Review: Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon (PS4)

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NightsofAzure2_KeyArt (Custom)Ah, Gust… I love you most of the time, but your quirky way of making games can get to be trying. While I missed the first Nights of Azure (I finally got my paws on a copy that’s in transit), Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon comes off as an intriguing standalone sequel that’s got some fine points but is quite flawed when it comes to gameplay elements.

It’s certainly got plenty of fan service if you like your cast of all-female characters doing their Action/RPG thing wearing revealing outfits of questionable levels of protection against injury. However, main character Aluche comes off as a mostly clueless to attraction cypher with a curvy figure (like almost every other character in the game). But between the strict timed gameplay that limits the action, somewhat pedestrian plot and AI that could be better, this one’s hard to love although it has its moments.

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Attack on Titan & Arslan: The Warriors of Legend: Omega Force Still Has Some Chops


 

I’ve been a fan of Omega Force’s work since Dynasty Warriors and Destrega on the original PlayStation shook up the fighting game genre. Of course, like many fans, Dynasty Warriors 2 was the game that made me really fall for the developer. While that series has seen quite a few entries and spin-offs into other series, it’s been their work on licensed and original games using that familiar engine that have really been the ones to watch. Between the Dynasty Warriors Gundam games, Fist of the North Star, Hyrule Warriors and now the one-two punch coming to consoles soon in the form of Attack on Titan and Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, it’s been fun to see Omega Force take on popular anime and game characters as they bring their Musou engine into new territory.


 

It’s too bad a great little sleeper like Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll on the PS3 never got the attention it deserved. That game is worth tracking down thanks to it being more of an action/RPG than a straight up Dynasty Warriors clone. A bit tougher to track down but worth it Warriors: Legends of Troy. While it’s not an Omega Force game (Koei Canada did the programming job), it takes elements of the Musou games, adds some M-rated gore (in a nod to Zach Snyder’s version of 300) and makes for a nice and lengthy diversion once you’re hooked in. Another sleeper (but one that hasn’t been forgotten) is Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War, which earlier this year got a PS4 and Xbox One update/sequel called Bladestorm: Nightmare.

Both Attack on Titan and Arslan: The Warriors of Legend are coming to PS4, PS3,and PlayStation Vita with North American release dates for AoT to be announced as they get closer to completion. Arslan lands in Japan October 1st for PS3 and PS4, and it seems that Europe and North America will get these two plus an Xbox One version at some point.

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess: The Ladies Who Launch, They Do So In Style


 

Choosing “Sadistic Torment, Elaborate Death, or Humiliating Demise” as a way to go may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But meet up with the deadly Laegrinna, and you’ve got no choice that to eat up what’s served your way. Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess is out NOW for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita and it’s also gotten added to that long, long (LONG) list of games I need to play at some point. I missed out on Deception IV entirely last year, But as this new installment contains not only that game’s content, but a (not so) nice new character’s story included that adds to the fun at no additional cost. Well, perhaps your LIFE (cue dramatic music). Given the Deception series’ reliance on a mixture of semi-serious dark thematic elements, goofy slapstick violence with a bit of blood spilled and plenty of replay value, this one looks like a sleeper that will keep you up all night.

Just keep your sweaty hands where Laegrinna and new character Velguirie can see them. You’re already doomed to suffer in pain forever once they trap you, so there’s no need to add a big tip to your running tab.

Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess : “It’s A Trap!” You’ll Fall For Over And Over

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Okay, I’ll admit to being a bit behind in my beating quota. In other words, I still have yet to play Deception IV: Blood Ties on anything it’s been released on. As time, tide and games wait for no man, Tecmo Koei has made it known that there’s a follow-up coming in July for the PS3, PS4 and Vita called Deception IV: The Nightmare Princess. Fans of this long-running series which began on the original Playstation should be dancing around for joy while trying to avoid assorted traps and hazards in their own environments. For the uninitiated, here’s a live-action trailer with a tiny bit of the sinister yet intentionally silly gameplay at the end:


 

Now if only actual burglar alarms worked this efficiently. Although I’d bet the setup and resetting costs would be a wee bit costly.

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Hyrule Warriors: Nintendo Knows They’re Getting Some of Us To Spend More Money On This One…

Hyrule Warriors CoverWith just over a week to go before Hyrule Warriors storms store shelves, here’s a look at the TV commercial and uh-oh, trailers for DLC outfits. Yes indeed, the DLC for this game will grab you by the nostalgic hairs and yank hard on your wallet. Granted, I’d bet just about anyone who buys the game is buying at least ONE of these outfits or not buying them at all, but jamming up the eShop downloading them for free if that’s what they go for.

Oh, wait… they’re PRE-ORDER outfits and retailer specific, at that. Blech. Come on, Nintendo! Just let EVERYONE have what they want if they want it, as you KNOW the completion freaks out there who want everything but can only buy ONE copy of the game will be giving you grief deluxe. Oh well… perhaps these are timed DLC items and we’ll ALL be able to buy what we want directly from Nintendo at some point. One can only hope…

Okay, I was jesting a tiny bit. Nintendo IS smarter than the average internet troll who only skims the video before posting. They will indeed release ALL the DLC at some point via the eShop, so you don’t have to fret about missing out on anything. Like the company would pass up the chance to make some ABSOLUTE loot on those costumes in a few ways? Ha! Yeah, they’re on top of this one (for once). Yes, that’s tough love from me, ALWAYS for Nintendo!

Hyrule Warriors is out for the Wii U on September 26, 2014. Yes, it’s a must-buy game, folks.

Want More Hyrule Warriors? How About An Opening Movie Plus Gameplay (Some Spoilers Included!)?

I’m pretty much going to stop following all these Hyrule Warriors videos because I don’t want to spoil the game any more than it’s been spoiled already (although I know I don’t know anything more about the story than I need to at this point, and that’s a good thing). But what the heck, here’s the opening (above), a whopping 85 minutes of gameplay from the great German site Nintendomination (thanks!) and what the heck, another Nintendo of America character trailer below:

After this, I’m sticking my head in the sand and waiting for the US release. I think Nintendo has a huge hit on their hands that may not be a system seller out of the gate, but WILL get into the hands of a great deal of the current user base still high on Mario Kart 8 fumes or looking for the next surefire hit from the company. This one’s got pure franchise potential stamped all over it in big gold letters and I’m so glad I’ve been supporting the system since day one…

Hyrule Warriors Direct: It Would Seem That The Missing Link Is MORE Action…

 

Hyrule Warriors may not have BUY ME stamped on it in shiny gold letters, but based on the response to the game so far in video form, I’d say Nintendo has a hit that’s not just for Nintendo fans only. The long-running Dynasty Warriors franchise is indeed “niche”, yet it has mass appeal to action game fans who may or may not be into The Legend of Zelda games. As you can see in this Direct presentation, the gameplay is quite similar to the Dynasty Warriors games down to the packs of enemies, powerful attacks, large battle maps and multiple objectives that need to be tackled as they pop up. But seeing it all with familiar faces from the LoZ series makes me grin a lot and my wallet hurt even more.

Oh yeah, and Gannon(dorf*) pops up as a playable character (oh, this should be interesting, folks):


 

As I’ve said previously… SOLD. Hell, this was sold from the first moment I heard it was being made. Anyway, I’m betting Nintendo gets a nice surprise once this ships and they see it sell faster than even they anticipated. If it does, Team Ninja and Omega Force will have to probably hire a semi-permanent HW team for the inevitable sequel and perhaps even consider a 3DS version that’s some sort of side story, as that handheld certainly isn’t outputting HD visuals anytime soon.

*I tend to call Gannondof “gannon” as that’s the name I first encountered him under and “dorf” makes me think of the always hilarious Tim Conway because I’m as old as the hills and not one of you under a certain age will get that reference at all unless I clue you all in. Get it? Got it? Good. Now you can call him Gannon as well…

Hyrule Warriors: One Of Nintendo’s Not So Secret Weapons This Year…

I’ll admit to grinning a wee bit too much when I heard about Hyrule Warriors, the latest mash-up of Koei’s fan favorite Dynasty Warriors series with an even more popular Zelda franchise and based on these videos, I’m betting Nintendo sees this one exceed their expectations. The pick up and play simplicity, hefty amount of playable characters and longevity of the DW series crossed with the massive appeal of the Legend of Zelda universe is pretty much a license to print money and I’m surprised that this hasn’t been done previously. Then again, the Wii U absolutely NEEDS an unbroken string of flat out hits and surprising sleepers in order to survive and it sure looks as if Nintendo is finally getting more consistent in terms of delivering better games for the console.

If this game is anything like the DW series (and it sure likes it’s going to be), there’s NO way anyone will blow through ALL the content on a rainy weekend. Sure, you MAY complete the game with one character by playing through for a few straight hours or breaking up gameplay sessions over that weekend, but you won’t have seen everything the game has to offer at all. It generally takes me a few months of playing to get as much out of a DW game and even then, I’m back for more if it’s a slow week and I have some free time… Continue reading

Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unknown Star Trailer: Some Would Say It’s Music of the Stares…

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Ar nosurge home_bgNot a true “sequel” to the fan-favorite Ar Tonelico games on the PlayStation 2, Tecmo Koei’s upcoming Ar nosurge: Ode to an Unknown Star uses enough elements from those games and is set in the same universe, allowing fans of those games to dive right on in with relative ease. Interestingly enough, Ar nosurge is actually the sequel to a PlayStation Vita game never released outside Asia called Ciel nosurge, an episodic adventure/sim that had its first chapter released on a game card, another other nine DLC chapters since and twelve planned total chapters when all is said and done later this year.

Of course, the chances of Ciel nosurge coming out here are about zero, but big thanks go out to Tecmo Koei for getting Gust’s latest PS3 game out and localized relatively quickly. The Japanese version arrived in March there and North America and Europe will be getting English versions in September. As you can see on the official site, the “seven volumes” of screen shots as well as the the character and background art look quite lovely indeed. Granted, the game won’t be for all tastes what with its semi-dressed sort of machine-like ladies and certain sequences that will be easily misunderstood by those who judge content solely by game screens and not actually playing the game. Nonetheless, it’s great to see yet another JRPG that blends 2D and 3D art styles so well coming for Sony’s still strong “old” console. This one’s added to my “Shut Up & Play It!” list…

Hyrule Warriors Trailers: Four Times The “You Need To Buy This Game!” Courtesy of Nintendo…

screenshot0As a longtime fan of the Dynasty Warriors franchise and its odd and always interesting offshoots, Hyrule Warriors is going to not only be a must buy game for me, I predict it may move a few Wii U’s if it’s got the same sort of longevity the other games based on the Musou engine have. One thing the DW franchise has done perfectly over the years is give players way too many characters and so much action that every entry is an exercise in joyous overkill some love. Granted, the repetition tends to set in after a while and yes, can get to be tedious is you’re sucked in for too many hours. On the other hand, the land of Hyrule in the hands of veteran developers Omega Force and Team Ninja will no doubt make for such a brilliant teaming that this one will be nearly impossible to dislike.

 
On the other hand, I may have a slight gripe with the game if it’s just a series of battles and very little plot. I’m sure we’ll get cut scenes and a general plot working away here, but I’m hoping for something that does a good job of showing why Princess Zelda finally gets to kick a bunch of butt after all these years of needing Link to get her out of harm’s way. Actually, I hope that the game does well so we can see some sort of follow up that’s less a Dynasty Warriors re-skin, but something more akin to the highly underrated PS3 exclusive Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll. Take that game, add the ability for local co-op play (and perhaps online if the frame rate can be kept stable) and you have an even more excellent game that bridges a few genres and franchises… Continue reading