Friday, 13 December 2013

Review: Black Rock Shooter (PsP)

Today's review is a little special in a way with it being the first request for a game to be reviewed. While I had been looking into getting the game myself at some point, the request provided the added impetus to give the game a chance. My only run-in with Black Rock Shooter previously has been the anime, which I enjoyed & found to be visually striking. Let's see if the anime's sparkle has transferred to the game, or maybe the developers decided to take their own path....

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Soul Sacrifice Delta demo released in Japan today!

Soul sacrifice delta is one of my most anticipated game on the playstation vita. Soul sacrifice delta is the sequel to the dark hunting game soul sacrifice. Soul sacrifice is a hunting game where you have to hunt monsters who have been humans or animals that are consumed by their own desire. You the wizard have to destroy those corrupted creatures. Central to the combat system is the saving and sacrificing mechanics. When an enemy or ally is defeated, they collapse to the ground and you are given the choice to either save or sacrifice them. This mechanic that i described is being enhanced with the option to let fate decide. No longer are you being forced to sacrifice or save.

Gadgetgirl Kylie is on of my favourite youtubers. She does a lot of let's plays for different platforms. I mentioned her because her video will illustrate my story. This new video showcases a group of wizards trying to destroy Snow white. Soul sacrifice delta has some absolutely devastating magic attacks. Furthermore, the visuals have been enhanced in comparison with the original game.

If you love the hunting game genre and you have a vita you should download this demo. The game offers some fast paced hunting and a story with a lot of gore. Furthermore, several new monsters are based on the  Grimm's fairy tales.

The demo of Soul sacrifice has been released today! You can download the demo on the Japanese PSN store. If you have a Japanese account you download this awesome hunting game.

Video: Toukiden : The age of Demons

With Capcom refusing to release a monster hunter game on vita ( Well, not counting Monster hunter frontier). Other publishers like Tecmo Koei are trying to fill this enormous gap. Tecmo Koei has released the opening cinematic for the upcoming  Toukiden: The age of demons.

This new video showcases a group of slayers who do their utmost best to defend themself from a horde of attacking demon-like creatures. The demons vary from small and numerous to behemoth beasts. It is shown that you can cut of limbs of the monsters. I think as a fan of the hunting genre this is pretty interesting. I will look forward to see more video's from Toukiden: The age of demons

Toukiden: The age of demons will release on 14 February in Europe ( 11 February for our North American readers)

Reveal: Tales of Zestiria (Ps3)

Today, at a special event in Japan, Namco Bandai revealed an all-new game in the Tales series. It’s called Tales of Zestiria and it’s coming to PlayStation 3 in 2014. Only a Japanese release has been confirmed so far so we’re still awaiting word on if/when Tales of Zestiria will also be released in the west, but with how popular the recent Xillia release seems to have been its a good bet it will arrive at some point. 2015 maybe? Quite a wait. So what was shown?

  • New battle system? - Maybe, Maybe not. Apparently its based upon the series staple Linear Motion Battle System while having a pace similar to Graces. No specific have been given out as of yet so thats about as much information as you'll find currently.
  • Story seems to have some focus on Dragons. Are they friend or foe? How do they fit into the story/universe? etc. A lot of questions that will be "answered in time", as worded by Hideo Baba
  • Big focus on exploration. Just like in Xillia apparently.
  • The game takes place in a location called "Green Wood" Here, the Kingdom of Highland and the Empire of Lowlance seem to be disputing for control of the region.
  • 2 characters announced so far, The lead protagonist Slay (male) and a heroine knight named Alicia (female) The game has a total of four character designers on the project: Kosuke Fujishima, Mutsumi Inomata, Daigo Okumura, and Minoru Iwamoto

That's pretty much all we know so far or have been able to glean from whats been revealed. More information will no doubt be released in due time so we'll have to make do with what we have. A teaser site is also up here, although there doesn't seem to be anymore information there. A new trailer of the game will be shown during Jump Festa 2014 on December 21/22 (2013) for those eager to feast on more information for the game in question.

Here's the teaser trailer (Filmed off-screen at the event):

Guest Article: The Thing with Gran Turismo 6..

A guest article? Indeed. With the recruitment at a dead end lately, I had the idea for it when reading this very article Ive put up today. There's no doubt people out there that like to write but don't necessarily want to be affiliated with anyone, or they just have something they want to get off their chest etc With this 'Guest Article' subset of posts, those people will have a platform to gain more readers of their work.

So we launch it with a superb read (I read through the post twice myself) from Scollurio a user on PushSquare, of how most of the mainstream press just don't 'get' the games they review most of the time (Something we can relate to on that) using Gran Turismo 6 and its current state of reviews that seem all over the place as an example.
What follows is a pretty lengthy post, an analysis, kind of review about Gran Turismo 6, how it compares to Forza Motorsport, what it does for the average, advanced and even the non-racing game fan. If you've ever thought about giving it a try and are on the verge, you should read this, as I think that the commercial reviews out there are all over the place and focusing on the wrong things.
Let me start by introducing myself. 31 years of age, male gamer from Austria, I didn't have any real interest in cars until my early 20ies. That interest was sparked by playing Forza Motorsport 1 and 2 with my pal. He's a real car nut and I was open minded enough to get myself infected with the "racing game virus". Since then my expectations have been refined and altered with each and every racing game I have tried - and I have tried plenty - and I want to share that experience with you and maybe get you hooked on racing games as well.

I never played a Gran Turismo game (except a bit of 3 at a friends house) before now Gran Turismo 6, as I was playing racing games on the PC and on Xbox360. So now that I got my Ps3 I was ready to take the leap, after reading the reviews being all over the place, I took the plunge and didn't regret it. I actually read so many reviews about it it made me think: Are those people even "getting" racing games?
There are plenty of examples of things that Gran Turismo 6 doesn't do overly well and people point them out. But for me and my agenda of things I want to have in a racing game, those points are moot for the most part. Let me start by telling you straight out what Gran Turismo 6 does particulary well:

  • The physics simulation: I know people do talk a lot about it but honestly, I have never ever played a racing game where the cars have that much personality and come that close to their real life counterparts. It definitely is well beyond Forza (and Forza isn't bad to begin with) and what Gran Turismo 6 does particularly well is the simulation of mechanical grip. When you're riding your car on the edge, you can feel that the tires are planted on the road, you can feel how they did into the asphalt as your car accelerates out of a long sweeper (always assuming you're doing it right). Love it. This is the biggest plus.
  • The graphics: Obviously this looks stunning for a PS3 games, and some reviewers did complain about dips in the framerate here and there. Well, I tell you, when you're eyes are peeled on the next Apex when you're riding down the Nordschleife with about 220 km/h coming out of a corner, heading for the next, you will not notice any dip in framerate whatsoever. If you have time to notice a disparity between 30 fps and 28 fps you're playing the game wrong.
  • The track selection: Nürburgring, Brands Hatch, Bathurst, Monza, Spa, La Sarthe, Laguna Seca… and many other real life locations in many different layouts, recreated in staggering detail are already a treat but even the „original" homebrew tracks Gran Turismo 6 offers are excellent. When you're racing on the limit through many of their locations, like Rome (which feels a bit like Adelaide racetrack in Australia, which is awesome) or Matterhorn location, you'll often ride closely to the barriers, let gravity pull you out of a corner, dive into a deep dipper and think „Wow that almost went wrong - almost" - but it didn't go wrong because there is some thought behind the layout of the tracks. The selection is massive and of top quality. Some tracks in the Forza franchise for example were particularly "dull" or "clunky" to race on, meaning that it is hard to impossible to find a certain "flow" that lets you weave in and out of corners. Gran Turismo does does things way better. 
  • The tuning: While for a top racing, motorsport simulation it isn't an integral part for me to have it, its nice to have it in Gran Turismo 6 and it's well realised. You can only fit your machines with fitting upgrades within a frame of sense and realism. Unlike Forza where everyone would end up with some 4WD double turbocharged monster regardless of car brand it makes a lot more sense here. If you want to take your Miata and pump it up by 400 bhp to let it race with le mans cars, you probably do it in Forza as in Gran Turismo are some common sense limits in place. That said though the upgrades themselves, like new shocks, tires, weight reduction etc. have an immediate and realistic, believable effect on the handling of your cars. You don't need to be an engineer to reap the benefits of slightly upping the game for your cars by fitting it with advanced custom parts. 
  • Advanced simulation: This here is the absolute dealmaker for me. This game has advanced tyre-wear and fuel-consumption physics. Depending on the car and the way you drive, you push it, your tyres will deteriorate and the fuel will deplete. You will require to refit and fuel up at the pits, when the weather changes you need to fit yourself some new tyres and to make matters worse you gotta time it nicely to gain some advantage over your opponents, just like in the real world. And this is the single most biggest advantage Gran Turismo 6 has above current competing products. Of course this only means anything to you if you're into the thrill of real life racing, especially endurance races. Forza has a ridiculous way of working those things. Still present somewhat in Forza 2 it was absent or completely botched later on. Dent your aerodynamics, can't be repaired, fuel and tyres won't deteriorate at all or have little effect on your driving. No thanks. If you reach a level of personal interest in a racing game, this will provide you with countless hours of thrills. If you're just the „hit gas and drive" type of guy you might want to get another game than Gran Turismo 6 anyways (nothing wrong about that).
  • The online: This game has the online we we're screaming for in Forza 3. No stupid hoppers that put you into 2-3 lap races all over the place with strangers. No. Public custom lobbies. An awesome system lets you create and join rooms (that can even have a title, sounds simple but Forza was never able to do this) where you can set up your races, complete with practice and qualifying, hang out in a lobby, chat and talk, watch a race in progress, set up your car and tune it from within the lobby without having to leave it (big advantage if you're serious about racing online, Forza never had this) and you can even set a multiple-track race and on most tracks a change of weather, mandatory pit stops, how quickly fuel and tyres will be used up (to simulate a 24 hour endurance race in just half an hour race for example). All of this for up to 16 players and it shows you before you join such a room how good the connection is expected to be during the race. Awesome. I'm wildly in love. If you played Gran Turismo forever and things like this are not new to you, fine, but I came from Forza and can appreciate those things to the fullest. Also the community and the people you meet online seems to be far more mature than the "showing off my naked manga paintjob on my car while crashing you sideways"-crowd thats wreaking havoc on Forza's online.

Pretty long read eh? If you're still sticking around I suppose you have some general interest in Gran Turismo 6, too much time at your hands and possibly a wider interest in racing games. If you're still on the verge of diving into racing games in general - and by that I mean racing games that focus on the simulation side of things - I urge you to do it, if you have the willingness to spend some time learning how to drive correctly, you'll rap great rewards and "get" why racing games are so awesome. Even if you never were much of a car-person. Let me explain.

This is not Forza Horizon, Need for Speed, Blur, Burnout and not even Driveclub. While all those games provide you with cars, speed and some sense of quick motion from a to b and even "racing" to some extent, they do not really capture what - in my opinion - makes a racing game addicting.
By practice and paying attention to details such as apexes, "slow in/fast out" principle, understanding the difference in handling between a FWD, 4WD and RWD car and developing a feel for the minute controls you'll be able to start playing for example Gran Turismo 6 without any driving aids, without any ABS, TCS or what have you. You will start „feeling" the car as it smoothly corners a bend seemingly flying towards the next straight as you're riding that very thin line between perfect steering angle, throttle applied and entrypoint of a corner. You will feel that you just shaved off a few .10's of a second over the last lap because you're focused. You will instantly notice that your car, in a certain situation behaves differently than you'd like to behave it, you'll put a stiffer suspension into the car, tweak it a bit and you'll be able to tackle that particular corner with higher speeds with less braking required, enhancing your time. This is instant gratification. While all other racers that focus on the fun and arcadey side are well and good and I play them as well occasionally (big Blur fan here) you're driving "messy" in them. More paying attention about bumping, roughing, shooting your opponent than really "feeling the track". I know this might sound a bit swollen and inflated to most of you, but it can be compared to a perfect run in a Mario game, where every jump hits its mark, it can be compared to that "god"-feeling you get after playing a first person shooter to a point where you're really good, you know the map, you know where to expect a hiding enemy and this gives you just that little edge, you're on your trigger a fraction of a second earlier, you have your target in sight just that little bit quicker thus you dominate. This is the thrill of racing games right there. They take time to be learned, they take time to be appreciated and thus arguments I've read like "Gran Turismo 6 has a crap damage model that's why it sucks and I won't play it" are moot. You're not going to want to crash and while it would be nice seeing things fly around, it won't add too much to your experience, or that certain kind of experience that makes a racing game's magic do its tricks. Think Need for Speed and you need flying parts and gross damage, when I think about racing I think about fuel consumption, camber and tyre deformation, hitting a blind apex and braking zones.

If you have only the slightest interest in cars or motorsport and want to "up your game" beyond the quick thrills of Need for Speed, give Gran Turismo 6 a chance. Yes, some cars don't sound their best (even though most of the 500 premiums I've heard so far do) and yes there are things that could be better, like in any game nowadays. But by all means don't let yourself loads of fun, probably a whole new world of videogames and the delicate thrills of smooth racing be spoiled by a few biased reviews or reviews that focus on the wrong parts. While all still opinion, I do feel and believe that Gran Turismo 6 is a far better "motorsport simulation" than Forza, it all of course depends on the experience you are expecting and want to have. But for me, after years of Forza, Gran Turismo took the crown.

Now the only thing left to do is wait and see how Gran Turismo 7 will evolve on PS4 and how Project Cars is going to shape up.

Oh by the way, one more thing. IF you are into racing games, if you're at a point where you're willing to spend some money to further enhance your gameplay experience, then by all means, get a proper force feedback racing wheel. I play Gran Turismo 6 with my G27 and it's an absolute game changer compared to the controller. It's a whole different beast. It's fabulous and also compared to iRacing, GTR, RaceOn, Forza and Toca Racedriver Gran Turismo 6 has by far the best, easiest to „read" (with your body) force feedback sensation of them all. Im stunned and right now, Im going back riding my SLS around the Nordschleife a bit more!

PS: If you wanna race, add me on PSN: Scollurio.
Happy racing. If you have any more questions about Gran Turismo 6, feel free to ask! Thanks for reading.

Author: Scollurio
Original Post:  The Thing with Gran Turismo 6, and racing games

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Info: The Witch and the Hundred Knight

Disgaea developer Nippon Ichi is bringing its action-RPG creation, The Witch and the Hundred Knight, to Europe on 21st March and is to be published NIS America. Those in the US will receive it a few days later on 25th March. The game is set deep within a forest, where there lives two witches: the beautiful marsh witch and the ugly forest witch. The two are engaged in a deadly war for supremacy. One day though, the beautiful marsh witch encounters the legendary "hundred knights", whom she then used magic to summon into battle, in hope of gaining the upper hand against her rival. The game is played from a top-down perspective and battles will be fought in hack-and-slash style. The player will eventually face off against giant bosses (as is the norm), and will make use of a variety of special attacks, some which are associated with particular knights. Already available in Japan, Judging from the trailer below its looking like a great break from the norm of SRPG's for Nippon Ichi.

Here's the latest Japanese trailer:

and a few screenshots:

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Soul sacrifice Delta releases in Japan this march

Soul sacrifice Delta is a sequel to the game Soul sacrifice. In Soul sacrifice you have to fight monsters who once where humans/animals that are corrupted by their own desire. You have certain spells to defeat those monsters. I have enjoyed the dark story and the multiplayer which is something like monster hunter. The difference is that in this game your goal is to get better spells instead of armor or weapons. The interesting part is that every spell comes at a cost. You have to sacrifice your own body or that of a monster to replenish your spells. As your vita editor of team Otaku i'm really hyped for this one. Soul sacrifice Delta brings new stories inspired by the fairy tales of grimm brothers.
Soul sacrifice will release this march in Japan. I expect that a western release will soon follow. 

Info: Earth Defense Force 2025

Ive covered Earth Defense Force before (Link HERE) way back in September. As is always the case in the games industry, new information has cropped up. In this case its a new trailer showcasing the new Fencer unit. Yes the trailer is focused on that aspect, but it also features a sizable amount of new gameplay footage to get you itching for that bug spray. While the Fencer does have some similarities with the Battle Armour in Insect Armageddon, the trailer shows it to be a whole different beast. Wanna pummel bugs with a huge Thor-like hammer? you can. Wanna dual-wield Mini-guns or rain mortar shells from a Mortar on your back? Yep. You can do that too with the Fencer. This trailer does more than enough to get one suitably excited for the release of 2025 in February. Ive also got to say that the game is looking fantastic from this latest trailer. Looks to be a step up from previous releases with regards to graphics and all round fun. Now if you'll excuse me, Ive got to go and sharpen up for what lies ahead on 2025 with 2017 Portable on Vita...

Here's the (Fantastic) trailer -

And a few new screenshots -

Monday, 9 December 2013

Info: Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky

With this game seeing a release on 27th june in Japan & then subsequently having a localisation confirmed for our shores on the 7th March next year (11th for the US) I thought Id gather some info together for a small update. As you no doubt know by now, Atelier Escha & Logy will allow players to choose between two protagonists. The main storyline though will remain the same regardless of who is chosen it seems, but certain events and endings will only be available with a particular character. Escha’s story focuses on the traditional alchemy RPG and everyday adventures of an alchemist whereas Logy’s story is said to be a more serious adventure focused on world exploration. The two protagonists Escha and Logix use different kinds of tools to synthesise which would no doubt mean different slightly mechanics regarding the alchemy system. I'm hoping to come across more information on this title a Little closer to release as there seems to be little available at the moment considering the game is already available in Japan. There is also an anime adaptation been announced and is planned to be released in 2014. Looks like 2014 may be good for the Atelier fans out there.

Here's some lengthy in-game footage (clocks in about 29 minutes, may contain SPOILERS) -

and a few screenshots -