Abyss Odyssey Extended Dream Edition: ACE Work, Now On PS4

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AO_EDEACE Team’s rogue-like brawler/RPG/adventure hybrid Abyss Odyssey was one of those uniquely gorgeous games that catered best to those who spent time mastering the intricacies of its seemingly simple combat system. The game’s lovely Art Nouveau-inspired visuals and realistic animation made it less of a button basher and more a game where practice makes perfect. Capturing enemy souls and using those enemies or the allies you’d also unlock to replay procedurally generated maps added plenty of replay value to what was a nicely challenging game experience.

Now, the PS4 finally gets what’s looking like the definitive version of the game. As you can see from those nice-looking screen shots below (which do indeed look nice, but don’t really do the game much justice at all), the game is Mucha beautiful:

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In addition to some nicely enhanced visuals and smoother gameplay, there’s also a new online PvP mode for those who crave fighting against live opponents. Speaking of gameplay – here’s a short look at the launch trailer:


 

Se what I mean by screenshots not doing this justice? Anyway, go grab this one if your artistic and energetic sides have been activated. It’s a neat little sleeper that will keep you entertained for quite a bit.

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%)

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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.

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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.

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.

Guild of Dungeoneering: Deck The Halls, Then Push Up Daisies


 

So, Gambrinous (which may or may not be ancient Gaelic for “we made a really great game you need to play!”) has finished Guild of Dungeoneering and it’s out NOW on Steam, gog.com, and the Humble Store. It’s also on my list of games I need to play before I drop dead, so I think I should hop to it soon. Not to get too grim and all, but one needs to buy as big a bucket as possible if one has quite the large bucket list. My big bucket is full of games like this, of course. Okay, exciting trips, overpriced food and other fun stuff is in bucket number two. Anyway, I need to go clear my calendar and see if I can add a few more days into the month so I can tackle a bit of dungeon-diving. Back in a bit.

Lost Dimension Hands-On: Brain Trust And The Tall Tower of Doom

LostD_Vita_CoversheetDon’t plan on getting too attached to your party members in Lost Dimension, developer FurYu’s new RPG headed to the PlayStation 3 and Vita on July 28 from Atlus. Among the cast of powerful teen agents of SEALED are a number of traitors aligned with spiky-haired villain The End and the game rather effectively randomizes who those traitors are on each floor of the enemy packed tower you’re ascending.

While it’s yet another game in which Japan gets partially destroyed and it’s up to a cast of youths with special skills to save the day (and the planet), there’s an added layer of tension here that builds as your party gets whittled down based on your decisions. Even worse, choosing your allies based on how you as the person playing the game feels about them can have some pretty drastic in-game consequences.

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Lost Dimension: Deep Vision Trailer – Getting Rid Of Traitors Is(n’t) A Cinch


 

LD Screens (2)Yeah, that’s right. In Lost Dimension you need to figure out who the traitors are in your party and eliminate them as you climb a deadly tower full of enemies. Why? Well, you’re saving the earth (maybe) and you don’t want to be stabbed in the back by someone you thought you trusted, that’s why. I’ll have a hands-on preview in a couple of days but let’s just say that “Trust No One… or Else” works well enough as a potential tagline here.

Here’s a little more about the game in the form of its E3 2015 trailer:


 

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Now that your curiosity is piqued, you should probably know that Lost Dimension is headed to the PS3 and PS Vita on July 28, 2015 along with some nice free DLC for the first two weeks of its launch window. Atlus loves you, yes they do.

Guild of Dungeoneering: Make Your Doom, One Room At A Time


 

jan21_01Okay. I know I’ve been busy and all stressed out over a bunch of stuff lately but just how did I miss out on Guild of Dungeoneering, indie developer Gambrinous’ upcoming digital-only RPG creation kit/card battle game/pure genius “Shut up and BUY me!” game. Well, it’s not out YET, mind you. But just look at that trailer above and tell me you’re not suffering from shock and “D’aaaw!” at those visuals and yep, that music also gets me grinning way too much. Even in the earlier trailer below the game exudes cuteness and while being simple visually, rocks its looks better than some bigger buck in cost retro games do.


 

As a former graph paper gamer (of questionable talent) myself, I’m all over this one like a cheap meal because it’s so nicely done, has LOW system requirements (yes!) and looks like an instant genre classic. What looks like endless replay value should keep core RPG fans hooked in while those new to this old school should also have a total blast. Who needs Unreal 4 when you can have unreal FUN with something so damn charming to look at and pleasant to listen to? Anyway, the game is available for pre-order on gog.com, Steam, The Humble Store and a few other places you might be buying your digital games from already.

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“Shall we play make a game?”

Sure, why not. July 14, 2015 is when this one drops. So make sure you’re all aboard with the program. You wouldn’t want to get “accidentally” shanked by a pissed off penciled Goblin, Skelton or Fire Demon now, would you?

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No, I thought not. Get ye to the pre-order page of your choice, then.

Preview: The Deadly Tower of Monsters Looks Like A Nice Place to Visit


 

Atlus and developer ACE team are going to make some of us well-aged “B” movie fans really happy soon. The Deadly Tower of Monsters is coming to PC and PlayStation 4 soon and it looks like a total camp classic that captures the weird spirit of plenty of well-aged flicks that made for some fun weekends in front of the tube way back when. I’m gathering the humor will be lost on the more jaded gamers of today or those expecting new games to all look the same with super-shiny realism all over the place.

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Nope, you’re not getting that here at all. TDToM seems to be presented from a mostly isometric perspective so comparisons to something like Diablo III or Gauntlet will no doubt be made by some. I’m liking the wires on that rocket above, the intentionally choppy stop-motion dinosaur and the super-colorful graphics while hoping there’s an optional black and white mode in the mix somewhere.

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As I won’t be at E3 this year, I’m not going to be getting any hands-on time with the game (boo!). But I’ll keep an ear to the ground and keep an eye peeled for videos of gameplay because this one sure looks like something I’d play to death and beyond. Now, if only it was coming to more consoles. But I guess we’ll see what happens if it does well enough to expand onto more systems. As usual… we shall see.

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Review: High Strangeness (Wii U)

High Strangeness Start ScreenPlatform: Wii U (also on PC)
Developer: Barnyard Intelligence Games/Crystal Labs
Publisher: Midnight City/Majesco
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: B+ (85%)
 

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While “short” by whatever “today’s standards” for game length is, High Strangeness is actually about as long as many of the 8 and 16-bit games it’s inspired by. A few too many gamers today are a wee bit spoiled by the still baffling comparison of game length somehow equaling overall quality so it’s great to play a new “retro” game that doesn’t wear you down with too many gimmicks before the ride is over. What’s here is a pretty cool throwback that bridges the game between the two eras with a “12-bit” approach that allows players to travel back and forth between two distinct visual styles. There’s also a mix of sci-fi and light horror vibes going on here with creepy-looking enemies, a big mystery and even a sentient cat to keep you dialed in from start to finish.

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Continue reading