Ni No Kuni II Demands Your Desire

 

Even with the up, down and sideways health issues happening, I’m still intent on diving into a bunch of games this spring. Right at the top of things to get to is Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, out NOW on the PS4 and PC. As a fan of developer Level-5’s games since the two Dark Cloud games, it’s been fantastic to see each new experience grow more and more polished. As you can see here and below, this game is absolutely packed with things to do including all-new kingdom building and RTS elements that seem very much like whole games in themselves.

While Studio Ghibli wasn’t part of the sequel, on board are former Ghibli character designer Yoshiyuki Momose and music composer Joe Hisaishi, both returning from the wonderful first game. Keeping that unique anime look and lovely sound is key to the experience and yep, this game nails it perfectly. In any event, get it digitally or get it physically (a walk to the game store counts as EXERCISE, folks!) – just get it and prepare to spend way too much time thinking about it when you’re not playing (well, that’s what I fully expect to happen to me given my past experience with Level-5’s other great RPGs).

-GW

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Review: Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology (3DS)

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In a weird way, history is more or less repeating itself with the release of the brilliant remake/remix that is Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology. The original game popped up near the end of the Nintendo DS life cycle and received pretty solid reviews overall, and this newer title slides into the eShop and at retail as Nintendo is slowly but surely planning to phase out the 3DS line (despite the handheld pretty much being the showcase for portable JRPGs in my humble opinion). Does Atlus have a hit the second time around with the same impact?  In short, yep.

If you’ve never played the first game, this one’s a must. If you’ve played the first game and are on the fence, I’d still recommend this for a few good reasons. There are new story elements, a great ‘Friendly’ difficulty setting, a new character with her own storyline (which is actually a fun excuse for assorted dungeon running exploits), full voice acting for all the main characters, sharper visuals, and all-new character portraits. The latter seems to be something a few fans dislike, but as we’re in the age of DLC, you can feel free to spend a few extra bucks for those original images and exchange the new art for the old if you like.

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Tokyo Xanadu eX+ PS4 LE: Falcom’s Box Of Fun Now Available

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If I had the room in my still too large game library and the funds to spare, I’d be all over this like a pack of piranhas chomping on some slow-moving tourists in a sinking canoe. Nihon Falcom’s critical darling Tokyo Xanadu eX+ has been on my backlog radar for a while now, but seeing this lovely looking Limited Edition made me want to go build a shelf and think about selling off a few things just to have  that nice big box to ogle when I’m not busy doing a hefty bit of dungeon crawling.

 

So, what’s in the box, you ask? Well, let’s see now…

 

Tokyo Xanadu eX+ Limited Edition includes:

Tokyo Xanadu eX+ PS4 game with additional game content – new side stories, characters, modes, dungeons, quests, and more!

9-inch Deluxe White Shroud Figure – top-quality, hyper-detailed poly-resin sculpture of the mysterious White Shroud character, fully assembled and painted, with detachable display base.

60-page Exclusive Art Collection – full-color book featuring over 300 of dazzling images of characters and settings plus important information on the world of Tokyo Xanadu.

Blade Card Game Deck – includes boxed set of 44 printed cards and 2-player rules, so you can take the Blade game into the real world!

CD Soundtrack – with 10 music tracks from the game, including the opening song “Seize the Day” (lyrics by Kyo Hifumi).

Collector’s Box – everything immaculately packed, including a separate printed carton for the White Shroud figure.

Note: If you already own the game on Steam, you’ll also get a free Japanese-language update (nice!), but the physical version shown above is only for PS4 owners. Go grab this from one of the retailers listed on the Aksys Games site and maybe be prepared to go build a shelf or move a few books around if you need to.

-GW

Review: Mary Skelter: Nightmares

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MSN_bg_pcIdea Factory/Compile Heart games can be hit or miss affairs, but their latest, Mary Skelter: Nightmares is (for my money) one of their best games (and best dungeon crawlers) to date thanks to taking chances with a few tried and true formulas and smacking most them right in their sweet spots. It’s got the turn-based dungeon crawl aspects of the Wizardry series mixed in with real-time chase/combat scenarios, excellent production values and yep, a bit of M-rated fan service lightly sprinkled on top for good measure.

While parts of the plot can be somewhat pedestrian in their usage of familiar anime/manga tropes, things take a few interesting turns as the game goes on. The use of well-known mostly female characters from popular fairy tales works quite well provided your brain properly detaches them from any imagery you might recall (or: you need to re-imagine everyone as anime gals). Of course, the gameplay is where it’s at and what’s here will keep you hooked in to the very end (and then some).  If you’re a fan of the aforementioned Wizardry, Etrian Odyssey, Demon Gaze, and Dungeon Travelers 2 among other dungeon crawlers, this one’s a drop everything and go kiss your Vita if you own one event.

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Review: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death

While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, MeiQ has a few surprises for those thinking it’s just another fan service packed JRPG. Lengthy and packing in some cool ideas, it’s a solid genre entry worth picking up.

meiq_cg7 Platform: PlayStation Vita
Developer: Idea Factory/Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory International
# of Players: 1
Release Date: 9/13/2016
MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Official Site
Score: B (80%) BUY IT!

At first glance (and second… and third), MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death looks like many other fan-service JRPGs packed with gals bursting out of their too-skimpy outfits ripe for waifu fantasies from those eager fans into that sort of thing. Fortunately, a mighty good game lurks past that booby trap facade and this is one Labyrinth worth a full inspection and yes, another Iffy game you’ll want to have in your library. Once you get over the costume designs, there’s a long and challenging game here to conquer with a fine combat system, albeit one that doesn’t change all that much once you sink a few hours in.

The plot is pretty basic stuff with four towers that need to be conquered in order to beat the evil so-and so trying to rule and ruin the land. Adding mechs each gal can pilot to the mix is a great touch, as it allows for some interesting pairings as well as gives you a squishy backup plan should a mech fall in battle. That’s right, your gals and whatever skills they’ve learned are your last resource if their metallic rides go down in flames. Initially, it’s a lousy thing as the gals aren’t exactly powerful and it takes time to gain a full party anyway. But, after a chunk of time, they’ll improve and all gain some nice, useful skills that can do decent damage. You’ll still want those mechs in good shape, though.

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The Silver Case Demo Hands-On: Dread, Delusion, And A Little Death

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With its October 7 release date right around the corner, Grasshopper Manufacture has released a new demo and trailer for the remastered version of The Silver Case, set to hit PC as a digital download on Playism, Steam, and the Humble Store for $19.99 (Standard Edition) or $29.99 (Deluxe Edition with a digital art book, soundtrack and comic). The new demo features two slices from the game starting with the harrowing opening chapter “lunatics”.

As I proudly still own the 1999 PlayStation import, seeing and playing this chapter all over again with enhanced visuals (and yes, in English) that still echo the original but with more detail brought a smile to my face despite the grin proceedings taking place. I won’t spoil a thing (you can and *SHOULD* give the demo a test drive) other than to say the mix of tried and true adventure gaming, unique interface and graphic novel meets cinematic presentation elements combined with a mature script will have you engrossed and enthused to play the final version. As with his other mature titles, Goichi Suda’s style is evident in the deadly manner in which some events play out, plenty of vernacular usage (hey, we’re all adults here, right?), and offbeat, welcome humor to break up the tension… or add it in cases where someone might not live.

tsc_lunatics For those of you craving physical product, you’d best move like a bullet. The fine folks at Limited Run Games are doing a fantastic (and yes, LIMITED) boxed retail version ($49.99) available for pre-order ONLY on their site until midnight, October 20. Yes, my eyeballs needed to be retrieved from under the couch after I saw this blissful box of beauty.

Inside are the following items:

  • DRM-free game disc with installer
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Artbook
  • 22-page manga
  • Two-piece manual set
  • Individually numbered box – numbers will be issued by order of purchase. The box is 7.75″ x 9.5″ x 1.75″ – the same box dimensions as many classic PC games from the 80s and 90s.
  • Game download on Steam

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Of course, broke-ass me will have to settle for a standard digital code, but I can live with that. Getting to finally play this and fully grasp the plot is well worth the long wait. Or short wait, if you’re new to the game and are holding your breath for the next 48 hours. Also, if you’re only buying the game digitally and want to do a double-take of sorts, go with the Playism version, I say. That purchase gets you a DRM-Free download as well as a Steam key, meaning you can choose to get gifty with it if you like. Hopefully the game does well enough to get console ports down the road, as it’s quite a ride and deserves to be played by as many as possible.

As usual, we shall see.

-GW

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MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death Gallery

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Be careful what you wish for, especially when you wish for something saucy like “anime gals in a DUNGEON… with mecha!, Mwa-ha-ha-haaaaa!” and you’re not very specific beyond that. *POOF* Your wish is Idea Factory International‘s command (*whipcrack!*) with the upcoming Vita game MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death, coming to PlayStation Vita September 13 (North America) and the 16th in Europe.

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IF, Compile Heart, and Makaiichibankan’s deviously deep dungeon crawler looks to captivate and challenge JRPG fans with its cute cast and no doubt challenging turn-based combat that should please those who liked similar gal-centric JRPGs or even mixed party titles. Here’s a gallery full of game trailers and screens to ogle along with some info about what to expect continuing right below the jump.

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Fossil Echo: How Odd.. Is There an ICO in Here?

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Gamers who love stuff like Team ICO’s games, the Oddworld series and gorgeous artwork would do well to keep an eyeball peeled for Fossil Echo, set for a July 1 release on Steam. You can also pre-order the Fossil Echo – Special Edition directly from the developer for 14.99 (the price jumps up to $19.99 in about 20 days) which includes a Steam copy of Fossil Echo for PC, a Fossil Echo Original Soundtrack by John Robert Matz (25 tracks + 1 bonus), a 20+-page PDF: The Making Of Fossil Echo, other extras (such as wallpapers, profile pictures) and yes, the dev team’s infinite gratitude.

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As for what the game is all about, well read on… Continue reading

Disgaea PC: You’ll Never See Sunlight Again (Unless It’s In This Game), Dood!


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dpc_3dSo, Nippon Ichi Software has decided to bring the legendary SRPG Disgaea to PC on February 24. Well, for those of you curious about the game, you can watch that trailer above and add about a million or so variations to any questions you’ll have.

As noted in that trailer, the game allows for some *insane* play that’s completely up to each player as to how he or she wants to complete a mission. It takes a tiny bit of time and a few fun tutorials to get to that point where you’re stacking up allies and tossing them to reach enemies or treasure, using Geo panels to win seemingly impossible maps in one turn, or raising item/equipment levels to ridiculous amounts by entering the items and beating the monsters inside of them. But it’s all worth it and with a level cap of 9999 for each character, you’ll be hooked in and not even caring that all you do once you get home from work or wherever is sink a few more “Just one more map!” hours into your new passion.

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You can (and should, dood!) pre-order Disgaea PC digitally on Steam for $19.99 or go all in and get a nice Disgaea PC: Deluxe Dood Edition from Nippon Ichi America’s online store for $29.99. That extra loot sent nets you a Steam code for the game, digital art book and soundtrack… PLUS you get a physical 44-page art book, a physical soundtrack CD and a beautiful collector’s box to keep it all in sent to you in the mail. Santa comes in February bringing one of the most addictive and time-chomping games ever made? Wait, that’s NOT Santa… I was a few letters off in the spelling, heh. Note: you’ll REALLY need to dust off that collector’s box regularly or else Etna might get pissed off and come for you while you’re sleeping with a couple of exploding Prinnies. “Who’s Etna?” you ask? Oh, you’ll find out soon enough once you fire up the game proper.

Corpse Party: Blood Drive – What’s A Little Death Between “Friends”?

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And you thought your school days were insane. The survivors of the certifiably unbalanced and/or genuinely terrified for their lives students of Kisaragi Academy’s class 2-9 are baaaaaack. While you can fully enjoy their new exploits in Corpse Party: Blood Drive on the Vita (out NOW!), if you want the full gory story, you’ll need to snap up the two previous games (Corpse Party and Corpse Party: Book of Shadows) on the PSP (and yep, they DO run fine on the Vita) so you can play catch up before this new game freezes your blood and spine solid.

Corpse Party EverAfter Edition Vita
 

All three games are guaranteed to scratch that horror/mystery itch you’ve got going under the skin, but expect things to get bloody before you know it. That EverAfter edition of Blood Drive is the perfect way to dive into the third chapter if the first two float your boat, so feel free to grab one while they last.