Review: Earth Defense Force 2 – Invaders From Planet Space

EDF 2 VitaPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: SANDLOT

Publisher: Xseed Games

MSRP: $29.99

# of Players: 1 – 4

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A- (90%)

As a longtime Earth Defense Force fan (since 2003’s Simple 2000 Series Vol. 31: The Chikyuu Boueigun, or Monster Attack in the UK), finally getting the chance to see the best game in the series finally arrive stateside and in its best incarnation to date is a great thing indeed. Granted, Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space may not convince some skeptics of how much of a must-buy title it is because at first glance it’s going to seem like less of a game than it actually turns out to be. But those of you who know the series who have yet to play this entry will be pleased to know that not only does it deliver the goods, it still holds up today as a stellar (and incredibly lengthy) game that packs in more action for $29.99 than bigger budgeted AAA titles that cost double the price. Continue reading

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Arrow Video Adds A Little More Giallo & Red To Your Movie Library This Month

Arrow Wake Up And Kill Arrow What Have You Done To Solange

 

Arrow Video continues to deliver the goods to stateside video collectors with its latest set of American releases through MVD Entertainment Group. Coming soon to Blu-Ray/DVD (as in November 24, 2015) is Wake Up And Kill (Special Edition), director Carlo Lizzani’s (Requiescant) 1966 true crime drama based on the infamous armed robber Luciano Lutring’s exploits. As usual, Arrow is not only getting this one out in a nice new transfer, they’re packing in a bunch of extras:

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

* Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
* High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray and Standard Definition DVD presentations of two versions of the film: the original full-length Italian release, and the shortened English-language cut
* Italian and English soundtracks in uncompressed PCM mono sound on the respective versions of the film
* Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian version
* Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English cut
* Theatrical trailer
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Reinhard Kleist
* Illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film by Robert Curti, author of Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980

I’ve not yet seen this film, but it certainly sounds interesting and should be quite a treat as it’s seen as an early example of what would later be known as “poliziotteschi”, which isn’t a real word, but a blending of a few. Basically, Italian crime dramas, cop movie, detective story, you know the drill. Wake Up And Kill has a $29.95 MSRP.

Next up, it’s another gritty trip to Italy, this time with a more murdery flavor. Massimo Dallamano’s 1975 giallo, What Have They Done to Solange? gets the Arrow treatment big time with this Blu-Ray/DVD combo. I’ve seen this a few times in raggedy prints with fuzzy sound (which isn’t good for that Ennio Morricone soundtrack!), so Arrow’s version will be replacing my memories with the reality of a superb restoration job and yep, loads of extras:

BONUS MATERIALS:

Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
Newly translated subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
Brand new audio commentary with critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman
Newly filmed cast interviews
Original Theatrical Trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by MALLEUS http://www.malleusdelic.com (to be revealed)
Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film, illustrated with original stills
More!

Solange comes out of hiding and into your favorite online video emporium or physical media paradise hat stocks Arrow stuff on December 15, 2015 for $39.95. Reviews of these two are in the pipeline once those screeners arrive.

Earth Defense Force 2 and EDF 4.1 Get Dated: Prepare The Time-Sink Ray!

EDF 2 Vita EDF 4.1 PS4 

Excellent. Between the new trailers above and below, the brand spankin’ new official site and the fact that both games come out on the same day as retail (YES!) and digital product, it’s a fine and dandy day for fans of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space (PS Vita, $29.99) and Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair (PS4, $49.99). That lovely release date of December 8, 2015 means that plenty of fans of both titles are getting exactly what they’ve wanted from Santa, Krampus or whomever else buys their gifts. Buy someone a copy of this game and you won’t see them for weeks because all they’ll be doing in their spare time is blasting big space bugs and bigger spaceships, robots and other space beasties all day and night. Yes, your inner eight-year old kaiju fan will be wholly pleased, but don’t expect this to be an easy ride at all.

Getting these as physical copies (thanks Xseed!) is going to make a lot of EDF fans happier because it’s something they’ve desired with every game in the series and Xseed kept its ear to the ground and made it happen. As for the EDF 4.1 blooper reel below… er, well… I’ll give Xseed a pass on that one because the game is so much fun that a little comic relief won’t hurt it one bit.

Anyway, go get some finger exercises in and ask the boss for some time off in December. Once these games land in stores and on PSN, you’re not going anywhere for a while.

Review: Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Wii UPlatform: Wii U (also on PS3/PS4, Xbox 360/Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS)

Developer: Vicious Cycle

Publisher: Little Orbit

MSRP: $39.99 (PS4/Xbox One, $49.99, 3DS $29.99)

ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Everyone 10 & up)

Official Site

Score: B (80%) 

As someone who likes all the console and handheld Adventure Time games, it’s good to see a new one arriving so soon that’s even more of a throwback than the more action oriented titles that have come before. Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations is a fine homage to old school classic point and click adventures with some nifty combat portions to keep your fingers limber. While the game isn’t all that difficult to complete (particularly if you use the hint highlight system to find clickable objects and locations), it’s a great diversion for a rainy weekend as well fun enough to warrant additional installments. It’s also the first Adventure Time game with rendered 3D characters and environments with developer Vicious Cycle doing a mostly excellent job in making Finn and company look great in polygonal form.

BMODance (Custom) 

The game is set up as a series of “graybles” as (re)told by the alien Cuber (voiced by Emo Phillips) from his space station. While it’s not quite Game of the Year material, the story is pure Adventure Time: pretty darn amusing and as usual, chock full of goofiness and tossed off references fans will knowingly nod and grin at. Fans of the show new to this style of game will find that it’s easy to get into and play, but experts at pointy and clicky stuff new to the show may find the game lacks a certain level of challenge save fora few puzzles that require knowing how certain episodes play out. Then again, unless you’re really bad at following prompts and using a tiny bit of deductive reasoning, you can do a bit of trial and error with not a failure state in sight.

There are five “cases” to tackle in the Land of Ooo that have Finn and Jake meeting up with the usual suspects from the show and everyone is voiced perfectly as you’d expect. In terms of gameplay, most of the game relies on a simple menu system that allows you to choose Finn to do most of the investigative work while Jake assists in getting him in and out of trouble or to seemingly inaccessible spots in the environment. Talking to everyone if you’re stuck will get you some clues that range from mostly direct to somewhat obscure (yes, like the show), but you can solve bits of some cases before you’d think if you have just enough info and accidentally or intentionally talk to someone who starts giving you a short quiz about evidence you’ve gathered.

GnomeZap (Custom) 

At certain points during play, “Combat Time” sequences become available, adding a bit of button jamming action to things. These sections are short and easy to beat, offering simple rewards in the form of collectibles Finn and Jake can use to decorate their fancy over-sized tree house. The game probably would have been fine without the swordplay and special attacks, but someone generally gets some sort of beat down at some point on the show, so you get to dish out the digital pain on a few folks who probably deserve it. Then again, without these smack laying down parts, the game might be less amusing and fun to play to some fans who expect a knockout or three (or more) before all is said and done.

While the game isn’t all that lengthy (as noted, it’s a rainy weekend special), it’s well done enough to warrant a sequel or two in the same style or at least more Adventure Time games down the road. Actually, it would also be really interesting to see if Vicious Cycle can handle the crazy and contagious energy of a more recent Cartoon Network smash hit, Steven Universe. It’s a completely different look and vibe on that show, but so far, every tie-in from the comic to the sole mobile game Attack the Light has been very well received. As usual, we shall see. In the meantime, you may as well support Little Orbit and Cartoon Network by taking Finn & Jake on a few Investigations, I say.

Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations – Mysterious Goings-On, Old School Style


 

“What time is it?” Um, 6:48pm as I type these words!. Hmm, that joke fell flat didn’t it? Fortunately, Little Orbit’s latest, Adventure Time: Finn & Jake Investigations has far better writing than I can muster up and looks as it’ll be a total blast to play through. Available NOW on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo 3DS, the game takes the popular show and characters into a less sprite-ly space (the game is made up of POLYGONS! *Gasp!*) and pace as it emulates some of the older-school adventure games us well-aged gamers grew up playing.

at4_screen7 

Not to say there’s no action and occasional stuff being broken for no good reason other than it’s amusing, mind you. Don’t believe me? Well, take a looky at these GAME FEATURES:

Sleuth your way through five cases set in the Land of Ooo, each of which plays out a separate chapter (like your own personal episode of the show).

See the Adventure Time characters and familiar locations for the first time in 3D.

Tackle puzzles by creatively using inventory objects and Jake’s shape-shifting abilities.

Combat evildoers as Finn using a variety of unique swords and Jake’s awesome attack forms.

at4_screen11 

I stole that info above from the press release, so maybe that’s a SIXTH adventure that needs to be solved? Uh, wait. I just gave myself away as the culprit. Oops. Well, Jake and Finn don’t know and you won’t tell them at all, so I’ll be camped out in front of my TV waiting for them to slap the cuffs on. Or slap me around the room. I think I’m insured. I think.

Adventure Time Finn & Jake Box Shots 

So, yeah – get this game. Well, you don’t HAVE to buy EVERY version in that photo above. But if enough of you did exactly that, I sure bet Little Orbit and developer Vicious Cycle would be very thankful indeed. Perhaps a bit baffled… but thankful nonetheless.

Gallery: Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations

Gallery

This gallery contains 16 photos.

  All I know is there had BETTER be a line in Little Orbit’s upcoming Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations where someone says to Jake (and that someone should be Finn) “Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown…”. Okay, I’ll still … Continue reading

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space Trailer #2: It’s Boom Time For Big Space Bugs Soon


 

EDF 2 VitaI’m thinking Xseed Games is going to be selling a lot more copies of Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders From Planet Space than they expect. The game is headed to the Vita this fall in both physical and digital forms and given that it’s the best version of the game to date, I can see fans of the series who haven’t played it snapping it up and hopefully recommending it to friends who also like offbeat Japanese games full of destructible environments and tons of gigantic bugs, robots and spaceships to blast. While the ESRB hasn’t rated the game yet, there’s nothing “mature” about this one at all. It’s mindless fun at its best, but also a game where a bit of strategic experimentation in the weapons you use can mean the difference between crushing defeat and total success.

I’ve played this oldie to death as an import on the PS2, PSP and Vita and I’m looking forward to the English localization just to see how it’s turned out. Xseed took a campier tone that expected with the title, but it’s all good in the end. This is one of those games where you get so many hours of play out of it that paying full retail on day one makes perfect sense. You’re not going to get 100% completion on this one for a while and the added online play should help make this one even more fun if you’re into playing with others. All the game needs now is a release date and all I need after that is time enough to sink a few dozen hours into it all over again.

Humble Weekly Bundle Features Some Great Rising Stars

HWB Rising Star Games
 
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:

HWB_Rising Star Games Bundle 

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.

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut – Classified Edition: FK Yeah, You Need This!

(thanks, zbencz2!) 

Not to put too fine a point on it, but for my money, Deadly Premonition: the Director’s Cut was and is one of the most beautifully bizarre and unique horror game experiences to date. Its bat-crap crazy elements and deadly serious story bits combined with the intentionally dated visual style and many hours of open-world gameplay to provide a highly replayable game experience once you got over and used to its many quirks. Given that I’ve probably written more kooky articles about the game than anyone else (well, that’s what I’ve heard), I’m telling you PlayStation 3 owners who happen to also be horror game fans who’ve yet to give this game a try that now you NEED a copy even more than before.

DP_CE

Yes, you absolutely NEED this, Zach!

 

Thankfully for you, the NISA Online Store is taking pre-orders for this ultimate edition of the PS3 version of the game. In case you still haven’t clicked and whipped out your wallet, here’s what’s in the box:

Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut physical copy for the PlayStation® 3
Classified Edition DLC Voucher containing all DLC for the game (It’s all in the details)
Hardcover Art Book 6.75 in x 5.25 in (A book with some unique images inside)
Official Soundtrack 25 tracks with jewel case (Not available before on compact disc)
Deck of 54 Custom Playing Cards (York’s favorite)
Collector’s Box (A good way to keep everything safely tucked away, out of the light)

Given that I’ve played through the game at least five times already (not counting the Xbox 360 version), finding time to do so again won’t be tough. But I can’t let myself become too obsessed, Zach. Actually, I’m much more interested in all that bonus content, particularly the art book and soundtrack. It’s too bad the box doesn’t have a somewhat hard to locate these days Deadly Premonition coffee mug as an extra special bonus. But I’d gather that would add to the cost and there’s the issue of careless delivery persons tripping on that ONE spot on your walkway when walking up to your front door. Well, you can always make your own coffee and find out what the FK is going on when you pour a bit of milk into it.


 

Anyway, Deadly Premonition: The Director’s Cut – Classified Edition is available for pre-order NOW (you’ve already clicked one of those links above, Zach? I know you did!) for $49.99 and will be headed your way on November 24, 2015.

Stella Glow: You Can Tune A Piano, But Can You Tune A Witch?


 

Stella Glow 3DSOh, the mighty (and lousy) puns I came up with for this new 3DS game! Atlus is bringing over Imageepoch’s Stella Glow, a JRPG where you’ll need to “tune” witches in order to use their song magic powers against assorted creatures. It seems as if the tuning process and deep heart elements lift some of play mechanics from the Ar Tonelico series, but if you loved those games on the PS2 and PS3 and happen to own a 3DS, you’ll be in absolute heaven. Witch means you’ll be waiting for this around the holidays when it ships out in North America.

I see there’s a Fire Witch in the game and the game description I got notes that there are five witches total to tune. Which makes me pun-der if there’s a Sand Witch to tune at some point. I’m not sure if the tuning leads to any romance angles, but if so, would that mean if your character decide to settle down with one of them, they can say “I Married A Witch” at some point? If there’s a kid from that union and it’s a boy you can call him Son of a Witch? Which witch wishes willingly for waterproof watches? Do witches even wear watches? I have not a clue. But I guess I’ll find out soon enough.