Vita

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.

hyperdimension neptunia producing perfection (8)

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

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!

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.

 

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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?

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)

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!

Y’know, it just doesn’t seem right that we’re twelve days into 2014 but we haven’t even decided on our collective GOTY candidates. Since objectivity runs into subjectivity on these lists, we’ve decided to take the scientific route and use some actual math and statistics to determine our true collective games of the year, based on the 30lives team’s myriad tastes. True science at work, dear friends!

tomb-raider

10. Tomb Raider (PS3, Xbox 360)
Lara Croft makes a triumphant return in the most engrossing and action-packed Tomb Raider ever. There are few dull moments and you really see Lara’s character develop throughout the game. A brilliant inventory system, great level design, and responsive combat mechanics makes it a perfect introduction to Lara Croft for the new generation of gamers. – Shin (read my full review here, dolts)

rabidsmt9. Shin Megami Tensei IV (3DS)
My second foray to the Shin Megami Tensei world (Persona 4 Golden being the first), SMT4 was one of the games that kept kicking my ass. What a refreshing game for a change too, in a world where today’s games kept holding your hand through the tough levels, SMT will keep kicking your ass until you scream no more and change the difficulty level to Fellows. – Cheena

We reviewed this game a while back too! Point your browsers right here.

8. Dragon’s Crown (PSVita, PS3)
I like 2D scrollers and dungeon crawler games. This became an insta-favorite for me and my constant gaming buddy since it’s one of the few co-op games that we both enjoy. I even bought a Vita version so I can level up my sorceress on the go. – Cheena

Check out our review of Dragon’s Crown right here!

7. Pokemon X/Y (3DS)
Pokemon X and Y
represents the series’ apex as it marks several technological and gameplay refinements that may upset some, but ultimately level the playing field down so new players and those that haven’t been paying attention to the games for a while (this guy) can play at a much higher level than in previous iterations of the series. I truly appreciated how scaleable the game can be: you can either choose to simply partake in this game’s respectable 30-hour quest, or catass yourself all the way to tens of thousands of wasted hours breeding and IV training and such. I would recommend talking to friends and loved ones first before making the latter choice. – Ryan

ni no kuni

6. Ni No Kuni (PS3)
I have been waiting for a spiritual successor to Dragon Quest VIII (one of the greatest games of all time, in my opinion) and this is probably the closest that I’ve accepted wholeheartedly. Ni no Kuni has the elements for a legendary RPG: good writing, lovable lead characters, collectible monsters and crafting. What’s even better is that the game is ensconced in a perfect Ghibli-rendered world. Absolutely breathtaking. – Cheena

Read Ryan’s take on the game here.

5. Saints Row IV (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
To me, video games are ultimately trivial hobbies—this is why I loathe games that take themselves too seriously, or try to pretend to be anything else than an interactive time-waster/rollercoaster ride. Saints Row IV is the ultimate “fuck around” game and in my opinion curbstomps (pause for inappropriate visual) Grand Theft Auto V where it counts the most: the “fun” department. Don’t get me wrong, I had a ton of fun with GTA V but Saints Row IV simply outclassed it as an open-world game (despite recycling much of SR3’s assets) as well as a multiplayer experience. – Ryan

fire-emblem-awakening-624x4044. Fire Emblem: Awakening (3DS)
Turn-based strategy games will always be my favorite game genre and Intelligent Systems has revitalized an old franchise by producing a high quality game. I instantly fell in love with all the characters with all the ‘shipping’ features plus the introduction of the Casual mode embraces all noobs who want to play without the stress. – Cheena

Click here to read Cheena’s musings on FE: Awakening!

 

Assassins-Creed-IV-Black-Flag-screenshot-9

3. Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag (PS4, Xbox One)
Assassin’s Creed IV made me forget the whole obnoxious memories entertainment “corporation x conspiracy” theories because: Pirates. Fond memories of Sid Meier’s Pirates were rekindled in a much more badass and violent manner. There is so much swashbuckling to do that I almost forgot I was playing an Assassin’s Creed game. It’s that good! -Alex

Last2. The Last of Us (PS3)
Though probably on the top of most gamers’ and outlets’ collective GOTY lists, in my honest opinion The Last of Us falls short for the simple reason that—under any real scrutiny—it’s a solid B+ game and nothing more. Though Naughty Dog has crafted a fine narrative in spite of the staid source material, the game screams “AAA” through and through, splashing on a beautiful coat of paint on your standard “monster closet” design. -Ryan; my full thoughts here

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)
A Link Between Worlds reinvents the best Zelda game (A Link to the Past) to make it compelling to play in a concise package. I have not played a game all year long (2013) that made we want to pick up my 3DS and play for consecutive days as long as I could. This is the one 3DS game you shouldn’t miss and one you can repeat through-out the years in the form of speed runs.  -Alex

And there you have it, that’s our GOTY list. Any other games you folks felt should be on our list? Feel free to drop us a line on our Facebook page!

Dekamori Senran Kagura, described by Famitsu as a “hyper big-breasted cooking-rhythm game”, is set to be released in Japan on March 20 of this year.

The game will have both a PS Vita and a PSP version.

There are two more Senran Kagura spin-offs planned in addition to the cooking game: Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is a side-scrolling action game that serves as a sequel of the original for the 3DS and Senran Kagura: Estival Versus which is a fighting game for multiple PlayStation devices.

Boing. Boing. Boing.

Strategy Role Playing Game Natural Doctrine is set for a February 22nd release in Japan (a.k.a. Japanese PS4 launch). It’s from Kadokawa Games — favorite publisher of Suda 51 (Killer is Dead, Lollipop Chainsaw) — and Patapon director Atsushi Ii. The game will be available for all three active Sony consoles: The PS3, PS4 and the PS Vita.

Judging from what we’ve seen so far, Natural Doctrine will let go of the traditional grid-based SRPG in favor of a more free-flowing movement system. If this turns out to be something like Valkyria Chronicles, then me says absolutely DO WANT!

Here’s hoping for a western announcement soon!

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Sega has shown a new trailer for their upcoming Vita game, Phantasy Star Nova — abbreviated as PSN (good one, Sony) — the non-MMO version of Phantasy Star Online 2.

Graphics are gorgeous, and this proves that Vita games are really improving fast as devs get more familiar with the handheld. I bet it would look awesome played on the PS Vita TV using a big screen television set.

The game is releasing in Japan in 2014. No western release announcement yet. Watch the trailer above and check out the screenshot gallery below!

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At the Sony Tokyo Game Show booth today Team Gravity showed a teaser of what seems to be Gravity Rush 2. The video showed the protagonist Kat flying around what looks like the same city in the first game. It’s not even sure what platform it’s on but it seems prettier than your average PS Vita game. PS4, maybe? (UPDATE: Famitsu confirms it’s a Vita title)

The video closed with the words,  “Fall again… A new project from Team Gravity.”

Gravity Rush was one of my favorite PS Vita games. Good to hear Kat is back.

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While Capcom has explicitly said it had no intention of bringing the  Monster Hunter franchise to the PS VITA despite of the rumors around it, they seem to be eating their words now as revealed in the Tokyo Game Show. But don’t rejoice just yet as the Monster Hunter game coming to the PS VITA is Monster Hunter Frontier G, aka the online game.

While the game data from the Playstation 3 version can be used for the PS VITA port, there will be an exclusive world playable only on the Playstation 3 dubbed “World C”. There is no information as to an English version so if you’re actually hoping for Monster Hunter 4 on the PS VITA, tough luck.

Source: IGN

But not GTAV obviously, duh! It’s the PSP game Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories that is free for PS Plus subscribers today. Take note that it is also compatible (and looks better) on the PS Vita.

Also free for the PS3 we have the longest, greatest, and most dramatic escort mision of all: ICO HD. It’s an HD remake of the beloved PS2 classic. I haven’t gotten around to finish it yet, but I heard the game hits you right in the feels.

ICO (PS3)

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $19.99

ICO
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP, PS Vita Compatible)

Free for PS Plus members, Regular Price: $19.99

GTA LCS

 

Pretty lame week, if you ask me. We have only one more week left for September PS Plus so at least we know we are getting the excellent Rayman Origins (VITA) next week.

Grand Theft Auto V is this week’s game.

That’s it. Thanks for coming!

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Hot Wheels Worlds Best Driver (Wii U/3DS Retail)

We Sing: 80s (Wii U Retail)

Cut the Rope (3DS eShop)

Rage of the Gladiators (3DS eShop)

Star Wars Pinball (3DS eShop)

AiRace Speed (3DS eShop)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Capcom Fighting Evolution (PS2 Classic)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack Pack (PS3 DLC)

Real Boxing (PS Vita PSN)

 

Grand Theft Auto V (Retail)

Hot Wheels World’s Best Driver (Retail)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (DLC)

 

Foul Play (PC Steam)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PC Steam)

Ironclad Tactics (PC/Mac)

Takedown: Red Sabre (PC/Mac)

Urban Trial Freestyle (PC Steam)

Saints Row 4 – GATV Pack (PC Steam DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Wild West Pack (PC Steam DLC)

The Japan Sony Press Conference is still ongoing as I write this but the PS Vita part of it has just concluded.

Here’s what they’ve shown:

New PS Vita 2000 series. Thinner and lighter and presumably cheaper, it looks exactly like the original PS Vita but it now sports a cheaper LCD screen (original uses a glorious OLED screen), comes with 1GB memory, and will come in 6 different colors at launch. It will also be bundled with a 90 day PlayStation Plus subscription.

PS Vita Greatest Hits Line. Just like the PS3, select PS Vita games will be sold at a cheaper price point.

Cheaper memory cards and a new 64GB card. I need this.

 

Soul Sacrifice Delta anounced for March 2014. “This is a brand new version with brand new elements and brand new items which gives the unique flavor of Soul Sacrifice.” says creator Keiji Inafune. Mmmkay.

 

Phantasy Star Nova announced. This is a non-MMO version of Phantasy Star Online 2. It’s playable offline and 4-player online co-op ala MonHan.

 

Special Edition PS Vita Bundles Final Fantasy X and X-2 HD. Self explanatory.

Pretty exciting stuff. And because the PS Vita is region free, you don’t need to wait for a western release if you really want these.

I know we’re all a little late on this piece of news, but here’s a quick heads up if you are at all interested in Japanese RPGs. Following the imminent release of Falcom’s awesome Ys: Memories of Celceta for the PlayStation Vita (which, by the way, comes with one of the most enticing LE packages I’ve ever seen), XSEED announced yesterday that they will be localizing the second chapter in the Trails in the Sky trilogy (which then follows a more interesting pedigree in the Dragon Slayer series), with help from Carpe Fulgur, who most notably helped bring over Steam indie darling Recettear.

This is definitely good news as I feel that the Legend of Heroes games are the last of a dying breed: Japanese RPGs that aren’t either fronts for pedophilia or complete graphical wankfests. As with all Falcom-produced games, it also features a killer soundtrack. XSEED also announced today that they’ll be localizing the PC port of the first TitS game and distributing it via Steam.

Right after the jump is XSEED’s press release, which includes a pretty good plot synopsis to get you all caught up!

Torrance, Calif., (September 6, 2013) – XSEED Games, the independent-minded console publishing brand of Marvelous USA, Inc., is pleased to announce a partnership with Carpe Fulgur LLC to bring the much anticipated title, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC, digitally to PC and the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system (including compatibility with the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system) in 2014. The first chapter, previously released for the PSP system as The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, will also be released for PC this winter.

The result of a near endless deluge of fan requests to XSEED Games after the company released the first chapter on the PSP system in 2011, this will mark the debut of the English version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky on PC, as well as the first release of the English version of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC anywhere. The two chapters will release as two separate, back-to-back installments.

“We are pleased to finally give the fans what they have been requesting so fervently for over two years,” said Ken Berry, Executive Vice President of XSEED Games. “There’s been a constant demand ever since we released the original The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, and we are extremely grateful for our partnership with the passionate localizers at Carpe Fulgur to finally make it a reality.”

“This is something we’ve had an interest in doing since practically the formation of the company,” added Andrew Dice, Project Director for Carpe Fulgur. “If you talk about or work with ‘PC gaming from Japan’, as we do, you can’t really ignore Falcom’s huge presence over the past three decades. Trails in the Sky is particularly special, and I’d wanted to work on it ever since the day we started business. I’m thrilled that we will finally be able to bring the game to English-speaking audiences, in partnership with XSEED.”

Developed by legendary RPG specialists Nihon Falcom, the multi-part story told in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky represents an entirely new stand-alone entry in the timeless The Legend of Heroes series. In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, players venture through the diverse landscape of the Liberl Kingdom, experiencing its unique traditions and cultures along the way and shaping the world itself with their decisions.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky opens in the quaint and peaceful town of Rolent in the Liberl Kingdom. Home to a peacekeeping coalition free of government ties known as the Bracer Guild, the adventure follows two young aspiring bracers known as Estelle and Joshua on their trials to become full-fledged members of this elite organization. As they embark on their quest, their journey will take them across an entire country, unraveling a sinister government conspiracy along the way that’s poised to overtake the throne, threatening the very peace the bracers seek to uphold. Throughout their adventure, players can expect to learn the full depth of these characters’ origins and motivations through dialogue-driven cutscenes and lengthy side-quests.

Trails in the Sky SC, meanwhile, begins immediately after the events in the first game. Following the explosive revelations at the very end of Trails in the Sky, Estelle feels adrift and must find her resolve along with friends both old and new, and face down the true architects of the chaos engulfing Liberl – a force far more powerful and insidious than she could ever have imagined.

Boasting over a hundred hours of gameplay between the two episodes and featuring an engaging narrative that encompasses everything from politics, economics and conspiracies to tourism, traditions and even a cat-speech dictionary, these two titles in The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky series combine to form an incredibly immersive RPG experience. On top of its meticulously crafted world where all actions and inhabitants are accounted for throughout the story, the game also features a meticulously customizable combat system, a massive cast of characters from all walks of life, a variety of landscapes, an in-game newspaper that publishes new issues as the story progresses, and much more. In The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, players are responsible for shaping the world, and will see direct repercussions from their actions as the game unfolds.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky and The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky SC are developed by Nihon Falcom, and Carpe Fulgur is spearheading the English translation of the second chapter while XSEED Games handles publishing duties. For more information on XSEED Games products, visit http://www.xseedgames.com. Fans can also follow XSEED Games on Facebook at www.facebook.com/XSEEDGames and Twitter at www.twitter.com/XSEEDGames.