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Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni photo
Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni

Valkyrie Drive gets weaponized for the West


Let's get physical!
Jul 10
// Salvador GRodiles
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: Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Jun 22 // Nick Valdez
[embed]35079:5680:0[/embed] Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (Wii U (reviewed))Developer: AtlusPublisher: NintendoReleased: December 26, 2015 (JP), June 24, 2016 (NA and EU)MSRP: $59.99 When shadow monsters known as Mirages invade Tokyo in search of Performa (which is the energy created from singing and acting performances), childhood friends Itsuki and Tsubasa get suddenly thrown into the battle as it changes their lives forever. Uniting their skills with ghosts of characters from the Fire Emblem series (like Chrom and Caeda), the two strive to become pop idols in order to strengthen their bonds with their new friends from Fortuna Entertainment (which is secretly full of other Mirage Masters) and help prevent the world from plunging into darkness. Told entirely through the Japanese VA track, TMS has personality to spare. But those who do not understand the language will miss some of the personality TMS is so proud of. It's not a huge issue, but the characters are always talking to one another during battles and 50 hours in you'll definitely wonder what they're saying.  Complimenting that strong personality are Tokyo Mirage Sessions' equally strong visuals. From the opening title screen to the final battle, it is bursting at the seams with color. The UI is clean and bright (the main menu is graced by a gorgeous spread of all the characters), the character design is typical Atlus fare marrying cuteness with style (enough so that you'll most likely have a favorite cast member), when you clear certain side stories or story chapters the player is rewarded with full cutscene performances animated with the Fire Emblem engine, and there is an overall attention to clean design. Only the battle menu and HUD feel cluttered, but that also alleviates over time the more you play it. The game's design serves to emphasize accessibility, so the over world and dungeons have checkpoints which make it easier to travel back to the home base to craft your weapons and skills and the like. Thanks to the lack of egregious load times, there is no hefty punishment for retreating from a dungeon from time to time which further encourages the player to do so.  Helping with this clean design is Tokyo Mirage Sessions' utilization of the Wii U's gamepad. Acting as Itsuki's cell phone, the gamepad occasionally receives text messages, or "topics," which keep you up to date on the character's reactions to the story (which can be a bit banal, but further build the world's personality), tells you when side missions become available (which are avoidable but help boost a character's stats and skill set), and also serves as the dungeon map. Crawling through the game's laborious dungeons is much easier since you don't have to cut away from the game in order to pull up your map. And when the story forces you to retread through many of its dungeons later in the game, you'll be glad traversal is easy. The dungeons themselves are heavily padded with frustrating "puzzles" which force you to backtrack and do not inspire cleverness. Rather than celebrate when you finally get to the dungeon boss, it's more of a sigh and "finally."  But the major draw of Tokyo Mirage Sessions, is the battle system. This is definitely where all the time and effort was placed. While there is no permadeath from the Fire Emblem series (though the punishment for a game over is having to reload your save), its weapon triangle (a rock, paper, scissors like system where certain weapons deal more damage to others) unites with Shin Megami Tensei's elemental weaknesses (a la Persona or Pokemon) into an obtuse system that takes some time to get used to. But it's a rewarding battle system to learn as there are plenty of options to do damage. Couple that with TMS's Sessions, which are secondary attacks that chain when you hit an enemy's weakness and earn you bonuses, Special Perfomances, which are super skills that deal more damage, Ad-lib Performances, which randomly take effect when you activate a character's skill, and by the end of the game the player can theoretically attack an enemy 19 or 20 times in a single turn. Unfortunately while these attacks are satisfying and stylish the first couple of times you pull them off, eventually the battles will start to feel like they are dragging on rather than engaging.  For example, to compensate for how strong the player can become when they utilize sessions, enemy weakness, weapon crafting, and character switching (which allows you switch your teammate on the fly in exchange for taking their next turn a bit later), TMS suddenly ramps up its difficulty midway through. Enemies suddenly become attack sponges and deal far more damage, so the player not only is forced back through dungeons they have already visited but they are forced to grind for experience in order to stay competitive. It artificially lengthens the game and eventually becomes frustrating since you won't likely be attached to the story enough to push on through. TMS' story just is not compelling enough to keep you entertained for its 40-50 hour length. Like its J-Pop soundtrack, the story is fun but inconsequential until its final set of chapters. Anyone looking for the level of depth seen in both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei, will find it in its battle system and not much else.  Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is built with a very specific audience in mind. While its casual and accessible appearance may draw you in, only the truly hardcore RPG fans will dig deep enough into its battle system to fully enjoy everything the game has to offer. But on the other hand, if you do put in that work you are rewarded with a battle system full of so many options that no two people will have the same strategy.  It may be more of a game for Shin Megami Tensei fans than Fire Emblem ones as it's not a complete marriage of the two, but to bring it back to the Reeses analogy, if you like the taste of chocolate and peanut butter, then you will like them together. You just won't like it that much. [This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
Tokyo Mirage Review photo
Like chocolate and peanut butter
When Nintendo first announced a crossover project between their Fire Emblem series and Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei series, no one expected the final project to a videogame where pop idols transform into heroes in order to fight...

Muv-Luv photo
Muv-Luv

Prepare for the BETA invasion: Muv-Luv is up for pre-order on Steam


July is about to get some Luv
Jun 17
// Salvador GRodiles
As the BETA prepare for their attack on Earth next month, the Muv-Luv team has prepared their own countermeasure in the form of giving people the ability to pre-order Muv-Luv on Steam. If you happen to have HTC Vibe, you can ...
Persona 5 photo
Persona 5

Here's E3's good and bad news about Persona 5


Sorry, purists!
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
A lot of folks weren't expecting much Persona 5-related news out of E3, as these kinds of reveals are typically reserved for Japan-based events, but lo and behold, the company held an E3 demo stream of the game, showing off g...

Super Robot Wars OG photo
Super Robot Wars OG

Last Showdown: Endless Frontier's Haken Browning joins Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers' cast


Best Flush!
Jun 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Wow. I feel ashamed of myself for almost missing out on this piece of news since I was too busy with being excited over Super Robot Wars V hitting Asia in English next year. The reason behind me feeling bad is that this...
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 GRodiles
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...

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...
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 GRodiles
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...
Trails in the Sky photo
Trails in the Sky

Rejoice: Trails in the Sky the 3rd crosses the pond


Our prayers have been answered
Mar 11
// Salvador GRodiles
For a second, I wasn't sure if XSEED's tweet about a priest and a nun was important since they might've been in the mood to tell a great joke. Lo and behold, this statement had a higher purpose as the company announced t...
Monster Hunter  photo
Monster Hunter

Raise your mugs: Monster Hunter X goes west as Monster Hunter Generations


Summer has gotten four times better
Mar 04
// Salvador GRodiles
Let's face it, it was only a matter of time until Monster Hunter X would cross the pond. With Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate selling like hotcakes worldwide, my faith in seeing this game get localized for the west remained h...
Super Robot Wars OG photo
Super Robot Wars OG

Rejoice: Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers gets an English release in Asia


Dreams really do come true
Feb 18
// Salvador GRodiles
Remember all of those times that I've said that hell has frozen over? Well, it looks like the underworld is going through an ice age, as Bandai Namco Asia announced that Super Robot Wars OG: The Moon Dwellers hits Indonesia,...
Nights of Azure photo
Nights of Azure

Grab your potions: Gust-Chan enters Nights of Azure's realm


Let's get mixin'
Jan 28
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a really long time since I played a Gust game. The last one that I went through was Mana Khemia: Alchemist of Al-Revis, which restored my faith in their alchemy-themed titles after Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana left a...
God Eater photo
God Eater

Bon appetit: God Eater Resurrection and Rage Burst go West


Dinner is served
Dec 22
// Salvador GRodiles
Ever since I got addicted to the Monster Hunter series, I've been hoping to play a hunting title on a home console instead of a portable system. Thanks to Bandai Namco's efforts, it seems that this will finally happen, as Go...
Ray Gigant photo
Ray Gigant

Sound the Alarm: Ray Gigant to wreck havoc in the West next Spring


No one is safe
Nov 20
// Salvador GRodiles
Now here's something that came from the left field. Acttil has announced that they're bringing Bandai Namco's dungeon crawler RPG, Ray Gigant, to North America and Europe. Compare to most titles of its genre, one neat th...
Clannad on Steam photo
Clannad on Steam

Clannad gets its first official English release next week


Sad Girls on Steam
Nov 15
// Josh Tolentino
If you told me even three or four years ago that visual novels would be one of the fastest-growing game genres in 2015, I'd have laughed in your face. But you'd have been right: Ever since it came out that people would be wil...
Muv-Luv photo
Muv-Luv

Mission Complete: Muv-Luv Kickstarter comes to a triumphant close


The Earth is now saved!
Nov 05
// Salvador GRodiles
Ladies and gentlemen. It looks like we've successfully vanquished the BETA, as the Muv-Luv Kickstarter ended a total of $1,255,444 on Nov. 3. Not only did they managed to achieve every stretch goal possible (such as...
The Legend of Heroes photo
The Legend of Heroes

Love is eternal: Trails in the Sky SC launches next week


Pigs have finally learned to fly
Oct 23
// Salvador GRodiles
Well, folks: I'm happy to announce that we now live in a world where pigs have wings, and hell has frozen over. In other words, XSEED has revealed that The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC hits the PC and the PSN ...
Trillion photo
Trillion

The Underworld is saved: Trillion: God of Destruction goes West


Disgaea: Compile Heart Edition
Oct 22
// Salvador GRodiles
I don't know about you, but when I first heard about Compile Heart's newest strategy RPG, Trillion: God of Destruction, I almost confused it as a title that was a spin-off of Makai Kingdom or the Disgaea games. I guess t...
Muv-Luv photo
Muv-Luv

Humanity Wins: Muv-Luv's Kickstarter is off to an amazing start


This calls for a celebration
Sep 27
// Salvador GRodiles
After an amazing great start on Thursday, the Kickstarter for Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative has reached its goal to be localized in the West. In other words, the BETA might as well pack their bags and leave Earth...
Gundam VS Force photo
Gundam VS Force

Praise G: Gundam Extreme VS Force heads to Asia in English


Cheers, Mobile Suit fans!
Sep 17
// Salvador GRodiles
Now here's something that you don't see every day: During TGS '15's SCEJA Conference Asia Session, the folks at Bandai Namco have announced that they're bringing Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme VS Force, the upcoming title i...
Muv-Luv photo
Muv-Luv

Watch out, BETA: Muv-Luv localization to get Kickstarted


Coming soon to a Kickstarter near you
Jul 01
// Salvador GRodiles
It looks like visual novel fans are in for some good news. The gang at DegiGames and Ixtl have revealed that they're creating a Kickstarter to localize Muv-Luv and Muv-Luv Alternative. While the funding campaign wil...
Tales of Zestiria photo
Tales of Zestiria

Huzzah! Tales of Zestiria heads to the PS4 and PC


Now featuring more zesty delicacies
Jun 14
// Salvador GRodiles
I may be super fashionably late to the party, but it's not everyday that a Tales of title gets a special treatment like this. While it's been hinted that Tales of Zestiria was getting a Playstation 4 and PC release for ...
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...
Million Arthur photo
Million Arthur

Draw your Swords: Square's Million Arthur game gets a worldwide release


Are you brave enough to wield Excalibur?
Jun 10
// Salvador GRodiles
For a good while, I never was able to get behind any mobile games, since my phone isn't smart enough to play any of the titles that are available on the online stores. Thankfully, I was able to fix this problem after I got my...
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...
8-4 photo
8-4

Localization no Jutsu: Press Start's latest video is all about 8-4


8-4's key members talk about translating vidya gaems
Feb 09
// Salvador GRodiles
Prior to learning about Mighty No. 9's existence, I was unaware of 8-4's (Fire Emblem Awakening and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate's localization) existence. Silly enough, the group known as Press Start have released a video call...
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 ...
Project Mirai DX photo
Project Mirai DX

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


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

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