Friday, 21 March 2014

Review: Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium

Phantasy Star IV – The End of the Millennium
Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC / PS2 / PSP / Mega Drive
Price: £13.69 (360)1 / £14.93 (PS3)1 / £1.99 (PC)2
Release Date:   Out Now


Every war has its generals, lieutenants, colonels and other members of the elite, prominent figures either at the forefront of battle or operating from behind the lines (either friendly or hostile). This is true even for metaphorical wars, wars of words, etc, and is no less true for the console wars of yore. Back in the sixteen bit era, it was Nintendo and Sony who were the main heavy hitters, and each had their officers: Herr Mario and Comrade Sonic respectively. Platformers weren’t the only front however, and where Nintendo had Final Fantasy (until Squaresoft’s hopping of the Berlin Video Game Wall to Sony’s nascent Playstation console), Sega had Phantasy Star.

Phantasy Star IV is a classic JRPG, but its setting remains fairly unique for its time. Whereas Final Fantasy was a series of unrelated tales set in fantasy worlds a la Lord of the Rings (with a steampunk edge for Final Fantasy VI), the Phantasy Star series has always been sci-fi themed, being set in the Algol star system and focusing on the cycle of death and destruction that repeats every one thousand years for its inhabitants. As Phantasy Star IV’s subtitle is “The End of the Millennium”, it should come as no surprise to you that this next round of bad mojo is about to come about and it’s up to our dorky protagonist Chaz and the usual band of misfits you might expect to save the day.


I mentioned that Phantasy Star IV is set in outer space and features a lot of sci-fi tropes, but what I find unique about this particular game is that it mixes a sci-fi setting with a decidedly low-tech aesthetic. The events of Phantasy Star II (there was a Phantasy Star III but we don’t talk about that) have left the main planet of the Algol System, Motavia, as a barren desert wasteland, and most of the towns are no more advanced or large as what the towns and cities of say, Egypt circa 1930, were. But moreover, the story and setting seamlessly transitions from this low tech world filled with monsters to automated computer centres filled with hostile droids, sometimes even in the same dungeon. This technological and organic synthesis seems a lot like Doom and Doom II at times, which is very much a good thing. And most importantly, you’ll be pleased to know that if you’re a Frank Herbert fan like me, yes, you can fight Shai-Hulud himself.


Rating the graphical prowess of a sixteen bit game is sort of like trying to score the sharpness and quality of a VHS reel: there’s only so much you can do with it. But what makes Phantasy Star IV stand out is its use of almost anime like cutscenes, laid out in panels like in a comic book. These are all fantastically well drawn even within the sixteen bit limits of the Mega Drive and sell the charm, wit and tone of the game very well. The ingame fights and overworld are also bright and detailed, although the various machine centre and regular dungeons beyond the Garubek Tower are rather bland in design, featuring linear rooms with no real distinguishing features until their end points. Perhaps this was due to the limitations of the 16 bit era but it would’ve been nice to see the Weapons Plant filled with conveyor belts loaded with rifles and droid parts, or the Ladea Tower featuring more relics from the history of the Algol system and the battles with Dark Force. But while the background of the game might be somewhat bland, the foreground, that is the characters, the towns, the battles and the cutscenes, more than compensate.


Chaz might be our protagonist, but every RPG needs its party members, and boy do we get them. From Alys Branwin, Chaz’s mentor and seasoned monster hunter (as in the profession, not the game) to Rune Walsh, aka space Gandalf, every party member you encounter is a unique presence and while they aren’t nowhere near as developed as the characters in modern role playing games, they nonetheless all have their own flair and personality, and this even extends to their fighting styles. Only a select few characters such as Gryz purely focus on one aspect such as damage output while others have more variation. For example, Rika serves as both a physical attacker, a healer and a buffer, and Rune may have access to spells other characters have, but he also has a selection of pure magic skills that nearly every other character doesn’t possess. Unlike a lot of other JRPGs however party selection is limited to only one instance in the game and is otherwise determined for you at every point, but this flows organically from the story and never becomes bothersome. The core four characters you possess through much of the game cover all of your bases as far as party make up goes so you never need to worry about being deficient in certain areas, and the uniqueness of the characters makes each new addition a welcome treat to the flow of the game.


Combat is about as classic and traditional as you can get with old school JRPGs, being turn based with characters and enemies going one after the other based on particular stats and buffs. However, Phantasy Star IV has a neat trick up its sleeve in that combining certain character’s attacks in turn can produce devastatingly powerful combination attacks that are also superb sixteen bit eye candy. Linking these attacks together can be accomplished with the ridiculously useful Macro function which allows you to pre-set groups of actions and turn orders for your party, which makes early fight buffing no longer a chore in repetition and also allows these beastly combo attacks to be linked together easily, at the cost of flexibility and responsiveness to enemy attacks. I haven’t seen a turn based game since offer this option which is frankly astounding as it’s such a convenient time saver.

What isn’t convenient though is everything else. In what will probably be one of the few negative parts of this review where Phantasy Star IV’s rigid adherence to old school JRPG formula causes it to stumble is in two areas: obscure ability names and a few instances of everyone’s favourite exercise in tedium: grinding. Some of the names of various spells and abilities with a bit of logical leapfrogging do explain their purpose (Foi is your basic fireball spell for example) but the game makes no effort to explain its elemental properties behind spells or some of the more archaic names such as Deban being your party’s defense buff or Zan being a multi hitting wind attack. Some sort of system to explain this would’ve been nice. And as for the grinding, well, expect on some occasions (I’m looking at you Air Castle…) to run in circles battling monsters until you’re of a high enough level to bop the final boss of that particular dungeon. I personally can’t stand grinding to overcome an arbitrary level or money barrier within the main game, but your mileage may vary on this front, and that’ll determine if the Air Castle is a joyous crusade through endless screens of monsters or (in my opinion) where the game gets saddled with boat anchors and ironically grinds to a halt for a while.


Phantasy Star IV also offers a decent challenge, and you can expect to fight battles to the limit of your resources especially against the tougher bosses. It requires you to play smart and the death of one party member in battle often results in a snowball effect. This never actually becomes bothersome, and it seems to strike just the right note of challenge versus frustration, where your second attempt on a boss is not tempered with the feeling of how much of a crock the game is, but rather how you can do better next time.

Returning to the story, without spoiling I can say that Phantasy Star IV is not a complex yarn. It is told in broad strokes and doesn’t deal in complex character development or issues, but while it isn’t a smart tale it is a smartly told one. I’ve long professed my preference for complex and rich fiction but at the same time I can equally enjoy movies, games and books that are just well made, raw entertainment, and that is where Phantasy Star IV falls. It even has a few stand out moments that don’t overstay their welcome but show the presence of brains and heart in the story, such as Chaz’s discussion on fate and the supposed “benevolence” of a god that leaves its people to suffer, and in particular a moment early in the game that, well, let’s just say I hope you saved the tissues you used when bad shit happened to Aeris in Final Fantasy VII as you’re going to need them here too.


There are even the great little touches and side parts of the game that are worth mentioning. Vehicle fights that are brief but add a nice bit of flavour to traversing the various landscapes; a side quest system that puts to shame the quests of modern RPGs with the creativity and scripting involved in how they play out, not to mention the game’s phenomenal soundtrack (I have no shame in admitting that Machine Center was my ringtone for a while), all of which are noteworthy. The game might not be complex in its story, characters or combat relative to some modern games, but even disregarding the limitations of the sixteen bit age I cannot deny the fact that Phantasy Star IV is simply well executed and supremely entertaining from start to finish.

It’s odd, actually. After Phantasy Star IV the series petered out with Phantasy Star Online but otherwise has not seen another single player incarnation since. The console wars between Nintendo and Sega that were the background to Phantasy Star IV’s release have faded into memory, and our present state of affairs seems to suggest there weren’t any real winners. Nintendo’s Wii U is not exactly faring well and Sega have long since left the console market entirely. Even Final Fantasy, which for me peaked at Final Fantasy VII and arguably has seen better days, is not exempt. But Phantasy Star IV’s conclusion as the “finale” of the series has given it a kind of timelessness, unsullied by relatively weak sequels unlike Final Fantasy and with Sega releasing it as part of various collections still very much available to a mass audience. The fact that it is available on Steam for the price of a fish and chip supper is all the more incentive why you should pick it up, and if you’re a console owner I can assure you the Mega Drive collections are very worthwhile as well. Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium, might have suggested by its title a sense of finality, but it very much lives on, and your own time could scarcely be better spent for the cost.


1 – Prices for the SEGA Mega Drive collections which feature Phantasy Star IV may vary between retailers.

2 – The price listed here is for the standalone Steam version of Phantasy Star IV. There are numerous compilation packs which include it that you may find of interest.

-       - Shadon1010 once tried going into space man, I always wanted you to go into space, man.

News: Keiji Inafune Wishes for Mega Man Legends 3

Comcept’s Keiji Inafune spoke with US Gamer earlier, and says he would still like to make Mega Man Legends 3. In fact, it’s the game he wants to make most!

If somebody asked, even right now, what’s the game you want to create most? It’s still Legends 3,” Inafune states. “I put so much effort into that game, so much passion into that game, but it didn’t happen. It’s always a regret in my mind. Even now…

We all know that’s not going to happen, though, as long as Capcom holds the IP,” Inafune continued. “But if they asked me to make that game, I could still gather most of the original team, even right now. Some of them have quit Capcom, some of them are still at Capcom, but I believe that team would be passionate enough to come back together and create that game. So… we’ll see what’s going to happen. You never know.

The cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3 while Inafune was still working at Capcom seemingly inspried him to create spiritual successors to the Mega Man games in the form of Mighty No. 9 and Azure Striker Gunvolt on his own while collaborating with the likes of Inti Creates (A studio harbouribng numerous members who have worked on Mega Man before) until the time arises that he may get what he wishes for.

Inafune added, “Let’s say that, if we have all seven Dragon Balls right here, right now, and Shen Long comes up and says, ‘What’s your wish?’ My wish would be, give me all the right tools, people, and environment to create Legends 3.

News: Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi set for the states


Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi will be available in North America on May 6th, Aksys Games announced yesterday. The release will include stories from the PSP & 3DS Hakuoki games that Aksys localised previously, with some added bonus story content thrown into the mix. Post launch DLC for the game will be available as well. The limited edition of the game (Pictured above) will cost $59.99, and will include a traditional omamori love charm, a hair comb and hair pin, all packaged in a lovely box with the game. No mention as of yet for an EU release, but then the Ps3 is region-free so importing is always an option.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Naoto & Ken Come on down!

In this latest trailer the focus is on Police Wondergirl Naoto & SEES very own Ken.




More examples of how the teams will interact with each other in this trailer. Recently announced details show this off to be a lot closer to Etrian than Persona, this may split the fan base but I still couldn't be more excited for this title.

Still no US or EUR date has been given but stay with us as once it's announced will we have it here along with a complete catch up!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

News: Freedom War Details & Intro Video


There has been some now information released for upcoming Vita title, Freedom Wars.
Following the actual release date the other day, details have been released (via Famitsu) on two characters and on the different modes (systems) within the game;

Characters

  • Elfride “Sakamoto” Cabrera (voiced by Nao Toyama) – “The Ultimate Battle Maiden.” She has brown skin and short green hair. While she looks young, she’s actually the current champion of the “Royal Round,” an illegal underground arena. Her name is noticeably similar to the previously revealed Uwe “Sakamoto” Cabrera, but their relationship is unknown.
  • Carlos “Theodosius” Jinnah (voiced by Keiji Fujiwara) – “The Standoffish Hedonist.” A young man who walks around with ruffled hair. He’s a Criminal aligned with the Nog Panopticon, which is friendly towards the Panopticon the hero is attached to. Standing as Uwe’s rival, he’s bad company to keep around, opting to simply enjoy his life and survive rather than focus on saving his fellow comrades or reducing his prison sentence.

Systems

City-State War Mode
  • Players are split up into 47 Panopticons representing Japan’s 47 prefectures and compete to develop their respective Panopticon.
  • To do so, players go out and hunt for natural resources, invading other Panopticons in the process.
  • Successful delivery of these resources contributes to the development of players’ Panopticons.
  • Panopticons that have developed can place other Panopticons under their control.
  • City-State leaderboards are also present.

Resource Contributions
  • Criminals fight among themselves as part of the City-State War Mode.
  • Targets are small in size, requiring forethought and planning during fights in order to come out on top.

Artificial Abductors
  • Abductor parts are among the resources that players gather, but it’s unknown whether they can be actively utilized.
  • A new bipedal bombardment unit, “Kabuto,” has been introduced. Sporting a body that spins on top of a base installed above its slim legs, it’s equipped with large guns. It appears to be highly mobile and is proficient at close-quarters combat.

Player Rewards
  • Prisoners that extensively contribute to their Panopticon are rewarded, with accessory customization being among the different types of rewards that can be attained.
  • One type of customization includes voices that can be triggered during gameplay.
  • Such voices include responses to commands that are doled out and expressing gratitude. These voices can be set freely.
Finally, Sony have released the intro video for the title.  Freedom Wars is heading the PS Vita, in Japan, on June 26th.  Will you be importing?



News: Conception II Two More Characters Details


Two more character trailers have been dropped for Conception II.  This time there are for Chloe & Ellie.

Older sister to Chlotz, Chloe is a super genius and a teach to the disciples.  She is not a character to mess with and she will keep you and the others in line.  But saying that, she does know how to have a good time every now and again.

Ellie, is is described as a little weird, comes with green hair and starry eyes.  She also boasts a high magic attack stat too.

Chloe


Ellie



News: Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition content detailed


Earlier today, Tecmo Koei released a detailed chart showing the content differences between the console versions of the game. With the Ps4 & Vita both featuring DW8 and Xtreme Legends packaged together into a complete edition, it seems there's still a little confusion around about what that entailed which TK felt needed clearing up. As you can see, If you have a save file from DW8 imported to Xtreme Legends on ps3, you'll have access to the same content as the Ps4 & Vita users will be recieving. Its good to see confirmation that the handheld Vita version is just as feature packed as its console brethern with nothing cut to fit onto the Vita. Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition (Ps4 & Vita) & Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends (Ps3) are all set to launch on the same date of 4th April.

News: Corpse Party: Blood Drive dated in Japan


This week’s issue of Famitsu magazine shares the latest on the Playstation Vita sequel to Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, Corpse Party: Blood Drive, that is rumoured to be picking up the story from where the first game ended with most of the cast returning (Ayumi Shinozaki, Naomi Nakashima, Magari Mizuki & Aiko Niwa). Corpse Party: Blood Drive will also have exploration sections as the original game had and its engine will be rendering in 3D, as apposed to the original 2D sprites, with a clear ChiBi styling in place. With the game reputed to be 70% complete in its development cycle, a summer date of July 24, 2014 has been issued in Japan for the title. With previous localisation on PsP, The game could potentially see a digital release in the west at a later date. One to keep an eye on.

Famitsu magazine scan -

Destroyer Trillion trailer & Hell's #1 House


Here’s a look at the first trailer for Destroyer Trillion! Moreover, as detailed by Siliconera, Compile Heart have also revealed a new project called Hell’s #1 House, and it turns out that Hell’s House #1 is not a game, but a new 'label' that will feature games with hellish themes/characters.locations etc. The creative nous involved are Disgaea 4 director Masahiro Yamamoto, Disgaea composer Tenpei Sato, and Mugen Souls artist Kei Nanameda. So not only does it sound like a new label, but a whole new development team filled with names familiar to those of a niche JRPG orientation. Its going to be interesting seeing what else is in store for the future.

Character artwork for Destroyer Trillion is also available over at [Siliconera]

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Review: Shin Megami Tensei (IOS)

What awaiteth thee past this door?



March 18th is a date etched in most Shin Megami Tensei fans head's, why? because it'll be the first time SMT 1 has released officially outside of Japan!. In an unexpected but welcome move by ATLUS they are putting Shin Megami Tensei on the App Store, fully translated for everyone to enjoy!.

Story

The story is set in Tokyo in the year 199X. Demons from the nether-realm of Makai have found their way back to Earth, and as such have upset the balance of power. A charismatic Japanese leader attempts a coup d'├ętat using these demons as a potent military force, forcing America to intervene with its military. The player, as the hero, becomes involved when sent a Devil Summoning Program via email which allows him to converse with and recruit demons to fight for him, storing them as digital data on his computer.

In the aftermath of the ensuing destruction, the hero must decide what kind of world should be created on its ruins. Will he side with the angels and create a kingdom of absolute order that would last for a thousand years, or will he side with the demons and bring about an eternal anarchy, or will he choose neither, and destroy everyone who opposes him?. (Excerpt from Wikipedia)

As you can see there is alot going on in the story of SMT, especially when you think that this originally released in 1992. Using a real world setting for an RPG was an original thing at the time and the dark story certainly set it apart & still does to this day. The game leaves you in the real world long enough for you to grow to it before it strips it away and presents destruction and death. 
There are some scenes in this game which still stir emotions in this day & age, there is a scene around about 40 mins into the game which quite shocked me, it was fairly unexpected and I haven't really seen it done since it. 
There are points where it is quite vague on what is happening but I find this to be a plus as it kickstarts your imagination which can sometimes paint more vivid images than that of the greatest cutscenes. 


Gameplay 

Shin Megami Tensei is a first person dungeon crawling RPG from 1992 & originally released on the Super Nintendo. With a steep difficulty level and at around 30-40 hours of gameplay this is quite the meal when compared to most IOS games available today. 

The majority of your time is spent in first person view mode, exploring various facilities, malls, hospitals, cathedrals & various other locations. As previously mentioned the first half of the game is a "real world" setting and as such the dungeons are usually themed around a modern institution. For example the first proper dungeon in the game is a hospital, quite a unique setting for it's time!. 
The only drawback is with it being a SNES port the dungeons are quite bare making it occasionally a chore to navigate, you'll be pushing through various corridors which all seem to blend together and have you looking at the Auto-Mapping APP more than you would like. 
This hasn't been too much of an issue as the dungeons are all of manageable size & I have only found myself getting lost a few times when I hadn't quite been paying attention to where I had been going.



The world map is just like most SMT titles, it shows the city & you control a blue "person" icon to navigate. The settings are pretty staggering fortunatly ATLUS have made important buildings different colours as to stand out. The streets are quite a squeeze on this & you may find yourself hitting the barricades or re-entering buildings due to the touch controls and the way the icon moves. 

Battles are a standard fare, as with dungeons it's in a first person view. Due to limitations there is only ever 1 sprite on the screen but there are icons showing just how many enemies. This never effected me during my playthrough & I personally found the sprites interesting as it's a way of seeing how some staple demons in the series started out. 
Demon Negotiation is present in this title and is just as important as ever, see a demon you like? chat to it and see if you can persuade it to join your team! such is this life of a Devil Summoner. It's alot simpler than the later titles but still just as unusual and slightly addictive. Demons don't level up so once you have no use for them you can either release or fuse them, as Demons consume MAG you don't want dead weight left about causing issues later on.  

As mentioned before this is a TOUGH game, separates the men from the boys so to speak!. Money, MAG & equipment is hard to come across and forces you to really think about your loadout and when to use items. Some enemies are capable of "instadeath" moves and some just hit really hard & do not let up. It's honestly refreshing to have a challenge like this in an RPG, as of late alot of the ones I have played I have had no issues sailing through. Despite how well versed I am with SMT this title still kept me on my toes through the whole playthrough!. 

Verdict

Shin Megami Tensei 1 is a curious title, the announcement that it was coming out translated & on the IOS format was a surprise. It seems to have split fans down the middle about it, some want a release on the handheld consoles Vita & 3DS. Others are just happy that it has finally officially released outside of Japan officially. 
Originally I wasn't too comfortable with this on IOS, i rarely game on my I Phone so it's far from my perfect choice. After playing this & causing myself several missed buses, sleepless nights and toilet visits that have lasted far longer than they should I can honestly say i couldn't be happier it's here on IOS. It's a nice old school feast for SMT fans on the go, I say feast because this is a 30+ RPG on the go with no cuts. It even comes with a theatre mode and a section where you can read about the demons, it's a full retail release on IOS and is perfectly worth every penny & every stolen hour it'll take from you. With a few different branching paths to go down this is one you'll have installed and see frequent visits from!. 

Who Should Buy This?

  • Fans of the Shin Megami Tensei series e.g Nocturne & Digital Devil Saga 
  • Fans of old school SNES RPGs 
  • Looking for a challenge with a dark story line? Yeah this has it in spades! 

Who Should Avoid This? 

  • Want Persona on the go? You are gonna have to sit this one out? 
  • Like having your hand held and pushed through Dungeons? Yeah sit down 
  • If you are looking for cutting edge graphics this couldn't be less appealing to you 

9/10


"Old school Devil Summoning goodness on the go, just don't expect to be done with it in any less than 25 hours. A true look back at one of the golden games of RPG" 



Many thanks to ATLUS for providing us with the review code for this title 

Impressions: Crazy Taxi (iOS/Android)

With SEGA set to release a new F2P Crazy Taxi game on mobile, as alluded to in the showing of a new trailer for the game earlier, the original Crazy Taxi port has been posted up as a freeebie in what can only be described as a nice gesture from the old stalwart. With it only being listed as such till the 19th March (Tomorrow!) I thought it may be prudent to do a short impression post in case theres anyone still out there sitting on the fence over whether this is a good port or not -

Crazy Taxi: City Rush announced for iOS & Android


Sega are developing the next game for the Crazy Taxi series on mobile phones in Crazy Taxi: City Rush. The new release is being developed by Hardlight Studios with input from the creator of the original, Kenji Kanno.

I’m very excited to finally be able to share with you the first news of Crazy Taxi: City Rush,” said Kenji Kanno. “We are delivering a truly fun game that captures everything our fans love about the original and infusing it with several new features to create an even more fantastic and memorable experience.

The above announcement trailer should give some indication of whats in store. Sega state the new release will have “one-touch, intuitive controls” and will take place in a large city sitting, which sounds good enough. You’ll need to swipe the screen to change lanes, turn corners and launch yourself off ramps - here it sounds a little like Sonic Dash though. The game will be F2P afterall, so if its not for you then it doesn't cost anything, but Im hopeful with Kenji Kanno involved. Crazy Taxi: City Rush due on iOS and Android devices later in the year

News - Freedom Wars Release Date set for Japan


This weeks Famitsu has announced that Freedom Wars will be released in Japan on June 26th.  The retail price will come in at 6,264 Yen and the download price is 5,184 Yen.

Earlier adopters will receive a Formal Wear costume and battle packs which include weapons such as the AAw-M2 rocket launcher and the TB-32/H Sword.


At launch the game will include the story mode, free volunteer mode, four player ad-hoc and City State ware modes.  Future updates will bring extra volunteers, an infrastructure mode, eight player multiplayer and a PvP mode.


New Dekamori Senran Kagura Trailer


With the latest entry in the series set for release on the Playstation Vita on March 20th, a new trailer has been unleashed.  If you’re wondering why the girls are now cooking instead of kicking other Shinobi's butt, the trailer reveals a story tidbit whereby a special ninja scroll that can change the balance of power for the world will be given to the winner of a cooking tournament which the two schools obviously partake in, with Asuka's grandfather (Hanzo) as the judge. Why? Who knows. Even Homura asks the same question in the trailer!

2 Possible localisations from Idea Factory?


Siliconera Posted up earlier that Idea Factory are looking to bring Amnesia V, an otome game with a heroine that loses her memories, and also Moero Chronicle, the dungeon RPG sequel to Monster Monpiece which has still yet to see a release in the east (IF starting early on this one it seems) The publisher is looking for licensing partners to get the games published on the Playstation Vita in the west. This doesn't mean the games are definetly coming though. Idea Factroy do have their international office based in the US, but it seems that is only to be used as a fallback & possibly only have the resources to complete one localisisation themselves. With Idea Factory taking a similar route with Monster Monpiece and having to self publish, things aren't looking too good but at least we have news of possible localisations!

iliconera has learned Idea Factory is looking to bring Amnesia V, an otome game with a heroine that loses her memories when the game, overseas. The publisher is looking for licensing partners for the game.


Monday, 17 March 2014

News - One More Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Trailer

Listen to my story. This...may be our last chance.


For those lucky ones in the US, Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD is released and to mark this date, Square Enix have released another video.  The video features the story and game play for both titles and if it your are not already excited for this collection, this sure will help.  Out of all HD collection to grace the Sony consoles, this seems to be the one which most effort has been put into.  It has improved graphics, audio and even new features.

Final Fantasy X|X-2 HD Collection is hitting the US tomorrow and the EU on the 21st March.  We will be reviewing the titles as soon as we get our hands on a copy.

Until then, sit back and enjoy.


News - Horror title "Home" coming to PS4/PSVita


Acclaimed horror PC title Home is heading to the PS4 and PS Vita later this year.
The game is has a simple design, simple controls but was loved for its thick atmosphere and rich sound.
"Part of Home’s charm is that it’s entirely dependent on the player; it isn’t a march towards Ending A or Ending B – it’s the journey itself that is affected, as all your little choices subtly change how your character perceives the world around him. It’s a game that people love playing and then discussing afterward to compare notes and theories."
 The greatest part of the game is that it was designed to be played alone and in the dark or as the the studios recommends;
"or alley, or barn, or deep, dank forest"
The studio has stated that everything which is in the current version PC version and there may be a few extras too.

More information to come at a later date.
 

News - Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends heading to the PC (in Japan)


The upcoming expansion to Dynasty Warriors 8 is heading to PC in Japan.
It will contain all the same content as the console counterparts and all the free DLC from Dynasty Warriors 8 and Xtreme Legends will be available on disc.
One neat little feature is that you will have the option to change the graphics quality to suit your system.

Released Specs;
CPU: at least Core2Duo 2.4GHz (Core i7 860 recommended)
Memory: at least 512MB (1GB recommended)
Hard-Drive: at least 18GB of free space
Video Card: at least VRAM256MB (512MB recommended), at least DirectX 9.0c, as well as Pixel Shader 3.0 support and a 3D Accelerator Chip
Soundboard: One that supports at least DirectX 9.0c
Gamepad: Supported
As you can see from the above specs, the game is not too demanding.  Remember though that the PC release is only slated for Japan and that none of the previous titles have been released worldwide on the PC.


Dynasty Warriors 8 Xtreme Legends is being released on PC in Japan on May 23rd.  The PS4 version is already out in Japan as is set to release in the US on March 25th (next week) & April 4th in the EU.

Koji Igarashi leaves Konami


Earlier today IGN reported that one of the producers on the original Castlevania series, Koji Igarashi, has left Konami as of Saturday, March 15th. But fear not, as Igarashi intends to open a new game development studio and focus on creating games more in tune with his past efforts -

I’ve decided to break out on my own to have the freedom to make the kind of games I really want to make—the same kind I think fans of my past games want as well,” Igarashi told IGN. “Leaving Konami was a big decision, and not one I took lightly—I’ve spent my entire career there, made many friends, and had a lot of great opportunities—but I hope all the gamers and fans who have supported me in the past will join me in being excited about what comes next. Wish me luck!

Its going to be interesting to see what develops from his departure.

Gauntlet reboot set for PC




With Gauntlet we combined the arcade style of the original game with an entirely new look and feature set that includes emergent, local and online four-player gameplay,” said David Haddad, Senior Vice President, Digital Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. "Gauntlet will be the first title in the WB Games Vault portfolio, which will provide us with an opportunity to access emerging talent within the game development community and match unique skills and experience with our extensive library of properties. Gauntlet is being developed by Arrowhead Game Studios. The game will include four classes—Warrior, Wizard, Valkyrie and Elf. Each class will have its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Warrior does the most damage, while the Eflt moves the fastest. Meanwhile, Valkyrie has the most armour and Wizard uses the most powerful magic"

"To us at Arrowhead, Gauntlet is one of the most defining games from our childhoods, and it’s amazing to be able to work with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment on a brand new version,” said Johan Pilestedt, CEO of Arrowhead Game Studios. "Gauntlet is one of the original and best known video game properties and we are looking forward to creating a fresh, yet true to the original, take on a multiplayer masterpiece.

One reboot thats a little unexpected. Fresh off the press with the above announcement & trailer to go with it, Warner Brothers are to be releasing a revamped Gauntlet on the PC via Steam. No official date has been set, only a 'summer' tag, and no mention of platforms other than PC as of yet too.

Persona 3 Movie #2 set for summer



A release date has been announced for the Persona 3 #2 Movie. Here's a trailer to go with the announcement, provided by Gematsu. It seems a summer release is in effect for June 7th in Japan. Still no firm announcement for the original movie having a BR/DVD release yet in the west, but that will come in time hopefully as its set to release on May 14th in Japan.

2 new Hyperdimension Neptunia titles announced

Turns out the latest Atelier game in the series wasn't the only big announcment at Dengeki Game Festival, as 2 new entries in the Hyperdimension Neptunia series was also announced.
One of the titles shown was Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory II. The video shown at the event had snippets & tags “a goddess who fell into the dark side”/“the modification of Gamindustri”/“the biggest threat of the series will arrive”. Nothing else was really shown but it does get the mind pondering on what all this could mean for the lore of the series as this will no doubt be a direct sequel to the original Victory. Interestingly, the biggest question from most fans at the moment seems to be whether this means a return will be in store for Plutia....
 Another title announced at the event was Ultra Dimension Action Neptunia U. As you can guess from the 'Action' in the tag, the genre is more than likely action. A slogan of “slash-and-boing” attached to the announcment pretty much confirms its not going to be an ARPG, more hack & slash. Whether that means along  the lines of say Dynasty Warriors or DmC, noone really knows as of yet.
Heres a solitary screenshot captured for Ultra Dimension Action Neptunia U -
A platform for the two games was not announced though & a release is set for later in the year (2014). With the series having strong ties to the Ps3 & VIta, they are more than likely - but the U at the end of Ultra Dimension Action Neptunia leads some to beleive it to be a possible WiiU release in the series. An interesting, and possible, assumption. Both games will be detailed more thoroughly in the Dengeki Playstation magazine #564 which is due to release on April 10th. Thats going to be an interesting day.

New Atelier codenamed Project A16


As previously teased, A new entry in the Atelier 'Dusk' arc has been announced at Dengeki Game Festival and has been given the codename of Project A16. The only other information available as of now is that the character pictured above is indeed the main protagonist (voiced by Kotori Koiwai) with Hidari returning to continue their work on the character designs. More information for the game is set to be detailed in the next issue of Dengeki Playstation Magazine, set for release on March 26th

A teaser trailer has been made available (Credit goes to Game Jouhou)