Monday, September 25, 2017

TGS Zanki Zero trailer

Spike Chunsoft must be looking for new projects as Danganronpa V3 winds down after release. With aquatic RPG Zanki Zero (announced back in April) coming along well, I wonder what surprises the company has down the line. For now though, enjoy this new trailer from Tokyo Game Show, I had hoped this would be rather special, but it does look like a pretty stock DRPG, although the story could elevate it about the many contemporaries. Still no news on a release date beyond 2018.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Catch up on the TGS live streams from Sega/Atlus and D3

Overnight these guys had a lot to show from new Phantasy Star Online 2 content to Bullet Girls Phantasia, plus the usual bedlam of cosplay, shouty hosts and other goings on. Catch up on Sony's main press event (with English) if you missed it from earlier in the week.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Demon Gaze II character trailer

Stella's Place sounds like a bar I'd like my own stool at. But in Demon Gaze II it plays host to this line up of characters, most of which you'd probably want to avoid like the plague. For example, I'm sure everyone gets a bit nervous when their local version of Lezerem, a black-market radio dealer who supports the Revolutionists turns up with some dodgy goods on offer!

Steins Gate Elite first look

Are we ready for more drama and heartbreak in the world of Steins Gate? Well, there's Chaos Child on the way soon, to tide us over. But this new story from 5pb, based on the latest anime and more in tune with its visual style with full animation will be hitting Japan next year. Will the running ever end? And will the story lend itself to this more fluid style?

D3 shows off Bullet Girls Phantasia

Yep, the Bullet Girls are back for another triggy happy outing in Japan, with word of an English language Asian version if you're keen, and with D3 reluctant to bring the series west. This time they are fighting dragons and demons, while offering the usual fan service fun.

A Certain Magical Virtual-On first look

Shown off at TGS, we finally get a look at some gameplay of the worst-named cross-over title ever. A Certain Magical Virtual-On provides plenty of bot-on-bot action, which looks pretty basic on the PS4, but I suspect the Vita version will lose most of the little detail there is.

The bland looks will probably annoy PS4 owners more, and unless you're deeply into your mechs, I can't see this being worth an import, even with all the English language text floating around.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Battle Princess Madelyn first trailer

After its Kickstarter success, Casual Bit has a classy first trailer for Battle Princess Madelyn. And, while some developers leave the Vita version off the list of platforms as a to-do-list afterthought, they've had the decency to put it in there with all the others.

Hopefully, we'll be seeing the Ghosts n Goblins homage sometime next year, can't wait!

The slide continues for Vita sales in Japan

Japanese gamers bow before an influx of Winning 11 and F1 games this week, leaving no room for a new Vita title. Only Minecraft is left to represent the handheld, selling another 3,160 copies to pull it clear of 1.2 million boxed sales.

The Vita itself sees another tick down to 3,847 units according to Media Create sales data. That trend of losing 50-80 sales a week (excluding a Christmas spike) would see the Vita hit zero in around another year, approaching its seventh birthday. And, since Sony has shown no sign of a successor device, I guess production would end next summer. Snap them up while you can folks!

Vita cracks heads with Super Skull Smash GO! 2 Turbo

Super Skull Smash GO! 2 Turbo from Thomas Hopper and TACS Games is an action puzzle platformer about smashing skulls, designed from the ground up for the PS Vita. If it looks a little familiar, It is the sequel to PS Mobile game "Super Skull Smash GO!" Thomas' previous work includes "Out of Mind" and PSM game of the year "Console Saga".

The game features hardcore platforming action set over 30 levels across 6 world themes with giant retro boss battles. There's also plenty of secrets and easter eggs to find, all to an authentic chiptune soundtrack.

With this and Life of Pixel headed our way, wonder if any other PSM titles will get a second lease of life? Check out the trailer and some screens...


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SteamWorld Dig 2 launch trailer

Just a week to go until we get to enjoy SteamWorld Dig on the Vita. While the gameplay looks familiar, this launch trailer shows off the new interface, and a bunch of new levels and new types of gameplay mechanics.

Image and Form are a class act, and I hope this isn't their last Vita game (on the basis that sales will likely be tiny compared to the Switch edition), but if it is, they will be going out in style.

Review: Danganronpa V3 Killing Harmony

Note: I'm still wading through the blood in the meat of DV3KH, and you can't take screenshots past the first chapter, so this review should be pretty spoiler free.

Review: Damn, that's one long prologue, Danganronpa V3 immediately feels like a beefier game than its predecessors, allowing you to explore more of the Ultimate School and meet a new generation of classmates who will soon be doing dirty deeds to each other. The game is certainly better and sharper looking too!

The long intro isn't helped by the charmless antics of the Monokub bears as they pop in and out to intercede. That's before the one-and-only Monokuma shows up to start proceedings properly. At least he has the decency to mock the length of the game's intro!

In between all the tutorials, we find the usual bat-shit crazy Ultimate this, that and other students. Around the school, there's lots of places for murdering to be done, and plenty of tools for job. If you've never played a Danganronpa game before, then it makes for a useful if extended intro, navigating the halls, using the map properly, looking for clues and guessing what will happen next.

Then, the diabolical plans come into play as the 16 students get the obvious "here's an easy escape route" out of their systems, via a neat 2D platform mini-game. They bunk in for the night and wonder how they will get out of the Academy sealed inside a very massive budgie cage, alive.

On with the killing

The first death and the ensuing class trial thankfully pick up the pace. Once the crime has been discovered, you learn to use the Focus View to see what's important in a room, clicking on everything is essential to progressing the story, sometimes more than once as views, people and rooms change.

Without giving too much away, it is easy to see where the various avenues of investigation fall down or stand up, especially if you've ever played a previous version or seen an episode of Dexter or CSI. Evidence and stories are gathered as Truth Bullets, with a smattering of dark humour, funny discoveries and huge amounts of cod emoting from the cast of increasingly defensive characters.

There are characters you will love, those that you hate, but most have dark histories that can skew your loyalties one way, then the other. Danganronpa remains one of the few games that can put you through such an emotional rollercoaster, even if the over-acting will take the edge off for some.

Then we're off to the trial, the one bit of the series I really don't like, with its increasingly infuriating truth bullets and seemingly random word blasting. This long, drawn out process of elimination is often confusing and badly-explained, especially at the higher difficulty levels and is definitely a trial to get through. The new games don't really add much other than variety, Scrum Debates feel pointless with the whole class shouting at each other, the rhythm section feels out of place, while the car racing Psyche Taxi game could make a good freebie title in its own right.

Trial by twists, and twisted by the trial

The further you get into the story, the deeper the plots the become, with more clues, more lies and deceit, and the body count soon mounts up. There's a neat retro trip into virtual reality, and a lesson in game coding, but it all ends up at the trials which more complicated as the numbers thin out, and the twists come thick and fast. It is easy to feel overwhelmed at times, but speeding through the pleas, anger and denial means you lose some of the raw edge to the game, so I recommend persevering and taking your finger off the advance button.

Between the trials, there's a little personal time where you can get to know your classmates better and befriend them with gifts, but that's always felt a rather tacked-on part of the series.

There are a few annoyances in D3, most of which run through the series. Primarily that if you investigate things randomly, then some of the information appears out of sequence. It always seems best to talk to people first, then look at the evidence, but that removes some of the freedom to explore how you like.

Then there are the annoying trial games, especially at the higher difficulty levels, even with the gimmicks and assists it offers. I'd be delighted if there was an option just to fill out the comic strip timeline, the last act of any trial, as a substitute for someone who just wants to play through the story.

However, the game is held together by its gut-shredding plot, some clever/annoying twists in the later rounds, capped by the gruesome finales and that stomach-churning need to know who will come out at the end. With superb, lunatic, character design, the game holds its charm, while the vivid, lurid, colours in the world help Danganronpa V3 rivet itself to your eyeballs.

Price: £TBC Amazon UK, $39.99 Amazon US, PSN: TBC
More reviews
Score: 9/10
Dev: Spike Chunsoft
Size: 3GB
Progress: Then there were seven

Semispheres bongs its way to the Vita

French team Playscope's Semispheres won many plaudits based on the PC release back in 2016, now us Vita owners get a go at this ambient, dual-sided puzzler. Plan ahead as you work on the left and right on the screen, and trigger the parallel puzzles to get both of your half-heroes through to the end of the level.

Chaos Child confirmed for October with new trailer

PQube hopes to continue with the success of Stein's Gate and its sequel with the Chaos Child visual novel causing a ruckus among western Vita owners next month. Part of the sprawling Science Adventure series, it takes place in the same world, but has an interest in altenate realities rather than time travel, likely with the same twists and turns, and a high level of emotional involvement.

Chaos;Child will release in Europe on October 13, and North America on October 24.

13 Sentinels trailer shows off some stomping, skulking, running gameplay

The previous sneaky looks at Vanillaware and Atlus' 13 Sentinels have been purely art-based, but in this new TGS trailer, we get to see some "action", if you like people running, walking and the ankles of a great big bot doing a little stomping. The game, from Dragon Crown's George Kamitani's could still be anything, but is definitely the most interesting thing out of the show.

With a "coming 2018" tag at the end, and Vita still listed as a format, is this final farewell to big budget Vita games? Looks like it since there was no new hardware on show from Sony, so enjoy the Vita while it lasts.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Ys VIII is your UK retail Vita No. 1

Falcom's new RPG only went on sale on Friday, so I'm assuming most of these were pre-orders, but Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is the Vita retail No. 1, for whatever that's worth. I don't see the PS4 version (same price) in any list, not even the PS4 dedicated chart, so while the figures are probably minuscule, the Vita version at least gets a bit of kudos for making an effort.

1. new Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (Falcom
2. + Metal Gear Solid HD (Konami)
3. - Minecraft (Mojang)
4. + Killzone Mercenary (Sony)
5 - Call of Duty Black Ops (Activision)

Chart information Copyright UKIE