VGA 101: If Monday’s Still Kicking You Around, It Could Be Worse…

2014-02-10-144219
You could be some poor guard in or under Garuda Compound in Valhalla Knights 3. These poor saps never get a break at all, as you can see in these screens. Hell, no matter what day of the week it is, they’re going down hard and fast if your party is properly leveled and you’re in no mood to be trifled with.

2014-02-10-144226 2014-02-10-144231 2014-02-10-144239 2014-02-10-144244 2014-02-10-144250 2014-02-10-144259 2014-02-10-144303 2014-02-10-144313 2014-02-10-144316

Ouch. But wait, there’s more… Continue reading

More Sage Advice From Valhalla Knights 3? Okay, Sure…

2014-01-22-133054Although I’ve completed Valhalla Knights 3 a little while back, I ended up snapping a bunch of screenshots for no other reason that I can use them for random posts like this. Anyway, guys (and some of you ladies out there), here’s more of Tina laying it down for you. She sounds as if she’s got a good head on her shoulders, right? Then again, I guess you can trust a half-dressed weapon shop clerk only so much…

2014-01-22-133106 2014-01-22-133111 2014-01-22-133118 2014-01-22-133123

 

 

Unconventional Games of the Year Choice #3 – 6: The Vita Is Full of Life After All.

Some people think the PlayStation Vita is dead in the water. I’m not one of those people for a few darn good reasons, number one being I actually OWN one and aren’t some overpaid analyst or internet troll with a grudge. Although the few titles listed below are only a tiny slice of what I played during this year, they’re all highly recommended because they managed to pack a load of fun into that system while being completely different game experiences.

 
Earth Defense Force 2017 Portable was the first “big” game of 2013 for me and Japanese developer Sandlot didn’t disappoint in bringing an enhanced “port” of their former Xbox 360 exclusive to Sony’s handheld in fine form indeed. You’re not buying an EDF game for the best visuals nor a deep and engaging story at all, folks. But if you’re a fan of 1950’s giant insect and Japanese sci-fi flicks, the mash-up here is relentless and supremely entertaining. That and the game can take weeks or months to complete if you decide to go it solo like a true EDF maniac and play through all the different difficulty levels while trying to get every single weapon and trophy you can. Toss in Pale Wing from EDF2 (she changes the gameplay up drastically and is a blast to play around with) and the ability to play with like-minded EDF mates in co-op (which makes the tougher difficulty levels much more bearable if you’re fighting for all the Trophies) and you get a fun little evergreen that’s addictive and makes you want more. Thankfully, Sandlot’s newest EDF game is headed to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in February here in North America and it’s packed full of all-new content and even tougher enemies to defeat.

 
If you like things grimmer yet still action-heavy, Soul Sacrifice is not only right up your alley, it’s calling out to you and drifting onto your Vita before you even realize it. Given that Sony very wisely released a lengthy demo that allows your save file to be transferred into the full version, this ends up as one of those games where you’ll try before buying and end up happier because of it. Between the dark, disturbing storyline and the combat-packed gameplay where dispatching or saving enemy souls changes up the game considerably, there’s a solid sense of progress felt as you clear each chapter and gain some formidable powers. While you can (and should) clear the game solo, a solid co-op mode insures this one will be played about as much or more with a few friends. There’s already a sequel coming to Japan and it’s bound to land here as well (most likely sometime in 2014), but it would be even better to have this as a PS4 (and PS3) game for those of us who like our games on larger screens…

 
Tearaway caught me way off guard because I hadn’t been following it at all until I saw screens and a fantastic gamplay movie sometime after E3. Media Molecule’s quirky art style gets a flat paper makeover and as a Vita exclusive, the use of both touch screens is superb and yes, better implemented than anything on the 3DS as far as input goes (Although you DO need to watch your fingers when that bottom screen poking action is in play). The game is part adventure, part platformer, and all extremely wonderful to sit down with for a spell. Watching someone watch someone play this game is also great, as non-gamers tend to be more amazed at what we take for granted and yep, they’ll want to try this one out after about a minute or two of watching you getting tap-happy. Between the main game and the incredible chunk of freedom you have in customization, this in one of those titles you’ll probably go back to many times after you’ve completed it…

 
I really wanted to play Ruin ever since I saw the demo at a Sony press event waaaaay back before the Vita launched, but it seems that the cross-platform PS3/Vita action RPG is either dead in the water or still in development hell. It’s too bad about that game, but Doki Doki Universe, while not a substitute at all, manages to be the first Vita/PS3/PS4 cross platform experience available and it’s a non-stop charmingly goofy one at that. You’re a robot that was abandoned on a tiny asteroid with a red balloon and after being picked up by a UFO, it’s up to you to explore a bunch of different worlds in order to discover what humanity means as you help a bunch of folks with assorted problems. It’s basically Toe Jam & Earl as a side-scroller (one of the guys who created that Sega Genesis classic worked on this new one), a ton of stuff to collect and optional facebook mail integration that’s great for those of you social butterflies that LOVE to share all sorts of stuff. The whimsical art style recalls a child’s drawings come to life and won’t make you think of the power of any system running it at all. Nevertheless, the game hooks you in from the beginning and keeps you playing perhaps a bit longer than you thought you would (which is always a good thing)…

Honorable Mentions (and then some!): Killzone: Mercenary, Ys: Memories of Celceta, Valhalla Knights 3, Terraria, The Pinball Arcade.

Review: Valhalla Knights 3

VK3_coverPlatform: PlayStation Vita

Developer: K2

Publisher: Xseed Games/Marvelous AQL

# of Players: 1 – 7

ESRB Rating: M (Mature)

Official Site

Score: B- (75%)

2013-10-26-005227For some people, anything resembling sexual behavior in a video game seems to set them off ranting about things they don’t want to do (play the game in public or show it off to friends and family) or didn’t see at all thanks to overreacting and imposing arbitrary rules of the real world where it never needs to be. All I’ll say is this: if you can watch this music video without curling up into a ball in a corner and whining about it being too racy or sexist or prurient, you’re probably mature enough to play (and even enjoy) Valhalla Knights 3.

K2’s new Vita exclusive may not be the best looking game on Sony’s handheld and what’s here often feels a wee bit unfinished, needing actual interactivity in the environments in the form of destructible objects and structures that could be actually entered in some outdoor maps. While there are some amusing and dramatic moments to be found, the main plot could have also used a bit more spice, as it offers up some interesting ideas that don’t mature past a certain point…
Continue reading

Valhalla Knights 3 Gets MORE New DLC. Game Definitely NOT Over!

VK3LCDLCWait, what? OK, I missed last week’s update thanks to me being buried in too many other games and other stuff, but it’s all good. So far I’m spending too much time playing this game and it seems Xseed Games NEVER wants me to stop. New content packs include last week’s “Good Cat Food” and “Foreigners No. 1” DLC that add some figurative (or is it literal) walking around money (every step gains gold!) and a new class to unlock and THIS week’s “Lady Clerks Set” and “Foreigners No. 2” that add a few new girls to the shops and another new class to learn once you beat the tough boss it gives you in the quest you’ll find at one of the guilds.

Xseed has more to come next week and most likely for the next few weeks, all of which are great for this action/RPG that’s much better than the reviews are saying. I’ve one of my own reviews to write (it’s about half done) that should help anyone on the fence decide if this one’s worth their gaming dollar (it is, but it’s not perfect and NOT for the kiddies). Alright, let me shut up here and get back to the game as once again… thing are getting innnnteresting in the story. Of course, there’s that VK3 Gold Edition Japan is getting that adds a lot of improvements and such that I hope to heck we see here at some point… but I’ll let Xseed take care of that when they need to and not say another peep until it’s a confirmed release here in the U.S. of A….

Your Life Lesson for the Day, Courtesy Valhalla Knights 3…

2013-11-10-163038For a game very unfairly labeled “misogynist” and a few other choice negative terms by some skittish reviewers who clearly don’t know the meaning of some of the big words they use, Valhalla Knights 3 sure has a few interesting side-quests and resolutions. Sure, the skimpy outfits and NSFW “Sexytime” mini-game with certain ladies in the game are there to please the more prurient otaku with itchy fingers and the old-school RPG level grinding isn’t for every taste. But dang it if Producer Yoshifumi Hashimoto and his team at K2 didn’t whip in a few oddball surprises that prove they’re not the sexist neanderthals some “journalists” think they are for making this game.

2013-11-10-163043 2013-11-10-163047 2013-11-10-163056 2013-11-10-163105 2013-11-10-163114 2013-11-10-163123

Yeah, I’m still working on my review. I have a load of notes here and I think it’s going to be longer than I was initially thinking because warts and all, this one’s nowhere near as awful as some are saying. The Valhalla Knights series have never been known for the depth of its plots or stellar storytelling and VK3 continues that trend outside of some fun vignettes such as this one that aren’t tied to the main quest. That said, the main plot in the game does have its moments, but I’ll discuss some of those in my review…

2013-11-10-163129 2013-11-10-163138 2013-11-10-163148 2013-11-10-163155 2013-11-10-163200 2013-11-10-163207

Granted, I’ll admit right now that the game is NOT for all tastes and I can see some taking offense at a few of the more salacious elements. Of course, it’s a free country, so it seems that a bunch of people who probably shouldn’t be playing this are doing so with varying degrees of disgust or shame because they can’t handle the content. It seems that the completely humorless, kids who convinced their parents or some other adult to buy this for them and are turned off by the lewd elements (hey, it IS a MATURE rated game, you little dummies!), or those expecting a pure porn experience (it’s most assuredly NOT that at all) are getting slapped in the head with confusion on a few fronts (as always when it comes to games that toss even the mildest forms of sexual themes into the mix).

2013-11-10-163216 2013-11-10-163227 2013-11-10-163236 2013-11-10-163241 2013-11-10-163248 2013-11-10-163253 2013-11-10-163301 2013-11-10-163308 2013-11-10-163317

2013-11-10-163324

Short Takes: What You Should Be Playing This Week (Randomly, of Course)

Skylanders SWAP Force Wii USkylanders SWAP Force: HD quality visuals, jumping and all new customizable figures all for the first time on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U make this latest entry in Activision’s supremely successful yearly cash cow a huge must. Wii and 3DS owners don’t get HD graphics (obviously), but the core game is the same deal. In SWAP Force, the gameplay is even more addictive than ever (and yes, some of you adults will be sneaking in time when the kids are asleep or at school), the story longer and more interesting (in part thanks to the enthusiastic voice acting all around) and overall, this makes for both a great entry into the series as well as the latest installment that will have your wallet making faces at you whenever you yank out that cash or card to buy more figures. $74.99, pretty much anywhere that sells video games.

VK3_coverValhalla Knights 3: This new PlayStation Vita exclusive from Xseed Games looks to bring Japanese developer K2’s niche grind-heavy RPG series to the masses with the best looking (and possibly, playing) installment to date. The Vita seems to be the prefect platform for this combat-heavy game that now includes an optional segment that features a bit of NSFW visits to a sort of love hotel where players can er, “score” additional playable characters and gear if they partake in a series of racy mini-games. Given that the other entries in the series have been given Teen ratings, that M VK3 is sporting must mean you’ll want to keep this away from the kiddies. That’s no problem here, as any kid that comes near my Vita is pulling back a stump… with a lollipop stuck in it (hey, I’m NICE mean old guy)… $39.99 (retail and digital).

F1_2013_tinyF1 2013: Longtime fans of the actual motorsport have been a bit disgruntled these past few seasons thanks to the juggernaut crushing all under his speedy wheels that is three-time champ Sebastian Vettel. However, Codemasters is giving them a chance to beat the man at his own game, provided you’re sitting at home on your couch or in front of a high-end gaming PC setup. This year’s installment is even more gorgeous than ever, has some solid improvements (you can now save between events!) and that adjustable difficulty means even total newbies can actually make it around the track with some effort. While it’s definitely NOT for the NASCAR crowd of those expecting power-up and arcade-style gameplay, it does a decent enough job at breaking down the F1 experience that the Codies really don’t need to do more next year. Well, except add MORE Classic cars and courses, as the small amount this year is VERY welcome, but made me want to see what they could do with a few dozen more rides from the 70’s to 90’s (or perhaps earlier). $59.99,

The Wolf Among Us 3The Wolf Among Us: I’ve not read any of the Vertigo comics this first installment is based on, so it’s pretty obvious that my excitement about this game is lower than those who have. On the other hand, given that it’s coming from Telltale Games and is modeled on the success of the company’s hugely successful multi-platform hit The Walking Dead, this one’s a no-brainer as far as the usual “should I play this?” stuff some of you go through. Given that this chapter is a slower-paced mystery with gameplay that’s heavily Quick Time Event focused and what looks to be a growing cast of really interesting fairytale characters updated and placed in an alternate New York City setting, it’s certainly right up my adventure alley and Telltale is actually offering up a really cool deal for that $24.99 (PC or Mac) price tag. Once all the chapters are complete, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will hopefully get a retail version as well (like The Walking Dead did), but we’ll have to see if Wii U and Vita owners get as lucky…

Valhalla Knights, Free Ahead of Vallhalla Knights 3? THANKS, Xseed Games!

VK_FREEWell, now… this is really cool news on an otherwise crappy shutdown filled day. TO celebrate the October 15 launch of Valhalla Knights 3, Xseed Games is giving fans a REAL treat in the form of a 100% FREE download of the first game in the series. Valhalla Knights is now available on PSN for nothing at all until October 21, 2013. In other words, if you’ve a PSP or Vita handy (it’ll work on either handheld) and a PlayStation Network account you can get downloading NOW and check out where it all began.And nope, you DON’T need a PlayStation Plus account to take advantage of this awesome freebie!

I’ve already played this one a few years ago, but it was the UK version and those saves aren’t compatible with the North American version. That comes into play here as I recently scored a bunch of used Memory Stick Duo cards and one card had a VK save file I couldn’t access. Now I can hop into those old saves and see if the former owner had a decent party setup (before overwriting them with my own saves, of course)…

Continue reading

Valhalla Knights 3 Update: Story And Races, To the Finish!

VK3_Logo_BLK

 

Valhalla Knights 3 CoverShort and sweet, this new Valhalla Knights 3 trailer shows off a bit of story introduction that should keep fans (and Vita owners looking for a fun action/RPG) hopping with anticipation for the game’s October release. Not so short (but a necessary read) are the character class descriptions for this one. I still need to pick up VK: Battle Stance on the PSP at some point, but I happen to like this quirky series as it’s gone through a few hoops and changes since the first installment. Anyway, head on below the jump for more info of all those playable races and carve out some free time this October…

Continue reading

E3 2013: Oh, Valhalla Knights 3… What Are We Going to Do With You?


 

Hoo boy. Sometimes, I’ll see an article that criticizes certain types of genres of Japanese games for being too sexist or exploitative or out of touch with or whatever and I usually chuckle because often the game or games in question have zero chance of arriving here because of that content. Of course, of the games that do make it over with saucy scenes or imagery that may offend, some of the content is altered or snipped out completely so as to appeal to more puritanical American tastes. Granted, this sort of censorship offends fans of imports arriving unsullied and over time, some game companies has slowly allowed much of the silliness to slip in in various states. Well, Yakuza 4 and its in-context Geisha club antics and the Ar tonelico series’ eyebrow-raising “Dive Station” mind dating elements (trust me, it’s weirder than it sounds) have nothing (and I mean no-thing) on what’s going on in Xseed Games’ upcoming Vita exclusive, Valhalla Knights 3.

That trailer above doesn’t show anything outrageous – it’s below the jump, you pervs (and a link at that!)…
Continue reading