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Yakuza 0 photo
Yakuza 0

Kick, punch, and crush ass through the '80s with Yakuza 0

Like A Dragon (in the '80s)
Jun 19
// Josh Tolentino
The Yakuza games may be an institution when it comes to high-profile Japanese gaming these days, but strangely enough, they've never portrayed Japan's gangster culture at its true height, during the boom years of the lat...

Review: Project X Zone 2

Apr 19 // Anthony Redgrave
Project X Zone 2 (3DS [Revieweed])Developer: Monolith SoftPublisher: Bandai Namco EntertainmentReleased: November 12, 2015 (JP), December 10, 2015 (KOR), February 16, 2016 (NA), February 12, 2016 (EU, AUS)MSRP: $39.99 Project X Zone 2 is a strategy role-playing game featuring characters from SEGA, Namco Bandai, and Capcom. It will be one of the most bizarre crossovers for players that are not familiar with a lot of Japanese franchises as the game goes deep into each company's library bringing out characters from Sakura Wars, God Eater, and yes, even the Sega Saturn Mascot Segata Sanshiro. The large variety of characters can be intimidating but the game doesn't go too in-depth narratively into any one franchise going for generalised statements around the lore of each one. The game contains an encyclopaedia or "Crosspedia" for players wanting to learn more about each character, terminology, and aspects of the game. It's an all-inclusive document that works well for explaining the background behind each character but not so much for teaching players the advanced aspects of gameplay.  This title is a sequel to Project X Zone and continues the story of two warring factions Shinra and Ouma. They're original teams containing original characters for this cross-over series that recruit heroes and villains from games to fight for their cause. As the story progresses you will collect a bevy of different heroes, anti-heroes, and even antagonists to fight for Shinra as they try to stop Ouma and their plans. The story is pretty thin and serves as a means of delivering all the characters to different franchise locals like Kamurocho, Mallet Island, and Sword Valley. It is thrilling to see where the game will take you next and which character will be recruited into the party. As a newcomer to the Project X Zone games, I did not feel I was missing much from not playing the prequel. A lot of the story is self-contained bar some lines of dialogue making light reference to previous iteration or characters mentioning that they have met before. Plot progression can be meandering at times especially during the middle-end of the game as once you've seen all the characters the circumstances you end up in makes you feel you're taking one step forward followed by two steps back.  On the gameplay side, Project X Zone 2 is fairly shallow on both the strategy and role-playing sides of the SRPG. The game is too easy for strategy and positioning to have any impact on battles and choosing upgrades feels less of a customizable choice but rather a necessity so you aren't underpowered for the next stage. I never felt my choice in upgrades affected my gameplay or strategy when going into battle. In the later game when your party size balloons, micromanaging equipment, and upgrading attacks become tedious and would have benefitted from an auto-assign function. The positioning of units only mattered when it came to the combat portions as they adjacent units can be called for assists or support. Therefore, bunching units together as much as possible was the strategy I utilised throughout the game with little consequence. Almost all the stages require the player to eliminate all targets so more variety would have been welcomed to incorporate more strategy in the game.  The actual combat is an area where the game really shines. Having to choose attacks carefully and choosing the right time to attack confirming critical hits helps keep the fights engaging each time you do them. I really enjoyed the displays of signature moves that can be combined with support attacks and assists to become a large ball of chaotic numbers flying around with a cinematic finish. The developer had fun to include as many nods and authentic moves from each series' to help sell the game as a large collaboration of different franchises.  I think my favourite thing about Project X Zone 2 is the way it treats each franchise. The title gives each one respect and an opportunity in the limelight. Having the music change to the respectful game track of the character being controlled tickles my nostalgia nerve and is a very nice touch. It works especially well when the music cue kicks in before the character is introduced giving hints of the next party member. As a game light on story, it is also light-hearted with the scenarios it puts the party in. One moment you are walking down the catwalk Space Channel 5 style then frolicking amongst sakura petals recreating a Sega Saturn commercial. If you find this baffling, the game does too with characters acting appropriately to the situation. It's goofy, funny, and really endearing to the each franchise. It's the characters portrayals that I really like within this title and the ways they interact with each other. Sleaze ball characters like Majima and Vashyron will get rebuffed by females, Chun Li's maternal relationship with her partner Xiaoyu, and Ryu's obsession with training. Sadly the same cannot be said for all original characters as Reiji is a boring straight man present to move the plot forward. The art for Project X Zone 2 does a good job in normalising all the characters from the different series into one style. Some realistic characters like Natsu, KOS-MOS, and Segeta Sanshiro look great in their stylised cartoony form while Kazuma Kiryu didn't fair so well in transition. The sprite work and animation are phenomenal keeping everything smooth during fights and looking amazing as each move is executed. Due to the gameplay, everything meshes together into a flurry of attacks and numbers but heading into training mode and trying each move individually you can see the sum of their parts and it is excellent.  Overall I enjoyed my time with Project X Zone 2. The action portion of the combat felt like a good mix of action and strategy, I had a lot of fun with the character interactions, dialogue, and premise of the game. The game works best in short bursts as each stage is 30-40 minutes long bracketed by dialogue scenes that allow players to quickly catch up with the skirmish before engaging in battle once more. The title does have issues with narrative pacing, strategic and gameplay difficulty so while not posing a challenge for strategy fans, it will allow more action centric players to complete the game without frustration. It's a great game to have in your collection if you want to experience a fun wacky side quest with many special guests along for the ride. [This review is based on a digital retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.] Kizumonogatari: Wound TalePublished by: Vertical Inc.Written by: NisiOisiNIllustrated by: VOfanTranslated by: Ko RansomReleased: December 15, 2015MSRP: $14.95
Project X Zone 2 photo
Hey, I think I know that guy!
As an idea Project X Zone 2 is wonderful. It takes players through different worlds celebrating the creativity and unique aspects of each game. Having our favourite characters mingling together as they form a vanguard against...

Review in Progress: Project X Zone 2

Mar 19 // Anthony Redgrave
Project X Zone 2 is a fan service game. It's not a fan service game as in Jill Valentine starts to strip into her underoos because she was ambushed by an enemy tentacle monster. It's because this title is proud of each and every franchise and loves to show them off in detail. Characters will reference various bits of lore from their respective franchise expecting the player to have some knowledge of their origins if not then there is an encyclopedia included for new players to catch up. To keep things open the actual main story isn't related to any specific franchise. It's about two warring factions: Shinra and Ouma and how they hate each other because one likes opening portals and other wants to shut them. You are in control of the former as they chase the latter through each game world trying to find out what they're up to. Throw in some gold chains, anime and game references with small hints at the previous game's story and you have the plot of Project X Zone 2. Along the way, you do join forces with Capcom/Namco Bandai/ Sega representatives to form a rag-tag group of heroes, anti-heroes, and villains. Every stage is based on a different franchise and you can guarantee that each stage is based on a franchise. The plot is pretty thin in stringing together the different levels as an excuse for the party to travel there. They pretty much cross time, space, dimensions, and a mixture of the three or four to get them to the different worlds. It's pretty amazing the story is able to explain Dante (Devil May Cry) fighting alongside Valkyrie (Legend of Valkyrie) with support from KOS-MOS (Xenosaga) and Fiora (Xenoblade) and still take itself semi-seriously. The most ridiculous and probably amazing part of the entire scenario is how the characters try to convince themselves and others that all of this still makes sense. The gameplay is a turn-based strategy with more interactivity due to active time attacks. Once you enter an attack on an enemy, you are given different attacks and supports to lower the enemies HP. These attacking sessions are the best part of the game. They're dramatic, high octane, and flashy. It's amazing seeing familiar characters delivering their signature attacks with numbers flying everywhere, all without any slow down. The game benefits from some amazing sprite work making all the animation smooth and refined. Once you get a hang of how the attack system works, there's an added incentive to learn how each move affects the enemy as well-timed executions can reward players with critical hits turning the tides of battle in one move. However, these game-changing executions are rare as the game has been fairly easy and strategy lite for the most part. It has been rare that I had to restart a battle or game because of a wrong move or down unit. All your pieces are resilient and can deal enough damage that you never really worry about where they're facing or their position. Items are aplenty so death isn't a problem worth thinking about. Each stage also lasts about 30 minutes so there isn't a massive investment even if you do lose. Battling will make up half of your experience with Project X Zone 2 and the other half will be reading through dialogue. There is a Japanese dub but it only occurs sometimes appears during the story. There is a lot of flitting between spoken and unspoken dialogue throughout the story scenes. Whenever something happens, every member of the party has to get a line of dialogue in to voice their emotions in their own unique way. I would say that this is a make or break for the game as some may find it charming to see Phoenix get completely exasperated at his company of martial artists, robots, and BSAA special agents or may find it completely aggravating that the team must talk amongst themselves literally when anything happens. For the latter mindset player, there is a start button to skip all the exchanges. Since this game is made up of different franchises and company representatives, it's appropriate that they have music and levels from the different games. As you switch from character to character, their respective themes play which is a nice touch when battling as them. Musically there isn't a lot of clashing as each theme weaves smoothly from one character to the next. The pixelated representations are also really nice to look at and the portraits are all in the same anime style so helping each character fit into the Project X Zone world.  A large part of my enjoyment stems from the mystery of which character will appear next. I really like how each character plays off one another and how their personalities are kept faithful to their franchise origins. I sometimes find myself entering training mode just to see the character specific dialogue for unique team match ups. I've played around 15 hours of the game so there is still a lot to go considering it is an RPG.  Stayed tuned to for the full review. Project X Zone 2 is out right now exclusively for Nintendo 3DS. #3DS #Capcom #Devil May Cry #Fire Emblem #Mega Man #Namco Bandai #Nintendo#Resident Evil #reviews in progress #Sega #SRPG #Strategy games #Street Fighter#tactical #Tales #Tekken #Xenoblade #Xenosaga #Yakuza
Project X Zone photo
Everything goes in with the kitchen sink
Dream match up games between companies is few and far between. Licencing issues, accurate portrayals, and regional differences in licencing can cause a cross-over game to be left on the cutting room floor of any game developm...

Yakuza Ishin photo
Yakuza Ishin

No need to buy Yakuza Ishin on PS3 producer claims

Behold the power of the PS4!
Jan 22
// Josh Totman
It seems to me that this is really a crappy way to sell your game. I mean, it's fine and all to show off how great the PS4 technology is, but then what about your fan base of PS3 users? In the video above, Producer Masa...

Yakuza 1 & 2 HD trailer photo
Yakuza 1 & 2 HD trailer

This trailer for Yakuza 1 & 2 HD is like a Wii U tutorial

And also a marital advisory
Jun 26
// Josh Tolentino
Yakuza is such a blockbuster property in Japan (where it's known as Ryu ga Gotoku) that most of its ads don't even need to actually advertise it anymore. According to Sega, all the average Japanese person needs to ...
Yakuza screenshots photo
Yakuza screenshots

First screens of Yakuza's jump to Nintendo

Now leave Japan. Please.
May 20
// Chris Walden
There may be some exciting announcements tomorrow that are all about a certain next-generation console, but it's not going to stop information about Nintendo's offering rolling out in the meantime. The HD versions of Yakuza a...
Tokyo Vice live-action photo
Tokyo Vice live-action

Jake Adelstein's Tokyo Vice filmed with Daniel Radcliffe

Harry Potter and the Japanese Underworld
May 02
// Josh Tolentino
Here's some sweet news for fans of a diverse range of things. Fans of Harry Potter, fans of Japanese gangsters, fans of books, and fans of movies can now rejoice together, as Jake Adelstein's book Tokyo Vice is getting a...

Worried that the super-slim PS3 is too cheap? Pay more!

WATATATA. You're already poor.
Oct 02
// Chris Walden
We haven't even known about the new super-slim PS3 for that long, but we've already got two custom console designs coming to Japan. The first is the eye-catching gold console on the right, which will be releasing alongside th...

Like A Dragon: Yakuza 1 and 2 getting HD rerelease

Jul 19
// Josh Tolentino
Or more "like a phoenix", am I right? Yes, friends, the first two games in the Yakuza series are making a HD! This is a good thing, because Yakuza 1 was criminally ignored in its first English release...

Yakuza 5 has five playable characters in 5 cities

May 22
// Elliot Gay
I really dig Sega's Yakuza series and I know there is a small, dedicated fan base for the games out west. I think Sega really mishandled the franchise early on, but I'm glad to see that they've started to put their support be...

Yakuza: Dead Souls is the most American game ever

Mar 12
// Josh Tolentino
But only if you true patriots order the game at Gamestop!  If you do fork over some pre-order cash at your local American videogame mega-chain, you'll get the "Densetsu Pack" DLC ("Densetsu" means "Legend" in Americanese...

Yakuza spin-off will receive a TV drama

Feb 13
// Chris Walden
According to Ryu ga Gotoku Studio, there will be a television adaptation of the upcoming Yakuza spin-off game; Yakuza: Black Panther 2. The drama will be an eleven-part series that airs late at night, and will be released in ...

Yakuza of the End shambling to English, won't cut content

Oct 08
// Josh Tolentino
I have to hand it to Sega. After years of having more or less abandoned the Yakuza franchise entirely (due to crap sales of Yakuza 1) they've really gotten back on the ball with bringing the saga of Kazuma Kiryuu and his ston...

Taste the zombie apocalypse with Yakuza of the End liquor

May 31
// Josh Tolentino
Be it the presence of Young Magazine on virtual convenience store racks, the offerings of C.C. Lemon (and its 70-lemon power) among the in-game healing items, the Yakuza franchise is the video game king of obnoxiously lovable...

Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza boss freed

Apr 12
// Crystal White
This isn't just any yakuza boss. Kenichi Shinoda, Japan's top yakuza boss, was released from prison yesterday after having served a sentence for illegal possession of a firearm. Shinoda is the head of the Yamaguchi-gumi,...

Think you're a Yakuza 4 fan? Look at this guy.

Mar 25
// Crystal White
This 46-year-old Australian man is such a huge fan of Yakuza 4 that he has spent $9,000 to get a full back tattoo that is identical to the one Kazuma has. Kazuma is the main character of the game and a Yakuza badass. Whi...

Japanese culture, yakuza to thank for no looting in Japan

Mar 18
// Brad Rice
In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami, Japan has been noticeably absent of looting and crime. Naturally, we all assume that the Japanese are just that orderly, polite and all those other enviable traits. These things are ...

Jake Adelstein exposes NatGeo's exposure of yakuza

Mar 07
// Zac Bentz
Tokyo Vice author, video game reviewer and journalistic bad-ass Jake Adelstein has recently tore National Geographic Television a new one over what he sees as reckless endangerment of sources. He was part of NGT's new documen...

Yakuza 4 PSN battle demo impressions

Feb 18
// Tim Sheehy
The other day the Yakuza 4 battle demo was added to the Playstation Network. Given my love for the series, I decided to give it a go. While I had hoped they'd throw in a mini-game or something as a little bonus, Sega&nbs...

Yakuza 4 comes with demo, sweet DLC, hostess bars

Feb 08
// Josh Tolentino
Yakuza 4 is coming, and this time Sega's going all-out. This time they care (more) about bringing what Kazuma and his four new friends can do in the best way possible.That includes not cutting out all the hostess content, as ...

Yakuza Of The End videos confirm celebrities, drama, guns

Jan 14
// Josh Tolentino
In case you were thinking that Sega's zombie-themed Yakuza game, Yakuza Of The End, was some cheap cash-in on the already-moldering zombie-game trend, you'd be wrong. It's certainly a cash-in, but they're going all out, if ...

Get to know Shun Akiyama in this new Yakuza 4 trailer

Dec 05
// Josh Tolentino
The sexy man you see up there is Shun Akiyama, one of the four - yes, four - lead characters in Yakuza 4, bound for PlayStation 3s across the nation next year. He's certainly more...sympathetic-looking than the human stone wa...

Major yakuza boss arrested, not surprisingly

Nov 22
// Crystal White
Kiyoshi Takayama, the 2nd highest ranking boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi clan, has been arrested. The Yamaguchi-gumi's are the most powerful yakuza group in Japan, and Takayama has been charged with blackmail and extortion. The c...

TGS: Here's some weird-ass Yakuza Of The End gameplay

Sep 18
// Josh Tolentino
Words cannot express how weird I still find Yakuza Of The End, Sega's new zombie-fied take on the Yakuza series. We brought you pictures, cosplay, and a story trailer, but the biggest question in most minds was "How the ...

TGS: Yakuza Of The End trailer reveals zombies, silliness

Sep 16
// Josh Tolentino
I know I read that the next Yakuza game was a zombie game, but every time I tried to process that information, my mind blanked out, unable to even comprehend the concept. Now that I've seen Sega's TGS presentation thereof, I'...

With Yakuza comes garishness, as shown by hideous PSPs

Aug 30
// Josh Tolentino
Sega are really pushing the new Yakuza game, entitled Black Panther: Ryu ga Gotoku New Chapter. It's not surprising, as it's one of the publisher's biggest franchises (in Japan, at least).Not only is Black Panther on the more...

Japanator Recommends: Tokyo Vice

Jun 17
// Zac Bentz
First off, I should point out that I'm not a journalist or reporter or anything more than some guy in front of a computer who can type with two, sometimes up to four, fingers at a time. I don't spend all day thrashing out sto...

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