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Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE photo
Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE

Come to New York and check out Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE next week


The fruits of Atlus and Nintendo's union
May 21
// Josh Tolentino
I've been trying to avoid all mention of Nintendo and Atlus' joint project Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, partly because I don't want to be tempted into picking up a Wii U. That said, the thing really does make an impressio...
Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

So I translated that new Persona 5 trailer


And boy, are my arms tired!
May 12
// Josh Tolentino
It took the newest trailer for Persona 5 to make me break my self-imposed media blackout about the game. After all, I already knew I wanted the damn thing, so I didn't need any extra convincing. But I did watch it, and it was...

GET HYPE: Persona 5 launches in September

May 05 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]35000:5590:0[/embed]
Persona 5 release date photo
Also, a new voice for Igor!
It's time, folks! Or rather, it will be time...in a few short months. After months of silence last year's delay and weeks of drip-fed promotion culminating in a final countdown, Atlus has announced the Japanese release ...

 photo

Uh-oh: NIS America cuts ties with Atlus in Europe, Oceania


Apr 26
// Josh Tolentino
It's been a long time since it has truly sucked to be a European gamer, but this latest development certainly qualifies, particularly for Europeans and residents of Australia and Oceania that are fans of Atlus' games. NIS Ame...

Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

You've got 'til May 5 to figure out what Persona 5's counting down to


Investigation Team Go!
Apr 22
// Josh Tolentino
It's been a while since we last heard from Persona 5, following the  delay in the game's release date from late last year to sometime this year. Atlus seemed content to know that most folks who cared knew what Persona w...
Shin Megami Tensei IV photo
Shin Megami Tensei IV

Rejoice: Shin Megami Tensei IV: Official Artworks is now available


Devil summoning in its artistic form
Mar 04
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that I love about the Shin Megami Tensei series, it's the designs for the different demons present in each title. Thanks to the people at UDON, the artbook for Shin Megami Tensei IV hit North America yest...
Persona Snow Festival photo
Persona Snow Festival

Hee-ho: Atlus takes us to a Persona Winter Wonderland


I've been waiting for this!
Nov 27
// Salvador GRodiles
With Persona 3 The Movie #4: Winter of Rebirth getting ready to hit theaters in Japan next month, Atlus has revealed that they're teaming up with the Nippon Ski Resort Development to bring us not one but two Persona-them...

Review: Stella Glow

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

Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

Persona 5 3rd PV is crazy awesome!


Skull Pirate Persona!
Sep 17
// Anthony Redgrave
TGS 2015 rolls along like a hype driven Maglev train with new gaming reveals every day. Today ATLUS released another promotional video of Persona 5. Apart from showing off more gameplay and more cryptic clues behind the stor...
Persona 4 photo
Persona 4

Insert Coin Clothing shows off their Persona 4 range


Funky Student approves
Aug 23
// Anthony Redgrave
Anyone that has played Persona 4 will know that every day is great when you shop at Junes. The store that had become the HQ for the Investigation Team now has an official wearable merch courtesy of Insert Coin Clothing. Inser...
Persona 4 Dancing photo
Persona 4 Dancing

Send out a '39' for Miku in Persona 4: Dancing All Night


Virtual Dancing, Virtual Divas
Aug 14
// Josh Tolentino
No bones about it: Persona 4: Dancing All Night is a weird game. Sure, Atlus has a long history of milking the Shin Megami Tensei franchise like it was Audumbla, the live-giving cow of Norse myth, but making a danc...
The Legend of Legacy photo
The Legend of Legacy

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


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

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem trailer explodes my mind


Please!
Apr 03
// Hiroko Yamamura
I watch a lot of anime and video game trailers, as you can probably guess. However, I can only count on one hand the times a video has totally blown my mind and left me confused! During the Nintendo Direct show yesterday, a ...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

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


It's time to drive in style
Mar 07
// Salvador GRodiles
With two month left until Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker arrives in North America, Atlus has revealed the extra goodies that'll come with the game's survival kit. Of course, you can't overcome the Septentrione and...
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 ...
Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

Here now is your first real look at Persona 5


Lookin' good, Protagonist!
Feb 05
// Josh Tolentino
I mean...wow. I've said more than once that Atlus was going to have to work very hard to top Persona 4 Golden, which is perhaps the most reified possible iteration of the design formula Persona 3 pioneered. I don't know...
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...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker has twice the content


More like DOUBLE Survivor!
Dec 10
// Josh Tolentino
It's been a few years, but we've finally gotten word on the status of Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker, the updated 3DS re-release of Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2. Last we heard, mysterious "quality issues" had pushe...
Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

Persona 5 gets confirmed for 2015...again


But you knew that already
Dec 07
// Josh Tolentino
The PlayStation experience event is going on right now, and one of the highlights of the keynote was a bit of news we already knew: Persona 5 is coming to both PS4 and PS3, and is dated for 2015. But, as I mentioned, cha...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

Atlus USA summons five new Persona Q English trailers


It's time to experience some more Marie-related material
Oct 30
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since I hopped on the Etrian Odyssey bandwagon, Persona Q's been on my radar for quite some time. Anyway, Atlus has uploaded a couple trailers that cover the game's Fusion System, along with showing off Marie, Elizabeth...
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax photo
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Go for round two with Mitsuru, Teddie, and Elizabeth in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax


Veterans return for revenge!
Sep 23
// Josh Tolentino
The wait is almost over, as the Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is set to hit English-speaking shores in just under a week. That means Atlus has one last chance to rev up the hype machine for the sequel to one of the more surpr...
Devil Survivor 2 photo
Devil Survivor 2

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


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

Persona 4 Ultimax's English Story trailer enters the ring


The fog is growing stronger
Sep 15
// Salvador GRodiles
We've reached September's halfway point, and Atlus is ready to localize a few more trailers for Persona 4 Arena Ultimax. The first one covers the game's story about the mysterious red fog that has engulfed the entire area. O...
Persona 5 photo
Coming to PS3 and PS4
Took 'em long enough! Atlus has finally revealed Persona 5 with a gloriously vague anime trailer for the game, due out on PS3 - and PS4 - next year. The latest mainline entry in the Persona series will be directed by Ka...

Review: Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream

Aug 27 // Elliot Gay
Persona 3 The Movie #2: Midsummer Knight's DreamStudio: A-1 PicturesDistributed by: AniplexRelease Date: June 7, 2014 Much like Movie #1, Midsummer Knight's Dream cuts off a lot of the fat from the Persona 3 story so that it can make its way to the end goal within the allotted run-time. What this means is that there are zero social link side stories, and ultimately very little of the school-life portions that help to make the game's so endearing. That being said, I think in the name of letting the full Persona 3 narrative breathe, these were necessary cuts. The film already suffers from how chopped up the original storytelling was, and bringing in the optional content would have only made the pacing suffer more. Unlike Spring of Birth however, the portion of the game that Movie #2 covers is both eventful and ties into the larger plot at large. The film essentially kicks off with Aigis' entrance, and it ends on a huge story beat that also happens to serve as a strong cliffhanger. In my Persona 3 The Movie: #1 piece, I noted that in order to give the narrative a proper through-line, Yuki was given an extremely apathetic personality. The goal was to show his gradually growth into a person who could depend and care about others by the end of the movie, and it works. This time around, the underlying theme becomes “do we really want to go back to everyday life?” The notion of a fear of normality is shared across most of the cast: Yuki is afraid of losing his place, Fuka wants to be useful to the people she cares about, Ken has finally found a new family. The list goes on, but ultimately the heroes now have a true objective (destroying all the large Shadows), and are unsure as to whether they actually want to see it through or not. The seeds of confusion are planted by the primary antagonists, the Persona-users that comprise Strega, who would see the Dark Hour continue eternally if they had their way. Much of the film's focus is on Aigis and her super powers, but the emotional core rests in Ken and Shinji's laps. If you despised Ken in the original game, this isn't going to change your opinion, but I for one never had much of a problem with his character. He's an emotional elementary school kid who has no family to turn to, is given a powerful weapon, and is jarringly made aware of the tragic truth behind his mother's death. After barely appearing in Spring of Birth, Shinji gets plenty of screen time here and happens to have one of the funniest moments across both films thus far. My biggest complaint yet again is the general disjointedness of the movie. Often times the characters will go from hanging out at a restaurant to fighting a main boss Shadow back to back with only a calendar transition to let the audience know that time has passed. On the one hand, the film series has finally introduced its main antagonists and end goal, so it actually feels as though the characters are working toward something. On the other hand, that hasn't erased the fact that due to the nature of the source material, lots of time gets skipped over frequently. That being said, I understand that this is a unique problem that's present when adapting the Persona franchise for TV or film, and I'm willing to accept that these films aren't going to try and find an alternative. It's just something that bares mentioning regardless. On the technical side of things, A-1 Productions has taken over animation duties for AIC ASTA, and it certainly shows. Aigis gets the brunt of the great animation cuts, with her introductory action sequence being a real showstopper. There's still some off-model wackiness that goes on here and there, but on the whole it's solid across the board, and a decent enough step up from the first movie. It's certainly leaps and bounds better than the original animated cutscenes in the Persona 3 game. Shoji Meguro's soundtrack is an electric mix of music from the game and new themes which blend together nicely. His work is rarely ever anything less than great, and I'm looking forward to grabbing the soundtrack CD whenever it's made available. I also want to give a quick shout-out to the best use of the Persona 3 battle theme ever: you'll know it when you see it. Persona 3 The Movie: #2 had the monumental task of not only introducing the core story for the remaining films, but also its primary villains and the rest of the cast. Despite thr brief run time of 93 minutes, it manages to do that as well as impress with some great action sequences and some drama to boot. I wasn't sure what to expect with the studio switch from AIC ASTA to A-1 Pictures, but clearly it was the right move. I had my doubts about trying to adapt Persona 3 into a series of films. It's a huge game with a massive cast, lots of various subplots, and way too much content to tackle in such a short time span. To my surprise however, the movies have been doing a noble job of it. While nothing can replace the experience of actually playing the original source material, Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream is a great watch for fans of the game. If you have friends who have always wanted to dip their toes into the franchise without the time investment, you can do a hell of a lot worse than sitting them down with the films. 8.0 – Great. A great example of its genre that everyone should see, regardless of their interest.
Persona 3 The Movie: #2 photo
Baby baby baby baby baby
Despite its pacing problems and general lack of an overarching story, I enjoyed Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth. As far as animated film adaptations of long games go, I think it did a novel job of compressing hours of...

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax photo
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Huzzah! Persona 4 Ultimax's Marie DLC to arrive in the Americas


Everyone's favorite tsundere's heading to North and South America
Jul 31
// Salvador GRodiles
Aw snap. It looks like Atlus is adding another DLC fighter to Persona 4 Arena Ultimax's North and South American release. This time around, players'll get to download Marie when the game hits the Americas this Fall. Of course...
Persona 4 Ultimax photo
Persona 4 Ultimax

Rejoice! Persona 4 Ultimax will be region free in North and South America


Atlus has summoned a miracle
Jul 10
// Salvador GRodiles
Back when Persona 4 Arena was announced to be region locked, many players were saddened from the outcome, since it limited most folks from playing the game as soon as possible. With Persona 4 Arena Ultimax hitting North Amer...
Persona 4 Ultimax photo
Persona 4 Ultimax

Rejoice! Persona 4 Ultimax's Murderer DLC is heading to America


Who wants to talk about murders?
Jul 02
// Salvador GRodiles
We a have a few months left until Persona 4 Arena Ultimax arrives in America, and Atlus continues to summon more Persona-related news. Since Atlus' been treating their Persona fans well, the company revealed that Pe...
Persona Q photo
Persona Q

E3 2014: Behold the glory of Persona Q


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

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