Presents of Mind II: Some Gifts Just Speak for Themselves

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Uh, would you like something to eat, game?

…And some gifts just sit right down on the nearest loveseat when they walk out of the box. Yikes. I saw this Death Stranding Collector’s Edition on sale at a local shop when I was poking around on ebay listing a few games I’m selling and yes, the price was right, so I bought one. The shop actually wasn’t the lowest priced one I saw, but Best Buy RAISED their crazy low price of $89.99 before I could buy it. I literally slept on the deal and thought about it, decided it was a go the next morning, but I was surprised to see them jack the price back up up to only $30 off the original 199.99 MSRP. Oh well. Adorama, you have my thanks for keeping your deal where even with tax, I made out all right and got free shipping in the process. Oh, and a LOT or air packing bags in the rather huge box, too.

I still need to find time to play this, but with a copy now on hand, it’ll happen sooner than later. Actually, I need to find a space for the box as it’s so huge, it takes up more room than I thought it would. At least Sony put the steelbook right on top so when the box in opened, it’s separate from the other goodies inside. Back in a bit – I need to go find out where I’m going to put this thing.

-GW

BRIGANDINE: The Legend of Runersia Hands-On: Reign of Thrones

(Thanks. HappinetGameChannel!)

If the recent Switch demo of Matrix Software and publisher Happinet’s BRIGANDINE: The Legend of Runersia is any indication, this is going to a near-perfect entry in the genre for turn-based strategy fans who want a game with a ton of replay value. As noted in my previous look at the game, the developer really knows what they’re doing here. Everything here soars from gorgeous painterly art style, the optional step by step tutorial, the clear typeface and pretty solid English localization. Since many of us are still in stay at home zones, a game like this may make the month of June fly by because it’s got that “just one more mission” thing going for it.

Every element comes together in a game that’s clearly a labor of love for its developer and a return to the scene for a title that’s both accessible and daunting in its overall scope. While the demo had an introduction to a single character’s story and three “seasons” worth of play, the final game will contain six different characters all intent on gaining control of the land of Runersia for their own motives as the other five nations do their best to put an end to these efforts.

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Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations: Two Cuckoos In A Happier Dance

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A pair of kings.

Classic comedy fans, take note: Well, this is a fine mess, and a particularly good one coming soon on both Blu-Ray and DVD on June 16.

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Get one for yourself, and one for a friend!

The comedy films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy have been beloved around the world since they were first released between 1927 and 1940. So beloved that many of the available copies are blurred dupes printed from worn-out negatives. Now, the best of their short comedies and two of their finest features have been fully restored. They look and sound as spectacular as when they were first released… Here are a few videos that prove it:
FEATURES
* NEW! 2K and 4K transfers from the finest original 35mm materials in the world.
* WORLD PREMIERES! Laurel and Hardy’s legendary 1927 silent “pie fight” film THE BATTLE OF THE CENTURY makes its video debut after being “lost” for 90 years! The only reel of L&H bloopers and out-takes, THAT’S THAT!
* Classic short comedies BERTH MARKS, BRATS, HOG WILD, COME CLEAN, ONE GOOD TURN, HELPMATES, THE MUSIC BOX (the legendary Academy Award winning “piano moving” short), THE CHIMP, COUNTY HOSPITAL, SCRAM!, THEIR FIRST MISTAKE, TOWED IN A HOLE, TWICE TWO, ME AND MY PAL, THE MIDNIGHT PATROL, and BUSY BODIES in addition to the feature films SONS OF THE DESERT and WAY OUT WEST (which includes the team’s famous soft shoe dance routine).
* EIGHT HOURS of EXCLUSIVE extras – 2,500 rare photos and studio documents, audio and film interviews with L&H co-workers, original music tracks and trailers plus a full restoration of their one surviving color film, THE TREE IN A TEST TUBE.
* Commentaries by L&H historians Randy Skretvedt and Richard W. Bann
*Restorations provided by Jeff Joseph/SabuCat in conjunction with UCLA Film & Television Archive and Library of Congress.

Eight hours of special features? That’ll get me to watch those first, then. I grew up with these gentlemen on the TV screen quite frequently, so I know I’m going to be laughing too hard at the main events. Those features will be the educational part of the day’s programming.

-GW

BRIGANDINE: The Legend of Runersia – The Past Makes A Great Starting Point

 

Wow. I remember buying a brand new copy of developer Hearty Robin’s Brigandine: The Legend of Forsena on PS1 from the game shop I once worked at and loving the deepness of it, as it was very similar to veteran Japanese developer SystemSoft’s outstanding fantasy-based simulations such as Master of Monsters on the Sega Genesis and later, PlayStation, and Sega’s own very underrated at the time Sega CD game Dark Wizard. I had my copy of Brigandine for quite a while and completed it six or seven times, but a few years back, sold off a bunch of games to make room in the library and someone offered a hefty amount for some PS1 games I had, and that was one of them.

Flash forward to today, or more precisely, June 25, 2020, which is the release date given for Happinet’s revival of the game on the Nintendo Switch and yes, I’m doing a happy dance here because someone remembered a classic and it’s time it made a comeback. Here’s some lovely screens and art to peruse:

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I’d be lying it I said I wasn’t thrilled by this news, especially as I see how the art here comes to life and yes, it really feels as it the Switch is reviving the SNES days of games such as Ogre Battle and few others ruling a niche roost. It’s a ways away, but this is a game that looks as if it’ll take a while to play a few times and yes, I’m okay with that.

-GW

Review: Moss (PSVR)

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Every tail, er TALE, has a beginning. This one’s a really good one provided you’ve got a PS4 and PSVR setup (or Oculus or Vive and a powerful PC.

Moss PSVRIt’s too bad Polyarc’s fantastic new PSVR game Moss ($29.99) is only playable on a PS4 using Sony’s virtual reality headset (or on PC with a pricier Oculus or Vive setup) because it’s pretty awesome and one of the best VR games on the console. Granted, the developer’s total commitment to making a solid VR experience is part of what makes the game so excellent. But I’m of the mind that really well-made games such as this may actually benefit from “flat” versions that, while missing the VR trickery, are just plain fun to play for those without a VR setup.

As great as any VR game is, one thing that needs to not be forgotten is not every gamer will be sold on the tech, can’t use it, or just wants to play good games without the financial burden of paying a few hundred extra bucks for the privilege. That said, if you’ve a PSVR in the house and want another excellent game to show off that just so happens to be family friendly fun, go grab this one and get ready for a fine storybook adventure that yes, can’t be done on the stock PS4.

The use of VR here is much more than a mere gimmick thanks to the developer going above and beyond the call in having the player multitask in mostly great ways. A cute mouse named Quill is the game’s heroine and your goal as the Reader is to help guide her along the way as she attempts to rescue her uncle. The game’s book-like structure is evident from the start as you flip pages to begin Quill’s tale. Puzzle elements come into play as Quill navigates the lovely environments with you helping her out by manipulating objects in the environments to help her reach new locations. Where this element soars over “flat” games is how wonderfully Polyarc has incorporated the VR experience so fully into things to the point of many smile-worthy moments as Quill’s tale unfolds. Yes, that means my non-VR version point above becomes a bit (okay, VERY) moot, but I’ll make a feeble attempt at a saving throw a bit below.

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Even if you hate mieces to pieces (and +10 if you got a chuckle from that joke), Moss will make your mouse-o-meter calm down. Quill’s quite the cutie pie, *squeak!*

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Moss Coming to PS4 as a Physical Edition in June

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Moss2DBlackNormally, if someone said “Hey! Look at that mouse!” I’d be up on a chair with a shoe ready to throw at the first thing that moved because I’d not want some rodent running up my pant leg followed by a ticked off cat like something out of a a Tom and Jerry cartoon. In the case of Polyarc’s lovely action/platform/puzzle game Moss, however, I’m all “D’awwww! SO CUTE!” and then some.

The critically acclaimed and formerly digital only PSN release is getting a retail version next month and it’s looking like one of those PS VR enabled games that’s going to be worth grabbing for your physical library.  Take a peek at the trailer below of Quill’s big virtual adventure and see for yourself, (squeak, squeak):

 

 

Yep, SOLD. June 12 is when this scampers into stores, so go do that pre-order thing or just pop on in to pick up your copy. Save the cheese, though. The person selling you the game might be lactose intolerant or might rather want a pricey Camembert and not the Velveeta chunk you were planning on bringing.

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-GW

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir Hands-On: Vallhalla Yeah, Vanillaware is BOSS

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Back in 2007, Odin Sphere came to the PlayStation 2 as a gorgeous yet flawed masterpiece. Developed by Vanillaware, the game’s sumptuous visuals and challenging gameplay were only hampered by rather pesky slowdown and a few clumsy design choices. When Vanillaware announced it was bringing the game out on PS4, PS3 and Vita, one of the concerns expressed by fans was whether or not the game would be a straightforward HD update that didn’t fix some of the issues. Well, let’s just say after about two weeks with the Vita version of Odin Sphere Leifthrasir, any concerns about those problems can be erased completely.

The game (set for a retail and digital release June 7 for PS4, PS3 and PS Vita) has been redone using the same art assets, but with enhanced backdrops and *many* new major to minor gameplay tweaks that make this the best version of the game you’ll ever play. Combat has been made more fluid and accessible, blocking actually works, item, magic, and potion use is simpler and the game is running at a beautiful 60 frames per second. If that wasn’t enough, Vanillaware has updated the leveling and skills system, polished up the cooking stuff, and overall has made what’s going to be forever known as THE definitive version of an instant classic. Oh, and for those who want to compare, the original version is also included as part of the package, making this an even better must-buy deal.

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Fans of the original who own PS4s can, should and NEED to get the demo from PSN. Like NOW. There’s a Vita demo coming soon and yes, it’s going to be a must download and play experience. I’d say more, but that’s dipping a toe into review territory. Just mark the date, get your wallet ready or if you’re into pre-ordering, go do that stuff you do best and hope all your omake gets shipped in a BOX as it shouldhttps://fanboydestroy.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=31367&action=trash&_wpnonce=a79f89fd60. Yeah, I’m talking to YOU, Amazon, GameStop, Best Buy, EB Games and anywhere else stuff just gets tossed in a flimsy bubble mailer and kicked onto the back of a truck. A game this stellar deserves the kid gloves.

Back in a bit with more on this gem. Now, about a proper Princess Crown remake… hey Vanillaware and Atlus, can we talk?

Odin Sphere Leifthrasir PS4 Demo Out Now: A Dish of VanillaWare For Dessert Sounds Grand

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If you own a PlayStation 4, you can do yourself a HUGE favor today and download the demo for Odin Sphere Leifthrasir NOW on PSN. The game isn’t arriving until June 7, but you’ll see that this revived and remastered PS2 game looks absolutely gorgeous and runs at a wonderful 60fps. There’s also a VERY nice surprise for those who remember the original release, but I shall let you see for yourself what that is. I’d say more, but the embargo isn’t over until tomorrow and I don’t want to get smited by my favorite PR guy. This pairing of Atlus and Sega is a match made in gaming heaven.

Arrow Video June Releases: Blu-Rays of Sun For Your Collection

Arrow Video is set to heat up your June with four more video releases through MVD Entertainment Group, all worth a buy for collectors and film buffs with a taste for the intriguing. Let’s take a look at what’s coming soon:

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Vol. 2 AV038 Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 2 (June 14, $49.95) rolls up first and looks to be the perfect companion piece to the first three-film set. Akira Kobayashi (Tokyo Mighty Guy), and Jo Shishido (Danger Pays, Murder Unincorporated) are the featured actors in this trio of films that like the first Diamond Guys, is limited to 3000 sets. The first collection was a nice set of surprises, so expectations are high for this one to be equally fun and revealing.

Bonus Materials

  • Limited Edition Blu-ray collection (3000 copies)
  • High Definition digital transfers of all three films in this collection, from original film elements by Nikkatsu Corporation
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation
  • Original uncompressed mono audio
  • Newly translated English subtitles
  • Specially recorded video discussions with Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp on Diamond Guys Jo Shishido and Akira Kobayashi
  • Original trailers for all three films
  • Extensive promotional image galleries for all films
  • Reversible sleeve featuring brand new artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Booklet featuring new writing on all the films and director profiles by Stuart Galbraith IV, Tom Mes and Mark Schilling

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Daydreamer: Awakened Edition – Atlus Gets The Truly Trippy Platformer to PS4, Xbox One


 

Thanks to so darn many indie games dropping from the sky these days (it’s a digital monsoon at times!), I’d never even heard of the one man show called Roland Studios or its wild PC game Daydreamer until I got word that Atlus was handling the PS4 (May 31, 2016) and Xbox One (June 3, 2016) publishing in North America. Updated with enhanced features and now called Daydreamer: Awakened Edition, all you need to do is ogle that mind-bending weirdness above and you know you’re in for a trip and a half.

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If you like reading a bit more and that laser-eyed bunny above hasn’t freaked you out too much, here’s what to expect in the updated console version:

Daydreamer: Awakened Edition features:

• Twitchy Retro Gameplay – Those who live for intense side-scrolling, platforming, and shooting action will feel right at home, because players will shoot, whip, shield, jump, and warp their way to the Earth’s core. The design choices in the game harken back to gaming’s arcade classics!

• A Varied Combat System – With a dearth of different weapons and abilities at the daydreamer’s disposal, she will eradicate aliens with energy, homing, ray, helix, and flamethrower blasters, and melee mutants with her whips. She also has the abilities to shield against damage, warp to hard-to-reach areas, slow down time, and more. But they don’t come cheap—players must hunt for Psymatter in order to buy the weapons and items that will aid her along her hazardous journey.

• Powerful Pets – Psymatter also can be used to purchase/sustain a loyal pet companion to stay by your side to the death (or until you run out of Psymatter). From fuzzy turtles to vicious weasels, pets will offer invaluable support in varied forms to the daydreamer.

• Frightening Bosses – If normal aliens, mutants, robots, and bugs aren’t bad enough, the bosses of Daydreamer: Awakened Edition are truly terrifying to behold. The disturbing Mr. Smiles, the repulsive Grimeboy, and ferocious, but still kind of cute, Rabies Rabbit are just some of the creepy boss monsters brought to life in the game.

• Numerous Improvements – Since this is the Awakened Edition, that means there are a multitude of improvements and additions to the original release. Besides gameplay tweaks and balancing, there are now more difficulties, enhanced controls, improved combat, a ranked mode/leaderboard for the competitive, world map function, a brand new ending, and much more.

 

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That sounds like a plan to me, folks. The strangeness will commence on those two newer platforms on the dates noted above. Hopefully the PC version will get the same updates as I know some gamers who only do their thing on PC will want what everyone else is having.