Thursday, August 21, 2014

Will gamers find the Vita adventure bundle?

Okay, ignoring the fact that TxK is definitely NOT an adventure game, Sony is throwing out another bundled 8GB memory card to gamers, packing in Tearaway, Uncharted, Gravity Rush and Escape Plan as downloadables. Will they all fit on 8GB? Probably not. And where's a JRPG or something for diversity. The card and games costs €39 (£32).

There's also the console bundle priced at €199. Certainly a decent collection of games, but where's the Minecraft bundle I wonder? That's surely the one that would help sell a few Vita systems and generate some interest.

There are quite a few existing Vita bundles on Amazon, but stock seems low and prices have gone up, presumably as they run down to make way for the new season's offering. 

More Muramasa DLC hits Japan

Even as the DLC for the western version continues to pop up every few weeks, Marvelous in Japan are churning out more episodes to keep this fantastic hack and slash adventure rolling on. Newly announced this week with a trailer, is what I think translates as "Hidden Hell Woman" but I could be wrong, plus an interesting recipe for something useful.

The update lands on Japan's PSN next week. If you've missed the game, I strongly recommend getting back into it, in fact I will too, as soon as I've finished off and cleared a few more indies off my memory card.

Play Freedom Wars listening to the CD, wearing the tee-shirt

Japanese Freedom Wars fans can now order a bunch of extra goodies to go along with their prison-sentence reducing gaming sessions. Since we're getting the boxed version over here in October, any chance of these following it across the world?

I do rather like the tee-shirt (2,700 yen)! If you fancy importing them, I'm sure its possible, currently available on Ebten, which I think accepts all cards. The CD (2,000 yen) is "Politburo Culture Promotion Committee approved!" so has to be good, right?

The tracklist includes such political whimsies (via auto-translate) as:

1: Imprisonment of Koi for 1,000,000 years
2: First Panopticon Labor Song
3: Nananana
4: Thorns Lullaby
5: Imprisonment of love -Instrumental- 1,000,000 years
6: Panopticon Labor song first -Instrumental-
7: Nananana -Instrumental-
8: Thorns Lullaby -Instrumental-

New Natural Doctrine trailer shows your survival instincts

I guess this is being billed as a sort-of Demon Souls, with the kind of toughness, tactics and strategy, and grimy grinding, but NIS/Kadokawa's title does have a lot of cool features of its own. This latest trailer demonstrate how careful planning and use of the environment can affect your chances for survival.

Some maps include interactive elements that allow you to open new paths and find hidden surprises like treasure (good!) and trolls (bad!). Make the right choices and you just might survive. Get ready for this Cross Play, Cross Save title for Vita, PS3 and PS4 on the 22/26th September depending on where you are in the world. At least we should get the easy mode from day one, as Japanese gamers found the game overly tough.

Natsune's End of Serenity landing in Europe

One of the final PSP games released before Sony shut off the taps on production, End of Serenity is a classic RPG that Natsune is bringing to the EU next week for Vita owners to enjoy. Here's a look of the game in action, should you be thinking about picking it up. Does it do something that other JRPGs lack? Or is it just another fun bug-battling adventure? Either way, assuming the price is reasonable, don't miss out.

Meet the ladies of Great Edo Blacksmith

Honest, there is a dungeon crawler in all this! but it seems NIS is focusing on the ladies of the game who must win the affection of our hammering hero right now. They're a feisty, winsome, shouty bunch, so it looks like a bunch of muscles and metal trinkets won't be the only things he'll need to secure his lineage.

The game is out in November, so expect a few more clips of the various ladies in the village before we get into the meaty stuff of the dungeons, nasties and other elements, to prove there is actually some game in here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sword Art Online leads EU PSN releases

Having watched endless videos of the Japanese version, feast your eyes on the western edition, available now on PSN, with the promise of the mega-update to follow in a few weeks time. That, along with Crimsonland (£9.99), CounterSpy (Cross Buy, £9.99) and Gravity Badgers provide something for everyone, with SAO costing a hefty £32.99 and those bargain Badgers at just £3.99.

For free you can check out the Disgaea 4 demo, while lots of Rockstar titles including Midnight Club and GTA games are dirt cheap for PSP/Vita owners.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is a Role Playing Game based on the novel, manga and anime, and reflects the charming characters and breathtaking environments from the virtual reality world called Aincrad. In a simulated Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) setting, players find that they are trapped within the game and must explore and defeat enemies until they reach the highest levels of Aincrad to beat the game and free themselves from the fantasy world.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment includes an HD version of the preceding game Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, so fans have the option to play through Infinity Moment or jump into the new Hollow Fragment adventure to conquer two different sides of Aincrad. In Hollow Fragment, Kirito is suddenly teleported to the new Hollow Area on the 76th Floor and encounters a mysterious player named Philia, who bears a dark past and the telltale orange mark of an unwelcome player killer. With the emergence of fearsomely powerful monsters, the two decide to set aside their differences and join forces to defeat a greater enemy and also face the infamously murderous player killing guild called “Laughing Coffin.”

New Batman 3 trailer introduces Brainiac's plan

A new trailer and bit of art for the latest LEGO Batman blockbuster, Beyond Gotham shows off Brainiac’s diabolical plan to shrink the Earth and take control of his enemies using the power of the Lantern Rings. All of which will send the DC super heroes to party with the Legion of Doom on a journey across the Lantern Worlds to stop the nefarious evildoer from adding Earth to his twisted collection.

Sounds like a good jaunt away from the usual city scenes and prison-bar adventures of the previous Batman games.

Monster Hunter sales decent as Vita sales rise

Vita sales are up around 3,000 this week on the Media Create chart as Monster Hunter Beginner's Pack made a timid start to life (I guess most players downloaded the free PSN version). According to Famitsu's figures, it sold 60%-80% of its supply, so Capcom weren't exactly expecting huge things.

Looks like nothing can touch Yokai Watch 2, which continues to dominate. On the plus side, interest in monster hunting dragged both Freedom Wars and MH4 on 3DS back into the top half of the chart.

01./01. [3DS] Yo-kai Watch 2: Ganso / Honke (Level 5) - 118.526 / 2.212.518 (-2%)
02./00. [WIU] Hyrule Warriors # (Koei Tecmo) - 69.090 / NEW
06./00. [PSV] Monster Hunter Frontier G: Beginner's Package (Capcom)  - 21.169 / NEW
17./18. [PSV] Freedom Wars (Sony Computer Entertainment)  - 4.542 / 280.209 (+17%)
19./24. [PSV] Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment # (Bandai Namco)  - 3.984 / 238.539
20./27. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 # (Capcom)  - 3.796 / 3.327.503

The sales chart shows recent weeks keeping pace with last year, but I wonder what Sony has to offer that can match those big blue spikes at the end of the year. Certainly, something big needs to happen at Sony Japan's upcoming press event or Tokyo Games Show to kick things back into high gear. 

The Vita remains stuck behind the 3DS but ahead of the big-screen consoles, despite their big launches, which means plenty of Japanese developers will be looking to support it. 

Toukiden leads the way in Famitsu review scores

As I've said recently, there's a very busy couple of weeks lined up for the Vita and four new titles get reviewed in this week's gaming bible over in Japan. Toukiden does well (check out the recent launch trailer), but I suspect the many different versions of Love Live! will see doing well in the charts over any more serious titles.

Toukiden Kiwami (PSV) – 9/9/10/9 [37/40]
Hyperdimension Neptunia U (PSV) – 7/7/7/6 [27/40]
Kiss Bell (PSV) – 6/7/7/6 [26/40]
Love Live! School Idol Paradise (PSV) – 6/6/6/6 [24/40]

No idea what Kiss Bell is, most weeks I like to find out what some of the lesser Japanese titles are, but going by that name I think I'll pass this time.

New Out of Order clip tries to push Magical High School

After the shocking sales for Lost Dimension, Namco has to hope for better things for its own, broadly-similar-looking, Magical High School Out of Order, which is approaching launch for the end of October. Perhaps the magic factor will help it sell more, but there's still the similar dodgy uniforms, weak-looking combat and cut-and-paste characters to wade through.

Magical High School does have a popular source material anime behind it to help generate some hype, while Lost Dimension was an original work, so there's some hope for it, but there does seem to be an small herd of these games to confuse even the most eagle-eyed of Japanese gamers. Any westerners watching MHS? Any impressions on the gameplay in this latest clip?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tecmo Koei shows off Toukiden Extreme opening video

With Toukiden Kiwami going on sale tomorrow in Japan, I'm wondering will the fans flock to buy an upgraded version? Or, has it had its hour in the sun, now that Monster Hunter Frontier G, God Eater 2 and Freedom Wars are also available to tempt gamers.

There's a heck of a lot of competition not only from Monster Hunting games, but a very busy Vita line-up in the next couple of weeks. Still, the trailer is Tecmo's usual high standards and that's always enough to get some gamers excited.

Mission Memento Mori teases Dark Metal

Bandai Namco's upcoming game Mission Memento Mori doesn't give much away in this new teaser, but the official site lists it as an adventure game. The full title is M3 The Dark Metal, and its based on an anime on which I know nothing.

It started early this year, so is quite a new thing, and portrays the usual battle between light and dark, with school kids thrust into the battle. Any interest from the western world,

Danganronpa Another Episode featured in Famitsu

Don't know when the high-quality scans will start appearing, usually Thursday I think. But Famitsu is blowing its own trumpet with a piece on the Danganronpa spin-off gaming from Spike Chunsoft coming to PS Vita next month. The piece includes a small scan of the characters, plus their voice actors, and there's bound to be a few more pages to look forward to.

Another Episode (surely they can come up with a better name) features shooter elements as well as a horde of different bears related to Monokuma to mix up the action. Can't wait to see how it plays, also in the issue are pieces on Bullet Girls and Tecmo's latest historical masterpiece and bloodbath.

Sony Japan schedules big September 1 press event

Tokyo Games Show isn't starting until September 18, so what will Sony be waving at the world from this event? There's an event page here, so the company clearly has plenty of news to impart. But what would it want to get off from its chest just weeks before Asia's biggest gaming event? Will it announce Vita stuff to clear TGS for a big PS4 push, which Japan needs, or do things the other way around, given the Vita's success in Japan.

Interesting for sure, did it do this last year? There was an event recapping all the PlayStation 4 news for Japan, but since it launched later for them, I guess they wanted to get that out the way before TGS, or it could be a way to showcase Sony's indie push to Japan before all the big games news. Let me dig into the archives and see what history there is on this.

If it follows the western theme, don't expect much Vita-ness, as that could all be left for TGS. Still, would be nice if Sony's Saving PS Vita plan get some bones to it. Anyone else think that having ditched the Vita online Invitation/Direct events, and PlayStation Meeting, perhaps its time Sony should follow Nintendo with smaller monthly events? Anyway, set your alarm clock, that's 7AM UK time, 2AM EST etc...