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Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE - World of Final Fantasy


World of Zippers and Buttons
Oct 17
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 10PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page and the video of the stream will also be posted here during and after the stream, so check it out!] The demo of World of Final...
Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE - Dragon Quest Builders


Slimecraft
Oct 11
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 9PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page and the video of the stream will also be posted here during and after the stream, so check it out!] Dragon Quest Builders is finally...

Impressions: Dragon Quest Builders Demo

Sep 28 // Red Veron
Dragon Quest Builders (PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita)Developer: Square EnixPublisher: Square EnixRelease Date: January 28, 2016 (JP), October 11. 2016 (NA), October 14, 2016 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 (PlayStation 4) You may have heard of Dragon Quest before, it's a role-playing game series that had its start in Japan in the late 80's on the Nintendo Family Computer (the Japanese Nintendo Entertainment System) and has become pretty much an institution in Japanese culture. Japan loves this series so much, you've probably seen references to Dragon Quest in different Japanese media and you probably might have not noticed. Dragon Quest also part of that popular urban legend of video game stores having to release the game on weekends so schoolkids wouldn't skip class to pick up the latest entry in the series. There have been many attempts to bring the series to the US, but the timing has always been not quite right. Now, we have a very unlikely Dragon Quest spinoff and it is borrowing elements from one of the biggest games in the last decade: Minecraft. While the series has had many spinoffs in other genres, this attempt of creating a sandbox exploration and creation adventure game actually does a really good job. Dragon Quest Builders is set in a world that is generations after the first Dragon Quest game, where the hero in original Dragon Quest chooses to rule half the world with the Dragonlord, the final boss in the game. Of course, the Dragonlord being the big bad, betrays the hero and plunges the world into darkness, along with it, robbing humanity the ability build things. So it is now generations later and players will take on the role of the "Builder", who must save the world from the Dragonlord by building stuff and using said stuff to defeat the Dragonlord. The game has a story, which is not really common in the sandbox-creation-exploration genre, progression is tied to the narrative that also tries to teach you how to do things and keeps you on a track with some freedom in between. This demo covers only very little of the game, so we don't get much of an idea as to how much freedom there is compared to the full game. The demo is the first hour and a half of the Dragon Quest Builders, teaching you the different mechanics of the game as your progress with the story. You are slowly given bits of the narrative while learning the basics such crafting, resource gathering, combat, and other parts from early in the game. Base building is also part of the game, players get to build a town (which is more like a base) and this demo shows a little bit of that mechanic. Building up the town attracts people to help build up the town as well as add more ways to item crafting. The other side to base building is also defending it against monsters aligned with the big bad Dragonlord who will attack your town from time to time. Defenses can be built to keep monsters from destroying your base and townsfolk will also help you fight.  Combat in the demo is basic, only two melee weapons are available, a stick and a club. They do fine against most of the enemies you encounter, except for the dragon which takes a while to fight with such weak weapons. Crafting is easy, all made in a menu at crafting stations, just gather the right items and you can make what is needed. Dragon Quest Builders just looks really good, the chibi-styled Dragon Quest characters look very faithful to the series, as well the much more recognized monsters such as the Slime monsters, the series' de facto mascot. Monsters act like they do in the recent games they are from, attacks and sound cues as well. The game shows off more of its Dragon Quest heritage with much of the iconography in the game are ripped straight from the series. Familiar items are abundant, from healing items to even chimera wings, which is a mainstay in the Dragon Quest games and function the same way. Another way this game shows off its Dragon Quest DNA is through the music. The lovely and soothing orchestral Dragon Quest music is present and just perfect for this new genre where hours fade away. This music is perfect since it was also made for Japanese RPGs that take dozens of hours to complete and it won't drive you crazy from hearing it over and over again. The game's camera can be finicky at times, it zooms in when you're in tight spaces. When you're running through a forest with plenty of trees, it can be hard to see items and enemies under the foliage and will require you to maneuver the camera low for the best view. There is a transparency effect that lets you see through it but it is only wide enough to see a little bit around your character and can make it hard to be able to see enemies near you. These problems with the camera are not a big deal and don't really pop up often. The minor problems are only in the cases I mentioned above, most of the environments are open and controlling the camera isn't difficult. Block placement can be imprecise at times, since the cursor isn't always present and defaults to where your character is facing (which isn't always clearly defined). Placing objects where you don't intend to place them does happen but you don't get penalized for breaking them down (unlike in Minecraft where crafted objects revert to the raw materials) and you only take a very small reduction to the durability of the tool used to break it down. (Update: You can hold L1 & R1 /L & R buttons to be able to precisely stack blocks in front of you.) The small slice of the world in the demo might seem large at first but once the demo is over, you may find it small and a bit empty. However, those who choose to explore the island in the demo will be in for a bit of a treat. Getting to the other side of the mountain will let you see a bit more of the game. There is a little bit more to see but it's not much, though it gives you a better idea of the scale of this world. The Dragon Quest Builders demo is short but it left me wanting more places to explore and build, which is what a demo should do. I played for more than two hours of the demo I enjoyed almost every single moment of it. There's a lot of the world to explore and many things to build, and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy of the game. After looking at people playing the Japanese version, I realized just how little this demo is compared to the vast amount of content in the full game. [embed]35296:5867:0[/embed]
Dragon Quest Builders photo
Save the world one piece at a time
Last night, I streamed Dragon Quest Builders on Japanator Live, the latest spinoff of  Dragon Quest series that takes a lot of inspiration from the sandbox creation genre (made popular by Minecraft) and infuses...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE: Rebuild with Dragon Quest Builders


Save the world one piece at a time
Sep 27
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 10PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page] The demo for the highly anticipated Dragon Quest Builders just arrived on the US PlayStation store today and we are taking a look at it ...

Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator LIVE: Take a few bites with God Eater 2


Give it a taste
Sep 21
// Red Veron
[Stream will begin at 10PM US Central Time over at the Japanator YouTube page] Hello, lovely viewers! It's been a while since I've done a stream and now I've got a game that recently came out that I also reviewed here on Jap...
Digimon World photo
Digimon World

Digimon World: Next Order coming to PS4 next year


Reigning champions
Sep 15
// Nick Valdez
[Update 2: Bandai Namco made a mistake in the announcement. The game is only heading to PS4 physically and digitally.] [Update: Bandai Namco confirmed that it was heading to the Vita as well.] Thanks to Digimon Story: C...

Review: God Eater 2: Rage Burst

Sep 14 // Red Veron
GOD EATER 2: Rage Burst (PlayStation 4 [Reviewed], PlayStation Vita, PC)Developer: ShiftPublisher: Banday Namco EntertainmentReleased: August 30, 2016 (NA/EU), February 19, 2015MSRP: $59.99 (PS4), $49.99 (PC), $39.99 (Vita) God Eater 2: Rage Burst is the expanded version of the sequel to God Eater, much like how the original God Eater on PSP made it outside Japan. This is a new expanded version of the God Eater 2, a sequel that the west never got that will please those who've waited years since the first God Eater in 2010, especially for those who enjoyed all the new stuff in the recent remake, God Eater Resurrection. The God Eater games are the only games that can even come close to Monster Hunter, while it is of that Hunting genre, it is much more accessible than the Monster Hunter. It's much more fast-paced all  around and lacks the animation nuances that are in most of the Monster Hunter games. The God Eater games do a good job in teaching the basics and ease players into the flow of a Hunting game, without having to spend hours learning everything as it integrates it all of into the game with a story to spice up the gameplay. A lot of the new features we saw in the enhanced remake God Eater Resurrection were from God Eater 2: Rage Burst, but that was just a small taste of all the new features that improved the formula. One thing that returning gamers might notice is there is a bit of reused content from the previous game, God Eater Resurrection. While reusing levels and assets are quite common in games in the Hunting genre, there are a bit of changes to the content that give them a different feel, though it may only be noticed by those paying close attention. This is also due to the fact that Resurrection came out after Rage Burst, so being made around the same time can result in recycling but the two games are different enough from each other in terms of mechanics and in the new content. One of the new additions to the God Eater formula are the Blood Arts, which add some oomph to each type of attack and varies by weapon, such as powering up your attacks and you can choose whichever suits the situation and/or your style. Another welcome addition is being able to add skills to weapons and shield that give bonus stats to the player which is available pretty early in the game. These are only a few of the new additions that add so much more ways to plays and more customization for weapons over the previous game. While there are a lot of ways to customize, you only have to fiddle with your gear for only a little bit and it is mostly optional. As I've mentioned in my review for God Eater Resurrection, those wanting to dive into the franchise and play the best version should just play God Eater 2: Rage Burst. This sequel is also much more friendlier to those new to the genre and is solo friendly for those not wanting to touch the online multiplayer mode. One way that it makes it easier to get into and/or play solo is to take advantage of all the new customization features to make your character stronger so you can hold your own enough to learn the basics. Though there are all these options that make the introduction to this game and genre much easier, they aren't communicated to the player in the clearest fashion. It requires a bit of digging into all the menus to actually get those 'help' explanations. It can get confusing for those unfamiliar, but with some patience, one can learn enough of the mechanics to blaze through the game. Returning players might breeze through much of the story mode and veterans might find it a bit easy, but there are a set of harder missions that are available to play early in the game for those looking for a challenge and want to try out all the new game elements. The game does ramp up later and gives a proper challenge with new enemies and harder scenarios. [embed]35233:5839:0[/embed] Rage Burst places the player as the newest recruit in the Blood Special Forces unit, a special group of God Eaters who are an elite unit that are the only ones who can fight the new species of Aragami. We get introduced to a new cast of characters and we also get to see characters and places from the previous game. You can also get to know these new characters in 'Character Episodes', which are side stories that let you get to know more of these new characters and along with some extra missions. There's a story told through many cutscenes, while the story isn't dense, it sure takes its sweet time to unfold and can be a plus for those wanting something to break up the monotony of the hunting game grind. The rate of which of the story unfolds can be a drawback for those who don't want to invest dozens of hours into the game. The parts of the story feel like episodes in an anime series, that are broken up into pieces but kind of build on each other. But the game is playable in short sessions where most missions can knocked out in under 5 to 10 minutes, so those with an hour to spare can get a good chunk of some hack-and-slash action. Those purchasing Rage Burst on Steam and PS4 near launch will also get God Eater Resurrection (along with some costumes from Sword Art Online, Tokyo Ghoul, and Tales of Zestiria), making it a good value, though playing Resurrection is not needed to enjoy Rage Burst but it helps in world building. These costumes only provide cosmetic changes, and hopefully we get more in the future (PLEASE BRING OVER THE GINTAMA COSTUMES). God Eater 2: Rage Burst is the best way to get into the hunting genre right now for many reasons; it's easy enough to pick up, it has a lot to offer, and it has online multiplayer for those wanting to play with people. This game is good for those wanting to dip their toe into hunting games for the first time. Those returning to God Eater will find enjoyment in the new variety of features in this new installment, but some veterans may feel that it's not enough new stuff especially after recently playing the enhanced remake of the first game. But there's still enough to get out of this new game, Rage Burst shines more with what's under the surface, those willing to dig in deeper will find a lot of good things and a good time.
God Eater 2: Rage Burst photo
New Look, Same Great Taste
Monster Hunter is one of the behemoths of gaming in Japan, it still sells like crazy every time and has made its own genre (Yes, I know about Phantasy Star Online). Many have tried to hunt down the same success but only one f...

Trails of Cold Steel II photo
Trails of Cold Steel II

Grab your ARCUS units: Trails of Cold Steel II is now out


The wait is finally over
Sep 06
// Salvador G Rodiles
Listen up, everyone: It's time for us to make the best omelet and/or egg soup in the world, because today marks The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II's arrival in North America for the PS3 and Vita. I guess this means...

Review: Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force

Sep 03 // Red Veron
Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme VS Force (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Bandai Namco EntertainmentPublisher: Banday Namco EntertainmentReleased: July 12, 2016MSRP: $39.99 Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is the first time that the long running Gundam VS game series from Japan has ever hit the overseas markets. First thing to make clear, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is not a one of the many third person shooter games that litter the gaming landscape these days nor just a simple action game at first glance. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is more that of a competitive fighting game, and can get technical with each Gundam unit acting as its own unique playable character with its own moves and style of play. Another thing that makes this game different is that the controls are more arcade action game which is no surprise since this game first started out as an arcade game then came to home consoles. This may turn off those wanting to pick up a Gundam game expecting to be a bad ass and start blowing stuff up like in the many previous games in the franchise. The game is split between two types of play: "Versus" type, where you and a partner fight two other opponents at a time in small arenas; and "Force" type, a MOBA-like mode that focuses on different objectives to win the mission. Versus type is a head-to-head duel with an AI partner against one or two opponents, sometimes even more. This mode focuses on solely trying to defeat the enemy force until their bar depletes to zero and they cannot respawn anymore. Force type is a tactical mode wherein two sides fight to take over different points on a battlefield. Captured turret points spawn minions that provide a little bit of resistance to the enemy side but can help contribute to winning missions. Win conditions can vary from destroying all enemies to capturing all the points in the map to escorting allies to points. This mode gets even more tactical with capturing points yields force points that allow power ups that can increase your side's attack power or defense to even using your ally spaceship's large gun to attack the enemy ship. The main campaign mode new to the series in this game, Extreme Force mode, will let you go through a series of Force mode scenario missions with some Versus mode duels sprinkled in the game. The missions in the game can be replayed with mini-goals that increase replay value, these vary from finishing it under a certain time, taking no damage, not losing any units, etc.  This single player mode has a very lean story used as framing device as a way to allow you to replay various story segments primarily from the main Gundam universe, with a few from the alternate Gundam universes, and some original "remix" missions unique to the game. Each mobile suit has a unique style and weapons with most mobile suits handling differently from each other such as certain mobile suits focusing on melee combat while others excel in projectile and ranged combat. The controls do take getting used to and learning each one does take a little bit of time but sometimes new missions will drop you into the cockpit of a new suit that completely controls differently than the last and will not let you switch to any familiar suits until you beat that mission. Though this seems counterproductive to player progression, it does let the player try out the different suits and helps out in finding one that suits your style (no pun intended). The degree of learning and involvement that required to progress with the game may slow down some players, but the option to somewhat brute force your way into the game by trying different tactics or even spending extra points on some a temporary boost can help quite a bit, which I did while trying to learn the different Mobile Suits. One gameplay mechanic that is integral in surviving in the game is dodging enemy fire by using your mobile suit's boosters to dash quickly, which takes some practice to get down and can be a challenge, sometimes it seems like you need to be psychic (or a newtype) to be able to dodge the barrage of enemy fire. The lack of right stick aiming might turn off players but the auto-targeting makes all about timing your shots carefully. I'm not a fighting game fan and I somewhat steer clear of fighting games because of the sheer technicality and depth found in the genre that impresses and intimidates me at the same time because I don't think I will be ever good enough. However, this game has me hooked and has me coming back for more. The aforementioned control system is very much designed for fighting in an open field with one or two enemies, this is perfect for versus mode where this system was designed in mind whereas it might trip you up in Force mode when enemies aren't focusing on just fighting you. The lock-on also becomes a bit of problem when disengaging a lock-on with an enemy that flies past you while you still want to move forward. The whole control system reminds me of those old Gundam games on PlayStation 2, but much more refined and surprisingly works well for establishing a uniform control system for all the mobile suits despite the uniqueness of the suits. Gundam fans will enjoy this game with the lineup of mobile suits from the original series all the way to the latest entry, Iron Bloded Orphans. Gundam fans will enjoy it more than non-fans, knowing the characters and settings adds to the experience but is not really necessary for those wanting some robot action. Visually, the game looks good on the PlayStation Vita's screen while in motion (as well as PlayStation TV), the screenshots in this review do not give it justice. I don't recall any slowdown while playing this game and does keep up well with the intense twitchy action. One thing that the game does lack is an online enabled multiplayer mode with only an ad-hoc mode available for multiplayer. Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force is not for everyone, but do not let this scare off anyone interested in wanting a game that rewards those willing to learn all the ins and outs without much hand-holding. Nowadays, more and more games are leaning towards that direction and this game came at the right time for those looking for a bit of depth in their giant robot action game.  [embed]35190:5810:0[/embed]
Gundam EXVS Force photo
This is not an anime
The Mobile Suit Gundam franchise is a franchise known worldwide and is often dubbed as Japan's equivalent to Star Wars, this long enduring saga since its debut in 1979 has spawned a multimedia empire with thousands of TV...

Chroma Squad photo
Chroma Squad

Let's Chromatize: Chroma Squad heads to home consoles next year


It's time for some colorful explosions
Sep 02
// Salvador G Rodiles
It may have taken a while, but the gang at Behold Studios are now closer to helping Chroma Squad achieve its new form on the home consoles. Thanks to the help of Bandai Namco, the game will morph its way to the PS4, Xbox...
Steins;Gate 0 photo
Steins;Gate 0

Grab your lab coats: Steins;Gate 0 gets a more affordable limited edition


It's time to open another Dr. Pepper
Aug 23
// Salvador G Rodiles
If you feel that you won't be able to afford Stein;Gate 0's Amadeus Edition for the PS4 and Vita, the gang at PQube have concocted a new option for folks who want something special with their copy of the game. While this...
Trails of Cold Steel II photo
Trails of Cold Steel II

Huzzah: Trails of Cold Steel II hits North America next month


It's time to go back to Erebonia
Aug 16
// Salvador G Rodiles
To this day, I'm still amazed that we live in a world where the West is almost caught up with The Legend of Heroes Trails series since XSEED and Carpe Fulgur went through some huge ordeals to localize the franchise. Perh...

Review: A.W. Phoenix Festa

Aug 10 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35189:5778:0[/embed] A.W Phoenix Festa (PlayStation Vita)Developer: APLUSPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: July 26, 2016 (US), July 26, 2016 (EU), January 28, 2016 (JP)MSRP: $39.99 When launching the game, you can either choose to play as Ayato Amagiri or an original character, which you can name whatever you wish. While the game doesn’t specifically state it, it is implied that playing as Ayato is easy mode since your stats are already high enough and ready for the Phoenix Festa as opposed to the original character who starts with lower stats, thus making the game more challenging, but you are given more time to prepare before the Phoenix Festa. What I didn’t like about Ayato’s storyline is that you need to find a partner for the Phoenix Festa before the deadline, which is 2 weeks after the game starts. While that may sound like a lot, time really flies fast in the game. While it’s doable to choose the partner that you want, those two weeks could push you to make a rash decision since if you don’t find a partner in due time, the game will end prematurely. While I personally do like Saya, at the same time, it as a rushed choice since I only had one day to find a partner. With the original character however, you are given two months before the Phoenix Festa thus giving you plenty of time to build up your character as well as his relationship with the rest of the cast. I felt a lot more comfortable doing his path since it gave me time to think work on who I wanted as a partner as well as build up my stats the way I desired. Though it was somewhat harder compared to Ayato’s playthrough, I definitely recommend playing his story first since it’s a lot more flexible and gives you more room for enjoyment. Like a lot of Dating Sims, the game is time dependent. You are giving a calendar in which you can set up appointments, train, go shopping, upgrade your equipment and even take on a job. There are two time slots for each day —AM and PM, and which gets fill up depending on what activity you choose to do. Setting up appointments allows you to either duel or take the person on a date.  Though I would recommend on challenging them on a duel first since it not only boosts up your stats but it also raises your affinity with that character as well. However, the battles aren’t really enjoyable, which I’ll get into later on. Training allows you to boost up a stat individually such as Life, Attack, Defense, Insight, etc. However, in return, training takes a toll on your health and body condition, which reflects on your battles, so it’s imperative not to overdo it, or heal up before proceeding to battle. Job requests are like side quests in which nets you extra money that can be used to buy weapon upgrades in the laboratory, or buy medicine or even presents to raise your affinity with the girl characters in the Shop. All in all, if you enjoyed the anime’s story, then you’ll most likely enjoy the dialogue in this one as well. However there were times where the game got too repetitive with the dialogue and kind of boring. There were times where I took Saya to a date multiple times, but unfortunately they were the same scenario most of the time, though that’s because though affinity cap isn’t really that high either. Most anime games don’t offer too much depth in their combat system, and that should be expected, however, the combat system is this game is so bland that it makes the game not so fun to play. You only have two attacks, mapped to the square and tringle button as well as a special attack which is used by pressing L1 and Triangle. While the special attack is spammable as long as you go stamina, it’s blockable, though it can make battles pretty annoying. At least since each character wields different weapons, it somewhat offers different play styles for each character. Whether we’re gaming or working on a project, we know how imperative it is to save your progress. While I appreciate that the game auto-saves your progress, I feel that as a Visual Novel, it does it excessively.  There was times where I lost matches or made the wrong choices, so I wanted to revert to a previous point but realized it was too late. Naturally there’s always the option to quit the game before the game saves your progress but that still feels like too much of a hassle, even when the game doesn’t take much to load. Considering I somewhat enjoyed the series, I really wanted this game to be enjoyable as well since it looked enjoyable from first impressions. I wasn’t expecting for too much, but something I can turn to for some quick fun on the go and don’t have to invest too much time in. Even if for some reason you really enjoyed the series, it’s hard to recommend this game, even when it hits a sale. I wanted to enjoy this game but every aspect of it it’s really weak.  [This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
A.W. Phoenix Festa photo
Bland Stories & Battles
In this gaming generation, especially with both the PS Vita and the 3DS, it’s pretty common for Bandai Namco to make a quick cashgrab of anime series currently airing in Japan. It happened to Kuroko’s Basketball, ...

Review: God Eater Resurrection

Jul 28 // Red Veron
God Eater Resurrection (Playstation 4 [Tested], PlayStation Vita [Reviewed], PlayStation TV [Reviewed], PC)Developer: ShiftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentRelease Date: October 15, 2015 (JP), June 28, 2016 (NA), August 30, 2016 (EU, PC)MSRP: $19.99 The God Eater games have always been visually unique, unlike the many medieval fantasy-like set Hunting games, God Eater differentiates itself with a post-apocalyptic, dystopian science fiction setting coupled with fashionable anime character designs that look straight off the streets of Tokyo. First released for the PlayStation Portable in 2010 in the USA under the renamed title Gods Eater Burst (to not offend those who believe in only one god), the game never had a chance to show its stuff due to the PlayStation Portable being deemed commercially dead in the US at the time. Now in 2016, God Eater gets another chance in the west with God Eater Resurrection. Don't think that this is just a simple remaster, this enhanced remake serves up a second helping that brings more than a visual upgrade and retroactively receives new content from the sequel and the recent anime adaptation. The new added content comes in the form of weapons, moves, voice acting, story elements, and new enemies as well as changes to the old enemies. God Eater is set decades in the future where creatures called Aragami have climbed to the top of the food chain and what's left of humanity fights to survive everyday. The eponymous "God Eaters" are the wielders of  special weapons are called "God Arcs", giant blade weapons that are the only ones that can slay the Aragami, and can grow a giant pair of sharp jaws that can take a bite out of the Aragami to extract temporary buffs and materials from the enemy. The "-gami" in Aragami means god (which in this case they are powerful beings), hence the title "God Eater". God Eater Resurrection is a hunting game in the vein of Monster Hunter, but with with its own take on the formula and is much more accessible than most of the older Monster Hunter games that came out before it in 2010. The combat of God Eater leans toward more of an hack-and-slash action game than the more methodical timing in the combat of Monster Hunter. God Eater's God Arc alternates between a melee and ranged weapon, both of which have different types each that allow for different combination of play styles.  The first few missions are short and ease you in to the hunting mechanics while you shoot and wail away at the enemies, it does a quick job in getting you going compared to most other Hunting games. God Eater is still true to the genre and has you going on missions to gather materials (though not to same degree as Monster Hunter) from enemies and the environment to improve your gear and learning the different ways to effectively fight the enemies. Among the unique ways to fight enemies effectively is a bullet customization system (revised in this new version) for the bullets fired from the God Arc which allows for unique ways to fight with the different combinations of elemental and projectile types. This new version also adds in new weaponry from the sequel, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, that gives players a new way to play such as the Valiant Scythe and the Boost Hammer. New additions include "Predator" moves that allow you to bite enemies in different ways to activate ability boosts. Do not let the accessibility of the game fool you, there is a lot of depth with the combat and even more with this new version. Utilizing everything at your disposal, from equipment to tactics, to give you an advantage in defeating your enemies is still paramount in getting far into this game, especially for near endgame content and beyond. God Eater Resurrection still plays very much like the original but with the added benefit of the right stick for improved camera controls and adds a host of control options. It also takes advantage of the new platform with options to use the touch controls on the Vita, which makes me favor the handheld version over the prettier console version. The corners of the Vita's touchscreen, as well as the R3 and L3 buttons on the controller enabled versions of the game, can be assigned to function as extra buttons that either let you quickly access items, team commands, or the map menu. Playing the Vita version on the PlayStation TV microconsole provides a very close core experience to the PlayStation 4 version just without the extra graphical muscle and PlayStation 4 console functionality. The Vita version does have that lack of anti-aliasing but is easily overlooked since still looks good with its nice anime art style and keeps up even in the graphically intense fights in the game. God Eater Resurrection allows cross-save and cross-play between the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita it will be easier to find people to play with, which is important and is a fun time for a hunting game. God Eater Resurrection is rather affordable at $19.99 and not bad for those wanting to check out a solid hunting game experience for not a lot of money, but do check out those special offers where you can get God Eater Resurrection for free when you preorder God Eater 2: Rage Burst on the PlayStation. These offers vary by territory and is a nice way to check out the original as well as get yourself a newer hunting game. All the new added content, better controls and visuals serve to improve the experience quite a lot from the original release. However, the game still feels too similar to the original game, it feels like an older game in the genre, along with the limitations of the original platform. Shift, the developer of this God Eater Resurrection whose prior work the year before, the impressive Freedom Wars, improves on the hunting genre in many ways but not much of those improvements made it back into God Eater Resurrection. Those wanting more of a modern experience may just want to check out the second game, which releases a little after the North American release of God Eater Resurrection. If you are a God Eater veteran and have time for a refresher before the sequel God Eater 2: Rage Burst hits, it is definitely worth it to check it out. If don't have the time to commit, you can skip this one and probably check out some summaries of the new story content out there on the internet to get you ready for the sequel and there's even that anime adaptation to supplement the experience. God Eater Resurrection is a good introduction to the franchise and the genre, overall a good game with the new bells and whistles but is showing its age in a world where newer hunting games exist. [embed]35158:5751:0[/embed]
God Eater Resurrection photo
Back for Seconds
The Monster Hunter franchise's meteoric rise in Japan in the past decade has given birth to a new genre that is still going strong in Japan with numerous contenders that spring up every so often. While many Japanese game...

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni photo
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni

Valkyrie Drive gets weaponized for the West


Let's get physical!
Jul 10
// Salvador G Rodiles
Now this is a bit of a surprise: It turns out that PQube is bringing over Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni, the 3D brawler game by Senran Kagura Series Producer Kenichiro Takaki where girls turn other girls into weapons through...

Review: Grand Kingdom

Jun 21 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35113:5710:0[/embed] Grand Kingdom (PS Vita [reviewed], PS4)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: November 19th, 2015 (JP), June 17th, 2016 (EU), June 21st, 2016 (NA)MSRP: $49.99 (PS4), $39.99 (PS Vita) Unfortunately, the story is only about 12 story chapters each lasting at least 30 minutes to one hour.  On top of the short story, the game only gets interesting near the end.  It’s unfortunate since some of the characters are likeable as well as the voice acting work. Some of the characters reminded me of the typical ones found in Shonen series so I was really looking forward on seeing more of them. However, all the 36 chapters that were delivered as DLC in Japan are going to be included in the western release, giving you a total of 48 chapters of story from the get-go.  In the DLC chapters, you’ll have the chance to delve yourself in the story of each of the four Great Nations, allowing the player to align themselves with a particular nation and dig deeper into that nation’s motivations and history. Each campaign will introduce you to brand new characters, deeper ties that bind rulers to family and nation, and perhaps even discover something about yourself as you decide which nation tugs at your heart the most. The uniqueness of the gameplay styles with each mission taking place on a large game board in both you and enemies move around in, one turn at a time. Your team will be represented by a silver piece while the enemies’ will be represented by a purple and red piece, the latter being a stronger enemy. Additionally, the game board will have items lying around which can improve your journey. The concept may sound simple from first looks, but there’s a lot more to it. Depending on the mission, there will be a limit of how much you can move your piece, and reaching the limit results in an automatic failure. However, for the most part, you realize that you will have a lot more turns than that mission requires giving you room for mistakes and dawdling. You’ll also encounter invisible enemies in which you can only see their movement every three turns. Once you encounter the enemy, you will be taken to battle in a beautiful and crisp 2D art style similar to the Dragon’s Crown and Odin Sphere. In a way, you can say that the game is similar to Valkyria Chronicles, except in a side-on view with three rows for characters to stand on and move around in. Each turn, you will move your unit to a desired spot until your action gauge is emptied, then you can perform a skill, which can range from melee or ranged attacks as well as heal your comrades.  While on the hub and the quest map, you’re allowed to visit the Party menu in which you can form different formations. The game already has two default ones, however, both Offensive and Defensive in which you can modify.  You can also set shields or even medical boxes, which both are very helpful in battle.  Including DLC, which will be available to western players from the get-go, the game offers over 17 classes including Melee, Ranged, Magic, and Specialist units. You’re only allowed to hire a certain few classes in the beginning of the game but it’s enough to create a competent troop to beat the game. You’re allowed to make up to six troops consist of four units each. When hiring, you can customize your character ranging from their hairstyles, voices, colors, and starting stats. Melee units are characterized by their high attack and defense and specialize in close combat. They also have the ability to Guard, allowing the unit to negate all damage until their guard gauge depletes. Melee units have low magic defense, so it’s best to be careful when facing Magic units. Ranged units can attack from longer distances. With their extended attack range, they can reach enemies at the other side of the map. Unfortunately, Ranged units have low defense, so it's imperative that you place them in places where it’s hard for them engage in close combat or being hit by other Ranged units. Magic units have medium attack range, and use ranged attacks which allow the player to target multiple enemies. Some of their more powerful skills must be charged before they can be used, leaving them vulnerable to an enemy's ranged attack, in which results your attack being disrupted as well. Remember that the game has friendly fire so make sure that your units are out of the way as well. Unlike the Melee, Ranged, and Magic units, Specialist units lack a clearly defined role in battle. These units have individualized abilities that can be a great asset in battle, but their specialized nature affords little room for flexibility. They range from Medics, Challengers and Dragon Mage. Medics heal your units, Challenger places explosives and Dragon Mage allows the player to perform powerful melee attacks. One of my issues when using the Medic is that while angling where you want to throw your potion, it’s never accurate.  There will be times where you accidentally hit your unit with a poisonous potion or accidentally heal the opposing unit. While you’ll eventually adapt to the weird aiming, but this still proves to be a hindrance.   Aside from the story missions which usually consist of going from Point A to Point B, the game also features different side quests with variety of missions such as Stealth Missions and Guarding missions. In Stealth missions, you’ll navigate the world-map in a puzzle-like fashion to avoid encountering any enemies at all. As for the Guarding missions, you’ll be moving around the map to defend certain spots from incoming enemy assaults. Once the enemy reaches the spot, the missions fails. A big letdown with this game is that it doesn’t support cross-save so any progress that you made on the go with your PS Vita won’t be transferable to your PS4. It was a bit bothersome since when I got my hands on the PS4 version, I wanted to continue my journey on a bigger and better screen. At least the game allows cross-play support across both systems, expanding the amount of players you can play with in the online multiplayer modes.  Naturally the PS4 version is the superior version as it runs at 60 frames per second at 1080p. However, that doesn’t mean that the game is less enjoyable on PS Vita as it runs very smooth as well. If you’re looking to expand your Tactical JRPG library on PS Vita, I can definitely recommend Grand Kingdom.  Including the integrated DLC chapters, the game offers many hours of fun with more hours on top if you play the side missions. While the main story is short, it still features likeable characters making the journey worthwhile. With the PS Vita not getting many games lately, you can’t go wrong with Grand Kingdom. It’s an excellent addition on PS4 as well, though. 
Grand Kingdom photo
Fight For Your Grand Nation
Being a fan of the JRPGs, I always look forward to new additions to the genre, especially ones that offer a unique gameplay style that separates itself from other series. While not entirely unique, when first announced, Grand...

Review: Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus

Jun 12 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35088:5690:0[/embed] Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus (PC [reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: TamsoftPublisher: Marvelous Entertainment/XSEED GamesReleased: June 1st, 2016 (PC), October 14, 2014 (PS Vita)MSRP: $29.99 This game brings back the Shinobi Battle Royale, an ancient tradition amongst numerous Shinobi schools whereby every 50 years, the five elite students of each school will do battle in which result the winners will have the opportunity to burn down the loser’s school and allow them to continue their training to be a legendary shinobi, The story is your typical Shonen-esque (battle manga) so it can be quite enjoyable if you’re a fan of the battle series. Additionally, each character has their individual story allowing you to witness the hardship as well as their preparation for this ancient tradition. From the four schools, you will be able to choose among five characters and go through their individual story. I recommend playing through their individual stories first as it informs you more on the characters’ personality, albeit it may have a small correlation with the main story. Most of it is satire, but is definitely worth playing through. By the end of each of their stories, your characters will be well leveled-up and ready to breeze through the main story. In Dojo Mode, you and three other friends will be able to battle it out online or through the system’s ad-hoc feature. The mode offers three different types of games or six if you include their “Team” variation. There’s Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Strip Battle, Team Strip Battle, Understorm and Team Understorm. In Deathmatch, you will battle it out with your opponent to get the most points. To win, you must inflict damage to your opponents and reach the set amount of points per match, or at least acquire the most points by the end of the match. Avoid getting hit or dying as that can decrease your points. Random enemies will be wandering around as well, which can help stack some extra points. Strip Battle is just like its name suggest. It shares similarities to Deathmatch, but offers its own little twist. Depending on how much clothing you destroy, the number of points you acquire will vary. The more you destroy, the greater the number of points you’ll get. Lastly, Understorm is quite different than the other two modes. In this mode, players need to collect as many pairs of “Skimpy Undies” as possible as they rain down from above. Additionally, you can mug other players for their lingerie they collected thus far.  Overall, I had a lot of fun playing this mode with friends the most. While not exactly a Musou game, the game has some similarities to the genre, such as beating multiple foes on the field while leveling up your character. You’ll have two attack buttons, normal and strong attacks, which can be used to chain up powerful combos as you level up. You can also block and parry attacks when blocking timely. The more leveled up the character, your arsenal of combo chains increases. Just like many beat-em-up games, this title has a lock-on feature in which you can use to concentrate all of your attacks into an enemy but it comes with its downsides. Locking on really limits your camera control and leaves you vulnerable to the enemy. From my experience, it seems that the camera angles have been improved as well compared to the Vita version where it switched to a first-person like view, putting your own character out of view and leaving you vulnerable. With XSEED porting the game to PC, the game received graphical and performance enhancements. While it doesn’t look as Estival Versus on PS4, you can tell that XSEED took advantage of the capabilities on PC.  Additionally, they improved the frame rate issues the game had on PS Vita, as well as made the game 60 frame per second, making it a lot more enjoyable. Only issue I have is that character animations are awkward when in the hub, almost as it wasn’t meant to be 60 frames per second. You have two transformations at your disposal—a Shinobi Transformation and a Frantic Transformation, both giving enhancements to your character. When using the Shinobi Transformation, it allows you to perform continuous attacks by pressing the various action buttons repeatedly. In addition, both your attack and defense will be increased.  In Frantic Mode, you can execute Weak Attacks and chain them together infinitely. You will also receive a huge boost to your attack power but your defense drops drastically.  You will also gain two Secret Ninja Techniques, which deals a lot of damage to the opponent. To use your Shinobi Transformation, you merely press the L and the R buttons; using Frantic Mode requires a bit more. Your Secret Ninja gauge will need be full first, then you press R and Triangle. That will later prompt you with a close-up of the character’s breast on the touch screen, which you must slide outwards. Granted that’s an easy task on a regular Vita, but playing it on a PlayStation TV requires more work to execute, which leaves you vulnerable to attack. When you take damage, not only will your lose health but your outfit will rip and tear. If you take enough damage, your clothes will fly completely apart.  Outfit damage goes through three different stages: Costume Break, Lingerie and Naked. If you want to fully strip an opponent, you will have to bring her down to “Lingerie” and execute a Secret Ninja Art as a finishing blow.  Normal attacks will destroy their lower body’s clothing while Strong Attacks will destroy the top part of their clothing. As expected from Senran Kagura, it has its shares of perverted moments.  You can customize the characters’ apparel, such as their normal attire and their Shinobi and Frantic Mode attire. The customization extends to equipping extra accessories such as tails, glasses, gloves and more. As expected, the clothing options are exotic and really bring out the character’s outer beauty. When in the Dressing Room, you can fully view the character models from multiple angles, and it includes a “perverted” mini game, if that’s what you can call it. In this mode, you can harass the character in multiple ways using your mouse. Lacking the some of the features the PS Vita has, unfortunately this isn’t as fun as it could be. Even with the in-depth gameplay, like every niche Japanese video game, Senran Kagura is aimed to a selective audience. It has fun gameplay alongside good multiplayer modes that add replay value to the game.  I think that the breast galore and panty shots could be a turn off, but beneath all that, it’s fun title that fans of action games should get.  
Senran Kagura photo
The Shinobi Battle Royale, Now in HD
It’s been almost two years since I had the opportunity to play and review Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus when it finally made its way outside of Japan. With XSEED willing to port most of their games into PC, it was about...

Review: One Piece Burning Blood

Jun 07 // Christian Chiok
[embed]35078:5681:0[/embed] One Piece Burning Blood (PS4 (reviewed), PC, PS Vita & Xbox One)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: April 21, 2016 (JP), May 31, 2016 (NA), June 3, 2016 (EU)MSRP:$59.99 (PS4, PC & Xbox One), $39.99 (PS Vita) When playing Anime fighting games, unless it’s Dragon Ball Z in which I already experienced the story mode so many times, I generally like playing through long hours of story mode. In One Piece Burning Blood, you’ll only play through the Marineford arc from four different perspectives — Luffy’s, Whitebeard’s, Akainu’s and Ace’s. It gave few hours of entertainment, especially since the cutscenes were great looking. I still think we could have gotten more than that, though. Aside from Story Mode, there’s also the Wanted Mode which allows players to hone their skills while taking on a series of wanted posters, earning yourself in-game currency which can be used to buy the remaining of the locked characters. The higher the bounty, the higher the reward you will get. While the mode is generally fun, the serious spikes of difficulty can be off putting. This was also an issue with Story Mode during the end. However after beating a difficulty fight, it definitely feels satisfying and you come out a better player. Like a good anime fighting game should, the game offers a Free Battle mode allowing players to fight against the computer or a friend. There’s also a Training Mode, giving the player various options like Opponent’s action as well as gauge levels. One of my favorite features is that the game lets you choose nine playable characters and three support characters. The only catch is that the game divides it into three teams (3 vs. 3), so once you lose the first round with the first set of three characters, then you’ll be allowed to use the second set of characters. You can also just do 1 vs. 1 battles. You will also be able to take the battle online, allowing you to play the usual Ranked and Player match types. From experience, the network is pretty solid so you’ll be able to play the game flawlessly with friends, the way it’s meant to be played. Although the story mode only covers the Marineford arc, most characters shown in recent arcs as well as popular characters from old arcs appear in the game, totaling over 40 playable characters and 65 support characters. My gripe with the support characters is that a lot of them should have been playable like Rob Lucci or Arlong. In top of that, support characters don’t appear on increase but give you battle effects such as restoring part of your HP or making your attacks a little stronger. In comparison with J-Stars Victory Versus, Spike Chunsoft’s previous anime fighter, I feel like this game is a lot better in terms of gameplay. The square and Triangle buttons are your main basic attacks which can also be used to create combos or even stronger attacks.  There are more in-depth features such as ranged attacks, special moves, guard-breaks, tag moves called Unity Assists and Breaks, and the powerful Awakened state, allowing you to perform your special attack as well. After three One Piece games with only the Original Japanese track, by now it shouldn’t be a surprised that Burning Blood only includes the original Japanese voices. Even with the Naruto English dub (the other languages too) not being caught up with the game, they were still able to get the game fully dubbed. While it’s really a shame, I think it’s something minor and shouldn’t dictate if you should skip the game. With the power of current gen consoles and PC, this game manages to be the most beautiful One Piece game up to date featuring cinematic cutscenes and amazing in-game graphics. My only gripe with the game is that it runs at 30 frames per second, with the upcoming PC version running at 30 fps as well. While the game still runs well at that frame rate, 60 frames per second could have definitely been better. If you’re like me who’s been wishing their One Piece fighting game fix for a while, Burning Blood definitely meets the criteria. While it lacks some essential playable characters, the game still offers a variety of good characters, both who are present in recent arts as well as popular ones.  
One Piece Burning Blood photo
Fighting To Be The Pirate King
Ever since the consistent video game releases of the Ultimate Ninja Storm series by CyberConnect2, the 3D Anime fighting game based on the popular Shonen Jump series Naruto, One Piece fans have been wishing that the series wo...

VA-11 HALL-A photo
VA-11 HALL-A

Cheers! Cyberpunk Bartender Action: VA-11 HALL-A gets a release date


Let's pour a drink for Sukeban Games
Jun 06
// Salvador G Rodiles
[Update: I contacted Fernando Damas (VA-11 HALL-A's Writer and Programmer) of Sukeban Games about The Augmented Eye Website's purpose, and he said, "We made AE as a means to tease the trailer, but we'll use it some more...
Super Robot Wars V photo
Super Robot Wars V

Maximize your body temperature with nine minutes of Super Robot Wars V


There's no stopping this heat
Jun 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Ever since the Playstation 4 came into existence, I was waiting for the day that we would get a crossover Super Robot Wars title on the system. As Bandai Namco reveals Super Robot Wars V as the second game in the series to c...

Review: Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

Jun 01 // Josh Tolentino
Odin Sphere Leifthrasir (PS4 (reviewed), PS3, PS Vita)Developer: VanillawarePublisher: AtlusReleased: January 14, 2016 (JP), June 7, 2016 (NA), June 24, 2016 (EU)MSRP: $39.99 (PS Vita), $49.99 (PS3), $59.99 (PS4) As cliche as the idea of an HD remaster is these days, it's worth pointing out that Odin Sphere Leifthrasir** goes further than the usual performance or resolution upgrades, at least on the PS4 version. Besides running at a consistent, smooth framerate (a far cry from the chugging boss battles of the PS2 original), Leifthrasir tweaks the artwork to look sharper at HD resolutions. And sharp it does look, bringing to mind just how revelatory the game looked back in 2007. Then, as then, Vanillaware seemed to be operating out of a weird alternate dimension, one where 2D graphics only got better and better instead of being supplanted by the 3D polygonal gold rush of the time. The update also adds more depth and breadth to Odin Sphere's various secondary mechanics. The story, though, is unchanged, and remains the strongest aspect of the game. Set on Erion, a fantasy world inspired by Norse myth, Leifthrasir's plot begins simply enough. Gwendolyn, Valkyrie princess of the kingdom of Ragnanival, flies through the battlefield, attempting to retrieve a magical device called the Cauldron, in the hopes of offering it to her father, the Demon Lord Odin. The tale quickly expands, though, growing to cover not only Gwendolyn's tale but that of four other major characters, each with their own hours-long campaign. Oswald is the Shadow Knight, a warrior bearing a cursed power and a crush on Gwendolyn. Velvet is a forest witch with ties to both Odin and Valentine, a kingdom Odin vanquished in the past. Cornelius was once a prince but is now a Pooka, a rabbit-like creature, and seeks a cure for his condition. Mercedes is the young queen of the Fairies, and wants to do right by her people, whatever the cost.  Though framed as a series of storybooks being read by an adorable little girl in her attic, the story is actually more operatic in scope. Characters' plotlines wrap around each other and intersect in places, and the protagonist of one campaign may be the boss battle of another. Each of the five campaigns - with a sixth unlocked at the end to ties it all together and a seventh reserved for true completionists - takes place in the limited perspective of their leads, and shines light on their respective motivations, personalities, and causes. There are few outright heroes and villains among the cast, but rather people working at cross purposes, sometimes to tragic results.  If nothing else, it's the densest narrative Vanillaware has wrought, and stands easily alongside the best JRPGs, a handy feat for what is otherwise a fairly simple 2D brawler. Though possessed of five substantially different combat styles in the form of each character,  the game remains somewhat conventional, mechanically. Players will jump, move, attack, and slaughter mooks by the dozen as they move through various rooms and hoover up cash and loot. Enemies and bosses are plentiful, but don't quite carry enough variety to justify the bevy of additional spells and abilities added by the Leifthrasir update. The new skills are definitely fun to use and master, but never really feel necessary, at least not at the normal difficulty setting. [embed]35050:5667:0[/embed] Vanillaware also doubles down on its food fixation, expanding the game's alchemy and cooking systems to encompass a range of new ingredients and recipes. Smart players will quickly get acquainted with the world's various restaurants and Maury, the traveling Pooka chef. This is because eating delicious, exquisitely illustrated cartoon food is the only way to level up and increase one's maximum health pool. Gathering ingredients and growing additional items to mix into potions also allows for a wide range of beneficial effects. Once again, the relative simplicity of combat doesn't quite make these systems feel as essential as they should be, but their expansion definitely takes the edge off the repetition, a feeling that grew more and more pronounced as one progressed through the original game. Some grinding and revisiting of previous areas to gather ingredients is still necessary, but there's enough to do now that it doesn't feel nearly as tedious as before. With that, Leifthrasir blunts one of Odin Sphere's biggest faults, though players not hooked by the combat may still feel the design is weighed down by that. The interface, though also improved, also isn't quite up to the task of efficiently streamlining the expanded experience. Tabbed windows and shortcuts now make it easier to mix and level up potions, but players will still eventually find themselves pausing every so often to do some inventory management. Still, these flaws are fairly minor in the face of how much Odin Sphere's quality is allowed to shine, thanks to the improvements added by Leifthrasir. It's enough to say that Odin Sphere Leifthrasir is the definitive edition of Vanillaware's best game, and elevates a great-but-flawed title to the classic status it originally deserved. [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.] **It's pronounced "Leef-thrahs-eer", but don't look up what it means if you want to avoid spoilers. *GrimGrimoire might have been first, depending on where you were in 2007.
Odin Sphere Review photo
Old Story, Good As New
Vanillaware may have been making games for close to a decade now, but for my money, nothing they've made has quite surpassed their first game*, Odin Sphere.  Not to say that their other games are bad. On the contrary, as...

Steins;Gate 0 photo
Steins;Gate 0

All hail Dr. Pepper: Steins;Gate 0 heads West this year


Let's give everyone a big "Tuturu!"
May 29
// Salvador G Rodiles
Once again, it's time for us to grab a bottle of Dr. Pepper, which happens to be an intellectual drink for the chosen ones. This time around, we're celebrating the fact that PQube plans to bring Steins;Gate 0 to Europe and No...
Ys VIII photo
Ys VIII

Ys VIII's new trailer is filled with high-speed goodness


Did Adol stock up on espresso coffee?
May 14
// Salvador G Rodiles
Is it me or does Falcom's latest Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana trailer feel like Adol and his comrades are loaded on a ton of caffeine? Not that it's a bad thing since the gang's movements are making the game look really f...

Review: Stranger of Sword City

May 04 // Christian Chiok
Stranger of Sword City (PS Vita [reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox 360 [Japan only])Developer: Experience Inc.Publisher: NIS America (PS Vita), Experience Inc.Release: April 26, 2016 (Vita), April 29, 2016 (Vita [EU]), March 22, 2016 (Xbox One [US]), March 29, 2016 (Xbox One [EU])MSRP: $39.99 (PS Vita), $40.49 (Xbox One) One of the things that really caught my attention was the game’s robust character customization. Aside from the five races and eight classes to choose from, the game offers character portraits sporting three different art styles, one which makes your character look like an anime character. Unfortunately, you can’t alter a character portrait and the age, gender and race you choose for the character doesn’t really modify it either. On the subject of different art designs, for NPCs, the game allows you to switch between original art design by Yoko Tsukamoto and anime-inspired design by En Okishiji. Personally, I had to go with the new anime design since it was livelier for me. While the original design by Yoko Tsukamoto isn’t dreary by any means, as an anime fan, I just had to go with the anime option. Being used to games like Fire Emblem, the permanent death aspect of the game didn’t really bother me, especially since they still have a certain amount of life points before they are no longer at your disposal if they died. The amount of life points depends on the age of your character, so the younger they are, the more life points they will have, but the limit is three.  You should keep in mind though that the older you make the character, they stronger they will be. Permanent death isn’t really what made the game tedious for me though, because like Fire Emblem, restarting the game is an option. Me never playing any Dungeon RPG in my life, I treated the game like my usual Turn-Based or Tactical RPG, but oh boy I was wrong.  I would even say some Tactical RPGs are more forgiving than this game. Realizing that I was playing the game wrong, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of powering through the dungeon like I would usually do, I decided to go back to base every time my characters were in danger of dying. I would say that the game kind of encourages you to retreat often too since one of your Divinity abilities, called Flash Retreat, allowing you to retreat from any battle other than those against certain Lineage types. Considering that it takes half of your Divinity gauge, I thought that I should save it for very crucial moments but then I realized that I constantly faced those moments where I should have really used it. After your characters die, you can always go back to base to heal them but they still come back after a certain amount of time, usually 24 hours, which of course, it isn’t real time. Since not having a party of 6 usually put my other characters at risk, I usually navigated through the first stage of the dungeon, but even then the game was a bit difficult and some of my characters ended up losing a lot of health. Coming from Persona Q and from the general conscious with dungeon crawlers, I was already prepared to start marking the map myself, but thankfully the game did it for me. It didn’t make things any easier though as the maps was still full of roaming monsters and risky dark rooms. When I knew I had to go back to the guild and save though, I always crossed my fingers that I don’t encounter any random monsters or else that would mess me up. Besides saving of course, the guild has many uses. As previously mentioned, you can revive your characters depending if they have any life points left or even recover their health for a certain cost. You may also create other party members which will replace the fallen ones. Your created characters will start off leveled up equal to your main character. On top of the hard monsters you have to overcome, leveling up your character can get tedious as well. The grinding can get incredibly slow and it was a bit annoying trying to get some of my new characters up to speed with the rest of the current party. Sending a lower level character could really put you at a disadvantage since not only is that character vulnerable but protecting that character would only hinder collecting Blood Crystals. Stranger of Sword City may not have been the best choice to introduce me into the genre, due to it being challenging, but I still find it quite enjoyable since I do love challenges but I think the game would have been a lot more enjoyable if I had any other Dungeon RPG experience prior to this game. It definitely made interested in the genre and I feel veterans will definitely get their money’s worth with this game. 
Stranger of Sword City photo
Challenging Dungeons
Being a fan of all kind of JRPG games for as long as I’ve been a gamer, I always wanted to try my hands playing a Dungeon Crawler JRPG. I played so many types of JRPGS, such as turn-based, action and strategy. While I d...

Golden Week PSN Sale photo
Golden Week PSN Sale

It's a golden time for Sony's Golden Week 2016 PlayStation sale


Try Gravity Rush, Yakuza, and Suikoden!
Apr 27
// Josh Tolentino
If you have an interest in cool Japanese things - and I'd wager you do, having visited this site and all - you might be aware that Golden Week, that most anticipated cluster of Japanese holidays, begins tomorrow, on April 29t...
God Eater 2 Rage Burst photo
God Eater 2 Rage Burst

Satisfy your hunger with God Eater 2 Rage Burst's tasty bundles


Tastes like sweet heaven
Apr 24
// Salvador G Rodiles
With two God Eater titles heading West within the same timeframe, the gang at Bandai Namco have prepared a banquet that'll please those who want to feast on roasted Aragami. For the folks in North America, anyone who gets th...

Review: Trillion: God of Destruction

Apr 18 // Josh Tolentino
Trillion: God of Destruction (PS Vita [Reviewed])Developer: Compile Heart & Preapp PartnersPublisher: Idea Factory InternationalMSRP: $39.99Released: March 29, 2016 (US), April 1, 2016 (EU), July 23, 2015 (JP) Well, saying Trillion is "a game with one battle" may be a bit misleading. Players will actually fight the titular boss quite a few times as they trudge towards victory. Trillion is an ancient god out to consume the underworld, and the Great Overlord Zeabolos is all that stands in his way. After being killed in his first battle with the beast, Zeabolos makes a pact with a mysterious interloper (she's named "Faust", just to give you a hint of what she's all about), granting him the ability to bestow his power onto one of his subordinates, tasking them with training up to eventually take on the threat and kill it - or die trying. The wrinkle in this grand plan is that only one of these lesser Overlords - who just so happen to all be cute anime girls themed after various Deadly Sins - can take Trillion on at a time, and will likely buy the farm doing so. But progress is guaranteed, as any Overlord that wounds Trillion will pass on her strength to the next girl in line, and so on until victory. It actually makes for a touching story about sacrifice, legacy, and struggle against certain death, and in my opinion is one of the most effective stories produced by Compile Heart. Given that Compile Heart is known mainly for Neptunia titles, one shouldn't go in expecting Shakespeare, but the moments it goes for "work" more consistently than the comparatively inconsequential narrative offerings that are par for the course for the studio. [embed]34899:5568:0[/embed] In fact, there's a certain irony to this, as these types of games are usually much stronger in gameplay than story. While charming characters and cutesy anime-soaked banter is to be expected, it's usually deep, complex battle and progression systems that are the true draw. Unfortunately, this is where Trillion is least compelling, or at least makes the worst impression.  Trillion isn't a tactical strategy game, as some folks who assumed it would be Disgaea-like were thinking. It's actually closer to a hybrid of Nippon Ichi's ZHP: Zettai Hero Project, and an old-school dating sim/training game, the kind with character stats to raise periodically, such as in the Tokimeki Memorial series, the newer Long Live The Queen. And raising your stats is the name of the game, as Trillion, the final boss, is a tough nut to crack. Simply getting close enough to land a blow will be any given player's first real achievement, and after that, it's a matter of whittling down the boss's trillion hit points. Yes, one thousand billion HP. That and other absurdly large numbers are Trillion's primary stylistic gimmick, and while somewhat inconsequential in the grand scheme of things (the game's approach to shorthand quickly reduces these numbers to easier-to-manage sums). They do help set the game apart from some of its peers, as well as hammering home the idea that the whole game is about making incremental progress, grinding away at a threat rather than challenging it to a brief, flashy showdown. Getting your Overlords strong enough to burn through all that health is the game's primary goal, and that takes a lot of grinding and raising your Overlord's stats. That takes grinding...a lot of it. Which brings me to Trillion's primary problem, that being that the bulk of its gameplay consists of puttering through various menus to assign your Overlord to train her stats. You'll go through a menu, select a task, and a brief animation will play, showing how well the Overlord did, earning her some points to spend on buying stat increases. Training increases her fatigue, which in turn increases the chance that she'll be injured and unable to train for several days. Fatigue in turn can be managed by resting or doing fun things like going on dates with Zeabolos himself. Some of these "dates"can take on an awkward air given that some of the Overlords are Zeabolos' blood relatives, but they are technically demons, so... Anyway, this kind of light time management makes up the bulk of the game, and can feel quite tedious thanks to a lack of fun stuff like flavor text or a more detailed, interesting approach to presentation. Story events pop up during the daily cycle of activities, like the "skits" in a Tales game, and these are easily the best part of the Trillion: God of Destruction. In many ways, these events were what kept me pushing through the menus long after the daily grind had ceased to be interesting. I normally dislike bringing a game's price into the argument considering that value is such a personal thing, but one feels that a game charging this price should have more. The event scenes and character art are cute, but there isn't enough of it to balance out the inherent repetitiveness of the training cycle. Overlords can also be assigned to delve into the Valley of Swords, a randomized dungeon complex. Delving the dungeons resembles a roguelike in the style of Shiren the Wanderer, where your girls and enemies take their turns simultaneously, with tactical positioning and turn sequence being the key to surviving. Expeditions into the Valley can net your girl stat-boosting gear or usable items, but are given hard turn limits, necessitating careful planning of a route to the good loot.  All of this grinding must be done before Trillion wakes up. Each phase of the game is divided into multiple weeks of training occasionally interspersed with training matches against Mokujin, a Trillion-sized simulacra. The training matches are important for figuring out the bosses' pattern and how to deal with the smaller minions and hazards that appear in your Overlord's path. And once Trillion himself wakes, your Overlord goes to battle, armed only with the gear you collected, the knowledge you gained, and the stats you grinded, all of it shielded by "affection points" gained by treating her nicely during the cycle. Chances are, though, is that she'll eat it trying to take him down, leaving the next girl, armed with her predecessor's knowledge and stat bonuses, to grind through the next phase and try again, stronger than ever. Unfortunately, the battles themselves aren't especially engaging, mainly consisting of walking up a long corridor full of minor enemies and deadly squares, while trying to keep out of the instant-kill areas and get close enough to start attacking. The controls for some reason are extremely unwieldy, and never stop feeling awkward. Movement simply should not be this much of a hassle in a game this outwardly simple.   Add to that the fact that fights with Trillion are easy to predict. Once the pattern is found, it's only a question of having high enough stats to succeed. This tends to exacerbate the tedium of the training sections, and highlight how thin the content can feel once you've stopped fully engaging with the game's other systems. Trillion: God of Destruction is a spirited game with a number of interesting concepts, brought down by fumbled execution and anemic presentation. Like its titular final boss, its big, strong idea is hobbled by a swarm of niggling flaws. Though its strengths in narrative and characterization will persuade some to put up with these issues (perhaps enough to finish the game multiple times to get all the endings), there's no avoiding the feeling that putting a dent in a boss deserves to be more fun than this.   [embed]34899:5568:0[/embed]
Trillion PS Vita Review photo
By A Thousand Billion Cuts
The Final Boss Battle has been a staple of game design since about as long as games have had combat in them, and for the most part, a game is about how players lead their heroes to that final encounter, often plowing through ...

Senran Kagura Estival Versus: PS4 vs. PS Vita Comparison Video

Mar 28 // Christian Chiok
With the power of the PlayStation 4, fans can now experience the franchise in smooth 60 frames per second and crispy 1080p with great graphics.  Luckily, the PS Vita version doesn't fall too far behind. While cutscenes and stages may look less defined, it still manages to hold it's own and looks a little and performs better than the previous entry Shinovi Versus. As for performance differences, the PS Vita version loads levels a lot slower compared to the PS4 version, which jumps right ahead into the action. Additionally, the PS Vita version uses the system's features such as it's touch screen and gyro sensors, giving you a better experience when messing with the characters in the Dressing Room.  Check out the differences between the PS4 and PS Vita versions below: [embed]34893:5515:0[/embed]
Senran Kagura photo
Console vs. Handheld Comparison
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is the first game in the franchise that makes it's way into consoles. Originally, the series was handheld-exclusive, with it's previous titles being on available on both the 3DS and the Vita, even counting other spin-offs like Senran Kagura Bon Appétit!

Review: Senran Kagura Estival Versus

Mar 28 // Christian Chiok
[embed]34893:5514:0[/embed] Senran Kagura: Estival Versus (PS4 [Reviewed], PS Vita)Developer: TamsoftPublisher: Marvelous EntertainmentReleased: March 26, 2015 (JP), March 15, 2016 (EU), March 18, 2016 (NA)MSRP: $59.99 Unlike the previous game which had a more serious tone, which involved the destruction of schools via the Shinobi Battle Royale, the ancient tradition amongst numerous Shinobi schools whereby every 50 years, the five elite students of each school will do battle, this time around the franchise took a more amicable turn, showing all the characters getting along, at least during the beginning. This time around, Hanzo Academy, Gessen Academy, Hebijo Academy and Homura’s Crimson Squad were brought to the Kagura Millennium Festival, an event hosted by Master Sayuri, the Mikagura sisters, and Ryoki, which took place in a world where our characters reunited with their dead loved ones. This time around the game offers a unified story instead of separating it per school. Learning from Shinovi Versus, I didn’t expect the story to be amazing this time around either, as a matter of fact, I appreciated that it didn’t take itself too seriously during the beginning, especially since it took place in a beach most of the time. However, during the second half of the story, the game took a more serious approach, showing character progression, and story progression, where we learn why this event was hosted in the first place. Just like any of the previous games, alongside the main story, you will be able to play the character’s individual story (Shinobi Girl's Heart) which stirs away from the main story. Depending on who you are playing as, their story could either be comical or dramatic. Overall each story is highly entertaining and adds many hours of action to the game.   Unlike the other games though, in Estival Versus, you got to unlock the character’s Shinobi Girl's Heart, probably because they contain spoilers. While that’s reasonable, I really that it gave you that freedom to play the game in whatever order you wanted. In Shinovi Versus, I wanted to get invested with the characters first before proceeding to the main story. Unfortunately, most of the stages feel repetitive as you're basically revising every stage in most chapters. The only difference would be the main boss you're facing at the end of the stage. If I wasn't really invested in the story, the game would be rather boring. The Shinobi Dojo returns, allowing you to play with other friends locally via ad-hoc or via online. You will be able to play free-for-all or Team Battle in various game modes such as Point Battle, Understorm, Capture the Bra, Shinobi Survival, Walker Battle, and Shinobi Deathmatch. The only difference between the PS Vita and PS4 is that the former lets you play up to four players while the PS4 version allows you to play up to 10 players. Naturally, the more the merrier, so the PS4 version is the way to go with this mode. With the power of the PlayStation 4, the game’s visuals have heavily improved, even on the PS Vita version. The characters model look a lot closer to an anime series, allowing you appreciate their beauty a lot more. Gameplay-wise the game shares similarities to the Musou genre, which consists of beating multiple enemies on the field and leveling up your character while doing it. Just like Shinovi Versus, Estival Versus is NOT a Musou, but a 3D beat’em up instead. You’ll have two attack buttons, normal and strong attacks, which can be used to execute powerful combos as you level up. Just like the other games, you will be able to perform a Shinobi Transformation, allowing you to each girl's true shinobi form and allows for powerful special attacks called "Secret Ninja Arts." These special attacks deal massive damage and have a wider range than normal attacks. You may also use Frantic Mode, which in addition to using Secret Ninja Arts, it makes you more powerful, but it weakens your defense. You can also block and parry attacks when blocking timely. While there might be a feeling of repetitiveness, the game does a really good job at making you feel like a badass, especially with a powerful and completely leveled up character (especially if they are wielding a cool weapon). One of the major improvements is the lock-on feature which now allows you to control the camera while still being locked on. In the previous game, locking on into your enemy limited your camera control by having the angle fixed into your locked on opponent, making you vulnerable to other enemies. However, even with the lock on feature, sometimes your attack doesn't go directly to your enemy, thus ending your combo.  Stages will now have Bombs hidden inside creates. Each Bomb will have a different effect, such as poisoning or electrocuting your enemy, making you invisible or even summon a Puppet, which is technically a robot that deals a great amount of damage. Naturally with the game running on PS4 as well, you will be able to enjoy the smoothness of 60 frames per second. Even the PS Vita version of Estival Versus has improved a little bit from the previous entry as it definitely feels a bit smoother as well. It wouldn’t be Senran Kagura without its perverted moments.  Naturally, the game allows players to customize the characters’ apparel, including their normal attire and their Shinobi and Frantic Mode attire. An improvement from the first game is that you can also customize their hair’s color, offering five options of different colors. Additionally, you can equip extra accessories such as tails, glasses, gloves and more. A lot of the clothing options are exotic and really bring out the character’s outer beauty. However, the customization menu also allows you to fully view the character models from multiple angles, and it includes a “perverted” mini game, if that’s what you can call it, that allows you to harass the character in any way that you wish. The PS Vita works similarly to Shinovi Versus and Bon Appétit, where it uses the system’s PlayStation Vita’s features such as its touch screen, back screen, microphone, and gyro sensors. However, in the PS4 version, you will have to use the PS4 controller, which works similarly as putting any of the previous game on the PlayStation TV. Personally, I prefer this minigame on the PS Vita version, as it is more natural. There’s also a Diorama feature, allowing you to control the girls by putting them in any pose that you wish, change the condition of their clothing, as well as their expression. You may also change the background and add any type of visual effect to it. It is obvious that the Senran Kagura franchise is aimed to a selective audience, but that obviously doesn’t make it a bad game. Estival Versus offers improved gameplay mechanics alongside an improved multiplayer mode that adds replay value to the game.  The game has a galore breast and panty shots shown during gameplay in the most comedic way, but beneath all that, it’s fun title that fans of niche Japanese games or Anime-style games should get. So if you own a PS4 or a PS Vita, then you should pick up the game.  Check out a comparison video between the PS4 and PS Vita versions here.
Senran Kagura photo
The Path to Become a Strong Shinobi
After a year from its Japanese release, Senran Kagura Estival Versus made its way outside of Japan, making PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita owners very happy. This game is sequel to Shinovi Versus, so if you played it then ...

Trillion photo
Trillion

Yes, Trillion: God of Destruction is also kind of a dating sim


GET CLOSER TO MAMMON
Mar 21
// Josh Tolentino
It wouldn't be a niche JRPG without some vaguely salacious feature, and Trillion: God of Destruction is set to provide on that front, thanks to a set of romance-sim-inspired features. The latest trailer covers the game'...

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