as Rhys, we follow him and his coworker Vaughn on their way to purchase a vault key from a shady individual. While his side of the story starts out believable enough, it starts to get a bit fantastical as he rips out peoples hearts and makes a daring escape from Zer0, who also seems to be after the vault key. Eventually Fiona calls him out on his story, and she begins to tell her side, which is unfortunately where the demo ends. The interesting thing is that Rhys' actions during his flashback were all decisions that I was making. I could have ripped that man's heart out, or I could have tried to be diplomatic. I could have told the group that I had to escape a Vault Hunter, or I could have chosen a more believable option. Considering that players will be making these choices in both present day and flashback sequences, I'm pretty excited to see how Telltale wraps up what could essentially lead to twice as many story threads. Of course, what I played is just a slice of episode one, so there is no saying that the entire season will use flashbacks. The choices and consequences in Telltale's game would not be half as meaningful were it not for the writing. Telltale seems to have little problem going from the dramatic Walking Dead and Wolf Among Us to the slapstick silliness of Borderlands. The game even takes small shots at its gameplay formula. Later in the demo, Rhys and Vaughn are looking to get through a locked door as one of them says, "If we randomly just found it someplace that'd be amazing." After finding the key (surprise, it was just lying around), we are reintroduced to Shade, the incredibly insane and lonely shopkeeper introduced in Borderlands 2's Pirate Booty DLC. As is his modus operandi, Shade has propped up the dead bodies of past Borderlands characters in his own museum-like showcase, complete with narrated bios. Commandant Steele, killed by The Destroyer. Boom and Bewm, defeated by the Vault Hunters. Professor Nakayama, killed by stairs. So yes, Tales from the Borderlands is a Telltale game, and if you like their last few games there's a good chance you'll like this one. Though Telltale is handling the writing, the Borderlands humor is intact, and if you have been following the series there are a good amount of in jokes calling back to previous games. This is a trip to Pandora worth getting ready for.
Telltale Borderlands photo
So close you can taste the gunpowder
Telltalle has been a busy beehive lately. Having wrapped up The Walking Dead Season 2 and season one of The Wolf Among Us, this fall will bring us right into the first episode of Tales from the Borderlands. Darren seemed...

Shadow of Mordor photo
Shadow of Mordor

Shadow of Mordor's campaign digs into Middle-earth's past


Origins of the rings
Sep 01
// Abel Girmay
[Writers Note: The original story was amended because of number of factual inaccuracies. My sincerest apologies to anyone who was confused by the original article.] It won't be long now until Middle-earth: Shadow of Mord...
Mortal Kombat X preview photo
Mortal Kombat X preview

Mortal Kombat X is aiming to tone down the zoning game


New gen nut punches
Aug 30
// Abel Girmay
I got to play Mortal Kombat X for a half hour during PAX Prime, and that made me happier than a pig in whatever pigs love to be in. After 5,000 matches played online between Mortal Kombat and Injustice: Gods Among Us, my anti...
Dragon Ball Xenoverse photo
Dragon Ball Xenoverse

That 'mysterious' Dragon Ball Xenoverse character is you


How disappointing
Aug 14
// Brittany Vincent
I should have known this all along, but I was holding out hope that it would actually be a new character. That "mysterious character" in Dragon Ball Xenoverse is a custom creation. So, in essence, it's "you." You'll be able t...
Far Cry 4 photo
Far Cry 4

How Far Cry 4 plans on making memorable missions


'Here’s a palette, a brush, and a canvas. Go wild.'
Aug 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Think back on Far Cry 3. Reflect on all the memorable moments you had with that game. What sticks out the most? The missions or the unscripted stuff that happened in the open world? Chances are you primarily remember the unsc...

Command a tiger that can turn invisible in Far Cry 4

Aug 13 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
There will be a handful of these levels spread across Kyrat. Completing them will give you new skills for the skill tree, but let's face it, you're largely going to do these levels to tell a tiger whose face to chew off over and over again.  In this particular we had to go free a bell of enlightenment that had been tied down by large chains. This is a fantasy realm, and the path to the bell is spread across floating islands. You'll have to go through teleporting doors to reach other islands, and along the way are these wild-looking enemies.  For the most part you can take them down with just your bow and arrow. There will be enemies that can't be killed with arrows, so you'll have to use your tiger buddy to distract these enemy types, giving you a chance to sneak up behind them and drive a knife into their skulls.  So yeah, not much to it. A fun diversion and I'm hoping each instance of these tanka missions will be diverse enough to warrant actually playing through them all. It will get old fast, as much fun as it is was to command a ninja tiger.  Oh, and rhinos confirmed to bring about the pain in Far Cry 4.
Far Cry 4 photo
Go on a wild trip
Far Cry 3 had some pretty wild moments. Like, remember when Vaas was dancing around on the stripper pole? Good stuff. Far Cry 4 will have some crazy segments as well, but these are a little more grounded to the core of the ga...

Swapper PSN impressions photo
Swapper PSN impressions

The Swapper is just as incredible on PS4 and Vita


Swappin' makes me feel good
Aug 11
// Brett Zeidler
Somehow Facepalm Games' The Swapper slipped under my radar in 2013. Even though I've owned it for a while from a Humble Bundle, I just never fired it up. Releasing on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita la...
Godzilla photo
Godzilla

I'm still excited about that new Godzilla game, and these screenshots show why


Looking pretty awesome, honestly
Aug 08
// Brittany Vincent
Remember that new Godzilla game that everyone seems to think will fail? I'm still interested, because Godzilla. And since the Blue Öyster Cult saw fit to write a song about Godzilla, everyone knows you should pay attenti...
Tokyo Twilight photo
Tokyo Twilight

Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters confirmed for 2015 European release


Get your ghost huntin' on
Aug 08
// Brittany Vincent
NIS America announced today that Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters will be making its way to Europe in 2015, so no one has to be left behind when it comes to bustin' ghosts. 'Cause it makes you feel good and all. Tokyo Twilight Gh...

Review: Sacred 3

Aug 06 // Alasdair Duncan
Sacred 3 (PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Keen GamesPublisher: Deep SilverMRSP: $59.99/£39.99Release: August 1, 2014 (Europe) / August 5, 2014 (North America) Where to begin? Let's start with the story that has the Dark Elf lord Zane invading the peaceful region of Arcania where a sacred artifact is held. Standing in his way are a band of heroes who are committed to foiling his plans, along with a powerful telepath Aria. It's all fairly standard fantasy stuff but there's a real disconnect between the fantasy trope of invading dark army/plucky band of unique heroes and the tone of how it all plays out.  From the chirpy voice over to the silly dialog that robs villains of any sense of dread or malevolence, Sacred 3 seems to be in search of whether to play it straight or not. The first few levels have your hero chasing Karr Tel, a pirate and slaver who is evil enough to destroy an entire city but silly enough to taunt you about how bad scurvy is. One character even uses the term "noob. The lighthearted tone permeates some parts of the game (look at some of the silliness in the characters' bio pages) but not all of them. There's nothing wrong with humor in a game like this but why not go all the way and make the character's special moves funny or satirical? Sacred 3 is happy enough to have a horny wizard shout remarks about threeways but most of the game is played totally straight and the attempts at humor are jarring and just not funny. [embed]279030:55135:0[/embed] There are four heroes to choose from: Claire the Seraphim, a swift swordswoman; Alithea the Lancer, a ranged warrior; Marak the Safari, a tough tank class; and Vajra the Archer who deals in ranged damage. All the classes do handle slightly differently but you'll spend a good deal of your time left clicking on things until they die or blow up, which is what you'd expect from an action-RPG. You are, however, limited to just a two supplemental attacks -- one light and one heavy. As you unlock them by progressing through the game, each hero will have three or four to select from but progression is really slow; to fully unlock one of Alithea's starting skills (which only has four levels), you'll need to progress to level 33 which is a real slog. Gating progression is expected but usually there's plenty of leeway in customizing your character's skills and talents; in Sacred 3, you're really only presented with a single option every time you level up.  What's also missing is all the sweet loot that you'd normally crave. Weapons are dished out at the end of a level but you're left with one main weapon for an entire mission. Having limited weapons does mean that they all feel slightly distinctive, and picking one for an entire mission means you have time to get used to it, but there's a lack of weight to the combat. Some bonuses that are bestowed by captured spirits can buff certain attacks and do make a difference and it's neat that there are bonuses and penalties that will affect your character and party, so there's room for some customization. Like a lot of games, there's more enjoyment to be had here in co-op, especially if there's some good cooperation between players as to controlling large groups of enemies and targeting specific champions.  It's a shame that for every good thing that game does, there's two or three things dragging it down. The charge-up gust that's mapped to the right mouse button is a great addition as allows you to break enemy shields, disrupt traps, and knock over smaller enemies but aiming is done with the mouse so you have to constantly adjust your character's position with the keyboard. The dodge command is mapped to the space bar but again, you'll dodge in the direction the mouse cursor is pointing. This does take a lot of getting used to and once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to zip round the battlefield.  Playing with a controller works just fine as an alternative rather than using the WASD keys for movement. Visually, the game does a decent job of presenting itself. Shown mainly from an isometric viewpoint, the character models are distinct but there's plenty of times when there's so much happening it's hard to make out how many enemies you're facing. There's a nice scale to the levels -- these aren't your dank dungeons as most are happening outside during the daylight. Occasionally, the camera will shift to an alternate angle. There's an impressive amount of things happening on lower levels, like trolls tossing rocks at a city or a mass jailbreak happening. The character design is so-so but it's fairly easy to tell each hero apart on the battlefield when you're playing co-op. As I mentioned earlier, it seems churlish to criticize Sacred 3 for breaking away from the series' APRG roots but the problem is that there's nothing that quite fills the gap of leveling up your character or voraciously guzzling loot drops. For all its streamlining of the leveling systems and loot, Sacred 3 just feels lightweight and simplistic. That's not even mentioning the flat attempts at humor and some crude jokes that you'll be putting up with in the early levels. As it stands, Sacred 3 feels distinctly average. The game works well enough at what it presents and is largely annoyance-free (though the checkpointing system could be better and I had a save-game issue where my progress wasn't saved from one session to another) but there's better and more rewarding games out there right now that you should seek out first.
Sacred 3 review photo
Taking the action and RPG out of an ARPG
"I love it." The specter of Diablo looms large over the action-RPG genre; most games borrow heavily from Blizzard's seminal game and those games' success is usually judged on how close they stick to the formula and how well t...

Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- photo
Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-

A look at Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-'s practice and multiplayer


Cast in the name of God, ye not guilty
Aug 05
// Brittany Vincent
Arc System Works released Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign- in arcades earlier this year in Japan, with console versions coming soon. Famitsu released a sneak peak of Network and Training Modes coming to the PlayStation 3 and 4. It has ...
Far Cry photo
Far Cry

Far Cry 3 was originally poised to tie the franchise's story together


But hey, at least we got Blood Dragon
Aug 05
// Brittany Vincent
Raphael van Lierop, in a recent interview with USGamer, revealed that his original vision of the game would have tied all three entries in the series up to that point together. As narrative director at Ubisoft Montreal for Fa...
Digimon: All-Star Rumble photo
Digimon: All-Star Rumble

I want to play as Gatomon in Digimon: All-Star Rumble


Or Biyomon, whatever
Aug 01
// Brittany Vincent
Digimon All-Star Rumble is headed for an official launch for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on November 11, and I couldn't be more excited. It's been so long since I've actually played a Digimon game that this one has me itching ...
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate photo
Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate

It's probably hard to fight in a bath towel, but the Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate fighters do it anyway


If this were Senran Kagura, that towel would fall straight off
Aug 01
// Brittany Vincent
As if there weren't already a ton of outfits available for Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate characters, here's yet another collection that may or may not be worth your money. If you like watching people fight in towels and bedroom a...






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