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VITA

They will die. A lot.

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When a game gets touted “The Demon Souls of tactical RPGs”, one would expect a game wherein you will die over and over. For Kadokawa/NISA’s Natural Doctrine (stylized as NAtURAL DOCtRINE), that is the absolute truth. Though the frustrating difficulty is the only thing it shares with the games from the Souls series.

The world is made up of nations all competing control over a rare resource known as “pluton”. This rare material is essential for constructing important trinkets and also needed to cast magic. Producing pluton is not something humans can do as the raw ore that it is refined from is deadly to humans. This does not apply to goblins though, so a lucrative industry is born out of raiding pluton mines and murdering those poor goblins.

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Neophyte warriors/love team Geoff and Vasily are recruited by rifle-wielding, potion-throwing Anka to initially accompany her for some mine raiding. Along with some friends they meet along the way they are thrust into a scenario more than what they bargained for. Natural Doctrine‘s story is relatively good so I won’t be going beyond that for the sake of spoilers. Don’t let the boring starting sequences turn you off as it really gets interesting later on.

Just like most games in the SRPG genre, the story is advanced by a series turn-based battles on a grid map. What makes ND unique is the grids are not just one character per square. One grid takes up a bigger area on the map and up to four regular sized characters (some units take up more than one slot) can be in the same grid at a time. Although the character’s movement is still based on a number of squares per turn, you are free to position them within the square. It’s sort of like a combination of the Valkyria Chronicles and Final Fantasy Tactics system. Smart positioning is a must. Your life will be easier if you learn how to utilize environmental covers and guard weaker party members. Make one mistake of leaving your mage open and the next thing you know he finds himself on the receiving end of a goblin boomstick barrage. Oh, and if that happens it’s GAME OVER for you as losing one party member fails the whole mission. Nice!

The mechanic that you will absolutely need to master is the Action Link. Every action/command that one of your units do on his/her turn has link conditions that if met, will enable other units to take a turn outside his/her usual turn. This essential tactic can turn the tide of the often overwhelming battles that you will face if executed correctly. Because turns are determined by unit speed, being able to kill the enemy next on the initiative queue (shown on the top of the screen) gets you an enormous battlefield advantage. If the circumstances permits, you can decimate all enemies without any of them getting an attack out.

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Of course the enemies have access to the same Action Link system as you and they usually outnumber you.., not to mention they are programmed to know everything there is to know about the system while you try to figure it out outside the very basic explanation in the tutorial. So there’s that.

Haha.

Outfitting your characters is necessary to tackle the ever-increasing odds against you. Units prefer specific weapon types like swords/shields, guns, staves and bombs. Some characters can change weapon types mid-battle with no penalty and are more versatile. Accessories increase your stats and you can equip each unit two of them at a time. Equipment are gained in the battlefield via monster drops or by opening chests. There is no currency to spend or shops to use them on although you can farm dungeons multiple times to get more items from chests. Opening chests also give you an amount of pluton every time. The pluton is used by your magic-users to cast spells as a substitute for magic points. It seems very limiting but magic is very powerful in this game and can often be used to turn the tide in your favor when used tactically.

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Units learn skills using a straightforward skill tree specific for each character. A party member gains a skill point (Geoff gets two) every time he/she levels up. Spend points to activate either passive stat-boosting skills or an active skill that either adds a new command or enhances a an existing one. Consumable items are also gained through skills. For example, a skill gets a unit two potions for use in a mission and gets replenished for the next one. One awesome thing about the skill tree is that you are free to spend and unspend skill points as you see fit without restriction. This encourages experimentation and helps to find the right approach dealing with missions.

The visuals leave a lot to be desired. The anime art looks good but the 3D models and animation are not what you would expect especially if you are playing the PS4 version. The game is available on all three Sony platforms (PS3/PS4/Vita) and have cross-save functionality so I kinda understand that it needs to work within the weakest system’s specifications in order to have the same performance on all platforms. It’s still not an excuse considering it is a retail release. Muddy textures and clunky animations all over. Definitely needs more polish.

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The music annoyed me the first few stages mostly because I was always dying and had to listen to the same grinding tracks over and over but it got better as the story furthered. Cutscenes are fully voiced. The english voice work is a notch above what you would expect from a NISA release but a welcome japanese voice option for the gamers who want it is included and can be toggled anytime.

Like I said, Natural Doctrine is available for all three Sony platforms but it is the first of its kind on the PlayStation 4. So if you are itching to play a really challenging strategy RPG on your next-gen system, many hours of gameplay awaits with your purchase. If you only have the PS3 and you think the frustrating difficulty will put you off, then there are many games in the same genre available to you from its vast last-gen library. The game is perfect on the PS Vita as it lends itself beautifully for on the go gaming.

There is a separate online multiplayer mode included that is unrelated with the single-player campaign. It is a deck building card game but since the game was not released yet at the time I was playing it, I was not able to find anyone to play with online. So I can’t really say anything about multiplayer.

For this review, I played the PS4 and PS Vita versions. I did not try on the PS3 but I’m sure it looks and plays almost the same.

Mission Accomplished (Pros):

  • Very deep battle system: The game rewards you for smart tactical planning but will rape your butt the moment you make a mistake.
  • Interesting story: Starts slow but really picks up fast. A nice change from the lackluster story other games in the genre are known for.
  • Skill tree experimentation: You are free to learn and unlearn skills as much as you want means getting as strategic as much you want.
  • Not bad voice acting: Character banter in and out of missions are enjoyable. Although Vasily might grate on you (like FFXIII’s Vanille)

Mission Failed (Cons):

  • No mid-mission save: You can be playing for half an hour and then die. Some missions have halfway checkpoints but they are still far in-between. Much frustration.
  • No currency or shops: I don’t know but I like my RPGs where I can buy stuff.
  • Mediocre graphics: Hey, I’m playing on the most powerful console in the world but what the hell is this? lol
  • Tutorial not in-depth enough: The enemies know all the quirks of the action link system from the beginning but you are just given the gist of it and will have to learn as you go. So they will enjoy murdering you a lot early in the game.

Mission Stalemate (Love it or Hate it):

  • Difficulty cranked up to 11: Even on easy mode the enemies seems to be cheating. And some enemies can wipe your entire party in one fell swoop. Still, everything can be countered with smart positioning and careful planning
  • Grinding for items and level: Some like to grind, some hate it. I don’t mind, though.

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NAtURAL DOCtRINE

Developer: KADOKAWA GAMES

Publisher: NIS America

Available for: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita

Date: September 30, 2014

Thanks to NISA for providing us with the review copy.

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(Philippines, May 6 2014) – Since the launch of the Playstation 4, Sony’s console has not only proven itself as the superior console against its competition, it has in my opinion taken the advantage for this console generation. XB One has showed off nothing but inferior ports (in 720p) while Playstation 4 runs the same game in 1080p at 60 fps. The Wii U is last gen. Sorry Mario, the adults are talking here. Sony has also been taking all the right steps in being pro-consumer with the gratuitous Playstation Plus service and Share Factory the game play video editing software for the Playstation 4 which came with System Software Update 1.7. Yesterday, we had the honor to partake in an exclusive meet and greet with spokespersons from the regional office of Sony in Singapore.

The main purpose of this media briefing led by Teoh WahKeong (Marketing Manager) is to announce launch dates of upcoming Sony console games for the PS4, PS Vita, and PS3 which will soon be available in select Sony Stores in the Philippines. There was also a mention in passing of strategic channels which I believe would be our mainstay game chain stores. While we are acclimated to the whole gray market supply chain, it would be great for Sony and stores like Datablitzand iTech to work hand-in-hand to grow our local gaming market. Below is a list of the games that were previewed during the event and their release dates:

  • (PS4) Murdered: Soul Suspect – June 6, 2014
  • (PS4) MLB 14 The Show (R3) – May 6, 2014
  • (PS3) Drakengard 3 – May 21, 2014
  • (PS Vita) Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma – June 2014
  • (PS Vita) Mind Zero (May 27, 2014

We were able to try a couple of interesting titles such as Drakengard 3 (hack and slasher), Mind Zero (Looks like a Persona Q for the PS Vita), and Murdered: Soul Suspect (a detective game where you play as the spirit of a dead detective).

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Other inclusions in this briefing are highlights of the Software Update 1.7 which includes Share Factory and the remote play function for the PS Vita TV with the PS4 allowing you to play your PS4 games at another TV should your living room be occupied.

Our take away from this is Sony is legitimately targeting South-East Asian countries such as the Philippines as a relevant market for their video games division. We are hoping that the prices for Sony Philippines distributed games will remain competitive with the current prices in the grey market and possibly the inclusion of the Philippines as an official PSN location. This would also mean better availability of PSN Cards which are unfortunately marked-up by local retailers.

We will be updating you all with new developments in this renewed push by Sony’s gaming division in the Philippines as it happens. Be sure to stick around to find out more in the coming months.

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)

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“Microconsoles,” by their nature, are budget consoles that are gimped—whether intentionally or not—in one way or another to accommodate the low asking price. We’re seeing a resurgence of sorts for these feature-filled little set-top boxes aimed at the casual: with devices such as the Ouya, Game Pop, Gamestick, Madcatz’ MOJO—and even rumored boxes coming from Apple and Amazon—there’s no shortage of options for this already-fragmented new market.

Unassumingly announced as an afterthought during Sony’s pre-TGS press conference, the PlayStation Vita TV is the Japanese conglomerate’s take on the microconsole concept, one that—with enough tweaking and the right kind of marketing—should be far and away the most successful out of this sordid lot of Android hand-me-downs.

ps-vita-tvIt caught everyone by surprise, and seemed like an awful idea at first. A consolized version of a failing handheld? Surely Sony’s R&D department didn’t waste millions researching this? Yet upon further inspection, the PS Vita TV appears more and more to be a very savvy and smart move responding to current market trends; and I’m sure the joke about Sony being the electronics industry equivalent of a senile, out-of-touch old man writes itself at this point.

Hardware manufacturers and even content creators have an immense hard-on for locking the consumer in to their own “ecosystems.” Google has its Play Store (of which derivatives exist such as the Ouya Store, Nvidia’s Tegra Zone or Amazon’s App Store), Microsoft owns a myriad of Xbox-related services, and even Sony is coming into the game fairly late with its “Sony Entertainment Network” sphere of multimedia services. In essence, the PlayStation Vita TV is Sony’s shot at getting the casual hooked into their ecosystem. Its a trojan horse in every sense of the word: the entire look (apart from the fact that it can be controlled by a Dual Shock 3) screams AV rather than VG and at 10,000 Yen (approx. $100) the price is unheard of. No console hardware manufacturer has released anything even remotely resembling that price point, one that immediately entices the mainstream consumer as a “no brainer” purchase. The fact that Amazon Japan already sold out of their first shipment after one day of taking preorders solidifies this fact.

ps_vita_tv_8However even marketing it as an all-rounder device rather than a consolized handheld, Sony is making no qualms about injecting the “PlayStation” and “Vita” brands simultaneously into the mix. Why would they? This isn’t 1985’s Nintendo of America quandary; the word “video games” mean way more to the general public now than it did before. Instead of the usual “oh it’s a toy with a robot… no wait it’s actually a computer!” runaround we’ve gotten in the past, the PS Vita TV is marketed as something it actually is: a pared-down, cheaper version of a $400 console experience that doubles as a good addition to your home video system.

Set beside its contemporaries in the field, the PS Vita TV offers so much more: while I’m more interested personally in its remote-play capabilities (the ability to offload and output my PS4 experience to a remote bedroom TV already sold me), the more discerning mainstream customer may see it as an alternative to the Apple TV: another way to play the myriad of streaming services that are out there such as Hulu, Netflix, or even NicoNico Douga. Parents will appreciate the fact that it also happens to pull double-duty as a cheap console with a variety of games for Junior to screw around with. Heck, lapsed gamers will probably elect to pick it up as a convenient way to play old PSX classics with minimal hassle.

In execution, the outlook will probably look a lot less rosy than the picture that I’m painting: I can see this thing disrupting the marketplace in all the wrong ways; with confused consumers wondering if it’s an add-on to the PlayStation 4, or if it actually is the PlayStation 4. The hardcore market will of course scoff at its limited capabilities and balk at the price of games compared to App Store or Play Store offerings.

Regardless of its relative measures of success though, I firmly believe that in Sony’s eyes the PlayStation Vita TV will never be a failure: after all, if they can even get several hundred thousand of these things in cramped Tokyo apartments, that’s a few hundred thousand new SEN subscribers. To all the consumer outlets whining about its relative uselessness in comparison to Sony’s other console systems: deal with it, this product is not for you.

Despite their questionable business practices, overt reliance on dumbed-down games that look down on the player, and continuous forcing of the Assassin’s Creed series down everyone’s throats (face it guys—the game will never be a classic) its games like Rayman Legends that make me forgive Ubisoft as a company.

Nintendo fans seem to be less-forgiving, however. I can understand: Legends was slated for a late-February release, but pushed back quite a few months as Ubisoft reneged on the game’s status as a Wii U exclusive, citing disappointing sales of their exclusive ZombiU as the primary motivator for this purely business decision. As I was curious to see how Ubisoft managed the port to other platforms without ancillary touchscreens, I requested a PlayStation 3 copy of Rayman Legends from the publisher for this review’s purpose.

Well at least you get to tack on a Mario hat on Rayman. That kinda makes up for the delay, huh Nintendo fans?
Well at least you get to tack on a Mario hat on Rayman. That kinda makes up for the delay, huh Nintendo fans?

To get that bit of trivia out of the way: the PlayStation 3 (and I’m assuming Xbox 360) version of Rayman Legends doesn’t feel like a half-baked port in direct comparison to its lead platform. From what I’ve been seeing, the main difference between the touchscreen-deficient versions of the game is that the CPU controls your fairy frog assistant, Murphy, providing context-sensitive actions that are triggered by button presses when needed. Levels that center on touch-screen puzzles are replaced with QTE-type affairs, which is kind of lame. Otherwise, it’s the same game with the same exact content* presented with the same amount of visual fidelity.

High-Fi and High-Fives

Touching on visual fidelity, Legends has that in spades. It takes the charming, flat-shaded look of Rayman Origins and bumps it up several notches, creating a stylized, colorful 2.5D look that reminds me of mid-90s quazi-CGI drivel such as Clockwork Knight… but in a good way. If you’ve played through its direct predecessor Origins you’d already know that Legends has a ton of variety tucked behind its deceptively simple 2D trappings.

That variety extends to its level design: touting more than 150 levels plus 40 more remixed from Origins, there’s a lot of content to wade through, and I could not pinpoint one single stage that I would consider filler. Apart from the main platforming stages, you’ll also run into “musical” levels—fun rhythm/platforming-based romps that serve to test the player’s ear/hand/eye coordination—as well as time-trial versions of the same stages you’ve already plowed through called “invasion” levels (it’s worth mentioning that the upcoming Vita port won’t include these levels out of the box, but will be patched in later).

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Whipped Cream and Lums

I realized that I jumped in head-first to the game’s mechanics before even explaining what the game’s about to the uninitiated. Legends is a 2D platformer, but one that relies more on twitch reflexes and speed rather than puzzle solving and exploration (because Baby Jesus knows that the world’s had enough of those “indie” puzzle-platformers). And when I say “speed,” I don’t mean that it’s paced the same way as a 2D Sonic; its pacing is more precise, deliberate, and frankly unforgiving. That’s not to dissuade the platforming wussies out there of course, the game is entirely fair, and gives the player ample time (and chances) to learn from mistakes made and eventually conquer any tricky bits.

And if you’ve played Origins before it, this indirect sequel metaphorically picks up where the last game left off, by taking the same ethos that it was built off of, and making just enough changes—visually and gameplay-wise—to get away from the notion that this is merely a level-pack, yet still keeping the core pace that hooked players in the first place. Expectations should be kept consistent: for the smart people who picked up the sleeper hit back in 2011, you already know what to expect here: a no-frills platformer that is thankfully light on the forced exploration and exposition that bogs down similar games in its genre (looking right at you, Ducktales).

I should also take some time to mention Rayman’s excellent co-op options: though not as accessible as a New Super Mario Bros. session, if you can get three other players in the room, the game’s frenetic pace and steady stream of jump-scares and fun boss challenges will keep even the most jaded of ex-gamers hooked until the bitter end. I’ve never had people play through more than ten levels of New Super Mario Bros. Wii but I had no problem finishing out a set of stages with a few non-gamer friends over at the office; which I found a little amazing and perplexing, personally.

Rayman Legends

I love when I’m unable to recite a particularly-good game’s storyline  because it underscores the fact that I enjoyed the ride not for the narrative, but for its gameplay merits. That being said, don’t ask me what Rayman Legends’ thumbtacked storyline is all about. All I remember is that I had to rescue a whole bunch of Teensies, or something like that.

It’s truly criminal that—like Rayman Origins before it—a lot of people will probably scoff at Legends’ appearances as a seemingly-outdated 2D platformer, when it’s not. Ubisoft has a real gem here, and quite a rarity: a game that can arguably out-Mario Mario. And even that bold comparison is doing the game a disservice, as I believe it can and should stand on its own as a unique experience that any gamer should experience and cherish. It’s gone multiplatform now, so there’s absolutely no excuse to skip this.

Rayman Legends (2)

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Dive Kick is a fighting game that literally uses only two (2) buttons to play. The D-pad is of no use in this game so there aren’t any complex input patterns or chain combos you have to memorize in order to pick up this game. As a matter of fact, one or two games in, you’ll automatically “get” this game. Despite the simplicity of the game’s control, Dive Kick is able to draw in fighting game newbies and veterans alike with a surprising amount of depth. I also have to point out that I’m a very casual player of fighting games.

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Timing is the name of the game:

With the game in a perpetual state of sudden death, one hit is all you need to win a round in Dive Kick. Each of the thirteen (13) characters in the game’s roster play differently even if your input device is limited to only two (2) buttons. The variation in play style of each character lies in how high they can “dive” (jump), the angle of their kick, the velocity of said kick, and then there are some x-factors which are special moves activated by pressing the two buttons at the same time and the kick meter powers (super moves). You goal is simply to trick your opponent into a position where they are unable to avoid your dive kick (you can’t block in this game). As I said, anybody can pick up on this game without having to go through rigorous move-list memorizing and single player training on combos and learning the proper timing of special moves. You can play this game with anyone, even people who have no aptitude or interest in playing games in general.

One shot is all you need to win
One shot is all you need to win

Talking Trash:

Even if tensions would run high, I believe trash talking plays an important role in fighting games because its one of the best tools to psyce people out (just don’t get too personal). Dive Kick goes out of its way to highlight people when they are sucking real bad with the fraud and choke detection system. These “systems” basically just add insult to injury when a player fails to win a single round or lose the game to  a five to zero comeback all in good fun. Also, for the first time ever (I think), head shots matter in a fighting game! Kicking someone in the head will not only give you a rush with a “headshot” victory banner, you will also render your opponent dizzy for the next round making their dive kicks less effective for a fixed period of time on top of cancelling out their kick meter (super move bar). There is even a gem you can equip before a match called the YOLO gem (self explanatory) and nothing is more humiliating than getting your ass kicked by someone with that gem.

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Stretching Out The Game:

There are thirteen (13) characters with funny background stories which will compel you to finish story mode just to see what hilarity ensues at the ending for each character. Outside that, there is online multiplayer for casual games and ranked games. You’ll need to go online and fight ranked matches to acquire all trophies which will take quite some time because the feats you have to pull off aren’t exactly easy (if you don’t cheat and farm them with a friend). Other than that, it would really depend on your group of friends or if the game is actually going to show up in your local tournament. Dive Kick is actually an EVO approved game.

Good Points:

There is enough depth and fun to go around for everyone in this game for fighting game veterans and people who couldn’t care less about the genre.

It’s a great game to break out anywhere (you can play versus mode with two human players on one PS Vita) it’s a great game to kill time with.

Dive Kick doesn’t take itself seriously despite the raves of people on how deep the game is. The creators of the game still treat Dive Kick as a parody game and with that, there is a lot of good laughs to go around from the character back stories to Uncle Sensei’s pre-match tips.

Bad Points:

The simplistic controls will eventually bare down on you despite of the depth of the game. It will be hard to play this game for extended periods of time.

Things Which Can Go Either Way: 

The intentional comedic character design, dialogue, and character voices may not appeal to everyone or may not get the jokes because there are a lot of references to fighting games and culture. I don’t get most of them.

The art style and character design will not appeal to everyone.

Dive Kick will probably piss hardcore fighting game veterans when they lose to a clueless newbie (which is entirely possible).

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A new promo video has been released for Super Robot Wars Operation Extend (SRWOE) today, revealing some new details about the game as well as when it’ll go into retail. Watch the trailer above, then allow me to translate the important gimmicks this game has to offer:

  • OE is separated into 8 downloadable chapters, and each chapter boasts 20 missions (totaling 160 in all).
  • You may pick to play whatever mission you want in a chapter, instead of playing each chronologically.
  • Graphics integrate both 2D and 3D, including beautiful cut-ins from pilots during battle animations.
  • Fully brushed up 360-degree movement and weapon range in maps as opposed to traditional square spaces.
  • Enemies drop materials for crafting upgrade parts, and upgrade parts can be turned into more powerful ones.
  • Replay missions repeatedly as much as you want for farming parts.

OE will only be digitally distributed via PSN and will be released July 18th! The game is playable on both PSP and PS Vita. The first chapter will cost only 500 Yen for a limited time, and when the promotion is over, each chapter will retail for 1000 Yen each.

Next month another SRW game also will be coming out for both the PS3 and PS Vita, SRW OG Saga – Masoukishin III: Pride of Justice. It’s worth checking it out.

For tips on how to create your own Japanese PSN ID as well as obtaining Japanese PSN cards to fill your wallet, read this previous article for valuable links.

 

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Namco Bandai announced in a press release that Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, will be coming to the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox 360.

The game will feature online and local 4-player co-op battles — obviously taking the Monster Hunter route, and an 8-player battle mode. It seems to encompass characters and storylines from the entire Dragon Ball Z series including the movies, complete with Goku’s Jesus Christ mode.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is “coming soon” to Europe. Safe bet on a North American release as well. It’s also the worst titled DBZ game ever.

Just SAIYAN!

[show_hide title=”Click to view Official Press Release”]

‘DRAGON BALL Z: BATTLE OF Z’ PREPARES TO KI BLAST INTO EUROPE WITH ALL-NEW TEAM MELEE ACTION

– NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe Announces the Latest Title in the All-powerful Dragon Ball Video Game Saga, Coming to PlayStation®3, PS®Vita and Xbox 360® –

PARIS, FRANCE – 21 June 2013 – Europe’s legions of Kamehameha devotees have something special to look forward to: NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe is preparing to bring team melee battler Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z to these shores for PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita and Xbox 360®.

Are you a team player with the crazy skills and cool composure needed to triumph in massive cooperative battles? If this sounds like you, then Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z has just what you need, with revolutionary team battling for up to 4 players together in cooperative play against a host of fearsome opponents or in a giant 8-player battle royale. Found his weak point? Push your advantage and take him down together in a flurry of fur!

“The Dragon Ball games continue to thrill fans across Europe, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z brings some very exciting new features to the series,” said Olivier Comte, Senior Vice President, NAMCO BANDAI Games Europe. “The large scale cooperative team melee battles are like nothing players have seen before in a Dragon Ball game. Fans can’t afford to miss it.”

With four different battle types, breath-taking visuals faithful to the inimitable Dragon Ball universe, plus full-featured solo play for those days when you want to bathe in the glory alone, Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z represents the next essential evolutionary phase in the illustrious history of the franchise. Appearances from Special Force and Super Saiyan GOD are the icing on the cake of this irresistible recipe for ki chaos on the ground and in the air. Prepare your battle cry!

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is coming soon to Europe. For the latest news and updates, join the DBZ family at http://www.Team-Up.eu

For more information about NAMCO BANDAI Games’ entire line up, go towww.namcobandaigames.eu. [/show_hide]

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All those fancy games shown at E3 are still months away; you can’t play ’em yet.

So here are the new games you CAN play this week.

P.S. (pun not intended): If you have a PS3 and only have moolah to buy one game, you know what to do.

 

No New Releases (may change after tonight’s E3 Nintendo Direct)

WiiWare/eShop – TBA

Virtual Console – TBA

DLC – TBA

The Last of Us (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Aliens: Colonial Marines (PS3/PSN)

Contra: Shattered Soldier (PS2 Classic)

Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3/PSN)

Pirates: Legend of the Black Buccaneer (PS2 Classic)

Tekken Revolution (PS3 Free to Play)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F (PS3 Demo)

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Scorpion (PS3 DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk (PS3 DLC)

Flying Hamster HD (PS Vita/PSN)

Zeno Clash 2 (XBLA)

Demos – TBA

Injustice: Gods Among Us – Scorpion (DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk (DLC)

Resident Evil: Revelations – Rachel Ooze and Lady Hunk DLC (PC) [Steam]

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The PlayStation Store updated today with a free Vita app called ‘Toro’s Friend Network‘. It’s a social app akin to what the 3DS Mii Plaza offers, but from what I’ve played so far it’s packed with more features and interactivity. I’ve been tinkering with the game for a couple of hours now and here are the things I’ve discovered so far.

Starting up the game, you will be prompted to make a profile. The game asks for the usual descriptive information like ‘do you like games? cats? dogs? and the like. It will also ask you to login to your Social Networking Sites (SNS) namely Facebook and Twitter. These are fully integrated to the game and plays a significant role in gameplay.

After that, a tutorial ensues. I didn’t really like how the tutorial was presented but I found the home screen manual (the book icon at the top before you start the game) more clear and concise and thus more helpful.

Gameplay starts at the “Home Garden”. Here you can gather all the friends you’ve made and assign them various jobs and assignments. Assignments have requisites on who can take on said job. For example, a construction job requires a friend who is a “muscle-type”. Types are picked when you first create your profile — muscle, brain, or artist. Jobs also sometimes require a certain level friend to be assigned to it. Completing assignments nets you experience (gain enough and you level up of course) and MP (the game’s currency). The friend who did the work for you will also be rewarded with monies to spend on drugs or whatever.

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Completing jobs will not only give you EXP and MP, it will also sometimes reward your efforts with consumable items and also, if you develop the garden to a certain point, new gardens become available to purchase for MP. Thus, completing and restarting the circle of life because reasons.

But before you can get friends to slave for you, you have to make friends! You do that by going to the friend lobby and exchanging friend cards. There are four lobbies available, assuming there are no unlockable lobbies: the PSN lobby is a free for all lobby and it will be populated with PSN users all over the world. If you want to recruit a stranger here to work at your garden, you will be prompted to add him/her to your PSN friend list and that person will have to accept it, of course. If you are already PSN friends with a person you will see an icon above that person’s head in the lobby. Exchange name cards with him/her and he gets carted to your garden for hard labor without a single word of protest lol. The Facebook and Twitter lobbies are a bit different. There will be no strangers here. These SNS lobbies will be populated with people who you are friends with on Facebook or following you on Twitter and of course, playing Toro’s Friend Network. Adding friends successfully also gives you EXP but you can only make ten friends a day.

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The last feature I would like to talk about is the “Friend Dungeon”. According to the tutorial, you can bring a party of three friends to explore the dungeon and the main goal is to rescue Toro’s friend Kuro who is held captive 100 floors down.

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I still can’t access the dungeon as the dungeon rules require for the friends you will be adventuring with to have at least 24 hours rest from the time you added them as a friend (slave) before you can use them. The manual and the tutorial says that equipment will be required to go inside — the name card will be your weapon (name cards have an attack stat) and your outfit, your armor. All of these are for purchase in the equipment store using MP. Pretty deep for a game of this type. Can’t wait to plunge into it but I guess I’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

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Author’s Note: All of the screenshots used in this post are all captured by me on my PS Vita but I don’t watermark them (inside joke, sorry).

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Hey kids! It’s the first Monday of June and it’s time for the you as a gamer to stop and think what games you need to buy this month so you know exactly how much money you’ll have left for trivial things like ‘clothes’ and ‘food’.

We have must-buys this month and some pretty solid games to taste so here are the ones we will be definitely picking up in the next four weeks:

Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo EAD 2

Release: June 9

 

Nintendo’s life simulator franchise migrates to the 3DS. Build a home, make new friends, and manage a village! This time you play as the mayor of your own town. This AC brings us deeper customization with insane attention to detail. It also utilizes the 3DS online and streetpass functions for a more interactive and social experience.

I sounded like an official ad. Hehe.

The Last of US (PS3)

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Developer: Naughty Dog

Release: June 14

 

I have been waiting for this title since it was shown on E3 and I already pre-ordered it! Naughty Dog’s foray into survival-horror was supposed to have a May release but was pushed to June. Well worth the wait, judging from the demo.

Game and Wario (Wii U)

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo SDP, Intelligent Systems

Release: June 23

 

The Wario Ware series comes to the Wii U this month (I know it’s not called Wario Ware anymore, but who are they kidding?). Our lovable garlic-eating anti-hero has 16 minigames to offer and this time they’re a “bit deeper” than the usual Wario Ware microgame. The Wii U gamepad is utilized in creative ways from the looks if it.

Deadpool (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC)

Publisher: Activision

Developer: High Moon Studios

Release: June 25

 

The Merc with the Mouth is finally starring in his own M-Rated game! This one has nudity, violence, and blood. Lots of blood. Also fourth-wall jokes because Deadpool will be Deadpool.

Muramasa Rebirth (PS Vita)

Publisher: Aksys Games

Developer: Vanillaware

Release: June 25

 

You remember this sleeper hit on the Wii? It’s now releasing this month on the PS Vita and I’m pretty excited. Not only does it become portable, this version has new playable characters including a half-cat warrior and a hillbilly ninja! So much awesomeness.

 Project X Zone (3DS)

Publisher: Namco Bandai

Developer: Monolith Soft, Banpresto

Release: June 25

 

We thought it was impossible for this title to get localized in the west but here we are, few weeks from playing it in english! Characters from Namco, Sega, and Capcom games cross-over in a tactical RPG for the Nintendo 3DS. We already have an import review of the game so check it out if you want to know more about it.

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The first set of the Soul Sacrifice DLC is now available in the PlayStation Store and along with the two quest/boss add-ons is a title update with more changes. Sony was gracious enough to offer all of these for free so I went ahead and played it to check what’s new with the game.

Facebook and Twitter Integration. You can now post on Facebook or Twitter your accomplishments once a day. Give your friends another reason to block/restrict you in exchange for Lacrima. Totally worth it.

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New Mode: Otherworldly Memories. I haven’t tried this mode yet but I got the screenshot of the description. #TAMAD

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Camera Speed Options. As we said in our review, one minor fault of the game is the slow camera movement and that there is no option to change it. That is not true anymore.

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DLC Boss Quest: Behemoth. It’s a fucking tree. And he poisoned my ass. :(

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DLC Boss Quest: Dullahan. He is a big Knight that has a big chain-whip with his big head at the end. Badass.

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These are the major additions and changes I’ve noticed. I don’t know if there are new spell rewards as I haven’t even beaten them because the people I play with are afraid of the new archfiends and they acknowledge I’m the only one who can beat them.

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To those who will be getting Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster for the PlayStation 3/VITA, well, you had all better cross your fingers and hope Square-Enix includes the “Last Mission” content to the final product.

This bit of news came under my radar as I haven’t checked on Famitsu yet, but to those who can read the article (it’s in Japanese), well, a small phrase caught my eye. “ラストミッション”のHDリマスター版への収録については、現在のところ未定“. Basically it says “Concernng the HD remastering of Last Mission, it’s being put into consideration at the moment”.

The “Last Mission” can only be found at the International Version of FFX-2. Its storyline takes place a few months after the conclusion of FFX-2.

Well, seeing that FFX-2 sold 1.85 million units in America alone, and 2.11 million in Japan, Squeenix had BETTER consider it in, and fast. In a personal level, I don’t want to see Last Mission as a DLC, unless it’s free. The games release in America on Dec. 31, 2013 with a set price of $39 for the PS3 version, which will include BOTH FFX and FFX-2 in one disc. The VITA version’s price is still pending, and the 2 games will be split separately.

 

 

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Muramasa Special Edition
Muramasa Special Edition

Muramasa Rebirth not only looks gorgeous on the Vita’s sexy screen and it plays really good, too!

A Special Edition will also be offered. It includes a Vita skin and cover by Hori, a pouch for the console, and a framed lithograph of art by designer George Kamitani, priced at $60.

Watch the new gameplay trailer embedded above and check out the screenshots below, then look at your calendar everyday to check if it’s the 25th of June yet.

Cry yourself to sleep if it isn’t.

 

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Super Robot Wars (SRW) games sure are coming at breakneck speed these days. Just yesterday we announced and previewed the 1st trailer for Super Robot Wars Operation Extend (SRWOE) for PSP/PS Vita. Today Namco Bandai (Namdai/Bamco to some) released ANOTHER trailer for another SRW game, Super Robot Wars OG Saga – Masoukishin 3: Pride of Justice for the PS3/PS Vita. Unlike traditional SRW games, the robots and characters that appear in this game are purely original creations from Bamco subsidiary Banpresto. Eventually they gained so much popularity in Japan (and Asia) that many SRW anime were created and the rest was history.

The 1st game in the series, Masoukishin: The Lord of Elemental was released for the SNES in 1996 and was eventually rebranded as “SRW OG Saga – Masoukishin: The Lord of Elemental”, ceremoniously re-released for the Nintendo DS in 2010. This DS remake was ported yet again, this time in the limited edition package of its sequel, Masoukishin 2: Revelation of Evil God that was launched for the PSP in 2012.

Masoukishin, despite being a SRW game is an entirely new world, a side-story featuring the antics of its main protagonist, Masaki Andoh, who constantly appeared in mainstream SRW games as early as SRW2 for the SNES in 1991. Eventually, original characters from other SRW games were made, and they were so numerous that Banpresto mashed them all together, including Masaki into yet another new series of games: SRW Original Generations, and were branded as the SRW OG Saga. Unlike the traditional SRW games that features characters from actual mecha anime, 2 OG Saga games found its way to America in 2006 thanks to Atlus.

Masoukishin 3 is coming out on August 22, 2013 and will be priced 7,480 Yen for the PS3 and 6,480 Yen for the PS Vita as a digital download. First print copies of the game will include a DLC that will grant players an additional skin for the mecha Valshione.

 

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Namco-Bandai Games recently released their first promo video for Super Robot Wars Operation Extend (SRWOE) for the PSP. It’s the first contemporary 3D Super Robot Wars game to be a fully downloadable PlayStation Network title, so there will be no physical items (UMD, manual, box). The game marks the premiere of playable characters and robots from Mobile Police Patlabor, Zoids and Keroro Gunsou, adding to a plethora of notable series veterans such as Macross F, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Code Geass and Gundam.

Although Super Robot Wars (SRW) is entirely Japanese, in 2006 Atlus localized 2 games into English, namely SRW Original Generations and its sequel Original Generations 2 for the Game Boy Advance. Despite the language barrier, a significant population of niche gamers who play SRW actually exist, not only in the Philippines and Asia, but also in USA and Europe. Of course, those that can speak Japanese (and to a certain extent Chinese) have a definitive advantage, but seeing people who can really play and finish a SRW game without any knowledge of Japanese is impressively respectable. I give kudos to their resourcefulness and their willingness to overcome difficult obstacles for the sake of gaming.

SRWOE will be out this summer (in Japan) and will be playable in both the PSP and VITA. The game is split into 8 chapters and will be released in gradual increments (hence the name Operation EXTEND). You can purchase each chapter for 1,000 Yen each or opt to pre-purchase all 8 for 6,480 Yen, though buying everything in advance will not give you the full game content from the start. Its only advantage is you save more money in the long run. However, for a limited time, chapter 1 will be only 500 Yen (50% off)!

Now, most of you will be asking valid questions, like where to get Japanese PSN cards and how to create a Japanese PSN account. Kotaku has got you covered. For the cards, you can hop on to Play-Asia. Google is your friend.

 

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Do you have your copy already?

If you haven’t bought a physical copy of Soul Sacrifice yet then you might want to consider getting it digitally from the PlayStation Store. We did. And here’s why:

Soul Sacrifice mastermind Keiji Inafune himself dropped by the PS Blog and announced that for a limited time, the digital version of the game on PSN will include all the pre-order freebies of the retail version. This includes:

  • Two Unique Costumes with which players can customize their character
  • Three Magic Items to aid players in battle:
    • Spirits’ Flamepike: Shards of the spear provided by Fire spirits. (Attribites: heat) Enables five combo attacks.
    • Spirits’ Blightstone: Explosive stone provided by the spirits. (Attributes: venom)
    • Spirits’ Fulgurwood: Root provided by the Thunder spirits. (Attributes: volt) It tracks enemies on the ground and attacks with thunder spell.
  • The Japanese voice-over pack. Get it for no added cost during the promotion!

Soul Sacrifice is out now in retail stores and digitally through the PlayStation Store for $35.99

 

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Nintendo does not have any major releases last week as well as this week. LOLWAT? Soul Sacrifice (VITA) more than makes up for it though.

 

AGAIN, NOTHING (NINTENDO IS DOOMED).

 

Deadly Premonition: Director’s Cut (PS3 Retail/PSN)

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3 PSN)

Katamari Damacy (PS2 Classic)

Telltale Games’ Poker Night 2 (PS3 PSN)

Thomas Was Alone (PS3/Vita PSN)

Zombie Tycoon II: Brainhov’s Revenge (PS3/Vita PSN)

Soul Sacrifice (Vita Retail/PSN)

TAC Heroes: Big Red One (PSP)

 

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (XBLM)

Zeno Clash 2 (XBLM)

Gears of War: Judgment – Call to Arms Map Pack (DLC)

 

Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PC) [Download]

Fez (PC) [Steam]

Leviathan: Warships (PC/Mac) [Download]

Might & Magic Heroes VI: Shades of Darkness (PC) [Download]

Receiver (PC) [Steam]

Strike Suit Zero (PC) [Steam]

TrackMania2 Stadium (PC) [Steam]

Zack Zero (PC) [Steam]

Zeno Clash 2 (PC) [Steam]

 

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 Zombie Tycoon II: Brainhov’s Revenge (PS3/Vita) is free for us PS+ subscribers but that’s not the awesome about this week’s update — It’s the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale Heritage Sale!

So the theme for the sale is the games in which the main combatants in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale came from get’s their price slashed (by Raiden). It’s discounted for everyone but if you’re a PS+ minion you get it at an even lower price. Fuckenawesome!

Here are the deets:

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS3) $39.99 $27.99 $19.59
PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (PS Vita) $35.99 $24.99 $17.49

BIOSHOCK (Big Daddy)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
BioShock 2 $19.99 $13.99 $9.79
BioShock $19.99 $13.99 $9.79

Metal Gear (Raiden)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
Metal Gear Solid $9.99 $6.99 $4.89
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty – HD Edition $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater – HD Edition $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection $39.99 $27.99 $19.59
METAL GEAR SOLID: HD COLLECTION PS Vita $34.99 $24.49 $17.14
METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER $19.99 $13.99 $9.79
METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER $19.99 $13.99 $9.79
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker – HD Edition $19.99 $13.99 $9.79
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops $9.99 $6.99 $4.89
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus $9.99 $6.99 $4.89

Sly Cooper

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
Sly Cooper : Thieves in Time $39.99 $27.99 $19.59
Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time PS Vita $26.99 $18.49 $12.94
The Sly Collection $29.99 $20.99 $14.69
Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves $9.99 $6.99 $4.89
Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus $9.99 $6.99 $4.89
Sly 2: Band of Thieves $9.99 $6.99 $4.89

LittleBigPlanet (Sackboy)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
LittleBigPlanet $29.99 $20.99 $14.69
LittleBigPlanet 2 $19.99 $13.99 FREE
LittleBigPlanet Karting $39.99 $27.99 $19.59
LittleBigPlanet PlayStation Vita $35.99 $24.99 $17.49
LittleBigPlanet PSP $14.99 $10.49 $7.34

Devil May Cry (Dante)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
Devil May Cry HD Collection $29.99 $20.99 $14.69

God of War (Kratos)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
God of War : Chains of Olympus $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
God of War Collection $29.99 $20.99 $14.69
God of War Collection $29.99 $20.99 $14.69
God of War HD $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
God of War II HD $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
God of War: Ghost of Sparta $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
God of War: Origins Collection $19.99 $13.99 $9.79

inFAMOUS (Cole MacGrath)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
inFAMOUS $29.99 $20.99 $14.69
inFAMOUS 2 $19.99 $13.99 FREE
inFAMOUS Festival of Blood $9.99 $6.99 $4.89

Twisted Metal (Sweet Tooth)

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
Twisted Metal $39.99 $27.99 $19.59
Twisted Metal $5.99 $3.99 $2.79
Twisted Metal 2 $5.99 $3.99 $2.79
Twisted Metal: Black $9.99 $6.99 $4.89
Twisted Metal: Head-On $7.99 $5.59 $3.91

Ratchet & Clank

Game Title Normal Price Sale Price Plus Price
Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One $19.99 $13.99 FREE
Ratchet & Clank: Collection $29.99 $20.99 $14.69
Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault $19.99 $13.99 $9.79
Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal $14.99 $10.49 $7.34
Secret Agent Clank $14.99 $10.49 $7.34

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Having played and immensely enjoyed both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, obviously my eyes popped out of their sockets when GameInformer announced Arkham Origins early this April (WATCH IT. NAO). To those who don’t know it yet, this is a brand new game, except it’s no longer made by Rocksteady (who did the 1st Arkham games). It’s now done by Warner Brothers Montreal, and the game is expected to be out October 25th this year for the PC, PS3 and 360, and to be simultaneously launched with its Mini-Me console companion version Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate for the VITA and 3DS.

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Anyway, April 26th unearths a plethora of new updates for Origins. So I condensed the article to write here what *I* think are the most important or interesting elements.

  • A weather system is implemented to affect combat, most notably winds and blizzards (it IS Christmas Eve after all).
  • To coincide with the weather system, the HUD has a built-in Storm Indicator so you’ll be warned of incoming winds.
  • There is a progression/skill tree where you can have different branches of upgrade paths. In effect, there are BUILDS.
  • Some, but not all of the famous DC assassins who came to Gotham to kill Batman (DeathStroke confirmed so far) will be implemented as side-missions.
  • The Mr. Freeze Arkham City boss battle is the main model for Origins boss battles. So this is not a brainless beat-em-up. Environment matters.
  • Origins feels like Arkham City in gameplay but isn’t a cheap reskin. Warner Brothers built upon the original Arkham games.
  • The ONLY bad news: Kevin Conroy won’t be Batman in this game, the actor is unrevealed. Batman is younger in this game so, oh well.

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Head over to Arkhamverse.com and be overwhelmed by a giant wall of text. There are other miscellaneous tidbits, like what GamesMaster‘s opinion and elements of the demo, but I left it all out to weed out the vital ones. But just to give them some “air time”, I’ll include this extremely sexy image above, courtesy of GamesMaster.