Review: Valkyria Revolution (PS4)

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Valkyria Revolution PS4 (Custom)Well, veteran developer Media Vision gave it the old college try, but as a set in the past side story to the fan favorite Valkyria Chronicles series, Valkyria Revolution isn’t so thrilling as a game experience. Packed full of overlong exposition, mostly pretty visuals ruined by stiffly animated characters, and somewhat weak gameplay, this one manages to be somewhat lifeless despite trying very hard to appeal to longtime fans and players new to the series.

That said, the music is great, some of the timely political intrigue is interesting enough, as is the main storytelling device of a teacher and student discussing events that happened decades earlier. But the core gameplay never rises above mediocre thanks to somewhat loose controls and a “tactical” side that really doesn’t add much challenge. It’s not a “bad” game per se – it’s just one where you may feel too much time was spent on making a game packed with too much of some stuff and too little of everything else.

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Night Trap Returns! Be Afraid… Be Very Afraid (Or Not)


 

Night Trap tells the story of five teenage girls spending the weekend at the Martin home. As a member of the Special Control Attack Team, your job is to monitor the home and protect the girls using an intricate system of cameras and traps as it is being invaded by vampires.

 

I am laughing my fool head off writing this, but hey – a happy me is a good thing these days. Screaming Villains, based out of Newport Kentucky, is teaming up with Limited Run Games to bring the classic and at the time of its release 25 years ago, “controversial” Sega CD FMV (Full Motion Video) game Night Trap back as a remastered PS4 and Xbox One title. I’ll be a lazy git and let you read the Wikipedia page so you can see what the fuss was all about, but what was considered an MA-13 (or Mature) rated game back in 1992 is now a Teen-rated experience with not a thing altered. Digital Pictures created what was supposed to be (and is) a campy take on the horror genre, but for years the game has had a hilariously overblown reputation thanks to it being pulled from stores in some areas.


 

My own memories of it are the game being quite amusing but pretty difficult without a guide of some sort and not at all scary or bloody. The plot has you trying to save a bunch of cute 90’s gals at a slumber party from oddly dressed vampire creeps by setting traps inside the house and activating them before the girls are attacked. It’s all pretty corny, harmless “B” movie fluff that might surprise modern gamers when they see how goofy it all is. As in all that government fuss and bother did was make a so-so game a classic of sorts that still gets people talking. Amusingly enough, the game is about as scary as an empty plastic bottle on a windowsill.

For some reason, during the 90’s and into the early 2000’s a handful of gamers thought the 3DO and PC versions had bits of nudity or actual gore in them despite the fact that no such footage was shot. Coupled with the game’s rarity once pulled from shelves, helped drive prices up considerably. Working in an indie game shop for about five years, I fielded more than a few questions and kicked down as many of those rumors as I could, but you know how some people get when they really believe something that’s clearly untrue. Anyway, go download the super-cheeseball main theme and set your digital clocks for sometime soon, as the game is set for a mysterious “Spring 2017” release.

-GW

Happy New Year (Take 2)

(Thanks, TroniCPol!)

Hey, my mood lightened! Ha. Anyway, I was trying to think of an appropriate New Year’s thing to post when it hit me that I hadn’t played the late Kenji Eno’s very offbeat D2 in about four years. It works as a perfectly bleak yet eventually hopeful holiday horror game experience for the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Thanks to just being too busy to unearth one of my Dreamcasts, make sure the battery is working so that I could start playing about nine hours before midnight so the end credit sequence ends with the onscreen game clock counting down to the New Year and getting a cheery message for all that effort, I haven’t gone near this gem. But that’s going to change.

Anyway, backlog or not I’ll finally replay this classic at some point this year just to see if I can speed through it a bit faster. Much of the game’s length is due to extended stretches of cinematic sequences that can’t be skipped, so it’s a pay attention game almost all the way through, lousy US dubbing and all.

Ah well. Anyway, Happy New Year, people – 2017 is going to be innnnnnteresting.

-GW

Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom Gamescom 2016 Trailer: The Boy’s A Beast (Well, A Few Of Them)

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Well, wow. The Game Atelier has been busy and quiet for a bit, but there’s the reason why above. Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom is looking even more phenomenal and according to publisher FDG Entertainment, will be coming to PS4 and Xbox One first, followed by PC and possibly, a Nintendo console (according to NintendoLife). No speculation here on that latter point, but at least two versions of this one will be played here at DAF HQ.

-GW

BUY IT! Bundle Stars Offers Up Sega Genesis Classics Dirt Cheap

SEGA Genesis Classics BundleSo, Bundle Stars is running a really nice deal on Sega Genesis/Mega Drive classics that can’t be beat.If you’ve got a Steam account, LOVE great deals and are into classic 16-bit games, this is a deal you cannot miss out on. You’ve just under five days to take advantage of this, so get on it, I say!

Although I have all of these (and more!) on cart, I ended up grabbing 20 for $4.99:

Gain Ground
Alien Soldier
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage 3
Phantasy Star II
Phantasy Star III: Generations of Doom
Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium
Wonder Boy in Monster World
Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair
Golden Axe II
Golden Axe III
ToeJam & Earl
ToeJam & Earl in Panic on Funkotron
Bio-Hazard Battle
Beyond Oasis
Light Crusader
Dynamite Headdy
Landstalker: The Treasures of King Nole
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force II

24 cents each? A steal, I tell ya. Of course, getting to PLAY them with my backlog? HA! I may as well go adopt a few kids and leave them my Steam account for future reference.

Sega 3D Classics Collection: A Throwback That’s A Keeper For Nostalgic Fans

Sega 3D CC_3DS Longtime Sega fanatics have probably been wondering when the company would get to revisiting some of it’s well-aged classics outside the usual suspects and come April 26, those fans who (paradoxically) own a Nintendo 3DS will get to dive into Sega 3D Classics Collection for the more than reasonable price of $29.99. The retail and eShop release will contain nine games total:

7 Classic Games:
Power Drift
Puyo Puyo 2
Fantasy Zone II W
Sonic The Hedgehog
Thunder Blade
Galaxy Force II
Altered Beast

2 Bonus Games:
Fantasy Zone II
Maze Walker

In addition, you can disguise (or try to disguise) your 3DS with a set of Sega-themed stickers that will come included with launch edition copies of the game. Or you can save that sticker sheet for future use or even slap them on all the actual Sega consoles in your collection. Of course, if you’re a collector, those stickers will stay stuck to the paper they come on, right? Yeah, I figured as much. Me, I want this for Maze Walker, Galaxy Force, the two Fantasy Zone games and Power Drift, but everything will get played to death at some point. As much hard work went into getting this set of games out, it would really be nice to see a follow up at some point just to get Space Harrier II, After Burner and a few other classics onto the 3DS in that eye-popping 3D. As usual, we shall see…

Super Fighter Team Kicks Off 2016 With New & Old Releases

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Fans of Super Fighter Team are more than likely pretty pleased and having a Happy New Year plying some nostalgic fun as the two Mega Drive/Genesis titles Magic Girl and Cascade announced early in 2015 have finally shipped out to buyers and the return of Beggar Prince, Legend of Wukong and Star Odyssey means those most asked for titles will finally be re(or re-re)-released at some point this year.

As usual, HUGE Props to Super Fighter Team head honcho Brandon Cobb for fighting the good fight and getting these games out his way in this day and age of plenty of beauty pack reissues of the not so legal sort getting snapped up by collectors in record time. SFT’s small but solid library of console titles make for perfect entry level collector purchases as well as great gifts for your favorite classic gamer.

RPG Trifecta Pack 

If your budget is lower but you still want to surprise someone (or give yourself a gift), you can drop $20 on the cool RPG Trifecta Pack and get three of those games digitally for your PC and save a chunk of cash. Isn’t freedom a wonderful thing? Yeah, I thought so.

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax! – An October (Non) Surprise From Sega


 

You don’t have to be a fan of the Dengeki Bunko light novels or any of the anime associated with them to appreciate Sega’s upcoming PS3 and Vita exclusive Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax!, headed your way on October 6. Developers Ecole Software and French Bread have cooked up a great looking, fast paced 2D fighter with nice 3D backdrops and some wild “Climax Moves” that can decimate your opponents when pulled off.

The game’s roster includes characters from the following DB light novel series:

A Certain Magical Index
Accel World
Black Bullet
DURARARA!!
Oreimo
Ro-Kyu-Bu!
Shakugan no Shana
STRIKE THE BLOOD
Sword Art Online
The Irregular at Magic High School
Toradora!

Plus assist characters from these DB series:

Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan
Boogiepop and Others
Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl
Golden Time
Kino’s Travels
Spice and Wolf
The Devil is a Part-Timer!
The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

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The game will be available at retail in a limited launch edition that comes packed with a CD soundtrack. As far as I can tell, digital copies of the game won’t net players that freebie. So you may want to pre-order this one or take a chance that your local game shop has ordered a few extra copies so you don’t miss out on that bonus.

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While I’m not the best fighting game player out there (understatement of the decade, folks), I do appreciate awesome art and animation when and wherever I see it. So this one on the list to check out in full review form.

Yakuza 5 Update: Still Waiting For A Date, Discount For The Early Birds

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Y5_wallpaper_01_1920x10801If you got rid of your PS3 when you got your PS4, you may want it back for at least one more exclusive of note. General Director Toshihiro Nagoshi and Producer Masayoshi Yokoyama are back with two more in-depth “making of” videos for Sega’s upcoming western release of Yakuza 5. Despite its age (the Japanese version shipped back in 2012), the game looks quite spectacular on the aging PS3 hardware and is finally coming to North America later this year as a digital only PSN release.

While the game may be well-aged to some out there, according to the press release it’s looking to be the most feature-packed English version of any in the series:

Yakuza 5 features more mini-games than previous titles, a modified battle system as well as enhanced customizations and interactions in the signature hostess bars of the franchise. In addition to these features, Yakuza 5 also introduces “Another Drama” which is a series of side stories that focus on each protagonist in-depth and are separate from the main story of the game.

 

In addition, Sega is making a tempting offer to those who pre-order the game with a 15% discount off the $39.99 price plus the free Yakuza 5 XMB theme below:

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You’d think Nagoshi and Yokoyama should be singing “We Built This City” at this point, but instead they just happily chat more about the game and what players can expect:

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It’s great to see Sega keeping the Yakuza flame going despite the lengthy wait between releases. Hopefully fans will be on board with the digital-only version and snap it up once it’s released.

3D Gunstar Heroes Out Now on Nintendo 3DS: “Blast Processing,” Indeed

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3D Gunstar Heroes logoFor those of you who’ve never played it, Gunstar Heroes is quite simply one of the best 16-bit games ever made, period. Japanese developer Treasure made itself a household name among gamers with this 1993 Sega Mega Drive/Genesis release that seemed to use every bit of processing power the console had and then some.

While the game has popped up in a few newer console ports over time, it seems that the 3DS just may have the “definitive” version thanks to Sega’s remaster team, M2. Here’s a fun extra credit read from the Sega Blog on how tricky it was to get the game up and running on the handheld in stereoscopic 3D. The plot is nuts if you try to make total sense of it, but you won’t be playing this for the story. It’s a total run ‘n gun with killer boss fights, a “board game” level that’s worth an entire game in itself under the right developer, and a great soundtrack that drives the action from beginning to end.

Anyway, if you have a 3DS, BUY THIS GAME. If you’re thinking about getting a 3DS, see that last sentence. Hopefully Sega has plans to get this on the Wii U as well as an HD version at some point as it’s a total no-brainer that this is a game that really benefits from a larger screen. We’ll see if that ever happens (it would be nice, Sega), but for now, this one’s a must-buy that still packs quite a few wallops.

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