Xseed’s August One-Two Punch: Way of the Samurai 4 and Gungrave: Overdose Hit PSN

 

Normally, I’d suggest running the other way at paying $40 for a game that doesn’t come in a case with a manual, but I’ll make an exception for something this wacky, challenging  and fun.  Especially as it’s supporting the fine folk at Xseed Games who seem to be doing quite well with their digital releases these days. Acquire’s open world sword-swinging samurai series has gotten quirkier and more intriguing with each new installment, so if you’re into the Yakuza games and their weird (and more modern) riff on all things Japanese, you’ll like what here quite a lot.  WoTS 4 has ten endings, loads of stuff to do in your travels and too much Japanese humor on display that you’ll have to play through a few times just to confirm that the game was that nuts. Check out the full features list on the PlayStation Blog post or at the game’s official site

Gungrave: Overdose is also super insane and while shorter and cheaper at $9.99, the more action-packed run ‘n gun gampelay found in this PlayStation 2 sleeper (now part of the PlayStation 2 Classics lineup)  from 2004 (originally published by Mastiff Games in North America) might appeal to those who aren’t quite fans of wandering samurai in feudal Japan as it moves kicking and screaming into the modern era. Granted, you may not be into anime or manga either, but I say take a chance on one or both titles if you haven’t played them before. Of course, if you’re into offbeat Japanese games, haven’t played either of these and want to support Xseed, well… here you go. Just poke around the PSN store and you’ll find these with ease.

Incoming RPG! Unchained Blades: Xseed’s All-Star Manga/Anime Artist Dungeon Crawler

 

As a big fan of all things dungeon crawler, I’ll have to pick this one up soon. I’ve been a bit occupied with a few other games and projects, so yes, I’m a wee but behind on newer reviews. Anyway, I’m happy about Unchained Blades for the mix of famous anime/manga artists for the character design, the old school grind-fest gameplay (a la Wizardry) and the fact that the game is PSP and Vita compatible. Now I’ll have to decide which portable to play it on and when to go snap this up. It’ll most likely be downloaded at a Starbucks nearby, as I can’t access my PSN account on my terrible home connection. This digital-only stuff is making me nuts sometimes… Ah, well.

Xseed Games Has Been Busy, As You Can See Here…

In case you’ve missed them, here are some rather nice trailers for four new or incoming titles from the publisher. First up is Mistwalker’s epic JRPG, The Last Story, which is looking to be one of the last, great Wii RPGs (and another good reason to own the console). Given that it’s a summer release, it looks as if I won’t be getting much son when it drops into stores.

Next up is FuRyu’s Unchained Blades, another PSN download for the PSP that JRPG fans should be thrilled about. Featuring character art from a wide range of top Japanese illustrators such as Pako (Shining Force), Toshiyuki Kubooka (Lunar), Shinichiro Otsuka (Summon Night), Kazushi Hagiwara (Bastard!!) and more. I’m thrilled about this one because it’s an old-school dungeon crawler in the Wizardry vein, which usually means plenty of great fun and challenge. There’s a 3DS version coming as well, but I’m not sure if it’s a retail package or download-only title like the PSP game.

 

Finally, two games from Nihon Falcom’s long-running Y’s series: Ys: Oath in Felghana and Ys Origin, both coming to Valve’s Steam download service with some great visual updates and running at a lovely 60 frames per second. Buy them, I say. Still, I also have to ask if Xseed can make these available as direct downloads or set them up as DRM-free on gog.com or some other site. While I do have a Steam account, I can’t use it on my terminally slow connection at all because of the update process that slows everything to a crawl. My gog.com account, on the other hand, is pretty smooth going and I haven’t had any major issues with it. of course, I’d prefer these on a UMD or even better, a Vita card as part of an Ys Collection with an art book that happens to fit inside a Vita case and perhaps a soundtrack and wallpaper on that game card, but that’s just my wishful thinking that SOME publisher would maximize that over-sized case Vita games come in.

 

OK, enough reading – go play (or pre-order) some games!