Langrisser I & II: Return Of The Kings

standard-edition

Standard Edition, If you like…

When I heard Langrisser I & II were coming to PlayStation 4Switch and PC on March 10 courtesy of the fine folks at developer extreme and Chara-ani Corporation thanks to US publisher NISA, let’s just say that was a good day indeed.  I still own my originally purchased new copies of Warsong and the two Sega Mega Drive Langrisser imports (see below), and from playing the demo versions last night, it’s as if I went back in time and then forward, thanks to the game’s wise inclusion of old and new art styles.

Playing the new game bought back many old memories and we’re looking at a massive campaign, restored to its roots and many hours (and endings) to be discovered. I had to play the second game partially from some hefty notes and magazine clippings I got from a friend in Japan, but I know I missed a lot of story as the paths I got weren’t fully translated in the notes. So this time out, I’m preparing for this much bigger game now in English.

der langrisser

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Review: Dawn of Fear (PS4)

DOF 01

How come no one has a sledgehammer handy so they can bust the heck through those locked front doors in these games?

DOFYou’ll either like or not like Dawn of Fear ($19.99) for a few reasons. You’ll like it if you’re a big of the classics for the strict, stick to the script “survival” horror gameplay borrowed liberally from the first Resident Evil, with a touch of the more unsettling Silent Hill for good measure, very limited save function, static to a fault camera angles, blind spots, rigid aiming, low ammo counts and all. You’ll not like it for all that if you’re a newer survival horror fan or an old fan of the genre that’s moved on to games with more freedom of movement and a plot that makes more logical sense. Plus there’s a somewhat spotty localization that needed a bit of work, as it’s a bit cringe-worthy on the grammar side. Oh, and there were some pretty awful bugs and glitches at launch, some of which stopped the game cold and either forced a restart, or had you go back to an old save to hopefully restore things.

A recent patch helps a great deal, though. It turned the sluggish movement speed to an always run animation that helps a tremendously (even though the instructions still state holding the Square button runs, when it now doesn’t). Although you’ll now zip into camera angles that switch so fast it’s tricky to not run back into an area you just left. Glitches that were major visual and technical ones seem to be stomped out, but sometimes areas you explore still load in pieces. For example, you’ll be walking running into a dark room in that mansion and the lights suddenly switch on, but it’s not the lights, just an area on the map that’s loading in its pre-rendered details (oops).

 

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Dawn of Fear: Some Residents Are Quite Evil Here

talents

I like the PlayStation Talents program, as it’s been bringing a few games to players from quite a few indie developers in Spain that might otherwise be ignored in a market crowded with new releases every week. Survival Horror fans have a new game to look at with Dawn of Fear, from indie team Brok3nsite. Take a look at this trailer and get the warn and fuzzy zombies coming after you feeling once more:

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Japan Gets All The Cool Stuff: Remote Controlled R2-D2 Fridge


 

Okay, I want one of these just so I can see if it’s keeping those cold drinks cold because it’s using Carbonite and not deadly freon gas. I’d imagine Carbonite is somewhat non-toxic given that Han Solo went into the deep freeze long sleep encased in that stuff. On the other hand, it’s probably going to be really hard to open whatever beverage you pop into R2 if it comes out encased in a solid block of cold blackness. Hmmm… maybe this is an Empire plot, folks:

(thanks, love meme!
 

Anyway, this cool fridge is currently only coming out in Japan at some point this year from Haier’s Japanese branch, but I’d imagine demand for R2 will be high enough that some will end up being imported by those hardcore Star Wars collectors who want EVERYTHING, damn the shipping fees (which will probably cost more than the unit itself).

And hey! Just for fun, here’s a nifty and informative Star Wars infographic that popped into my inbox as this post was being typed. Thanks, Morphsuits!

Star Wars Infographic

Review: Amzer Stando Universal Tablet Stand

Amzer Stando 1You had ONE job to do, Stando… and you do it REALLY well. If you’ve poked around looking for one you probably know that tablet stands are a dime a dozen these days. Or more precisely, feel like they cost a dime a dozen to make. Some look great but tend to be flimsy, fall forward pieces of junk not worth sending back because the shipping probably costs more than the price paid. Amzer’s Stando laughs in the face of those cheap stands by being more than worth its $39.99 price tag. It’s stylish, stable and dirt simple to use for anyone interested in getting their 7 to 11-inch tablet to act as a handier (and hand-less) video player or other useful option.

There’s nothing fancy about the Stando other than the name, but this is a great thing. Out of the box it takes a few seconds to set up thanks to an intuitive design. A bend to get it open, a simple expanding of the arms to hold your tablet of choice by two corners, a bit of adjusting to your preferred viewing height (and maybe a spin to see it rotates that device a full 360 degrees) that’s that. The weighted base is perfect and even some heavy table banging for test purposes didn’t dislodge the tight grip the rubberized arms held on my tablet. I’d bet a dollar that nice clicking sound Stando makes when you adjust it was engineered in on purpose. It lends a “mechanical” sounding element to the holder as well as gets the attention of anyone in the immediate vicinity. That’s also not a bad thing as during my outdoor test at a nearby diner a few people came up to check out the Stando and ask where I got it.

Amzer Stando 2

As the unit is made for a single task, don’t expect anything like a USB power charger built into the base or a fancy carry bag. That said, the unit is designed so your device’s charger slot and other useful ports and buttons are always within reach. Stando will fit tablets that have one of Amzer’s silicone Jelly Cases protecting it with the same grippy relish it holds an uncased unit. This is one of those products that works so well there are no real complaints to make so it’s easy to recommend. It’s even sturdy enough to be somewhat kid-friendly provided your kid has been very well schooled in tablet handling and knows the difference between a gentle tap/swipe motion and cat-pawing a tablet to the floor. Some kids get this, some don’t – you’re mileage may vary.

Bottom line, for that $39.99, you’re getting a fantastic product that will last through many years of usage, is travel friendly and just may become your tablet’s best friend. Amzer’s got a winner here for tablet owners looking for quite possibly the best tablet stand to date. Grab one and make you flimsy stand owning friends quite jealous.

Score: A

Toy Fair 2015: SnooZzoo – Bedtime Perfected

snoozoo logoLet me tell you, folks; if I had a SnooZzoo as a kid, I’d probably be a lot less tired these days. Cameron Jones and his excellent child sized sleepover bag/huge stuffed animal hybrid caught my eye at Toy Fair and I had to immediately smile because it’s one of those products that fills a niche and is ready to rocket to the top of every parent’s list for all the right reasons. Continue reading

Toy Fair Sunday Musings, Too: May The Force Be With Few!

Imperial Toys Bubble Saber
 

Thank you, Imperial Toy! One, for having one of the more surprisingly cool licensed items at the show (a huge Star Wars bubble machine shaped like R2-D2 that does exactly what it’s supposed to do and makes everyone in the vicinity stop what they’re doing and walk over to check it out). Its also surprisingly affordable. I’ll post pics of R2 tomorrow, as I shot photos with another camera and (duh!) can’t seem to find the USB cable (duh!)

imperial toy lightsaber 2
 

Oh, and two, for giving me the nice silver-colored bubble lightsaber just for stopping by their booth to check out R2. Apparently, its one of only a thousand made for the show. Nice. Id love to have a blue one as well, but I don’t mind waiting for the normal white sabers to hit retail and add one of those to the collection.

Sony’s 20th Anniversary Limited Edition PS4: Nifty Shades of Grey


 
I should have figured that Sony would be going back to basics for their 20th anniversary, but seeing that familiar shade of grey on a new model PS4 made me chuckle a bit. I bet it’s not backward compatible at all, meaning some younger folks who buy it, might want one to add to their collection or just hate that color aren’t seeing the complete picture. I still have three of those old grey models here and they get trotted out from time to time, too. 20 years is a long time and I can still recall the initial skepticism some had about Sony jumping into the game console business with the PlayStation after a deal with Nintendo to co-create a game console fell through. How the gaming landscape would been had that arrangement not fallen through is anybody’s guess. Like them or not, you have to give Sony credit for making good on their initial promise to shake things up and continue doing it for so long despite some ups and downs over the years.


 

Anyway, Happy Anniversary, Sony – you’ve certainly earned a place in millions of lives since 1994. Here’s to (at least) 20 more years (provided we’re all still around)…

Hikari Friday: Transform Your Collection With These Transformers!

Hikari logo Okay, so you’re a bit lazy this week for whatever reason. You COULD go shop online or hoof it out to your nearest Funko retailer to pick up one or both of these new Hikari Sofubi Transformers figures, but nope. You want to take a BIG chance on just clicking around to WIN one. No worries, I’ve got you covered. Well, Funko actually has you covered… but only for ONE of these two limited edition collectibles. Enter now on one of Funko’s social channels:

http://www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
http://www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

and you just might win either this cool Metallic Optimus Prime Hikari Sofubi Figure (#1 of 2000):

Metallic Optimus Prime Hikari Sofubi Figure OR this Metallic Bumblebee Hikari Sofubi Figure (also #1 of 2000):

Metallic Bumblebee Hikari Sofubi Figure 

If you want those OG G1 paint schemes in the house, or at least the chance to win one of these beauties, you know what to do, correct? Go get lucky and add one of these to your collection!

Hikari Friday Time! Funko Foists FOUR Figures For Free!

Hikari logo 

Yes indeed, Funko wants to make FOUR lucky winners very happy this week, one each will nab the first one off the line of these cool Hikari Sofubi Vinyl figures. This week it’s more Transformers up for grabs. Check out the Distressed Optimus Prime Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure and Distressed Bumblebee Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure:

Distressed Optimus Prime Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure 

Distressed Bumblebee Premium Hikari Sofubi Figure 
Get your chance to win at one of Funko’s social network sites:

http://www.facebook.com/OriginalFunko
http://www.twitter.com/OriginalFunko
Instagram @OriginalFunko

As usual, those first two figures will be available at your favorite Funko retailer in case you’re not a lucky winner. And yes, the reason those two robots in disguise are distressed is because they’re temporarily homeless and are getting a bit desperate to find a shelf or space to camp out on as they plot their revenge against the Decepticons who destroyed their planet!

On the other hand, the even MORE limited edition (and exclusive) Books-A-Million transformers, 24k Optimus Prime Hikari Sofubi Figure and 24k Bumblebee Hikari Sofubi Figure are only available online and are limited to 600 pieces each. Have a look at these shiny beauties:

Books-A-Million Exclusive 24k Optimus Prime Hikari Sofubi Figure 

Books-A-Million Exclusive 24k Bumblebee Hikari Sofubi Figure 

And before you even ask, NO, they’re NOT REAL 24K gold at all. I’d not even want to imagine the weight of one of these figures or if an actual gold Transformer figure existed, who’d have enough disposable cash to buy one. Then again, there ARE gold and silver encased PlayStation 4’s for sale in Dubai, so it’s not a total impossibility… Anyway, good luck!