Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around

Nintendo 3DS

Review: Stella Glow

Nov 17 // Salvador GRodiles
[embed]34498:5177:0[/embed] Stella Glow (3DS)Developer: ImageepochPublisher: AtlusRelease Date: November 17, 2015MSRP: $49.99 Treading into familiar story grounds, Stella Glow focuses on a war caused by a god who was fed up with its people losing faith in it. During this calamity, a legendary hero called Elcrest teamed up with five witches to battle the omnipotent being in its lair, which happens to be the planet’s moon. However, our do-gooder sacrifices his life to save everyone. Afterward, the story focuses on the present as Alto and his childhood friend Lisette’s town is attacked by Hilda the Witch of Destruction, who used her song to crystalize everyone in the vicinity. After the two friends awaken to their own special abilities, they eventually became part of a neighboring kingdom’s elite soldier group called the Regnant Knights, so they could gather the other witches to perform a song that could put an end to Hilda’s curse. With Alto bearing the same powers as Elcrest, his journey will eventually show him the truth behind the events that happened in the past. Throughout the game's first half, Stella Glow’s story doesn’t do much to pull people in. The whole introduction sequence and the quest to find the witches falls into a format that we’ve seen before in many RPGs and anime titles. Sure, we’ve had games like the Tales of series fall into this category, but the main thing that sets it apart is that the characters manage to make the adventure entertaining. Alto’s your typical nice guy and person who fights for justice, which prevents him from winning the audience over. Then Lisette is depicted as the sister-like figure that has a habit of turning everything she cooks into purple delicacies. For the most part, these moments aren’t terrible, but that they don't improve the opening segments too much— at least until the rest of the cast joins the group. Even though the cast grows as you progress through the game’s world, their impact barely improves the main story. Speaking of other characters, the Regnant Knights include Klaus the seemingly perfect leader, Rusty the womanizing character, and Archibald the overly chivalrous knight. To an extent, their superior fighting experience helps keep things at an above average level while the players search for the other three witches. Despite the issues present with the way how the cast affects the plot, the title does its best to flesh out their personalities later on. If there’s one thing that I value dearly in life, it’s that you don’t judge a book by its cover. Surprisingly, Stella Glow does a decent job in following this rule. As the players progress through the story, they will start to learn more about the supporting cast’s inner personalities and connections to the conflict at hand. Whether it involves a scenario with Hilda’s generals, the Harbingers, or a deep issue that plagues one the party members, there are still a few moments that manage to improve the ordeal a bit. Thankfully, things do get better during the second half of the game, which is thanks to a few unexpected twists. Once Stella Glow hits this point, the journey ends up becoming a more meaningful experience. Aside from the typical cast improving a bit, the way how the situation pops in causes people to change their outlook on the state of the world during the first half, which is one of the few aspects that improved the story. From there, the plot's dark elements begin to intensify things more and the purpose behind Alto and the witch’s abilities start to become more relevant in the quest. However, since it takes about 15 to 20 game hours to reach this point, the payoff from this scenario isn’t as big as a tale that keeps the players fully invested from the get-go. In terms of Stella Glow’s gameplay, it plays like your standard strategy RPG; however, the game’s special feature is the system that lets Alto use his powers to tune and conduct the witches that he encounters throughout his journey. With this system, players can explore the inner worlds of the characters they use this power on, which allow them to help the girls overcome their deepest doubts and issues— kind of like the Dive system from the Ar Tonelico series. Usually, this segment is used to recruit the magical girls at the end of their arc, but it’s also used to improve their abilities when you hit a wall while players socialize with them. The other special mechanic is Alto's ability to use a special dagger to cause the witches to perform a song that affects the entire map. These skills can range from fully healing your party or prevent all enemies from being able to attack your units. All in all, these skills are one of the many features that make the title’s battle interesting, since each spell comes with a unique song. On top of that, it acts as a neat ability that can turn the tables on almost any encounter. Despite Alto’s Tuning and Conducting abilities being useful, it doesn’t fix the minor issues with the game’s maps. Based on my experience with tactical RPGs that lack mechanics to grants your units movement-related buffs, most of these titles keep the stage at a medium size, so you can fight your opponents at a normal pace. Unfortunately, Stella Glow’s maps during the later parts of the campaign are unnecessarily huge to the point where it’ll take a while for players to reach their opponents— especially the stages where the terrain limits the party’s steps. If you look at games like the Disgaea series and Chroma Squad, they both utilize systems that let players use their units to throw their allies across the field, which helps speed up the pace of each fight. While the Wind Witch Popo has a song that can help people move farther, this skill can only be used when one manages to increase the song gauge to a certain level. Since the bar only goes up when units damage their enemies, it doesn’t help too much in battle. If there’s one cool thing about Stella Glow’s combat, it’s that the players are treated to flashy animations when they attack their opponents. In a way, the dynamic sequences behind each attack give the game a nice Super Robot Wars vibe. For those who like to gain extra rewards, many missions contain extra objectives that can grant players exclusive items for challenging themselves in battle. The benefits of doing these special tasks felt mostly rewarding, as I found a majority of the spoils to be useful in the stage to follow. Since the game lets players save during battles, players won’t have to worry too much about restarting; therefore relieving the pain of accomplishing these challenges. When you’re not in the middle of a big mission, the game contains a few segments where you’re given the free time to do jobs around the kingdom, or spend time with your party members. Just like Persona 4, the benefits of interacting with your allies is that they gain better abilities their bond with the hero becomes stronger. On top of that, players are allowed to choose an epilogue scene of one of the characters that they spent lots of time with. This system is open to the entire cast, which is a neat option that adds a nice extra layer to the title’s ending. If the players hang out with a certain character, then they could change the way how the main story ends as well. Best of all, this can be accomplished during the first playthrough. Most importantly, you also have the option to date any of the witches with this system. While it’s impossible for people to fully bond with every character, the game’s new game plus option increases the free time limit; thus acting as a great extra for people who like to learn more about the game’s cast. Since it lets players learn more about the party members they’re interested in, this acts as a decent diversion from the game’s underwhelming first half. For a title that was made by a company that went bankrupt, I’d have to say that Imageepoch did a fine job with making sure that it looked nice on the 3DS. The characters during the mission segments are depicted as 3D chibi models, which remind me of the Nendoroid figures. Combined with the game’s simplistic colorful look, its style works great with the overall presentation. Also, it’s hard to go wrong with design choices that make the heroes and villains look cute in battle. In regards to the character illustrations, one of Ideolo’s strengths in his art was the artist’s costume designs for the cast. Each witch wears an outfit that represents their element and hometown (such as Mordimort wearing a dress that gives off a Middle East vibe or Sakuya’s fiery kimono). All in all, the illustrator’s pieces went well with the theme and setting that Stella Glow presents to its audience. Another thing that Stella Glow excels well at is its soundtrack. While a majority of the game's orchestrated tunes are decent, the witches’ songs are on a whole different level from the rest of the music. In total, there are around twenty different vocal tracks, with half of them being full songs. Some of my favorites include Sakuya’s theme, which has a few segments that feel like the Hatsune Miku song, “Senbonzakura,” by Kurousa P. The nice part of about these moments is that Atlus left the Japanese voices intact for these parts. Overall, Yui Sakakibara (the Super Robot War series’ Leona, Chaos;Head’s Ayase) did a great job in turning the Fire Witch’s tune into a hot performance. Other than that, Yukari Tamura’s (the Nanoha series’ Nanoha, KILL la KILL’s Rui) musical performance was another strong part, as she turned the battlefield into a soothing environment. As for the game’s English voice cast, the majority of them weren’t too bad. The people behind the witches manage to choose the right tone to bring out their personality (such as Mortimort talking like she’s lazy and unmotivated). Then the male party members all had decent to fine performances. All in all, the whole group was enjoyable and they even manage to nail the scenes during the free time segments as well, which gave players another incentive to spend time with them. Of course, this was thanks to Atlus' great localization, as the writing helped elevate the performance of the voice acting team. During Imageepoch's last moments, the studio managed to end things on a decent note. Stella Glow may’ve been held back by its weak first half and slight battle-related hindrances, but the team was able to complete an above average product with an enjoyable cast. I guess we also have SEGA to thank since they made this dream possible for them. Perhaps if the team didn’t face the terrible predicament that they did, we might’ve ended up with a more enjoyable title. On the bright side, their final game wasn't the second coming of Time and Eternity, which shows that they did their best to complete this project. Of course, their final Swan Song left us with some catchy songs that'll remain in our heads for a good while. [This review is based on a digital retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.] [embed]34498:5177:0[/embed]
Stella Glow photo
How to tune a witch
There’s something sad about seeing a company go under since it means that many hard-working individuals are out of a job. This is the case with the game development company Imageepoch, who filed for bankruptcy in May. W...

Review: Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden

Nov 08 // Anthony Redgrave
Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden (3DS [Reviewed])Developer: Arc System WorksPublisher: Bandai Namco GamesReleased: June 11, 2015 (JP) / October 10, 2015 (US) / October 16, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $29.99 Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is a simple fighter that has a few rough edges that, unfortunately, tarnish an otherwise solid game. The title has a limited amount of modes that are initially locked away until playing through the main story mode titled Z Story. After that, you are introduced to What If scenario's which is the same story mode you had just played but with different characters and the adventure mode where most of the unlocking takes place. You can blast through each campaign in about 15 minutes and even shorter if you skip the dialogue. It takes you through the major fights in the series, from the initial conception of the Z Fighters against Raditz up to Goku and Vegeta's final stand against Kid Buu in the Buu saga. It is a heavily cut down and abridged retelling with players unfamiliar with the show's lore and storyline being kept in the dark about the various character dynamics and intricacies the show has. The what if scenario's are misleading as it's just a retread of the same story but through the eyes of another character. Even as Vegeta defeating Goku in the Vegeta Saga will still  result in Vegeta retreating and reuniting with the Z fighters on Namek.  The main mode is Adventure mode as it is here you will be spending the most time unlocking assists to use in the other modes. The story provided is very silly as it involves all the villains being resurrected thanks to the power of the black star Dragon Balls and it's up the Z fighters to set things straight. Both adventure mode and Z story mode follow a dialogue, fight, dialogue progression in each stage is the player can keep count of what is happening and the consequences of each fight. However, the dialogue scenes often take longer than the actual fighting sessions causing a large break in gameplay flow between each fight. I found myself skipping the dialogue just to get to the next fight. This game could have really benefitted from a streamlined arcade mode. Rounding off there is a standard vs. mode against computers or local and a Quest mode involving guild cards. At the point the review I have not been able to use the Quest mode as I did not Street Pass with anyone with the game. It's disappointing to see Dragon Ball Z Extreme Butoden omit standard fighting game modes like a training mode, tutorial, and online play as the gameplay is fast, frantic, and fun.  The game plays similar to Naruto's Ultimate Ninja series. Every character has the same control scheme and button combination to pull off their unique special moves. There is no Street Fighter-esque quarter circle backs or charge moves. Instead, it's repeated button presses and at most two button combinations. My only gripe with this control scheme is that assist characters and tag ins/outs are confined to pressing the bottom screen on the DS which is very difficult in the heat of battle. The story mode will not challenge you in the slightest as you will breeze through Goku's legacy in 15 minutes. The Adventure mode is slightly more challenging, testing you to beat each match under certain conditions for assist unlocks. I found it difficult to obtain an S rank on any of the missions due to my limited grasp on the more advanced tactics and move sets. This is where a training mode would've come in handy so players can practice their combos and come to grips with the finer nuances of the characters.  Easily the best part of Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is the presentation. Arc System Works have gone for sprites instead of 3D polygons contrary to the 3D moniker of the 3DS and they made the right choice. While the 3D does look fairly basic putting fighters in the immediate foreground and adding some depth to the background, it's the most impressive when the beam struggles are being fired off. The 3D adds that extra oomph to the scene making the glow of the ki blasts more epic and visually pleasing. This series provides a lot of variety of Dragon Ball characters going as far back as Goku's original aggressors in the Red Army to his modern day antagonists seen in the movies including Golden Frieza and Beerus. Unfortunately, not all of them are playable. They are assists that can be summoned to help out during a battle a la Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes. The actual roster is actually quite small for a Dragon Ball Z title clocking in around 18 (including the 4 forms of Goku you can play as). There are many many assists you can unlock completely dwarfing the playable roster. Unskilled players do have the option of looking up cheat codes if the Adventure Mode prove to be too difficult to obtain S ranks in each mission.  Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is one more the better portable Dragon Ball Z fighters on the market. It's gameplay is great and finding a friend to play local wireless with is a blast. But there is very little growth that comes with this game. Without an in-game tutorial, the download code I was given didn't explain the fancier concepts like executing a reply beam struggle. A lack of a training mode and easy AI opponents means the player cannot find new and better combos to use resorting to either the same combo or button mashing to get the job done. I wanted more to do with this game since I liked the gameplay, but the game got repetitive fairly quickly. Fans of the series may want to pick this up when it's discounted or wait for a sequel.  One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 (PS4 [Reviewed], PS3, PS Vita)Developer: Omega ForcePublisher: Bandai Namco GamesReleased: March 26, 2015 (JP) / August 25, 2015 (US) / August 28, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $59.99
Dragon Ball Z photo
Kamahamahas in my pocket
I think every 90's kid remembers Dragon Ball Z as their first foray into anime and was eagerly anticipating a decent Dragon Ball Z game. We waited, and waited and then sometime during the noughties there was an explosion of y...

The Legend of Legacy photo
The Legend of Legacy

Rejoice, SaGa fans: The Legend of Legacy heads to the Americas

It's time for a legendary announcement
Jun 12
// Salvador GRodiles
If you're craving for a new entry in the SaGa series, then your hunger shall be slain by Atlus' acquisition of The Legend of Legacy, a 3DS game by FuRyu (Unchained Blades) that happens to be a spiritual sequel to Sq...
Dragon Quest photo
Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest VIII heading to 3DS without 3D

Quest for Dragons VIII
May 27
// Anthony Redgrave
Dragon Quest VIII was one of the few PS2 RPGs that didn't suck. In a time where JRPGs saturated the 6th console generation especially on Sony's black monolith, Square Enix still knew how to produce cream that rose above the c...

Super Robot Wars BX photo
Super Robot Wars BX

Super Robot War BX's first trailer fills our bodies with delicious courage

All part of a well-balanced diet
May 22
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that the Super Robot Wars series does right with their trailers, it's that they tend to fill people's hearts with a huge surge of hot-blooded energy. In most cases, this high dosage of enthusiasm can res...
Super Robot Wars BX photo
Super Robot Wars BX

Prepare for takeoff: Super Robot Wars BX is now a thing

Our King of Braves has returned
May 20
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a month since 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2 hit Japan and the next title has been revealed. Titled Super Robot Wars BX, this upcoming game's being made for the 3DS and it plans to improve on the features from Super ...
Yokai Watch photo
Yokai Watch

Hide your Wallets! Yokai Watch heads to America

Are you ready for the onslaught?
Apr 07
// Hiroko Yamamura
There's no denying it. Yokai Watch is the king of Japan still. It looks like Jibanyan and the rest of the Yokai's are heading to the United States, and they have their eyes on your wallet. The first game will be released in ...
Ace Attorney photo
Ace Attorney

Don't object to the new Ace Attorney trailer

What's with the goggles?
Apr 03
// Hiroko Yamamura
Nintendo fans have reason to celebrate, as the beloved 3DS game gets set to release in Japan this July. I've never gotten into the Ace Attorney games myself, as I have the patiene of a gnat. However, this one just seems a lo...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

Overcome the apocalypse with Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker's extra goodies

It's time to drive in style
Mar 07
// Salvador GRodiles
With two month left until Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker arrives in North America, Atlus has revealed the extra goodies that'll come with the game's survival kit. Of course, you can't overcome the Septentrione and...
Project Mirai DX photo
Project Mirai DX

Rejoice: Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX to release worldwide in May

Vocaloid fans are in for an amazing new year
Jan 14
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been known for a good while that the latest Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai title for the 3DS was heading West, However, Sega surprised us with some amazing news, as Project Mirai DX hits stores worldwide during the month of...
Fire Emblem photo
Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem returns to the 3DS

Can not wait!
Jan 14
// Hiroko Yamamura
Man, I love me some Fire Emblem. As my top game of 2013, Fire Emblem Awakening really checked off the list of things of love in video games, and still keeps me warm just thinking about it. The updated graphics, characters de...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker has twice the content

More like DOUBLE Survivor!
Dec 10
// Josh Tolentino
It's been a few years, but we've finally gotten word on the status of Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker, the updated 3DS re-release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2. Last we heard, mysterious "quality issues" had pushe...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

Atlus USA summons five new Persona Q English trailers

It's time to experience some more Marie-related material
Oct 30
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since I hopped on the Etrian Odyssey bandwagon, Persona Q's been on my radar for quite some time. Anyway, Atlus has uploaded a couple trailers that cover the game's Fusion System, along with showing off Marie, Elizabeth...
New 3DS photo
New 3DS

This New 3DS commercial shows off Kyary Pamyu Pamyu's Kawaii Touch

Nintendo's characters receive an amazing makeover
Sep 29
// Salvador GRodiles
I may not be a huge Kyary Pamyu Pamyu fan, but it's hard to say "no" to her style that brings us an abstract take on cute things. Speaking of which, Nintendo made an interesting move when they chose to feature Pamyu in the N...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

TGS 2014: Devil Survivor 2: Break Record finally gets a trailer

Nicaea's back in service!
Sep 20
// Salvador GRodiles
At long last, Atlus has uploaded a new video on Nicaea that covers Devil Survivor 2: Break Record's visuals. Originally, the game was supposed to come out during the Fall Season back in 2013 for the 3DS, but Atlus decided to...
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate photo
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

TGS 2014: Sonic and Taiko Drum Master invades Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate

MonHun plus Taiko Drum Master equals absolute cuteness!
Sep 19
// Salvador GRodiles
As the West continues to wait for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate's arrival, the people at Capcom have revealed that the game is receiving some items that are based off of Sonic the Hedgehog and Taiko Drum Master. While the former ...
Smash Bros 3DS photo
Smash Bros 3DS

Even AKB48 want to kick Nintendo's butt

48 New Challengers Appear!
Sep 08
// Josh Tolentino
Nintendo's been ramping up the hype train for its next Super Smash Brothers game, and in Japan, that means getting AKB48 involved, naturally.  It's a good thing that one of the key features of the upcoming 3DS and ...
MonHun 4 Ultimate photo
MonHun 4 Ultimate

Yes! Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate gets a Poogie Hunting Horn

It's time to hug your piggy
Jul 03
// Salvador GRodiles
Attention, fellow Hunters. The members of the Capcom Guild have revealed Europe's winner for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Weapon Design Contest, and the victor, Lin Setzekorn, managed to create a Golden Hunting Horn with a Poog...
Super Smash Bros. photo
Super Smash Bros.

E3 2014: Palutena's anime reveal is glorious

We need a full season of this!
Jun 11
// Josh Totman
One thing I got to give the people at Nintendo, is that they know how to make a reveal for their Super Smash Brothers games. In the trailer above, we get a beautiful anime sequence of Pit and Link fighting it out. When, all ...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

E3 2014: Behold the glory of Persona Q

The 'Q' stands for 'labyrinth'
Jun 09
// Josh Tolentino
As if I needed any more reasons to get a 3DS, Nintendo has gone and released a new trailer for Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, the Persona 3 and 4-themed dungeon crawler from the studio that brought you Etrian ...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New 5 minute Persona Q trailer is too hype

There's another gameplay trailer too
May 02
// Elliot Gay
The past few months of Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth trailers have been fairly brief. Character overviews, brief bits and pieces of battles; there hasn't been a beefy video exploring the entire game in quite some time. ...
Pokmon Art Academy photo
Pokmon Art Academy

Be the very best artist there ever was with Pokmon Art Academy

Gotta draw 'em all
Apr 29
// Brittany Vincent
[As originally posted at Destructoid.] I've always wanted to learn how to perfect my nonexistent drawing skills, but games that promise to help me bone up on my technique just don't tickle my fancy. They're so dry. So boring...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New Persona Q key illustration, fusion details, and guest contributors emerge

One hell of a collaboration
Apr 26
// Elliot Gay
Each new week brings with it a host of new details about Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Atlus' Etrian Odyssey-like 3DS Persona game.  I'm completely okay with this. This week we have a new key illustration in the fo...
Video Games photo
Video Games

Meiji era Ace Attorney game gets its first trailer

Be right back guys, screaming into a pillow
Apr 23
// Elliot Gay
Ace Attorney is easily one of my top five favorite video game series. It's weird, it's got fantastic characters, and the music gets my blood pumping at all the right times. I loved Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, and to say I ...
Video game photo
Video game

New Monster Hunter 4G Trailer surfaces

Will it release before the world is already using 5G?
Apr 21
// Dae Lee
Monster Hunter 4G (Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate for us in the west), unleashed its new trailer featuring high-octane hunting action. We get a good look at the 'Desert' area that was newly added, as well as the numerous bosses t...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New Persona Q trailers explain boost and all-out attacks

Send help! I'm running out of things to say
Apr 18
// Elliot Gay
All right, Atlus. I get it. You're promoting your upcoming 3DS game, Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth. But jeezus guys and gals, I'm running out of ways to introduce your nonstop barrage of trailers. Whatever. Let's do thi...
Nintendo photo

Tomodachi Life announced for June 6th in crazy Nintendo Direct

This is like a weird fever dream featuring Nintendo executives.
Apr 10
// Ben Huber
A while back we got word that Nintendo was going to be bringing over the incredibly popular Tomodachi Collection. Today, Nintendo released a surprise Nintendo Direct that detailed the game mechanics and the release date...
Video Games photo
Video Games

New Persona Q key illustration and the return of team Velvet Room

This is too adorable
Apr 07
// Elliot Gay
It's impossible to go a week without new Persona Q information or at least a trailer.  I'm totally fine with that. This time around we have some new info from Famitsu magazine. As it turns out, the entire Velvet Room cas...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

New trailer shows off Persona Q's robust battle system

Getting down to the nitty gritty
Apr 04
// Elliot Gay
After weeks of character trailers, Atlus is finally ready to start hitting the internet with full on gameplay trailers for their upcoming RPG, Persona Q. This first one shows off some of the game's Etrian Odyssey-like dungeo...
Pokmon 3DS XL photo
Pokmon 3DS XL

Man who stole 3DS from grade schooler finally arrested

Like taking candy from a baby and going to jail for it.
Apr 02
// Brittany Vincent
In a move that screams "get a job," or if I'm playing devil's advocate "why did this child store such a pricey item in the basket of his bicycle," a Nishinomiya City man was arrested for stealing a child's 3DS XL way back on ...

Auto-loading more stories ... un momento, corazón ...