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Release date photo
Release date

Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games gets release date


Aww hell yeah!
Jan 11
// Steven Hansen
My boys Mario and Sonic are back together again for yet another Olympic games game -- this time in Rio de Janeiro. For the fifth entry in the Mario & Sonic Do Sports For Some Reason series, the roster of playable charact...
Valkyria PS4 photo
Valkyria PS4

Valkyria Chronicles Remaster screens hot and fresh out the kitchen


Coming to PS4 next month in Japan
Jan 10
// Steven Hansen
You know who didn't shank a gimme field goal wide left? Sega, with new screenshots for Valkyria Chronicles Remaster, the PS4 port for the beloved turn-based strategy game. Sega had an easy task, especially after the nice PC r...

Experience Points .29: Skies of Arcadia

Jan 09 // Ben Davis
Sky's the limit Skies of Arcadia has one of the most intriguing worlds I've ever explored in a video game. Civilizations of people living on floating islands, traveling between them via airships, with fish and other creatures normally associated with the sea flying around in the clouds, and entire sections of the world blocked off by powerful air currents and other obstacles that could tear ships apart. It was all very exciting and mysterious. I constantly wondered what secrets lay hidden on the other side of those currents, or past that ominous rift. Would it be possible to descend under the clouds, or perhaps fly even higher into the sky? Eventually, Vyse gets to explore all of these places, satisfying every last bit of the player's curiosity. Each new area discovered is a thrilling experience. Everything from the lost civilization of Glacia, the thriving society of Yafutoma that had been cut off from the rest of the world, the terrifying depths lying beneath the clouds, and the bright, open atmosphere above. I kept wondering what I might find next. The most powerful moment for me was when they dive beneath the clouds and enter Deep Sky for the very first time, by flying through the huge maelstrom known as the Vortex. Entering the land beneath the clouds was unheard of for Vyse and his people, but they attempt it anyway in order to retrieve Fina's lost ship, even though they run the risk of damaging their own ship in the process due to atmospheric pressure. The area under the Vortex resembles a deep ocean abyss. It's incredibly dark and murky, and almost looks alien compared to the bright, airy world above. The crew of the Delphinus must use sonar to navigate the area and locate Fina's ship, but they also need to be wary of the giant bioluminescent creatures known as Raja which lurk in the darkness! There's nothing more terrifying than the unknown horrors of the deep. Wonders of the world Continuing the theme of exploration, my favorite activity in Skies of Arcadia was flying around and making Discoveries. This involves searching the skies for hidden landmarks, rare creatures, forgotten shipwrecks, and other special locations which don't normally appear on the map. Once Vyse makes a Discovery, he can then sell the information of its whereabouts to the Sailor's Guild for cash. But he also needs to be mindful of other Discovery hunters, such as the famous explorer, Domingo, who might find them first if Vyse takes too long. I've always been the explorer type while playing video games, keen on visiting every last location and wandering around all edges of the map to see what I might find. So games that try to reward that exploration really make me happy, and Skies of Arcadia is just about the perfect example of that with its Discoveries side quest. It may not seem too exciting for some, searching for hidden objects which don't really do anything except float there and are only good for making money, but I found it to be oddly captivating. In the world of the game, Vyse is the usually first person to have found these things. Lost landmarks like the Giant Throne spoken about only in legends, fabled creatures like the Ancient Fish which many believed to be extinct or pure fiction, shipwrecks that no one had been able to locate, slowly fading from memory. Finding things like that in the real world would be truly awe-inspiring, and it made me really get into playing the role of Vyse because I loved the idea of living that kind of life. From Hell's heart I stab at thee The story of Captain Drachma and Rhaknam is heavily based on my favorite book, Moby Dick, so it's no surprise that it left an impression on me. But even for those unfamiliar with the themes of Melville's classic novel, Skies of Arcadia's take on the relationship between man and whale was quite powerful in its own way. Much like with Captain Ahab and the white whale, Drachma had dedicated most of his life to hunting down the giant purple arcwhale, Rhaknam, who not only stole Drachma's right arm from him but also caused the deaths of his crew, his wife, and his only son, Jack. The hunt eventually proves fruitful, when the crew of the Little Jack confronts Rhaknam and manages to spear it with the ship's harpoon. Unfortunately, an enemy ship manned by Ramirez takes the opportunity to fire upon the Little Jack while they're distracted with the whale, setting the ship aflame and forcing Drachma and crew to evacuate. But at the last moment, as Vyse and the others are getting into the lifeboats, Drachma pushes them overboard. He remains on the burning Little Jack, dragged along by the harpoon stuck in Rhaknam's back, presumably to his death. Of course, that wasn't the last we would see of Captain Drachma. Vyse and crew eventually meet up with him again in the most unexpected of places, the abandoned ancient city of Glacia. Rhaknam had apparently made the place its home, and fled to the icy fortress with Drachma in tow. Realizing that the whale had actually saved his life, Drachma had a sudden change of heart and decided to care for and comfort Rhaknam, who had been mortally wounded during the attack by Ramirez. Vyse and friends arrive just in time to witness Rhaknam's final moments, as the whale sings mournfully and sheds a single tear before passing on. Afterwards, Drachma decides to live out his days as a fisherman now that he no longer has to spend his life hunting down his arch-nemesis. Even though the death of Rhaknam is rather sad, it's still heartwarming to know that the two lifelong enemies were able to make amends. It's actually a much cheerier end than the one Captain Ahab received. Kraken the sky While most of the battles aboard the ship are fought against other ships, there are a few optional engagements with huge, frightening sky beasts which are particularly exciting. My favorite is the battle against a certain blue cephalopod. For a game centered around sailing (even though it takes place in the sky), you just know there's going to be a giant squid encounter, and Skies of Arcadia doesn't disappoint. Of course, any game with a giant squid is going to get a shout-out from me, because giant squids are awesome! Once Vyse's ship gains access to certain parts of the map, the crew might happen upon an open area with nothing but some floating rocks and an ominous Discovery called the Giant Squid Nest. Nearby lurks a beast named Obispo, a huge blue squid floating lazily through the clouds. Flying up to Obispo, who is larger than the Delphinus itself, will initiate an optional ship battle. Obispo will attack the Delphinus with huge bursts of ink, but it's probably no match for the ship's cannons. Cause enough damage, and the giant squid's tentacles will begin to fall off one by one, sinking to the clouds below. Upon death, the animal actually bursts into flames and falls out of the sky. I almost expected it to go out in a glorious explosion! Build-a-base At one point in the story, Vyse finds himself stranded on a desert island where he is forced to figure out a way to survive while rebuilding a lifeboat to escape. This island, called Crescent Isle, later becomes the base of operations for Vyse and his crew. A small settlement is built for crew members to live while not aboard the Delphinus. But the coolest thing about Crescent Isle is that the player actually gets to customize it to their liking. Players can choose which buildings to upgrade, decide who should rebuild them (which changes the architecture), add decorations like fountains or cliffside reliefs, bring animals to the island (like fish, flamingos, alligators, and pandas), and pick a flag to represent the crew. I had Kirala construct most of the buildings in the exotic Yafutoma style, with fish and pandas to liven things up. I decided to forgo the cliffside reliefs, because having a character's giant face looming at everyone seemed kind of unsettling to me. I also went with Fina's flag design, which features a super happy flying dolphin, because duh. I loved being able to give the island my own unique flair; it made the place actually feel special to me, rather than just some rock that I could return to every once in a while. I wonder how many others spent as much time designing their islands as I did. Trial by dragon Skies of Arcadia's battle system featured Super Moves, which were special attacks that had short cinematic sequences to go along with them. They were all pretty cool. Vyse had a bunch of pirate-themed moves, Aika's were named after the Greek alphabet for some reason, Fina called upon the power of the moons to help them out, and Drachma straight up body slammed dudes. But my favorite Super Move belongs to Enrique. Upon activating his final move, “The Judgement,” Enrique summons a huge colosseum full of roaring spectators, announcing, “Your trial shall be swift and just!” as if this is a perfectly normal thing to just suddenly appear out of nowhere. He then calls upon a dragon-shaped sigil on the ground, which opens up a portal in the sky above him to release an actual dragon. The silver beast spirals through the air before flying face-first into the enemy, slamming into them for massive damage as Enrique yells, “Face your punishment!” And then he ends the attack with a confident flourish of his sword. Wow, Enrique. Way to make everyone else look bad! Past Experience Points Level 1: .01 - .20 .21: Katamari Damacy.22: Tomb Raider.23: Mother 3.24: Deadly Premonition.25: Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.26: Dark Souls.27: GoldenEye 007 .28: Pokémon Red/Blue 
Skies of Arcadia photo
Cutlass Fury!
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Big the Cat photo
Big the Cat

Sega teases plans for Sonic's 25th anniversary with Big the Cat


Get ready for a Big surprise
Jan 08
// Ben Davis
An image of the guys from Game Grumps holding a Big the Cat doll appeared on the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter and Facebook pages today, along with the message, “We've got some pretty exciting stuff planned for th...
Sonic the Hedgehog photo
Sonic the Hedgehog

Crush 40 let slip a 25th anniversary Sonic game is in the works


I tried to think of a Live and Learn pun
Jan 03
// Joe Parlock
Jeez, it’s already been almost five years since the great Sonic Generations was released to celebrate the Blue Blur’s 20th anniversary. With the series’ 25th birthday rapidly approaching later this year, peo...
LOL SEGA photo
LOL SEGA

Phantasy Star Online 2 anime coming west


But not the game, obviously
Jan 02
// Kyle MacGregor
It's been close to four years since Sega announced Phantasy Star Online 2 for a western release, but, despite the game being available in English throughout Asia, we're still without a localization. In an amusing turn of even...
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

Valkyria Chronicles Remaster looks great in its debut trailer


But we already knew it would!
Dec 25
// Ben Davis
Sega released the debut trailer for Valkyria Chronicles Remaster, set to arrive on PS4 in Japan on February 10. The original was already gorgeous on PS3, so it's no wonder that it will look even better on PS4. Valkyria Chroni...
Phantasy Star Online 2 photo
Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2 will arrive in the spring on PS4 in Japan


Still no international release
Dec 23
// Chris Carter
Ah Phantasy Star Online 2. Why did you have to be so good when I played you at TGS on PS4? Will you ever see a true western release? It's a possibility, but in the meantime, Japan will enjoy the PS4 version this coming spring...

Review: Yakuza 5

Dec 17 // Kyle MacGregor
Yakuza 5 (PS3)Developer: SegaPublisher: SegaMSRP: $39.99 Released: December 8, 2015 (NA/EU)  December 6, 2012 (JP) The tale unfurls from five seemingly unrelated vantage points, picking up two years after the events of Yakuza 4 with former yakuza and series protagonist Kazuma Kiryu attempting to live a quiet life as a cab driver in Fukuoka. Of course, our hero can't seem to escape his past, and with trouble brewing, it isn't long before he's pulled out of his taxi and back into the fray. Far to the north, Tojo strongman Taiga Saejima is nearing the end of a prison sentence in Hokkaido, where he, despite being 2,000 miles away from the events in Fukuoka, feels the ripple effects of what's going on. Meanwhile, Kiryu's adoptive niece Haruka has left her home in Okinawa to chase dreams of becoming a pop star in Osaka, where old friend Shun Akiyama, the affable moneylender from Yakuza 4, also happens to be setting up a new office for his company Sky Finance. Tossed into the mix is newcomer Tatsuo Shinada, a disgraced former baseball player living hand-to-mouth in a seedy corner of Nagoya after being thrown out of the league on suspicion of game-fixing. He, more so than the rest of the cast, appears to have little to do with the goings on of the criminal underworld, much less the tensions between the Omi Alliance and Tojo Clan. And yet he too becomes involved in this nationwide clash between gangs as everything intertwines and comes to a head. Speaking of heads, chances are, unless you're intimately familiar with Japanese geography or the series in general, that synopsis might have left your's spinning. With such a rich backstory and so many characters, locations, and groups, it can be difficult for even the best of us to fully grasp what's going on. But I suppose that's part of the charm; the complicated interweaving of everything makes for one hell of a soap opera delving into the fascinating world of Japan's organized crime families. Another strength of Yakuza 5, and the series in general, is the painstaking lengths at which Sega goes to make that world feel real. Everything from bustling city streets to the convenience stores and ramen shops is rendered with such attention to detail, it might just be the closest you can come to visiting Japan without hopping on a plane. In relief of that realism is the gameplay, which has a certain air about it akin to a smell that can send you back to a specific place and time. Whether you're brawling with gangsters, drag racing, fishing, participating in a FPS snowball fight, hunting, or playing Virtua Fighter or Taiko Drum Master in the arcade, the whole experience feels very much like a Dreamcast-era arcade game. Cut between the ultra-serious story of conspiracy and deadly consequences is a pastiche of ridiculous, over-the-top (and cloyingly dated) mini-games that serve to lighten the mood, smack you in the face, and remind you that it's a video game -- not just a television drama. Nowhere is this more evident than Haruka's portion of the story, which transforms the experience (for a while, at least) into an idol simulation with Hatsune Miku: Project Diva-esque rhythm game sequences and handshake meet-and-greet sessions with fans. Sadly, none of these elements are handled with the same care and dedication given to the story or world-building, which is a real shame, and leaves the experience feeling somewhat archaic. The fighting, in particular, hasn't seen much of a leap forward since the series debuted a decade ago on PlayStation 2. Even considering how long it took Sega to localize this particular entry, its stiff combat just feels woefully antiquated in contrast with most action games on the market these days. However, despite some rough edges like that or a bizarre fixation with hammering home an overarching theme about "dreams" near the point of self-parody, Yakuza 5 provides dozens upon dozens of hours of legitimate entertainment, the sort that kept me engaged and constantly left me torn between rushing ahead to see what twists and turns the story would take next and poking my nose into every single nook and cranny to explore the hostess clubs, remote mountain shrines, and everything in between. Yakuza 5 is exactly the sort of game the expression "greater than the sum of its parts" was made to describe. Each facet of the experience, taken individually, leaves room for improvement, but, reflecting on my time with Yakuza 5, I can't conjure much in the way of disappointment. Some bumps notwithstanding, it's a hell of a ride, one that I heartily recommend. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Yakuza 5 review photo
Who says crime doesn't pay?
With the chairman of the Omi crime syndicate on his deathbed, an uneasy truce with the Tojo Clan hangs in the balance. Anticipating a conflict, Tojo boss Daigo Dojima travels to Fukuoka in search of allies. But before an agre...

Yakuza: Kiwami photo
Yakuza: Kiwami

Yakuza: Kiwami continues to look great


New Story trailer
Dec 14
// Chris Carter
Every time I see footage for Yakuza: Kiwami, I just want to replay the first game again. It's a shame that we never got the PS3 or Wii U HD remakes, but I'd settle for a worldwide release of this one, as it seems l...
Yakuza 6 photo
Yakuza 6

First footage of Yakuza 6 looks just wonderful


I'm feeling the heat
Dec 12
// Kyle MacGregor
I may knee-deep in Yakuza 5 at the moment, but it's never too soon to start getting pumped for the next entry in the series. That would be Yakuza 6, which Sega unveiled at Tokyo Game Show this year and plans to release exclusively for PlayStation 4 sometime next autumn. You know, in Japan. Who knows how long the game will take to come west (if it ever does), but it sure does look pretty.
Yakuza comes west photo
Yakuza comes west

Yakuza 5 comes west next week, Yakuza Zero confirmed for PS4


Yakuza news
Dec 05
// Steven Hansen
Yakuza 5 is coming to PS3 December 8 and Yakuza Zero is also coming to the west on PlayStation 4, Sony announced at the PlayStation Experience. SEGA's Yakuza 5 missed its mid-November release date after being announced for a western release at last year's PlayStation Experience. Yakuza Zero is a prequel set in the '80s that came to PS3 and PS4 in Japan earlier this year.
Yakuza photo
Yakuza

You can fight Majima anywhere in the world in the Yakuza remake


Haha, awesome
Nov 28
// Chris Carter
Yakuza: Kiwami, a remake for the original game, is shaping up to be a pretty awesome re-release. There are a ton of new features packed in, one of which is the ability to fight Majima Goro, a Starscream-esque friend of t...
Dengeki Bunko photo
Dengeki Bunko

The new Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition trailer shows the whole cast


I've only heard of about three of them
Nov 27
// Joe Parlock
When it’s not being an absurdly long name that’s a pain in the arse to type, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition is the updated version of Sony and Dengeki Bunko’s crossover fighting game. It released i...
Project X Zone 2 photo
Project X Zone 2

Project X Zone 2 pre-order bonuses include a challenge stage


Enh
Nov 20
// Chris Carter
Pre-order bonuses, as a rule, are pretty scummy. I get that publishers really need that cash now, but providing in-game incentives, some of which are not sold later (or, even crazier, just included in the game -- weird, ...
Yakuza photo
Yakuza

Yakuza: Kiwami looks dope as hell, super weird


Comes with a demo for Yakuza 6
Nov 20
// Chris Carter
Sega just dropped a new trailer for Yakuza: Kiwami, and it looks awesome. There's plenty of new features afoot, including new combat abilities and minigames. I love the balance this series always struck with insanity an...
First Valkyria trailer photo
First trailer and way more screenshots
So I jumped the gun yesterday when I said Valkyria: Azure Revolution and Valkyria Chronicles Remaster (PS4) news was petering off. Yesterday's plain, boring website is now home to a bunch of new screens, the first footage of...

Valkyria PS4 details photo
Valkyria PS4 details

Valkyria: Azure Revolution, Valkyria Chronicles Remaster get websites


Plus box art
Nov 19
// Steven Hansen
Two days ago an announcement, yesterday the first screens, and today...web pages. Well, yes, things do get less exciting after their initial release. Gotta slow the pace down to be able to blow you out of the water with the n...
Valkyria shots photo
Valkyria shots

First shots of Valkyria: Azure Revolution and the PS4 remaster


New Valkyria series game coming to PS4
Nov 18
// Steven Hansen
I don't know if it was the Valkyria Chronicles Steam release success or Sega just doing its regular couple years of apologizing with good releases before falling into a funk again, but there is a new, anime-as-hell Valkyria C...
Valkyria Chronicles photo
Valkyria Chronicles

A new Valkyria Chronicles and a remaster are coming to PS4


Next year in Japan
Nov 17
// Jordan Devore
As it turns out, Sega's recent Valkyria trademark was worth getting excited over after all. The company has a new game in the series and a remaster of the original Valkyria Chronicles in development for PlayStation 4, accordi...
NSFW photo
NSFW

What is going on with this Dragon's Crown figure?


Mesmerizing in all the wrong ways
Nov 11
// Jordan Devore
I'm almost at a loss for words other than to say you don't know what you've got until it's gone. The last Dragon's Crown Amazon figure (that I've seen, anyway) was over the top in ways you would expect given the source material, but that design now looks respectable compared to what's happening here. If you don't mind my asking, uh, what exactly is happening here?
Alien: Isolation photo
Alien: Isolation

A modder has taken the Alien out of Alien: Isolation


And I bet it's still fantastic
Nov 09
// Brett Makedonski
The first time I played Alien: Isolation, I was at developer Creative Assembly's studio in Horsham, England. The game hadn't been announced yet and we were the first non-Sega people to see it. There was the briefest of introd...
Sega financials photo
Sega financials

Sega sales down, but profits up


Gotta earn money fast
Nov 02
// Laura Kate Dale
In a recent financial results briefing for April to September 2015, Sega revealed a small drop in sales but an overall increase in profits compared to the same period last year. While net sales reached $1.2 billion, a 2.5 per...
More empty Sonic optimism photo
More empty Sonic optimism

SEGA sez: New Sonic to be 'inspired by how it played in its heyday'


That smoke'll make you choke!
Oct 29
// Steven Hansen
Earlier this year, SEGA issued a bold apology. The company apologized for accidentally naming its Halloween character "Boob" instead of "Boo." Even earlier in the year, SEGA made another apology for how shit Sonic games have ...
Oh...kay photo
Oh...kay

Dawn of War II: Retribution just got some weird new DLC


Pay money for more blood
Oct 29
// Jordan Devore
Today's reminder that Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III would be a lovely thing to exist comes in the form of a peculiar DLC release for 2011's Dawn of War II: Retribution. Out now on Steam, the Ridiculously Bloody Blood Pack adds a toggle for dramatic new blood effects in the real-time strategy game. It's the kind of thing that would be a fun little bonus, but it costs $1.99.
Alien: Isolation photo
Alien: Isolation

Alien: Isolation gets a Game of the Year edition, but it's named correctly


Alien: Isolation - The Collection
Oct 27
// Brett Makedonski
Xenomorphs are resilient little buggers. One year removed from the release of Alien: Isolation, we thought we had done away with the titular alien. Nope. It comes back to haunt us today because a flamethrower isn't hint enoug...
Sonic Adventure photo
Sonic Adventure

Do you prefer Sonic Adventure 1 or 2?


I want to know
Oct 27
// Chris Carter
It looks like I sparked a discussion yesterday in my recent article on Sonic Adventure 2's twisted backstory. I drew a line in the sand between the first Sonic Adventure and the sequel, and a debate started up, comparing...
Shenmue photo
Shenmue

Sega is apparently looking into re-releasing the first two Shenmue games


Says Sega Europe's marketing director
Oct 27
// Chris Carter
Anyone who knows my gaming habits is aware that I adore the Shenmue series. The second game in particular came at a perfect point in my life, and it got me through some hard times But over the years it's become increasingly t...
Sonic Adventure 2 photo
Sonic Adventure 2

Learn the twisted backstory behind Sonic Adventure 2


Haha, Shadow
Oct 26
// Chris Carter
Sonic Adventure 2 is a pretty strange game. I remember playing it for the first time with my cousin, plugging away at multiplayer for 10 hours straight. For that reason, I've always had a soft spot for the Adventure&nbs...
Sonic's 'Boob' photo
Sonic's 'Boob'

Sega apologizes for Sonic Runners 'Boob' boner


Typo of the Year
Oct 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Someone at Sega made a helluva typo, accidentally naming a character in Sonic Runners' seasonal Halloween stage "Boob" instead of "Boo," which prompted this apology: "In the current 'Halloween Special Stage' event, the charac...

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