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xbox 360

Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Metal Gear Solid V opens the race to total nuclear disarmament

Consoles in the lead to Peace
Nov 29
// Josh Tolentino
Metal Gear's never been shy about having an anti-nuclear message (despite arguably glorifying most other types of military violence), but for the most part, the series has put making the world a nuke-free place out of the han...

Ouch, that's harsh, Bandai Namco

Sorry, Vesperia fans
Sep 28
// Josh Tolentino
I guess it's time for Tales fans to give up on the dream. Even Bandai Namco's Twitter account is quick to put the kibosh on any hopes these last few holdouts had. Then again, it has been years and years since Tales of Ve...
Digimon All-Star Rumble photo
Digimon All-Star Rumble

Digimon All-Star Rumble's new trailer is all about the Supers

Terra Force!
Oct 08
// Salvador G Rodiles
Back when Bandai Namco announced Digimon All-Star Rumble for the PS3 and 360, I ended up having mixed feelings on the news. On one side, it's neat that we're getting a multiplayer party brawler where we can fight as our favo...
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...

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 G Rodiles
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 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 G Rodiles
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 G Rodiles
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 G Rodiles
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 4 Arena Ultimax photo
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Brand new Persona 4 Ultima clips you can dance to

So many sempai, so little time.
Apr 24
// Dae Lee
Coming off the announcement of Rise Kujikawa as a playable character in the fighting game Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Atlus updated their Youtube channel with another wave of videos highlighting the new arrivals. The main event...
Video game photo
Video game

Fight as Rise Kujikawa in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax?!

What are you gonna do, scan me to death?
Apr 22
// Dae Lee
There were rumors scuttling around for a while about Persona 4's Rise Kujikawa being a playable character in the upcoming fighting game Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and they proved to be true with the recent issue of Famitsu and ...
Attack on Titan x MonHun photo
Attack on Titan x MonHun

Attack on Titan invades Monster Hunter Frontier G

Next up, Pokmon x Attack on Titan
Mar 21
// Chris Walden
Those titan hunters sure get around, don't they? It's pretty impressive actually, considering their species is essentially trapped in one place. This time they've managed to dodge harms way outside the city walls long enough ...
Naruto UNS:R photo
Naruto UNS:R

Anime-fied: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution getting tons of footage

Courtesy of Studio Pierrot
Mar 05
// Josh Tolentino
Well, I guess I spoke too soon when I hoped that Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution wouldn't totally be a "filler" game made to annualize the Ultimate Ninja Storm  franchise, like Ultimate Ninja ...
Art contest photo
Show the world what Lightning should really look like!
Square Enix and DeviantArt have teamed up for a fantastic contest in which artists are invited to create a custom look for Lightning. Anything about her appearance, from her body to accessories you'd want to see on her, are f...

Naruto Storm Revo photo
Naruto Storm Revo

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm Revolution is filler madness

Now featuring Mecha-Naruto
Feb 10
// Josh Tolentino
We missed this trailer a couple of days ago, but now that it's here, I have to say that this is kind of nuts: Bandai Namco has followed through on their obvious intention to turn the Ultimate Ninja Storm series into the anim...
Guilty Gear Xrd photo
Guilty Gear Xrd

Journey to the Backyard in Guilty Gear Xrd's opening

Is that a euphemism for something?
Jan 30
// Josh Tolentino
It wasn't too long ago that the frankly incredible-looking Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, the next big fighting game from Arc System Works, went into arcade location testing, but we haven't heard much from it since. That's changed to...

Review: Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst

Jan 29 // Chris Walden
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst (PC*, Xbox 360, PS3 [Reviewed])Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Namco Bandai GamesRelease date: October 22, 2013 (NA), January 31, 2014 (EU)MSRP: $39.99 (or $9.99 as a downloadable upgrade from NS:UNS 3) (*Notes about the PC version of the game are at the bottom of the review) Just like before, we're thrown into Naruto's origin story, as the Nine-Tailed Fox is running rampant in the hidden village of Konoha while the Fourth Hokage is fighting with a strange, masked intruder. Whilst this is technically the beginning of the Naruto story, it assumes you know a lot of the terminology and characters already, so it's not the best place to start playing if you've somehow avoided watching the ninja series. The game also focuses on the still-ongoing Fourth Shinobi World War arc, so the first two Ninja Storm games should be top priority if you want to get up to speed.  Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 follows the same formula as its predecessors, for the most part, twining free-roaming 3D battles with some of the best quick time scenes ever used in a video game. Seriously, you need only look at this series and Asura's Wrath to know that they can be used effectively if the developers know what they're doing. Full Burst adds an extra character to the roster, and assuming you play through the story mode to unlock everyone you'll eventually have access to a whopping 81 playable characters. If you are looking for a good party game, this is as good a reason as any to give this a look. Having a competent battle system is great, but best of all it's just fun to mess around with. Having the strongest Naruto fight his child-self is quite the spectacle! [embed]31228:3404:0[/embed] But let's talk about the differences between the two games, or rather, why Full Burst exists in the first place. First of all, the cutscenes have been re-rendered in glorious HD, whilst a few have also been tweaked to make them just that much better. Check out the video above to see some comparison shots to see what the developers have been up to. Whilst this might be due to playing the PlayStation 3 version this time around, I did notice that there's no longer any slowdown during the battle with the Nine-Tailed Fox at the beginning of the game. I can't verify that this is as a result of changes made in Full Burst, but great news nonetheless as the sluggish roof-jumping soured the early game in the previous version.  In addition to the HD cutscenes, you will also get all of the DLC that was available for the original game, which means 35 additional costumes. Unfortunately, most of these are for key characters like Naruto (who has a wardrobe even The Village People would be jealous of), but if just want to fight as Sakura in a bikini, then your prayers are answered. Worth noting is that the costumes are only available if you're playing Full Burst on a retail disc, as they're not included in the upgrade price. A shame, but let's be honest, $9.99 is a pretty reasonable price, and you can still purchase the costumes in packs if you really think you're missing out. The costumes are not worth skipping over the upgrade for, but if you don't own the base game then you might as well get the full package.  But wait a second, is that Kimimaro coming out of Kabuto's gut? Why yes, yes it is. Say hello to the bonus character and the focus of the brand new story chapter introduced in Full Burst. You might remember me saying that the Fourth Shinobi World War is still on-going in the manga, so where does the game end? Well, CyberConnect2 has decided to conclude the arc themselves, giving us a Sage Mode Kabuto that borrows members of the Sound Five to tussle with, in a story you won't be seeing in official works outside of this game. This final boss encounter boasts more health bars than you'll know what to do with, as well as some great cinematics for fancy fighting techniques that get used along the way. The game was finished long before certain fights happened in the Naruto main story, so you'll be waiting for the next game to see the recent scuffles in video game form.  To round it all off we also have the addition of a Challenge Mission mode, complete with 100 missions to make the new content feel a little more substantial. These missions are split into groups of ten, where you must complete the first nine missions before unlocking a tenth, substantially harder mission. While some of these spice up the combat by increasing your opponents' attack stat or by hiding the health bars, some of them are a tad too bland. After all, many of these missions can be emulated by setting them up manually in the Vs. Mode. Each group of missions also has its own mural, with picture tiles being revealed each time one of its ten missions is beaten (like a Naruto-themed Puzzle Swap). It's a neat take on visualizing progression, and while it's not something that's going to sell copies of this game, it's a nice touch. But is the whole package worth it? If you own the original game, then yes, you should absolutely pay the $9.99 to nab all of the bonus content (besides the costumes, of course). If you're thinking about picking this up at retail, that's another story. The $39.99 RRP is a great price to pay if you've not already bought the original game, and I'm sure there are a few people out there that will want it for all of the costumes. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst is a fine addition to the growing franchise, and it'll certainly tide you over until the release of Revolution later this year.  8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.) Notes About the PC Port: Josh Tolentino After the minor debacle that was the PC version of Dark Souls, many gamers were right to be wary of Namco Bandai's next attempt to bring the previously console-exclusive Ultimate Ninja Storm series to the master race, but the worries proved unfounded. The port seems to work just fine, though it's a little bare-bones and doesn't have any extra features over the console editions of Full Burst, besides the standard ability to select resolutions and toggle things like anti-aliasing.  All things considered, though, that's certainly enough, as the game looks absolutely gorgeous at 1080p and beyond, and with anti-aliasing turned on, the jagged edges that mar the console versions' otherwise perfect capture of the signature Naruto aesthetic are virtually eliminated. Further, even mid-range graphics hardware (I ran the game with an Nvidia GTX 560 Ti) is enough to keep the game at a steady 60fps in the most hectic fights, ones which dropped the frame rate much lower on the consoles. For multiplayer, I found it difficult to get matchmaking to work, though other factors could include my region (Southeast Asia) and network settings (strong NAT). As with the console versions lag is a major factor in determining victory, so finding a low-latency match is crucial to getting enjoyment out of the PVP experience. Your mileage may vary.  
N:UNS 3 Full Burst photo
Double-Review no jutsu!
Don't worry, you're not suffering from a case of deja-vu! In a trend that is becoming increasingly common, we have a Game of the Year equivalent for Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, rolling up the DLC and re-releasin...

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z photo
Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z

Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z looks to be one crazy game

New trailer for the zombie beat'm up
Jan 28
// Josh Totman
In this newest trailer for Tecmo Koei's zombie kill fest Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, we get to check out Yaiba's newest outfits in the game. Some of the crazy outfits include standard camouflage, a Nuigulumar outfit from the movi...
EDF 2025 photo
EDF 2025

Earth Defense Force 2025 gets an English trailer

More ants, spiders and robots than I can handle.
Jan 27
// Chris Walden
Oh, how I do love firing rockets into swarming groups of giant ants. I'm also quite fond of firing rockets into giant spiders, robots, spaceships, buildings and just about anything else I can find while playing an Earth Defe...
Lightning Returns photo
Lightning Returns

Grab the Lightning Returns: FFXIII demo, get free DLC

From stoic soldier to cosplay savior
Jan 24
// Josh Tolentino
Man, the marketing blitz for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII will just not let up. Good thing that the game is actually looking like it deserves to be hyped up a little, which is more than can be said for other pa...
Dead or Alive photo
Dead or Alive

New DOA 5 Ultimate character coming to consoles

Time to beat the loli out of you
Jan 12
// Josh Totman
As the final rounds of the national Dead or Alive 5 tournament were just about to start; Team Ninja developer Yosuke Hayashi had a couple of new announcement he wanted to share with the crowd. The first think ...
AquaTop Surface photo
AquaTop Surface

Japanese scientists finally find a use for Kinect

As well as a use for a bathtub!
Dec 08
// Josh Tolentino
Ever sit in a hot bath and think "I could be playing a videogame right now if it weren't for all this water!"? No? I didn't think so, but Japanese scientists are happy to give you the option to do just that thing, and using ...

Japanator's 2013 Holiday Shopping Guide: Video Games

Dec 02 // Brittany Vincent
For the dark and brooding MegaTen fan in your life... [embed]30590:3164:0[/embed] Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)MSRP: $49.99  You just can't go wrong with Shin Megami Tensei IV. Shin Megami Tensei is a long-running franchise with a colorful, varied past. Where games like Final Fantasy are hopeful, fantastical, and chock-full of Western fantasy tropes, MegaTen is generally more "modern" and comfortable as the dark horse of Japanese RPGs, combining dark, matter-of-fact storytelling with a mixture of mythological monsters and fearsome demons. It's also off the charts on the quirk scale, with plenty of strangeness to go around. The fourth entry in the core Shin Megami Tensei mythos was a long time coming, but it's finally arrived - on the Nintendo 3DS, to boot. The newest entry is an excellent starting point for newcomers, providing tour through the elements that made the MegaTen games great in the first place. It feels great, it's optimized for handhelds, and it's perfect for on the go play. The ever-changing world, morality system, and droves of demons are enough to lure you in and keep you engaged to fight through the difficult sections, so take some pride when doling out this baby for the holidays. If my word isn't enough, check out Tim's review.  Atlus has presented Shin Megami Tensei fans with another great entry to the series with a fresh new look, while keeping the experience familiar enough to entice them. Newcomers should find an intriguing tale, and a unique role playing experience but may be put off by its difficulty. For the hardcore fans, the games does offer multiple endings, as well as a new game plus. Shin Megami Tensei IV presents a grand story, beautiful art, deep dungeons to explore, and hundreds of demons to meet, all set to an amazing soundtrack -- a must have for role playing fans everywhere. For the Tales lover who can't get enough of the grind... [embed]30590:3165:0[/embed] Tales of Xillia (PS3)MSRP: $39.95   With fantastical narratives, whimsical characters, and well-constructed mechanics, the Tales series of JRPGs is generally held in high regard, with adoring fans all over the globe -- and the latest Western release should be right up your alley. Our own Chris Walden reviewed the game for us, and gave it an 8/10, with his ringing endorsement: "Tales of Xillia sets a high bar for other JRPGs entering the western market, as its combination of likeable characters, rich worlds and an enjoyable battle system prove that there's life in this genre yet. Sure, there are some unfortunate blemishes here and there, but if you want to dive into a good old swords 'n' stats JRPG, this should definitely be one to consider. Hopefully the sequel builds upon the successes of the original, so you can colour me excited for the eventual 2014 release. In the meantime, be sure to dig into this gem in preparation." For the budding prosecutor in your life... [embed]30590:3167:0[/embed] Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies (3DS)MSRP: $29.99 (eShop only) The latest entry in the long-running Phoenix Wright saga is a rousing one, with plenty of new cases, laughs, and head-scratching to go around. It just so happens that Dual Destinies could be one of the best Ace Attorney games yet, as Ben scored it a fantastic 9/10. With revamped animations, dialogue with actual voices (!) and other cool surprises, it's no wonder it landed a spot on our list. Ben sums it up like so: "[...] while this is the easiest AA game to jump into cold, I still advise you to play the earlier games in the series first. It's definitely not required, but the experience is much richer if that background is there. If you're a longtime Ace Attorney fan who isn't exactly sure about these new changes, I highly recommend you ignore your reservations and jump in pronto! It doesn't quite reach the highs set by AA3, but it's still an incredibly solid entry. Don't let the digital-only release hold you back -- Ace Attorney 5: Dual Destinies is one of the best 3DS games, and one of my favorite games this year. If you miss out on Phoenix Wright's triumphant return, I must simply object!" For the aspiring pop stars and Vocaloid fans... [embed]30590:3168:0[/embed] Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F (PS3/Vita)MSRP: $39.99   Everyone's favorite Vocaloid has her own rhythm game in the vein of Gitaroo Man, so that's basically a celebration on its own. Even if you're not into Vocaloid, if you dig sugary pop and awesome music games, you owe it to yourself to either pick this one up or surprise that future pop star in your life with a copy of Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F in their stocking. Chris dug it, scoring the Vita iteration an 8/10: "Project DIVA F is another great game to add to the series, with just a few problems holding it back from being perfect. The visuals are fantastic on the Vita, the interface looks great and the song selection is solid for returning players. The addition of star notes is really the biggest issue the game has, as it really doesn't add any positives to the gameplay. I suggest if the thought of them puts you off buying this, you wait for the PS3 version. No touch screen to ruin the fun! The price is also quite substantial, so I'd lean towards waiting for that version if you have to pick between the two. Still, portable DIVA is definitely a good enough reason to pick this up, and hey, nothing wrong with earning a few more trophies either. Just remember that you'll need another memory card if you don't have a Japanese PSN account and want the DLC." For those who want to be the best, like no one ever was... [embed]30590:3169:0[/embed] Pokémon X & Y (3DS)MSRP: $39.99  The games press (including myself) have been singing the praises of the latest Pokémon games for some time, and for good reason: they're awesome. Pokémon X & Y offers a plethora of old and new ideas that work extremely well together, with online trading tools, mini games like Pokemon-Amie to endear your party members to you, and plenty of other reasons to keep playing long after you’ve become a Pokémon Master. It’s the best-looking and most accessible game so far, and this is the direction the series needs to go in in the future, especially since the games seem to have found a meaningful mix of new and old monsters to please all generations of fans.  For Ghibli fans who love a good traditional RPG... [embed]30590:3170:0[/embed] Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)MSRP: $29.99 Fans of Ghibli films and anime will find plenty to love about this old-school traditional romp, and it's heartwarming in all the right ways. It's almost as if you're playing through an actual Ghibli movie, barring some annoying voiceovers here and there. Studio Ghibli could have drawn from any film in its well-established stable, but crafting from the ground up with Level-5 resulted in what is one of the best RPGs available on the PlayStation 3. Children, adults, and the young-at-heart alike should find common ground with Oliver, even if Mr. Drippy is an obnoxious little snit. Chris awarded it a 9 out of 10. "Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch is, quite simply, one of the most noteworthy RPGs in recent years. Released in a genre that has grown increasingly stale, it pulls out all the stops to blow away any and all preconceptions and show that there is life there yet. But it's not content with just showing it has a few new tricks, no, it demonstrates to us all that it can rival even the most highly regarded games in the genre. I can count the number of memorable RPGs on one hand, so the beautiful and vibrant world of Ni no Kuni is in sparse but good company." For fans of brawlers that ooze style... [embed]30590:3171:0[/embed] Dragon's Crown (PS3/Vita)MSRP: $49.99 Dragon's Crown is nothing short of gorgeous, from its macabre illustrations to its sometimes hilarious character animations. Luckily, it's more than just a spectacle, combining the addictive nature of a role-playing game with the drop-in and drop-out stylings of a great party game. Though many will of course remain divided as to whether or not a certain bouncing bosom is trying too hard, those who decide to take the plunge will be rewarded with a challenging yet accessible cooperative journey that begs to be played again and again. Josh Tolentino had a look at the game as well, and awarded it a 9 out of 10! Check out his review here. "Despite these fumbles, Dragon's Crown is an expertly-crafted brawler that adds depth, nuance, and freshness to an aging formula, and presenting it in a sublime homage to its genre ancestors as well as classic cliches of sword-and-sorcery role-playing. Hail to the king, adventurers!" For Metal Gear fans who actually liked Raiden... [embed]30590:3172:0[/embed] Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (360/PS3)MSRP: $39.99  This hack-and-slash adventure featuring Raiden wasn't as well-received as it could have been, but it's still an intriguing time for players who dug what they saw of Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Over-the-top boss fights, trademark Kojima action, and more make this an action romp fans will flock to even if to catch a whiff of something other than Metal Gear stealth action. It's not perfect, but it's an interesting alternative to RPGs, fighters, and adventure games.  For gamers who prefer off-the-wall strat-RPG action... [embed]30590:3173:0[/embed] Disgaea D2: A Brighter Darkness (PS3)MSRP: $49.99  I reviewed this especially wacky entry in the Disgaea series, and I was quite keen on it, awarding a 9 out of 10. Check out my full review here, but the gist is that I found it to be an awesome starting point for those new to the games and an all-around value-packed choice that would make a great gift.  "A slick interface, high-definition models and cut scenes, and a spot-on script work in tandem to keep things up to the level of excellence we've come to expect from Disgaea, and the characters themselves (including some fresh faces) are as charming as ever. When you're not plotting your next move, you'll likely be doubled over with laughter. It's rare that video games exhibit such a rare eye for comedic timing, but this script nails it. The dub is fantastic as well; Laharl still exudes that same plucky confidence, and over the course of the game you start to feel a little of it yourself." For ravenous monster hunters... [embed]30590:3174:0[/embed] Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS/Wii U)MSRP: $39.99  True, the Monster Hunter games can be a little daunting for players who have never experienced the thrill of taking down an especially difficult bounty, but once you take the plunge you'll find it tough to come back to games that don't require you to work at conquering enemies. There's an entire sea of other players out there to work alongside, so you're essentially giving the gift of new friendship to whomever you choose to buy this for. Plus, you can play on a console or opt for the portable version, which is just as good. Still not out of funds yet after perusing all these holiday guides? What are you, Scrooge McDuck? In any case, whether you're hoarding the very last pennies in your piggy bank for something special, or you've been holding out all this time for different sort of gift, Japanator's last shopping guide for the season will cover music and other miscellaneous gift ideas. Get your body ready. 
Video Games photo
Spread some cheer and awesome video games this year
Welcome to Japanator's 2013 holiday guide to excellent video games. Just like anime and manga, there's a seemingly endless parade of titles out there vying for your attention, and we're here to ensure you don't swerve off the...

Go West! Week Sixty: Lightning Returns to Arland

Nov 24 // Elliot Gay
Releases for the week of November 17 - 23: Playstation 3: Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIISquare EnixOnline Price: $75.99 Fun fact! I quite liked the original Final Fantasy XIII. My first experience with the game was a 70 hour playthrough in Japanese back when it first came out, and despite its linearity, I really dug the battle system, music, and general world. I get why there are people who weren't fond of it, but I enjoyed my time with the game. Sadly, XIII-2 did nothing for me. It didn't help that SE decided to shift the focus to Serah, the one character I didn't give a crap about.  Enter Lightning Returns. I played a little bit of LR back at TGS and came away surprised by how much fun it was. The one character battle system appeared (again, short demo) to have some cool depth, the areas were massive, and the music seemed strong. I have yet to pick up the final game, but I've been hearing mixed things all around. Some folks seem to be digging it a lot, and I know others who have already sold the game back. I do intend to play through LR before its western release, so look forward to impressions whenever that happens. In the meantime, don't import. If you're a fan of the Japanese voice actors, you're better off waiting. Square Enix has announced that the JP audio will be a free piece of DLC following the release of the NA version.  Playstation Vita: Shin Atelier Rorona: Hajimari no Monogatari ~ The Alchemist of Arland ~GustOnline Price: $58.99 Every time an Atelier game is released in Japan, I tell myself I'm going to finally give this beloved franchise a fair shot. Time passes, and of course that never actually happens. I am a man of false promises. Shin Atelier Rorona might finally be the game to bring me into the fandom though. The reason is simple: it's a remake of the first PS3 Atelier game, one which many folks have said was the roughest of the bunch. If I can start in chronological order, I feel like there's a better chance of falling in love with the franchise. So what exactly is new in Shin Atelier Rorona? Quite a bit actually. As is always the case with these kinds of releases, Shin has a load of new costumes not just for Rorona herself, but all your party members as well. There are a few new dungeons, additional party members, and brand new events to experience. Combat has also been revised and designed using the Meruru + battle system as a base. Perhaps the biggest change however, is the inclusion of brand new character models. The original Rorona used a chibi art style that didn't represent the original character designs very well at all. Gust has gone back and created new models that are much more accurate to the original art.  If you're concerned that Shin Atelier Rorona won't make it out west, don't be. Koei Tecmo has done a decent job of getting these games into English, even if they barely advertise them. My advice is to hold off for now. Nintendo 3DS: One Piece: Unlimited World RedBandai Namco GamesOnline Price: $58.99  It feels like Ganbarion has been developing One Piece games for over a decade now. Of course a peek at their gameography reveals that their first game as a studio, One Piece: Grand Battle!, was released back in 2001. Well then, I guess they reallly have been making One Piece games for over a decade. Whoops! Unlimited World Red is their latest game, and it's quite the looker. When you've been dealing with the OP franchise for so long, I imagine you begin to really understand the characters on a fundamental level. Character animations are looking great, and the pseudo cel-shaded look gives the game a very clean style on the 3DS. Unlimited World Red is the first Unlimited game to feature four player coop action against bosses, taking a page out of the hunting genre handbook. Sadly, the multiplayer is local only. I'd say there's a pretty good chance of Unlimited World Red hitting EU, but NA always seems to get that shaft when it comes to these games. Playstation Portable: Snow Bound LandIdea FactoryOnline Price: $57.99  Geruda has lived a happy, peaceful life with her childhood friend Kai. One day, Kai finds a wish-granting mirror and decides to bring it home. Kai, Geruda, and the rest of the folks present look deep into the mirror when suddenly a blinding light explodes out of it. They lose consciousness and are enveloped in the mysterious light. When they wake up, the mirror has disappeared, and they find that a strange power has awoken within them... Good ole' Idea Factory here to save the day with another romantic adventure featuring super powered characters. Huzzah! The art style is pretty bland here compared to IF's normal output, but it's still a lot better than most of their competitors. I have no witty retort to offer here, so if you're interested in otome games, I say go for it.  Hanasaku Manimani5pbOnline Price: $58.99  Nanao was just an ordinary Japanese high school student. One day, she heads out to participate in a local summer festival, and ends up getting caught in a time warp that sends her far into the past. She wakes up in the turbulent Edo period, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and people. Struggling to figure out how to get back to her time, she's saved by a mysterious young man. The wheel of fate begins to turn... I wish you could hear me actively groan as I wrote up the above synopsis. I can't begin to stress how tired I am of these time travel stories where Mary Sue characters get sent back to the past. If you're going to do a 'lost in time' style narrative, I'd like to see these publishers try their hands at sending folks into the future. That could have some interesting results, but oh well. [And that's all for the 60th edition of Go West! GW! is now an old man and/or woman, so congratulations to us? Next week is looking like an odd one, so prepare for more snark and sass. In the meantime, thanks for reading and catch you all next time!]
Go West! 60 photo
Lightning strikes thrice
Greetings ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 60th edition of Go West!, your [inconsistently] weekly column about Japanese video games, a foreign guy in Japan, and Idea Factory.  When I first started Go West! nearly...

World of Tanks photo
World of Tanks

World of Tanks honors Girls und Panzer with machinima

And adds a bunch of Japanese tanks
Sep 24
// Josh Tolentino
I still think it's kind of strange that World of Tanks,'s Free-to-Play multiplayer tank-battler, has managed to become such a global phenomenon. Then again, my favorite anime of 2012 was Girls und Panzer, a sho...
Lightning Returns: FFXIII photo
Lightning Returns: FFXIII

Lightning Returns Long Trailer and Opening Movie are out!

Who else is excited?
Sep 24
// Eric Koziol
Simultaneously the game I am most looking forward to this year and a huge bulk of people are shaking their heads at, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII just had its long trailer from TGS and its opening movie put out toda...
Lightning Returns: FFXIII photo
Lightning Returns: FFXIII

Behold, the many fashion decisions of Lightning

All she needs is a Dressphere
Sep 16
// Josh Tolentino
Square Enix's new trailer for Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII may be less than a minute long, but what's in it seems to say more about the game - or at least, who it's intended for - than the longest documentary-e...
Dark Souls II photo
Dark Souls II

Prepare to die: Dark Souls II beta signups open

Europe comes to Lordran again
Sep 05
// Josh Tolentino
Have you polished off your deathwish yet? If you haven't it's best to get on that right quick, because Namco Bandai have opened signups for the upcoming beta test of masochistic PS3 dungeon-crawler Dark Souls II. The process ...
Naruto UNS3 photo
Naruto UNS3

Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 Full Burst gets dated

Now with more glossy photos!
Sep 03
// Josh Tolentino
Start sharpening your shuriken, folks, because you've got two months to go before the ultimate game about superpowered anime ninjas, Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, gets its "Full Burst" update, as well as a full-fl...
Soulcalibur II HD photo
Soulcalibur II HD

Spawn and Heihachi team up for Soulcalibur II HD

I feel like we're missing someone...
Aug 29
// Chris Walden
When Soulcalibur II first arrived on home consoles back in 2003, gamers hotly debated which version they were going to pick up. See, Namco figured out this version exclusivity thing pretty early on, lumping in characters that...
Naruto Storm 3 PC ver. photo
Naruto Storm 3 PC ver.

PC Ninja Race: Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 getting port

And DLC for the console toys too
Jul 05
// Josh Tolentino
It's a good day for Naruto fans, fans of PC fighting games, and fans of "enhanced edition" rereleases. Namco Bandai has just announced that its Ultimate Ninja Storm series will be making a PC platform debut in Naruto Sh...
EDF 4 trailer photo
EDF 4 trailer

Won't you join the Earth Defense Force?

Hard Gay wants YOU
Jun 28
// Josh Tolentino
Ah, Earth Defense Force. Very few games manage to make looking bad look so good, and from this lengthy gameplay trailer for Earth Defense Force 4 (Earth Defense Force 2025 in North America), Sandlot's B-grade maste...
Dragonball Z BATTLE OF Z photo
Dragonball Z BATTLE OF Z

Dragonball Z BATTLE OF Z coming to lots of consoles

All the Z's. All of them.
Jun 19
// Elliot Gay
Dragon Ball Z BATTLE OF Z is an awful name. Far be it from me to judge Bandai Namco's naming sense though.  What is BATTLE OF Z you ask? It's the latest Dragon Ball Z game from the folks over at Bandai Namco, and it's sl...

Go West! Week Forty-Nine: All the Shmups

Jun 02 // Elliot Gay
Releases for the Week of May 26 - June 1: Xbox 360: Dodonpachi SaidaioujouCaveOnline Price: $69.90 As much as I enjoy vertical shooters, I'm terrible at them. I'm a casual fan in that sense, but that doesn't mean I can't respect a great Cave shooter when I see one. Enter Dodonpachi Saidaioujou, the latest entry in Cave's beloved Dodonpachi series. Saidaioujou actually hit Japanese arcades back in 2012. What makes this new game different from the last few entries? Saidaioujou switches up the formula a bit by taking place in a brand new world with new characters. Additionally, the new Dress System allows you change your character's costumes, effecting the power of your different attacks. Basiscape, Hitoshi Sakamoto's studio, composed the soundtrack, which means complete audio bliss. This port also includes a new Xbox 360 mode which adds a new character, more new systems, and a variety of other little changes. Provided it actually plays well, Saidaioujou for the 360 might just be the definitive version of the game. As luck would have it, Dodonpachi Saidaioujou is region free. The chances of this one going west are painfully low, so if you're iching for some bullet hell action, I suggest taking the dive. You can never go wrong with a Cave shooter. Shooting Love. 10-Shuunen: XIIZeal & DeltaZealTriangle ServiceOnline Price: $59.90 Up until this week's Go West!, I had never heard of Triangle Service. After doing a little research into the company, I discovered that they have been making arcade games for the past ten years. They're a small company, and their homepage is certainly a reminder of that fact. That out of the way, Shooting Love isn't a lavish production. Compared to your average Cave game, it's not particularly colorful or interesting to look at. Normally this is the point at which I tell you that Shooting Love is anything but generic. That it's actually an amazing shooter that every fan needs to own. ... I have absolutely no goddamn clue if any of that is true. I've said this before, but I'm no shooter aficionado. I'm pretty much dead weight when it comes to this genre. If you're familiar with Triangle Service's games and are looking to import, do so without fear; there's no way this is headed west.   Playstation Vita: Haiyore! Nyaruko-San: Nafushigatai Game no You na Mono5pbOnline Price: $70.90 I've never seen Nyaruko-San. I'm not particularly all that interested in watching it either, yet here I am writing about the new Vita game, courtesy of 5pb. Is it just me, or are they getting around quite a lot recently? Anyhow, Haiyore! Nyaruko-San doesn't follow the first season of the series, but instead tells an original story. There are multiple endings for the characters, which should come as no surprise to people who have played visual novels based on anime properties. Like any anime game trying to convince potential buyers that it's worth their time, Nyaruko-San has some gimmicky special features. The first one is the Flag System, which literally has a flag pop up onscreen whenever you reach a branching point in the story. This way players don't have to waste time trying to figure out where the routes split off. You want to go back and see a certain ending? This is designed to make that process simple. The other system is the Chaos;Lotto. Every now and then, something resembling a slot machine will pop up onscreen. The slot machine will determine who will be doing what to another character. There are supposedly a bunch of strange story events hidden throughout the game, accessible only via the Chaos;Lotto. Yay, I guess. You already know whether or not you want to buy this. Personally, I can't recommend wasting money on this kind of throwaway anime game. If you're planning on importing, make sure you're prepared for walls of Japanese text.   Playstation Portable: Jansei Utahime * Chrono StarBoost OnOnline Price: $64.80 In doing research about Jansei Utahime * Chrono Star, I started to feel a bit of deja vu. Everything about the game seemed so very familiar; the characters, the weird mahjong-like game within the game, and even the logo. As fate would have it, Chrono Star is related to Chrono Magic, an odd game I wrote about a few weeks back. Goodbye, Chrono Star. I will not miss you. Norn9: Norn + NonetteIdea FactoryOnline Price: $59.90 There would be no Go West! without Idea Factory, just as there would be no Idea Factory without Go West!.  Ok... neither of those statements are true, but it's what I'd like to think is reality. It helps me get to sleep at night in the very least. A Japan both nostalgic, and yet somehow different. A government run by and for the people. A prosperous nation by all accounts. With a bright future ahead of them, the youth of Japan hold their heads up high and walk forward with hope. But was there ever really an era like this? A strange world in which nostalgia and countless mysteries intertwine. This is the secret history you do not yet know. Fine, Idea Factory. This Norn9 business sounds pretty cool. The character designs are appealing and the story sounds interesting enough. I like that IF is playing with history a little bit closer to home, rather than the same old feudal era stuff. The cast is huge (16 characters), and even the music playing on the official page is pretty solid. Will I finally bite the bullet and purchase an otome game?  Find out next time on the next exciting edition Go West!. Import only if your Japanese skill level is high enough to conquer the vast mountain that is the visual novel. [And just like that, Go West! 49 is over. Next week is going to be kind of a big deal for this column, so hopefully I can do something special. If there's something you want to see or read, leave a comment below and let me know. This is for you guys and gals after all. Until next time, ciao!]
Go West! 49 photo
A shmup for you, a shmup for me!
Come one, come all! Welcome to the latest edition of Go West!, your [occasionally] weekly column about Japanese games that probably won't ever be released out west. This week? Uh... well, some games I guess.  In any case, let's make like a tree and get this party started!

Say Hello to the Xbox One

May 21 // Josh Tolentino
New Xbox reveal photo
The Next Xbox, revealed
No, not the first Xbox, or the Xbox 360. The third of Microsoft's consoles has opted to dial down its numbering by three hundred fifty-nine while dialing up its hardware. And it's called the "Xbox One", which means that...

Dungeons and Dragons photo
Dungeons and Dragons

So this is where Dragon's Crown's great menu comes from

D&D begat DC
May 09
// Josh Tolentino
See that sweet scene up in the header? That's the frankly awesome-looking character-select menu from Dragon's Crown, a game worked on by Vanillaware and its lead artist George Kamitani. Cool menus like that don't come from ju...
Metal Gear Solid V photo
Metal Gear Solid V

Konami reveals Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Yep, that 'new IP' trailer was for MGS
Mar 28
// Josh Tolentino
I should be mildly miffed that Kojima Production's teasing of two projects, The Phantom Pain and Metal Gear Ground Zeroes, were just now revealed to be in fact teases for the next game in the Metal Gear Solid franc...
Persona 4 Arena release photo
Persona 4 Arena release

About dang time: Persona 4 Arena gets a Euro release date

The wait's been too long
Mar 18
// Josh Tolentino
European gamer's aren't entirely unfamiliar with getting shafted when it comes to releasing certain games, but the case of Persona 4 Arena was always a tiny bit unique. Atlus and Arc System Works' lovely 2D fighter ...

Drink some Dr Pepper: Battle Ground's new DLC is out now

The True Ending has been achieved.
Mar 12
// Salvador G Rodiles
I don't know much about Phantom Breaker, but I find it interesting that Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate is playable fighter in the game. Speaking of which, MAGES has sent some new DLC from the future to Phantom Breaker: Battle...

Learn how to master Naruto Ninja Storm 3's Neon Alley DLC

This process will be a cake walk.
Mar 05
// Salvador G Rodiles
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 has shipped in North America today, and Chris manage to enjoy the game in his explosive Review no Jutsu. If you succeeded in securing the special Neon Alley pre-order at Gamestop, then...

Review: Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3

Mar 05 // Chris Walden
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 (Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PS3)Developer: CyberConnect2Publisher: Namco Bandai GamesRelease date: March 5, 2013 (NA), March 8, 2013 (EU), April 18, 2013 (JP)MSRP: $59.99 [Note: This is a review of the UK version of the game. As far as we're aware there are no differences in content in the North American version.] The game dives straight into the action, choosing to start with Minato, the Fourth Hokage, and his confrontation with the Nine-Tailed Fox and the masked man. After a little bit of scene setting, you are given a choice. Yes, there is some choice making in Ultimate Ninja Storm 3, dubbed "Ultimate Decision Mode", and you must pick whether to be a “Hero” or a “Legend”. Depending on your choice you will gain different bonuses, fights may play out differently and the dialogue will change. In this particular example, choosing “Hero”, rated at 4-star difficulty, allows you to pursue the masked man to try and stop him. Picking “Legend”, rated at 2-star difficulty, has you ignore the masked man to try and stop the Nine-Tails from destroying all of Konoha. The differences between each path are clearly outlined, so you know exactly what you are letting yourself in for. Straight after this, you enter into one of the famously fun fights that has a little quick time event action on the side. You’re playing as the Third Hokage, bouncing off rooftops to fight a raging Nine-Tails, using other ninjas to help suppress the beast. The sequence can get pretty hectic, even suffering from a little slowdown at times, but it proves to be a very satisfying prologue to the games story mode. Unfortunately from here, the pacing takes a dive for the worse. This is where you are given the ability to roam freely around a Konoha that is rebuilding itself from the events of the Pain fight. There is no stunning Konoha map to travel across like in the original Ninja Storm game, but you are given a rather bland environment that really only serves to pad the game out a bit. This was ringing alarm bells for sure, as these Konoha sequences seemed to only serve as something to do in between fights, and this continued on into the Land of Iron and the Island Turtle. These sections do occasionally hold a shopkeeper or two in order to serve some purpose, but more often than not you’ll finish a cutscene, sit through a loading sequence, walk from one end of a small map to the other via waypoint, then enter another loading sequence as the next cutscene starts. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, especially when these games are all about the fights, but the entire process could certainly have been streamlined. You can tell what kind of a fight you are in for as the game is loading up. If you’re going to duke it out without any special events going on, as if you were loading it up in versus mode, the characters will appear as 3D models in the versus screen. If you’re in for a large battle with plenty of quick time event sequences (and to be clear, these are by far the best part of the Ultimate Ninja Storm games), you’ll see the participating characters rendered in 2D art on the versus screen, as well as the name of that particular showdown. This is probably to make it easier to replay, which is nice if you fancy giving it a go again. As you would expect, the versus mode-style fights occur far more regularly than the more adventurous key battles, but I feel that for the most part you are simply playing to get to the next one. It’s not just because they are more exciting, but more so that they have competent enemy AI. The regular battles do not.  Because of this, these common fights are far too easy. At the start of a bout, all you must do is tap the ‘Y’ button twice followed by the ‘B’ button, which will make Naruto launch forward with a rasenshuriken attack. It does a considerable amount of damage to the defending character, who nine times out of ten will not defend against it, and the time they spend bouncing along the floor you can spend charging your chakra to repeat it again. When the toughest of these fights in the game came from my brother in versus mode, who had never played an Ultimate Ninja Storm game and had been briefly taught by myself in one round, you know something is up. It’s a different case with the scripted fights as there is usually a lot more going on, such as dodging attacks or moving around the battlefield, but it’s certainly a concern when most of your time will be spent in fights like this. There is also an alternate fight mode found in the story, where you must fight your way through small groups of 'grunt'-like enemies. It's very reminiscent of Tekken's "Tekken Force" game mode, but with the addition of some instant-kill quicktime abilities and a large focus on trying to get behind enemies in order to do the most damage. It's a neat little aside from the regular battles, and used sparingly enough to not overstay its welcome.  Putting the story mode aside, Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is definitely going to be a game worth digging out when you have friends over. The game is simple enough to pick up, and with a roster with over 80 characters, there are plenty of options to suit everyone’s tastes. It is against another human player where the combat really shines, as strategic use of ninja tools, substitutions and special jutsu will help pave your way to victory. You can fight one-on-one, or opt to bring along two assist characters each. Characters chosen for assist roles function in different ways, such as launching a forward strike or healing you a little. There are definitely plenty of characters to experiment with, and there are also 7 unique characters that are assist-only. They’re minor characters for sure, so while there was no way they would be included as fully playable characters, it’s nice to see them in the roster at all. Both sides of the Naruto fandom will find themselves satisfied with the audio, as both Japanese and English audio tracks are present in the game. It is worth noting that the cutscenes were made with the Japanese vocal track in mind, and the mouths don't sync up well at all if you are listening to the English audio. It's pretty much a given with Japanese games these days, and it certainly won't ruin the game for you, but it is worth noting. The soundtrack is also particularly good, especially the battle themes, though it would be nice if there was a little variation in the Konoha village music. You hear it pretty often and it isn't exciting enough to appeal for too long. Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is chock full of cutscenes that use the cel-shaded character models and locales from the game. There has quite clearly been a lot of work that has been put into these, as they all look great and run very smoothly. As mentioned before, the characters mouth movements are great for those listening to the Japanese audio, but fans of the English dialogue will no doubt be a little annoyed at how often a character continues to waggle his or her jaw long after the talking stops. Cutscene lengths vary immensely, ranging from less than a minute to a massive one towards the middle of the game that seemed to border TV-episode length! It may be the Metal Gear Solid 4 of Naruto games in this respect, but it’ll depend on the player whether this is an issue or not. While the game is definitely fun to play, you can’t help but wonder what it would be like with just a little extra polish. It’s the little things like the odd spelling mistake, menus that take way too long to appear/disappear and the camera that flicks between being controllable and uncontrollable that make a bigger issue out of things that really shouldn't be a problem. They’re all largely forgettable and minor nitpicks that only start to shine through as they add up. For example: Those of you familiar with the series will know that there is a certain fight that takes place beneath a bridge damaged by a large explosion. In a cutscene after this explosion has happened, the bridge continually changes from pristine to damaged with shifts in the camera angle. There really shouldn't be continuity errors in a video game cutscene, especially one as obvious as this. Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 is yet another fun excursion into the land of super-powerful ninjas. It's an awful shame that the game, that has obviously had a lot of hard work put into how characters play and how the game looks, would stumble on some of the more simple things that we've come to take for granted. Still, you will already know if you are interested in this game, and fans of the older games or the Naruto series as a whole will definitely enjoy their time with it. The good far outshines the bad, that much is certain, it's just a shame that it didn't have just a few more months in testing to iron out those minor issues. 8 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)
Naruto Ult. Ninja Storm 3 photo
Review no jutsu!
It’s safe to say that the Ultimate Ninja Storm series of Naruto games have been some of the finest games the franchise has received. Sure, Generations may have been a little wobbly in comparison to the prior two install...

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