Hyper Galactic Psychic Table Tennis 3000: You’ve Got To Have Balls

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Yeah, yeah. So do I, buddy.

The team at Blue Wizard Digital (Slayaway Camp, Friday The 13th Killer Puzzle among many others) is at it again. This time, the classic game PONG gets the treatment and as you can see, well, if you’re a fan of vintage PONG or even PONG-curious. you’ll see even better that the vintage game has taken on a whole new life. Hmmmm, every time I type the word PONG, there’s a weird sound effect. Hear that? I should go put some music on or something.

I’ll keep this preview as short as can be because I need to go play this and review it, but if you got a grin going at that video, you’re on board the hype train and I’b about to come by and collect your ticket. The nice thing here is the game is a mere two bucks on Steam, but until March 10, it’s 34% off, so even the cheapest-minded cheapskate can buy and play this. Not that I think you’re all cheapskates mind you – budgeting correctly is important in this day and age, correct?

-GW

Sakura Wars Story Trailer: The More You Know, The Better It Gets (As Long As You Don’t Know So Much)

 

It’s quite the year for nostalgia in games, am I right? Final Fantasy VII, Langrisser I & II, the Yakuza Remastered games, a new King’s Bounty, and more are on the way, but there are a few firsts for the US and Sega’s Sakura Wars is at the top of the hit parade for many, I think, as it’ll be the first officially licensed game to make it westward on console. This trailer in only a hint of that’s to come, but I’m going to stay away from bigger reveals because I love going in as blind as possible on some games because it keeps them more interesting and yes, I’m happier with no or as few spoilers as possible.

-GW

Persona 5 Royal: Want To Be A Phantom Thief? Let Morgana Show You The Ropes

With Persona 5 Royal just around the corner (well, March 31, 2020 is kind of creeping up fast), here’s a looks at the game with a little help from Morgana with an assist from Kasumi as they point out a few cool additions to the game. I’d say “Thanks Atlus!” for this video, but it seems they don’t know it’s missing yet. Well, I guess this post will double as a PSA, then. Hey Atlus? You need to hire more security, I think.

Still, I bet the game sells like hotcakes anyway, even with Morgana’s paw prints on a few copies. Wait. Now THERE’S an idea for an even more limited edition… Hmmm.

Say, Morgnnnnnaaaaa? – are you busy right now? I have an idea, cat.

-GW

Sakura Wars: It’s About Time, Sega

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Boom time for Sega continues!

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I think it was about 1998 when a friend visiting from Japan gave me his used copy of Sakura Wars as a gift after he found out I really liked strategy games and had made my way through a few Japanese games with a bit of effort and persistence. Well, I ended up picking up Sakura Wars 2 a few years later, but never played either game thanks to thinking Saturn games would all be successfully emulated and/or localized at some point and I wouldn’t need to learn any more Japanese other that what little I picked up from a few dictionaries and games over the years. Well, that and yes, I was a bit lazy to my great disadvantage (Or not that lazy, as I finished four Front Mission games, two FEDA games and a few other imports with not too much hassle). Anyway. with 2000+ games in the library here, I never got around to to playing either title.

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Persona 5 Royal/Persona 5 Scramble: Catching Up With a Beast Is Tough

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The gang’s all here, and then some…

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I need more time!

At my ancient age, a new Persona game is something I look forward to with both a sense of awe and dread. Awe because the very expansive Megami Tensei and Shin Megami Tensei titles and their assorted spin-offs on a few platforms are one of the best and has been for decades, and dread because well, there’s so much to do in each game that it’s easy to lose track of time when playing them. The series is well known for some intensively lengthy games even back on the Famicom and Super Famicom systems up to today on the PS4, especially if you’re playing more than one game for just journalistic purposes. Heck, it took me almost three months to play Persona 4 way back on the PS2 and I’m here to report that I’ve been taking my time with the brilliant Persona 5 because of so many other games in my backlog to cover.

Well, that and the game is pretty and spectacularly dense in terms of depth and story and well, I bought it somewhat late (I think it was early last year when I made the plunge for a retail PS4 version). Even if I were to concentrate solely on the game, that’s about 60 or so hours without any shortcuts and that’s probably the basic story elements and a bit of leveling up for good measure.

 

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Review: SEGA AGES Shinobi (Switch)

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Hey, that’s NOT a ninja weapon!

Switch Shinobi boxAnother flawless and essential port by M2 with a few excellent modern options, the 1987 arcade classic Shinobi ($7.99) sneaks onto the Switch, and it’s just as hard as ever. There’s an easier AGES mode that changes lead Joe Musashi’s garb to white and lets you take more that a single hit (as in the Genesis and Mega Drive follow-up Revenge of Shinobi) and you can choose to use the new rewind function if you like to make things a bit easier. I’ll admit that I didn’t touch it for a few days until it was tested for review purposes and yep, it helped a lot in a few areas. But it’s not necessary to clear the game if you’re averse to it and want to do it the old-fashioned way. Well, minus the feeding the machine part.

 

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SEGA AGES Sends Shinobi and Fantasy Zone Westward

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Get ready for the tough stuff…

SEGA AGES on the Nintendo Switch gets more classics with developer M2 offering up two more Sega hits of yore with the developer’s stellar ports, and yes, each will arrive with new enhancements in tow that offer more accessibility options and new ways to enjoy these titles. First up, it’s the Ninja-packed action classic, Shinobi:

Ninjutsu master Joe Musashi returns in this classic side-scrolling platformer. He has been sent on a mission to single-handedly find and rescue all the children of the Oboro clan who have been kidnapped by a criminal syndicate known as ZEED. Utilize your sharp sword, shurikens, throwing knives, and even magic to defeat the enemy and free the hostages.

The challenging side-scrolling action title Shinobi strikes back with an AGES mode that gives a white-robed Musashi extra health and damage, and an added Melee button that lets you dispatch enemies up close and personal. And if the hordes of ZEED are proving too much of a test, difficulty and stage select options have been implemented, along with a reverse time feature.

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Neverwinter Nights Comes to Consoles (And Why You May Never Go Outside Again)

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If you only get one game this holiday… you’ll likely still be playing it a year later.

Oh, good gravy, I forgot this was coming out (and guess who’s really happy about that?)

Firmly camped in the “Now, this brings back memories” and “Well, there goes another 180 or so hours!” departments, I have the feeling the console version of Neverwinter Nights ($49.99, PS4, Switch, Xbox One) will be a Game of the Year contender simply for the sheer amount of content it delivers. The press release below the jump will get you grinning if you’re a fan who remembers spending too many hours in these worlds, but I bet a copper that a new generation of players will want to dive into this in single player and co-multiplayer modes.

New, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go move some time around and figure out when I’m going to play this and you need to go read a press release. For the record, I’ve been storing excess time in the closet, but it keeps disappearing, grrrrrr. Must be the monsters in there eating it, I think…

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Games I Need to Play 2: Beamdog’s Classics Come to Consoles

 

Good gravy, Skybound and Beamdog, you’re going to kill me thanks to my withering away indoors with your ports of the two Baldur’s Gate games, Neverwinter Nights, Icewind Dale and Planescape: Torment games. One definitely can’t gripe about the cost, as each game and their expansions (plus new content that was missing in the PC versions) cram in more that enough play and replay value to justify the price ($49.99 each). Pretty much, each one may will take a few weeks or months to play and hell, you can’t say that about many games outside the genre that don’t require an online connection or double-dip you (or more) with fees and micro-transactions.

As I noted in my preview a few months ago, there goes my free time forever. Amusingly, I’ve not requested a review code yet because from experience, games like these games are professional time eaters (I’ve played them all before on PC years back), and well, as I sand, my free time (and hell, all of my work time) would necessitate a format change to an all-Beamdog, all the time blog. That, and yeah, I’ll likely support both companies with a purchase because I have the feeling some wags out there will feel these enhanced ports won’t be worth full price because of the dated looks and other biases against things like the length and maybe the mobile ports (which cost less, but the console versions have a number of changes that make then worth playing and then some).

(Thanks, Warner Bros.!)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to figure out when I’ll play these and work on my time machine so I can play them. At least Neverwinter Nights isn’t out until December on consoles, so that gives me time to play the other games.

-GW

Review: SEGA AGES Space Harrier (Switch)

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Welcome to the Fantasy Zone. GET READY!

Hell, even if I were to think I was born ready for it, back in 1985 seeing and playing Sega’s Space Harrier for the first time in an arcade was a total and unexpected blast. Granted, it wasn’t my first psuedo-3D sprite-based shooter (Willams’ still phenomenal BLASTER was an instant fave for me two years earlier), but Yu Suzuki’s even more instant classic made for a more lasting impression thanks to its more superbly detailed visuals, rock-solid 60fps gameplay and yes, a somewhat crushing difficulty level for beginners. Watching someone play any of the three cabinet version was thrilling enough. But as a player, if you lucked out and got one of the sit-down versions with that big flight stick and body-shaking tilt feature, it was pure gaming bliss that left you maybe a bit wobbly after a few too many replays. Ah, memories!

Still, Suzuki’s game was perhaps too well made, just like his other supremely reliable arcade hits some take for granted these days. This is a game that is flawless in execution, but might be seen by the more jaded gamers out there as “repetitive” because they don’t see the beauty past the lightning fast speed and brilliant use of color. Ever busy developer M2 has done another outstanding job in porting the game to Switch for the ongoing SEGA AGES project ($7.99 per title) in both its original form with a new stage select, optional visual filter and control additions and a new version of the game called KOMAINU Barrier Attack that adds infinite continues and two small stone lion statues to aid Harrier in his quest.

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Screenshots really don’t do this game any justice. Some heads will roll for that.

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