Monday, April 24, 2017

SAO: Hollow Realization getting Abyss of the Shrine Maiden DLC

Sword Art Online fans will have a lot more adventuring on their plates soon, as Bandai start to roll out the DLC for Hollow Realization.  This first batch of DLC on 16th May, with two more chapters to follow.

The first DLC will put you in the shoes of Kirito and his friends exploring a new stage in Aincrad Castle - where flaming earth, magma and heat waves dominate the atmosphere. While trying to clear this incredible new stage players will also be faced with the challenge of trying to defeat Bane - the crimson demon. Keep your eyes peeled as a mysterious masked person makes his appearance. Will it be an ally or a new enemy?

Along with the main scenario comes the following:
  • Heroine Quest – where you will have the chance to add Asuna, Lisbeth, Silica and Premiere as heroines in the first chapter.
  • Enigma Order Quest – where you can acquire the precious Fuse Paragon, Mystic and Ultana GP.
  • Items and skills-  for becoming powerful as never before.
  • Customization -  change the appearance of the main characters.

More screens and detail on Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Memory

Following on from the recent Japanese update, here's a look at some new western screens of Digimon Cyber Sleuth: Hacker's Story in action. These focus on the Internet Cafe where the hacker and his friends get together, including Hacker genius Erika Mishima. The game arrives in early 2018 here, but progress seems to be going well.

 To prove his innocence, Keisuke Amazawa has to become a new member of Hudíe -  a hacking group of the digital world. The team is used to meet in an internet café in Ikebukuro to solve and settle all kinds of troubles in the digital world. From there, Keisuke Amazawa will be able to access underground websites, accept a variety of requests (and unlock many new quests by interacting with various NPC) to become the perfect hacker and solve the digital mysteries.

 By using Digimon abilities, the new generation of hackers can use several hacking skills to unlock security or support the Hudíe members such as Erika Mishima, a genius girl who acquired mysterious powers following an accident. Conflict between hackers becomes intense especially when Fey, the leader of the biggest hacker group called Zaxon, uses Hudíe to get rid of the hackers who interfere with her business.

Akiba's Beat Story trailer

This popped up last week, but is well worth checking out, as are the pics comparing the real Akihabara to the in-game version. PQube are bringing Acquire's Akiba's Beat to western gamers, on May 19 (Europe). The action RPG with a musical twist is set in an accurate but stylised recreation of Akihabara.

As dark forces descend on the town, the people’s memories, hopes and dreams manifest in reality and warp Akihabara in strange ways, threatening the very fabric of space and time!

Persona 5 triggers sales of Persona 4 titles

While it might not be big numbers, the arrival of Persona 5 has seen sales of the Vita's Persona roster rise. Off the back of Persona 5, it is good to see Persona 4: Dancing All Night as UK retail No. 1, with Persona 4 Golden also returning to the top 10 at No. 9. While some people were down on the tranquil nature of Root Letter, the placid visual novel still clings to the higher end of the chart after 24 weeks of release.

And with news that Persona 5 Dancing might be on the cards, who knows if another bout of story-laden musical tapping could be heading our way.

1. Persona 4: Dancing All Night (NISA)
2. Root Letter (PQube)
3. MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death (Idea Factory)
4. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Warner)
5. Danganronpa Ultra Despair Girls (NISA)

Leisure software charts compiled by Chart Track, (C)2017 UKIE Ltd

Oddly enough, even with Persona 4 Golden at £3.99 on UK PSN, its not among the current top sellers, perhaps because everybody owns it.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday is Japanese game trailer day

Yep, another new collection of clips race across the Internet, as eager western gamers wonder what will come our way. First up is Exile Election, the not-quite-Danganronpa title from NIS. Then there's the boy band idol VN Marginal 4 and finally, Artdink has a new trailer to keep promoting Neo Atlas 1469, with a look at the Portuguese traders of the time.

Will add more as they arrive.

And they keep coming, enjoy yet another Blue Reflection trailer, added to the bottom, focusing on some special puzzles for keen players.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Persona 5 Dancing All Night a possibility?

Atlus in Japan has registered a bunch of sites recently. with the names, and and listed. Its not too far of a stretch to imagine a Persona 5 Dancing game, and a Persona 5 Ultimax fighting game using the characters from the new episode. What the others are could be anyone's guess, but the chances of a Persona 5 Golden seem to be slipping fast as Vita sales in Japan.

2015's Persona 4 DAN was fun, but jammed with too much chat, and fluff. Hopefully any future game, assuming it came to Vita would be tightened up. However, Switch or other formats are now more likely.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Vita sales continue to fall as Switch takes hold in Japan

Vita sales slid to a level not seen since the barren post-launch wasteland of 2012 in Japan, with the machine selling 5,600 in the latest Media Create hardware sales figures.

Sales are definitely been caned by the Switch, which is selling every unit Nintendo can make in Japan, with Mario Kart to come in a couple of weeks. And with Minecraft coming to Switch soon, it should make an easy replacement for all those Japanese currently loving the blocky game on their Vita.

The only Vita interest on the chart, aside from Minecraft, is Entergram's new busty schoolgirl adventure RepKiss which managed to sell around 3,000 copies.

Still, things are looking up over the next few weeks, with Sting's Dungeon Travelers 2-2 out this week and Desire Remaster, Akiba's Beat and Exile Election on the 27th, but even that lot won't move Vita sales much, Sony needs new colours or a new model and fast to stay competitive, which seems less likely than ever, even as Switch gains steam.

While the small but loyal Vita userbase may continue to punch way above their weight in Japan, the power of the Switch launch will soon see publishers and developers switch focus if momentum continues.

Check out Akihabara as rendered in Akiba's Beat

Just a few weeks to go until we get to roam the streets of Akihabara, home to Akiba's Beat developer Acquire. Which is why they've gone to impressive lengths to capture the look and tone of their own beat. PQube are on publishing duties for PS4 and Vita, and while this may lack the stripping vampires of 2014's Akiba's Trip, it should still sell well as a physical Vita release.

Players enter the delusional dungeons with teams to find out what's causing mayhem on the streets! More on the game here, which is out on the 19th of May in Europe. Rice Digital has a Limited Edition for collectors.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 trailer

Wow, they really are dragging out the Japanese empire building series, with a new Power Up Kit as part of this package. Guess that stuff never gets old! Koei's latest installment comes out at the end of May in the east, with PS4 and PS3 versions in tow. The Vita version has touchscreen controls and use of the camera to create player's own characters.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Rose in the Twilight overview trailer

With a Rose in the Twilight now on sale on EU PSN for just £14.99 you might be tempted, but not sure what all the fuss is about. Let NIS America enlighten you with this new trailer explaining the basics and nuances of the game.

In this sepia platform adventure, a girl awakens in a castle void of color and time, affixed with the Curse of Thorns upon her back. After meeting a sleeping giant, the two work together to escape. Help them unravel the mystery of the thorns and the history behind the somber castle.

Bandai's new game is Code Vein

Coming to unspecified formats, Bandai Namco across the world has just dropped some information via Famitsu to go with last week's teaser trailer. With what looks like a vampire-tinged Souls game, it features a range of attacks, and buddy support, that can strengthen your own character or weaken enemies.

UPDATE: The title now features in the new Famitsu magazine and looks rather too shiny and detailed for the Vita, while still very much in the God Eater vein, but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

FURTHER UPDATE: Bandai's western PR state the game is coming to "major home consoles in 2018" which doesn't sound very Vita to me.

As a Unreal Engine-powered game, I'd guess the likelihood of a Vita version is low, although others have proven it can work, if enough hoops are jumped through. And, since its from the some of the God Eater team, they should have the experience to create a version that does the job. More to be found out soon, whenever the Bandai press release arrives, likely this week, with some gameplay videos hitting next month.

Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] hitting Japan in Summer

2D brawler from the arcades and PS3, Under Night In-Birth Exe: Late[st] is an updated version hitting Japan this Summer on the PS4 and Vita with an updated version, It adds a new playable character and presumably a few tweaks to the battling and costumes. Here's a peek at the PS3 original in action, with some very impressive backgrounds and high-speed battling.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Caligula's digital bundle comes with swimwear

Struggling to find Vita news these days, so even the addition of some swimwear to Atlus' digital bundle of The Caligula Effect will have to do. Yep, you get the game, a theme and some cossie DLC because that's just what you need when fighting off evil music producers in a digital prison!

The game is out in early May and should provide a little help and comfort to those suffering from not owning Persona 5!

Vita rival PGS handheld PC goes Titanium

If you're looking for an after-Vita gaming device, but don't think Nintendo can cut it, there are plenty of others out there, from endless Tegra-powered Android model handhelds to this full PC in a portable console. The PGS must be doing some business as the company behind it are pushing out new models, with Titanium casing and a new software bundle.

A new limited edition, the PGS Hardcore Titanium is due for the end of Q2 2017, with some custom gear for early buyers. Offering full Windows 10 gaming, plus all the emulators you want without having to jump through Henkaku hoops, perhaps this is your next gaming machine? Check out their blog for more details and the system's spec which remains unchanged with an Atom X7 Quad Core CPU and Intel HD video, which might not cut it for big-screen gaming, but should be decent enough for a small screen device.
With all this market activity, and new interest thanks to the Switch is Sony really going to let the Vita go quietly into the night?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Vita sales slides further in Japan

Is it time to ring the alarm bell yet on Vita sales in its home territory? Fair enough, its a quiet week all round, with no new game, but dipping to just below 6,000 sales on the new Media Create chart data is among the worst performances across the Vita's lifetime.

Blue Reflection is already out the chart on Vita and Musou All Stars is dropping fast, while the PS4 versions at least show some resistance. Nintendo's Switch continues to sell out wherever stocks are found, so things are looking slightly bleak on the Vita front.

Does everyone in Japan who wants one now own a Vita? Will future sales just be replacements? Is Sony's sudden interest way too little, too late. The good news is, it doesn't really matter for us, we have a long list of games over the next year, some will be cancelled sure, but the rest will make it and be enjoyed by the loyal Vita community.

Last week's chart

More characters show up for VN Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds

The characters are rolling out for Idea Factory's visual novel Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, with another Blind Date roster of samurai for the plucky heroine, Chizuru, to choose from.

Ryouma Sakamoto: A gunslinging, smooth-talking samurai who offers to help you find your father. Sakamoto hides behind pseudonyms and his charming smile. Can you trust this handsome stranger you've just met?

Kazue Souma: A young samurai who doesn't think highly of the Shinsengumi. Souma is a serious, headstrong person. Kondou invites him to join the Shinsengumi as your first student - can you teach him well? 
Hachiro Iba: A samurai from the Okuzume, the guards who protect the shogun. Iba is the Shinsengumi's old friend from Edo, but for some reason he claims to know you...
The game lands in one month and could well help cement the Vita's reputation as a classy VN machine. 

Cladun Returns gets an intro trailer

Over a year on from the Japanese teaser, and arriving west in June, Cladun Returns is an unashamedly good-fun pixel retro RPG from NIS America. Set in Arcanus Cella, your job is to help out the souls of the dead, who gather there to await reincarnation. What are the odds on there still being lots of vases, chests and leveling up!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle arrives in June

For Europe at least, America gets the latest Touhou fun-fest in July, digital only on Vita! The bullet-hell battle game sees you fighting with arrays of fiery death, melee attacks, or magical spell cards. Featuring ear-tingling beats for each character, you might just find yourself dancing while you play!

The backgrounds look horrendously basic, but that should allow for plenty of speed on the Vita version, as the Kobuto brand continues to go boom! This breaks away pretty heavily from the RPGs, wonder what else NIS can do with the series?

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory gets a rave anthem trailer

With most of the key features in English, suggesting a very close global launch, this is one of the friendlier trailers out of Japan, showing off all cool new stuff in the new Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Hacker’s Memory adventure.

Looks like a lot more gloss on the PS4 version, which I'm sure will be left out for the Vita, but who cares when one of the most playable games on the console, and one of the better sellers in the west is back for another round.

Hopefully the music in the trailer will be a hint of what's to come - would be cool to have a game that has a header-edged OST. And, of course, lots of new DigiMon to herd and nurture!

MechRunner back on the radar?

Okay, this is odd. After two years of no tweeting, no Kickstarter updates since last August, I'd assumed Spark Plug Games had gone the way of the truth, taking a Vita version of metallic shooter MechRunner with it. So much so, I even peeled off the MechRunner skin from my Vita!

UPDATE: PS4 codes are going out now, The PS Vita version is still in the works, news to follow.

However, all is not lost, the developers just posted an update, that the PS4 version has been approved by Sony. Really guys, the radio silence has not helped your cause! Will there be a Vita version to follow, or has that been dropped, as is often the fashion. The $28K they raised in 2014 must all have gone, so any progress is likely being done around other jobs.

Nippon Ichi put on the frightners

Its only a five second clip, but this new teaser site from NIS Japan, is showing off a new horror game. New clips will be added in the coming weeks, certainly, there's nothing blipvert or subliminal that I can see in the frames of this clip.

Is it a Vita game, is it another class-murder fest or something new, gritty and realistic? Guess we'll find out in a few weeks. Looks like NIS has a few new games up its sleeve, which should give us a good indication of how Vita support, or not, is looking post Switch launch.

UPDATE: Okay, the game is confirmed as a remake, Iwaihime Matsuri, of Ryukishi 07's horror series, coming to PS4 and Vita later this year.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

God Wars latest trailer ups the artwork

Revealed last summer, Kadokawa is still pumping out the trailers for God Wars, with over two months until launch, with a western release also delayed. While I love the video's art style, the game itself looks pretty much like your typical tactics title, which makes me wonder if they are overcompensating for something. Still, it seems pretty impressive and the demo got some good feedback in Japan.

Check out January's anime story trailer for more slick visuals.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Blue Reflection and Musou Stars show the torch passing from Vita to PS4

The tipping points continue to keel over for the Vita, with two games on Sony's big console easily outstripping the handheld.

Crossover whack-a-moler Musou Stars on PS4 hits the No. 2 spot for Tecmo with 40,000 sales, while the Vita version can only manage No. 6 and 17,800. This was pretty much expected, given the shinier and faster console version. Both are way behind Monster Hunter XX on 3DS, which sells another 125K despite horrible user reviews.

A similar battle is between Blue Reflection which is at No. 3 for PS4 with 35K sales and only No. 8 on the Vita with close to 14K sales. That, in the past, would have been closer, or see the Vita winning, so Gust may be wondering how long the portable is worth supporting. At best, it (or publisher Tecmo) just reduces the production run and relies more on digital sales, but that won't help the Vita's visibility in the chart.

Anime-based Death or Kiss is the third Vita title in the Media Create top 10, picking up just under 12K sales, double the PS4 version's, showing where the Vita's strength now lies. While Chaos Child Love Chu Chu creeps into the top 20 with 6K sales.

None of which can help the Vita hardware, it manages just a few hundred more sales on last week, creeping up to 7,780. With no big games on the horizon, except the new Digimon and maybe God Eater, we're really in the territory of praying the major developers stay interested, and relying on niche publishers to keep the bandwagon rolling.

Switch continues to sell well, doing another 45K, with Vita very much clinging onto the coattails of the big three, at 6.5% of hardware sales. Hopefully, Sony will be happy with a flat line year bringing another 600K sales, plus whatever seasonal boosts it can get. But, if whatever is left of the 5 million strong Japanese user base doesn't show up for launches, even that won't save it next year.

Gaming releases go quiet for a couple of weeks now, Dungeon Traveler 2-2 pops out in a fortnight, with Akiba's Beat and Gun Gun Pixies at the end of the month.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Emerald Shores to shine this summer

Emerald Shores is the result of a one-man indie project, Fordesoft, and will sparkles on PSN this summer. A platformer RPG, it borrows from classics like Super Mario World but throws in character levels that add power and new skills.

The main storyline will have at least 20 main levels, 5 boss battles, really short cutscenes, a few secret unlockable levels (find those hidden exits), and then something for those who manage to complete all of the secret levels. There's a Remix Mode which plays just like the original story mode, but all levels are rearranged to be more difficult.

There are two world maps: the one you see in the trailer, and then a floating island called Emerald Shores. Levels have powerups hidden in them, which grant abilities like double-jumping and throwing fireballs. Not confirmed yet, but the plan is $9.99 and cross-buy between PS4 and Vita.

Is that a Gundemonium in your pocket?

The Vita has a Decent roster shooters, but I always room for a few more on my memory card, so its a pleasure to welcome Gundemoniums. Based on a rather old, but colourful, PC shooter, that was recently re-released on Steam, it is getting a fresh case of ammo and some new features thanks to developer Platine Dispositif and indie publisher Mediascape.

The Vita version gets widescreen support, and new characters to play as and even more bullet hell action. The original was seriously hard, so don't expect anything like the cute fluffy western shooters that are merely tough. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Danganronpa V3 characters line up for their class photos!

So begins the run up to the release of September release of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, just the six months to go. But that's not stopping NIS America getting in some early teasing with the character line up. Meet the first bunch of miscreants and super stars who'll be putting their lives in our hands in the autumn.

Kaede has been playing the piano ever since she was a child, earning her the not-so-flattering nickname, "Piano Freak." After winning numerous trophies at piano competitions, she soon received the far more prestigious title of Ultimate Pianist. Kaede has a positive personality and puts all her effort toward achieving her goals. She feels a deep resentment toward Monokuma for forcing everyone to participate in his absurd killing game.
Ultimate ???: Rantaro Amami
  • Though Rantaro can't remember what his Ultimate talent is, he doesn't let that get him down. In fact, he's quite excited at the prospect of learning what his Ultimate talent actually is. Though he comes across as glib and laidback, Rantaro is the only one to remain calm and press Monokuma for information while the others panic. At times, his attitude suggests that he knows more about what's happening than his classmates, which only heightens the air of mystery surrounding him.
Ultimate Inventor: Miu Iruma
  • An inventor who is responsible for creating a wide variety of commercial products, starting with her famous "Eyedrop Contact Lenses." However, Miu believes that coasting through life is the best way to live it. As such, she considers her eyedrop invention a failure because she actually had to work to create them. Her arrogance is matched only by her penchant of vulgarity. Every time she opens her mouth, a stream of dirty jokes and innuendo comes rushing out. Strangely enough, she becomes submissive and docile whenever anyone gives her any pushback.
Ultimate Supreme Leader: Kokichi Oma
  • A boy whose Ultimate talent is being the supreme leader of an evil secret organization that boasts a membership of over 10,000 people. However, there is no proof that such an organization actually exists. Even Shuichi, the Ultimate Detective, is unfamiliar with the identity of Kokichi's organization. As a self-professed liar, Kokichi revels in blurring the lines that separate fact from fiction. He has a tendency to say whatever pops into his head, and is prone to theatrical outburst of crocodile tears. But don't let this innocent smile fool you - as a supreme leader of evil, Kokichi feels no remorse over tormenting his classmates. 

Something God Eater comes this way

Two years ago, on the 5th anniversary of God Eater, we got a look at the revamped Resurrection. Now on the 7th birthday, after a painful nico nico show of flogging viewers the CD, the trainers, the concert, the toys and the watch, we finally got a glimpse of something new from Bandai Namco in the world of God Eater.

UPDATE: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment UK has put out a new teaser trailer for the new GOD EATER project. "The calamity that devoured Fenrir continues… And from the ashes, a new generation of Gods begins!"

Since that comes from western Bandai Namco, I guess a worldwide release is assured. Yet, as is annoyingly common, they don't mention formats. Let's just hope they stick with the Vita for one more round! Given the series' popularity in Japan, (500K physical sales for Rage Burst and Resurrection) it would have to release there, but will Bandai's foreign divisions bring it here?

The God Eater community and game site hasn't updated yet, so no sneaking in to find any hints.

All it shows is something very big, angry and capable of melting buildings! Nice!

Original: Sure its covered by niconico shit, but here's a tiny peek at the next God Eater, whatever it may be, and whatever formats it may land on.

Death or Kiss Limited Edition of super-cuteness

Oh Japan, you lucky people! Even a relatively noddy little game like Death or Kiss gets the Limited Edition treatment, with a CD and plastic figure that meet up to form a heart if you get the PS4 version too. The anime-based bundle of cuteness is out today in Japan if you fancy an import, the official site has lots of art and video.

UPDATE: With the game now on-sale in Japan, here's a new gameplay clip to tempt those who like their muscly merchants.

Five Minutes of Dungeon Travelers 2-2 info

Aquaplus has a new trailer out, showing a whole bunch of stills, screens and art from Dungeon Travelers 2-2. The update/expansion/new story/whatever has the same busty girls in peril scenarios, presumably with a few gameplay tweaks and new creatures to summon. The game is out on 20th April in Japan, the original got a western release, but it passed my by, so I guess there's hope for this one.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Akiba's Beat gets a May western release date

Wow, May may well be the Vita's last hurrah, with a slate of big games kicking in the doors. Akiba's Beat is the latest to arrive, joining The Caligula Effect, Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception and Summon Night 6 among others. Sure, there's plenty more to come, but May is rammed with hopefully great games. Akiba's Beat hits the EU on the 19th thanks to PQube.

Unlike the stripping vampires of Akiba's Trip, this episode sees mysterious events taking place in Akihabara, the world-famous district of Tokyo where technology and culture meet. Twisted by a sinister presence, the people’s memories, hopes and dreams manifest in reality and warp Akiba in strange ways, the town is now stuck in a time loop, causing dangerous distortions in the very fabric of space and time!

Vita sales continue to slide in Japan

The latest Media Create chart shows another 430 unit drop off in Vita sales over the week, as the Switch continues to sell strong. That down to around 7,500 for the week, still not bad for Sony's creaky old hardware.

On the software front, Accel World vs SAO creeps toward 50K as it drops down to No. 7 while Minecraft sneaks back into the top 20, still selling 4K a week and now up to 1.13 million physical copies. Perhaps that's why Sony Japan has some renewed focus on the Vita, if only for kids. No sign of Side Kicks in the MC chart, perhaps it'll appear in Famitsu's later.

UPDATE: Side Kicks sold a decent 3,200 (60-80% of its initial production run) for 25th place in Famitsu's chart. Digital could well double that, but a shame that it wasn't more aggressively promoted, as the game seemed to offer something pretty different to the usual VNs, but that could be part of its problem.

This week sees Musou Stars release, but can't see gamers rushing out to buy a Vita for that, even if the software sales are decent, although likely below PS4 sales.

Last week's chart

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ukon waves his sword in new Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception video

And this week's mystery guest is... Ukon, in the third character trailer for Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception. Not your stereotypical mercenary he's a smooth talker who cares about the common people and is well respected by those under his command.

Haku and Kuon encounter him fairly on early in the game, and Ukon convinces them to help on a simple escort job. Sounds simple, right? Well, it turns out this "simple escort" job is more of a "fend off dangerous bandits" sort of job. Regardless of this slight miscommunication, Ukon takes a liking to the strange duo and will act as a mentor figure to them. Of course, there's much more to Ukon that will be revealed as events unfold...

Kuon was the star of the previous character intro video.

Fairune hits PSN today

Fairune is a simple 8-bit-style RPG ported over to the Vita by Qubic. It hits the EU PSN today, coming to America in a few week's time. Playing as a young girl, chosen by the magic book, you embark on a mission full of mysteries and riddles.

Level up, exploring the map, and defeat hordes of monsters, recover Ghost Icons to banish evil for all eternity in a world full of surprises, which can grant you great power and reveal new paths.

New otome brand hits Japan, more school-based shenanigans

Karinto is a new brand focused on otome games from Karasuri. Its first release roughly translates as School Run X Japanese Sword "Otome Sword Musashi"and features Musou as a girl at a school loaded with handsome swordsmen, athletes and other charming creatures.

Dengeki has some character profiles, and the game is slated for a Vita release in 2017.

[Synopsis - auto translated]

I'm a high school student who lives in the country.

But one day, I picked up the key to a locked warehouse and picked up a stick from a wooden tree inside.
At that time,
I heard a voice saying "Second generation, my wood sword, treasure."
I did not care at that time, but from the next day it will be serious!
People who held the sword came and said "Musashi, a game!
Everyone says that I am the second generation of Musashi, and I will be in trouble even if I am killed, but the opponent does ... If
the defeat of the sword is overcome, it is true that my fate to follow the winner for the rest of my life.
Is not that strange in this era?
How in the world is it! Is it?

Romancing Saga 3 gets a Vita port in Japan

Following on from the success of SaGa Scarlet Grace last year, and the arrival of Romancing Saga 2 it seems fairly logical for Square to keep rolling these games in this classic series out. So, it is little surprise that Romancing Saga 3 will get a Vita, iOS and Android port in Japan.

Remastered for the modern age, the nineties RPG gets a low-key announce with a web posting, a spot of art and not much else. Keep an eye out for more.  As with Romancing Saga 2, its unlikely to head west, whatever Square says. Unless, by some miracle, they decide to release a digital bundle in the west?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Valkyria Revolution confirmed for western summer release

We knew the latest Valkyria effort was coming west, but it looks like Sega - remember them - is picking up the release rather than leaving it to partner label Atlus. After Hatsune Miku's last outing, I thought they'd given up on the Vita. But no, the off-shoot Valkyria Revolution will get a western release at the end of June in digital-only form for Sony's portable along with deluxe PS4 and X1 releases.

The JRPG starts with a revolution, Jutland's elite soldiers, the Vanargand, must band together to defeat the Ruzi Empire and stop death itself in the form of Valkyria. This grizzled anti-Valkyria squad is equipped with advanced mana weaponry and has the powerful ability to wield ragnite spells to combat this terrifying threat.

The unit is comprised of soldiers who have a high affinity for ragnite, and even Jutland's own Princess Ophelia has joined the ranks. The princess carries the utmost love for her country and has answered the call of duty to liberate those who are suffering from the Ruzi's tyranny. However, Amleth Grønkjær, the commanding officer of Vanargand hides a terrible secret. Is he friend or foe to the country he has sworn to protect?

A tale of two Toukiden 2 games

The UK charts are out and Toukiden 2 is No.1 on the Vita retail list. On the PS4 chart, it only managed to creep in to No. 28, presumably because everyone was buying the freak-fest that is Mass Effect Andromeda.

Realistically, the PS4 version could have sold more than the Vita edition, but since neither made the individual formats (value or units) charts, only Koei Tecmo's accountants will ever know.

Still congrats to the company on another Vita UK No. 1 and well done to everyone who went with the physical edition. However, based on this news and last year's Japanese sales, I'm not too sure there will be a Toukiden 3, although a T2.5 may be on the cards.

The retail chart rundown by GameTrack is:

1. Toukiden 2 (new entry)
2. Steins Gate 0 (no change, 18 weeks on chart)
3. Call of Duty Black Ops Declassified (up from 7)
4. Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (down from 3)
5. Metal Gear Solid HD Collection (up from 9)
6. Root Letter (down from 1, 20 weeks on chart)

Will update with PSN digital Top Sellers list if Sony can be bothered to, seems to have been very static for a long time. Toukiden 2 is at No. 4 on the Amazon Best Sellers list while Ys VIII tops the pre-order list. Drive Girls is also there, although still unconfirmed, so we'll likely here about that this week.

Salt and Sanctuary Vita screens

A couple of these grabs, sent over by Ska, appeared on the PSN blog posts, but the rest seem new, and uncropped. Take a peek at Salt and Sanctuary in action on the Vita. The game has generated plenty of coverage on Reddit, NeoGAF and other places, as interest in the Vita port seems pretty high. Always good when a game reminds people that the Vita exists.

The Ska Studios title is out this week. As it is Cross Buy with the PS4 version, it'll be £14.99 ($17.99), which seems a worthy investment in one of the more celebrated indies. Hopefully some Vita video will pop up soon, so we can see how smooth it is, and to see if Sickhead Games' port is up to the mark. Hopefully the UI, missing in these pics, has been refined for the Vita's screen.

UPDATE: Now live on EU PSN.

While the Switch might be scooping up more indie love in future, with S&S, Risk of Rain, Neon Chrome, Axiom Verge and many more, the Vita has more than proved that a good team can still see it compete with modern hardware. We also have The Deer God, Oceanhorn and plenty more on the release list.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Salt and Sanctuary arrives on Vita next week

One of the most-pestered after games hits the Vita a year after the PS4 release next week. Salt and Sanctuary comes to us via Sickhead Games, handling the port of Ska Studios game with aplomb. The Souls-like RPG packs in action.

The game is Cross Buy if you own the PS4 version, some detail on the PSN blog, chasing for some pics or video of it in action on the Vita.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Exile Election trailer weaves a story

Not the best way to start the day, what the hell? I guess as Exile Election is set in a theme park this kind of makes sense, but make what you will of the artistic trappings and the bizarre semantics. Apples are life, poison, health? Butterflies represent freedom, transformation? Whatever.

The game is out in April on Vita and PS4 and should provide those who are all Danganronpa'd out with some fresh judging to do.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Kuon is this week's Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception star

Following on from last week's Haku trailer, this week Atlus is celebrating Kuon, a doe-eyed pal and faithful follower for the battles to come. She's a mysterious traveler who rescues Haku in the beginning of the game and eventually becomes his "guardian."

While not much is known about her past, she's an intelligent and free-spirited woman who's an apothecary by trade. The polar opposite of Haku, Kuon is a responsible person who always gets the job done. Oh, and she's quite useful during battles too. She a scrappy fighter who prefers the intimacy of hand-to-hand combat, and her knowledge of herbology and medicines lets her act as an effective healer.

Accel World vs SAO causes ruckus in Japanese chart

Accel World vs. Sword Art Online managed to shift 38,653 for third spot in the new Media Create chart, beating the PS4 version by 5,500 units. Even combined at 70K, that's just a bit teeny down on the 850K that Monster Hunter XX sold at no. 1. Remember when Monster Hunter used to sell millions on launch?.

Bringing up the rear, visual novel Yu No managed to shift 8,800 copies to land at 15. But that was outsold by the PS4 version.

On the hardware front, Vita sold 8,004 dragging along at seasonal lows, but still impressive for a 5.5 year old system in tech-obsessed Japan. Not much hope of an immediate boost, Side Kicks is out this week, but marketing has been light to say the least, Musou Stars arrives at the end of the month but should favour PS4 sales.

Last week's chart

Kemco brings Revenant Saga to PlayStation

Kemco continues its mini-revival as a gaming brand with a host of mobile RPG titles stretching back into history. Revenant Saga is next up mixing pixel exploring with 3D battles, following on from Asdevine Hearts. Actually looks pretty decent, if there's enough story and characters worth caring about. The game is out this spring.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Toukiden 2

In an effort to fill the gap left by Monster Hunter on the Vita, we've had Freedom Wars, Soul Sacrifice (and Delta), many God Eaters, and the Toukiden series to keep us blatting away at increasingly chunky demons with an ever-widening range of weapons.

Given we're approaching the end of the Vita's life as a mainstream device, perhaps Toukiden 2 will be the final hurrah for those who love partying hard and slaying into the night. The game sold around physical copies 125,000 in Japan and comes west this week.
You only real notice the neat effects in still screenshots, rarely when in the thick of the action
You play another hapless mortal plucked from fighting demons in olde Yokohama and sent through a portal some new mountain/woodland/otherworldly patch of turf spreading around Mahoroba Village, on which to fight the pesky Oni and their demonic overlords.

As with any other hunting game, you are soon assigned missions to prove your worth and to sort out some of the town's dire needs. Outside, the world quick-loads between areas, creating that almost open world feel, and there is a lot more to see and do in the countryside, with ad hoc missions, plenty of hidden goodies and a biblical number of trophies to earn.

Gladiators, Ready

As a warrior, you can specialise in traditional weapons like double blades, swords and poles, or go modern with ranged muskets. Stick with one and become a master or pick and choose depending on what type of beast you end up fighting. New entrants the sword and shield will tempt those who give a damn about defensive skills, while the chain whip is a good mid-range attack platform.

Another new feature is the Demon Hand that allows for big jumps over some terrain (Bionic Commando-style) and for grabbing Oni and dealing more damage, or allowing your Matami spirits to perform even more effects. Fully charged, it can even help rip the bigger monsters to pieces!
Claptrap? Never heard of him!
Character customisation allows you to have fun with your hero, while most of the natives are so desperately earnest or hard-bitten you just want to end their suffering! One sparkling piece of light in this dross is Tokitsugu (who starred in the Studio 4C anime), while he's not a patch on Claptrap from Borderlands 2, he does at least add some edge.

As the out-of-towner, suspicion is poured upon you, but you soon start to earn people's trust, although a power struggle between the town's samurai and local guards, which adds a little spice, but basically your life's work is to run around, kill things and find the clues as to your mysterious predicament.

For Battles Ahead

Whenever you head back to town, the new portals speed this up immensely, you can use the spoils of war and loot from the land to increase your armour and weaponry. You can fortify your gear, reforge it or create new items. Boost defence, elemental defence or increase Aegis.

When not battling Oni, you can also learn new skills, splash about in the pool, or explore the town. Conversations have no impact on the direction of the story, but help to nudge the plot along - nice character art by the way. Whatever you're doing, there is usually a pointer on the mini-map or a "!" to indicate where to go.
Decent draw distance, but the usual drab textures
Whatever you do, the early battles are generally weak, in that you can sit back and watch your allies take down the monsters. Things get more challenging later on, but the story and characters that appear deeper into the game are interesting enough to make progress worth while. If you're new to Toukiden 2's world, then taking on a few solo battles helps you learn the many skills faster.

Yes, this is a little less shiny and fluid than the PS4 version, but plays perfectly well on the Vita and has just enough plot depth and challenge to keep playing. What is annoying, is that most of the games neat effects are missed in the heat of battle. Also, lot of features like bonds are just fluff, but playing with and mastering the Demon Hand is worth the price of admission.

Score: 8/10
More reviews
Price: £29.99 (Amazon)
Size: 2.7GB
Dev: Tecmo Koei
Progress: Out there, somewhere