Yes, Virginia – There Is A Sony Claus

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One problem with the internet these days is there are too many skeptics ranting about stuff they think is fake when some simple research will save them from eating crow and losing out on some cool stuff while they eat that crow. Case in point, the whole PSN reimbursement deal some made fun of as false a few months back. While those folks were going on and on about the deal being fishy because Sony didn’t seem as it was officially behind the program, people like me signed up to get our free game codes or PSN credit voucher after carefully reading the details. It took a little while to arrive (about three or so months), but I had this nice non-surprise waiting in my mailbox when I got home.

All I need now is a good PSN Flash Sale to spend my slight windfall on. Um, Sony? It’s your move. My code is redeemed and I can wait for stuff to pop up that I want to add to my digital library.

Whispering Willows: A Haunting You Will Go (On Even More Platforms)

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Abstraction Games and Night Light Interactive have a nice and spooky surprise coming soon for Xbox One, Wii U, iOS and Android owners. Although the game is already out for a few platforms (PC, PS4, Vita and OUYA), I’d actually never heard of Whispering Willows until an email about the latest version popped up in my inbox. Initially set for an August 12 launch at $9.99, Xbox One owners will be seeing the game as part of Microsoft’s Deals With Gold promotion starting Friday, August 28th at 30% off ($6.99) for two weeks only (through Friday, September 11).

iOS and Android versions will also be available on the 28th with the Wii U version following shortly thereafter. The horror-themed puzzle adventure has you playing as Elena, a young girl with the ability to use astral projection. The talent comes to good use thanks to her father going missing in a creepy mansion and yes, Elena heads into that haunted palace set on finding out just where he is and what’s happened to him. I’d say more, but I’ll need to play the game and get back to you on how it turned out. I’d gather all those plaudits on the official site mean the game is worth the price and more. A half dozen screens to ogle are below.

Whispering Willows SS Whispering Willows SS (1) Whispering Willows SS (2) Whispering Willows SS (3) Whispering Willows SS (4) Whispering Willows SS (5)

Dungeon Travelers 2 Hands-On: Fan Service Steamy Express, Inbound


 

DT 2 LELet’s get this out of the way first: Atlus’ upcoming PS Vita JRPG Dungeon Travelers 2: The Royal Library & the Monster Seal is NOT for kids. Period, end of story. Developer Aquaplus’ first-person dungeon crawler may have that cute anime look to it, but the mash up of bishojo game and classic (albeit simplified) Wizardry gameplay seems to have twisted many gamers into human pretzels as they either express offense at the content or defense at wanting to buy the game.

The thing is, half-naked artwork and cheesy dialog aside… the game isn’t “porn” by any stretch of the imagination unless it’s an overactive one at work. Some of the furor about the game comes from the presentation of its female characters in assorted states of undress, some silly cut scenes that let players linger as long as they want to on images and oddly enough, the fact that the ESRB determined a mere four of these images to be worthy of getting edited from the final North American product. While some journalists are doing the “A-ha!” dance around those unseen images (you can look them up online if you wish), they’re also busy unintentionally or intentionally insulting not only Atlus’ decision to publish the game, but people who may want to buy the game in the process. Continue reading

Retro City Rampage REALLY Goes Retro: 486 – MS-DOS / Windows 3.1 Version Now Available


 

Vblank Entertainment’s head honcho Brian Provinciano is a truly mad genius in the best possible way. His single-minded obsession with his hilarious “retro” game Retro City Rampage has led to it being released on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS over a few short years. Now, he’s gone and reprogrammed the instant classic and has gotten the game onto a 3.5″ floppy disk for 486 computers along with a Windows 3.1 prototype as a free bonus. If you still have an old PC lying around with a floppy drive, you can (and should indeed) snap up one of the limited edition boxed versions (there were only 1000 total made) and prepare for a nostalgic trip down memory lane with a game that probably wouldn’t have existed back then and if it did, it would be hailed as a fine slice of comic genius or something like that.

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If you happen to own the more modern PC version of the game already and bought it from the developer directly, guess what? You should probably check your Steam account for a nice freebie surprise. Everyone else, run or click like the wind HERE and hope for the best. Like the PS4 and Vita retail editions, this will probably sell out ridiculously fast. Yes, the game will also run on DOSBOX if you have a newer PC. I almost forgot to mention this, so now you don’t need to hit up eBay looking for some aged system to run RCR 486 on.

Review: Lost Dimension (PS3/PS Vita)

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Platform: PlayStation 3/PS Vita
Developer: FuRyu
Publisher: Atlus
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
MSRP: $39.99
Official Site
Score: B (80%)

Anime (13)

He may be smiling outside, but he’s really going to kill you inside. The End.

 

Oh, how I do wish there were a Lost Dimension OVA or short-run anime series. Just so I could see the scene at the close of one episode when villain The End materializes outside that strange massive pillar he’s dropped in the middle of Tokyo to address some reporters who’ve popped up outside with their news vans and a moderately sized crowd of terrified (but terminally nosy) gawkers. In my somewhat addled brain, the English dub would go something like this:

REPORTER: Mr. The End! You’ve dropped this massive Pillar onto the city, killed over two billion people around the world and are threatening the human race with total extinction! What will you do now?!

 

THE END (dryly): Hmmm…  I guess I’ll go to Disney World… and kill everyone there as well.

Whereupon The End would smirk, drift high up into the air and vanish as the crowd below gasps and chatters away. As that reporter is making some dopey closing commentary, the camera would pull way back as he or she is talking right before a huge chunk of rubble drops on top of everyone outside. Cut to The End looking down and grinning as we get a freeze frame shot of his face and THE END in big letters fading in before the closing credit theme kicks in.

Hey, I did say he means business, didn't I?

Hey, I did say he means business, didn’t I? THE END.

Yeah, I’d pay real money to see that. But I’m a bit crazy.

Anyway, my poorly plotted final fan fiction fantasy dream aside, let’s talk about the game in question. Lost Dimension comes to you from developers FuRyu (with an Lancarse assist) and publisher Atlus as a solid, intriguing hybrid of visual novel and tactical RPG. It’s a game that takes a number of genre cliches (and the fact that JRPG fans love them) and flips them onto their heads as it asks you to kill off your team one by one in order to advance the plot. While that’s going on you also need to bond with as many of your remaining teammates as possible before the final showdown. And you need to do this twice in order to get that best ending.

I usually don’t do this, but I’m going to go and gently spoil some of the obvious stuff the game slaps you with hard just to make sure it’s understood how important it is to NOT automatically like the cast from the get-go.

Mana (1)

Oh really? Well you’re still getting voted off the island, missy!

The game doesn’t care a whit how cute you think Himeno is or that Marco wears bangin’ headphones and has a snowman or whatever the hell that is on his outfit. In fact, going into the game with notions of “saving” characters you like is a really terrible idea. Not only will you be disappointed that someone you’re attached to is going to get theirs at your hands, you’ll end up in a frustrating loop of trying to reload saves that won’t matter at all as you try to salvage someone who needs to die anyway… Continue reading

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir: This Remake’s Not Plain Vanillaware At All


 

Atlus and Vanillaware are teaming up to bring a very beefed-up HD version of 2007’s PlayStation 2 classic action game/RPG hybrid Odin Sphere out for the PS4, PS3 and Vita sometime in 2016. Take a gander at this gorgeous key art and set those calendars for whenever the game ships out next year:

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Atlus has even made this upcoming release an educational experience in at least one way. Leifthrasir is pronounced “LAYV-thra-sheer,” and that weird-looking “d” in the poster above isn’t a “d” at all, but a thorn þ, meaning you’ve learned something useful and Nordic today! Hmmm. hopefully that weird letter turns out alright in the actual post.

Change the Fate of the World When the End of Days Draws Near in Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

The Perfected HD Project from ATLUS and Vanillaware Remakes the 2007 Original

IRVINE, Calif. – July 23, 2015 – Vanillaware, the team behind the hit side-scrolling title Dragon’s Crown is working on a new authentic HD project with ATLUS to recreate and perfect Odin Sphere – the 2D action RPG with Norse Mythology roots. Told in five tales from the perspectives of five unique protagonists, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir expresses the original game with glorious HD graphics in Vanillaware’s renowned style, expanded worlds with new monsters, fully voiced story scenes, and a fine-tuned refreshing combat and RPG system to perfect the gameplay. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir will be available as a physical and digital release for the PlayStation®4, PlayStation®3, PlayStation®Vita in 2016 in North America.

You probably want some screenshots to ogle that feature some of that new HD art, correct? Well then, here you go:

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Lovely. I now have at least ONE game I can look forward to at some point in 2016 and thankfully it’s supporting old and newer Sony consoles.

PSN Flash Sale: Sci-Fi Games and Flicks Up For Grabs

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So. Say you’re sitting around doing not too much this weekend, happen to have a PSN account and need something (or a few things) entertaining to do with your time. If you’re willing to spend a little money (or more than a little if you let yourself get too caught up in the bargains), yep, there’s another PSN Flash Sale going on. Expect to see plenty off excellent deals as listed on this PlayStation Blog post… and look, your wallet is already hopping out of that pocket or purse and is running away from you! Go get it!

See, this is why you NEED to always vacuum under the bed, folks.

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Hmmm. Fortunately, wallets love playing with dust bunnies so they’re easy to catch. I’ll leave you to it, then. The Sci-Fi Deals Flash Sale ends Monday, July 20 at 9am Pacific Time, so get moving if you want to score some nice deals.

Lost Dimension Update: When The End Is Only The Beginning


 

With Lost Dimension coming on July 28 to PS3 and Vita and yours truly almost done with his second play through for review purposes, it’s tough to keep from doing some bean spilling on what to expect from the game. Of course, you’ll have to chase me down and force a lot of real American dollars into my pockets just to get me to cough up the juicy details. I don’t carry change with me (the rustling of bills in a pocket hurts my follicles), so you’ll have to start with one hundred bucks at a minimum before I cough up some answers. But as I’ve already put a decent chunk of time into what’s here, let’s just safely say that the game has taught me how to lie very effectively. You may not get the truth out of me but you’ll at least get a convincing tale that will keep you entertained enough to believe every single word.

Of course, you just may bribe me and get nothing but dead air. Ever since I got my review code there’s been a black van outside my building with tinted windows and an ATLUS logo on the door. Methinks I’ll end up IN said black van if I talk too much.

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess: The Ladies Who Launch, They Do So In Style


 

Choosing “Sadistic Torment, Elaborate Death, or Humiliating Demise” as a way to go may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But meet up with the deadly Laegrinna, and you’ve got no choice that to eat up what’s served your way. Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess is out NOW for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita and it’s also gotten added to that long, long (LONG) list of games I need to play at some point. I missed out on Deception IV entirely last year, But as this new installment contains not only that game’s content, but a (not so) nice new character’s story included that adds to the fun at no additional cost. Well, perhaps your LIFE (cue dramatic music). Given the Deception series’ reliance on a mixture of semi-serious dark thematic elements, goofy slapstick violence with a bit of blood spilled and plenty of replay value, this one looks like a sleeper that will keep you up all night.

Just keep your sweaty hands where Laegrinna and new character Velguirie can see them. You’re already doomed to suffer in pain forever once they trap you, so there’s no need to add a big tip to your running tab.

Curses ‘N Chaos: Time For The Monster Mash, Retro Style!

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Until today I hadn’t heard of Montreal-based indie developer Tribute Games or Curses ‘N Chaos (headed to the PS4, PS3 and PS Vita soon). Thanks to my inbox poking me in the eye with the game’s latest trailer above (Ow.), I’m now all over this one like duck feathers on a duck. Here’s a synopsis for you now that I have you in my clutches:

SMASH MONSTERS, ESCAPE DEATH!

CURSED! When brawny bounty hunters Leo and Lea are cursed by Algarr the Wizard King, they’re swarmed by all manners of creatures and monsters! Alchemist Allison knows one way to get rid of the curse: The Elixir of Life! But the only way to get the Elixir’s ingredients? SMASH ALL THE MONSTERS!

Hey, look! I found another cool trailer (It followed me home, Ma! Can I keep it?):


 

As you can see from the those two nice slices of game footage, the game screams NOSTALGIA in big blocky neon letters and everything from the lovely and well animated pixel art to the sound effects just plain WORK. The game is an arcade style scrolling brawler with plenty of cute but deadly monsters to kill and what looks like some challenging boss fights. Players can expect some classic couch co-op action along with online play for those of you who want to hop on the internet and make a few new annoying friends you’ll never meet in real life. Or you can avoid getting an elbow to the head from that “friend” who likes to distract you when he or she pops over for a visit and any game you play turns into an actual fight for survival.

Anyway, some gamers are tired of these bit-crazy retro games, but those are more than likely gamers who think “good graphics” circa whatever will blow up their PC’s 3D cards make a game worth buying. Foo to that. Curses ‘N Chaos will probably make some of those folks bust a controller over their collective kneecap because it’ll be too tricky for them to complete. Or perhaps some small amount of respect should be given to indie developers like Tribute that make games that keep the flames from the past burning and unforgotten? That’s a big, fat “Yep” from me. More on this one in a bit.