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PS VITA

Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy is an action RPG by Arc System Works who is famous for games such as the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series.  They are releasing more games outside the fighting game genre lately (there is also Magical Beat, a rhythm game that will be out soon), so this is quite exciting news for ASW fans.

In Fantasy Hero, the game’s world has been overrun by alien beings known as Decoders and humans were driven away from their homes after being attacked. After twelve years in the game’s setting, you are introduced to (and will be asked to choose from) the four main protagonists in the game such as:

  • Acress, a justice-obsessed swordsman
  • Haul, the mysterious Crow with a penchant for guns
  • Ashta, inventress with a giant robot and a bone to pick
  • Mask, a well-muscled luchador
Mask the Shout
Mask the Shout

Each of these heroes have different fighting styles — Acress of course specializes in slashing, Mask wrestles, Haul is the ranged shooter guy and Ashta uses a robot to attack with. The game sets you off and introduces you to your wild band of party members (all the protagonists are working together but you get to control only one during the game). A woman named Gram gifts you with your Hero Artes (equipment that makes you super strong) after returning from a two-year expedition and sends you on a quest to become stronger and take back your land. You play the fairly easy to go through tutorial and eventually do the missions (core of the game) while progressing in the game’s story. Easy peasy.

Is this real life? (AKA the good stuff)

  • Good visuals – I always appreciate good character designs and especially like cel-shaded graphics in RPGs. Fantasy Hero has interesting character designs for the protagonists especially Mask (my favorite because luchador), but the other guys like Haul, Acress and Ashta aren’t bad either. The environment is not mind-blowing and could probably use more inspiration and uniqueness but it still works.
  • 140313FANTASYHERO_ss_01Character customizationFantasy Hero has a good system of customizing skills for your characters and make them play either as a DPS or a support unit. There is also assigning of stats which can really make each character you play unique from your friends.
  • Fully voiced characters – All characters are fully dubbed with Japanese voices and have some popular seiyuus doing them. There is no option for English voices however, but then again who plays with that.
  • Game Controls – The game is easy especially if you have experience in RPGs. There is no way you will have a hard time learning the controls as it is very simple and streamlined. Attacks are assigned to two buttons, movement to the left analog stick which is really everything you need to play. Skills and items are mapped to your directional and command buttons later on and can be activated by pressing the LB button.
  • 14 Player Local Co-Op – I like playing with friends in games so this is a good addition. If you want someone to get into multiplayer games like Monster Hunter, you can start them up in Fantasy Hero as the game is fairly easy to learn and get into mostly because of the simplified controls.
  • Mission Division – The bulletin board where you can get missions divides them into main and side (and DLC), so you can easily breeze through the story if you want to. However, during the first few hours of the game you are compelled to do the side missions to learn controls and the basics of the game.
  • Difficulty Toggles – You can make the missions harder if you are more confident of your level and skills and can get more rewards from it which is a good touch. New players can stick with recommended levels or if you just want to enjoy the game and run through it.
  • Near System – Like 3DS’s street pass, you can get gifts from others players if you bump into them which I always enjoy in handheld games.

Is this just fantasy? (AKA the bad stuff)

  • Generic story line – Cookie cutter storyline in RPG: get. Unknown monsters suddenly invade peaceful land and drive people out of their homes yadda yadda. I wish they would’ve gone the extra mile and make the plot more engaging but it is what it is.
  • 140313FANTASYHERO_ss_02Dialogue font – Not that big of a deal but the dialogue is hard to read at times because of the kerning / spacing. I wish that they patch this game to improve readability.
  • Entire Map view – It would have been so much better if they assigned a button in the game to view the entire map instead of going inside the main menu (accessible by the start button) and going through it to access. It somewhat breaks the game’s momentum especially if you are in a mission.

Caught in a landslide (AKA can go anywhere)

  • Super linear gameplay – I am all for linear gameplay in RPGs but I know most people like variety and choices. The game is straightforward as straightforward goes.
  • DLC – Extra missions can be acquired in DLCs. Again, not many people might be up for that but it won’t hurt if you don’t get them. Here is what’s available in the game:

DLC Available:

  • Mission Pack #1 “Birth of the Sacred Treasures” – 5 new missions with new weapons and equipment
  • Mission Pack #2 “Then and Now” – 5 new missions with post-story content
  • Character License and BlazBlue Color Set
  • Character License and Guilty Gear Color Set
  • Character License and Special Color Set
  • Character Color Pack (Ashta, Haul, Shout, or Acress set)
  • Basic Upgrading – The game has super simplified upgrading in equipment. You just go to the NPC with the stuff required to upgrade and you can choose an effect whether to have a higher damage output or increased effectivity. There’s not much to do with changing the looks and other stats like in other games.

No escape from reality (AKA the verdict)

10928847_10153688488167137_7789638585044720629_nIf you are looking for a lighthearted action RPG, Fantasy Hero is not a bad choice. Priced reasonably at $14.99, you definitely get your money’s worth from the game content, especially since you can go play local multi on it. It’s also a good idea to have new players start on this game to learn the basics of action RPGs and Monhan type of games. The game also works on the PlayStation Vita TV so that’s great.

Fantasy Hero: Unsigned Legacy releases on February 10th in the Americas, and February 11th for select countries in Europe, Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand. The game is exclusively available for PlayStation Vita as a digital download on the PlayStation Network. The game is currently available in North America.

Disclosure: 30lives.net has received a review copy of the game from Arc System Works.

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Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair Screenshot (13)The first Danganronpa was quite the deceiving little gem: underneath the guise of its saccharine-sweet visual style, (deceptively) shallow characterization and general swathe of uguu~ anime charm lied a narrative that painted itself with the same dark and light swatches that its raison d’etre Monokuma displays. One that consistently leads its protagonist and the player through murder, mystery, and the loss of the human condition, segueing at times into what can be construed as a… dating simulator. I booted up its sequel, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair with both excitement and trepidation; expecting another well-spun yarn leading me through another twenty or so hours of furrowed reading, attachment to characters who—spoilers—might not even make it through the end of the game, and the eventual existential crisis the game puts the player through. At the risk of sounding like a total putz, Danganronpa is a very emotionally-demanding videogame.

As with the first game, the plot centers around the ominous Hope’s Peak Academy, a school vaguely located in Japan that recruits only the best of the best. Goodbye Despair expands upon the first game’s cast of Ultimates and comes up with new über wunderkinds to interact with; and while some of them may sound lame or forced at first glance, each character once again has several underlying secrets hiding behind their archetypal titles.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair Screenshot (11)

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair Screenshot (10)Unlike the first game, which cast the player as the “Ultimate Lucky Student,” a faceless, unremarkable schmuck that only got to Hope’s Peak because he won a random drawing, the events of Goodbye Despair are now told through the eyes of one Hajime Hinata, a bombastic, oft-arrogant and sometimes unlikeable avatar that professes to be the ultimate…. Plot twist! He doesn’t actually remember what he’s supposed to be at the game’s onset. Even this simple bit of unreliable narration clues the player in to the game’s greatest asset: being able to take what is essentially an unbelievable set of circumstances and somehow weave that together into a narrative that appears to be spun-out by the first chapter, off-the-rails by the middle of the game, and somehow neatly tied-together by the game’s conclusion.

For those that haven’t had the opportunity to go through the first Danganronpa, the game can best be described as a strange amalgamation of 999 (or its sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward) and Phoenix Wright, with the design sensibilities of Persona hewed in. 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. At its core, however, the game is a visual novel through and through, with exploration elements that undoubtedly give the player some semblance of freedom; that is up to the point that he or she realizes that a certain character or event is awaiting to be triggered for the storyline to progress.

As a sequel, Goodbye Despair does not disappoint. The first game ended on a little bit of a cliffhanger, and while the second game does expand on the first game’s lore a little bit, it stands alone well enough without relying too much on the first game’s keynotes. That being said, I think you got to stretch your suspension of disbelief with this game a little bit more than you had to with the first game. It’s not quite the claustrophobic, urgent thriller that Trigger Happy Havoc was either—while one could understand why someone would go stir-crazy in the first game’s sealed, cramped school corridors, the deaths in Danganronpa 2 hit you way harder than they should in that “aw man, why’d you have to do that” sense, simply because there appeared to be a common goal between the participants in part deux of this sick social experiment.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair Screenshot (3)

Goodbye Despair’s failings come at the hands of its own linear trappings. As with its contemporaries in the adventure game genus, solving the game’s myriad mysteries oftentimes falls under the hands of the player understanding the writers’ and developers’ logic, rather than the player’s own. No matter how early or late the player’s own “whodunit” epiphany comes into play, during class trials you are still at the mercy of the game’s pacing, and each mini-epiphany that leads to each chapter’s crescendo needs to be played out first; and that may frustrate some. I personally am numbed enough by “videogame logic” where I can shrug my shoulders and exclaim “welp, comes with the territory” whenever this happens.

Danganronpa 2 Goodbye Despair Screenshot (8)I cannot deny the stigma that the game faces as being part of the visual novel pantheon (a bias that, unfortunately, most cannot look beyond as the genre is saturated with less-than-savory entries). However, with expectations in check I can guarantee that any player will find Danganronpa’s convoluted tale one of the most compelling chronicles to be found on any videogame system, ever.

Platform Publisher Developer
PlayStation Vita NIS America Spike Chunsoft

Disclosure: thanks to the folks at NIS America for providing us with a pre-release copy of Danganronpa. Class starts today for the R3 release at your friendly local Datablitz or iTech-type retailers. The game comes out on the US PlayStation Network this September 2nd.

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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.

Totori4
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.

Totori8

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.

993378_10151626178532831_433618721_n

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.

Totori16

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

Yeah. Definitely questionable.
Yeah. Definitely questionable.

I like video game versions of trading card games. Learning to play them via an in-game tutorial is better than consulting a printed rulebook, for one. And it’s much cheaper than buying the real-world equivalent especially with most of TCGs having expansions and collectible price market. It’s also more convenient to just play online (if the game supports it) than to trek to a local hobby shop and find people to play with.

Monster Monpiece is a card collecting battle game from Idea Factory. In the past, Idea Factory has licensed their games to other publishers (like Atlus, etc.) for North American release but this time, they are doing it themselves. I think it’s because the other publishers chose not to have a go at this one for reasons I’m about to tell you.

The gameplay part is solid but the theme is a bit risqué. Cards all depict “monster girls” — anime girls that are sexually suggestive in nature and mostly underaged looking (i.e. lolicon). Cards have the capability for upgrades to power them up by a mini-game system that you would not dare do in public. It involves stroking the front and rear touch panels of the Vita system, an action that is akin to jerking off the male genitalia. This unfortunately plays out via embarrassing moans and grunts from the female character illustrated on the card. After looking around to see if anybody was watching that mess over your shoulders, your efforts are rewarded with new abilities and higher stats for the card; and more importantly, the monster-girl’s artwork on the card will be changed. When I say “changed”, I mean “more naked”. So yeah.

Monster Monpiece’s tale is a typical anime-inspired save the world from a catastrophic event kind of story. The protagonist is ayoung girl named May who is in training to become a card wielder. The plot revolves around May’s relationship with the monster girls that reside magically in their cards (think Pokemon but with cards and loli girls instead of grotesque creatures) and solving the mystery behind an evil power turning other monster girls into “Lost,” or evil monster girl cards in human-speak. Small note, character skits are fully voiced in Japanese. There is no English audio option but the text translation is pretty good.

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I was surprised at the depth of Monster Monpiece’s core gameplay; as a reformed TCG addict I found the rules intuitive enough for lapsed gamers such as myself, or even new players to the genre to grasp. The game is paced really well, and doesn’t just throw you into the flames. It explains the basic stat and properties of the cards then walks you through a sample battle before introducing you to more advanced cards with specific abilities.

Obviously, being a TCG title, battles play out with a turn-based system. With a turn consisting of a player summoning a card to the board, spending mana. A set amount of mana is added to your pool every turn but certain card abilities give you more mana if you need it. The board consists of multiple lanes and squares where you put the cards when you summon them. At the opposite ends of the boards are each player’s “castle”. Your goal is to have a monster reach your opponent’s castle and reduce it to zero hit points. At each of your turn you can summon one card or pass. After that  phase, the cards in play will either move one space towards your opponent’s castle or attack an opposing monster if they are in range. Attack and defense are decided with the cards stats and abilities. ATTACK is how much damage the card deals, HP is how much damage it can take before it dies, and INT is used by healers and buffer type cards.

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The player has absolute control over what cards to use in the deck and one can even save multiple configurations. Each deck can have a minimum of 30 and a maximum of 40 cards. In my experience, getting your deck to the full 40-card limit is more advantageous as the AI often exhausts his deck in a long drawn out match. Running out of cards means automatically losing the match. You can build up your card collection by winning specific cards in the story or buying booster packs with the in-game currency earned by winning matches.

Upgrading your cards will require spending “Rub Points” which you acquire by winning battles. And as I mentioned above, you wouldn’t want anyone catching you doing this. The rewards are great (upgraded stats, new abilities) but they didn’t need to implement that specific gimmick just to do so. Sure, it’s funny the first few times but it is really embarrassing and the developers could have  honestly offered to disable this. You can’t really finish the game and win the more difficult battles far into the game so this awkwardness is unfortunately forced to the player.

There is an online mode where you can battle other players but I was not able to find anyone when I tried it so I reserve my judgement on Monster Monpiece‘s online modes. One other weird thing about the game: it has the Vita’s screenshot feature disabled while playing the game. Hmm, I wonder why.

It’s a shame that Monster Monpiece’s fantastic gameplay is forever trapped in such a sketchy presentation. But if you can look past this (and do the upgrading when no one is around), the game offers solid strategic gameplay that anyone can enjoy.

Rubbed me the Right Way:

  • Gameplay is solid. Surprising amount of strategy involved.
  • Lengthy campaign but structured perfectly to play on the go.

Rubbed me the Wrong Way:

  • Forced gameplay mechanics that are not really needed.
  • The hentai factor.
  • Screenshot feature is disabled while playing the game for some reason.

Monster Monpiece

Developer: Compile Heart

Publisher: Idea Factory

Available for: PlayStation Vita (Digital)

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.

 

Capcom’s premiere futuristic ninja is finally wrecking havoc both on PS3 and PS4 and Square Enix kicks off the public PS4 beta of their MMORPG. Rayman Legends also makes an upgrade to next-gen and you can also get good ol’ Adewale’s adventure without having the main Assassin’s Creed IV game.

Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag Freedom Cry ($14.99)
AC Freeom Cry
Rise up against slavery with the latest single-player action-adventure game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Assassin’s Creed Freedom Cry is now available exclusively for download on PS4 and PS3. Born a slave, Adewale found freedom as a pirate. Now, 15 years after the events of Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag, Adewale has become a trained Assassin.
Rayman Legends ($39.99)
Rayman Legends
The Glade of Dreams is in trouble once again! During a 100-year nap, the nightmares multiplied and spread, creating new monsters even more terrifying than before! These creatures are the stuff of legend… Dragons, giant toads, sea monsters, and even evil luchadores. With the help of Murfy, Rayman and Globox awake and must now help fight these nightmares and save the Teensies!
Strider ($14.99)
Strider
Strider returns in a brand new adventure, complete with incredible side-scrolling action, and lightning fast combat all in a massive interconnected world! Download the full game now and become the original assassin!
Final Fantasy XIV: A realm Reborn (Beta)
FF14 A Realm Reborn
Beta test the award-winning FINAL FANTASY XIV: A Realm Reborn now for FREE with players from around the world. The beta will be available from Saturday, February 22, 2014 to Sunday, March 2, 2014. Characters created during the beta are limited to level 20 and progress will not be saved after the beta ends.Create your own unique FINAL FANTASY hero and embark on the adventure of a lifetime to help forge the fate of Eorzea.

The excellent Tomba! 2 makes an appearance in the PSone classics section of the store as a follow to the original Tomba! that was released a couple of weeks ago. PS2 Classics have Neo Contra which I don’t remember ever playing. Heh.

Sales galore! Aside from the huge list this week, there’s a separate Rockstar Sale going on which you should check out. Bully for under $3 is a steal, my friends.

For fellow PS Plussers we are entitled to Remember Me (starring Renz Verano) on PS3 and Street Fighter X Tekken on Ps Vita for the exciting price of ‘free’.

For a complete list of additions and changes to the PS Store, hit the source link!

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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?

P102027730lives.net was at the Glorietta Activity Center yesterday to cover the launch of the PlayStation 4 in the Philippines. The event called ‘Play the Future First’ unveiled the much awaited next-generation console to Filipino gamers at the SRP of PHP 24,999. The event is hosted by seasoned radio jocks Gino Quillamor and Riki Flores who also demo’d some of the games on the PS4. The launch was held in partnership with Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong Limited (SCEH) Singapore Branch.

Opening the event is the President and Managing Director of Sony Philippines, Mr. Yasushi Asaoka. “Sony has always been in touch with what the gaming community needs and wants. We have always strived to give consumers the best experience in home entertainment, which includes  the thrilling roster of PlayStation. It is with great pride that we bring the newest PlayStation 4 in the market today,” Asaoka mentioned during his speech.

Mr. Tomoyuki Haba, who is the Singapore Branch Manager of SCEH also spearheaded the launch in other SEA countries. He mentioned during his speech that the PlayStation 4 has sold more than 4.2 million copies already, according to their Tokyo office. The PS Vita has also jumped in sales in anticipation for the PS4‘s release. SCEH also has a new plan on the warranty service for 6 South East Asian countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Customers who buy the PS4 are entitled to have an extra ONE YEAR WARRANTY COVERAGE in countries where the product has been officially launched (including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia), and the warranty will be valid throughout these countries. Wherever the customers are, they can also have the repair service for their products.

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New PS Vita color with light blue back

On stage, Sony Philippines head of marketing Ms. Zhorida Lipayon presented the new game consoles that are launching locally. First up was the new PS Vita system which features a more streamlined form factor and an 1GB internal memory card, is 20-percent slimmer and 15-percent lighter than the original version, making the portable entertainment system even easier to carry. It also comes in different colors such as lime green, light blue, pink black, khaki, black and white. The PlayStation Vita 2000 Wifi is sold at PHP 11,999 locally. Accessories are also available and are sold separately.

Meanwhile, since its unveiling in September 2013, PS Vita TV has become one of the most anticipated Sony products. PS Vita TV is a new entertainment system within the PlayStation family that will allow users to easily access various content on their TV at home. The new system adopts chip sets and system software of the PlayStation Vita portable entertainment system and its size is 6.5cm × 10.5cm, smallest of all PlayStation platforms that connect to a TV. On stage, two girls demo’d the Japanese version of God Eater 2 with one playing on the PS Vita and the other on the PS Vita TV which played flawlessly. I’ve also tried the demo unit on the floor and played Dragon’s Crown which is installed in the system’s memory card and it played without a hitch. I am just not sure if the memory card is the same as the PS Vita‘s and if it can be plugged straightaway from Vita to Vita TV.

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Oh myyyy.

According to the press release, “To continue servicing the gaming community, a separate retail launch will be held for the Sony PS Vita TV“. This hopefully means we’ll be able to finally see The Philippines as an available option in the PS Store soon.

The PS4 is a next generation computer entertainment system that redefines rich and immersive game play with powerful graphics, speed, deeply integrated social capabilities and innovative second-screen features utilizing devices such as PS Vita. By utilizing PS Camera, users can expand gaming ways of PS4 and enjoy different gaming experience. The hosts demo’d some of the games on stage which utilized the PS Camera like Play with Asobi and Air Hockey which seemed fun.

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Seriously, it’s called Magma Red.

There is also a wide range of peripherals for PS4 that are introduced such as the color variation for PS4 Wireless Controller (DUALSHOCK 4) in “Magma Red” and “Wave Blue”, PlayStation Camera, DUALSHOCK4 Charging Station and PS4 Vertical Stand. Once you touch these babies, there’s definitely no going back to the DS3, at least this is what I felt while I was playing Crank on the demo floor. There was also a demo of the Personal 3D Viewer where attendees can sample the experience of playing Assassin’s Creed Black Flag up close.

The PlayStation 4 was also made available during the press launch. The payment terms were cash or a straight credit card charge of PHP 24,999 or PHP 26,999 (with camera) on site.

For more details on PlayStation and other Sony products, visit the nearest Sony Centre.

You can also log on to www.sony.com.ph, like them on www.facebook.com/SonyPhilippines and follow them on www.twitter.com/SonyPHInc and www.instagram.com/SonyPHInc.

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!

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.

Rayman Legends is finally out this week, though you might want to steer out of the way of the PS Vita version of the game as we heard it’s missing some content (until they patch it). Diablo 3 makes its way to consoles as promised, and you can get jiggle with it with Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate *mmphh*, and a new adventure awaits you with the Strawhats in One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2.

Here are this week’s vidyas:

 

Rayman Legends (Wii U Retail)

eShop Releases (TBA)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Diablo 3 (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Rayman Legends (PS3/Vita Retail/PSN)

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PS3 PSN)

Castle of Illusions (PS3 PSN)

Chaos Code (PS3 PSN)

Hunter’s Trophy 2: America (PS3 PSN)

Kickbeat (PS3/Vita PSN)

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 (PS3 PSN)

Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity (PS2 Classic)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PS3 DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (PS3 DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PS3 DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PS3 DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PS3 DLC)

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate (Retail)

Diablo 3 (Retail)

Rayman Legends (Retail)

Castle of Illusion (XBLA)

Freefall Racers (XBLA)

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (DLC)

Borderlands 2 – Ultimate Vault Hunter Upgrade Pack 2 (DLC)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (DLC)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (DLC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (DLC)

Minecraft – Mass Effect Mash-up (DLC)

 

Borderlands 2 – Costume Packs (PC Steam)

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

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (PC Steam)

Castle of Illusion Castle of Illusion (PC Steam)

Grid 2 – Destruction Derby (PC Steam)

Huntsman: The Orphanage (PC/Mac)

Metro: Last Light – Tower Pack (PC Steam)

Outlast (PC Steam)

Rayman Legends (PC)

Saints Row 4 – Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 (PC Steam)

Total War: Rome 2 – Greek States Culture Pack (PC Steam)

Spelunky

Developer: Mossmouth, Bill Software

Publisher: Mossmouth

Available for: PS3 (Aug 2013), PS Vita (Aug 2013), Xbox 360 (2012), PC (2009), Steam (2013)

Reviewed: PS3 and PS Vita version

Spelunky is a game that takes you deep into a deep magical cave filled with treasure and wonders. But don’t let that fairytale premise get to you. If you underestimate this gem of a game from developer Mossmouth, this tough and sometimes controller-hurling platformer will bury you alive.

Randomly generated levels are the backbone mechanic of Spelunky. The genius of it is even though they are all random, every component of the levels seem to work together like clockwork. Unfortunately, they are all working together towards the goal of killing you. They will achieve that goal many times. True story: I died 90 times before I even got a glimpse of the next main area.

Dying in the game can’t be more hardcore. Finger twitched on the jump button while traversing some spikes because of that sneaky spider? It’s all over. When you bite the dust, you start from the beginning of the game (unless you unlock a shortcut), all the money you’ve been saving up for items, including the items you already have, go poof! All gone.

The game will not reward you with tangible power-ups or anything of the like. You use the knowledge you gained to help you on your next foray into the caverns. The aforementioned spikes for example, you will soon learn that walking through them is harmless and will take care that your finger does not stray to the jump button or it’s gonna be spelunker-kebab time. It’s essentially learning from your mistakes and observing how things work so your next try will be more successful but you can’t just memorize everything because of the levels are all random. Genius.

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Rescuing a damsel in distress gives you one more life point for the next level.

You always start with four bombs and four ropes. These help you traverse the levels to suit your needs. Bombs are useful to blast a path to a goal — be it an item/treasure or the exit to the level. The rope enables you to get to hard to reach places or avoid falling to your death. Other items or more of your basic items can be found from crates and pots but the more unique items, like gripping gloves that enables you to climb walls, are sold via a shopkeeper who appears randomly within the levels. There are also other trinkets like stones and bones that you can use in a number of ways like triggering a trap or throwing to kill an enemy when your trusty whip can’t do the job (square button).

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The game’s main trapping is the Adventure mode. This can be played single-player or multiplayer co-op. The PS Vita shines with multiplayer because each player have their own screen and can go wherever they want in the level as opposed to having to stay on the same screen when played on a TV or monitor using multiple controllers. I haven’t tried multiplayer yet so I can’t say anything about it in this review.

Purchasing Spelunky on PSN entitles you to both the PS3 and PS Vita versions (Cross-Buy). The two versions are compatible to play together for multiplayer. I forgot to mention that the multiplayer modes in Spelunky are local only. No online for a game like this is a missed opportunity in my opinion but being able to play this on the go on my PS Vita is a really good trade-off for lack of online.

Spelunky has been available for the PC and from the Xbox Live Marketplace for quite some time now but the PSN version, specifically the PS Vita one is the version to get if you have the system. With how the game plays, you would want to play as much of it as possible to get good at it. And believe me, getting good at it feels awesome.

The Good Stuff:

Challenging gameplay — Game will keep you on your toes all the time. Dying is a learning experience.

Awesome risk-reward system — Trying things out and learning how to tackle various situations is very satisfying. You start every do-over with more knowledge to go further.

Randomly generated levels keeps the game fresh everytime — You can’t just memorize the game so you will have to rely on your experience and skill.

Playing it on anywhere on the PS Vita — Spelunky anywhere. Hellz Yeah.

Cross-Buy and Cross-Play — Buying Spelunky on PSN gets you both PS3 and Vita versions and they can play together. Aww…

The Bad Smelly Pit:

No Online Multiplayer — This is a missed opportunity. You would think being a game that has been out for years now (original PC version was released 2009) and has co-op, they would’ve added online for the 2013 versions. But nooooooooo.

No Big Bosses — I’m not sure if this game needs them, but I love fighting big bosses. So yeah. lol

Things That Could Swing Either Way:

High Difficulty — I love challenging games but believe it or not there are people who don’t! OH MY!

In Closing:

Spelunky‘s challenging gameplay is geared towards the classic core gamer. Try it out if you think you are up to the challenge. Countless hours of fun (and dying) awaits you.