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In Japan photo
In Japan

PlayStation Vita strategy RPG Makai Shin Trillion out next month


In Japan
Jun 03
// Steven Hansen
Makai Shin Trillion is coming to Vita in Japan on July 23. We first saw it just over a year ago. The Vita strategy RPG comes from developer Compile Heart whose last four developed games (Fairy Fencer F, Hyperdimension Neptun...
Vita photo
Vita

Sony exec calls Vita a 'legacy platform'


That's not a good sign
May 27
// Brett Makedonski
Those who hold out hope that Sony will change course and start avidly supporting the Vita may want to finally give up on that pipe dream. The outlook for the PlayStation handheld has been grim, and is even more so after a top...
Octodad photo
Octodad

Octodad on Vita will have same-screen co-op


Haha, what a cluster
May 21
// Chris Carter
Young Horses, the developer of Octodad, has noted that the Vita version of the game will be released on May 26. It'll cost you $14.99, but since it features Cross-Buy, a PS4 purchase already netted you the Vita version for fr...

Freedom Wars photo
Freedom Wars

Use today's PSN flash sale as an opportunity to get Freedom Wars


One of the best games on the platform
May 15
// Chris Carter
Freedom Wars is pretty great. Our own Brett Zeidler loved it, I loved it, and now it's on sale today on the PSN for $4.80, down from $29.99. Other discounted Vita games for today's Flash Sale include Nidhogg, The Walking Dead...

Review: Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities

May 07 // Jed Whitaker
Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities (Android, iOS [reviewed on an iPhone 6 Plus], Playstation Vita, Wii U)Developer: Psychose Interactive Inc.Publisher: Psychose Interactive Inc.Released: April 23, 2015 (iOS) / TBA 2015 (Android, PlayStation Vita, Wii U)MSRP: $4.99 Rose Hawkins wakes up after being shot in the face, only remembering that she was searching for a missing girl named Eden. She doesn't recall who shot her, how she is alive, or where she is.  Upon exiting the room Rose is greeted by a hallway formed in red curtains, the kind you'd find at any theater. An antique dictation device is waiting for her, and a message plays automatically from a woman named Noah who has been waiting for her. Noah knows Rose by name, and promises her more information on Eden if she can free her nurse friend from the asylum she is about to enter. Rose comes face to face with Noah in a throne surrounded by mannequins one last time before entering the asylum, Noah still talks through audio dictation for some reason. This is the kind of tone you can expect from Forgotten Memories. [embed]291661:58457:0[/embed] Like any psychological survival horror game, the story is deep, twisted and leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Most of the lore you'll come across in case files, notes, and a couple of cutscenes. Forgotten Memories is very old school in this regard, but still manages to have an engaging story worth searching for. Old school is a  word that can be used to describe most parts of the experience, for better or for worse. I almost didn't finish the game due to how difficult the game is, just because the developers felt the need to shove in old school mechanics for old school sake. Saving the game requires tracking down a computer and using a floppy disk, an item that is extremely limited in the game. While classic survival horror games used this save game mechanic, most notably the original Resident Evil series, it sucks for a game on mobile, especially when the game is brutally difficult. Forgotten Memories' app store description originally warned prospective buyers to only purchase the game if you are a hardcore gamer due to the level of challenge involved. They weren't joking -- I almost didn't finish it to how quickly and often I'd die. Luckily I must not have been the only one as the developer quickly released an update that included an easy mode. It provides players with unlimited saves, more ammo, easier enemies and more medkit pickups, among other tweaks. Even with this easy mode I found myself in situations with a sliver of health, no medkits and some distance between myself and the nearest save point.  Touchscreen controls were a mistake, plain and simple, and hopefully they don't carry over to the Vita and Wii U versions of the game. The left side of the screen controls character movement, while the right side controls the camera and aiming. The first place touched on the left side of the screen acts as a center axis, and Rose will move in the direction of your fingers position in reference to said axis. Camera and aiming control seems inconsistent on how much movement there is, often times leading to needing multiple swipes just turn around. On the right side of the screen are also icons that allow you to run or go into an aiming mode with your flashlight or weapon. With a weapon drawn tapping anywhere on the screen will cause Rose to attack. The pipe, the only melee weapon I found in my playthroughs, can be used three times consecutively to perform a powerful combo attack that pushes enemies backwards. Since this piece of junk is your main weapon, combat boils down to letting enemies get close enough to attack, performing the combo, rinse repeat. It leaves a lot to be desired. Shitty controls aside, Forgotten Memories nails the survival horror atmosphere unlike any game I've played in years. Haunting violins can be heard as you search for clues and keys, pounding drums mixed with noise play during combat, and the intro music is haunting, a mainstay of the Silent Hill series. I found my heart beating in my chest with my breath held as I ran past enemies to escape rooms. Hearing distorted singing coming from a shadow-like child that is just down the hallway where you need to go is fucking horrifying. While it is indeed a horrifying affair, it ends all too abruptly at just under an hour and a half on my first playthrough.  Having been in development for years, Forgotten Memories feels like it was purposely cut short to allow for sequels or download content. That being said, the pacing is tight and there is no filler whatsoever, but it still feels like the first chapter of a longer game. Aside from the brevity, awful controls, and dull combat, the game is easily recommendable for those looking for that Silent Hill feel. Though only the desperate should pick up the mobile version, or those that have a compatible controller, otherwise wait for the console and PC releases sometime this year. While the graphics are some of the best I've seen on mobile, they can only be better elsewhere. Forgotten Memories: Alternate Realities is about the best you can do for survival horror currently, if you can stomach the control scheme. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Forgotten Memories review photo
Horror-ible controls
Survival horror has always been one of my favorite genres, with Silent Hill being the absolute king. When I heard about a game inspired by and with voice actors from Silent Hill 2, arguably the best in the series, I was ...

Afterbirth update photo
Afterbirth update

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth expansion to feature new transformations, ruin my life


Norman Bates chic
Apr 28
// Nic Rowen
Well I'm doomed. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth expansion, Afterbirth, is going to include a whopping eight new transformations to discover, experiment with, and obsess over. I'm already addicted to transforming into Guppy the...
ATLUS photo
ATLUS

NIS announces a bushel of Atlus games for Europe


RPGs and tigers and bears! Oh my!
Apr 14
// Kyle MacGregor
Poor European Atlus fans... They're always so upset. I wish I could brighten their day somehow. Oh, hey, what's this? A press release from NIS... Four Atlus titles coming to Europe? Hot damn! Apparently Shin Megami ...

Review: Flame Over

Mar 11 // Robert Summa
Flame Over (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Laughing JackalPublisher: Laughing JackalReleased: March 10, 2015MSRP: $9.99 Set up as a twin-stick shooter with randomized levels and a persistent upgrade system, Flame Over doesn't seem all that challenging. I mean, just look at it. It presents itself as a fun, lighthearted romp where you put out fires, save people and rescue cats. You know, the normal shenanigans that firefighters experience on a daily basis. However, Flame Over quickly dispels that belief and smacks you in the face with its difficulty. Your first obstacle to overcome will be to nail the controls down. You can shoot water with the right bumper and use an extinguisher with the left. The initial difficulty comes in realizing you can use both rather interchangeably and that your movement is directly affected by their application. [embed]288880:57716:0[/embed] There is no real tutorial, so you are pretty much left to figure it out for yourself: there are tips you can enable, but who needs those. As is pretty standard, your time within a given level is limited. It seems rather tame at first, but once you realize how long it takes to put out a fire or how much you need to refill your water or extinguisher, time suddenly seems to slip away fairly quickly. You can add to your running clock by rescuing random people scattered about, but their availability and willingness to follow you can vary -- for instance, they would stop following me if I ran too far ahead and there was an object between us. Similar to Spelunky's ghost, when you run out of time, the figure of death will appear. He'll chase you down (albeit pretty slowly), but if you touch him, game over. While he does move at a casual pace, it gets harder and harder to dodge him because of the walls of flames and tight spaces you can find yourself squeezed into. Of course, in most roguelikes, game over is a way of life. This is how you learn. So just like other titles, you accept it and move on. This is an area I would have liked to see be handled a little better. Roguelikes really work when you can restart your game fairly quickly -- as in, I push X and I restart right away. While it's not a slow process in Flame Over, it's not as fast as some other roguelikes you may be used to. This can add to a bit of frustration already built up from your previous failure of a run. It's not a big deal, but something that should be refined for a game like this to really shine. It really is a pretty straight forward and rewarding game. While it's in no way perfect, it's a completely serviceable roguelike for its price and for the Vita. If you can't get enough of this genre, then by all means consider Flame Over. Even though it doesn't really set itself apart from the crowd, it's got enough there to garner a following and perhaps deliver on future iterations or changes to improve upon the established formula. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Flame Over photo
Sound the alarm
Roguelikes suck. They don't suck as in they are horrible to play. They suck for me because they're so damn hard. But in this genre, that's part of the challenge. For whatever reason, our gamer brains desire to overcome the im...

Severed is full of one-handed vengeance

Mar 10 // Caitlin Cooke
The colorful art style of Guacamelee! makes its return in a beautiful, dark package. In Severed you play a young heroine set out on a course of vengeance after losing her home and her arm in a brutal attack. Her dark story coupled with the deserted surroundings made for a chilling atmosphere, and etched within the demo were moments that tugged at my heart ever so slightly.   The movement style is a refreshing version of old-school first-person dungeon crawlers, allowing you to choose directional paths in a four-pointed compass-like system. Enemies spawn immediately when arriving to a location, and players swipe to attack while moving directionally to combat multiple monsters in a room. Each enemy has its own rhythm in terms of attacking, blocking, and parrying, and when various monsters start to compound together in a room it becomes advantageous to memorize their patterns.  Once enough successful attacks have been built up, players can enter a mode that slows down the monster’s movements and allows them to sever appendages to go in for the final kill. Once slayed, enemies drop various objects which can then be used to upgrade health, defense, and severed power. Health is only given from a mysterious orange fruit which hangs in solitude on a magical tree.  The final boss in the demo took me a while to master, but once I did I felt like I was on top of the world. He dropped a piece of neat-looking armor, which supposedly imbued my character with a special power for the rest of the game. I learned later that all bosses drop a piece of armor with a unique power, and that both the power and the armor can be upgraded throughout the game. At first it took me a while to adjust to the movement and touch screen-style exploration, especially when I needed to move and attack at the same time. I have such tiny hands, so having to hold the Vita while swiping and hitting the directional pad proved to be difficult at times. However, I quickly came to appreciate the interactivity of the world, especially when it came to fighting monsters.  Although the demo was pretty fleshed out, the team mentioned that it plans to make a lot of improvements before launch. Vertical elements will be added to levels, like staircases in rooms that will expand the dungeons vs. one flat area. A daytime/nighttime feature will also be included, which will enable environmental puzzles in the world. The team also plans to feature NPCs, who will introduce more dialogue to the story. Personally, I loved the quiet nature of the character and general silent plot progression, so my hope is that the team keeps it as simple as possible. Severed comes out this summer for the PS Vita, and Drinkbox also anticipates releasing it for other touch screen-friendly devices as well. I can tell that there are big things to come from this game, and can't wait to get my hands on the full release.
Severed photo
But hopefully, you'll have two to play with
There’s something serene about exploring a desolate place for the first time. Too often in games I find myself dropped into an environment, expected to pick up the pieces quickly to achieve a goal and left with little t...

Tearaway photo
Tearaway

Tearaway Unfolded looks to be a summer release


Summer drought be damned
Feb 28
// Robert Summa
Now the former head of audio at Media Molecule, Kenneth Young has revealed that the PS4 not-really-a-port version of Tearaway is coming this summer. After announcing that he was leaving Media Molecule to work for Media Molecule as an audio contractor, Young let his followers know that Tearaway Unfolded is set to ship this summer.
Flame Over photo
Flame Over

Flame Over fires up the Vita this March


Time to channel your inner Kurt Russell
Feb 25
// Robert Summa
The Vita means life. And what a life it's having. Even though its overall sales pale in comparison to the likes of the 3DS, the system is an indie lovers dream and is home to some of the most underrated games in the past few...
PlayStation Plus photo
PlayStation Plus

Transistor, Yakuza 4, Thief coming to PlayStation Plus


Things are looking up!
Jan 29
// Kyle MacGregor
Boy howdy, next month's PlayStation Plus lineup is exciting. Starting February 3, PS Plus subscribers will have access to Transistor and Apotheon on PS4, Yakuza 4 and Thief for PS3, Kick & Fennick on Vita, and Rogue Legac...
PSN photo
PSN

Sony apologizes for recent PSN outage, gives us a few goodies


They're small, but appreciated
Jan 01
// Chris Carter
Sony has responded to the PSN outage that happened over the holidays, and you're probably getting something extra because of it. For starters, all PlayStation Plus members will have their membership extended by five days auto...
Waifu bartending photo
Also, racist talking corgis
I love Catherine. Part of the reason is its block puzzles. Part of the reason is its small scale, with most playable segments taking place in the homey bar Stray Sheep. VA-11 HALL-A--or Valhalla--is that same sort of ba...

Criminal Girls photo
Criminal Girls

Criminal Girls: Invite Only up for parole in February 2015


Doin' time and the living's easy
Nov 26
// Brittany Vincent
You may remember Criminal Girls: Invite Only as the game we covered back in July two different times where it was briefly suggested the game shouldn't be localized. But that's only because I didn't write the post, because I'm...

Review: Mind Zero

Oct 24 // Brittany Vincent
Mind Zero (Vita)Developer: Acquire, ZeroDivPublisher: Aksys GamesMSRP: $39.99Released: May 27, 2014  Step into a world where bizarre creatures known as MINDs occasionally cross over into the human dimension from the Inner Realm and take over hosts. In Mind Zero, they're found forming contracts with a group of unassuming high school students after they stumble into a strange old shop where they're faced with a harrowing decision: choose a MIND "weapon" or be killed. The obvious choice is to go with a MIND, but perhaps that's a curse in itself, as they become bound to their host. The group of teenagers is tasked with getting to the bottom of a rash of crimes caused by those who have misused their own MIND contracts. In a world where the police think they're dealing with some sort of illegal drug, this is easier said than done. [embed]281895:56088:0[/embed] The plot does an admirable job of holding your attention, despite the fact that some of the characters do their best to push you away -- especially protagonist Kei, whose apathy is frustrating. The rest of the cast, including Sana Chikage, suffer from voice actors delivering repetitive dialogue and performances that grate on the nerves. It's tough to stay engaged when the game seems to do everything it can to ensure that you're not, but the premise is interesting enough that you'll want to push through and continue playing to see what kind of resolution awaits. And given the fact that there's an overabundance of talking and exposition, this is an impressive feat. Thankfully, you can switch between the Japanese and English voice tracks for a reprieve from the latter's irritating nature. But of course, you won't be standing around reading and listening to the characters talk amongst themselves the entire time. Mind Zero is comprised of story missions and dungeon-crawling. You can engage specific characters' stories to find out more about them, and earn extra equipment and sojourns back into dungeons. Otherwise, most of your time is spent excavating dungeons via a first-person perspective. This is a strange design choice, but one that does enhance the "alien" feel that Mind Zero exudes out of nearly every pore. As you travel throughout each dungeon's grid in four directions, you'll come across treasure chests, enemies, and exits to subsequent floors. It's akin to other games of this ilk like Demon Gaze or even Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers, but it will take some getting used to if you're a Persona fan entranced by the possibility of this being similar -- this is one way in which it's incredibly divergent. Combat is a turn-based affair with three party members. You can attack, defend, use items, attempt to escape, or use "burst" move twice. MINDs step in much like the Stands of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, protecting those who have summoned them and absorbing damage. They can also go on the offensive, with elemental attacks and special moves that you can use to fell enemies much quicker. The variation between MINDs is interesting, as are their attack illustrations, but using them is nowhere near as dynamic or engaging as, say, the Personas they resemble. The one saving grace that Mind Zero has going for it is its absolutely gorgeous character designs, which channel the work of the great Kazuma Kaneko. It's a sight to behold, and undoubtedly one of the main reasons buyers will have been drawn to the project in the first place. Regrettably, multiple typos and a bizarre font choice brings forth the feeling that the editors didn't care about creating a translated project so much as a finished one. Mind Zero is in no way a travesty, but despite glaring shortcomings, it's very average. A premise that sets the stage for an exciting thrill ride gives way to a rickety dungeon crawler with little to offer in the way of combat genius, looting, or even life sim elements. A game will collapse if there's nothing in it, and while it's not "nothing" per se here in Mind Zero, there certainly isn't enough good to recommend it as even a Persona competitor, let alone imitator.
Mind Zero photo
Where is my mind?
At a glance, it's easy to look at Mind Zero and compare it to the Persona series given its art style and the narrative advertised within early trailers and promotional materials. And you wouldn't be incorrect in declaring tha...

Nidhogg comes to PS4 photo
Nidhogg comes to PS4

Stabby, stabby: Nidhogg hits the PS4 and Vita today


Is that a mythical serpent in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?
Oct 14
// Nic Rowen
Today is the release date for the PS4 and Vita ports of the indie hit Nidhogg, meaning there has never been a better time to stab your friends in the face and sacrifice yourself to a giant worm-serpent.

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...

Gravity Rush  photo
Gravity Rush

Check out this gorgeous Gravity Rush figure


Kat's never looked so good
Sep 09
// Brittany Vincent
Kat from the excellent PlayStation Vita game Gravity Rush has been lovingly sculpted into this new figure from maker President Japan. She's dressed in her original black costume with cape and is accompanied by Dusty, and whil...

Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection

Aug 30 // Brittany Vincent
Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (PS Vita)Developer: Compile HeartPublisher: NIS AmericaRelease: June 3, 2014MSRP: $29.99 For the uninitiated, Hyperdimension Neptunia revolves around the female personifications of the major console manufacturers. You’ve got Noire, Neptune, Blanc, or Vert, each representing various companies such as Nintendo and PlayStation. That’s a common theme within the Hyperdimension games, although Producing Perfection abandons the entire “lampooning the game industry” mission and opts for an idol management game that pulls you in as an active participant in the CPUs’ fates rather than a passive viewer who was simply privy to the RPG stylings of the Hyperdimension Neptunia games past. Producing Perfection charges you with training the CPUs of Gamindustri (that’s where they live) to become the latest pop sensation after they begin losing their powers to pop idol group MOB48. Rather than seeking out an alternate path to success, the girls arrive at the conclusion that the best way to beat out their rival is to excel in the same field. The girls decide to summon you (the player) as their producer. From there, it’s your job to determine whether they sink or swim as aspiring idols. [embed]280328:55499:0[/embed] Producer Mode finds you naming your custom protagonist and choosing a singular CPU to raise and mold as you see fit. From there, you complete bits and pieces of training segments, as the game is set up like that of a day-to-day sim with visual novel elements peppered in. Your end goal is to take on most of the shares in the region you're operating in as well as send one of your CPU's recorded songs to number one on the charts. You’ve got 180 in-game days to complete this objective, so time management and making the right decisions is absolutely crucial if you want to see any of the endings that are considered “good,” or any of the events leading up to them. Day-to-day tasks include giving the girls singing lessons, rhythm training, and more, but they need to be able to relax too, so the goal is to strike a fair balance between learning and polishing up stats while waiting for cooldown periods to pass. Once you've become a bit more seasoned, you even have the option to put on concerts, during which you'll help your fledgling pop star perform. These segments are a bit dull, unfortunately, mainly because the music tracks themselves aren't truly memorable after you've completed the songs, and because you don’t truly interact with your idol as much as you’d think you would. There are only six tunes to speak of as well, so it’s a good thing the concerts weren’t made a focal point of gameplay -- they can and do get old extremely fast. But you’re not really there for the music, strangely enough. Enhancing stage presence and playing around to see what works best for the girls is fun too, but rarely engaging. In fact, you do little else other than alter the camera angles and provide special effects for the girls during their performances, and admittedly, this can be done while barely even looking at the screen. There's no real lasting appeal to speak of that you might see with, say, Project Diva F or other similar endeavors. A combination of the tasks you direct your girls to complete and your attentiveness lead you to the ending you’ll eventually receive, although it’s prudent to keep in mind that allowing any of the girls’ stress to reach its max level or simply running out of time to “complete” the game will result in the worst ending possible. If you’re familiar with visual novels and dating sims of this ilk, this should come as no surprise to you. However, if you’re a newcomer to the genre and have little or no understanding of the basic framework of “management” sims or visual novels, the game won’t be holding your hand to see you through. You’ll need to figure things out for yourself, which may well be a turnoff for some players. The problem is that the game never really ramps up enough in the idol management or concert areas to offer a complete experience for both fans of the Hyperdimension Neptunia lore or those who’ve never ventured forth into Compile Heart’s colorful world of CPUs and tongue-in-cheek video game references. It seems content to languish between two worlds, and as it’s never particularly fantastic in either, ends up feeling quite hollow. And it’s not for the production values, at least. The game is polished enough and boasts excellent localization, with genuinely likeable dialogue. English and Japanese voice options are certainly a boon, and it's entertaining to see the Hyperdimension Neptunia girls in new roles, but this isn't exactly the vein most players will want to see them in. Plus, unless you want to play the same scenarios over and over, you'd get more enjoyment out of one of the meatier core games. Unfortunately, this is one instance where Compile Heart simply didn't produce perfection -- but if you just want to hang out with the girls when there’s not some sort of crisis going on, it might be worth a look.
Hyperdimension Neptunia photo
'Perfection' isn't the word
The Hyperdimension Neptunia series is a polarizing one. Some find Compile Heart’s thinly-veiled parodies of the game industry engaging and painfully adorable, and flock to it for an abundance of fanservice. Others run f...

Danganronpa 2 photo
Danganronpa 2

Weirdos abound in this latest batch of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair screens


Seriously, lots of weirdos
Aug 15
// Brittany Vincent
What can I say? It's a screenshot kind of day. Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is on the horizon, and NIS definitely doesn't want us to forget about it. Especially with the amount of weirdos in the game, as evidenced above.&nb...
Murasaki Baby photo
Murasaki Baby

Akira Yamaoka creating an exclusive track for Murasaki Baby


Love the composer, not so sure about the game
Aug 13
// Brittany Vincent
Akira Yamaoka, Silent Hill soundtrack wizard and all-around awesome composer (Snatcher, Killer is Dead, and many others) has created an exclusive music track for the upcoming side-scrolling game Murasaki Baby. Yamaoka paired...
Bullet Girls photo
Bullet Girls

Panties, bras, and firearms abound in Bullet Girls


Additional details emerge about the power of the undergarment
Jul 31
// Brittany Vincent
In D3 Publisher and Shade's upcoming action shooting game Bullet Girls, you'll play as the girls of the Ranger Corps, training to become frontline soldiers for the military. Some of the training is a bit unorthodox, with a go...
Unfinished Swan PS4 photo
Unfinished Swan PS4

It looks like The Unfinished Swan is flying to PS4, Vita


Korean ratings authority lists the marvelous puzzler for new platforms
Jul 20
// Kyle MacGregor
This month, the Korean Game Rating Board issued classifications for PlayStation 4 and Vita versions of The Unfinished Swan, foreshadowing a potential cross-platform release. Giant Sparrow's first-person puzzler initially rele...
Tokyo Twilight photo
Tokyo Twilight

Tell us how you really feel: Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters headed for North America


Who ya gonna call?
Jul 05
// Brittany Vincent
Aksys Games has seen fit to grace us with a North American release of Arc System Works' Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters, a delightfully strange visual novel that looks quite intriguing. Nobuo Uematsu is responsible for the musi...
Class of Heroes 2G photo
Class of Heroes 2G

Class of Heroes 2G is getting a scant few physical copies


Better pre-order if you want in on this production run
Jul 04
// Brittany Vincent
Class of Heroes 2G, a dungeon-crawling RPG playable on PlayStation 3, Vita, or PSP, will be receiving a run of limited edition boxed copies. After pre-orders for the physical editions cease on July 25, there will be no additi...
Mutant Blobs photo
Mutant Blobs

Snag Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack on PS3 starting today


I've had it with these mutant blobbing aliens on this mutant blobbing planet
Jun 18
// Brittany Vincent
Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack was one of the first games I ever picked up for my Vita, and I still find myself going back to it from time to time. Today, it's available via PS3 for the first time, so you can save civ...
Vita photo
Vita

New Vita Super Value Packs coming to Japan


I could think of some better games for the packs, honestly
Jun 04
// Brittany Vincent
The original Vita models are all so boring and plain. Why not spruce them up with a little color? Japan gets the cool stuff again (as usual) with the launch of Red & Black and Blue & Black models being sold as part...

Reviews In Review: Watch Dogs, Monochroma, Wolf Among Us

Jun 01 // Ben Pack
World End Economica Episode 1 (PC)Developer: Spicy TailsPublisher: Sekai ProjectRelease: May 5, 2014MRSP: $12.99 World End Economica has so much going for it: an interesting premise, a protagonist with an actual design and personality (even if it is a little rotten) and the opportunity to capitalize on a business rarely (if ever) explored in video games: stock trading. Unfortunately, it squanders the opportunity to capitalize on these great bullet points and winds up a generic, muddled mess of pacing issues, bland dialogue, and characters too difficult to connect with. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full World End Economica Episode 1 review  Watch Dogs (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Ubisoft MontrealPublisher: UbisoftRelease: May 27, 2014 / TBA 2014 (Wii U)MRSP: $59.99 Despite the fact that Watch Dogs hasn't made any meaningful impact on the genre, I found myself having a ton of fun with it. Between the deep levels of customization and the sheer breadth of content, there's no shortage of things to do. If Ubisoft can take the game's core fun factor and marry it with an actual "next-gen" experience the next time around, they'll have something truly special. Verdict: 8/10 - Read the full Watch Dogs review The Wolf Among Us: In Sheep's Clothing (iOS, Mac, PC [reviewed], PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)Developer: Telltale GamesPublisher: Telltale GamesRelease: May 27, 2014 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) / TBA (iOS)MSRP: $4.99 (Each Episode) Having said that, Wolf Among Us continues to wow me with all of the details therein. From the Little Old Lady who lived in a shoe in a random painting to Curds and Whey in a jar, there's lots of lore building, and all it makes me want to do is read the comics proper. While The Walking Dead always feels like more of a micro-tale with each individual group, Wolf Among Us feels like something greater, and bigger than Telltale -- and that's a good thing. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full The Wolf Among Us: In Sheep's Clothing review Monochroma (Linux, Mac, PC [reviewed])Developer: Nowhere StudiosPublisher: Nowhere StudiosReleased: May 28, 2014MSRP: $19.99Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit The narrative itself is generally engaging overall, but it suffers from a few holes. Aside from being told that the little brother is in fact the protagonist's little brother, the player is given no intrinsic reason to want to help him, and in fact, the player can grow to resent the character. Otherwise, there is not a good reason given that the two brothers decide to walk to the city and infiltrate a corporation instead of staying home and calling for medical help. Verdict: 4/10 - Read the full Monochroma review Worms Battlegrounds (PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Team17Publisher: Team17Released: May 27, 2014MSRP: $24.99 Like most Worms games, you'll need other people to play with or risk monotony. Enemy AI still isn't the sharpest tool in the shed even this far in the game, and they can take far too long between turns, leading to boredom. Given the price tag of $25, it's perfect for those of you who haven't played a Worms game in years and have the itch. But if you've been playing along for the past few years, you might be able to skip this slightly upgraded collective of recent entries -- unless you're a fanatic, of course. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Worms Battlegrounds review  
REVIEWS! photo
Plus World End Economica
Reviewer? I hardly know her! This week's reviews in review goes out to Steven Hansen. Check out the video and all the reviews below.

Reviews In Review: Wolfenstein The New Order, Transistor, Drakengard 3

May 24 // Ben Pack
Kero Blaster (PC [reviewed], iPhone)Developer: Studio PixelPublisher: PlayismReleased: May 11, 2014MSRP: $7.99 (PC) $4.99 (iPhone) If Cave Story was Amaya's answer to Super Metroid, Kero Blaster is his Mega Man X. It's dense and perfectly paced, just begging to be replayed over and over. If I were to have to introduce someone to the genre of 2D action/platformers, it is probably the game that I'd give them, as it starts off easy-yet-engaging, and ends with giant bosses, swarms of enemies on screen, and everything else you could want in the genre. It's a game you may beat in a day, but will be playing off and on for a lifetime.  Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full Kero Blaster review Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 (Nintendo 3DS)Developer: Renegade KidPublisher: Renegade KidReleased: May 15, 2014MRSP: $8.99 It's really difficult to give Moon Chronicles a strong appraisal one way or the other. It's far from a stellar experience, but isn't a bad one either. There just isn't anything here that hasn't been done better elsewhere, and I can't see anyone other than FPS-starved 3DS owners or hardcore fans of the original being too interested. Verdict: 6/10 - Read the full Moon Chronicles: Episode 1 review Wolfenstein: The New Order (PC, PS3, PS4 [reviewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: MachineGamesPublisher: Bethesda SoftworksRelease Date: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 In many ways, Wolfenstein: The New Order is "First-Person Shooters: The Game," but it gets most of the important details right. It's still weird to me seeing Wolf games developed over and over by new devs, but MachineGames did a great job adapting the franchise in its own way. With a few tweaks, the next iteration could be something truly special. Verdict: 7.5/10 - Read the full Wolfenstein: The New Order review Drakengard 3 (PS3)Developer: Access GamesPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: May 20, 2014MSRP: $59.99 It's not too challenge of a game all things considered, because the difficulty curve is meticulously designed to not overwhelm or frustrate players. It's well made to the point where you won't feel like everything is too easy, and if you really need that extra edge to overcome a certain task, you can go back and level-up with sidequests. If you want to do everything you'll probably find yourself around a 100-hour completion rate, but the story is roughly at the 40-hour mark. Drakengard 3 is a bit unconventional at times (like its developer) with tales of extreme hair cutting and dragon piss, but action fans will want to seek this one out immediately. Within 15 minutes I was drawn into its world and its cast of characters, and I wanted to see Zero's journey through from start to finish. If you like games like Nier, you'll loveDrakengard 3. Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Drakengard 3 review Transistor (PS4, PC [reviewed])Developer: Supergiant GamesPublisher: Supergiant GamesRelease: May 20, 2014MRSP: $19.99 / £14.99 While Transistor initially feels like a whole new game, structurally it sticks closely toBastion. Both games feature a beautiful but abandoned city that has undergone huge tragedy. In Bastion it was called the Calamity; in Transistor, it's dubbed The Process. Both feature areas where the player can rest and take stock; Red finds special doors which take her to a deserted island where challenge rooms are located (much like the Proving Grounds in Bastion). If the game isn't sufficiently challenging, Limiters can be installed that will make things harder for Red but at the benefit of gaining extra XP or other bonuses. These can be installed like Functions, swapped in and out at access points, but work the same way as the Idols in Bastion.  Verdict: 8.5/10 - Read the full Transistor review R-Type Dimensions (PS3 [reviewed], Xbox 360)Developer: Irem, Tozai GamesPublisher: Tozai GamesReleased: May 20, 2014MSRP: $9.99 If you have any fondness for the series, or if you're just looking for a solid side-scrolling shooter that's about as hard as can be, R-Type Dimensions faithfully re-creates the original experience and before long you'll be wondering why you did this to yourself. Verdict: 9/10 - Read the full R-Type Dimensions review  
REVIEWS! photo
And more!
Look, E3 is coming up soon and that means we're about to get super excited about games. Let's take a minute and be thankful for the games we have right now, ok?


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