Friday, 14 March 2014

Review: South Park The Stick of Truth (PS3)

Gonna have myself a time

South Park, a small mountain town which has been through many different events but now the biggest war has split the town in two. The quest for the Stick of Truth. You are the new kind and are thrown into this imaginative war created by the kids if South Park but as this adventure plays out, you find out this story is a lot bigger than the imagination if a small child! As the series has shown many times before, the children of South Park's innocent games lead to world chaos. This time the Nazi Zombies are back for vengeance and you thought the game industry had had enough of this genre.

The story is told out like any normal episode and this is great for the fans but if you have no idea what South Park is, or never watched a single episode, you may find yourself lost at time. It is not necessary to watch the show to understand what is going on, as just like the show it parodies real world events. But what will be lost is that there is no real character development in the game as all the main characters have been developed within the show. Fans will understand the quirks of certain characters where as I newcomer might just find it plain silly. The art style follows in the game and this help emulate that you are actually taking part in an episode of the show. You feel like you are right in the middle of the chaos as it unfolds and it may look cheap but this is the charm of South Park - in some sequences they even manage to squeeze in the Anime characters from the episode “Fun with Weapons”.

It is amazing how the writers manage to squeeze so much into a single 22 minute episode and it is no surprise the amount of content there is in the Stick of Truth. There are many cult references for you to find including many from the show itself. It is in all good humor, but as the creators found out prior to release, that’s some of the content is deemed to offensive and had to be censored. This could have been the games downfall as some gamers will stay away from its crude humor and the stereotyping which takes places throughout the game. But, strangely enough, this is why the show, along with the Stick of Truth, I so popular. Viewers love the idea of how brave, or many stupid, the content is and this is why the game feels right. Like I mentioned before, every aspect of the show has bled into the game and you can tell that that Matt & Trey have had full contact with every step of the development.

What the Stick of Truth brings to the table is that it allows fans the chance to finally explore the town in which they have invested many years in. You can go into every hours, shop and landmark. Seriously, there is not a place you cannot go - you even make it into an alien space craft and then chasing gnomes in your wall cavity. Fans of the series will believe we when I say that!

Even if you are not a huge fan of turn based combat, this is a game you should not push to the side. The charm of the show and the detail of the weapons and abilities will help you through the early parts. By the end of the game you will forget why you hated them in the first place. I mentioned that this is a story played through the imagination of the children and it really shows in the world. The weapons are items found around the town in which they have duct tapped together. There are items from their parent’s garage. Kyle’s main weapon is his dad gold club and his ability is using a leaf blower. There is even a fast travel system which uses Timmy's wheel chair like a horse and carriage. The best part of the world created is that everyone who is not part of that world, such as parents and the girls, just except it and carry on with their lives. This is all down to good writing and creating a vibrant, believable world!

I have talked a lot about the world which has been created but behind this fantastic world is the heart and soul. That is a good old fashioned "SNES era" RPG. As I mentioned it uses turned based action and boy does it works well.
You can tell that Matt & Trey controlled the look and feel of the game, whilst leaving the rpg element to Obsiden. This is a game company who has many years of rpg games under its belt and it feels like they have looked back on them to help them create an enjoyable and simple but tactical system. Early in the game you have you basic attack system. You attack, the enemies attack and then repeat. Very simple for the first half but things get twisted when buffs and de-buffs are introduced. It turns into a whole different game. You find yourself planning attacks in advance and the key thing is to know your enemy. What are their weaknesses, what are their patterns?

There are many different items which can be equipped by your character. These include weapons, both near & far range and your entire outfit. All items have different effects upon the player or enemy either when used or just worn. You will find yourself spending a lot of time, at different points in the game, mixing and matching the best items. The outfits are split into three sections and you can get a matching “uniform”, but sometimes this might not be the best combination for you. It may look pretty but when it comes to battling, it might be your downfall. This leads onto a huge failure for this part. There is no ability for you to save your current outfit. This may sound silly but there are certain points where the game changes your entire gear load out to suit the story. This happens when your title gets upgraded and when you go to bed at night. So, once the cut scene has carried out, you will be left with an inferior load out and you will have to spend more time going through all your gear to select what you had moments before. Trust me, this may sound like a tiny flaw but there are sometimes when you find yourself in a battle straight after this change and it is rather annoying.

The items you equip can be further altered by using the games upgrade system of “patches” and “strap on”. These items are not introduced to you at any point and you will be picking them up as set on your quest, not knowing what they are for. These upgrades can be attached to slots in all equipment and they add certain buffs to that item. There are various buffs on offer and if used correctly you can easily create an over powered set up. This, in turn, can make the game very easy. I found myself defeating bosses within a few attacks. This may sound like fun but it does not give you the opportunity to fully enjoy all which is to offer. The best way to experience the game is to make yourself weaker but this defeats the whole point of a leveling system in a RPG.

The turn based action works well on a whole but there are few issue which can lead to some frustration during battle. The first big gripe is that the battle system is missing two key action. Those are “Escape” and “Defend”. There is sometimes in which you enter a battle where you are really unequipped for it. You will only find this out when you enter the battle and it would be nice if you could escape, reequip yourself and then enter the battle. It would also be useful for if you find yourself close to being defeated and you just need to get out of there. You could just be defeated but the auto saving is hit and miss. It saves very often but not when you customise, so you may be placed in the correct place (just before battle) but if you changed anything after the save, it will be lost.

Defend would have been a great feature as sometimes you may just want to skip your turn as you cannot do anything constructed. A perfect example of this is when an enemy is “Riprosting”. This means that you cannot successfully carry out a Melee attack. The only way around this is to use a ranged weapon. Your characters can accommodate for this, but some of your battles buddies only have a Melee attack. So the only way to get out of your turn is to attack the enemy and loose some of your health.

Another issue with the battle system is the combat wheel. The way in which your actions are present to you are all around you, so to select them you have to use your direction buttons to move the invisible cursor over that said action. The problem is that it is really over sensitive and you may find yourself selecting the wrong action. There are a few issues with the blocking mechanics and some of the abilities. They both require you to be pressing certain buttons at a precise time and you find that sometimes there is a slight delay in the button commands, so you will miss the action.

A great part of the battle system is the variety of action available through your buddies. You can only have one with you at a time but you can switch to others on the fly during battle, but part way through the game you will find that you will always stick to one buddy as they suit your play style. The magic of the game comes in the form of farts or Dragon Shouts. These can be used either during battle or aid you whilst traveling around the world. They can be used against a naked flame to help you defeat enemies without even going into battle. This I found very useful because if you reduce the number of enemies in the world, when you come to battle they will already be knocked out. Speaking of the world, the map is not utilized to its full potential. It is hard to work around the map when you are giving a new quest. Within the quest menu you can choose to view on map but it does not give a real view in relation to where you are. The final view of the map it too zoomed in so you will find yourself having to scroll across the map often to find out where you are and where you need to go.

For a game which is not heavy on the graphics, it does suffer from some technically issues. The main one being that the frame drops at points and this sometimes happens during battles. Another issue I found was that during some scenes the voice overs had to play catch up with what was happening. This can cause voice cross over on certain and becomes confusing.  These issues only apparent in the console versions - the PC version runs a lot smoother.


If you put all the issues aside and just play the game for what it is, you find yourself having a laugh whilst doing so. With a main story which will only last you 10 hours and only a few hours of extra content, it does seem lacking especially for an RPG. Remember though, this is based upon a show which is only 22 minutes long, so too much exposure might be too much.
South Park fans should rejoice as this is the game they have waiting years for. It is true to the show. It boasts a creative RPG system but does have a few technical issues which cause light frustration throughout the game and is quite short for its genre type. It falls short on some details which you would expect from an RPG and lacks in length. For the amount of times this game has been delayed, you might expect a little better. Other than that, The Stick of Truth is a fun adventure and should not be missed by any fan of the show.

Who Should Buy This?
  • Fans of South Park
  • Players after a steady, easy RPG experience
  • If you want a real good laugh 
Who Should Avoid This?
  • Hardcore RPG veterans
  • Players looking for a deep RPG experience
  • If you are easily offended
  • And maybe the Canadians.....

一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八/00

"But most of all, don't ever fart on a man's balls......."

Note : This review was written based upon the censored PS3 version of the game.  The PC version has less technical issues & is not censored

Ex-Superbot Entertainment developers interesting RPG

Last year when Superbot Entertainment laid off a number of its employees following completion of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, a new indie studio was formed from the remnants of that debacle - Dead Alien Cult. Dead Alien Cult consists of developers that have worked on titles that have gone on to do well for Sony (PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, God of War III, WarHawk) so Its not suprising to hear them describe their debut game as “Arcade Action-Adventure-Dual Stick Shooter-Dungeon Crawl-Rogue-Like-Lite” to be titled Viking Ghost, that draws inspriration from the likes of The Legend of Zelda, Robotron, The Binding of Isaac and Spelunky.

    In Viking Ghost you’ll be using many different weapons and special abilities to fight your way through waves of enemies, as well as each level’s Boss. In addition to combat, you’ll be solving simple puzzles to advance through certain areas. Viking Ghost also features a light upgrade system, where you can spend experience points gained during battle at the end of each level, to further improve attributes like speed, attack, defense, etc. You’ll also be able to spend coins on various items to help you along your way.

 Viking Ghost is in development for PC, Mac and Linux at the moment with no word yet of a release on other formats.

Soul Sacrifice Delta Japanese demo is a nice gesture

A new demo of Soul Sacrifice Delta is out in Japan that actually allows players on the demo to play with those on the retail release. Ad hoc and online multiplayer are both available. Multiplayer missions included are a Worm battle, fight with the Three Little Pigs, a duel with the Frog Prince, a brawl with Beelzebub plus a Valkyrie, and a scuffle with Leviathan. Nice amount. It wouldn't be a demo of course if it didn't offer a sample of Soul Sacrifice Delta's story mode. Magician’s Test chapters one through six, the Corrupt Sorcerer chapter one, Savior’s Hersey chapter one, and Little Red Riding Hood chapter one are also available to play.

All in all, thats quite a bit of content for a demo & the ability to partake in missions with those on the retail version of the game is a nice gesture. Of course - story progress, characters, level, and items can be transferred into the retail version of the game once upgraded. Those with a Japanese PSN account may want to give this demo a try & get a sneak peek at whats in store if the sequel does indeed come to our shores.

Keiji Inafune playing Mighty No.9

Not too long ago we shared a video with you of Keiji Inafune playing an alpha build of Mighty No. 9. A longer version of this video has been released by Comcept, and provides a look at some of Beck’s moves & abilities from the upcoming release. Theres still some time to go till release of Mighty No.9, but it looks to be shaping up nicely for those yearning for a slice of side-scrolling action.

News - Opening Sequence for Final Fantasy X HD

With the release of Final Fantasy X|X-2 just around the corner, Square Enix have released the remastered opening sequence for X.
As you can see for yourself it looks rather impressive what they have done. Rather than stretching out the original video they have extended what is visible in th screen. 

Final Fantasy X|X-2 will launch on PS3 and Vita on the 18th March in the US and  the 21st in the EU. 

Are we all ready to relive the journey or are you starting a new one?  I know I am!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

A few Ace Attorney revelations by Takumi

In an interview with our Official Nintendo Magazine in the U.K., Ace Attorney series creator Shu Takumi says that he originally had no intention of carring on with the series once the third entry was sone -

I felt that Phoenix’s story had been told, and that the series should not continue,” Takumi revealed. “Knowing when to end a story is very important and I wanted to avoid dragging it out and having it become a shadow of its former self"

Takumi went on to work on Apollo Justice, but he was against bringing Phoenix Wright back for the fourth entry game too -

Years later, when it was decided within Capcom that Ace Attorney 4 would go ahead, my position was that we should change the main character and tell a new story,” Takumi says. “I didn’t plan to have Phoenix in the game, but my colleagues said they wanted him to appear in some form, which is why he ended up being the accused in the first case in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.

The latest game in the series, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, introduced a new attorney named Athena as well as the old stalwarts in Phoenix & Apollo remaining. Takumi wasn’t involved with the release though. Rest assured, Takumi will be involved with a brand new Ace Attorney game that he also states will re-invent the series that no doubt will see a release on Nintendo's handheld in the coming months

More Senran Kagura on the way?

Xseed have stated that they are open to localising other games in the Senran Kagura series, if a reply to a Facebook member is anything to go by. “Senran Kagura Burst has sold well enough that we are open to considering other iterations in the series,” replied an Xseed representative to a fan asking whether the company was interesting in more games from the Senran Kagura series to bring to the west. Senran Kagura Shinovi Vs., Dekamori Senran Kagura and Senran Kagura 2 are all still unknown on the localisation front. While this reply is obviously nothing concrete, its good to know that Burst (awarded an 8/10 by ourselves when reviewed last week*) has done well enough to give other releases in the series a chance.

*our Senran Kagura Burst 3DS Review

Famitsu details more Persona Q gameplay

The latest issue of Famitsu to hit the shelves gives us some more details on the upcoming Persona Q release for 3DS -

  • As in the Etrian Odyssey series, F.O.E. enemies will be making an appearance. These foes will be far more powerful than the usual riffraff shadows you'll encounter wile dungeon crawling. Although these enemies can be quite powerful, defeating one once your group is able to take one on does exact some just rewards. Think 'Death' in P3 but stronger. Famitsu also states a configurable difficulty is available at all times to ease things when they get to much.
  • The map-making aspect of Etrian Odyssey will also be making strides into Persona Q. As with previous releases in the Etrian Odyssey series, the bottom touchscreen will be used on the 3DS to allow you to draw a map of the dungeon - placing relevant markers in place for landmarks etc For those wary of this feature, tutorials will be available to show newcomers the ropes & an auto-mapping feature can be used instead for those not interested.

The more info we see, the more this release sounds more similar to Etrian Odyssey than Persona. I fear those new to the series with P4G may end up balking when this is released unless more aspects of the Persona series, aside from characters & setting, are detailed. Whats your view on staples of the Etrian Odyssey series gameplay taking root in the Persona universe? Let us know!

One Piece: Unlimited World Red Trailer & Screenshots

 With the news announced yesterday of One Piece: Unlimited World Red seeting sail for the west, an announcement trialer with screenshots & a small statement followed from Namco Bandai Games America -

Namco Bandai Games has been a proud publisher of One Piece games for many years, and with the astonishing global popularity of the manga series and support of the devoted fans, we are thrilled to be localizing One Piece: Unlimited World Red for the Americas,” stated Chris Gilbert, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Namco Bandai Games America

A little something else seems to have come to light regarding the release. 3DS and Vita will have local multiplayer for up to four players & The PS3 and Wii U versions will have split screen gameplay for two players. No online. With the dilema of Graphics/Performance Vs Portability coming to the fore due to the amount of platforms seeing the port, which version has your attention?

A few HD screenshots (likely Ps3/WiiU) -

More screenshots available at Gematsu

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Dengeki Game Festival teases new Atelier title

Gust’s latest release in its alchemist RPG series, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, has been available in the EU for the past week and has just seen a release today in the US. From the rumblings & teasing over at Dengeki though, it seems like a new game in the 'Dusk' series will be announced soon.

An event, named Dengeki Game Festival 2014, will be taking place on March 16th in Akihabara, Tokyo and its here where new information on this teased entry in the series may be making an appearence.

Compile Heart's Latest: Destroyer Trillion


Not content with finishing up the likes of Moero Chronicles,  Planet Destroyer Black Heart & Hyperdimension Neptunia Rebirth 2 lately - it seems Compile Heart have been beavering away on yet another title due later in the year. Not much else is known yet aside from this little snippet from Siliconera -

"The Destroyer Trillion is actually the name of the game’s main antagonist, who is said to have a “grudge of one trillion”. The protagonist is a young boy, who’ll be with six other demon lord girls. According to the report, it appears as though some live(s) will be lost when you confront the Destroyer Trillion."

With the director of Disgaea 4 also reputed to be working on the project, its an intriguing premise for sure. A release is slated for sometime in 2014 for Japan so we'll have to wait & see how this title pans out in the coming days.

The only in-game screenshot Ive been able to come across so far from Dengeki Online -

Disgaea DLC characters for Demon Gaze

Demon Gaze is looking to receive some Disgaea crossover content in a timely manner for its impending release in the West. Prinny, Etna, Flonne, Sicily, and Asagi will all be available for you to include in your party as you make your way through its dungeons. No word yet on whether this will all be bundles up or separate, so its best to keep an eye out closer to release. Demon Gaze is set to launch on April 22nd (US) & April 25th (EU) for the Playstation Vita

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Latest Moero Chronicle Trailer

Compile Heart releases another official trailer for its Monster Monpiece sequel, Moero Chronicle. While the original is set to launch in the west very soon, Japan will be looking at the release of its sequel at roughly the same time. If Monster Monpiece does well enough, its safe to assume Chronicles could make its way west later in the year. Have a peek at this new trailer to see if it sparks your interest. Moero Chronicles is slated for a release on the 24th April in Japan.

Famitsu Review Scores #1319

Battlefield 4 (PS4) – 10/10/9/9 [38/40]
Chou Ezaru wa Akai Hana: Ookawa wa Mirai o Tsumugu (PSP) – 8/8/8/6 [30/40]
FIFA 14 World Soccer (PS4) – 10/9/9/9 [37/40]
Game Center CX: 3-Choume no Arino (3DS) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]
Hero Bank (3DS) – 9/9/8/9 [35/40]
Hyperdimension Neptunia Re; Birth 2 Sisters Generation (PSV) – 9/8/8/7 [32/40]
Mario Party: Island Tour (3DS) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS4) – 10/9/9/10 [38/40]
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3) – 10/9/9/10 [38/40]
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (360) – 10/9/9/10 [38/40]
Motto! SoniComi (PS3) – 8/8/7/7 [30/40]
Need for Speed: Rivals (PS4) – 9/8/8/9 [34/40]
J-Stars Victory VS (PS3) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]
J-Stars Victory VS (PSV) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]
Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2014 (PS3) – 10/9/9/9 [37/40]
Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2014 (PSV) – 10/9/9/9 [37/40]
Pro Yakyuu Spirits 2014 (PSP) – 7/8/7/7 [29/40]
Samurai Warriors 4 (PS3) – 9/9/8/8 [34/40]
Samurai Warriors 4 (PSV) – 9/9/8/8 [34/40]
Zoo Tycoon (360) – 9/8/8/8 [33/40]

This weeks Famitsu review roundup is in! Looks like the 'Expanded MGS5 demo' Ground Zeroes has scored pretty highly regardless of the platform. Other surprises are the likes of Battlefield 4, FIFA 14 & NFS Rivals, games more suited to a western audience, have all scored fairly highly. Samurai Warriors 4, J-Stars Victory Vs & Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 2 are looking like solid titles for the Vita compared with their console brethren with Mario Party, Game Center CX & Hero Bank bringing solid scores for Nintys handheld. Looking like a fairly solid week all round

Monday, 10 March 2014

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F VITA Review

(Thanks once again to @gloriousbagel for another guest review & his last as he joins the team! Welcome aboard!)

It's a good thing that Sony's hardware is so import-friendly, I mean such a niche game like Hastune Miku will never make it to the west. Surprise!!! Being the first entry to ever being localized, HM: Projecta Diva f is probably the best entry to localize and is argueably the best entry to date. Project Diva is available on both the PS3 and Vita.

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F is very similar to its earlier entries, which isn't a bad thing. Project Diva f offers a new song list, enhanced graphics, gameplay additions, and general refinements. Hastune Miku does something that many other rhythm games fail to do, offer a great soundtrack list with amazing visuals. Project Diva f has incredible replayability, you can switch Vocaloids, change their outfits and you can even customize your own tracks in the Edit Mode.

True to series form, Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F features a large song list that crosses many genre lines. The pop fluff of "Freely Tomorrow" and the rock riffs of "Unhappy Refrain" show off the variety and creativity from the various music producers. Once again, the other Vocaloids make appearances, and whether it's KAITO's slow "Ashes to Ashes" or the up-tempo "Romote Controller" of Rin and Len Kagamine, everything just seems to fit, and an overwhelming majority of the song list is memorable and downright fun to play.

The difficulty curve is beginner friendly, and the difficulty scales nicely as each song is unlocked. There are four difficulties to choose from, Easy, Normal, Hard and Extreme. As with most rhythm games, familiarity with the songs is key to receiving a great score. Luckily, there's lots of replay value in Project Diva f, and those unacquainted with these songs will catch on quickly.

Each song is accompanied by a music video starring a certain vocaloid. These videos tell a story or at least help solidify the vibe of each song. The player has some creative control over these videos. The characters are interchangeable, costumes and accessories are plenty and there are special scenes that are unlocked if the Challenge Zones of songs are successfully passed.

Gameplay is pretty standard for a rhythm game of this style. Notes appear as outlines of Playstation controller face buttons or arrows with a clock hand rotating inside. The notes fly in from all angles and line up with the outline once the clock hand makes a full rotation. Sustained notes simply need to be held and released at the proper times. New to Project Diva F are scratch notes that appear as a star and are accomplished by swiping your finger on the Vita's screen in any direction. The addition is welcome and feels natural almost immediately, which is rare for a any game that requires touch control.

But wait! There's more! In addition to the rhythm game mode, there's some extra goodies to be found. The DIVA Room is an area to customize with furniture, view special scenes, play Rock Paper Scissors with your favorite character, or just be a creeper and watch them sleep, (guilty as charged). There's also an edit mode where custom videos and note tracks can be made for any song in the game and then shared online.
Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F will appeal to any rhythm gamer or fans of Vocaloids. It's actually pretty surprising that the game made it West. It deserves it, and so do the fans. Let's hope we'll be a surpirsed with a localization announcement of Hatsune Miku Project DIVA F 2nd later this year.

Other Postive thoughts
-plays really well with the Vitas' firm buttons
-touch controls don't feel forced
-visuals really stand out on the Vitas' OLED screen

Some Negative thoughts
-There are some tracks that are left out of the Vita version and must be purchased as DLC


Latest J-Stars Victory Vs Trailer

The latest J-Stars Victory Vs trailer racks up one hell of a runtime in showing its 52 character roster. With characters from numerous shows including Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Saint Seiya, Fist of the North Star, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Dragon Ball Z to name a few - its looking like it could be a potentially awesome crossover fighting game for fans of the numerous anime's. Unfortunately, with the amount of licensing needed to bring to our shores in the west, Its more than likely that a localisation may never come. Still, theres always importing due to the games Ps3/PSVita release and with its release set for the 19th March (next week) in Japan, not long to wait either.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Mind Zero Preview Part 2 Guest Article

(Many thanks to @Dessel575 for once again another fantastic article!)

Hello, welcome to the second part of my duology about the game called Mind Zero. If you missed the first part, you can find it here Part 1 . Part 1 was more about people/companies behind Mind Zero and as I mentioned there, Part 2 is going to be more about the actual game. Don't forget that the game hasn't yet been released in English, and so all terms used in this article are not the official translations and it may (or may not) be different in the localized version.


The story is set in the present , the main locations in the real world are Akihabara, Yokohama, Amamiya and Nippori. Yes, the real world", because that's not the only world in the game. The other is "crazy spirit(ual) world" (a free translation says something like " the world of wild spirits"), where MINDs (Mental Inside Nobody Dolls) resident and dungeon-crawling takes place. These two worlds are connected by "Doors."

What happens is that sometimes MINDs use Doors to enter the real world and possess someone (usually a mentally weak/depressed person) and then things get messy. The government refers to MIND as a drug and things seen by possessed people as halucinations. There is also a police investigation going on.

Being possessed in not the only way how to connect with MIND though, you can also be dragged to the antoher world and then The Undertaker forces you to pick a weapon (and there are many of them). The voice of MIND directs you to the right weapon. If you pick the right weapon, You become connected with your MIND and you can fight together. Your MIND will follow you everywhere, but only other MIND users will be able to see it. If you pick the wrong weapon, you will die.

To cut a long story short, main characters can summon MINDs and try to discover the mystery of MINDs. Fighting against enemies in the real world is not the only thing that concerns them, but it's also government that goes after them.


Playable characters:

Kei Takanashi - The main character of the game. Person who helps anyone in trouble. He is also pretty talkative.

Sana Chikage - A heroine of the game. Very responsible girl who enjoys sports.

Leo Asahina - Comic relief character. Very cheerful and indecisive.

Yoichi Ogata - A detective with a mysterious past who cooperates with the children.

Lina Albertine - A young, but very mature girl with a great knowledge about MINDs.

Kotone Shiragiku - A mysterious girl with a lack of confidence.

Other important characters:

Shizuku Kamina - A girl who likes stuffed animals. She can see other people's MINDs even though she summon hers.

Kanade Sakyo - A boy who who bewilders the crew with his words, which could be taken as either advice or prophecy.

Yukito Kujo - A boy who ran away from home on his own.

Reika Kisaki - A strong woman who keeps secrets from the group.

The Undertaker - A mysterious woman possessing items necessary to connect with MINDs.

Hiroaki Kamat - Veteran detective who is a part of the police force's MIND division.

Nobuhiko Watanabe - Kamata's subordinate

Playable characters. From the left: Kei Takanashi, Leo Asahina, Yoichi Ogata, Lina Albertine, Kotone Shiragiku, Sana Chikage


The spirit world:

Mind Zero is a first-person dungeon crawler. During battles you can see 3D models of characters. Battles in Mind Zero are command-based and you control 3 characters. You can summon your MIND (Mental Inside Nobody Dolls) in battle. You can use the normal (physical) attack or MINDs (simillar to Personas, but not same). But what are MINDs? Like I said before, they are residents of the spirit world, but let's have a look at them during the fight.

You can summon and hide MINDs by pressing "L" button whenever you want. When you summon MIND, you can do choose from variety of skills to do powerful attacks which will cost you MP (MIND Points). Or you can choose " MIND Guard", which will also cost you MP. It means that you will keep your MIND summoned after your turn and if the enemy attacks you, you won't lose any LP (Life Points), but MP instead to make up for it. Sounds cool, huh?

The important thing is to know is that if you won't refill your MP with some item, it will drop to zero. When your MP reaches zero, MIND Break will happen. The bad thing about MIND break is that it leaves you with a very limited options and without possibility to summon MIND for a while. That's why you especially in later Phases (the game is divided into Phases) of the game have to think about your actions and choose them wisely, otherwise it could be your death.

After clearing a dungeon , you can return there.

First-person dungeon crawling.

Battle. You can see the number if turn in the right bottom corner.

The real world:

You move around the town using the technique similar to the one in P3P. In a free time you can go to shops, talk to people (whose icons can be seen on the world map) or enter the spirit world.

There are 2 possibilities of talking to people. Green icon indicates an optional dialogue, not related to the story and red indicates a story related. Picking a dialogue with a red icon will lead to the progess in the story. Story-related dialogues in Mind Zero are fully voiced.

You are probably wondering if there are any "social links." The answer is no.

Why? It's simple. They don't need to be there, and actually, they can't be there, because MINDs are not Personas.

Moving around town. You can see a red icon indicating a story-related conversation.

Yes, it is. ^_^


Despite the look and similar themes of this game, what is presented is more of a traditional or hardcore RPG experience. Closer to Persona 1 & 2, Etrian Odyssey, Wizardry & early SMT games, this one is more for people who enjoy first person dungeon crawling goodness!. If you would like to see some in-game footage, youtuber AginoEvolutionHD is your guy, check his channel.

Mind Zero comes out on May 27th in US ( both digital and retail version will be available) and Europe (digital-only).

God bless Aksys.

Tales of Symphonia Chronicles Review

Symphony Of Destruction 

10 Years ago Namco released an almost game changing title on the Gamecube known as Tales of Symphonia. The first Tales Of game to release on European shores, TOS took the RPG world by storm & gave the Gamecube it's must have RPG way back in 2004.

2014 is the year, since then we have seen a semi-steady stream of Tales of titles, from the fantastic Vesperia to the often mind numbing Graces F we are certainly seeing more of this series all thanks to the wall smashing début of Symphonia. So to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the highest rated & most loved title Namco have decided to HD & re-release not only the original title but the Wii follow up that released a few years later. 

How does it hold up now it's in double figures? lets find out!/ 

Tales of Symphonia 

With little dispute this is the main attraction & the first port of call with this collection, the legendary 2004 RPG from the Gamecube blasting into 2014 with HD treatment & a few extras to help you along. 

Staring Lloyd Irving, Half dwarf hero with two swords. Anyone who is familiar with the Tales of series will of seen something with this guys face. Set in the fantasy world of Sylvarant Lloyd goes on a quest with his friends Genis & Colette accompanied by their teacher Raine & mysterious mercenary Kratos. 
This quest spans the entire world in hopes of regenerating Sylvarant and ridding the world of the vile human enslaving Desians. In typical RPG fashion nothing is quite as it seems and Symphonia is anything but a simple A to B story, with twists and shocking scenes throughout Symphonia's 10 year old tale is still head and shoulders above many RPGs released over the past decade. 

One thing I feel that should be noted is that like most classic RPGs the pacing is brilliant, a common problem I have found amongst this generation is pacing. In Symphonia the story is always going somewhere interesting and doing something, rare are any moments of "just explore this area until the next massive story change".

Graphically things aren't as solid as the story.  These are 10 year old visuals that have been touched up to help the transition to the HD format. First thing that stands out is that they used the Ps2 version of Symphonia which came out a few years later and needed cutting down a little to fit on one DVD. The colours just aren't as vibrant as they are on the 'Cube version, also the character models had a thick black outline which made them look cel shaded which is unfortunately gone. What this has left is dull looking lifeless character models compared to what they used to be. 
The character designs might be not for everyone either, using a "Super deformed" style everyone looks quite small which causes the older characters to look like children with facial hair and walking sticks!.
Facial expressions & character movement is also quite aged, the faces look dull and shaded on & are pretty limited especially compared to later titles & movement often looks stiff and awkward. I will say that this feels minor because after an hour of play you don't notice the super deformed style or the lack of visual polish once you start to explore the vivid world this game is set in.  

The world map is another product of it's time, a sad thought really when World Maps have become something of a rarity. It's a strange one, Lloyd becomes Godzilla sized and the camera is quite questionable especially at first when you spend most of the map looking at Lloyd's behind!.
Despite what I have mentioned it still holds up really well especially for it's age, I always find Pixel & Cel Shaded based games age miles better that their peers. Consider this as you will like a classic book, a product of it's time, worn and aged but still has a unique charm.

The battle system used in the Tales of series has always been real time & as such is the case here. You can block attacks for minimal damage if employed at the right time & unleash combo attacks. Special attacks consume the MP meter & more defence & offence options open to you the further you progress in this tale. I must come out & say that I have never been a huge fan of any of the battle systems Tales of has used and it's continued with this one. I don't mind it but I have yet to feel comfortable with it unlike other games but that is just a personal preference from myself.

As I have previously mentioned it's best to compare this game to a classic novel, it's aged and dated but it's contents are timeless and shouldn't have any issue grabbing any RPG fan looking for some vintage action. The battle system may not be for everyone but the story and setting for me transcended that & I have had the pleasure of coming back to this game 10 years apart & both times feeling fresh and enjoyable.

Tales of Symphonia: Dawn Of The New World 

The second & final title on his HD collection & follow up to TOS it's Dawn Of The New World. Originally releasing on the Wii in 2008 this is often one of the more overlooked and ignored titles of the Tales Of series, considering this is a follow up to the most popular it's a curious thing.

Emil Castagnier is the main character in this one, set a couple of years after the events of TOS this game shows just exactly what happened after TOS (I won't be saying due to spoilers). You don't really have to have played TOS to play DOTNW, you will miss little bits of story and subtle references but it's mostly a stand alone story. The main cast seem fairly unaware of the events that had previously transpired & when the original cast turn up they aren't too interested in catching this lot up.

Unfortunately the story for this game just isn't that good, made worse by the fact it's packaged with the gem of TOS. The main cast for this game are quite unlike-able and Emil is just a horrid main character who does little more than sulk, whine & apologise his way through the story. The story is just riddled with every cliché you have come to expect from RPGs & nothing really in the way of ground breaking plot twists or story telling. Everything about it just seems a little flat which is a shame considering what they had to work with.

Graphically it isn't a whole lot better than Symphonia which is strange considering the gap between them, the menus and maps are crisp but unfortunately the world seems dull & lifeless. You don't feel as compelled to explore it as you did with the previous adventure. Character models are a little better in this one and don't seem as stiff which does make it a little more visually appealing but not the giant leap you would of expected.

A new system to this is the monster capture system. It is exactly as it sounds on the tin, Namco chose this title to try and capitalise on the monster capture craze that has taken over RPGs since Pokemon. It's a nice little distraction as you work through the 200 monsters to try and find the one that suits your party's needs. This leads us onto the battle system.
As above I am not huge on the system Tales of uses in any of the games but I did enjoy this system more than the original. You have more freedom on the field so defence is a little easier to play, plus you have ontop of Special attacks and combo attacks you also have a Unison attack which helps you out in battle. It's just a quick as TOS but slightly more enjoyable which is a redeeming factor for this game. Unfortunately the A.I at times can drive you mad making stupid choices and the like but this is a common thing for most RPGs where you can't control the whole party (Even you Persona 4!).

Another change for this game is the world map, they have taken it away! opting to go for the more modern Point to Point system it doesn't really do anything to help this game along. You visit alot of towns and dungeons throughout this lengthy adventure but as something I have found with the more modern Tales of games the dungeons are often uninspired and dull.

Unfortunately that last comment really seems to sum this title up, I'm not sure why but everything about this title just lacks the basic magic of a good RPG, especially when stacked against Symphonia. They should of pulled out everything to make this just as good instead all it has going for it is a Monster Capture system and a decent battle system. Everything else is just a let down, including the original cast, it's a playable title just doesn't stack up at all.


Overall what we have here is a Ying-Yang title, on one hand we have a classic RPG, one of the greats that everyone should atleast try once. On the other hand we have it's lazy and in consistent younger brother, has good ideas but falls short of the mark. It drags the package down, alongside the lack of extras it isn't the greatest HD remastering especially as it launched at full price.

Who Should Buy This? 

  • Fans of the original release
  • Fans of Tales Of
  • Someone looking for a classic RPG & isn't bothered with up to date graphics
Who Should Avoid This?

  • Fans of turn based RPGs
  • Anyone wanting something testing the graphical limits of the PS3
  • Not a fan of classic RPGs? forget about it!/


"Fantastic feature title brought down by it's follow up, lack of bells and whistles make it hard to justify the price tag for this 10 year old RPG even if it is a gem" 

(As a final note I believe you can just buy TOS on its own from the PSStore. That on it's own garners a 9. It's the additions and the price tag that bring the physical package down)

Review - New Little King Story (PS VIta)

Long Live The King

New Little King Story is a re-imagining of the Wii title Little King Story.  The game just did not improve graphics and game play but introduced an entire new story.  You take the role of King Corobo, who task is to reclaim his kingdom from the Devil King, “The Nightmare”.  Not only has the Devil King taken your kingdom from you, he has also stolen seven princess and placed them in seven different kingdoms.  To make it even more challenging, the princesses are guarded by dark lords whom you have to defeat to grant their freedom.

As King, you have full control over your subjects and you can use their various skills to build yourself a strong, efficient Royal Guard.  With this Guard you can battle enemies, build structures, clear obstacles and farm for resources.   This is achieved through the games simple job system.  Each citizen starts out as a carefree adult and then you can assign them to a specific job.  Early in the game you only have access to limited job types (there are many jobs by the end), which can be a little frustrating as you can have access to pretty much the entire map but there will be obstacles which only a certain job type can get past.  An example of this is early in the game the first main obstacle are large logs which can only be removed by Carpenters – which require a large amount of cash to purchase.

The style of game play is similar to that if Pikmin. You create a Royal Guard, who is built up of different citizens who have different skills, and then you "throw" them at the task. If they can carry out the task, they will. If not they will return to you. It is a micro-management game and this can easily put many players off.  You have to control your Guard efficiently and the only way of doing this is by knowing what all the jobs strengths and weaknesses are. Very simple formula but due to this tight management the pacing of the game in the early hours is rather slow. This is due to only having a small capacity for your Royal Guard. You will find yourself a distance from your home kingdom only to find an obstacle in which you need job type which your either don't currently have in your guard or have no access to in the first place. There was many times during play this happened and it can be very off putting. You may find yourself putting the game down all together and forgetting about it for a few months. And when you do come back to it, forgetting why you stopped playing it, it all comes flooding back why you stopped originally.  But, this does improve during the game as the capacity increases to a very generous number.
What doesn't help is the story, or the lack of it. You get introduced to the main plot at the start and reminded of your quest each time you save a princess/kingdom. So you could go for hours without any plot points, maybe thinking to yourself what is it all for?

But, let's put that to the side because once you start unlocking more job types and your capacity increases, you will find yourself submerged into a very enjoyable micro management style game. You will find yourself setting daily goals, which are perfect due to it being on a portable system. Building an efficient guard will become second nature, you will except that you are not undefeatable and that will need to return to your home kingdom each day to rebuild strength. Remember, Rome was not built in a day. 

For such a simple idea for a game, the controls are a major flaw with this game.  For the majority of the game you are running around an open world assigning your Guard to complete tasks for you.  To carry this out, you aim at the target and “throw” your Guard.  The flaw is the aiming.  You will find yourself throwing the guard at the completely wrong thing. Touch screen serves the same purpose as the aiming and it is OK but can get in the way with bigger fights as you find yourself crossing yourself to switch between the face buttons & the screen.

Organising of the guard is frustrating at time especially when you have many job types in there.  By pressing Triangle you can change the order of your Guard.  Doing this you can move your required job to the front of your Guard and then set them upon their task.  When you are casually moving across the kingdoms this is a very easy process, but during the heat of a battle it can become frustrating and you may find yourself losing some of your Guard due to this. 

This epic quest of conquest and heroism will see you fight epic battles against various enemies spread over cast lands. The main story line alone will set you back about 20 hours but to get the most out of it expect at least 50 hours. After completing the some what weak story line, you will either decide to put it down and never return to it or continue on, thus getting the most out of this game. This is where all you skills learnt come into play fully. 
There are encyclopedia which need filling with all enemy encounters (some which are very tough and require some tactical thinking), items and even animal abducted by UFOs!  Yes this is true. You can spend time with each Princess to raise their affection level so you can live happily ever happy with then. This is completed by spending a lot time with them. This can be done with all rescued princesses but you can only have one around you at a one and if you leave them alone too long, the affection drops. Many tedious hours await ahead of you!


New Little King Story may leave the player feeling lost early on but if they are persistence they will find a game with brilliant gameplay with a sophisticated job system.
A great improvement on the original Wii title that is perfect for the PS Vita, but sufferers from some strange control choices and an unimaginative story. 

一 二 三 四 五 六 /OOOO