Tales of Zestiria Launches: Your Royal Time-Killer Hath Arrived



No, I haven’t even started Tales of Zestiria yet. But that’s only because my review copy hasn’t arrived. This is actually a good thing because once I start the game (yes, I’m going to be playing the PS3 version just to keep my ancient launch day console happy), I’m not coming up for air any time soon. I’m already buried under backlog stuff from all sides, but a Tales game demands to be played in huge chunks of time so that players become fully immersed in the story and world Tales Studio has so carefully crafted.


That said, based on my hands-on time a little while ago, it’s safe to say that PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and Steam/PC users are the very lucky recipients of one of the best games in the long-running franchise to date. I know that some Steam users are already reporting some mild performance issues (which is what happens when you port a game to be played on consoles to machines with millions of different user and factory configurations), but no one is screaming for their money back.


If you’re thinking of grabbing the game for yourself or as a gift, listen up. Bandai Namco is giving away a free DLC pack for the first 30 days after the release of the game. Players will be able to download the epilogue chapter “Alisha’s Conviction” free of charge on the PlayStation Network store (for PS3 and PS4) or through Steam if they own the PC version. According to the press release:

the epilogue follows Alisha and Rose with hours of additional story elements and gameplay taking place after the events of Tales of Zestiria. The “Alisha’s Conviction” downloadable content will be priced at $9.99 after the 30 day promotion ends.

Tales of Zestiria is rated T for TEEN by the ESRB and is available for purchase at video game retailers today in North America and Latin America for the PlayStation 4 (MSRP $59.99) and PS3 system (MSRP $39.99). The PC version (available now on Steam) is $49.99.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: Xseed Reminds You Your Holiday Season Will Be A Total Blast


Sandlot, I just LOVE what you’ve done with the PS4 hardware. The Japanese developer’s first game for the console, Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair isn’t just a simple “port” of their last game at all. New enemies, missions and gear are here for EDF veterans to play around with and the MUCH smoother frame rate (okay, 60fps dipping to 30 at chaotic times is a great thing for the series) and all new lighting effects make the game finally up to snuff with modern action games. Granted, the gameplay is still the beautiful old-school tough it needs to be on the higher difficulty levels. But now we old-timers won’t have to listen to newbies gargling out complaints about the major slowdown and choppiness or other issues the series was known for in previous installments.


My sole complaint with the game is the ESRB rating. Some parents won’t buy “M” rated games for the brood because they just don’t (cue remembrances of them falling for little Johnny sneaking Grand Theft Auto game on the holiday gift list that one time, oops!). But what’s here is a crazy amount of fun whether played solo or online with friends and yep, family. Anyway, don’t let a bit of bug blood and an occasional PG-13 swear keep you from this one. That well over 80 hours of giant bug/lizard/robot/spaceship blasting you’ll be doing will help get the family in shape for any space alien invasion. And if they happen to be friendly aliens… well, we can at least hope they like videogames about fantastic impossibilities such as this game shows off sowell.

ADR1FT Could Be The Best PR For VR

With Virtual Reality slowly but surely making its way (once again, but new and improved – “this time for sure, presto!”) to gaming and other entertainment experiences, it’ll be the early games that will be the ones that make or break the format. Granted, common sense says new experiences aren’t going to be flawless and in terms of games, technical bumps and grinds are commonplace for first wave software. That said, VR needs to be as flawless as possible so any complaints are rendered mostly moot and allow developers to strut their stuff from the get-go as they start off with good games and make them better as time marches on.


Three One Zero Games’ ADR1FT is looking like it’ll be not only a go-to game for those dipping a toe into the VR pool, but also an experience non-VR using gamers looking for something impressive to play and show off should dive into. Since my last time with the both VR and non-VR enabled versions of the game way back in March, the dev team has made some major changes to the visuals and tightened up the gameplay even more. Thanks to Unreal Engine 4 and some mighty programming skills, the level of detail here is even more astounding. This is especially noticeable in the PC version, where using an Oculus Rift headset I spent about half an hour floating around and checking out as much of the destroyed space station as I could while keeping as close to air canisters and air supply points as possible.
Continue reading

Indivisible: Lab Zero’s Beautiful ARPG Makes My Monday

Lab Zero logo 

In case you were wondering what Lab Zero (the team behind Skullgirls) has been up to, well click on over to the Indivisible game site and check out their incredible looking and still in early development stages Action/RPG that just so happens to also be an Indiegogo campaign you can participate in. The currently PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One only game set to be published by 505 Games once it’s all completed sure looks like a winner in the early video below. If you want a bit more incentive to whip out that wallet, there’s a free downloadable prototype demo you should try out as soon as possible.


In addition to the gorgeous artwork, animation and fun gameplay reminiscent of titles such as Prince of Persia, Valkyire Profile, Metroid and other influences, gamers who love great music can expect a solid soundtrack from renowned composer/producer Hiroki Kikuta (Secret of Mana, Koudelka, and Sōkaigi among other works). That prototype certainly brightened up my Monday considerably and it looks as if the game’s seemingly somewhat hefty (but reasonable considering it’s coming to PC, consoles, Mac and Linux) funding goal of $1.5 million won’t be a pipe dream for the dev team or publisher.

Indivisible DLPnow 

Anyway, go give that demo a try and if you find your boat floated, let your fingers do the walking and drop a pledge into that fun(d) bucket.

Review: Persona 4: Dancing All Night

P4_DAN_coverPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: Atlus

Publisher: Atlus USA

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

MSRP: $39.99 (Standard Edition), $79.99 (Disco Fever Edition)

Score: B(80%)

Kanamin (24) 

Sure, the premise is supremely goofy and practically guaranteed to make some of the more obstinate old-school fans of the long running Shin Megami Tensei and Persona franchises get a bit cringe-y. But Persona 4: Dancing All Night manages to shake off most any negative vibes thanks to it not only being a pretty decent rhythm game, but a really well-made spin-off to the Persona 4: Golden (that’s also gotten a pretty darn good 2D fighter with an even better follow up). Keeping the surviving characters and situations from P4 intact and working them into the game’s plot was an inspired touch that’s hopefully going to sell those gamers who are only buying this for music and gameplay into picking up P4:G at some point if they’ve yet to.

On the other hand, if you go into P4: DAN with skeptical intent, don’t expect to be knocked off your feet by the game’s premise, how some characters act and the overall gameplay that may not be your cup of tea. Fully enjoying this one means throwing caution to the wind, diving in feet or face first and letting the music and atmosphere wash over you like a sudden summer rain shower. Continue reading

Summon Night 5: The PSP Takes Another Deep Breath Thanks To Gaijinworks

SN5-Cover-medIf you thought the PSP was deader than well, the Vita (ha and ha-ha, but *sob!* for Sony not knowing how to promote its otherwise fine handheld), consider yourself about to be surprised. Gaijinworks continues to kick out the quality and somewhat obscure games with Summon Night 5, a tactical RPG headed to PSN as a digital release for both the PSP and Vita and to a lucky handful of gamers who pre-ordered the limited release physical version.


As with Class of Heroes 2, those lucky folks with the physical version coming also get the digital version of the game as a bonus because Gaijinworks knows some of them won’t ever even crack the shrink wrap on their coveted LE and a few will even go right to eBay and resell their “prize” for boo-koo bucks to the highest bidder. Damn dirty capitalism has its upsides to those who know how to take advantage of it, I suppose. As Gaijinworks doesn’t do review codes (as far as I know), I’ll be ponying up some actual hard-earned loot to play this just like everyone else interested in it.


Me, I just want to finally play an actual Summon Night game in English. I missed the two Game Boy Advance spin-offs from a while back because they got a limited release and now fetch a pretty penny for complete copies. Nope, knowledge of the other four previous Summon Knight games (nor the upcoming sixth one headed to PS4 and Vita in Japan) is necessary in order to fully enjoy what’s here. But one would hope that gamers who don’t know a lick of Japanese can some day get their paws on some sort of collection. Of course that won’t happen unless Gaijinworks has a metric ton of money lying around and time to do all that porting and localizing.

Kromaia Ω: Kraken Empire Sets Its Sights On The PS4

Kromaia Omega logo

Kromaia PS4Indie developer Kraken Empire‘s formerly PC-only open space shooter, Kromaia, is getting a makeover for the PS4 this fall in the form of Kromaia Ω (Omega). The visually stunning sleeper from last year was one of those games that was well worth tracking down just to get one’s mind blown by the visual style and surprising depth for an arcade-style game.

The game will get both a retail and digital release, which is a bit surprising on the surface. But it seems that the big push to digital-only that’s been going on for a while isn’t the best thing for some niche titles like this that deserve a wider audience, some of whom prefer the choice of how they get their games. Rising Star Games deserves huge thanks for thinking of consumers this way,although it would be even more awesome to see all of their PC games get this console retail/digital treatment a some point. Continue reading

Some Batman Day Stuff To Drive You Batty

batman day 2015

So, it’s Batman Day tomorrow and yes, a few (well, more than a few) sites are having some nice sales on some fun to funky items. I’ll give a shout out to a handful below:

Mezco Batman Day Sale

MezcoToyz is offering up an awesome deal of mystery randomness with its 1-day ONLY Batman themed Mystery Box. $19.39 (yes, the year Bats first appeared in comics)nets you a box that will contain assorted Batman and DC Comics related merchandise. You may get something common,but you may also snag something super-rare and guaranteed to have the Joker pop by with a can of Smilex gas while you’re sleeping. Hey, he collects toys too… at your expense, of course! This sale runs from 12:01 AM on September 26th to 12:01 AM on September 27th and yes, supplies are LIMITED. Oh, and if you’ll be in NYC for the event, make sure to visit Mezco at New York Comic Con (booth 1754).

BatmanCover LEGO Batman 3 Complete Bundle

If you prefer something a bit more interactive, Bundle Stars has you covered with two cool Bat-bundles of PC games with the Caped Crusaders and friends. Ten bucks nets you the first three Batman: Arkham games along with three huge DLC packs or Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham plus SEVEN nice DLC packs.

Meanwhile, the PlayStation Store, Sony is running a Batman Day sale on a slew of Barman titles for the PS3, PS4 and Vita. Boogie on over to that link above and let your wallet fly around the room for a minute before you wring it out until it’s all dried up and you’re buried in more than enough Bat-games to keep you occupied and out of trouble for quite some time. Or IN trouble because you’ve stopped going to work and have taken to wearing a cape, boots and utility belt you’ve designed on those trips to the bathroom. Remember to duck when you throw that homemade Batarang for the first time, as it’ll swing back and crack you upside the head before you can react.

I suppose you can do some reading as well, but I’ll let you poke around online for assorted sales. I do know DC Comics is doing something fun (as always) I haven’t read a decent Batman comic in ages, so I’m kind of need to do some poking around myself. Hmmm… it looks as if I’ll be hitting up the library here tomorrow or a nearby comic shop for a few freebies.

Tales of Zestiria Hands-On: Old Reliable And The New(ish) Platform

Tales of Zestiria logosmallblk


In the case of and for Namco’s long-running Tales franchise, familiarity certainly doesn’t breed any contempt at all. Some hands on time recently with the PlayStation 4 version of Tales of Zestiria reveals producer Hideo Baba and the development team at tri-Crescendo in fine form with a game that’s a throwback to Tales of Phantasia and its more epic medieval fantasy approach in terms of character design and settings. There are also some changes to the combat system and even better, battles now play out on maps without those brief transitions from previous games in the series. Continue reading

Heroes of Loot: Budget Bitty Dungeon Crawling Hits The Vita


It’s a darn good thing I pay ZERO attention to what internet comment sections on game and video sites say. Absolution Games’ budget twin-stick dungeon crawler Heroes of Loot is actually pretty fun to play and dirt cheap at $2.99 on the Vita. The bite-sized dungeons, fast-paced gameplay and simple retro looks aren’t getting a lot of love from the usual suspects, but the game is great fun so far. You’re basically getting a Gauntlet homage with a bit more humor and difficulty that ramps up as you clear special optional side quests.

yeah, yeah, it was/is a tablet game, but so what? If you like your dungeon crawlers and teeny sprite characters zipping about laying waste to hordes of monsters, collecting loot and trying to stay alive, this one’s right up your alley. Or right down your dark dungeon hallway. Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have a LOT more monsters to kill. In the cutest possible manner, of course.