Humble Weekly Bundle Features Some Great Rising Stars

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How’s this for a “don’t miss it!” deal? Seven of Rising Star Games‘ best indies for a mere eight dollars (or more if you choose)? yeah, I heard your jaw drop from here, pal. Every single RSG indie up for less than a song. Anyway, what’s in the digital box? Look in the box below and go get your bundle before time expires on this fantastic deal:

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Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut is worth it for it’s supremely bizarre take on the horror and open world game genres, but everything here is worth your time if you’re one of those open-minded gamers who loves variety and plenty of replay value. Ha – I see that you’re all busy buying and downloading now, so I’ll just silently sneak away and let you get to it.

Yakuza 5 Update: Still Waiting For A Date, Discount For The Early Birds

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Y5_wallpaper_01_1920x10801If you got rid of your PS3 when you got your PS4, you may want it back for at least one more exclusive of note. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi and Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama are back with two more in-depth “making of” videos for Sega’s upcoming western release of Yakuza 5. Despite its age (the Japanese version shipped back in 2012), the game looks quite spectacular on the aging PS3 hardware and is finally coming to North America later this year as a digital only PSN release.

While the game may be well-aged to some out there, according to the press release it’s looking to be the most feature-packed English version of any in the series:

Yakuza 5 features more mini-games than previous titles, a modified battle system as well as enhanced customizations and interactions in the signature hostess bars of the franchise. In addition to these features, Yakuza 5 also introduces “Another Drama” which is a series of side stories that focus on each protagonist in-depth and are separate from the main story of the game.

 

In addition, Sega is making a tempting offer to those who pre-order the game with a 15% discount off the $39.99 price plus the free Yakuza 5 XMB theme below:

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You’d think Nagoshi and Yokoyama should be singing “We Built This City” at this point, but instead they just happily chat more about the game and what players can expect:

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It’s great to see Sega keeping the Yakuza flame going despite the lengthy wait between releases. Hopefully fans will be on board with the digital-only version and snap it up once it’s released.

Extreme Exorcism: This Ghost-Busting Retro Game Will Haunt Your Every Move

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Until a few minutes ago I’d never heard of NYC-based Golden Ruby Games. Now I want to be their best friend or something like that. The indie developer’s upcoming PC (and hopefully console bound soon) Extreme Exorcism is yet another one of those inspired “retro” games that looks to give fans of both single player and co-op games something to grin about. While this teaser trailer is way too short, it certainly made me smile and want to see more:


 

The gameplay seems straightforward, but EE’s AI happens to be programmed to repeat the controller moves you’ve made to dispatch each enemy when the next one appears. This means even “perfect” players who can clear the initial few maps will soon
find themselves dealing with enemies that are as good as they are in higher numbers. The longer it takes you to dispatch that next ghost, the harder it becomes to get rid of the next one. I’m gathering the game will drop enemies onto maps one at a time at first, as it’s going to be a rage-fest for players who let themselves get overwhelmed when things get trickier.

Anyway, a handful of screens below. Keep an eye peeled for this one as it’s still in development and there’s no concrete release date. As far as publishers go, Ripstone Games is getting it out and I’m hoping we see a PS4 and Vita version with the possibility of a Wii U port down the road. As usual, we shall see.

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Dark Souls III Hands-On: Reliable And Improved, Yet Death’s Still Got The Edge

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The nice list of changes and improvements to Dark Souls III may fool some players into believing the series has gone soft in its third installment. However, FromSoftware and the assorted AI enemies out for your digital scalp will be laughing at those who take this upcoming PC, PS4 and Xbox one game lightly. While the game adds new charge attack and block-breaking moves to the already fine repertoire, all that really means is expert Souls players will have some new skills to make shorter work of certain enemies and new players will need to learn this isn’t a straight-up hack and slash game at all. The demo shown at Bandai Namco’s NYC event was thrilling and a ton of deadly fun to play.
Continue reading

3D Gunstar Heroes Out Now on Nintendo 3DS: “Blast Processing,” Indeed

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3D Gunstar Heroes logoFor those of you who’ve never played it, Gunstar Heroes is quite simply one of the best 16-bit games ever made, period. Japanese developer Treasure made itself a household name among gamers with this 1993 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis release that seemed to use every bit of processing power the console had and then some.

While the game has popped up in a few newer console ports over time, it seems that the 3DS just may have the “definitive” version thanks to Sega’s remaster team, M2. Here’s a fun extra credit read from the Sega Blog on how tricky it was to get the game up and running on the handheld in stereoscopic 3D. The plot is nuts if you try to make total sense of it, but you won’t be playing this for the story. It’s a total run ‘n gun with killer boss fights, a “board game” level that’s worth an entire game in itself under the right developer, and a great soundtrack that drives the action from beginning to end.

Anyway, if you have a 3DS, BUY THIS GAME. If you’re thinking about getting a 3DS, see that last sentence. Hopefully Sega has plans to get this on the Wii U as well as an HD version at some point as it’s a total no-brainer that this is a game that really benefits from a larger screen. We’ll see if that ever happens (it would be nice, Sega), but for now, this one’s a must-buy that still packs quite a few wallops.

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RymdResa: Retro Rockets In Random Space Hit Steam


 

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Well, the eyes aren’t really lying at all. Morgondag’s stellar space rogue-like exploration game RymdResa is out now on Steam at a temporary 10% discount off its $11.99 price tag ($10.79). The game is a beautiful blend of retro visuals, languid pacing and slyly terrifying moments where your ship is about to run low on resources often at the wrong moment. Toss in a disembodied voice spouting seemingly random poetic musings along with a gorgeous ambient score and you get an instant classic with wide appeal.

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I’ll have a review up over the weekend, but if the demo I’ve been playing on and off between other things (a demo that’s been taking time away from other games and stuff, mind you) is any indication, this one’s a keeper or a sleeper. The good thing is the developer is getting their great little game onto a few other platforms (Xbox One, Wii U, iPad and Linux), so some of you out there using those will soon be able to experience the same cold space and give your zen-like reflexes a total workout.


 

Back with a review shortly.

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.

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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.