Tales of Hearts R: Your Vita Will Want You To Get This (Or Else)…

Now, I haven’t yet heard of any cases where someone’s Vita attempted to do them bodily harm, but I’d gather if anyone who does own one of Sony’s handhelds who considers him or herself a JRPG fan somehow doesn’t pick Tales of Hearts R up, there’s going to be trouble on the home front. If you don’t pre-order this or snap it up on launch day (or within the first week or so), you’ll be in the bath or shower and hear a noise close by… it’ll be your Vita trying to leap into the tub to literally give you the shock of your life. Hey, it COULD happen, you know.

Hearts_R_logo_RGB Animation1_OP_en Animation2_Kor obtains Soma_en Animation3_Kor meets Kohaku_en Battle2_Cross Chase Charge_en Battle3_Mystic Arte Cut-in_en Battle4_Mystic Arte executed_en Battle5_Spiria Drive_en Event1_Kor Obtains Soma_en Event2_Kor meets Kohaku_en Event4_Spiria Nexus_en

Kohaku Hearts Kor Meteor

Granted, Hideo Baba and Tales Studio wouldn’t make a game that’s deliberately going to harm someone, but you know your Vita has a mind of its own sometimes. That would explain the games you buy on a few occasions, I’d gather… anyway, this winter, you’d best remember to get some Tales action up in the house or else…

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WIN FREE STUFF! Grab The Conquest Bundle Gratis, Thanks To Bundle Stars!

Hey, have you got an active Steam account and a decent gaming PC? Good for you! Want a code for a completely FREE bundle of a dozen games valued at $115? Um-hmmmm… I knew you would. Anyway, I have TWO codes here for the latest deal from Bundle Stars:

Conquest Bundle Bannerand all you need to do is reply to this post and the first two score BIG! Of course, you WILL check to see if your machine can run all these games first, right? Click on the banner above to go zipping to the site if you need to. And, no… you can’t have BOTH Steam keys, you – that would be unfair to the other winner.

Anyway, I’d imagine Steam keys work anywhere in the world you can get Valve’s game download service, so I’d say this giveaway is open to one and all. So, clear out some hard drive space or be prepared to fill UP a hard drive with a ton of gaming goodness without spending a cent. Yes, it’s because I just love giving stuff away, folks (really, I do!), so take advantage of my (and Bundle Stars’) generosity while you still can.

Surprise! Tales of Heart R Vita-Bound This Winter!

Well, now. This is great news for Vita owners, fans of Namco Bandai’s long-running Tales series and anyone who just wants a great JRPG to take on the go. Having met Hideo Baba, Producer on the Tales series a few times over the years, I can safely report that he’s just as happy, proud and easygoing about his work as he is in that video above. It’s cool to see a guy who knows his fans and wants to get them the games he makes whenever possible (and it’s certainly not easy to do at all in terms of “just translate and ship it!” like some fans think). So anyway, yeah – a new Tales game and the first one exclusively for the Vita in North America coming this winter and that’s one more reason for my cold-hating butt to stay the heck indoors!

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Update: New Screens, Beta Gets a Big Boost!

Nice. Neocore Games has released four new screens from The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II and added some new areas to the closed beta (which is automatically updating via Steam as I type). Excellent.

VanHelsingII_SteamPreOrder_001I was wondering what that other game was Steam was adding content to as I knew The Wolf Among Us was going to drop in Chapter Three as soon as I logged on. Of course, by the time I got to the email from Neocore announcing the beta update, it was about 70% done and I realized that’s what was up. Yeah, I think sideways from time to time, what of it? Anyway, May 22, 2014 is the new release date for VHII. Remember, you can pre-order the game directly from the developer or through Steam. I’ll have an updated hands-on shortly (most likely after the weekend)…

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Slow, Sleepy Sunday Soars…


the wind rises MPSo, I saw The Wind Rises today and it’s quite a magnificent sendoff for Hayao Miyazaki (if this is indeed his final film), although it’s not quite a film for kids unless you want to be studying aviation history and a few other things afterward. It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at and while the grand dream sequences and a stunning interpretation of the massive 1923 Kanto earthquake here are amazing blends of that wonderful Studio Ghibli hand-drawn and CG animation, the film’s intentionally slow pace means some viewers might find themselves drifting off when the film is making it’s points. For a biographical film (animated or not) both the subject and subject matter call for post viewing brain expanding because unless you’re an aviation nut who knows names, places and anime faces really well, some parts of the film may seem hard to follow until you can place dates to some of the important events shown.

This isn’t a review at all, though. It’s a recommendation if you’re wanting to hit the theater near you, this is playing and your curious as to whether it’s worth the price of a ticket. The short and easy answer is a resounding yes. Okay, back to being bored as hell by Mad Men. Man, this show needs to end or hopefully get better. I missed it, but after such a damn long delay, I find I don’t care about it all that much now…

Random Film of the Week(end): Nights of Cabiria

(thanks, TrailerItaliano!) 

Nights of Cabiria_MPThe first time I saw Nights of Cabiria, I was wide awake and it was the middle of the afternoon, but I was so wrapped up in watching Giulietta Masina’s spectacular performance that I’d stopped reading the subtitles and missed a chink of the story. Of course, this being a Fellini film, the visuals and expressive acting spelled out most of what happened and Masina’s work as a happy go lucky hooker with a head of stone and dreams of finding love kept me entranced until the ending.

I’ve seen the film quite a few times since and have introduced it to friends with no explanation because how do you properly describe a film about prostitutes that manages to be funny and sad and human all at the same time without getting wrapped up in someone’s “Uh, so… it’s a movie about what?” eyebrow. Granted, you can always take the easy way out and make it a double feature night with Fellini’s La Strada first, as like this film, it won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film and has Giulietta Masina giving another performance for the ages. That SHOULD wipe away any smudgy thoughts about pedigree and content.

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The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing 2 Gets Knockbacked Into May…

Game delays are nothing new, so this isn’t really a big surprise. Still, you have to love the press release Neocore Games sent out to announce the delay:

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Delayed due to Monster Invasion

Slightly delayed, but no need to worry – all that extra time will be spent polishing the game. The new release date is set to May 22, 2014.

So, what happened to the April release date of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II? Well, we could blame the supernatural or the bad Vrikolak meat in the fridge, but the truth is, we want to release a superb game as polished as possible on release and that will take a little longer than we thought. We want to make sure the sequel is superior to the first game in every aspect and it keeps you nailed to your chairs all the way to the end with its engaging new story. Now the new date will also mark the anniversary of the first game’s release. So be ready to hunt down the new swarm of monstrosities when the game hits Steam on May 22, 2014.

All of you are reaping souls right now anyway, aren’t you?

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II is available for pre-order on PC. To pre-purchase the game, head to neocoregames.com/store and choose from the various supporter packages in various price ranges.

Me, I’m currently NOT reaping souls because Blizzard has ignored PS3 and Xbox 360 owners of Diablo III, but I have other stuff to keep me occupied while I wait for the man with the hat and Lady Katarina to make their second appearance in a more polished form. That, and I can also replay the beta a few more times just to see how all those other character classes do against the hordes.

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II Beta Hands-On: It’s The Reckoning For That Hunter…


VHIIaThanks to the fine folks at Neocore Games, I had the opportunity to take a beta version of The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II for a spin and am happy to report it’s looking like a bigger, badder, meaner and harder game than the first one, especially if you’re hopping into it with your saved hero from the original. I hadn’t played the first game save for some hours with the demo, but Neocore also sent me a code for the Complete Pack, which got a marathon playthrough over the past week or so (and me a nicely maxed out Level 30 Hunter by that cliffhanger ending).

The new game starts off with a rather massive siege on a factory by many enemies being airdropped in capsules and a large army of civilian soldiers assisting Van Helsing and Katarina, his ghostly (and snarky) AI companion. Granted, one could play the beta using a few default high level characters in a few classes, but after trying out a few of these overpowered guys, I decided to take the longer, tougher (yet highly enjoyable and rewarding) route and go through the first game just to have a more personalized experience… Continue reading

Earth Defense Force 2025 Mission Pack 3 Deployed! Go Smash Some (More) Bugs!


Okay, I’ve been a bit tied up with stuff coming in to review plus a few other things (making sure I’m still breathing and surviving this stupid weather we’re stuck with – it’s REALLY cold again), but D3Publisher of America has recently released (as of 4/11) the third and final Mission Pack, Beyond Despair for Earth Defense Force 2025 on PSN and Xbox Live. A few teaser screens are below:

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Joining The Earth Defense Force 2025 Special Ops Mission Pack (5 extra missions for $2.99) and the Mutant Rampage Mission Pack (20 additional missions for $8.99), this final set of 20 missions is also $8.99 and gives you more mutated bug and boss variants to play around with in some familiar maps with new elements that add much more challenge whether you play solo offline, couch co-op or go online with up to three other teammates.

If you’re still blasting through solo play and need to farm up some great weapons, these Mission Packs offer up some incredible levels of challenge and some say an “easier” opportunity to gain weapons you may be having a hard time getting in the main game’s missions. “Easier” is a relative term, as even on the easiest difficulty, the enemies are about three times as fierce and twice (or more) as numerous. You’ll be an EDF veteran after a few of these missions, GUARANTEED.

MORE Free Stuff? OK, Win An Earth Defense Force 2025 Prize Pack (via Facebook)

EDF_Prize PackGot a facebook account? Good. Like to win free stuff? Even better! D3Publisher of America is giving YOU a chance to win a PS3 or Xbox 360 copy of their epic bug-blasting extravaganza Earth Defense Force 2025, all three DLC packs AND a bunch of EDF 2025 swag (which MAY or may not be some or all of this cool stuff) all for filling out that sweepstakes form. Uh huh, I can hear you bouncing up and down in your seat over there, so stop that before you break that chair (it’s squeaking because it’s old!) and go enter already!