Video games

Yo-kai Watch photo
This is your warning
This is a fair warning to your wallet in advance now. Yo-kai Watch is on its way, prepare your wallet. The anime and video game phenomena that has swept through Japan and emptied the wallets of many Japanese parents is set t...

Yakuza play photo
Yakuza play

Yakuza stage play heads to video


Hard looks included
Jun 24
// Hiroko Yamamura
Stage plays and live musicals aren't really my thing. However, seeing the footage of the Yakuza theatre run makes me think I might have been missing out on some serious fun. The show isn't running at this time, but they've c...
Tales of Berseria photo
Tales of Berseria

Anchors Aweigh: Tales of Berseria enters the high seas


Let's set sail for adventure!
Jun 22
// Salvador GRodiles
There's something nice about sailing to places in video games. Whether it's Wind Waker's open seas or Skies of Arcadia's vast skies, the idea of exploring vast areas on a ship has always been a thing that I've enjo...
Cosplay photo
Cosplay

Overcome the heat with Beat Down Boogie's refreshing cosplay videos


Take that, hot temperatures!
Jun 19
// Salvador GRodiles
Summer's around the corner, and the gang at Beat Down Boogie are giving us a tour of ColossalCon '15, which takes place at the Kalahari Waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio. Thanks to this glorious combination, the cosplayers were ab...

Japanator Interviews: Cristina Vee

Jun 17 // Anthony Redgrave
Japanator - How many times do your friends pester you for impersonations of their favourite character? Cristina - My immediate friends don't really ask me for impersonations, but I usually force them on them anyway! The worst is actually at conventions; I've been asked multiple times at panels to give a sample of Riven or Homura Akemi and their response after the fact is sometimes "....pretty close", or "....that was okay". It's hard to maintain a voice after air travel and speaking all weekend, haha! Japanator - Out of all the characters you have played from anime and video games; which one had been the most interesting to get into the mind set of? Cristina - If you take a look at my resume, you might notice a trend. Many of my characters are emotionally damaged or just completely broken. It's awesome. I really loved voicing Homura Akemi in Madoka because of everything she goes through. I don't think I've seen a character as well developed as her in the last ten years of anime. That being said, I really enjoy completely throwing myself off the deep end. I voiced Four in Drakengard 3 and I had such a blast because she is completely nuts. She is past the point of redemption. Japanator - Veecaloid Pop is a game that was made for you Cristina, is this a rarity, or do you get a lot of fan made games? Cristina - I don't know of any other voice actors who have their own video game-- correct me if I'm wrong! I feel so lucky to have the amazing, talented friends who put me in this unique position. Adam Tierney, James Montangna, Lindsay Collins, and Andrew Lim are as passionate about games, art, and music as they come. Japanator - Will we see a duet between Cristina Veecaloid and Milky in the near future? Cristina - I think a duet might be crossing the streams a little too much! Milky's next single is coming along beautifully though. I'll give you one hint: it's about corgis. Japanator - Which one would you rather be in real life: a cosmic idol or a magical girl (sans contract of course!)?  Cristina - I think it's very telling about my personality that I became a voice actor. I don't really enjoy being in the limelight, but I love being part of a team and making an impact. I'm going to go with magical girl! I'm thinking more along the lines of Sailor Moon and not Madoka Magica. I'd love to save the world without the mental anguish, thank you very much!   How many times do your friends pester you for impersonations of their favourite character?
Cristina Vee Interview photo
Voice Idol, Game Star
Cristina Vee is becoming one of the most prolific voice actresses in the English dub anime industry. Her sweet vocals can be heard in K-On giving life to the scaredy cat bassist, or as the hot-tempered shrine maiden Sail...

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 ...
Naruto: Ninja Storm 4 photo
Naruto: Ninja Storm 4

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 summons the flashy ninja techniques


Gameplay no Jutsu!
Jun 17
// Salvador GRodiles
I may have dropped Naruto back in my early college years, but to this day, I still enjoy the gameplay and ridiculous animations of the series' fighting games by CyberConnect2. Speaking of which, the folks at Bandai Namc...
Summer Lesson photo
Summer Lesson

Summer Lesson is everything right about VR


Thanks, Harada!
Jun 16
// Josh Tolentino
Virtual Reality's a thing, right? The prospect of really putting players "somewhere else" in a more substantial way is just too appealing to dismiss completely. That said, for most of the tech demos out there, that "somewher...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

This is Metal Gear Solid V's big trailer, and its thesis


And a lot of talking
Jun 15
// Josh Tolentino
No matter what you might think of Hideo Kojima and the series that made his name, there's no doubting that each one is something of an event, and it looks like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain won't be an exception ...
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 ...
Afro Samurai photo
Afro Samurai

New Afro Samurai game reveal trailer


Comb the 'fro and sharpen the blade
Jun 13
// Anthony Redgrave
Afro Samurai is set to continue the bloody work of Japan's noblest warriors in Afro Samurai 2: Revenge of Kuma. The sequel will follow the cartoon headed samurai Kuma as he tracks Samuel L. Jackson Afro to enact re...
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...
Splatoon photo
Splatoon

Transform and Ink-Roll Out: Splatoon gets a Transformers homage


Make like a Squid, Kid
Jun 12
// Josh Tolentino
Nintendo's friendly shooter Splatoon is definitely looking to be the mimetic flavor of the moment, judging from the amount of buzz it's been generating online, but hey, if it somehow results in awesome art and whatnot, I...
Veecaloid Pop photo
Veecaloid Pop

Voice actress Christina Vee has her own game


And it's out now
Jun 11
// Anthony Redgrave
Youtube singer, voice actress, and fan favourite Cristina Vee is now star in her own game; Veecaloid Pop. Cristina Vee's work can be seen in a multitude of media but most prominently in anime; K-On (Mio Akiyama), Sailor Moon ...
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...
Final Fantasy XV photo
Final Fantasy XV

Wait, what? Final Fantasy XV demo and Type-0 getting patched


Brave new world
Jun 09
// Josh Tolentino
Hearing the news that a console game is getting a patch shouldn't be the kind of thing that makes a man feel old, but for some reason the announcement that Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and its accompanying Final Fantasy XV d...
Go Go Nippon photo
Go Go Nippon

Revisit Japan with Go Go Nippon! DLC


So many places to go and see!
Jun 08
// Anthony Redgrave
Life is bleak for an otaku with a Macbook such as myself. I'm too poor to buy a ticket to Japan because I spent all my money on a Macbook, and I cannot be escorted around virtual Japan by two anime sisters in Go! Go! Nippon!...
Tales of Berseria photo
Tales of Berseria

The next Tales of game looks beary interesting


Will this title feature a bear motif?
Jun 07
// Salvador GRodiles
As we're waiting for Tales of Zestiria's Western release to hit stores, the folks at Bandai Namco have announced the next Tales of game at the Tales of Festival in Yokohama. From the looks of it, Tales of Berseria might have ...
Squid Girl x Splatoon photo
Squid Girl x Splatoon

Ain't Squiddin': Splatoon x Squid Girl is the crossover to watch


The deal is inked
Jun 05
// Josh Tolentino
It looks like Splatoon's the game to take the world by storm this year. Nintendo's paint-themed squid-kid shooter's quickly barged its way into the gamer hivemind on a spray of bright paint, and you know what that means: Cros...
Danganropa photo
Danganropa

More despair with Danganropa: Another Episode release date


Zetsuboushita!!!
Jun 05
// Anthony Redgrave
Looking at this game from an outsiders perspective, I would think it was vying for the longest, and most absurd name in video games. Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls is a 3rd person shooter spin off...
Street Fighter photo
Street Fighter

Square Enix x Capcom announces tournament


If Street Fighter had guns
Jun 02
// Anthony Redgrave
If your franchise is ever collaborating with Capcom's Street Fighter series then be prepared for your characters to either dress or borrow the iconic moves from the roadside brawlers. Doesn't matter if your franchise is abou...
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...
One Piece photo
One Piece

One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 sets sail for Europe August 28th


Ya-yo, ya-yo~ Set Sail for One Piece
May 28
// Anthony Redgrave
Readers of Annotated Anime will be aware of my impatience towards the slow pacing of the One Piece anime series. But I'm feeling more optimistic about the latest in the Pirate Warriors series; One Piece Pirate Warriors 3...
Squid Girl photo
Squid Girl

Squid Girl celebrates Splatoon release


Match made in inky heaven
May 28
// Anthony Redgrave
Today marks the release of Nintendo's messy 3rd person shooter Splatoon for the WiiU. At Japanator we are excited to get our hands on this game but so is Squid Girl author Masahiro Anbe who has made some nice cross over piece...
Dragon Quest photo
Dragon Quest

Dragon Quest VIII heading to 3DS without 3D


Quest for Dragons VIII
May 27
// Anthony Redgrave
Dragon Quest VIII was one of the few PS2 RPGs that didn't suck. In a time where JRPGs saturated the 6th console generation especially on Sony's black monolith, Square Enix still knew how to produce cream that rose above the c...
Dengeki Bunko Fighting photo
Dengeki Bunko Fighting

Sequel to Dengeki Bunko Fighting Climax for summer release


More characters, more fun
May 26
// Anthony Redgrave
The first Dengeki Bunko was an unique specimen. Its a fighting game for anime characters crossed over with other anime characters, instead of the traditional fighting game characters. As a massive fighting game fan I was ecst...
Super Robot Wars BX photo
Super Robot Wars BX

Super Robot War BX's first trailer fills our bodies with delicious courage


All part of a well-balanced diet
May 22
// Salvador GRodiles
If there's one thing that the Super Robot Wars series does right with their trailers, it's that they tend to fill people's hearts with a huge surge of hot-blooded energy. In most cases, this high dosage of enthusiasm can res...
Super Robot Wars BX photo
Super Robot Wars BX

Prepare for takeoff: Super Robot Wars BX is now a thing


Our King of Braves has returned
May 20
// Salvador GRodiles
It's been a month since 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Part 2 hit Japan and the next title has been revealed. Titled Super Robot Wars BX, this upcoming game's being made for the 3DS and it plans to improve on the features from Super ...

Review: Starless: Nymphomaniacs' Paradise

May 18 // Soul Tsukino
[Warning: This is a very adult game and is unsuitable for minors. This review is work-safe, but the game is definitely not. It also contains plot spoilers. Seriously, you've been warned.] Starless (PC [reviewed])Developers: Roll7Publisher: JAST USAReleased: May 11, 2015Price: $39.99 Anyway, Starless: Nymphomaniacs' Paradise is a game brought to you by the same group that brought you Bible Black (the titles are references to the 1974 album Starless and Bible Black by prog rockers King Crimson) . Starless was first released in Japan in 2011 and even has a hentai anime series based on it. The game was licensed by JAST USA and the English translation was released in May of 2015. The story is a rather simple one. You are Sawatari, a poor kid about to be off for college. He has no job, little money, and more importantly no girlfriend. He is desperate for some quick cash since, while he has his driver's license, he can't afford a car and if he doesn't have a car, he can't get a girlfriend. He find an ad for a house servant position in the back of a car magazine that advertising 4 million yen for 2 weeks worth of work. PERFECT! Not really.  It turns out that he will be serving the Mamiya family. A rich, influential, but somewhat reclusive clan who are, to put it simply, sexual predators. So while he does do menial house chores, most of the time he and the other staff are just sexual playthings for the family. You must survive the 2 weeks (actually it's like 16 days) trying not to buckle under the stress, offend any of the family members, or die. The characters in the game really do fall into one of 2 categories, they either make you feel sorry for them, or you want them to die a million deaths. The main character, Sawatari, is a decent guy and I will admit he pretty much shared my personal feeling for a lot of the events in the story. The fellow staff members of the house are Sachie. A cheerful girl who starts out like a decent person but as the game goes on, she turns into a lazy good for nothing who either tries to get you to do all her work or take money from you to gamble away to one of the family's daughters. You also meet Mikako, the older gentle mother like figure who works in the kitchen, and her son Matoko, who is about your age (supposedly anyway) and very feminine. You are then joined by fellow new staff member Mitarai, an innocent girl who much like you has no idea what she is getting into. On the other side of things are the members of the Mamiya family. The mother, Marie, is the current head of the family, with her husband have died. She abuses her power to torture people to do whatever she wants. She also has constipation problems that gets mentioned.. a lot. Her eldest daughter is Marika. She is soft spoken and gentler, but she is more putting on a front. She takes a liking to Sawatari and is always trying to convince him to stay and get married so he can father her children. Then there is the younger daughter Marisa. She is a spoiled rotten brat who is implied that she is underage. She does everything to torment you, so guess who you spend most of the game dealing with? Yeah, you grow a urge to want to punch her in the mouth rather quickly. You also have Marie's son, Kyouichi. He has zero interest in you and spends most of his time either in his room playing video games or in the arms of Mikako, since he has a mother fetish.   There are other characters that show up in the last few days of the game, but they are all minor and don't have a lot of depth to them. The mechanics of the game are good. You get the basic menu for a visual novel with Save, Load, Skip, Options, and so forth for buttons. The skip function only works on skipping parts of dialog you've already seen, so it's useless until you've beaten the game already. The English translation is decent but I found a few spelling errors along the way. Nothing horrendous and there didn't seem to be a whole bunch of them, but they were there. The art is very well done for the game, even if in typical visual novel style they reuse several art frames, with minor added differences, in many scenes. Noticed that I'm avoiding talking about the actual game play yet? This game is not for the faint of heart. If you have never played a Japanese visual novel before, Don't start with this one. The games I played before are nothing compared to this. This story isn't some cute story about a fumbling loser who has a girl he kind of likes, this story is about flat out abuse. Depending on which of the different endings you end up with (I played to 5 different endings), the sex is only consensual once to four times, the rest of the time everything is watching characters get raped, abused, tortured, humiliated, and degraded in every worst nightmare way possible. The things that go on in this game cross the gambit from incest, bestiality,  and a horrendous amount of scat play. Even some of the more benign scenes are "pissed away" if you know what I mean. There is nothing subtle here. What little consolation there is, is that the American producers of the game removed the art explicitly showing poop (let's just say the farting sound effect is used quite a bit though), animal encounters, and dismemberment. Well, that's a load off my mind. Although they created a patch to put them all back in if you want.  Besides the actual acts that are committed in the game, the game repeats itself way to much. For a good chunk of the two weeks you have to "dress" the youngest daughter every morning. Once or twice is one thing, but they play these scenes out multiple times with very little difference. Same goes for the morning breakfast scene between Kyouichi and Mikako. Neither scenes are very fun to watch either, unless you really get into that kind of thing. The game also doesn't skimp on the other scenes either. Very little of the different scenes have you just doing a quick moan & groan and then you are done. Scenes are stretched out to an ungodly amount, with the excuse of being drugged and injected with hormones and aphrodisiacs. Again, if you are really into this kind of thing then I guess you would enjoy it, I'm not so not only does this game feel like a chore to play before the first day is even done, but it actually made me strain the muscles in my throat trying not to hurl all over my computer desk. And the sad thing is that it really isn't worth it. Now, maybe this is the difference between the American sensibility and the Japanese sensibility, but for me if I played this game and had to watch not only the first person character but the characters I feel pity for go through this for 2 weeks, I'd like an ending that really gives the Mamiya family the what for. I wanted to see the mother reduced to a drooling vegetable (or worse), the snooty brat daughter get mauled by her own dog, something. But nope, even the best of the endings has you leave with only part of the money, Sachie makes off better than you and in none of the endings of the game do any member of the family have anything bad happen to them. So after playing this game for nearly a week waiting for one of these rich pieces of shi... err... garbage to get their what for, it doesn't happen. As I have read from others who played it, none of the endings has any member of the family have anything happen to them. Yeah, not a satisfying ending for me at all. But it's not like it's the first game to do that. Typically these kinds of games never have a "everyone has a happy ending" finale to it. So in all, I can not recommend this game unless you are an absolute hardcore visual novel fan. I'm not so I found this game not only to be the stuff of nightmares, but it seems like it's a parody of the genre. It's just one terrible over the top scene after another padded out to the point where I'm just as glad to have the 2 weeks done as the main character is. The endings were not worth the time it took to play this, let alone the physical strain of me not seeing my dinner come back up on my keyboard. If there are any positives to this game is that the art is good, the characters are decently written, and the damn thing didn't crash. Beyond that I found absolutely nothing redeeming in this whatsoever. If you get your rocks off on this stuff, more power to you. but if you aren't turned on by repeated scenes of rape, sex with animals and people crapping all over the place, avoid this like a case of the clap. [This review is based on a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.]
Starless Review photo
So many shades of rape
So here I am, brand new writer for Japanator looking for content I can write for the site. The offer is made to review a game that I had heard plenty of buzz about in Starless: Nymphomaniac's Paradise, a visual novel type gam...

Steins;Gate photo
Steins;Gate

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...
Japanator LIVE photo
Japanator LIVE

Japanator LIVE - Final Fantasy Type-0 HD


A Chocobo Dies
May 13
// Red Veron
Tonight, I'll be playing a couple of hours of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. I haven't been able to play much of this title since launch and I'll be starting from the beginning. So join us tonight for some magical teens in military school fantasy tonight!Stream starts at 11PM Central. Our Twitch site is: http://www.twitch.tv/japanator
Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live - PT: Silent Hills Edition


Watch Red scream in terror
May 09
// Red Veron
Watch me, Red Veron, certified scaredy cat when it comes to horror games. Heck, even the tension in certain scary themed video games can drive me away. The news of the removal of P.T., or the secret "Playable Teaser" for the...
Japanator Live photo
Japanator Live

Japanator Live: Bloodborne final stream


Last boss time!
May 08
// Hiroko Yamamura
  After a few very enjoyable and grueling weeks, I'm finally at end game. Well, as much as Souls games give you end game anyways. I'm at the final boss of the first play through. We're going to kick things off at 11PM ...
God Eater photo
God Eater

Your first look at Ufotable's God Eater anime


Chow Down
May 06
// Josh Tolentino
I've mentioned this before, but of the many games that tried to steal Monster Hunter's fire, I liked God Eater the most. While mechanically it was often just "diet" Monster Hunter, its approach to storytelling and anime...

Review: Chroma Squad

May 05 // Josh Tolentino
Chroma Squad (PC) Developer: Behold StudiosPublisher: Behold StudiosReleased: April 30, 2015MSRP: $14.99 Not that they really needed to, of course. Such a "feature" would interfere with play, and there's plenty of service in the game as it is for fans. The play, in this case, is of the turn-based tactical variety, as if Behold took XCOM and ran it through the parodic, pixelated filters of Knights of Pen and Paper.  Like the former, players will manage a small squad of combatants, with unique classes and abilities, running them up against groups of goons and the occasional boss, one turn at a time. Like the latter, every mechanic serves as a distillation of tokusatsu's essence through heavy referencing and a clear, almost palpable appreciation of the source material. The premise alone is ripe enough with potential that it's baffling more games haven't taken advantage: Players manage a fledgling production studio, with each mission treated as an "episode" of an upstart spandex superhero show. Names, casting, and even catchphrases are up for customization, as well as the requisite selection of bright primary colors to outfit the roster with. If players want to commit sentai sacrilege and name a non-red-colored character the "Lead," no one can stop them but their inevitable guilt (guilt, I say!). Cast members can also be selected from a pool of actor candidates, each with their own special qualities.  [embed]33795:4709:0[/embed] When the cameras start rolling and the minions exit wardrobe, the fight is on. The goal of any given mission is to amass as much "audience" as possible, by performing flashy attacks, fancy stunts, and of course, winning the fight. Additionally, optional "Director's Instructions" add extra conditions, such as finishing off boss monsters with a screen-filling finishing move, or not killing off the boss before dispatching the cannon-fodder minions. Such extra goals help introduce variety to the combat, which is more simplistic than one might find in XCOM or other dedicated tactical titles. Enemies follow simple patterns and lack much in the way of extra abilities, so most of the tactics devolve to crowd and ability cooldown management rather than more elegant stratagems. Chroma Squad's main mechanical wrinkle comes in the form of "Teamwork," which allows squad members to leapfrog over each other to boost their movement range, or carry out simultaneous attacks with adjacent teammates. This, alongside somewhat simplistic giant-mecha boss battles, give the game enough of a unique flavor to override its otherwise thin tactical substance.  Following the mission, gained audience is converted into "fans," and also into increased studio funding, the better to buy one's way out of Papier-mâché costumes and into somereal spandex duds. Behind the scenes, the studio itself can be outfitted with various upgrades that improve performance in each episode. Buying health care for the actors improves their health in combat, and improving the lighting on set reduces enemies' chance to dodge or counter blows. Materials dropped in combat can also be used to craft customized gear with semi-random statistics, a useful (and cheap) alternative to costly store-bought costumes and weapons. Fan mail can be answered for flavor and smaller benefits, and players can even choose marketing agencies to confer more benefits. Going with a niche-market enthusiast firm might increase the amount of fans gained after an episode, but will likely lack the mass-audience-gathering benefits of a more mainstream advertising push. Tradeoffs like that characterize much of Chroma Squad's meta-game. Speaking of meta-things, the game's narrative and missions regularly break the fourth wall, and form one of the game's potentially divisive aspects. While the self-aware script and obvious understanding of tokusatsu's many conventions and tropes lend it an endearing level of charm, some players might be turned off by references to dated Internet memes and other metahumor. Personally, I found the story hit quite a bit more than it missed, but I will admit that at times the dialog read more like a forum chat log than a script, and wasn't always helped by rough spots in the localization and editing. Then again, it's not like tokusatsu attracts its fans for complex plotting and characterization, so it may balance out in the end for players in the right mindset. What isn't as easy to let by are some unfortunate, if minor, technical and design blemishes on Chroma Squad's pristine pixelation. Mission scripts would occasionally freeze in "cutscene" mode, forcing me to start the mission over. A nasty little bug accidentally equipped low-level equipment on my giant robot, making some late-game boss battles much more tense than I'd have liked them to be. One bug even gave me control of an enemy unit rather than my own squad members for a few turns! Thankfully, dev posts on the forums appear to indicate that Behold is aware of most of the bugs I encountered, and a patch is in the works at the time of this writing. Beyond that, the lack of a mid-mission checkpoint or save, or a mission-select option is inconvenient for players wanting to explore the game's branching story paths (especially for those curious to see what Behold has to say about Kamen Rider). That said, the team has stated a New Game+ option may yet be in the cards for a future update, so repeated playthroughs may become more appealing in the future. Zordon may have wanted "teens with attitude," but Chroma Squad and its unabashed, utterly geeky love-in for all things tokusatsu shows something even harder to find: A game with heart and soul. That heart shines through the rough edges, and in some ways even turns them to its advantage. It might have taken quite a while in getting here, but fans of spandex-clad superheroic finally have the videogame to help them fill that little fantasy. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]  
Chroma Squad photo
Lights, Camera, Henshin!
Ever since a badly-dubbed lady popped out of a dumpster on the moon, sending a weird computer-man to seek "teenagers with attitude," geeks of a certain age have been on the lookout for a game that can capture the es...

Review: Omega Quintet

Apr 30 // Josh Tolentino
Omega Quintet (PS4) Developer: Compile HeartPublisher: Idea Factory (JP), Idea Factory International (US/EU)Released: October 2, 2014 (JP) / April 28, 2015 (US) / May 1, 2015 (EU)MSRP: $59.99 Speaking of other "firsts," playing Omega Quintet brings to mind the very first Hyperdimension Neptunia title. That's not a good sign, seeing as the original gameliterally put Matt Razak to sleep back in 2011. Indeed, despite being, on paper, one of the most feature-rich titles Compile Heart has produced, the experience of playing Omega Quintet feels decidedly regressive, a far cry from the comparative refinement that theNeptunia franchise has managed to cultivate over the years. Perhaps some of that disconnect is cultural. Whereas the Neptunia series' light parody of the game industry and its never-ending platform wars will be familiar to most gamers, idol culture -- which informs much of Omega Quintet's setup -- is largely absent outside of Japan. Many of its references to the peculiarities of pop-princess life fall flat for lack of that common ground. On the other hand, not even Neptunia could be considered especially sophisticated in its satire. Anyone familiar with that series would know that the premises, however niche or inventive, really serve as a framework on which to drape a proven mix of cute girls, complex battle systems, anime-tinged humor, and sexualization. Omega Quintet is in much the same way, and its paeans to the life of celebrities are ultimately skin-deep. Except even by those lowered standards and tempered expectations, the game still comes across as lazy and half-hearted, without the charm or spark that helped its cousins rise above their otherwise mundane core.  Omega Quintet at least sounds interesting at first. Its future-set, ostensibly apocalyptic setting is cutely subverted by the fact that the Blare, an existence pushing humanity to the brink of extinction, can only be stopped by the Verse Maidens, a troupe of magical girl idols who sing and fight with giant weapons called "Mics". The Verse Maidens are powered by the adoration of the people, which necessitates their fights being broadcast live like a concert. Sadly, the last active Verse Maiden, Momoka, is retiring, because she's apparently much older than she looks. Enter Otoha, a fresh-faced youngster, and her male friend/player stand-in Takt, as the newest Verse Maiden recruit and the team manager, respectively. As more new Verse Maidens join to take up the reins, various anime-flavored antics ensue alongside goodly amounts of suggestive posing, relationship-building, wacky conversations, and of course, saving the world. The catch, unfortunately, is that all this cutsey waifu fun has to be experienced from the perspective of Takt, one of the least likable male leads ever to be inflicted on videogames. It's as if whomever wrote his lines mistook being a total prick for an aloof kind of coolness. Every word from his mouth is marinated in pointless sarcasm and brain-dead snark that it makes the event scenes -- which already run far too long and stretch their one-note jokes to the breaking point as it is -- a grating exercise in tedium. If he can't even be bothered to care what's going on, why should we? The game can't even be bothered to fully incorporate its premise into the main structure.Omega Quintet comes with a surprisingly robust "PVS" mode, which allows players to essentially construct dance and concert videos from the game's (rather small) collection of idol songs, complete with video recording and upload functions, but there's rarely any point or main-game benefit to engaging it. Ironically, despite the fact that this game is supposed to be Compile Heart's "idol RPG," Neptunia Producing Perfection, which is more of an actual idol-centric game than this could hope to be, came out last year. [embed]33790:4702:0[/embed] If there is a group that could look forward to enjoying Omega Quintet, it's the crowd that comes to JRPGs not for narrative or anime antics, but for abstract and engaging battle systems. Omega Quintet's is enjoyably complex and interesting to master. Where the trend in RPG battle has moved away from menus and into quasi-action game territory, Omega Quintet is all too happy to throw players into a sea of menu selections and gauge-driven turn-based combat. At its core, the game's battling relies on using attacks of varying effectiveness, range, and recovery time to manipulate the turn order. Stacking commands and attacks so that the Verse Maidens all take their turns in quick succession unlocks powerful Harmonics attacks, and building "Voltage" (a gauge representing the audience's fervor) eventually results in engaging the cinematic "Live Concert" mode, a sort of super attack that involves big damage, over-the-top animation, and background lyrics. Throw in Takt's ability to partner up with the Verse Maidens to deliver follow-ups or stat boosts, as well as score-boosting Overkill systems, a Sphere-Grid-like character progression system, and even item and gear crafting, and there's plenty of mechanical fat to chew on. If only the context and characters surrounding this part of the game were more worthwhile. Though there's nothing explicitly wrong with it, Omega Quintet feels far too much like a "by-the-numbers" Compile Heart title to do justice to the studio's first current-gen effort. Its narrative and aesthetic "fluff" ultimately fail to support its dense and otherwise engrossing mechanical heart. For a game about a bunch of girls finding their voices and path in the world, it has distressingly little "voice" of its own.  [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Omega Quintet photo
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Omega Quintet is a game of firsts. Chronologically, it's the PlayStation 4's first exclusive Japanese RPG (Final Fantasy Type-0 originally being a PSP game). It's also developer Compile Heart's first PS4 game, and b...

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