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Gal Gun Double Peace photo
Gal Gun Double Peace

Some madmen want to bring Gal Gun: Double Peace overseas

Friendly Fire!
Aug 10
// Josh Tolentino
Far be it from me to play "cultural gatekeeper" when comes to deciding which products warrant the privilege being adapted for overseas consumption, but I think it's not a controversial opinion to think that some things are be...
Attack on Titan photo
Attack on Titan

Oh, finally, a proper Attack on Titan game

Dynasty Warriors: Giant Cannibals
Aug 09
// Josh Tolentino
What's that, you say? There's already been a proper Attack on Titan game? Well, that is technically true, and Atlus USA even brought it to English-speaking shores as Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains. Unfortunately, that t...
IA/VT Colorful photo
IA/VT Colorful

Blame the music industry for this rhythm game not going west

As if you needed another reason
Jun 29
// Josh Tolentino
Any true fan of the Vocaloid scene will tell you that it's not all about Hatsune Miku and her Crypton-sponsored friends. After all, Vocaloid itself is a "neutral" platform, allied to no one character. That's a roundabout way...
Steins;Gate photo

Steins;Gate finally gets a US release date on console

Including the version with a metal Upa
Jun 29
// Josh Tolentino
Dust off your lab coats, American nerds: Steins;Gate is coming.  Wait, what? Wasn't it already out in April? Indeed, it was out on the PC, but thanks to the folks at PQube, the game is coming to PS Vita and PS3...
VA-11 HALL-A photo

Drown away your sorrows with a new VA-11 HALL-A trailer

Just what the bartender ordered
Jun 26
// Salvador GRodiles
Back when Japanator Managing Editor Josh Tolentino wrote about VA-11 HALL-A, the bartending game that's set in a cyberpunk setting, my interest for the title was at a normal level. While I didn't get to play the project's pr...
Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

But of course Lelouch is in Persona 5 trailer!

Also, dancing!
Jun 25
// Josh Tolentino
[Update: Courtesy of Gematsu, an alternate link to the trailer has been found. Check it out below!] Much to some fans' disappointment, Persona 5 didn't make a huge splash at E3 this year. Rather than put Atlus' lat...
Sword Art Online photo
Sword Art Online

Let's log into Sword Art Online: Lost Song and Re: Hollow Fragment's E3 trailers

Now featuring catchy music
Jun 17
// Salvador GRodiles
For a good while, we've known that Sword Art Online: Lost Song and Re: Hollow Fragment were heading West. With E3 '15 happening as we speak, Bandai Namco has conjured up a new trailer for both games that show off their ...
Persona 4  photo
Persona 4

Such a beary awesome dance move

This game will own you
May 29
// Hiroko Yamamura
There has been quite a few videos floating around for the upcoming Playstation Vita game, Persona 4: Dancing All Night. All of them have been absolutely adorable, but now that it's Teddie's turn to cut a rug, there's no way I couldn't share my excitement! Please hurry up, I want to dust off my Vita! 
Sword Art Online photo
Sword Art Online

Rejoice? Sword Art Online: Lost Song and Re: Hollow Fragment go west

Double the pleasure with two SAO games
May 28
// Salvador GRodiles
It was only a matter of time until Bandai Namco would announce that Sword Art Online: Lost Song, the latest SAO video game that takes place in Alfheim Online, would cross the pond. Lo and behold, this inevitabl...
Steins;Gate photo

Grab a Dr. Pepper: Steins;Gate gets a release date for Europe

Just in time for the Summer
May 15
// Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks; May has arrived and it turns out that PQube's release of Steins;Gate for the PS3 and Vita has been pushed to June 5 for Europe. While it's unfortunate that we won't get to experience the Future Gadget Lab's adven...
Dungeon Travelers 2 photo
Dungeon Travelers 2

Atlus tweaking Dungeon Travelers 2 to not get banned

Doing what's needed, I guess
Apr 26
// Josh Tolentino
Fans of the To Heart series, or of developer AquaPlus' various visual novel franchises, are no doubt pretty excited by the impending release of Dungeon Travelers 2 on the PS Vita. Like Aquapazza, Dungeon Travelers 2&nbs...
Steins;Gate photo

Praise Dr. Pepper: Steins;Gate's special edition includes a Metal Upa

The future has been saved
Mar 20
// Salvador GRodiles
For a good while, I was on the fence on whether I should play Steins;Gate on the PC or consoles. Now that PQube has announced a special edition for the game's PS3 and PS Vita release, I might have to lean towards the latter f...
P4: Dancing All Night photo
P4: Dancing All Night

Persona 4: Dancing All Night's new trailer is fixated on...meat

Well, I guess that's one way to talk about yourself
Mar 06
// Josh Tolentino
Mention "meat fixation" to a fan of Persona 4 and you'll most likely trigger fond memories of Chie Satonaka, the franchise's resident martial arts junkie and legendary carnivore. That said, I think even Chie would find ...

Review: Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines

Mar 03 // Josh Tolentino
Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines (PS Vita, PlayStation TV)Developer: Alfa SystemPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentReleased: March 3, 2015 MSRP: $19.99 About that "dead soon" thing: It's the premise of the game. Players start as the head of a Japanese clan (that they construct themselves in a rather detailed character-creation interface), murdered to a man in a gruesome ritual of human sacrifice after being framed for the disasters rocking 12th-century Kyoto. Fate is kind, though, and a few members are brought back to life to exact revenge upon the wrongdoers. Unfortunately, everything has a cost, and the price for a second chance is the dual curses of Ephemerality and Broken Lineage. The first curse dooms all members of the clan to drop dead two years after their birth. The second prevents them from having offspring with humans. Talk about a double-whammy!  Thus the mission is set: Continue the family line long enough to break the curses, by having children with willing gods and spirits (sidestepping the "Broken Lineage" part), and having those children have their own children before their two years are up, in addition to becoming strong enough to defeat the villain that cursed the clan in the first place. It's a morbid and deliciously effective premise, so much so that one wonders why it hasn't been thought of before. [embed]33597:4548:0[/embed] has, for Oreshika is technically a sequel to 1999's Ore no Shikabane wo Koete Yuke, an influential PS1 RPG that involved largely the same concepts. That said, the game never made overseas, which makes it completely new to most players. Its relative age, though, would explain why Oreshika feels like a pleasant throwback to the early years of Japanese RPG-making, when the primary influences on design came from free-roaming dungeon-crawlers like Ultima and Wizardry. That same narrative-light, systems-heavy approach largely defines Oreshika's play experience, which should delight fans who've begun to chafe under the typically linear storytelling of most JRPGs. That isn't to say the story beats are absent. Oreshika has its own complement of directed cutscenes and dialog sequences, most involving named, voiced side characters. They appear during certain missions to drop some exposition or plot twists, and in some cases join the party. The meshing of traditional narrative with the game's more free-form structure isn't perfect, and it's during these moments that the player's own created clan can feel like extras in what is ostensibly their story. The missteps are mostly inoffensive, though, and to be fair, the story does end up going deeper than might have been possible without the benefit of more defined characters to fall back on. Then again, perhaps that more traditional story wasn't that necessary at all, because for me, the most memorable moments in Oreshika come with each passing minute of my family's short, short life. The game is conducted on a month-to-month basis, either raiding or preparing to raid one of the land's many labyrinths. The preparation involves buying gear and items for use during the raid, improving the local town to upgrade the various shops' offerings, or performing the "Rite of Union" with many gods and goddesses to create offspring and ensure the family's continuation. That might sound like a lot of babies to magic up, but considering that thanks to the rigors of dungeon-raiding many of the clan's members will kick the bucket long before their two years are up, a deep bench is critical. Longer games can go for hundreds of generations, and every death can hurt, thanks to the "XCOM effect" of growing attached to people one had a hand in creating and customizing themselves. Dying family even leave semi-randomized "parting words" upon their passing. Oreshika's also quite adept at making that customization feel like it matters. Every new addition to the family takes on the characteristics of their parents, including inheriting physical features (which can turn out hilariously when uniting with some of the less "human" gods), and statistical traits. The game's item creation system allows "heirloom" gear to be created that gains power every time a departing family member bequeaths it to a new generation. And the game is all too happy to use the PS Vita's built-in screen capture function to take "family album" photos and collect them like fond mementos of bosses beaten and dungeons delved. It's almost strange that for all the time one spends preparing for dungeon raids, Oreshika's combat and exploration are designed to be over and done with as quickly as possible. When out in the world, players are literally on the clock. A real-time counter ticks down towards the end of a given month, which lasts between five and ten minutes, depending on how many battles one gets into. At the end, players are given the option to go home, or continue the raid through the next month without rest, increasing the chance that tired or injured party members might die permanently. Given that every character is already born with a very short lifespan, the timers instill a kind of frenzied pace and tension to what could otherwise have been a ponderous affair. "Frenzied" is also a good way to describe Oreshika's visuals, which are a riot of color and animation. The game's watercolor tones and melding of Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock style, traditional folkloric creatures, and anime character design make it one of the best-looking titles on the platform, and possibly one of the prettiest "anime" games since the originalValkyria Chronicles. And thankfully, unlike many games that involve procreation as a concept, Oreshika lacks much of the prurient undertone that make such titles slightly embarrassing to play at times. As lovely as the characters are environments don't fare quite as well, as the pace at which a typical dungeon run is conducted doesn't leave a lot of time to admire the sights. A limited camera setup and frequent use of revisiting (often to unlock a shortcut using a key found in some other dungeon) can also sap locations of their initial charm. Despite the fact most of us will never have played the game it's a sequel to, the quality of Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines shines through its gorgeous visuals and deep mechanics. Come to think of it, there's no more fitting way for a game that's about leaving a worthwhile legacy to conduct itself. 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.) [This review is based on a digital retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Oreshika Review! photo
Generations of Phwoar
[This review originally appeared on Destructoid] Like many games of its type, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines features a tiny graphic in its text boxes to remind players they can press a button to advance to the next l...

3rd Super Robot Wars Z photo
3rd Super Robot Wars Z

Brighten your day with a lengthy 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2 trailer

The best part of waking up is Super Robot Wars on your screen
Mar 02
// Salvador GRodiles
Attention, people; Bandai Namco has launched a 14-minute trailer for 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku Hen, which is the perfect cure to obliterate anyone's bad mood. This time around, we're treated to more of the usual action...
P4: Dancing All Night photo
P4: Dancing All Night

Let Risette navigate you through Persona 4: Dancing All Night

Cue the Quelorie Mate endorsement!
Feb 23
// Josh Tolentino
I don't usually cotton much to so-called "character trailers" when they pop up in the usual game and anime hype cycle. They're usually nothing more than bits of voiced fluff, when I'd prefer to let the full work speak for it...

Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary

Feb 22 // Josh Tolentino
htoL#NiQ: The Firely Diary (PS Vita)Developer: Nippon Ichi SoftwarePublisher: NIS AmericaReleased: February 24, 2015MSRP: $19.99 First, to that bit about minimalism: htoL#NiQ has virtually no written or spoken dialog, or even text. Apart from some prompts explaining the basic controls and a brief crawl in the opening, players won't even encounter so much as a lettered sign in the background. The plot, such as it is, is delivered almost entirely in-game, via environmental clues and lightly interactive flashbacks.  The game screen itself is largely free of HUDs and icons, and combined with low-lit environments that flicker as if beaming from a vintage film projector, gives off a universally gloomy, unsettling aura that contrasts well with the cutesy character design. The flashback scenes are rendered in a totally different, isometric style that recalls older RPGs like Contact. [embed]33553:4522:0[/embed] Exploring this downbeat dystopia is Mion, a silver-haired waif with big eyes, a pair of branches growing from her head, and all the self-preservation instinct of a videogame lemming. Accompanying her are Lumen and Umbra, the titular fireflies and the only means by which players can guide Mion through the wilderness. Players can use the touch screen to move Lumen, with Mion following her Navi-esque companion wherever it goes. Lumen can also signal Mion to throw switches, push boxes, and other puzzle-solving interactions. Umbra, on the other hand, resides in Mion's shadow, and can only be controlled by shifting to an alternate dimension with a tap of the rear touchpad. From there, Umbra can move through shadows freely - including those cast by Lumen's glow - and interact with objects too far away for Mion to reach. Manipulating the environment and using the firefly duo to help maneuver Mion past various hazards forms the bulk of htoL#NiQ's mechanics. This all sounds simple enough, but the game in which these mechanics are employed is an artifact of what I can only describe as gleeful, knowing sadism. htoL#NiQ is one of the most difficult games I've ever played, and the bulk of my playtime has been spent dying, over and over and over again. That's not necessarily a bad thing, seeing as the last few years have brought a new renaissance for tough, uncompromising game design, but the type of pain dealt by htoL#NiQ is of a very particular type, one that's been justifiably abandoned by most modern titles. Simply put, this game trades in pure, trial-and-error frustration. Thanks to a combination of deliberately lethargic controls and deathtrap-obsessed level design, virtually no challenge the game poses can be passed on the first try - or the 48th try, for that matter. That's how long it took me to overcome just a single checkpoint in the second level, a checkpoint that, performed successfully, takes about a minute to transition through.  Since Mion can only be moved by moving Lumen ahead of her, a slight delay accompanies every movement, and Mion herself hits her top speed at "leisurely stroll", even when pursued by rampaging hellbeasts made of shadow. The awkwardness of using the touch screen and rear touch pad to control Lumen and Umbra can be alleviated somewhat by switching to an optional control scheme that uses the analog stick and face buttons, but the precision and sluggishness in movement remains. Worse still, some challenges demand precise timing to trigger environmental actions using Umbra, but the pauses that accompany attempting to switch to Umbra's dimension make that timing even tougher to nail down. Add in hidden enemies, barely-telegraphed hazards, instant death, and occasional randomized factors that cheapen every death, and htoL#NiQends up embodying a strange sort of videogame Murphy's Law: Anything that can kill Mion, will kill Mion. Several times.  To clarify, there's nothing wrong with deliberate, "slow" controls. As a fan of Monster Hunter and the Souls games, I can appreciate that style, and intention behind them being in this game is fairly clear. htoL#NiQ aims for the kind of dynamic that defined the likes of classics like Ico. The problem here is the decision to combine the tension of having to escort a helpless charge with such demanding level design. The stress of both having to keep the charge safe as well as perform feats of precision timing and speed is almost too much that would stand to gain the most from the game's low-key storytelling and unique aesthetic. Extending the comparison further, if htoL#NiQ were to be compared to Ico, the difference between the two in terms of difficulty would be akin to trying to shepherd Yorda through the Tower of Latria from Demon's Souls.   It simply isn't fun to have to redo every section just to pass - or replay certain portions perfectly just to access all the game's collectible flashback scenes (which form its most substantial narrative payoff), but then again, I did retry a single section forty-eight times in a row, so there may be something to htoL#NiQ, after all. The creepy atmosphere and interesting visuals were just enough to keep me hooked alongside its grim, intriguing story. And of course, there's the stubborn, bitter, vengeful thrill of finally defeating a game that's seemingly designed with the middle finger extended towards its players.  I won't lie: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary feels like an ordeal to play, but it is worth noting that historically, surviving an ordeal was often taken as a sign of being blessed by a higher power. That notion may appeal to some types of players, and it's they who'll find the fun in this gorgeous, cruel game. Everyone else should just hang back and ask how it went. 6 -- Alright (6s may be slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy them a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.) [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
htoL#NiQ Review photo
Oh Dear, Diary
[This post originally appeared on] No, that isn't an encoding error up there in the headline: "htoL#NiQ" is indeed this PS Vita game's title, and is essentially a very stylish way to type "The Firefly Diary" i...

Persona 4: DAN photo
Persona 4: DAN

Persona 4: Dancing All Night's OP theme is pure Saturday Night Fever

Party in the Velvet Room!
Feb 04
// Josh Tolentino
Is it just me, or does it feel weird that the English lyrics make some sense? Perhaps they always did, and we just hadn't been exposed to enough Persona to really feel the meaning? Either way, the opening theme for...
Dengeki Bunko photo
Dengeki Bunko

Rejoice: Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax goes West

Didn't see that one coming
Jan 30
// Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks. I've said it a couple times, and I'll say it again: Hell has officially frozen over, people! This time around, Sega's smacked us with an unexpected announcement, as Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax heads West for ...
PSN games photo
PSN games

Japan's PSN users sure love them some western games

Downloads aplenty!
Jan 10
// Josh Tolentino
If there's one stereotype about the Japanese game industry that's more true than not, it's that Glorious Nippon hasn't gotten the hang of The Internet and its many facets quite as quickly or in the same way as the rest of the...
J-Stars Victory VS+ photo
J-Stars Victory VS+

Shonen Jump J-Stars Victory VS+ answers all the big questions

Everyone comes out to party
Dec 22
// Josh Tolentino
The biggest question of them all being "When the hell is Bandai Namco releasing Jump Stars Victory VS?" in English. The answer to that is "Next summer, on the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, and all under the somehow even more nonsensica...
NIS America photo
NIS America

Rejoice: NIS America reveals Fate Ultimatum's release date and more

Next year's looking good for Nippon Ichi
Dec 17
// Salvador GRodiles
As we're getting closer to the holidays, the folks at NIS America have announced that The Awakened Fate Ultimatum hits North America on March 17, 2015, with Europe getting their release on March 20, 2015. Since the game invol...
Steins;Gate photo

Tuturu: Steins;Gate's PS3 and PS Vita version go West

The Future Gadget Lab has expanded!
Dec 16
// Salvador GRodiles
Now this is what I call an unexpected turn of events, people. If you've been yearning to play more visual novel titles on your consoles, then you'll be happy to hear that Steins;Gate's PS3 and Vita release are heading to Nort...
3rd Super Robot Wars Z photo
3rd Super Robot Wars Z

3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2's trailer will heat up your blood

Groovin Magic!
Dec 13
// Salvador GRodiles
At long last, Bandai Namco has uploaded the first trailer for 3rd Super Robot Wars Z: Tengoku Hen, and things are looking interesting for Super Robot Wars Z's finale. First and foremost, Diebuster is making its debut in the ...
Suikoden 1/2 photo
Suikoden 1/2

Oh man, Suikoden 2 is out, go get it now now now

Get HYPE for 16 years ago!
Dec 09
// Josh Tolentino
Oh, finally. It only took, like, sixteen years, but Suikoden II, one of my favorite games of all time and one of the greatest RPGs ever made, to come to downloadable platforms on this side of the pond. Konami's made the thing...
Neptunia photo

It's time for some Neptunia-related updates

2015 is looking good for Gamindustri
Nov 21
// Salvador GRodiles
For a good while, we already knew that 2015 was going to be a good year for the Neptunia series, as Idea Factory's shipping Neptunia Re;Birth 2 and Hyperdevotion Noire to Western shores. Speaking of which, Idea Factory h...
Daily Dose photo
Daily Dose

A Daily Dose of Music: Freedom Wars' Propaganda Idols

Let's Contribute!
Nov 03
// Josh Tolentino
Hey! Are you making a videogame or anime? Then you need idols! That's the hot stuff now, be it an idol character, an idol sequence, or a licensed song from some idols or done in idol style. Idols! And it doesn't matter if yo...
Neptunia Re;Birth 2 photo
Neptunia Re;Birth 2

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2's English screenshots dive into the character bios

Being a tsundere is a serious occupation
Oct 16
// Salvador GRodiles
I may not own a Vita, but I still look forward to the day when I get to experience the main Neptunia games on-the-go. As Idea Factory prepares for Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation English relea...
Hyperdevotion Noire photo
Hyperdevotion Noire

All hail Lastation: Hyperdevotion Noire: Goddess Black Heart goes West

Lastation is about to dominate Gamindustri
Oct 10
// Salvador GRodiles
The time to celebrate has arrived, Nept... er, I mean Noire fans, because Idea Factory's bringing Noire's spin-off strategy RPG game to North America and Europe in early 2015. In case you forgot about Black Heart's title...
Dengeki Bunko photo
Dengeki Bunko

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax's latest trailer shows off its new characters

If only they were playable
Oct 06
// Salvador GRodiles
As Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax prepares for its console debut in November, the game receives a new trailer that gives us the rundown on the title's content. This time around, we get to see Izaya, Accelerator, and Dokuro-c...

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