Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth Arrives on PS4, Vita


 

Bandai Namco’s Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (now available on PS4 and PS Vita) should do well among North American fans of the Digimon games who’ve been starved for content for a few years. The game is a quite decent mix of action-based “dungeon” crawling and yes, features plenty of creatures to digivolve. The game skews older than previous entries with more mature looking main characters and a darker overall tone. But it’s still a pretty family friendly game at heart, so no worries about picking this one up for the kids if they ask.

My eye is set on the Vita version as it’s supposed to have bonus pre-order content if you buy it this month. That and this seems like the perfect game to take on the road to kill a few hours when traveling. I’ll probably play it most at home, however. Anyway, enough babbling on this end – you have a city to save (and Tokyo always seems to be in trouble in games like this, right?)

And remember, folks: You can peek over Bandai Namco’s digital shoulder anytime you like. Just follow Bandai Namco Entertainment at one or more of the links below. They won’t mind, really!

Er, unless it’s after work hours and you’re trying to follow them home:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BandaiNamcoUS
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BandaiNamcoUS/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bandainamcous/
Tumblr: http://bandainamcous.tumblr.com/
Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/bandainamcous

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir: Plain Vanillaware Is Awesome, Omake Makes It Even Tastier

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I don’t believe in magic at all, but whatever George Kamitani and Vanillaware are using for creative energy, it needs to be packaged and sold at cost just so more game developers can reap the rewards. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, the upcoming HD reworking of the PlayStation 2 classic looks as if it will introduce a new and larger legion of fans to the game when it ships out for PS4, PS3 and Vita on June 7, 2016. While North Amrican PS4 owners looking to collect the most omake luck out big time with the limited Storybook Edition at $79.99, PS4, PS3, and Vita-only owners in NA who pre-order can score a softcover version of that hardcover 64-page art book in the Storybook Edition. Continue reading

Capsule Reviews 1: Some Games You May Have Missed (Me Yak About)

Well, 2015 zipped by too quickly (he typed, knowing that the year isn’t quite over but hey, everyone else seems to be doing year-end articles) and I while didn’t get to write as many reviews as I’d have liked to, I took a ton of notes on things so I could sit down and catch up a some point. The best laid plans of mice and men (and Bemis!) often go wildly astray, so instead of long form full reviews, I’m going to do a bunch of capsule commentary on games, films and books over the next few days just so you have a little something to read when you pop by. Anyway, some quickie game impressions to get started: 

Tales of Zestiria Cast 

Tales of Zestiria (PS4/PS3/PC, $59.99/$49.99 respectively) – Namco’s Tales Studio pulls out all the stops in this latest installment in the long running JRPG franchise (15 Tales to date!) with a game that’s part throwback and homage to the first Tales (of Phantasia) back on the Super Famicom while bringing in an all-new cast, storyline and for the first time, an open world map to explore. Although PS4 owners get the better visual end of the deal on console, the PC version should more than please those fans who pick it up looking for something to play and show off to friends. The game is consistently entertaining from the fast-paced combat to the usual humor found in character interaction and dialog choices. Yes, the use of classic literary references, myth and other tropes is piled on thicker than your mom ever spread mayonnaise, but it works well enough to keep the game fun. I’m actually still playing this one because there’s an extraordinary amount of things to do, stuff to collect and some 93 hours in, I’m close to the endgame but will probably dive in again at some point to revisit a few save files. There are enough divergent paths and interesting encounters (make friends with the Normin you meet!) to keep this one in the play stack for a while. Score: A- (90%)
 
Continue reading

Like Freedom, “Free” to Play Isn’t Free At All

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See that screenshot above? That’s the otherwise fun Fat Princess: Piece of Cake locking up on my poor Vita for the fourth time in the middle of a tough board (Mission 42, to be exact). A big fat BOO to that nonsense. As a free to play game I haven’t yet spent a dime on, it’s not bad at all (random freezes during play aside). On the other hand, as I refuse to buy into the micro-transaction model and complete online connectivity to receive daily rewards the game has been designed around, I’ve hit a huge roadblock in my progress that shows the failings of the F2P model in nearly any game it’s implemented in. If you’ve played the game, you know that it’s around the Happy Hills map (Mission 54, to be more precise) where the game comes to a complete stop for anyone not willing to shell out for additional content or able to connect online for certain random bonus items.

Yeah, yeah. “Everyone “should” have an always online connection these days!”, right? Wrong, and even if thy did, the fact that far too many games, free or not, are linked to this model means there’s less common sense among game developers and publishers who aren’t paying attention to that “small”amount of their potential audience they’re not getting a dime from thank to the shady business model that’s taken over the industry. South Park nailed it perfectly:

(thanks, macyosos8!) 

Now, are there any decent “free” to play titles? Yes indeed. I’d recommend Rubicon’s spectacular and completely FREE Combat Monsters in a heartbeat, although the persistent online connection needed makes it not attractive at all if you live in an area with spotty connections or simply don’t want your data tracked. That said, the developer does F2P right because you can indeed play the game for ages and not drop a dime on anything. Stuff that does cost money is priced fairly, makes sense (as in there’s NO pay to win content) and the dev team has polished it all up with a pretty addictive and thrilling game experience.

That said, It seems that the days of buying a retail or online product, registering it and never having to hear a peep ever again about your purchase or have your gaming life poked into are gone for good… but they aren’t. As long as you can grab an older not connected to the internet console or handheld and play games you like without being prodded in the pocket for payment, you’re good to go. Of course, you’ll be missing out on the shiny, shiny draw of somehow spending money on something that was advertised as “free” to play. But that’s one of those things that probably needs to to a high court to decide what the heck that word actually means in this day and age.

Review: Earth Defense Force 2 – Invaders From Planet Space

EDF 2 VitaPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: SANDLOT

Publisher: Xseed Games

MSRP: $29.99

# of Players: 1 – 4

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

As a longtime Earth Defense Force fan (since 2003’s Simple 2000 Series Vol. 31: The Chikyuu Boueigun, or Monster Attack in the UK), finally getting the chance to see the best game in the series finally arrive stateside and in its best incarnation to date is a great thing indeed. Granted, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space may not convince some skeptics of how much of a must-buy title it is because at first glance it’s going to seem like less of a game than it actually turns out to be. But those of you who know the series who have yet to play this entry will be pleased to know that not only does it deliver the goods, it still holds up today as a stellar (and incredibly lengthy) game that packs in more action for $29.99 than bigger budgeted AAA titles that cost double the price. Continue reading

A Friendly Reminder Or Two From Xseed Games…

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair ($49.99) is out NOW on the PlayStation 4.

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space ($29.99) is out NOW on the Playstation Vita. Both are available at retail in physical packages at a game emporium near you or digitally via PSN if the outside world freaks you out.

That is all. You may now resume your otherwise mundane Friday, but remember – those gigantic bugs and massive alien invasion force aren’t going to stop themselves. The EDF needs YOU to fight the good fight. Er, unless you like living in a hole somewhere (that’s probably going to have a massive spider nest on top of it at some point sooner than later…

Earth Defense Force 4.1 Livestream: Bigger, Badder, Buggier (But That’s A Compliment)

EDF 4.1 home imageA little fun from Xseed Games as tomorrow is the BIG day PS4 owners in North America and EDF fans have been waiting for as Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair hits retail and digital (via PSN).

I’ll shut up now and let you watch the video before you bust down your own door in order to run to your favorite game emporium and snap up a copy of the game. And a PS4 because you should have one already. That recent price drop seems to be making Sony pretty happy as more folks make the move from PS3 to PS4 or just grab one for the first time for their entertainment purposes.

And if you’re a Vita owner, guess what? Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space is out tomorrow as well. Retail and digital, just like the above. Yeah, you need this game. Trust me – it’s a complete time eater and a solid action game in its own right. While different in tone (thus the campier titling), it’s a pretty hardcore game on the higher difficulty levels that should test the skills of the best gamers on the planet.  Inferno Mode will school you in the many ways of getting chomped on by big bugs, stomped on by giant robots and otherwise probed by assorted spaceships and other enemies is all I’ll say.

Earth Defense Force 2 and EDF 4.1 Get Dated: Prepare The Time-Sink Ray!

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Excellent. Between the new trailers above and below, the brand spankin’ new official site and the fact that both games come out on the same day as retail (YES!) and digital product, it’s a fine and dandy day for fans of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (PS Vita, $29.99) and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4, $49.99). That lovely release date of December 8, 2015 means that plenty of fans of both titles are getting exactly what they’ve wanted from Santa, Krampus or whomever else buys their gifts. Buy someone a copy of this game and you won’t see them for weeks because all they’ll be doing in their spare time is blasting big space bugs and bigger spaceships, robots and other space beasties all day and night. Yes, your inner eight-year old kaiju fan will be wholly pleased, but don’t expect this to be an easy ride at all.

Getting these as physical copies (thanks Xseed!) is going to make a lot of EDF fans happier because it’s something they’ve desired with every game in the series and Xseed kept its ear to the ground and made it happen. As for the EDF 4.1 blooper reel below… er, well… I’ll give Xseed a pass on that one because the game is so much fun that a little comic relief won’t hurt it one bit.

Anyway, go get some finger exercises in and ask the boss for some time off in December. Once these games land in stores and on PSN, you’re not going anywhere for a while.

Super Star Wars Lands on PS4, Vita: The Force Is Strong With This One

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It feels 100% weird to say this, but there’s an old Super Nintendo game on a new Sony console and not so new handheld that’s a nice surprise for any Star Wars fan. Granted, Super Star Wars was also on the eShop for the Wii back in 2009, but this updated version for the PS4 and Vita offers a number of tweaks that include new save features, leaderboards, trophies, and updated display and controller options. Nope, it didn’t get a big HD visual overhaul at all, so hopefully you’re happy with the original 1992 SNES visuals in all their 2D and Mode 7 pseudo 3D glory:

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if you’re grinning like a loon because you have a PSN account, a PS4 or Vita (the game is Cross Buy, by the way) and $9.99 ready to fly out of your wallet, you’re already buying this before you’ve finished this sentence. Me, I’m still a little freaked that there’s a SNES game on a non-Nintendo platform and the earth hasn’t exploded from that fact. Oh,and new players to this one will find it hard as hell and a bit janky in spots. But it’s still a ton of challenging fun as well as a nice nostalgic trip into the past. Whatever strings Disney pulled to get this to happen (I’m thinking that this was a Sony Imagesoft-produced game back then may have helped) sure worked out alright although it would have been a better deal to get the SSW trilogy out for something like $20 or so.

Eh, we’ll see what the future brings for those ancient games about a galaxy far, far away. This new deal has me hoping that Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic I and II show up on a Sony console at some point. Playing both of those classics on my Vita would be a total mind-blowing thing to see happen in the near future..

BUY IT! Dragon Fin Soup Looks Like A Tasty Bowl Of Pain


 

Dragon Fin SoupBased on the absolutely gorgeous artwork by Randis Albion alone, Grimm Bros. first game, Dragon Fin Soup is worth a buy. The game is, according to the developers: “half story-driven tactical RPG and half high-stakes roguelike, with a pinch of crass humor and a heaping helping of murder & madness set in a procedural generated fantasy world.”, which is right up my alley lurking with a +2 Club of Timesink waiting to konk me on the noggin.

Even better, the game is now available on PC via Steam or the Humble Store as well as a cross-buy for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PS Vita in North America and Europe at not much more than the PC version costs. If you happen to be a PS Plus member, guess what? DFS is a FREE download this month! Gorgeous, hard as hell and somewhat inexpensive (or FREE if you’re lucky) is a fine and dandy way to spend a lousy weekend. Or any weekend, for that matter.

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