Saturday, 8 March 2014

News - Mugan Soul Z Release Date

NIS America has confirmed that Mugan Souls Z will release on Playstation 3 in Europe on 23rd May and in the US on 20th May.

A limited edition will be available from the NIS America Online Store. For the price of $59.99 you will bag yourself a copy of the game, a full colour hardback art book, a collectors box, a key chain and an untestable poster. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Review: Danganronpa:Trigger Happy Havoc

Your adventure starts when you get introduced as Makato Neagi. You've been accepted to the prestigious school of Hope's peak ( how ironic) , a school that only accepts the most talented "Ultimate" students of various fields each year. The strange thing about this is that Makato isn't talented in anything, after seemingly winning a competition he is dubbed "The Ultimate Lucky Student" and granted his admission . The moment he arrives at the main hall he faints and losses consciousness. He wakes up at a class room within Hope's peak. Before he even has a clue what happened a mysterious bear called Monokuma greets them and tells them they are trapped within Hope's peak and can only escape " graduate" by killing all the other students without being discovered! And so began the fight of Makato against the common enemy despair.

School life is divided into two parts in Hope's Peak. The first part is your daily life. Getting up and eating breakfast with the other students while discussing how to escape Hope's Peak. While your daily life is taking place you can explore the school and develop friendships with the other students. Those events are called free time. At freetime you have the chance to talk to the other students and develop friendships or strenghten the bonds you already had.
By doing so you can unlock stories about the other students and unlock abilities you can  use with the class trial. These abilities or skills can be used in your advantage to make things easier in the class trial. Thus, it is wise to use your free time wisely and make bonds. An example for this is the skill called Breathing Exercises.

This skill helps you to refill the concentration gauge which helps you with the school trials. I will explain this further in the part about school trial. This friend making  system does sound familiar huh? Talking to other people and develop friendships are very similar to the Persona S-link system. As you know i am a fan of the social link system.
However, making friends part feels a bit off in this game. It hasn't be executed as it should therefore it just felt out of place. I don't mind a similar social link system in this game but it has to be executed correctly. I felt a little bit shallow but it didn't ruin my enjoyment of this game.
Which takes me to the character, The development of the characters is something you don't come across in many games.
Every character has their own story which will develop when the further you are in the story. The stories are believable and very well written, despite the over dramatisation of the characters they become quite relate-able and it becomes a joy to track down each character's story.

The second half of the game consists of the "Trial" phase, once certain in-game conditions are met, Monokuma will call a "Class Trial". From that moment you have to investigate the murder case before the class trial starts. If the killer or "blackened" isn't discovered all will be punished. This is one of the rules Monokuma has come up with. However, if the blackened is discovered the killer will be executed in a certain way. You'll be searching rooms and questioning speech in the detective mode, making sure you have a firm grasp on what has happened before you stand trial. If you found a clue you can use this clue with the class trial. Every clue becomes a truth bullet which you can use in the school trial. The investigation event is also a great way to explore every room for hints. For those with enough patience checking every corner will be rewarded with Monokuma coins which can be spend in the Monkuma store in the MonoMono machine which gives you presents. Those presents can be used to give to friends to further deepen your relationship with them. (this can also be used in Free-Time)

The murders in Dangonronpa are often very brutal and always sudden. Furthermore, the blackened are the students you just don't expect to do such cruel things. This helps to spice up the game since you absolutely don't have a clue who did it before the class trial. Even when the class trial started you could be totally wrong.
The soundtracks in this game are pure quality. It hasn't have a varied selection but those never seem to get old. After a couple of hours playing you will be humming a couple of these awesome tunes.
The graphics are a feast for the eyes. Everything is in 2D but the game will give you the illusion that you're in a 3D environment, I especially enjoyed this as every scene seemed vibrant and bright despite it's gloomy nature.

"If you can figure out "whodunnit" then only they will receive punishment. But you pick the wrong one.. Then I'll punish everyone besides the blackened, and that one that deceived everyone will graduate!"  - Sincere Monokuma.  

This disturbing sentence shocked me at first and made the class trial that more exciting. The school Trials are my favourite part of this game. The school trial starts with the court preparation. In the court preparation you can prepare yourself before you start the school trial. You can open your e -handbook and revisit the clues you discovered with your investigation and you can set your skills ( abilities, which you could unlock by deepening friendships). 
As i already mentioned above the skills you set can be an advantage for you. The example i already mentioned is breathing exercises this helps you to refill the concentration gauge. If you prepared yourself and you are convinced to solve the crime you can start the trail. The trail has different sort of mini games which are Non stop debate, multiple choice, insight anagram , choose word bullet and machine gun talk. The first one non stop debate starts with everyone telling their arguments what happened or why they haven't done it.

You need to find the students who is lying. You do this by shooting a truth bullet ( the clue you found) on the yellow letters ( the lie) to prove them wrong. After you done this Makato tells them why there argument is wrong and the school trial goes further.  While you are shooting your Truth bullet there are messages that are trying to distract you from the truth. By pushing the X button you can destroy those distractions but at a cost of time penalty. Furthermore, you have a concentration gauge. By pushing R1 you can concentrate which equals to slow motion. This helps you to be certain to hit the contradiction or lie of the person you are trying to prove wrong. 
If your time is up you will be voted as the blackened and if you accused someone of lying without proving it with the right evidence you will given a penalty. After 3 or 4 penalties the other students of Hope's Peak don't trust you anymore and you will be voted as the blackened.  

The other minigames I mentioned are a fun distraction and changes the pace of the game. This helps to keep your attention the whole time because this way the game prevents itself from being repetitive. Especially, the machine gun talk was very interesting. The person you are accusing is in denial and while throw everything at you to prove you wrong. You only need to stay calm and don't button bash and everything will be fine. The other mini game insight anagram is seeking the right word which also helps to keeps things fresh. The most interesting one is choose word bullet it's the same mode as non stop debate but now you have multiple bullets to choose from. This means finding the lying person isn't the only thing you need to do but you also need to seek the right argument otherwise you get a penalty for accusing someone without evidence.

However, with the class trials I found there was too much hand holding. Every time a new part of the school trial came up the game wants to help you with explaining everything. I like games where you don't have to waste precious time with overly tedious tutorials. 
Furthermore, with every school trial the game gave you hints after you didn't discovered the lie in the arguments. I didn't like that because i wanted things to seek out myself. This happens every time and made the game less difficult and took away some of the feeling that I'd accomplished something because if you solved it yourself it would be so much more rewarding.

I really enjoyed the gameplay in this title, At first you think it's your typical visual novel but don't judge this book by it''s cover. The Freetime was a good inclusion because you can explore and make friends which helps to keep things fresh. 
However, i didn't like the way they handled the social interactions, It wasn't as executed as it should and came across feeling a little shallow. Still I found the characters to be entertaining and very well written. The murders are very brutal and always sudden which i liked, It really surprised me how the murders were executed.  
Graphics and sound are excellent. The soundtrack will make you humming after some playthroughs, I found it looked and sounded a little too much like Persona 4 thus affecting it's indentity somewhat,The investigation and the school trials are the parts of this game that were the highlights of this game. The investigation because it felt like zero escape and the school trials felt like Phoenix Wright. 

However handholding held this back somewhat, Every time I failed to come up with an argument against the person who was lying or telling a contradiction the game gave me the most obvious hints. It made solving the murder crime less rewarding.  

All in all the story for this was a real driving force, if you like gritty scenarios and well written characters this game stands tall above the Vita's ever expanding library  


Hope and despair mingled together... Opening the world of the future....

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 DLC announced

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 has just had some DLC announced for release on March 25th (XBox Live/PSN) Rest assured, while info at the moment doesn't state which region that date entails, you can be sure it'll be there when you regions store refreshes its content. The 'Revelations' DLC will allow you to play as Alucard who will have his own abilities & move set IE turning back time or transforming into a wolf or bats. Here's a short story summary of what one can look forward to in the DLC package -

"Alucard, the turned son of Gabriel, has shunned human life for many years, choosing to hunt only creatures of the night. The DLC takes place just before the apocalyptic events of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2, where Alucard readies for his father’s return and the forthcoming battle against Satan. As the plot unfolds, it begins to reveal how the lone vampire is inextricably linked to his father’s fate."

Any outspoken fans of the sequel out there looking forward to heading back to the release for this enticing addition?

Keiji Inafune introduces Azure Striker Gunvolt

Whilst the Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune has been busy playing development builds of Mighty no. 9, it turns out he’s also working on a new side-scroller action game with the Mighty No. 9 developers Inti Creates too. The game in question is called Azure Striker Gunvolt, and after a short introduction by the man himself in the trailer above, you can get some eyes-on viewing of the game in action. Slated for a summer release on the 3DS Eshop in Japan, no news yet if the title will see a release outside of Japan in the west.

Rise & Fuuka Persona Q Trailers

The latest batch of Persona Q trailers introduce Fuuka & Rise. The two support characters from Persona 3 & 4 finally get their introduction trailers. Fuuka is her typically shy & helpful self while Rise hasn't changed either, as cheerful as always, with both offering a similar supportive role in combat -

Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth is still set for its North America release this fall.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

News - Deception IV: Blood Ties Pre Order Bonuses (EU)

Tecmo Koei have released information for pre-order bonus for the European release of Deception IV: Blood Ties.  Depending on where you purchase it from will give you access to different in game traps;
  • Amazon: “UFO?” – guaranteed to blow your enemy out of this world… or into the nearest wall.
  • GAME: “Guilotine Lite” – a Sadistic trap in the form of an axe falling from the ceiling
  • Independent Retailers: “Golden Horse” – humiliatingly strikes right at your poor rival’s nether parts.
  • PlayStation Store: “Queen’s Heal” – a giant heel that drops from the air to squash your opponents.
As well as this information, an interactive quiz has been released at the official website, entitled "What's Your Style of Evil?".  This quiz allows you to choose three different trap types and get presented with a trailer showing off how "evil" that combination is.

Deception IV: Blood Ties releases for PlayStation 3 and PS Vita in North America on March 25 and Europe on March 28.

News - Famitsu Most Wanted 1318

Well, it's that time of week again.  Famitsu's Most Wanted Issue 1318.

Persona 5 has been knocked of the top spot this week by Final Fantasy XV.  The PS4 version of Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain has rises 14 places into 4th position.  It looks like as the release date get closer, it has sparked an interest in the readers.
Mario Kart 8 has shifted up to second place, with a debut for Miku Project Diva F 2nd for PS Vita at #24.
Check out the full list below and please comment if there is anything in there you are looking forward too or even something which is not there.
  • 01/03. [PS4] Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, TBA) – 663 votes
  • 02/04. [Wii U] Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo, 05/29/14) – 649 votes
  • 03/01. [PS3] Persona 5 (Atlus, Winter 2014) – 634 votes
  • 04/13. [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami, TBA) – 429 votes
  • 05/02. [PS3] Samurai Warriors 4 (Tecmo Koei, 03/20/14) – 405 votes
  • 06/05. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom, Fall 2014) – 395 votes
  • 07/06. [PS4] Kingdom Hearts III (Square Enix, TBA) – 382 votes
  • 08/07. [3DS] Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (Atlus, 06/05/14) – 347 votes
  • 09/15. [PS3] Dark Souls II (03/13/14) – 284 votes
  • 10/11. [3DS] New Love Plus+ (Konami, 03/27/14) – 270 votes
  • 11/12. [3DS] Bravely Second (Square Enix, TBA) – 263 votes
  • 12/08. [PS3] Tales of Zestiria (Namco Bandai, TBA) – 257 votes
  • 13/09. [PS3] The Evil Within (Bethesda Softworks, 2014) – 253 votes
  • 14/10. [PS3] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Jigoku-Hen (Namco Bandai, 04/10/14) – 252 votes
  • 15/18. [PS4] The Evil Within (Bethesda Softworks, 2014) – 239 votes
  • 16/14. [Wii U] Hyrule Warriors (Tecmo Koei, 2014) – 225 votes
  • 17/30. [3DS] Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (Square Enix 04/24/14) – 189 votes
  • 18/20.[3DS] Game Center CX 3-Chome no Arino (Namco Bandai, 03/20/14) – 184 votes
  • 19/21. [Wii U] Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Nintendo, 2014) – 183 votes
  • 20/16. [3DS] Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo, 2014) – 178 votes
  • 21/24. [PS4] Watch Dogs (Ubisoft, 2014) – 177 votes
  • 22/19. [PS3] The Last Remnant (Square Enix, movedtomobile) – 170 votes
  • 23/22. [PSV] Freedom Wars (SCEJ, Summer 2014) – 146 votes
  • 24/—. [PSV] Hatsune Miku Project Diva F 2nd (Sega, 03/27/14) – 135 votes
  • 25/17. [3DS] Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson (Marvelous AQL, 08/07/14) – 125 votes
  • 26/— [PS3] The Last Guardian (SCEJ, TBA) – 124 votes
  • 27/29. [PS4] Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (Konami, TBA) – 117 votes
  • 28/—. [PS3] Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (Konami, TBA) – 103 votes
  • 29/28. [PSV] 3rd Super Robot Wars Z Jigoku-Hen (Namco Bandai, 04/10/14) – 99 votes
  • 30/—. [PS3] The Idolmaster: One For All (Namco Bandai, 05/15/14) – 98 votes
Total: 7,341 votes
Once again a huge thanks for Gematsu for this list.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Review: Senran Kagura Burst (3DS)

Here it is. The most contentious game of 2014 in the eyes of the mainstream press, with some publications going as far as not even taking the game up & reviewing it. Here we are not so ignorant with Otaku games like this being our forte. Once you put all the controversy & issues aside, how does the game in question actually play out?

News - UPDATED The Guided Fate Cross Thesis Detaila


A new Trailer was released during a Famitsu Live Today.  There was a stream of the game too with 23 minutes of footage.  Enjoy.



Original Story

This weeks Famitsu have given the first details on upcoming game, The Guided Fate Cross Thesis. This is the sequel to Nippon Ichi's 2013 title, The Guided Fate. 
Below is a translation from Gematsu of the Famitsu article;

General Information
  • Platform: PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
  • Release Date: July 24, 2014
  • Price: 6,800 yen (standard), 5,714 yen (download), 8,800 yen (limited)
  • Limited Edition: Includes “Original Soundtrack CD” and “Art Book.” The soundtrack CD includes the game’s background music, as well as vocals from its dual heroines (Asami Imai and Yumi Hara).
  • First-Run Bonus: “Original Radio CD ‘The Guided Fate Cross Thesis x Nippon Ichi Radio Special Version’”
  • Development Status: 65 percent
  • Producer: Sohei Shinkawa
  • Game Design and Planning: Kei Nanasato
  • Project Manager: Kentaro Niwa
  • Character Design: Noizi Ito and Airi Hori
  • Composer: Yosei Teikoku
Several years ago the fate of a certain young man was revolutionized, and even after Satanadia fell, the demon’s power didn’t dissipate. Meanwhile, heaven has barely kept war situation at bay by guerrilla warfare. They used the Fate Awakening Crystal to turn the main character into a god and he finds himself cast into battle.
The main character must confront a situation where either of two close lady friends will die. What happens when he can only save one?
  • Protagonist (voice actor unknown, or perhaps without) – A boy who became a god by adapting to the Fate Awakening Crystal.
  • Jupiel Chuumi (voiced by Asami Imai) – An angel who waits on the protagonist’s hand and foot, and possesses power of the strongest class. She works for her older sister, who is the head angel, and aims to become a fine angel like her.
  • Aruru Toue (voiced by Yumi Hara) – The demon that changed the protagonist to a god. She is prisoner of her own body, but she’s given the right to freely roam heaven with the provision that she studies gods. There are angels who don’t get along with Aruru, so the conflicts never cease.
  • Graphics have gone from 2D quarter view (a la the first game) to full 3D top view.
  • The game uses a toon shader.
  • Characters are super deformed
  • The game’s foundation of random dungeons remains unchanged.
  • In dungeons, players can pick up items and other equipment.
  • The upgrade system is connected to the “ultimate choice” theme, and will be detailed in a future update.
  • Because the equipment system was so complex in the first game, it will be easier to understand in the sequel.
  • Shinkawa: During the previous title, there was a plan to serialize, but we didn’t start development until after reflecting on opinions of the previous title so we could refine the system and scenarios.
  • Shinkawa: The theme is about making “the ultimate choice”, you’ll have to make decisions a lot.
  • Nanasato: You’ll make a lot of decisions but you won’t be able to save the lives of everyone.
  • Shinkawa: And by “ultimate” choices, many heartless decisions will have to be made.
  • Nanasato: There will be different endings for different choices obviously. Depending on the choices you make, the main character’s thought process and feelings change, which is a major component in influencing the ending.
  • Niwa: One of the highlights is the blossoming love with the heroine and the deepening of the heroines mutual relationship.
  • Shinkawa: You may expect some of the characters from the previous title to appear, as it takes place in the same world a number of years later.
  • Shinkawa: Many players found the first game’s graphics hard to look at, so we’ve gone from that to top-view.
  • Nanasato: Since we’ve changed to the 3D point of view, the game should be easier to play.
  • Nana: Also in the previous game, there were complex areas like equipment coming in parts and skill setting, but for this game, we made it easier to understand, more fun, and easier to understand. You can improve your weapons, an there is a new system to do with angels and demons, too.
  • Shinkawa: For this game, we made equipment that goes with the world view so there’s harmony between the game elements and the story.
  • Shinkawa: I’d like players to enjoy the concept of the “ultimate choice.”
No word yet on whether it will be localised yet. 

News - Freedom War Story Trailer

A new trailer has been released by SCEJ for it's upcoming PS Vita title, Freedom Wars.

Freedom Wars is set in the future where the world in uninhabitable outside the cities walls. These cities, known as Panopticon, are constantly at war due to the lack of resources. But, the biggest problem is over population. Due to this a new rule was set in place; if you are arrested for a crime and found guilty, you punishment is to battle giant monsters, "Abductors".  The time sentence for this is 1,000,000 years but is knocked down by ever Abductor defeated.

The new trailer introduces two new characters;
  • Beatrice “Lily” Anastasi (voiced by Eriko Nakamura) – A mysterious woman captured in the depths of Panopticon. After being rescued by the protagonist, the pair act together as criminals.
  • Abel “Strafe” Barth (voiced by Junichi Suwabe) – The Horai Party rivals the protagonist’s party and Abel is their ace. He calls himself one of the strongest criminals in the world—a criminal with dangerous ideology.
Are you ready to fight for your freedom?

[Source: Gematsu]

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

XSEED teases Akiba (S)Trip 2 localization

XSeed teases us twice for the localization of Akiba's Trip 2. The first tease was late last year with this holiday card below:
Furthermore, if you guys noticed there was also a tease for Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus in the post holiday card above. If you don't see it look closely to the silhouettes in the holiday card.

Here is the second tease tweeted by XSEED:
 Putting the first letters of this tweet together and you get Electric town. Which is a common name for Tokyo's Akihabara neighbourhood. This can't be coincidence since Akihabira is the setting of Akiba's Strip 2. 

As a Vita owner i'm looking forward for the official announcement of Akiba's Trip 2. I'm looking forward to this game since it was announced but the language barrier hold me off.

Source:  NEOGAF and Gematsu

News- Murdered Soul Suspect Release Date

Paranormal Detective game Murdered Soul Suspect has been given a release date.
The title is coming to the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One & PC on the US on 3rd June and in the EU on the 6th June. 

But if you want it in your shiner new consoles you will have to fork out and extra $10 as the "current gen" including PC will retail at $49.99 and next-gen is set at $59.99

So which version will you be solving murders on?

Project Diva F Vita launches today

Today sees the release of Project Diva F in the US for the Vita, with a price of $29.99 attached. We reviewed the Ps3 version last year as it launched in the EU with the main crux of the game being that a Vita release would've been preferable. Its good to see SEGA oblige afterall, but Digital only it seems for both the EU & US this time. The game is set to launch next week on March 12th for Vocaloid fans in the EU.

As one of our guest authors noted on Twitter earlier (@GloriousBagel) - Its time for the localisation beggars to put their money where their mouth is. Lets hope they oblige so we may see Project Diva F 2nd localised later in the year...

New Kirby Triple Deluxe screenshots

At the Toy Fair in New York, Nintendo decided to unleash a new playable build of the upcoming Kirby Triple Deluxe on 3DS.  Like the traditional Kirby games that have come before, you navigate the little pink puffball through the series staple cute sections of Dream Land—primarily by swallowing enemies and absorbing their abilities. 4 new abilities are said to be making there way into this release for long time fans to play with.

As you can see from the screenshots, its looking quite beautiful, with a sheen seemingly better each time the game is shown that should look quite glorious in 3D (Hopefully we don't get partial 3D support like Pokemon X&Y) Its not just the screenshots that were shared, information for the games other 2 modes (making up the triple in the title) was also shared. The game is due for release in the US on May 2nd.

  • Kirby Fighters looks to be a smash bros-lite. From what has been gathered so far tho, the move-sets aren't quite so character specific, but it should be a nice distraction from the main game
  • Dedede's Drum dash is a rhythmic off shoot of the game featuring many soundtracks from the series. Gameplay mainly involves collecting coins and avoiding enemies by bouncing them off his drums. Could be a good slice of fun

News - Genkai Tokki Moero Chronicles Opening Movie

Good morning Readers!  This morning we have a real treat for you.
Compile Heart have release the opening movie to their latest game, Genkai Tokki Moero Chronicles.  It is a dungeon RPG and it is heading the the PSVita on 24th April in Japan only. As you know, Compile Heart's last title, Monster Monpiece is currently being localised, so there is always hope that it will hit western shores. 

Note: this video may be NSFW. Compile Hearts are know for their raunchy trailers and games :D

Monday, 3 March 2014

Hyperdimension Neptunia movie incoming

With the latest release of the Hyperdimension Neptunia anime volume on DVD, an insert is included that will be of interest to fans of the series. The insert, pictured above details a Hyperdimension Neptunia movie on the way entitled Rebirth of the Tari. Not much else is known at the moment but hopefully more details will emerge soon that we'll be sure to pass on.

Review - Catherine (PS3)

Life is like a puzzle without a solution.

Welcome to Catherine, a dark romantic horror story from the creative minds behind the Persona series.  The game involves Vincent Brooks, a 32 year old office worker who is currently in a long term relationship with his high school love, Katherine McBride.  She nags Vincent a lot about his lifestyle choices but this is only because she cares about him.  The only issue is that Vincent does not really know what he wants out of his life and when Katherine talks about marriage he panics.  He wastes every night drinking and eating with his “supportive” friends at his local bar, The Stray Sheep.  He is living a single man’s life whilst in a relationship and this is proved when a young lady enters his life one drunken night.  Her name is Catherine, a 22 year old beauty who has a carefree attitude – just what Vincent wants.  The next morning he wakes up, unsure of the night before, lying next to her.  He had cheated on Katherine and this is where the core of the game begins.

For the next week, Vincent experiences bad nightmares where if you die before you wake, you die in real life.  Within the nightmares, Vincent encounters other sheep stuck in the same situation as him.
From this point in the game you are introduced to how it will play out until the end.  You complete the nightmare each night and then you are rewarded with the next day’s story.  Once that has played out you spend the evening hanging out at the bar talking to your friends and various patrons.  As the days go by you will notice a connection between these regulars and the sheep in the nightmares.

As the story takes up the majority of the game, this is just a brief look into the crazy adventure you will have whilst playing Catherine.  The main game play takes place turning the Nightmares, when it changes from interactive novel into a clever puzzle game.  Be warned though, these puzzles are not for the faint hearted.
You are presented with the puzzle of climbing a huge tower made out of blocks avoiding death whilst you do it.  This is achieved by the player using Vincent to move block to create steps.  For the first few nights climbing the tower is quite straight forward – the solutions are easier to see.  As the nights go on, the towers become more and more challenging.  The solutions are a lot hard to see and you need to use techniques learnt from interacting with the other sheep.  But, the game does not think making the visible solution easy to spot.  It throws different block style;

  • White blocks – these are the “normal” blocks which move at a standard speed
  • Unmovable blocks – this will only move with gravity and not by Vincent. There are always in a position where you would pray for a movable one!
  • Dark blocks – just like the white ones, but take more effort to move
  • Cracked blocks – these blocks are visible weaker which crack and eventually break when walked over
  • Ice blocks – if Vincent walks onto one of these blocks he will slide across them until he hits a non-ice block. These blocks are easily the worst! If you reach the edge of the tower and still sliding, you will slide of the edge. Worst still is if there are no other blocks underneath you to stop your fall, well you die.

These are just a few blocks you will come across during your nightmares.  Some are useful but the majority are there just there to cause you trouble.  To help you along the way you can pick up various items and even buy them at the end of each stage.  Items include replay pillows, the ability to create a block out of thin air and the ability to turn all the blocks into White Blocks.  There are many other items along the way but you will have to play it to find out what they are.

Each nightmare is split up into 2 to 4 stages with the final stage being a boss.  This boss is usually a reincarnation of Vincent’s worst fear of that particular day.
The puzzles themselves get harder and harder each night, but the game rewards you.  It will leave you on a cliff hanger before the nightmare and the only way to find out what happens next is by completing that night’s puzzle.
Saying that though the nightmare section of Catherine is where most players will turn their nose up at it.  The puzzles can be extremely difficult to some players and you will find yourself dying many times.  If you are not willing to learn how to get past these puzzles, they you will be spending the majority of the games in the nightmare and not being engrossed in the fantastic story.  In fact, this could be here on purpose.  The puzzles become your own personal nightmare which you find hard to escape.

The visuals of Catherine are primarily an Anime developed bye Studio 4oC.  This is achieved by using sharp 2D animation for the cut scenes and cell shaded models during any interaction sequences, such as the nightmares and spending time in the bar.  Just imagine Wind Waker or Borderlands but with lots and lots of sheep.
The soundtrack is as fantastic as the story itself.  Whilst you spend your nights in the bar you can change the background music by using the jukebox.  There is a huge range of tracks including ones from the Persona series.  During the nightmare stages you are treated to some classical music.  Somehow it must help you get to sleep easier.
For a game which has such complicated game play, the control scheme is very simple.  You use the left stick to move Vincent around, X makes him grab the blocks for moving and Square uses the item you are currently holding.  Outside of the nightmare in the bar, the only extra controls are to drown your sorrows and to check your phone as Catherine is always keen to send you some pictures.

You can make your way through the main story in just over 8 hours but there is plenty more task which you can take on one you complete this.  In each nightmare level you are award a rank depending on how well you do, so you can go back to them and better yourself.  Within the bar there is the mini game Rapunzel, which is an arcade game based upon the nightmare levels.  This arcade game I found to be a lot harder than the nightmare levels themselves.  But if you are persistent you can save the princess from the tower and even unlock a secret level.  Out side the game, there is Babel's Tower.  This is just like the nightmares but an endless mode.  This can be completed either alone or with a friend.  The goal is to see how high you can get , without dying by using all the skills you have learnt in the main game.
If not of that takes your fancy and you just loved the main game, well there are various difficulty setting which adjust how challenging the nightmare stages are.

Catherine is a breath of fresh air in a gaming world full of very similar games.  From the moment I started playing this game until the very end, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It has a story which sucks you in, the characters are well scripted and you can feel their emotionally pain all the time.  Even though the puzzles can be very challenging, it helped balance the game.  Catherine could have easily been a visual novel with players interacting every now and again (very much like Beyond Two Souls) but with the puzzles it encouraged players to push through them to find out what happens next with the story.  Saying this, the puzzles are not every ones cup of tea and will give up very easily.  For me, I find this very disheartening as Catherine offers a very unique experience which I would recommend to anyone.

I would happily award this game 10/10 but with the tiny flaw, of that it is not for everyone I award this game 9/10.  But I also award it a very special award;

Most Underrated Game of the Last Generation (PS3/X360)

一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九/O


One last thing... sleep tight.......

..............and try not to fall too far :)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Guest article: Feature: Introduction to Mind Zero, part 1

This Guest article is guest submission by Jirka Lacina @Dessel757.  we all thank him for the time and effor the put into this submission.

Last week, GameStop leaked and later that day Aksys Games confirmed that Mind Zero, a dungeon crawling RPG, is going to be localized for both America and Europe. I think is unknown for many people (I may be wrong) and it's a pity in my opinion, so I, as someone who has been hyped for this game since its announcement, will provide you some information about this game, because it's worth giving a chance. This article is a summary of the game, aimed at everybody. In this part I'm going to tell you something about the game in general. Who was it developed by, something about the announcement, localization etc. 

Mind Zero was co-developed by studios Acquire (Way of the Samurai series, Akiba's Trip series) and Zero Div (Bakumatsu Revolution) and published by GungHo Online Entertainment. I’m not sure if GungHo Online Entertainment reminds you of something, but this company is know for hosting a Japanese server of Ragnarok Online and developing Ragnarok DS for Nintendo DS. Companies Aquire and Zero Div had already cooperated before Mind Zero, on game RPG called Class of Heroes, which was released for PSP in 2008 in Japan and in 2009 published in US by Atlus. Class of Heroes received mixed reviews (RPGamer - 4.0/5, "Great"; IGN 5.1/10 "Mediocore"). 

Some pictures of Class of Heroes:

The characters of the game were designed by artist Kyo Kuroichigo ( or twitter @rubus_mesogaeus), the scenario was written by Minato Kushimachi and sound created by Zizz Studio, which was experienced in creating soundtracks for visual novels, mainly for companyNitroplus. One of the most known visual novels with the sountrack from Zizz Studio is Saya no Uta(Windows; localized in 2013, 10 years after the original game).
Kei Takanashi, the protagonist 

The first signs of Mind Zero came directly from Acquire, who teased a new PS Vita game by launching a teaser site at on March 14. The site contained 4 cities in the background, the text “Are you alive? 80,655 -2010-” in the centre and another text in bottom, which was referring to the next Weekly Famitsu Issue, which was going to be released next week, on March 21st. Well, you can look at the teaser page here:

On March 21st, Famitsu came out and Mind 0 (stylized as MIND≒0) was officially announced as „a dark and stylish school dungeon RPG". What was shown in Famitsu:

There were no words about localisation, until February 2014 when Gamestop leaked the information (including the western release date) about it by allowing to pre-order the game. The leaked release date was told to be 5/27/2014 and as I already said in the prolog, Aksys Games confirmed the release date a few days later. One of the first English screenshots:
In the next part, I will tell you something more about the game itself (characters, setting etc,), stay tuned!