Fate/EXTELLA (Nintedo Switch) Review: Not for Fate Casuals

Fate/EXTELLA (Nintedo Switch) Review: Not for Fate Casuals

I’m a big fan of Type-Moon’s Fate/Stay Night series. While the series has always been a big hit in Japan, it’s always been much more of a niche on a global scale. Knowing this, I was really happy to hear that Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star was announced for the West. I was even more excited when I heard that game would be coming to Nintendo’s latest hybrid console, the Switch.

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Fate/EXTELLA gameplay and character images via XSEED Games.

Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star is an action game spinoff of the Fate series. For those unfamiliar with the series, it revolves around the Holy Grail War. Players take on the role of a master, working together with a summoned spirit known as a servant to defeat enemy servants in order to win the Holy Grail. The plot of Fate/EXTELLA takes place after the 2011 PlayStation Portable title, Fate/Extra. Having won the Holy Grail War, the player has been given the right to rule over the wish granting Moon Cell Automaton computer which is made up of multiple territories.

The main story of Fate/EXTELLA is told from the perspectives of three different servants and the player’s named master. The game also features a number of side stories from the viewpoints of a variety of other playable servants. Like most Fate titles released in the past, Fate/EXTELLA’s plot is presented in the form of a visual novel along with cutscenes. Newcomers to the franchise may find themselves lost when getting into Fate/EXTELLA’s story. Characters don’t really reintroduce themselves past saying their name and about a line of text to slightly remind you of their relationship to the main characters. For those who can follow it, Fate/EXTELLA offers an interesting story with great writing.

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Fate/EXTELLA gameplay and character images via XSEED Games.

The core gameplay of Fate/EXTELLA is extremely similar to the gameplay found in Koei Tecmo’s Warriors series. Players use their selected servant, taking down hordes of faceless enemies in order to take control of different sectors of a map. Players can make use of light and heavy attacks, mixing them to perform combo strings. Compared to Warriors titlesFate/EXTELLA moves at a much faster pace. Special moves that the player can use at the touch of a button will make their servant perform even faster, more powerful attacks against entire groups of enemies. While this style of gameplay isn’t the worst, it’s a shame that the game’s enemies are made to look as bland as possible.

Aside from enemy servants, Fate/EXTELLA forces players to fight waves of blandly designed generic knights with differently colored knights serving as each sectors boss. This ties in with another problem of Fate/Extella in that there aren’t many maps in the game. While progressing through the game’s stories, it wasn’t long until I found myself revisiting maps. This makes going up against the same enemies feel even duller when repeating it.

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Fate/EXTELLA gameplay and character images via XSEED Games.

Fan service is Fate/EXTELLA’s strongest point. Fans of the series are sure to get a kick out of watching some of their favorite characters interact with each other. While short, the game’s stories allow for more time with servants outside of the main plot. I felt like this really brought these other characters to life and would’ve loved to spend more time with their individual stories. By performing well in battle, players can increase their bonds with their servants. When the bond rank is high enough, players will be treated to special dialogue from that servant. A variety of costumes can also be unlocked for servants, including some that longtime fans will recognize.

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Fate/EXTELLA gameplay and character images via XSEED Games.

On the graphical side of things, Fate/EXTELLA isn’t the most impressive game out there. It isn’t hard to tell that Fate/EXTELLA was originally released on the PlayStation Vita. While the game’s models are crisp, they’re also extremely stiff. Fate/EXTELLA does however run a smooth and solid frame rate when docked or undocked. While some parts of the game’s environments are nice, the majority of it is made up of empty colored boxed arenas. The artwork used for characters is nearly identical to Fate/Extra, taking on a slightly more simplistic approach in comparison to other Fate titles. Fate/EXTELLA’s soundtrack isn’t bad but it’s also almost completely forgettable. On the positive side, Fate/Extella retains its Japanese audio track, featuring a fully voiced story for every character aside from the player’s master character.

It’s hard to recommend Fate/EXTELLA for anyone who isn’t an intense fan of the franchise. Its use of the Dynasty Warriors style of gameplay might be more bearable if Koei Tecmo themselves hadn’t improved on the formula in so many ways. While I enjoyed the writing of Fate/EXTELLA, I enjoyed it as someone who is used to Kinoko Nasu’s unique writing style. While Fate/EXTELLA isn’t the worst game ever made by any means, I wouldn’t suggest that anyone plays it unless they’re starving for more time with the Fate universe.

XSeed Games to Release Story of Season Trio of Towns in Late February

XSeed Games to Release Story of Season Trio of Towns in Late February

Not every video game needs to be sold on the intensity of its action or the grisliness of its deaths. No, sometimes whiling away the hours tending to various crops and animals and meeting new friends is just what you need. Fans of this style of game have something for the 3DS late February in Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns.

Story of Seasons celebrates its upcoming 20th anniversary with the North American release of the latest iteration of this franchise with some adorable new gear care of publisher XSEED Games. Available as a pre-order bonus are four Nintendo inspired costumes that confer interesting benefits. Donning Mario’s iconic garb provides a boost to the player’s speed, while his emerald sibling improves your fishing. Peach’s outfit makes friends easier and Toad’s is great for stamina.

Sory of Seasons: Trio of Towns for the 3DS settles the player between three suitably diverse areas, as the name would imply, and allows the player to get to the important business of exploration, farming, and animal husbandry. Multiplayer promises to be a significant element in this entry to the series, allowing for chatting, trading, and item enhancement on the mysterious multiplayer island.

2016 saw the massive release of Stardew Valley, which old fans of the farming genre saw as a return to the farming/life sim genre that had seemed ignored with few recent releases in the Havest Moon or Rune Factory series. It’s release felt like a revitalization to the genre, and it will certainly be interesting to see how Story of Seasons fairs with some much needed competition.

So get ready to milk those cows and brush your horse dressed as iconic Nintendo mascots, Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns releases Feb. 28, 2017 for the Nintendo 3DS. Maybe by then I’ll understand why Luigi is good at fishing.

Little King’s Story (PC) Review

Little King’s Story (PC) Review

When I first played Pikmin in 2001 it was unlike anything I had experienced in the RTS genre considering my only reference at the time was Starcraft. Pikmin took similar fundamentals and applied them in a creative and approachable way. Looking back on it, Pikmin was the first example of Nintendo’s ability to take established genres and reinvent them in fun, creative ways. And yet surprisingly, even with how often developers try to capitalize on popular or inventive works by emulating them, more games like Pikmin don’t exist.

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Little King’s Story is the only game I know in which the selling feature is its similarity to Pikmin, and I mean that in the least cynical way possible. Unfortunately, I missed Little King’s Story when it was released on the Wii but thankfully it did see a re-release on Steam to satisfy all my monarchic desires!

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Little King’s Story puts the player in the position of a little king chosen by destiny, or so the not-at-all suspicious Captain tells you. But you won’t stop at just one little kingdom; global domination is the name of the game here and the player can only achieve this plan by defeating the evil UMA (Unidentified Mysterious Animals) that roam the land. It’s actually a really funny story, delivered so innocently, and yet, I can’t help but feel like it questions your morality a bit. Here you are, enacting a plan of violent global domination, but it’s okay because the “monsters” are “evil?”

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Gameplay is quite rightly compared to that of Pikmin. The king must recruit his subjects and use them for various tasks. Where Pikmin felt a little more organic in its approach, Little King’s Story takes on RPG elements, allowing the player to choose to build structures that can assign different jobs to subjects, or ones that will allow for a larger total of villagers. Combat plays out similar to Pikmin: the player literally throws them at danger until they pummel the danger to death, but it’s a good structure that feels fun and fast-paced while still requiring some degree of strategy, especially when facing multiple enemies.

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Where it emulates Pikmin, it does so admirably, feeling very much like it has its own identity despite being built upon the same foundation. It’s a genuinely charming game and the humorous tone is backed by the use of classical music. The game opens on the second march of Sir Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 and the boss music is the finale of Rossini’s William Tell Overture. This connection to reality does give it a sense of child-like wonder, like the events taking place are really just a child playing make-believe, which help make the story’s darker tones all the more adorable.

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Unfortunately, Little King’s Story does lack a lot of the polish that Pikmin had. The whole game looks kind of cheap, most notably in character movements, and feels very janky while lacking the fluidity that Pikmin had. While it also bears the chibi aesthetic, it’s graphically unimpressive, even for something that debuted on the Wii.

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My biggest issue with the PC port of Little King’s Story is the below-par performance. I should have known there’d be problems when the game had a pre-launch settings window and besides the 60fps setting there was a warning of “not recommended”. The game is chuggy, with consistent drops in framerate, and while it only crashed once, there were a more than a few close calls. While these issues certainly don’t make the game unplayable (unless you try to play at 60fps, yikes!), it does make Little King’s Story another entry in the long list of sloppy PC port-jobs.

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If the performance issues get fixed, I’d highly recommend Little King’s Story on PC, especially those who can’t find it on the Wii. It’s a fun, cute little game that’s like Pikmin in all the right ways. It’s fun and challenging, albeit a bit easy, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Corpse Party (PC) Review

Corpse Party (PC) Review

I am an unapologetic fan of the horror genre. Some of my favourite video game memories come from late nights playing Resident Evil in my basement, the controller being passed back and forth between me and a buddy because we were too scared to keep going. In fact, the only reason I bought my PS4 was to have P.T to play around Halloween; that’s right, I spent $500 on a demo and to this day, I do not regret it. Apparently, while horror had all but disappeared from the AAA industry, a creepy little game called Corpse Party was being released on the PSP, with one on the Vita only last year. It was my further joy to learn one was heading for Steam, with one for 3DS coming in the summer!

I was a little disappointed with Corpse Party. When I had initially started following it, I was under the impression that this would be the version I had seen coming out for the 3DS. However, the PC version of Corpse Party is a re-release of the updated version of the original Corpse Party subtitled Bloodcovered (the 3DS version being an updated version of the updated version of Bloodcovered titled Bloodcovered: …Repeated Fear). So the game I expected was not the game I got, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

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Corpse Party (Or Corpse Party: Bloodcovered if we’re being accurate) tells the story of 8 unlucky high school students and one unlucky TA who on the one particularly spooky night, decide to perform the Sachiko Ever After ritual which will supposedly bind them as friends forever. However, since their high school was built over the remains of an Elementary school where a bunch of murders happened, naturally they get sucked into another dimension where the vengeful spirits of the former students seek to kill our heroes, one at a time.

As far as plots go, that’s actually pretty good blending elements of anime with the slow, psychological style of Japanese horror, in a setting that’s reminiscent of Silent Hill. Throughout the game you’ll control each of the different students, exploring the haunted school in a top-down RPG style, searching for clues to the mysterious events in the Heavenly Host Elementary School and trying to find a way out. The choices you make will determine whether you live or die and Corpse Party does have some pretty disturbing scenes played out like a semi-RPG interactive novel, being described in gory detail.

I’ve often said creepy imagery always comes off creepier in the 8/16 bit style and Corpse Party does make use of some pretty nasty stuff, but being an early build it’s not as polished and it’s Chibi, RPG sprites never take things too far. Some of the original Japanese voice acting does up the spook-factor, adding a greater sense emotion and drama to the story, although the spell is broken slightly when the anime elements of the story creep in.

Similarly, the game’s tone is kind of all over the place and keeps the game from being as scary as it could be. At times the atmosphere can be quite unnerving, and the accompanying music or ambience can increase the tension, but then as you’re exploring the school the game’s accompanying theme sounds like a spooky version of the “turnabout” theme from Phoenix Wright. 

Overall, Corpse Party felt a bit like Deadly Premonition. When the horror was on, it was really on, but the strange shifts in tone and sometimes comical delivery of the story kill any sense of tension the game may have had. It’s not bad by any means, but I would recommend waiting for the 3DS version. Based on what I’ve seen of it, it looks darker, the music has been adjusted to create a creepier atmosphere, and new anime cutscenes add a graphic detail to the 16 bit aesthetic. Skip this Corpse Party and wait for the Corpse After Party.

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow Of New Despair (PS4) Review

Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow Of New Despair (PS4) Review

As someone who has enjoyed videogames for many years, I’ve come to love assuming the role of a space marine and blowing up giant insect aliens really good. It’s been a staple of the medium for as long as I can remember and something that just feels immensely satisfying. However, as times change and systems evolve, those simple pleasures just don’t seem so sweet anymore. So, while I can’t deny that I still enjoy a site of a giant insect carcass exploding into goo because I pulled a trigger, it’s just not enough to keep me going for hours on end anymore. Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair really tests the patience of anyone who enjoys that old timey gaming pleasure (hell, even the title is long enough to test your patience). This game is no masterpiece and not even particularly good. It is fun though, in bursts and spurts (particularly of the alien goo variety). So that’s something.

There’s not much plot to speak of. Giant bug aliens are attacking earth and an elite group of alien-killing specialist need to do their job (i.e. killing aliens). You’ll load up as one of four soldiers equipped with a big ol’ arsenal of weapons. There are guns—lots of guns—but also giant armoured battle suits and jetpacks of sorts that allow players to fly for brief periods of time. Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter all that much what you equip, beyond how powerful those weapons might be. The AI aliens are pretty dumb, just wandering around causing mild trouble and waiting to get shot. So, you suit up and go out to shoot them until they are dead. End of concept, pretty much.

earthdefenseforce4insert2The graphics aren’t spectacular by any stretch of the imagination. That’s not too much of a surprise, given that this is merely a mildly spruced-up version of Earth Defense Force 2025 for the PS3. Aside from some lighting and frame rate upgrades, the thing essentially looks like a last-gen title, maybe even like a really good PS2 title if I feel like being unkind. The levels are all blocky and contained. Sure, buildings can fall, but it seems to happen randomly. There are almost 200 missions available between on and offline options, but they are essentially all the same. Find the aliens and smash them real good with whatever you have at your disposal. It’s about as repetitive of a game as possible.

However, there’s also no denying that the game can be pretty fun. There is a simple, satisfying joy to be found in firing a rocket launcher at a big bug and watching the goo fly. That’s also true of climbing the side of a building in a tank to shoot a giant hornet or marching around in a skyscraper-sized robot to battle a dragon (yep, there are dragons in this game too and no, I’m not sure why). The dialogue is all so corny and silly that it inspires ironic giggles that add to the stupid, silly fun of the experience.

Essentially, Earth Defense Force 4.1 is the videogame equivalent of a ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ B-movie. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a guilty pleasure that has appealed to twelve-year-olds and adults with the attention spans of twelve-year-olds for generations. A title like Earth Defense Force just updates that lovable nonsense for the videogame era. Now, that being said, this is not a game for anyone who values top-tier graphics, engaging storytelling, or who firmly believes that videogames can and should be art. Nope, this is pure trash for trash lovers and those who like to turn their brains off and revert to their basest, silliest entertainment instincts. To them, I say, “suit up and enjoy for as long as your attention span will allow.” For anyone else, go out and find another game. Pretty well any other game. This is not for you.

XSEED Announced its E3 Line Up

XSEED Announced its E3 Line Up

There’s no doubt that XSEED is one of the largest Japanese publishers around. And E3 is the biggest games trade show on the planet. So today, they announced their E3 line up with a bunch of localizations.

Leading the way for localization is Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale, a cross over between Story of Seasons and the popular Japanese Manga PopoloCrois for the 3DS. It will have a 25 plus hour story with 100 missions. But like other games of this genre, it will probably have tons of replayability. It will launch in Japan on June 18 this year. The last time we got an instalment in this series was in 2006 on the PSP.

Another localization hitting North America the next instalment in the The Legend of Heroes franchise, Trials of Cold Steel for the PS3 and Vita. For those unfamiliar with the series, it’s a JRPG that also blends sim aspects as well. In Japan, the series is known as Sen no Kiseki, and it’s developed by Nihon Falcom.

Along with that is Earth Defence Force: 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair. It’s a reimagining of Earth Defence Force 2025 for the PlayStation 4, and will feature 50 per cent new content, updated graphics and smoother frame rates.

That’s not everything though. Here’s a complete list of the games they’re showing this year excluding the titles already mentioned.

Corpse Party Blood Drive-PSVita

Earth Defence Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space-PSVita

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos-PS4

Senran Kagura: Deep Crimson-3DS

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus-PS4

That doesn’t seem like too bad of a line up. As a huge fan of Harvest Moon it’s always exciting to see a new Bokujo Monogatari game even if I’m unfamiliar with the source material. What game are you most excited for at this E3?

Down with Bad Quick Time Events

Down with Bad Quick Time Events

Indulge me, please. I have a complaint. Yeah, it will probably seem like a pretty minor one in the grand scheme of things, but, all the same, it’s a source of regular frustration. Basically, what I’m working up to writing here is that I’m sick of videogames, good and bad alike, being ruined by the most easily avoidable problem of all: poorly designed quick time events. Quick time events (or QTEs for brevity’s sake) are often awful. They’re a decent design idea that felt truly novel at one point, but are used to good effect pretty much only within specific genres now. QTEs don’t have to be terrible (more on this in a bit), but their inclusion in many titles comes off as lazy or just plain poorly thought-out. When not properly integrated within gameplay mechanics they’re capable of destroying either entire sections of a game or the experience as a whole.

Down With Bad Quicktime Events
God of War

I started thinking about this topic after giving up on a videogame because of an incredibly frustrating QTE. Grasshopper Manufacture’s Killer is Dead is a third-person action game that certainly isn’t without non-QTE related narrative and design faults, but it was one sequence in particular that made me give up on a title I may otherwise have continued with. While fighting a boss about two hours into Dead’s campaign, the battle was interrupted with a QTE that required the frantic mashing a single button to complete. The timing of the sequence was so demanding that even the best controller-ruining tricks (rubbing a pen cap over the button, hammering at it with an index finger, etc.) couldn’t help me past it. I tried to look up some tips, found that a number of other players have had the same problem, and gave it a few more shots to no avail. I could blaze through the actual battle itself without difficulty. I could even get through the first of two QTEs after a while, but despite coming just short of turning my fingertip into a bloody ruin, couldn’t manage to pass the second sequence.

“I’m sick of videogames, good and bad alike, being ruined by the most easily avoidable problem of all: poorly designed quick time events.”

This has only happened to me once before, in Resident Evil 6, and served as the straw breaking the camel’s back on what was, all things considered, a pretty crummy game. But, even when they’ve featured in games that are really good otherwise—like Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which features a notable sequence where the player keeps Snake from electrocuting to death through button mashing—a badly designed QTE can make me consider giving up on playing through something entirely.

Back when videogames like Shenmue and Resident Evil 4 were first coming out, QTEs seemed like a pretty good way to introduce light gameplay elements into scenes that would have otherwise been completely non-interactive. It was a smart idea then, but as the best developers took note of what worked about QTEs, simple, annoying ones designed around hammering a single button went away. Games like Indigo Prophecy and The Walking Dead re-contextualized the quick time event into a primary gameplay mechanic, using timed button presses to keep players engaged in story-heavy experiences. God of War and The Last of Us used QTEs to add a sense of physical urgency (and violence) to Kratos’ battles and Joel and Ellie’s desperate fights. These games changed the way that quick time events were used. Rather than simply tasking the player with hitting a button quickly—or as hard as possible for a sustained period of time—they worked to increase the connection the player has with her or his character.

Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6

When QTEs aren’t used properly, though, they can ruin a game. It seems astonishing that there are still developers who haven’t noticed when this mechanic works well and when it doesn’t. There’s a place in games for tough challenges that require quick reflexes and manual dexterity, but creating artificial difficulty through button mashing segments doesn’t fall into this category. Sure, games can ask us to beat up our controllers with frantic combat and tense action scenes, but gating progression behind unforgiving, overly simplistic quick time events is just plain bad design.

Akiaba’s Trip: Undead and Uncensored News

Akiaba's Trip: Undead and Uncensored News

Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Uncensored will hit North America this summer. Although it’s already out in Japan, developer XSEED has given some information on in-game content.

The big news from their press release was that players can get “strip portraits” of all main male characters in the game along with female characters. To XSEED, this provides a little more gender balance.

The title is their biggest voice over project to date. Because of this, the title will feature “dual audio” meaning players can use the new English dubbed voice work, or stick with the original Japanese stuff.

The setting is Tokyo’s electronic district, which the team boasts to have rebuilt for the game. The story follows Nanashi, a young man who was transformed into the walking dead and after some traumatic experiences he decides it’s up to him to rid the world of the evil with his friends.

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace (PS3) Review

Ragnarok Odyssey Ace (PS3) Review

Pseudo-Monster Hunting On Your PS3

While Capcom arguably invented the entire monster-hunting genre when they debuted Monster Hunter on the PS2, it was really on the PSP where the genre took off. Since then, Capcom’s taken their ball and walked out of Sony’s backyard and over to Nintendo’s. This has been good news for the 3DS and Wii U and bad news for the Vita and PS3. That’s why publishers like Tecmo-Koei and even Sony themselves have stepped in to try to fill the gap. Game Arts managed to do so in 2012 with Ragnarok Odyssey and now the expanded version of that game, Ragnarok Odyssey Ace is available both on its original home on the Vita and a new $40 PS3 version. While it’s still not as good as Monster Hunter, you don’t have much choice if you’re craving this kind of gameplay on the PS3.

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A Less Efficient Port

Like Arkham Origins Blackgate or Assassin’s Creed: Liberation, it’s obvious when played on the PS3 that this was a game designed for less powerful hardware. The low polygonal nature of the world and simpler (if higher resolution) textures all point to a game made to be played on a small screen, and it doesn’t hold up well on a large, modern flat screen TV. It doesn’t help that even amongst its peers on the Vita, Ragnarok is the least impressive game from both an art direction and technical standpoint. Obviously, a monster hunting game is more about the actual hunt than the looks, but PS3 players with no experience with this game need to understand that this is a port and not a highly optimized one. Don’t expect the same loving care that Square-Enix gave to Final Fantasy X and keep those expectations in check.

Graphical weaknesses aside, the strength of Ragnarok Odyssey Ace is in the meaty gameplay, and it is here that Game Arts still mostly lives up to the promise of the original Vita version. This is the same game, only now played with the comfort of a DualShock 3 and it packs a ton of extra content not available in the original base game. There’s also cross-play and cross-save compatibility so players willing to buy two copies of the game in two different formats can keep their game going between PS3 and Vita versions. Additionally, there’s an option for players to transfer their original Vita game data over to this new PS3 version if a high powered, highly geared character already exists. One surprising factor about this console version is that in some ways, it actually feels a little less efficient to use than the Vita version. The touch screen on the original version was used for both potion consumption and communication, but now these functions have been assigned to the L2/R2 triggers. It actually feels less responsive than the simple touch on the Vita’s smaller screen, but it’s hardly a game breaker by any means.

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As with any monster hunting game, the big draws here are the fighting—and salvaging of components—of monsters, and the company of friends. PS3 players obviously lose the ability to play the “ad hoc” mode of the original Vita version with three other friends in the same room, but can take their game online on the PlayStation Network. Veterans to Ragnarok Odyssey will find the same gameplay, simply with much more added content on a bigger screen. People who are new to the game will find a bright, colourful world of third person, monster hunting, co-op action waiting for them that can potentially suck hours of their lives if they get pulled into the seductive cycle of short hunts leading to weapon and armor upgrades.

Ragnarok Odyssey as a PS3 game doesn’t hold any significant improvements or surprises over its Vita sibling. But for fans that want to play on a bigger screen or simply those who are starved for a Monster Hunter style game on the PS3, it provides a decent—if graphically unimpressive—outlet for scratching that itch.

Ys: Memories of Celceta (Vita) Review

Ys: Memories of Celceta (Vita) Review

Ys might end up taking the crown for “longest-running series”, as it has churned out titles since 1987. Never breaking the mainstream, our lovable hero Adol Cristan has continually captured the hearts of RPG fanatics, but only within a very niche demographic. Memories of Celceta, the newest entry, breathes life into Sony’s handheld, the PlayStation Vita. The story is boring, the graphics are dated, but the fighting and exploration is enthralling.  I may be new to the phenomenon, but Memories of Celceta is a blast to play, despite how simple it is. Adol might as well be anime’s Indiana Jones, as his love of adventure and thirst for exploration act as inspiration for the player.

Memories of Celceta isn’t entirely new though. A re-imagining of Ys IV, the title boasts new graphics, new gameplay system, and a much more fleshed out story. Your task: map out the grand and dangerous forest of Celceta. The problem: you’ve lost all your memories. On the way you encounter memory fragments, that help bring back a picture of what happened before the start of the game. While the story is light-hearted and by no means takes away from the title, it isn’t the focal point and probably won’t keep you playing. But the mapping and action will.

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Along the way you’ll meet friends who will join your team in your attempt to not only finish mapping the forest, but also save the world. You can play as many different characters, but only three of them can be in the party at once. Most of the times you’ll be fighting evil lizards, big wolverines and more. Attacking normally is linked to one button, but you can also use skills that do a variety of different things. Each character has a different weapon, but think of it like a Tales game except everything is in real time! There’s also crafting, and a host of ultimate weapons near the end of the title.

While past Ys games have been notorious for their difficulty, I found playing Celceta on normal to be pretty easy, only dying a few times. Nightmare, however is a different story. If you’re a seasoned veteran of the franchise, you might want to start on this horror. But even then, it shouldn’t be too much of a task for anyone who has played the old titles in the series. You can tell Nihon Falcom tried to make this more accessible, and it makes sense since many smaller franchises have had more exposure on the Vita.

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Ys: Memories of Celceta is worth your time. It’s fun, addictive, lengthy (clocks in around 20 hours), and easy to jump into. What it lacks in production value, it makes up for in its essence. I’ve finished Celceta, and am already looking into the past titles. There’s also an anime that’s worth looking into, especially since it expands on the character of Adol. Here’s to Ys, the series that never ends (and shouldn’t).

Is XSEED Teasing A New Senran Kagura Title?

Is XSEED Teasing A New Senran Kagura Title?

This morning XSEED Games teased a new title via Twitter. The post, which reads “”, seems to hint at one of the companies localization efforts, Senran Kagura. With the new Kagura games not even out in Japan, the most likely culprit is Shinovi Versus, a PSVita exclusive.

We here at CGM reached out to XSEED about this post, who said “any future product plans will be made through an official announcement.” This more or less doesn’t disprove or prove anything, but well endowed ladies in school definetley reeks of Senran Kagura.

Stay tuned here as more details arise about this peculiar tease. Also be sure to check out our other articles on the series as well as our review of Senran Kagura Burst.