Review: Tales of Xillia 2

Tales of Xillia 2 Standard EditionPlatform: PlayStation 3

Developer: Namco Tales Studio, LTD.

Publisher: Bandai Namco Games

# of Players 1-4

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

tox2-screen02 Tales of Xillia was one of last year’s great JRPGs, offering up an intriguing plot, a party of interesting characters designed by different artists, the series trademark fast-paced battles and plenty of the usual JRPG tropes all adding up to a lengthy and memorable game experience. The follow up, Tales of Xillia 2 changes up things a bit with two new main characters, a much darker tone, even faster combat, a different skills leveling system, loads of reused maps (this is a good thing – more on this below) and a fair amount of humor thanks to a localization team having a blast with their translation efforts. The result is a game that will pull you in for the long haul as it takes Ludger Kresnik and company on a journey spanning a few familiar and all-new areas (well, all-new to those who haven’t played the first game)… Continue reading

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Tales of Xillia 2: Missed the First Game? Here’s The Deal So Far…

 

ToX_BannerYou actually don’t need to have played Tales of Xillia to fully enjoy Tales of Xillia 2, but in case you didn’t and are wondering what you missed, this under six-minute recap of key cinematic moments from the first game should get you psyched for the new adventure ahead. I’ve been playing since yesterday evening and will have a review up on Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on how far I get in the game. I should take my time with this and try to get as close to 100% completion as possible, but there’s SO much to tackle in this game that if I tried to blaze through too quickly, I’d definitely miss out on a lot of content. On the other hand, if I get caught up in all those side-quests and cat-catching (I’ve caught 23 out of 100 so far), this review isn’t going to get done until November (of next year, ha and ha!)…

Back in a bit…

Gamescom 2014: Dragon Age: Inquisition Trailer & Screens: More To Whet Your Appetite, Yet Keep You Starving…

Well, there goes my fall and probably winter, I’m gathering. At this point, BioWare has a lot of people following every bit of ink (digital or otherwise) scribbled about Dragon Age: Inquisition, but these days, I only write too much about a game if I’m worried it’s not going to find an audience. DA:I has a built-in fan base that’s going to dive into it no matter what anyone says about it, and I have nothing bad to say at all. Other than I wish every bit of content was on a disc and there wasn’t DLC to worry about at all. I’ve been saying that a lot about all games, so fear not EA or BioWare – I’m not picking on you folks for that. It’s just a poke I take at every company that hasn’t yet realized that not everyone likes this practice or can get to that content they’ve paid for that’s on the disc or locked away as a download unless one buys into it. Options are always better to have than mandates and this game world needs to be one that anyone who can play the game should be able to fully explore.

Dragon Age: Inquisition will be available November 18, 2014 for PC, PS3/PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. I’d say you should most probably buy this one…

 

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WIN FREE STUFF! Want An Orbital Gear Steam Code? Act FAST!

 

ORBITAL GEARSooooo… I happen to have three download codes for Orbital Gear, a new fast-paced multiplayer only arcade run ‘n gun game by indie developer Night Node Software that’s available via Steam. All you need to to to get ONE code is leave a reply below. I’ll know who you are and where to send it because I have spies everywhere! Anyway, get to it, as once these are gone, they’re gone for good. One code per person, of course. Sure you can ring up a friend you want to play with and have him or her reply as well. I can always use the additional traffic!

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What, you’re still ogling screenshots? Go hit me up for a code, already!

STYX: Master of Shadows Summer Trailer: Sneaking Up Soon, Wanting To Steal Your Wallet…

Styx and StonesCyanide Studios’ upcoming stealth/action game, STYX: Master of Shadows is looking pretty slick and I’d bet that one doesn’t need to have played the developer’s previous game Of Orcs & Men in order to hop into Styx’s boots and feel right at home. It’s too bad this one’s only for “next-gen” consoles and PC, as I know more people would have the chance to play it if it were kicking it “old school” on the PS3 and Xbox 360. But hey, that’s one way to get people to finally make the move, I suppose.

In any event, this certainly looks like Cyanide’s best work to date and I hope even the most jaded gamer out there gives this one some respect, as it’s too easy to fall into the “I never heard of it before, so it must be crap” trap I see scribbled about games all over the internet. Yuck. Styx needs to get stabby-stabby on those folks, I say. We’ll see what happens in November when the little guy sneaks into store shelves or a download queue near you…

Shadowgate Hands-On: You’ll Be Dying To Play This Game Soon Enough…

SG_towerI had to stop playing Shadowgate after about the first ten minutes because my face was hurting. No, I didn’t get blasted by a real fireball coming from my monitor or anything like that. It’s because I was grinning so much that I think I was exercising more muscles than I’ve used in a while. Anyway, it was obvious from that short stretch of time and later on after about another hour of play that developer Zojoi Games has nailed the game they created back in 1987 as a perfect reboot on a few fronts.

The game manages to retain the same gameplay as the original while adding plenty of new content in an absolutely beautiful (yet suitably grim where required) art style as well as a grand, redone score by Rich Douglas that’s as stirring as the visuals… Continue reading

Super Fighter Team Brings Back Beggar Prince!

Beggar Prince ReturnsWell. It’s been quite the week or so for retro game news in terms of 16-bit Sega games making a comeback. Pier Solar HD is headed to (some) modern consoles, It Came From The Desert is finally arriving on the Sega Genesis later this year and now, Super Fighter Team is finally bringing back a retail edition of Beggar Prince, one of its most popular titles.

Developed by C&E, Inc., this turn-based RPG was initially a Taiwan-only release back in 1996 until Super Fighter team took notice of it and localized, debugged, and partially reprogrammed the game in order to bring it to audiences worldwide. The game’s low print run sold out and of the games the company has released since, this one’s been the most requested for reissue status.

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more screens here!

While the game is currently available as part of the excellent RPG Trifecta Pack digital download, collectors have been clamoring for a physical reissue for years and now they have the opportunity to snap this up at a mere $63 (US) or $70 (international). Considering the price of the original game is now in the hundreds of dollars and Super Fighter Team doesn’t see a penny of those resales, finally getting the game out as a reissue is a great thing. I know a certain SegaDude will be dancing around his room when he gets this news…

EDIT! Oops. I was so excited that I forgot to mention the other cool games SFT has for sale: Magic Girl and Cascade are still up for pre-orders on the Genesis/Mega Drive and Nightmare Busters is getting a second go-round of orders for you Super Nintendo/Super Famicom fans. GET THEM BEFORE THEY’RE GONE!

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition TV Spot: Giving That Devil His Due (Before He Does You In)…

August 19 is right around the corner and that means quite a few people are planning to take a little vacation to hell and back with this console version of the Reaper of Souls expansion for Diablo III. This one’s going to eat away at productivity here, which isn’t a good thing at all, so I’m actually going to hold off picking it up for about a week or so while I knock the pile of work I have here down to a more manageable size. That’s not to say YOU shouldn’t run like hell out to grab this one on day one if you’re a fan of the series (you absolutely SHOULD). I just know myself all to well and know I’ll just pull a disappearing act if I get this and there’s “suddenly” some “free time” that pops up like a rabbit out of a hat…

Review: Table Top Racing (PlayStation Vita)

TableTopRacing IconPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: Playrise Digital

Publisher: Ripstone Games

# of Players: 1 (1 – 4 online)

ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)

Score: A- (90%)

 

If there was ever a no-brainer purchase, it would have to be Table Top Racing, the former iOS racer now making a splash on the Vita as a better-looking and more polished product. Featuring speedy 60FPS gameplay, plenty of cars and customization options plus some nifty tracks and events, for a mere $7.99 you’re getting one of the best portable racers on the handheld. While all is peachy keen on the speed and accessibility front, perhaps a track editor of some sort and more control options would have made this one even better than it already is. Then again, as it is, it’s a fun and fast gem that needs no manual reading at all. Just pick up and play, pick up those power-ups and zoom your way to victory and new upgrades for your growing garage of cool little toy cars… Continue reading

Rollers of the Realm Teaser Trailer: Pinball & Wizards Combine In This Soon To Be Sleeper Hit…

ROTR 1I’ve been looking forward to Rollers of the Realm ever since it was a PC-only game from Phantom Compass (“and friends”), but now that’s it’s been snapped up by Atlus for a winter release, I’m eager to see how a larger gaming audience responds to it. Granted, I’m old and wise enough to know this isn’t the FIRST pinball-themed RPG at all, but it’s the one I’m betting more people will be talking about once they play it. I still have an early demo of the game from last year on my hard drive and go back to it often just so I can stave off my need to want the full version sooner than its release date.

Personally, I’m super thrilled to see this on the Vita, as it’s most likely going to be one of those niche titles that gets bought because it’s so unlike anything on the handheld and even the purer pinball sims out there need to bow down a tiny bit at this blending of genres and how it all works so well. Anyway, back to waiting for some smoke signals or whatever Atlus will send up as far as preview or review code. I can wait a while, but I also don’t want to see this gem buried in the holiday crunch of AAA titles everyone always falls for…