Handhelds

DSC02511Despite popular opinion, Nintendo is actually a company of iterative refinement—a company that does not simply rest after unleashing its creations, instead finding ways to subtly improve on them. This is especially true in their hardware offerings, all but one (the beleaguered and short-lived Virtual Boy) receiving some sort of incremental upgrade during their respective lifetimes. Remember those mystery ports on the NES and SNES? Though often appearing stunted from a technological standpoint, Nintendo always seemingly looks ahead and somehow sneaks in some sort of improvement in their consoles or handhelds, mysteriously forcing their consumers hands and snaking in a quick payment when, really, the “old” version of the hardware worked just fine.

Whether it’s slapping add-ons to the system (the Famicom’s Disk System), miniturization (SNES Jr., Game Boy Pocket), slight spec bumps (Game Boy Color and this very piece of hardware), or correcting a terrible, terrible mistake (the Game Boy Advance SP and its actually-legible scren), all of us have paid for a “standard” mid-cycle Nintendo upgrade one way or the other.

DSC02514I suppose where I’m getting at with this is, yes, Nintendo has a giant hard-on for improving their existing hardware, for better or for worse. Enter the “New” Nintendo 3DS. In what’s probably the least-creative console rebranding this side of the PlayStation twos through fours, the New Nintendo 3DS (or NN3DS, as abbreviated by absolutely nobody) is simply just that, a newer, mid-cycle version of its vintage-2011 Nintendo 3DS handheld awkwardly slotting in a couple years before its real successor comes out. Unlike the Nintendo DSi right before it, Nintendo isn’t immediately halting sales of the “older” 3DS units in lieu of this iteration, instead puzzlingly choosing to market this in North American regions as a premium version of the 3DS hardware. Irritatingly, Nintendo of America has decided to not release the New 3DS XL’s smaller sibling at all, choosing to keep the “old” 3DS and XL, as well as its forlorn stepsibling, the adorable but maligned 2DS. It doesn’t take a marketing degree to realize that they’ve made a mess out of this.

That aside, the short story with the New 3DS is that its actually a worthwhile upgrade to the original 3DS and 3DS XL. Much unlike how a typical Nintendo fan fails to refine him or herself into a nuanced adult, the NN3DSXL feels like a more premium, mature product. Even the intangibles such as heft and gloss were taken into account when crafting Nintendo’s final revision of the 3DS product. On paper it sounds like a dicey cash-grab, but when you actually have one in your hands, the New 3DS XL looks, sounds and feels exactly how the handheld should have been in the first place.

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Small things, such as the volume slider being relegated to the top of the clamshell instead of its irritatingly easy-to-cajole former home on the bottom half of the console, turn into vast improvements once you spend some more time with the console. Little nuances, such as the brightness controlling itself automatically, or the Wi-Fi no longer needing to be switched on and off, pop in every now and then and remind the end-user that, yes, this is a better 3DS than the one you had. And of course, there are the tiny, irritating screw-ups that remind you that this is a Nintendo product: the MicroSD slot being nigh-inaccessible is definitely a Luddite decision that the tiny Kyoto company would make. I’m not even surprised that the New Nintendo 3DS doesn’t come with a charger: they know their target audience for these things, and their target audience has like four or five of those things kicking around from the DSi’s heyday. Whatever, I don’t even use them—I vastly prefer and recommend those knockoff USB chargers from China. Plug ’em into a sentient box that has a USB port (such as a cable/digibox) and voila, instant charging station.

DSC02515One immediate drag with owning a New Nintendo 3DS is the system transfer process. I can count the number of digital games I have with one hand, yet it still took four hours to move less than four gigabytes worth of data from my old 3DS XL to my New 3DS XL. It’s almost useless to hope for at this point, but it’s 2015 and the fact that Nintendo still doesn’t have a unified account system at this point is borderline laughable. I can literally run to the store, buy a new 2000-series Vita, download roughly 64GB of game data and saves from the cloud, make myself a mean osso bucco, and still clock in less time than it takes for a standard 3DS system transfer to finish. It’s insane.

Let’s talk about super-stable 3D: it’s awesome. Forget the bad, disjointed 3D experience from the old 3DS, that’s dead and buried now. The New 3DS tracks your head with some sort of proximity sensor and adjusts the 3D image in real-time to compensate, making playing in 3D on the darn thing actually feasible now. I hardly ever use the 3D feature on my old 3DS because it was such a pain to get into that “sweet spot” to enjoy the effect, but I have 3D permanently turned on with my New 3DS and apart from the quick jitter ever now and then when it fails to adjust for whatever reason, its totally seamless and immersive.

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DSC02512As for the new control features, they’re alright. The C-stick feels a lot like the eraser-nubs on old IBM Thinkpads, and is surprisingly solid-feeling once you get a hang of it. After clocking in a few hours on Monster Hunter 4 and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, sweeping the camera across the screen came as second nature, and the little nub deftly did its job when needed. I can’t see the C-stick ever working for FPS games, but given the fact that so few of those come the system’s way, I’m sure it’s not even a concern. I forgot the ZL and ZR triggers even existed, given how sparingly MH4 used ’em. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a “real” NN3DS exclusive to come out before we even see the little buttons get used.

DSC02517A small sidebar on software compatibility: it may be placebo effect, but games do in fact load faster on the New 3DS. Newer titles like Majora’s Mask and Smash Bros. aren’t a surprise since they were probably developed with the New 3DS in mind, but even older titles that I’ve revisited such as Snake Eater 3D (still a bad port) and Pilotwings Resort (super-underrated, even as a launch title) seemed snappier to load. My hope is that Nintendo and its third-parties patch out some of the older titles to fully take advantage of the New 3DS’ hardware, even to improve simple things like framerate and draw distance.

So for better or for worse, the New Nintendo 3DS is just that: its a New Nintendo 3DS. Despite the minor spec-bump, the system still sports sub-iOS level graphical capabilities, an insultingly low-resolution screen (exasperated by the XL’s massive berth) and shockingly bad online capabilities (the eShop is still a poorly-designed nightmare). Still, there’s a reason these things crush the competition, and thats simply thanks to an amazing software lineup. For those that happen to enjoy the 3DS’ roster of fine videogames, the New 3DS XL is almost a required purchase as it improves the 3DS experience so much.

At the Kaihinmakuhari station
At the Kaihinmakuhari station

Major item in bucket list crossed, y’all. Finally got into Tokyo Game Show this year which is definitely one of the biggest events in all of gaming. All the giants in the video games industry were at the Makuhari Messe to showcase their latest games and titles under development that we should all look forward in the next few months. Notable attendees were Sony and Microsoft (Nintendo does not attend TGS for some reason but was still present through 3rd party devs), Konami, Sega, Capcom, Square Enix, Bandai Namco and more. We were super stoked to see the presentations by esteemed game directors, squealed loudly with more than 220,000 game fans, and shared some of the disappointments as well. Here are some of the pictures I took in the event (and some captioning for context). Enjoy!

More pictures and coverage on Alex’s post soon! I will also be posting about select games that we got to test on the floor as well.

As avid gamers, we always want to be ahead of the game (awful pun intended) by having the latest gadgets that enable us to play all the best games, either on the big screen or on the go. Y’see, games aren’t just played on consoles or handhelds nowadays: gaming is now a ubiquitous enough hobby that one can enjoy on any piece of tech with a screen. For instance, here’s my personal list of gadgets that I enjoy playing games on!

IMG_26171. HP Envy 15″ and Macbook Pro Retina 13″ laptops – I only play Diablo III Reaper of Souls and a bunch of Steam games on PC so I fire one of these two from time to time. I use the HP when I’m docked as it is heavier but it’s where I mostly play because of the bigger screen,  hard disk and a fuller keyboard. I use the Macbook when I’m stuck outside and more for work, but I also have a limited number games installed on that machine (like yep, Diablo III; if you haven’t figured out, I’m a D3 addict).

2. PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS – If I have to go out and I know I have to wait long for something (pay for a bill, or wait for someone to arrive), I almost always carry one of these babies depending on what I am currently playing. The titles are pretty diverse in each so you can always find a few games that will sit on your GOTY of the forever (for me it was Persona 4 Golden and Fire Emblem Awakening).

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3. iPhone 5 – If I have a spare minute (or thirty), I fire up Clash of Clans or one of my favorite Kairosoft titles (now being Ninja Village) to get my gaming fix. LINE also has a bunch of games like Puzzle Bobble (who hasn’t played or got addicted to that game though) but it gets pretty limited because of the fatigue-based mechanic (5 stages at a time, then you have to wait 30 minutes to replenish one stage turn). It’s pretty lightweight as a gaming platform but with millions of users, even Square Enix has picked up the pace and ported some of its most popular titles on iTunes.

4. PlayStation 3, XBOX 360 and Wii U – Exclusive titles and things more epic go to one of these consoles. Admittedly, I haven’t fired up anything recently (probably Wind Waker U from a few months back), but I still have a few discs lying around that I should look into finishing before I get a…

5. PlayStation 4Dragon Age: Inquisition comes out in a few months; I happen to be a big DA fan so this is the title that will make me break the bank to get a unit. Priced competitively and having supported off-screen play through the PS Vita, this is definitely the next step to my gaming progression.

From upgrades to new models to competing brands, deciphering what’s worth the splurge is an exhausting, confusing feat. So, SM Supermalls is making it easy for you as they celebrate Cyber Month for the whole month of August.

Get a gadget upgrade and join in the geeky fun with SM Supermalls’ exciting line-up of activities that will make all tech lovers go crazy:

  • Tech Sale – Stock up on the latest gadgets at discounted prices in the biggest technology sale of the year.
  • Cybervasion – Discover and experience the latest gadgets at their interactive tech displays.
  • Game Station – Check the hottest gaming consoles and videogames of the season.
  • Cosplay Parade – Catch your favorite characters and the most outrageous costumes at their exciting cosplay parade.

Even more surprises await online with SM Supermalls’ #31HappyCyberDays promo:

  • DigiTalk – Answer Cyber Month-related questions on the SM Supermalls Facebook page and win cool prizes.
  • Cyber Rave – Listen to what your favorite blogger has to say about their favorite gadgets of 2014.
  • Tech Throwback – Send in a pic of your “antique” gadget together with a clever caption or funny story and win its modern-day counterpart.

Be the first on scene with the newest gizmos as SM Supermalls celebrates Cyber Month until August 31. For more details, like SM Supermalls on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@smsupermalls), and use the hashtag #EverythingForTheTechieInYou. You can also like their SM Cyberzone Facebook Fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/smcyberzone. Contact these numbers for queries: (02) 876-1111 (Metro Manila) / 0917 876-1111 (Globe) / 0908 876-1111 (Smart) / 0922 876-1111 (Sun).

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.

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hyperdimension neptunia producing perfection (2)Upon final reflection, there really isn’t any sensible way to describe Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection (which I am abbreviating to PP for no other reason other than the fact that I am an immature cad). It’s easy to compare the game to contemporaries that some may have heard of (i.e., Idolm@ster or even the Princess Maker series), but there aren’t any checkboxes, descriptors, nor genres that accurately depict the game’s scope, much less in a Western gamer’s context and worldview.

The game opens up with you, the player (clearly assuming that you are a heterosexual male, of course), somehow finding himself within the confines of Gamindustri, Hyperdimension Neptunia’s game world. As one can surmise, the world is a metaphor for the game industry, with four Goddesses lording over it: Neptune (the series’ protagonist representing Sega; let’s not laugh at the irony here), Noire (cold, raven-haired vixen representing Sony’s monolithic corporate values), Blanc (meek and introverted, somehow signifying Nintendo), and Vert (Xbox-tan, shockingly the only character that appears to be over 18, also has the largest rack out of the group because ‘MURRICA). Somehow the player has to help either one of these fine gals become the number one idol in Gamindustri and defeat the looming menace of rival group MOB-48, who are slowly winning over the populace’s love with music and (assumedly) hips that won’t quit.

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I suppose the most apt one-liner that describes the game is that it is an “idol raising simulation.” No doubt this summary raises even more questions about the game’s milieu. Perhaps “Tamagotchi with underaged anime girls” would be a more apt description? Either way, the game plays out as a fairly competent management sim, albeit a little more shallow than others. Essentially you plan out activities that raise your charge’s abilities in singing and dancing, while keeping their stress levels down by getting to socialize with the other goddesses, taking short vacations, or even going out with them on dates yourself (conflict of interest alert!). At times you do get to man the producer’s booth and plan out concerts featuring your idol, letting you pick the setting, attire, and song for the day, and later letting you blow up pyrotechnics and change camera angles while your idol is actually on-stage.

The whole management aspect of the game is actually fairly fun and light-hearted, with the only problem being that there isn’t much motivation to soldier forward. The plot moves at a glacial pace, with surprisingly few snags on your idol’s way to success (I jest, but shouldn’t every idol have to deal with bulimia, cocaine addiction, and unwanted pregnancies?). Depending on your tolerance for the game’s brand of humor, you may find the dialogue and jokes Neptune and gang spit out endearing, or simply a reason for NIS to have a “skip” button. I personally found the game’s dialogue detestable and jammed on the skip button with incredible eagerness.

hyperdimension neptunia producing perfection (6)With that being said, PP is clearly a niche game for a niche audience. It’s actually in a very odd space; a casual game wrapped in a presentation that unfortunately most won’t be able to look past. I’ll concede that the pace is okay for a handheld game where one can only stomach thirty-minute spurts at a time, but it’s a tough sell even for Vita owners that are desperate for any sort of games on their handheld.

It’s tough to give Producing Perfection a solid recommendation either way. Starved Vita gamers have lots on their plate over the next few months if they’re in the mood for niche Japanese games. Neptunia fans, the weird lot they are, will probably buy this game for the simple opportunity to see their favorite console-tans dolled up in highly-questionable clothing. I’d like to support the fact that NIS America continues to localize extremely niche titles, but unlike Danganronpa, this may be too niche of a title, and could have stayed in Japan.

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I always appreciate it when JRPGs stray from the typical “saving the world” quest in favor of a more personal and focused one. With that being said, I’ve always had an affinity towards the Atelier series, whether it’s because of the beautiful anime art style or the deeply addictive crafting system, they always got their hooks into me and Atelier Totori Plus was no different. But if you’re a person averse to the overly cutesy, somewhat awkward, moekko brand of fan service that Japan usually traffics in then you’d probably want to stay clear from this game at all costs. But if you can get past that aspect you’ll be pleased to find a unique, incredibly addictive, item-driven RPG.

Atelier Totori Plus is a Vita port of Atelier Totori, a PS3-exclusive that came out in 2011, that brings over all the content from its PS3 counterpart, along with a few bonuses to sweeten the deal. This version comes with all the DLC previously released on the PS3 variant with a bunch of unlockable costumes and a new post-game dungeon that fans of Atelier Rorona would recognize. This gives returning players something to look forward to but not much.

You play as Totooria Helmold (Totori for short), a 14 yr. old girl (13 in the Japanese version) aspiring to be an alchemist in order to become a registered “Adventurer”. She wants nothing more but to see her mother who went missing a few years back and the story throughout remains focused on the people who cares and supports her and it never really develops into anything convoluted or world-altering and the game is better for it.

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Derp.

Thanks to Atelier Totori’s simplistic visuals and design, it was never an enormous drain on the PS3’s hardware which makes it perfect for the Vita. In fact, it looks better on the Vita’s smaller screen than it did on the PS3. It’s worth noting that there are minor frame rate drops and somewhat longer loading times but nothing that overtly ruins the experience. As for the art style itself, Atelier Totori touts highly detailed, hand drawn character portraits that you’ll frequently see throughout the story and is really brought to life thanks to the artistic vision of Mel Kishida. The core game features a light color palette and cel-shaded character models that add a certain je ne sais quoi to the game that makes it stand out.

As for the gameplay, it is divided into three different aspects, combat, exploration and crafting. From fighting monsters to synthesizing items, everything you do in the game consumes time and learning how to manage that is the key to achieving success. Side quests in Atelier Totori come in the form of bite-sized requests, which can be as simple as collecting ingredients to fighting challenging boss monsters. And like everything in the game, time management is key because all of these quests have deadlines and it’s pretty easy to overwhelm yourself when you take on too many at once.

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The game utilizes an old-fashioned system. And when I say turn-based, I don’t mean some sort of real-time/turn based hybrid; I’d place it in the same vein as Final Fantasy X or Lost Odyssey where you have allies lined up with a turn grid at the bottom of the screen. In regards to the actual combat, it’s rather dull at the start but picks up later on as the story progresses.

They also add in some features to add flavor to the battles. Sometimes, when Totori is about to be attacked, you’ll see button prompts over your other two other characters. Above the two will be L or R which, when pressed, will allow them to support Totori in various ways. For example, Mimi will jump right in to absorb the attack, and Gino will execute a follow-up attack.

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Exploration mainly comprises navigating through the world using map and running through a wide variety of areas that open up as you gain adventurer points that you earn from doing in game achievements. In these areas you will find gather points in which items are procured from.

Combat is further enhanced with the staggeringly deep crafting system that the series is known for. With the ingredients that you can find in the world, Totori can create a wide variety of items that can be used to heal, attack, or support the party. Every Recipe calls for at least two ingredients, which can either be one specific item or any item that falls into a category (like Lumber, Gunpowder, or Herbs).  As well, each ingredient has its own quality between 1(low) and 100 (high), and effects (such as lightning enchantments or smelling funny) that contribute to your synthesized item’s overall rank – which ranges from a quality A to a crappy E.  Although, just because you use quality ingredients, that doesn’t mean your alchemy will turn out.  As you synthesize more and more, you’ll level up Totori’s Alchemy rank, which you’ll need for the harder Recipes – as until you reach higher levels there is a chance you’ll fail and waste your ingredients.  Should you succeed, you will be able to add the sub-effects of your ingredients into the final product.This concoction, mixed with the ingredients’ overall quality and your rank makes just about every single item you create unique, with no two outcomes ever being the same.

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Atelier Totori Plus contains English and Japanese language tracks as well as a very unique musical score. I didn’t quite care for the English voicing, it worked but not well, Peter’s voice made me wish I was deaf. Atelier Totori Plus is a very silly and cute game; that doesn’t often translate well into English. So it was a welcome addition that Japanese tracks were included. From a perspective of the Japanese voice tracks, it was very well done. Hearing Mimi throw a tantrum after being thrown some prying words or Totori try to defuse an awkward moment was just classic. It’s also important to note that not all of the game was voiced in English. Many tasks such as synthesizing have Japanese voice over, but no English.

The music itself is hit and miss. There are some very beautiful scores that set a tone of adventure and immersion. However I found myself killing the music as some areas, like Totori’s hometown, features some really odd tunes. It might be me, but I didn’t find the soundtrack appealing at all.

Pros:

  • Accessible, and unlike most RPGs, ideal for short bursts of gameplay.
  • Unconventional design, opting for free-flow player progression.
  • Item synthesis compliments the core gameplay, offering plenty of depth.
  • 10 unique endings to unlock that extend replay value considerably.
  • Great anime art style and character designs.
  • Bite-sized quests that is ideal for on the go gaming.

Cons:

  • Minor frame rate issues and technical hiccups.
  • First few hours can be tedious.
  • English voice acting on the male side is weak overall.

 

Atelier Totori Plus

Developer: Gust

Publisher: NIS America (PS3) Tecmo Koei (PS Vita)

Reviewed: PlayStation Vita version

Alas, it’s that time of year again where every otherwise-rational gaming enthusiast turns into drooling manchildren, evacuating their trousers for games that will never live up to their expectations. It must be E3 season!

Due to… scheduling conflicts (yeah let’s go with that), 30lives won’t be able to actively cover E3 this year like we were able to last year. However, we promise that we’ll be sending out smarmy tweets and Facebook posts whenever appropos, so make sure to watch our social media pages for ’em. Predictions? We haven’t been paying much attention. Personally I’m pining for a Fallout 4 trailer (with gameplay this time) and for Nintendo to pull something cool out their behinds. Otherwise, it’s looking like a “safe,” sterile and uneventful E3 this year, as none of the expected announcements really excite me.

If you’re new to E3, you’ll soon figure out that the actual press conferences (i.e., where the actual hype/hilarity happens) actually take place a few days from the conference. That’s right, starting tomorrow, all bets are on as to which company’s PR/marketing department deserves to be fired. Microsoft will kick off the pressers at 9:30am (PST, which is… 12:30am Tuesday Philippine time), followed by EA, Ubisoft, and Sony. Nintendo won’t have a live press conference; instead they’ll be broadcasting a live Nintendo Direct to take the company’s yearly dump on their fans. I really liked this chart from NeoGAF, so I’ll be stealing it. For those that didn’t make it past grade school, the Perth/AWST schedule is what you’re supposed to be looking at.

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Twitch.tv will be the official streaming partner for this year’s E3, and will be broadcasting a smorgasbord of content throughout the next week. For your convenience, here’s what’s on their schedule; please note that all times specified are in Pacific Standard Time.

Monday 6/9 PT

  • 9:30am – Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing
  • 11:00am – Xbox E3 2014 Media Briefing Post show
  • 11:30pm – Hotline Miami 2 (Dennaton Games/Devolver Digital)
  • 12:00pm – EA World Premiere: E3 2014 Preview
  • 1:00pm – Battlefield Hardline Live Stream
  • 2:00pm – EA World Premiere: E3 2014 Post show
  • 2:30pm – Battlecry (Bethesda)
  • 3:00pm – Ubisoft 2014 E3 Media Briefing
  • 4:00pm – Ubisoft 2014 E3 Media Briefing Post show
  • 4:30pm – Witcher 3 (CD Projekt RED)
  • 5:00pm – Dying Light (Techland)
  • 5:30pm – Final thoughts
  • 6:00pm – PlayStation E3 2014 Press Conference

Tuesday 6/10 PT

  • 9:00am – Nintendo Digital Event
  • 10:00am – Deep Silver (Unannounced title)
  • 10:15am – Deep Silver (Unannounced title)
  • 10:30am – Dragon Age: Inquisition (EA)
  • 11:00am – Ubisoft (Unannounced title)
  • 11:20am – The Division (Ubisoft)
  • 11:40am – Farcry 4 (Ubisoft)
  • 12:00pm – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Activision)
  • 12:20pm – Microsoft Studios (Unannounced title)
  • 12:40pm – Microsoft Studios (Unannounced title)
  • 1:00pm – DRIVECLUB (SCEA)
  • 1:20pm – Evil Within (Bethesda)
  • 1:40pm – Lords of the Fallen (NAMCO)
  • 2:00pm – Destiny (Activision/BUNGIE)
  • 2:20pm – The Order: 1886 (SCEA)
  • 2:40pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 3:00pm – Evolve Special Tournament (2K)
  • 4:00pm – Super Smash Bros. Invitational (Nintendo)

Wednesday 6/11 PT

  • 10:00am – Alienware
  • 10:30am – Twitch Time
  • 11:00am – Sunset Overdrive (Insomniac Games/Microsoft Studios)
  • 11:20am – ID@Xbox (Unannounced title)
  • 11:40am – Killer Instinct: Season Two (Iron Galaxy/Microsoft Studios)
  • 12:00pm – Square Enix (Unannounced title)
  • 12:20pm – Square Enix (Unannounced title)
  • 12:40pm – H1Z1 (Sony Online Entertainment)
  • 1:00pm – EA (Unannounced title)
  • 1:20pm – Batman: Arkham Knight (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • 1:40pm – Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment)
  • 2:10pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 2:30pm – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Unannounced title)
  • 2:50pm – Crytek (Unannounced title)
  • 3:00pm – SCEA (Unannounced title)
  • 3:15pm – SCEA (Unannounced title)
  • 3:30pm – Hohokum (Honeyslug, SCE Santa Monica Studio)
  • 3:45pm – Helldivers (Arrowhead Game Studios/Sony Computer Entertainment)
  • 4:00pm – Alien Isolation (The Creative Assembly/SEGA)
  • 4:20pm – Civilization: Beyond Earth (2K)
  • 4:40pm – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition on PS4 (Blizzard)
  • 5:00pm – Evolve Special Tournament (2K)

Thursday 6/12 PT

  • 10:00am – Tetris w/creator Alexey Pajitnov
  • 10:15am – Zombies Monsters Robots (Ying Pei Games)
  • 10:30am – Guinness World Records – certificate presentation
  • 11:00am – Fable Legends (LionHead/Microsoft Studios)
  • 11:20am – #IDARB (ID@Xbox)
  • 11:40am – Project Spark (Team Dakota/Microsoft Studios)
  • 12:00pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 12:20am – Square Enix (Unannounced title)
  • 12:40pm – PlanetSide 2 PS4 Edition (Sony Online Entertainment)
  • 1:00pm – 505 Games (TBD) 1:20pm – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Unannounced title)
  • 1:40pm – Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (Gearbox/2K)
  • 2:00pm – Ubisoft (Unannounced title)
  • 2:20pm – The Crew (Ubisoft)
  • 2:40pm – Nintendo Demo
  • 3:00pm – Tecmo Koei (Unannounced title)
  • 3:20pm – Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes (Disney Interactive)
  • 3:40pm – SEGA Sonic BOOM! (SEGA)
  • 4:00pm – Evolve Special Tournament (2K)

Freedom Wars, SCE Japan Studio’s interesting action-RPG hybrid with a Foucauldian twist, will receive a local release via Sony’s official retail partners on June 26th for the price of PhP2499, coinciding with its Japanese release. The interesting bit about this news is that we’ll apparently be getting the Japanese-language version on launch, with a completely different launch for the Chinese-language version to follow in August. Not sure what this means for us indios who deal strictly in Latin-based alphabets, but we’ve contacted Sony to clarify.

Maybe there’s a stealth English translation on the Japanese release we don’t know of? Japanese-release games having a complete English translation on launch isn’t that far-fetched; the first three Phoenix Wright re-releases had dual language on the Japanese carts, for instance. Anyway, press release follows after the cut!

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Something to get excited about, folks. Local game developer Altitude Games is releasing a mobile game reminiscent of your favorite Tokusatsu shows from the 80s called Run Run Super V.

RRSV_ScreenMockup_VehicleModeThe game has three different modes:  Run mode which is a side-scrolling runner game mode set in the city, Vehicle mode where you can blast baddies in a shooter type of game and this is where it gets interesting, the Robot Mode where you can all “volt in” to fight a daikaiju (giant monster) and time your attacks to defeat it. The game uses one-touch controls like tapping or swiping so casual gamers can get in on the fun without breaking a sweat.

An interesting social feature is also integrated in the game where you can invite your friends for team missions. Each friend can play one of the sentai guys (or girl!) and play the different game modes together. Special rewards are acquired if your team performs well in each mission, and these are stuff that you cannot get in the single player mode too.

Each ranger is customizable with power ups, vehicles and other stuff and you can do that by getting rewards or buying them in the game’s store.

“Robots, aliens, rangers doing hero poses, and a burning team spirit. That’s what Sentai is all about. It’s flashy, epic, and never gets old,” said Jan Rey Solomon, Product Manager at Altitude Games. “We’re super-psyched to let everyone experience THAT, on the go.” RRSV_ScreenMockup_RobotMode

“We love playing mobile games that combine familiar gameplay with cool and unexpected themes, and that’s what we want to do with Super V,” Luna Cruz, Altitude’s Creative Director added. “We want it to be a game people get excited about, and they can’t wait to form squads with their friends and do missions together. That’s the dream.”

Run Run Super V is set to launch at Q4 of this year for Android and iOS devices and will be free to play.  Hopefully we can review it when it comes out!

Get ready for an awesome PlayStation month even if you don’t have extra money to buy new games!

First up, PS3 owners get Lara Croft’s latest adventure for zilch. Tomb Raider was one of our top games of last year and the PS4 definitive edition was just released this month so this is an amazing and surprising addition to the IGC.

The PS3 also gets indie love in the form of Thomas Was Alone — an award-winning platformer, and Lone Survivor: Director’s Cut — a survival adventure game.

Going next-gen nets you a free download of the excellent Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition. This co-op twin-stick zombie shooter that was originally released on the PS3 is now coming to the PS4 bundled with all the DLC and updated visuals.

On the handheld side of things we get the 3rd person shooter Unit 13 and Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP game, playable on Vita). Kinda lame but you can’t beat free, right?

 

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition (PS4)

Dead Nation: Apocalypse Edition

Free for PS Plus members

Run-and-gun through the zombie apocalypse as hit arcade shooter Dead Nation shuffles onto PlayStation 4. Fight for your life alone or with a friend as Jack McReady or Scarlett Blake as you step onto the streets of a city overrunwith undead flesh-eaters. And, if you’re feeling really brave, take a walk down the Road of Devastation – a deadly experiment that pushes your survival skills to the absolute limit as you face hordes of zombies with no extra lives and no second chances. The dead may walk – but you can make sure they don’t walk very far.

 

Tomb Raider (PS3)

Tomb Raider

Free for PS Plus members

This newest rendition of Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to the hardened survivor that she would become known as. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.

 

Thomas Was Alone (PS3)

Thomas Was Alone

Free for PS Plus members

Thomas Was Alone is the critically acclaimed indie platformer about friendship and jumping. Guide a group of sentient rectangles through a series of environments, combining their skills to reach the end of each level. Listen to awesome music by David Housden, negotiate obstacles meticulously placed by Mike Bithell and immerse yourself in the characters’ journey with a voiceover read wistfully and amusingly by Danny Wallace.

 

Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut (PS3)

Lone Survivor Director's Cut

Free for PS Plus members

In this psychological survival adventure, the masked protagonist must escape from a city ravaged by disease, by any means necessary. Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut is a new kind of adventure where the choice of how to survive is up to you. Sneak through without firing a single shot, or kill everything in your path. Eat and sleep well, or resort to drugs to keep going. Search for survivors, or try to escape the city alone. Look after your mental health, or descend into madness. Lone Survivor is a game where your choices genuinely matter.

 

Unit 13 (PS Vita)

Unit 13

Free for PS Plus members

Jump into the action with Unit 13 for PlayStation®Vita and conquer 36 tactical missions and 9 high value target battles as you help take down global terror networks and earn your place in the military elite. With the precision of the PlayStation Vita systems’s dual analog sticks and unique touch interface, Unit 13 is the perfect on-the-go action shooter. Wi-Fi connectivity adds fast 2-player co-op action, and 3G compatibility keeps you connected for instant social updates and new daily mission challenges.

 

Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite (PS Vita)

Monster Hunter Freedom Unite

Free for PS Plus members

In the world of Monster Hunter you’re never alone.
-The biggest Monster Hunter title to date with over 500 hours of gameplay.
-Huge variety of character customizations including 1400 weapons and over 2000 armor sets.
-Players can form a team of up to 4 players through Ad-Hoc play and experience the social gaming phenomenon.
-AI Felyne companion, who will accompany players on quests and provide aid through the challenging battles. With the ‘Felyne Exchange’ feature players can share their companions with other players, transferring data using the PSP’s sleep mode.
-Fans of the series can transfer their data from Monster Hunter Freedom 2.

 

You can name this game as a Final Fantasy spin-off like “FF: Crystal Chronicles Dimensions” or however you want to fit in the word “3D”. I imagine that they would have called it Final Fantasy something and deferred that idea due to less-than satisfactory sales of non-Final Fantasy Numbers games. Regardless of the glaring similarities in the game system of Bravely Default with Final Fantasy games, credit must be given where it is due, it is a well made game.

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Bravely Default is as turn-based as it gets.

Bravely Default is the summary of the collective experiences of classic Final Fantasy games (I through VI), updated to appeal to a younger/more casual player base. The game is also integrated with a social networking experience (Streetpass and a “Netfriend” system) to deliver a some-what refreshing RPG experience while feeling all yet too familiar to older fans of the genre with classic turn-based mechanics and the ever-loved job class system.

The story revolves around four (4) characters namely: Tiz Arrior, the sole survivor of a great calamity which struck his home town of Norende the wake of the disaster would be known as the “Great Chasm”.  Agnes Oblige, the Vestal of Wind who has the ability to awaken crystals. Ringabel, an enigmatic man with no memories of his past with a penchant of speaking perverted thoughts out loud seemingly without knowledge of basic social graces and Edea Lee an impulsive young girl who has a very simple view on values by categorizing them as black or white. They are accompanied by the ever-charming “cryst-fairy” only known as Airy. She possesses the “collective knowledge” of all vestals of the crystal from the past and guides Agnes in awakening the crystals to prevent the end of the world.

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It’s not a Square game without fantastic graphics (most of the time).

Struggling to save a world in turmoil from the crystals losing its light and the oppressive kingdom of Eternia opposing the religion of the Crystal Orthodoxy our main characters fight an uphill battle against Eternia‘s elite forces and ancient evils which have corrupted the crystals. A new job class is unlocked every time the group defeats Eternia’s top soldiers and leaders by taking their “job asterisk”. These will unlock a new set of active and passive skills which will prove vital in future boss fights and competing the game.

I must emphasize that unlocking all the job classes is absolutely essential not only for beating the game but enjoying the game to the fullest. The combinations of skills from several jobs is key to making your life a whole lot easier as proven by this interesting bit of news from Bravely Default’s Japanese release. While I didn’t bother to attempt that feat, playing Bravely Default smartly is something I agree with. Capping out your character level and getting the best gear means squat because the later chapter boss fights will prove to be impossible unless you figure out the right combinations to outlast them or even to completely suppress their relentless assaults.037

The Brave and Default system makes battles more interesting. Each action a character takes costs one (1) Brave Point (BP), you can have them make a maximum of four (4) actions per turn by using the Brave command. You do not need to accumulate Brave Points to take multiple actions in one turn but when your BP falls below zero at the start of your turn, that character cannot take an action until your BP is at least zero. The Default command simply raises your defense at no expense of BP, allowing you to accumulate Brave Points to take multiple actions without losing turns. This simple system can be used and abused based on your job skill combinations and opens up various ways to beat certain bosses. What I really like about this system is how battles turn into combinations of exciting big swings from you to your enemies at least until you figure out the extremely cheese combos which I abused ’till the end of the game.

It is very difficult to discuss Bravely Default in detail without spoiling the entire game so here is a run down on key features of the game that will help you figure out if the game is worth your time or not. But if you do pick up the game or have already done so, I invite you to look back at this review after completing the game. A lot of things will suddenly make more sense.

Good Points:

  1. Graphics (it’s Square, duh)Once your eyes get settled with the game after the nice CG intro, you will find that the graphics of the game is done really well. Especially with the background environments. When you leave your game idle, the map will zoom out for a breath taking scenery you can further appreciate with the 3D option of your 3DS (because 2Ds owners am cry).

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    It looks even better in 3D.
  2. Streamlined game – The character XP and job XP are streamlined so that you can max everything out with little effort if you play smartly. There are a lot of features which make “grinding” a walk in the park like Auto-Battle which remembers the last actions your characters take and the option to increase or decrease your random encounter rate. You will at the least want to max out your job levels to play around with all the skills so Bravely Default gives you all the tools to play your game with ease.
  3. Job Class System – Boss fights in later chapters will prove to be some of the best battles yet. Granted that there are some fool-proof methods to beat them, you are not limited to those combinations only (you also need to figure them out first). You can attempt to beat bosses with the various tools presented to you outside abusing the Bravely Second skill which allows you to take extra actions at no penalty and break the 9999 damage cap. You can try to beat bosses while retaining some of your favorite job classes whilst taking on a handicap because sometimes the journey is more exciting than the answer.
  4. Character Development – There is a surprisingly huge amount of character depth despite the droll plot of the game. As you go through the course of the game, the growing cast of characters keep developing their personality to maturity.

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    Unacceptable!
  5. Game Depth – This isn’t a “you will get 60 hours of game-play, this is worth it!” thing. Rather, the meat of the game is in overcoming challenges presented to you. While everything is ruined by consulting an online guide, relying on your understanding of the game’s job system is the real reward in playing Bravely Default. I mean if that is your thing.

Bad Points:

  1. Voice Acting – This could really have been done better. They sometimes sound like they are just being played over a voice recorder and some character voice acting are just plain bland. It really puts a damper of a pretty nice soundtrack. Your usual orchestral fair.
  2. Plot Structure – Einstein once said insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” and I couldn’t agree with it more. This does not pertain to grinding in the game but a more core aspect of the game, the plot.
  3. Not expansive – When the game’s plot unravels, you will realize that the game world is not as expansive as you were lead on to believe.

X-Factors:

  1. Micro-transactions – Anything under this is normally bad but it does provide a way for people to share their benefits (of dealing incredibly insane amounts of damage by using Second Points (used to activate Bravely Second) or even buying them. While viewed by some as “breaking the game”, it is an edge you have the option to use. If you pride yourself too much in being “such a hardcore gamer” don’t use: problem solved.

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    One thing I didn’t write much about: Special skills, lots of special skills
  2. Social Networking Features – While Bravely Default is in the strictest sense a traditional RPG. The inclusion of the Abilink and Send Skill feature really helps break in casual gamers into the genre. Abilinks are the collective job levels your registered friends on your 3DS have already attained. You can start out a game at level but have maxed out job levels already. This takes out the grind for the player who benefits from Abilinks from early adopters. With this, new players can focus on core game-play and the story rather than take time to level up. If you have really hardcore RPG playing friends, they probably already found a way to deal hundreds of thousands of damage and can share their skill for you to summon in times of dire need, that’s if they’re not selfish. If they are, you may stumble on someone who is not as selfish, as I have.  Net Friends are random people you can add up as villagers and receive their sent skills. No worries about your privacy, as this is Nintendo, absolutely no personal information Friend Codes included will be shared with these people.
  3. Added Value – On top of the above mentioned social networking features, you can access additional content through the rebuilding or Norende. You can gain access to valuable items, weapons, Special skill parts and new costumes for your character through re-populating Norende and upgrading the shops using villages you acquire through Streetpass or from sending invitess to “Net Friends” daily. You will also receive Nemesis monsters to fight from your Streetpasses and Net Friends. These Nemesis are challenging boss monsters which drop permanent stat improving items provided you can beat them. There is a challenge for everyone all the way to level 99. While entirely optional, rebuilding Norende does unlock a lot of goodies for you.

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    Rebuilding Norende
  4. New Game Plus – That’s replay value for you should you crave for more but honestly, once is more than enough. I’ve enjoyed Bravely Default thoroughly in my first play-though.

Overall, I would still say Bravely Default is an extremely well made RPG which will appeal to its traditional fans and makes a strong attempt to break into non-RPG players through social networking. It uses its fan-base as ambassadors of the genre through Abilinks and Net Friends to give casual gamers a huge edge in the game which they would normally not attempt to achieve by spending their time grinding in the game. If you like role-playing games, this is a no-brainer. Buy it.

There are potential spoilers below. Highlight the space below at your own risk.

As a head-up to current and potential players of Bravely Default, the droll plot of the game will eventually make sense of standard RPG functions which are treated as plot holes such as save-points. He he he.

 

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I’m playing a visual novel that stars high school students physically and psychologically pitted against each other by a sadistic, faceless higher authority figure binding them with the allure of freedom and the constant fear of death and betrayal. What game am I playing? If you answered 999, Virtue’s Last Reward, or even Corpse Party, then you are wrong. Danganronpa (5)Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc takes place in (what appears to be) Hope’s Peak Academy, home of only the most elite students Japan has to offer… And you. The protagonist, Makoto Naegi, is your standard faceless teenager that happened to win the opportunity to join this elite school as part of a random drawing. Unlike most of his schoolmates, Naegi has absolutely zero special skills or remarkable characteristics apart from his apparent luck in being picked to join Hope’s Peak, hence he is dubbed the “Ultimate Lucky Student.” Other such “Ultimates” reside in the school with equally-wacky titles such as the “Ultimate Biker Gang Leader,” the “Ultimate Swimming Pro,” and even the “Ultimate Fanfic Creator.” After much proselytizing from the main character on how lucky he is to be part of that elite academy, he steps foot into the school and faints, awakening to find that all is not what it seems: He and fourteen other schoolmates meet in a soiree of confusion, fear and uncertainty as a deceptively-cute headmaster named Monokuma explains their current predicament in no uncertain terms: they are trapped. Trapped indefinitely inside the very school they wished to attend, with only one option for escape: kill. More precisely, kill and not be caught by the rest of the student body. The game can best be described as a strange amalgamation of 999, Phoenix Wright, and some elements of Persona hewed in. The first comparison shouldn’t come as much of a surprise as both games were birthed from the twisted minds over at Spike Chunsoft. The game plays like a standard visual novel for the first half of every chapter and abruptly segues into a morose version of Ace Attorney where you gather clues about each murder, pointing out contradictions later on in the classroom trial and ultimately piecing all of the information you’ve gathered to finger a final suspect. Danganronpa (3) The characters are but the emptiest of empty vessels and simply serve two purposes. Firstly, to provide the player a fetishistic reference to an understandable common context he/she can latch on to; hence the fifteen initial students presented to the player are relatable, one-dimensional caricatures that the player has probably seen in other media (i.e., anime “archetypes”) or in real-life, perhaps drawing upon his/her experience as a forgettable, nondescript high school student with no discernible skills or abilities (already assumed). Secondly, as each character has unique strengths and inevitable character flaws, they inevitably serve as glorifed storyline cues and ways to advance the plot. Danganronpa (4)To be fair, you do get to know more about each characters’ respective back-stories by building relationships in the game’s “free time” mode, a more shallow take on Persona’s “Social Link” dating-sim aspect wherein the player receives the option to seek the rest of the game’s cast leisurely strolling about the campus. Once you’ve found your target, the game mechanically asks you if you “want to spend time” with that character, which pulls up a choice to give your “date” a gift. Gifts are trinkets that can be won on the game’s solitary capsule machine, which the player can discern and match up to his current date as to what little curio is appropriate to hand out. Positive responses give you additional Skills and Skill Points that make the “lawyer-y” parts of the game a little easier. This, however, exposes an inherent issue with the genre—one can spend easily spend 30 hours taking the “scenic route” in Danganronpa, talking to each and every character, pushing every switch, opening every door; but invariably it will always be the same character that triggers the next sequence in the plot. I realize at this point that deconstructing the mechanics of a visual novel of all things isn’t really giving the game any justice. Ultimately, the game provides the player with a linear path from point A, the opening, to point B, the conclusion; with several false endings strewn throughout. It’s shallow entertainment and isn’t supposed to let the player in on the true meaning of the human condition or anything like that. Danganronpa (2)I suppose a more legitimate reason to fault the game is because it tries to do too many things at the same time. Instead of presenting evidence directly and pointing out contradictions like in the Ace Attorney games, one of the class trials’ (many) mini-games has you shoot “evidence bullets” towards statements that fly by the screen to point out inconsistencies in your classmates’ statements. Then after that you get to play hangman (Hangaroo for the plebians out there) by shooting letters that fly into the screen to suss out key words that turn the case around. Then after that you play a rhythm mini-game reminiscent of Bust a Groove to shoot down any further objections. After you’ve proven your point, you get to rebuild the whole scenario as it played out by putting panels on a little comic sheet that illustrates what really went down during the case. If this all sounds incredibly convoluted to you, that’s because it is; and the same confused design ethos follows through the other mini-games and distractions that permeate this title. They don’t appear frequently enough as to hinder the rest of the game, but are definitely jarring experiences. Danganronpa’s aesthetics shine on the Vita’s OLED screen, with crisp character portraits and bright UI elements that take more than just mere inspiration from Atlus’ Persona 4. And for once, high school kids in a Japanese game look vaguely like high school kids should—i.e., not like toddlers with bolt-on breasts. That said, the audio side of the presentation fares just as well, with a variety of aurally-pleasing tracks that range from cheery to spooky to downright terrifying. The English voice-acting team also deserves similar praise as each character’s voice is spot-on and adds a lot to the game’s ambiance. Maybe I’m a sucker for this particular subset of the genre, but I had a hard time putting Danganronpa down. There’s nothing particularly sophisticated about the game’s plot, game mechanics, or presentation; but as someone who barely reads fiction, I’m assuming my experience with the game wouldn’t be that far from what most would feel reading a good novel from cover to cover. Perhaps it’s because my current living situation mandates I live a boring, vanilla suburban life but I simply could not lay my PS Vita to rest until I reached each chapter’s conclusion and find out what messed-up situation these kids get into next. Thanks to the folks at NIS America for providing us with a pre-release copy of Danganronpa. Class starts tomorrow on the PlayStation Network and at your friendly local Datablitz or iTech-type retailers.

Word.
Word.

Awesome month coming for PlayStation Plus members. Sony has announced the February lineup for its Instant Games Collection but this time they made a nifty handy-dandy cool video detailing it. So watch it (embedded above) and be informed/amused.

For those of you who don’t want moving images, here’s a list and a picture:

Outlast (PS4)

Metro: Last Light (PS3)

Payday 2 (PS3)

Remember Me (PS3)  starring Renz Verano.

Street Fighter X Tekken (PS Vita)

ModNation Racers: Road Trip (PS Vita)

Starting this Tuesday (early Wednesday morning locally) and through next week, the North American PlayStation Store will offer 11 Final Fantasy titles at a discounted price (bigger savings if you are a PlayStation Plus member).

Prices listed are normal discounted and PS Plus discounted, respectively.

  • Final Fantasy IX — $5.99 / $5.39
  • Final Fantasy Origins  — $5.99 / $5.39
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2 — $9.99 / $8.99
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Collector’s Edition — $35.39 / $32.39
  • Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn Standard Edition — $23.99 / $21.59
  • Dissidia Duodecim Final Fantasy — $9.99 / $8.99
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy — $9.99 / $8.99
  • Final Fantasy III — $9.99 / $8.99
  • Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection — $9.99 / $8.99
  • Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions — $4.99 / $4.49
  • Final Fantasy V — $5.99 / $5.39

So are you picking up anything?

Capcom has announced that the much-awaited Monster Hunter 4 is going stateside “early 2015”. The english-speaking world will get the equivalent of Monster Hunter 4G in Japan — an enhanced version of the vanilla Monster Hunter 4 that has more content. Much like what Monster Hunter 3G was to Monster Hunter 3.

Unlike MH3U before it that had both 3DS and Wii U versions, MH4U is only announced for the 3DS. And I don’t have a problem with that.

This one has online multiplayer (finally!) so the days of meeting up in a coffee house to play are over.

Nooice!

mh4u

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This is not your momma’s Zelda.

The only Zelda game I have thoroughly played is The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, the great classic on the SNES system back in the day. I have always loved how a top-view adventure RPGs can package a lengthy and deep adventure concisely and this new sequel A Link Between Worlds is no exception. While game design and development choices have made me or possibly you cynical about sequels to great classics, rest assured that this is not a soulless shell of a quick cash grab that we have been repeatedly exposed to over the last decade of games.

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That worm dude boss is bigger than this but is still 100% annoying.

While the entire world of Link Between Worlds looks familiar to those who have played A Link to the Past, the similarities end with the familiar locations. Each scene is not a carbon copy of its SNES predecessor nor are the dungeons or bosses in any way rehashed (except for one distinctively annoying worm). Some of them may look derivative (like the Thieves’ Hideout boss) but they don’t play the same. It’s a brand new game with modified mechanics and different challenges (where you still have to collect the same pendants to get the Master Sword, lol) so you can have your slice of nostalgia pie and enjoy an entirely new experience.

One major deviation from the Zelda formula is the immediately availability of most tools (Hookshot, Ice and Fire Wand, etc.) which are rented from one of the supporting characters of the game, the mysterious Rovio. Others may find this change detrimental to the game, I on the other hand appreciate this streamlining. You are not required to take on any dungeon or boss in any particular order. Rented weapons are lost upon dying so there is a bigger sense of urgency to stay alive while you earn enough rupees to purchase the rent weapons so that you can retain them even after getting killed and upgrade them. Yes, you can upgrade all your tools in Link Between Worlds primarily to make your life easier in boss fights if they become too difficult for you.

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Stick to the walls, bub.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds also features a new art direction for all the characters. Personally I don’t like it that much but it is certainly pleasing to the eye and the 3D display for once (in a blue moon) is actually utilized in a way for you to solve puzzles easily. While it seems like you are playing on a 2D field, you need to think three-dimensional to get the job done.

Good Points:

  • There are a lot of secrets to discover and challenges to overcome in order to achieve full content completion.
  • A Link Between Worlds has the best 3D visuals to-date. If your eyes can take the strain of 3D display, go for it, it’s worth the effort.
  • This is the first game in a long time I felt compelled to play a game continuously every chance I got. The game’s pace proceeds so well that you just want to continue your adventure and see things to the end.

Bad Points:

  • The game is rather short. It will take you roughly 20-30 hours to complete the adventure if you don’t go with any guides. The game is absurdly easy to finish if you consult a guide (why play a game in the first place if you do consult a guide for your first play-through).

X-Factors:

  • If you find even Hero mode too easy, you can always intentionally “gimp” your character by avoiding optional upgrades for your weapon, armor, hearts, and empty bottles. It will be hell, you might enjoy it.
  • The StreetPass function of the game gives the latest Legend of Zelda game additional replay value. Although a bit shallow and gear dependent, it’s always fun taunting a friend for having a weak-ass Shadow Link.

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Weakest release week ever! Boooo!

But I would suggest you get OlliOlli if nothing else (given you have a PS Vita).

 

NO NEW RELEASES

 

Lucifer Ring (PSone Import/PSN)

OlliOlli (PS Vita/PSN)

 

Dead Rising 3 – Operation Broken Eagle (DLC)

 

Insurgency (PC/Steam)

Kickbeat Steam Edition (PC/Steam)

NeoGaf, infamous for leaking out video game dev info, has a post about the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and 3DS. Details about new characters and mechanics are apparently revealed.

Among them are the ones about Donkey Kong nemesis King K. Rool and Punch Out‘s Little Mac (the Wii remake version) joining the roster, as well as Fire Emblem: Awakening‘s Chrom being added and will co-exist with the Smash veteran Ike from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn. The one about Samus’ archenemy Ridley we already knew about before. There are also new stuff about assist trophies, costumes, and stages.

As always, this is not confirmed to be true but more often than not, Nintendo leaks from NeoGaf are pretty much reliable.

Hit the source link below for all the details in the actual post.

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Look at this abomination. If you consider atrocious “vectorized” graphics, an inconvenient touch UI, and complete Spanish Inquisition-style depredation of your childhood memories hallmarks of a good videogame, then please consider Final Fantasy VI Mobile, out now on Android devices for a paltry sum of $15.99.

If the company’s “remake” of Final Fantasy V was any indicator, you folks are much better off hunting down a cheap Game Boy Micro and a copy of Final Fantasy VI Advance if you want some on-the-go Final Fantasy hijinks. Really, the smoothed-out visuals wouldn’t be such a problem if Square actually put any thought on the UI in these games. Apart from inexorably ugly, it’s probably the least-intuitive user interface I’ve ever seen in a mobile game (and that’s saying a lot).

Let’s see which one of you suckers breaks and puts down money for a copy of this. We’re watching you.

One would be remiss by dismissing Yasumi Matsuno’s (Vagrant Story, Final Fantasy XII) next big project Unsung Story: Tale of the Guardians as yet another example of golden-age videogames talent “slumming it” through the usual channels of Kickstarter and mobile gaming. Co-developers Playdek are no slouches—the team was responsible for  Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer, in my opinion the premiere trading card game sim out there for mobile devices.

unsung-heroes2The game is scheduled for release on iOS and Android devices sometime next year, however Matsuno and his development teammates over at Playdek have turned to Kickstarter to drum up funds to not only bring it to more platforms (PCs/Macs, as well as the 3DS and Vita handhelds), but also to help bring in fresh, familiar talent to the project. Stretch goals include adding luminaries such as Alexander O. Smith (responsible for localizing many of Square’s great RPGs), as well as vaunted composer Hitoshi Sakimoto. To reiterate, the Kickstarter isn’t meant to hold the game’s release hostage: “Playdek and Yasumi Matsuno will continue to develop Unsung Story regardless of whether or not funding is met. The main focus on the crowd-sourcing isn’t to create the game but rather to bring the game to the platforms requested by our fans and to help further the immersive world being created by Mr. Matsuno.”

Before getting too excited, remember that Matsuno won’t be exactly as hands-on with the game as he was with prior projects. Speaking out on Twitter, Matsuno echoes, “There was some concept art [for the game] that I’d never seen in the article, but I like that it doesn’t have the typical look of my projects. My involvement in the project is limited to providing the original design plan, the story, and the setting, so I have no idea what the actual game will look like and what the UI will look like.”

The project has a fair chance of meeting its funding goal, with $136,549 already raised as of this writing.

Starting Tuesday, January 14th (Wednesday morning locally), Sony kicks off their huge PS3 and Vita offering with the “14 for ’14” PSN Sale.

No less then 14 PS3 AND 14 PS Vita games will have drastically slashed prices — up to 50% off and up to 75% off for PlayStation Plus subscribers.

Here are the games included with the sale for PS3:
Game Title PS Plus Price Sale Price Original Price
BIT.TRIP Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien $3.75 $7.49 $14.99
Crysis 3 $5.00 $9.99 $19.99
Deus Ex Human Revolution: Director’s Cut $13.49 $14.99 $29.99
ENSLAVED: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition $5.00 $9.99 $19.99
F1 2013 $20.99 $29.99 $59.99
Far Cry Blood Dragon $3.75 $7.49 $14.99
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut (Cross Buy) $5.24 $7.49 $12.99
Pool Nation $2.25 $4.49 $8.49
Puppeteer $7.00 $13.99 $39.99
Rain $3.75 $7.49 $14.99
Rayman Legends $35.99 $47.99 $59.99
Tales of Xillia $10.00 $19.99 $39.99
The Wolf Among Us Season Pass $13.49 $14.99 $19.99
Thomas Was Alone (Cross Buy) $2.50 $4.99 $9.99
And for PS Vita: 
Game Title PS Plus Price Sale Price Original Price
Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two $7.50 $14.99 $29.99
Killzone: Mercenary $9.00 $17.99 $35.99
LIMBO PS Vita $3.75 $7.49 $14.99
Lone Survivor: The Director’s Cut (Cross Buy) $5.24 $7.49 $12.99
METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER $5.00 $9.99 $19.99
PIXELJUNK MONSTERS: ULTIMATE HD $3.75 $7.49 $14.99
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time PS Vita $6.75 $13.49 $26.99
Soul Sacrifice $9.00 $17.99 $35.99
SPELUNKY (Cross Buy) $3.75 $7.49 $14.99
Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark (Cross Buy) $4.19 $5.99 $9.99
The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season $5.00 $9.99 $19.99
Thomas Was Alone (Cross Buy) $2.50 $4.99 $9.99
Velocity Ultra Vita $2.00 $3.99 $7.49
Worms Revolution Extreme $3.75 $7.49 $14.99

 

Time to feed the ol’ PSN Wallet!