Friday, November 23, 2012

[Review] Magical Drop V

A cult-classic puzzle game by some, the Magical Drop series is a fast-paced puzzle game with an emphasis on matching colored orbs to create combos to crowd your opponents screen to win, similar to the Bust-A-Move series by Taito.  Back in the day I've played a bit with an earlier entry, Magical Drop 3, and it was extremely fun.  Now the newest entry in the series makes it's appearance on Steam and it is a blast.

Released on November 15th, Magical Drop V features a story mode for solo play, along with local play versus modes, which includes a 2-on-2 team battle mode and a 4 player king of the hill.  There's also online play for each of the modes and leaderboards for high scores.  The game features 10 playable characters w/ 4 unlockables.  Each character in the Magical Drop series is made unique with a drop pattern.  As you create combos, orbs will drop in a pattern unique to that character.

New in Magical Drop V is the Ghostlop game mode, which apparently was an unreleased arcade game that got incorporated into Magical Drop V.  Ghostlop is accessed by playing a select few characters and at first glance it looks similar to playing Bust-A-Move, but it is completely different.  Ghostlop is played by tossing a fireball up towards an arrangement of blue and orange colored ghost orbs, and to break them your fireball can switch between a blue and orange glow to destroy the appropriate colors.  It's a more difficult game mode from my experience.

Winning a round of Magical Drop comes down to 2 different objectives. First is to meet the quota, which is to destroy a certain number of orbs before your opponent. The other method is if a column of orbs reaches the bottom of the screen.  So to do real well in this game is to be fast and have a good eye for setting up combos.

The story mode is just your typical arcade style solo play where you pick a character and go through some short dialouge between them and the various cast of the game till you reach the final stage and play off against a boss character.
The graphics are in a clean and crisp HD with a very colorful scheme to it all.  The visual effects are great when combos are made as orbs explode, and as high combos are made, there are some nice magical visual effects such as water bubbling, fire blazing, and thunder appearing on screen.

The sound effects are satisfying as you pop orbs and that really energizing ding you hear when you keep comboing goes into a higher pitch gets you pumped up.  Characters are voiced in Japanese, but some of them can sound a little bit obnoxious.  Music is a nice, light, and cheerful tune when on the various menu screens, while during matches they're more faster paced, but it's difficult to pay attention to it when the sound of popping orbs and combos are just all over the place.

Overall, Magical Drop V is a real fun fast paced puzzler that is great to kill any amount of free time.  The game is available on Steam for $9.99.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hatsune Miku Project Diva F PS3 version details

Developers of the popular rhythm game featuring Japan's famous virtual idol Hatsune Miku have given details about the PS3 version of  Project Diva f in a recent interview with Weekly Famitsu.

Originally announced along with the Vita version of Project Diva f, the developers had only said they were making a PS3 version.  In the interview, they have revealed some new features and additions in the console port.

The PS3 version of the game will apparently feature a larger F, system data transfer from the Vita version, and six new songs and a few new modules.  However,they will not be bringing over some Vita specific features such as the AR mode and the scratch notes.  The game will also not feature a cross play feature where you can use the Vita as a controller.

As to a release date, it hasn't been determined but they have hinted it for sometime during Spring.  I'm not sure whether I would want to purchase it again but I'll have to wait and see when more info is released.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

[Nintendo 3DS ]Atlus bringing Etrian Odyssey IV to the US next year

Originally slipped under my radar but Atlus announced a few weeks back that they will be bringing the latest in their new school old-school dungeon crawler RPG series Etrian Odyssey IV.  The newest improvement they've done with the game is giving the game new 3D graphics for the monsters over sprites like they used to.  They've scheduled a release for sometime in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS. No word yet on whether they will bundle a bonus item like they've done with most of their recent releases, but here's hoping theres another artbook like Etrian Odyssey III.

Today Atlus Faithful subscribers have just received the first batch of screenshots and an explanation about their font choice for the game.  The fact that Atlus cares about what font they put into their games is just amazing. 

Atlus' Etrian Odyssey IV website

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

[Playstation 3] Mugen Souls Limited Edition Unboxing

Well I didn't expect my copy to arrive a day early, but I got my copy of Mugen Souls that I pre-ordered at NIS America's Anime Expo booth this summer.  The set includes a pair of Nendoroid figurines made by Good Smile Company featuring the characters Chou-Chou, Shampuru, and Altis.  Inside the box we get the Shampuru Bath Set(hand-towel and sponge), a full-page color hardcover art book, a soundtrack for the game and of course the Mugen Souls PS3 game.  Gonna hold off a bit on playing this game since I did just received Code of Princess this weekend.

Monday, October 15, 2012

NIS America announces Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl

Announced over the weekend, NIS America announced that they will be releasing Ground Control to Psychoelectris Girl aka Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.  The release will be, like every other NIS America licensed anime, a premium box set with both blu-ray and DVD copies with a full color 36 page artbook in a collectible slipcase.  The complete 13 episode series will be out on January 8, 2013.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

[Nintendo 3DS] Code of Princess Unboxing

I just got my order of Atlus' new 3DS game Code of Princess, a side scrolling beat-em-up with RPG elements, and features, 50+ playable characters and 4-player co-op and versus, local and online ranked matches.  Atlus has packed in bonus content with a sound and visual CD/Artbook inside a neat boxed package.  These are only for the first print copies so down the line you will only get the game when you purchase.  Without further ado here's the pictures of the unboxing!

 And here's Atlus' launch trailer for the game.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Tales of Xillia 2's DLC Costumes

As I'm eagerly waiting for Tales of Xillia 2 to be released and my pre-order to be shipped,  screenshots and ads for the anime-crossover DLC costumes from Madoka Magica and Code Geass have been revealed.

The Code Geass DLC includes the original series Lelouch of the Rebellion and the new Akito the Exiled series.  As for the Madoka Magica costumes, Milla as Homura, Elise as Madoka, and Leia as Mami.  Certainly not what I expected and where's Kyouko and Sayaka?  I honestly thought Milla could have had Sayaka's costume as she uses a sword, and Leia would have Kyouko's since she uses a staff.

Anyways, each costume will cost 500 yen a piece and there's also a Kyubey attachment for 200 yen.  Tales of Xillia comes out November 1st and I'll be getting my copy soon after it's released.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

NIS America's TGS 2012 Announcements

NIS America's recent Prinny Bomb Newsletter has revealed that NIS America will be releasing Hyperdimenion Neptunia Victory in spring of 2013.  They've also got an iPhone Neptunia app in the works. Wonder what that will be? 

Next, they got Generation of Chaos: Pandora's Reflection for the PSP via the PSN.  I'm not all that familiar with the series but I'll check it out as it looks interesting.  They expect it to be released sometime 2013 as well.

Lastly, they will be publishing Atlus' Persona 4 Golden in Europe for release in spring 2013.

Wii U Experience Los Angeles

Yesterday I was invited to go to try out the Wii U in Los Angeles.  Nintendo rented out a studio to demo several of the Wii U's launch games to a select few invited guests and I was invited with one of my cousins who received the original invite.

The game's Nintendo had demoed include three themed mini-games from Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Rayman Legends, Pikmin 3, Wii Fit U, The Wonderful 101(aka Project P-100), Game & Wario, ZombiiU, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, Batman Arkham Asylum: Armored Edition, and Just Dance 4.

I was only able to try out one of the three Nintendo Land game's they put out titled Chase Mario.  Its a simple game that mixes tag and hide and seek where the player using the new GamePad runs around the map as a Mii dressed up as Mario while the other for players try and find Mario and tackle him.

Next I moved on to wait in a line to play ZombiiU, a game that I was really looking forward to.  They had two versions up for demo, a solo campaign and a multiplayer demo.  The solo campaign I did not get the chance to try out, but the multiplayer I played with my brother.  Multiplayer had pitched us against each other with one playing as a survivor while the second player used the GamePad to control the zombie horde in a capture the flag game mode.  Playing as the infected horde was really interesting as I got to select from four different zombie types identified by color.  I can use red zombies to capture flags, blue zombies acted as sentries that will attack the survivor on sight, white zombies will seek out the survivor, and yellow zombies are a very aggressive version of the white ones.  Each zombie costs a few points to spawn and I'm also limited to only 10 spawns on the map at a given time.  Points are earned overtime and I can also delete spawns to refund some points back.  It is definetly satisfying to send a whole horde of zombies to attack your opposition while you place some flag capturing zombies at a point far away from him.

Lastly I was able to demo New Super Mario Bros. U.  While I wasn't able to try out the GamePad's assist mode, the player using it is able to stun enemies on screen by touching them via the touchscreen, and also able to summon platforms to help the players on the main screen.  There's definitely some chaos to cause when you have four players that constantly jump on each other and a gamepad assistant who can totally decide to troll you by placing platforms right above you as you jump.  Though I'm pretty sure if all the players are serious enough everybody can work together towards the stage goal with minimal deaths.  New Super Mario Bros. U is going to be a fun game just as every Mario game has ever been.

The Wii U will have two bundles and is coming out on November 18th 2012 and pre-orders for the deluxe bundle have already sold out.  While there are some basic bundles still left, I feel that if you were to buy a Wii U you should be getting the Deluxe as you will be getting the best use of the console on release.  I won't be getting one right away but I do plan to pick one up after demand has died down a little.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Persona 4 Golden's release date confirmed

Atlus has officially confirmed Persona 4 The Golden's release date for November 20th.  A little farther than I hope as I initially though it was going to be released in October. Can't wait to play through it again with all these new features.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tokyo Game Show 2012 Monster Hunter 4 Trailer

Here's the trailer for the next Monster Hunter game due out sometime in 2013 for the Nintendo 3DS.  Wish there was more support for the series outside of Japan where just about everyone is nuts about it.  Would totally play this with friends.
Graphics look roughly better than the PSP games, but looks like the new hub town we get to hang around in is in a desert, reminds me a lot of Monster Hunter Tri's online hub.  Tons of new monsters as expected with some returns from Tri, and what do we have here? A Spear weapon? Awesome.  Looks like now we can do some aerial attacks as we jump off cliffs, very cool.

Tokyo Game Show Trailers for Ace Attorney 5 and Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney

Shown at this year's Tokyo Game Show which is currently going on in Japan,trailers for Ace Attorney 5 and Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney.

 Ace Attorney 5's 3D graphics are looking really impressive and better than I imagined.  Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney looks like a wonderful blend between both games and that animated intro really made me think it was a trailer for an anime. Freakin' Awesome.

Really can't wait for these games to come out in the US.  Ace Attorney 5 has already been confirmed by Capcom when the news first broke, but I'm unsure about Layton vs. Ace Attorney though there are rumors of it being listed by some online retailers.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

[Review] Hatsune Miku Project Diva f

The newest game from Japan's popular virtual idol has arrived at last bringing a whole new set of songs and features to the series on the PS Vita.  There's a good lot of content in the game this time around so lets get moving through the review.

The game has a great selection of popular Vocaloid songs, a total of 32 in this game.  Gameplay basically involves you pressing the corresponding face button as a icon flies across the screen to a target. Hitting notes at the right time will raise your "song energy" or health but missing them or hitting them with bad timing will deplete it as shown at the bottom left of the game screen.  At the bottom is a progress meter than shows your Completion.  A song is considered complete if you score a ranking of Standard or higher.  Higher ranks are earned through hitting more notes perfectly.

There are several new features added to the game with this latest version as well, such as scratch targets where you swipe your finger on the touchscreen as the note hits the target, and a "Technical Zone" where you need to hit all the targets to earn a large amount of bonus points and progress towards clearing the song.  Missing any notes during this will fail the Technical Zone and you will lose the bonus.

Each song also has another bonus section called a Chance Time where all notes will fill a special star meter that takes the place of the health gauge temporarily.  When it is filled and you near the end of Chance Time a large star target will appear and if you hit it while the star gauge is filled you earn a handful of bonus points and completion progress as well as an alternate song ending.  As you complete a song you earn diva points which is the game's currency used to unlock new costumes and items.

Outside of the main rhythm game mode, there is a shop where you can buy many costumes and accessories, or modules as the game calls them, room items and decorations for the Diva Rooms, and presents to give to your virtual idols.  The Diva Room is a mode where you can interact with Miku or any of the other Vocaloids, and also acts as a menu for a bunch of bonus features such as the gallery for all the art seen during the load screens and a playlist with all the songs.  It also includes an alarm clock and kitchen timer feature.  Giving presents to a Vocaloid and using the Touch Communication feature will increase their friendship with the player and as it raised it unlocks new items in the store.

There is also an edit mode where you can add music from your Vita's playlist to create your own songs to play.  Lastly there's an Augmented Reality mode where you can display a "life-size" Miku or any other Vocaloid in the real world and take pictures with them.  You can also enable a AR-live concert where they will perform a song and dance while in AR mode.  If only the Vita's built-in camera quality was better, this would make for really fun pictures.

As you select a song, you are given some options before starting play.  One of the options is with each song, you can select which modules you want to use.  Each song will usually default with the original Hatsune Miku, save for songs that are sung by other Vocaloids such as Megurine Luka in which case it uses their default module. Once you select or change the appearance for that song's character, it will be saved for the next time you play that song.  If you select another song, it will have a different set up so each one has a independent module.  You can also save and load modules you create so you can easily load up a unique appearance you made for one song to use in any other one.

Another option you are given is to view the current song as a PV or a music video without the in-game display. 
And lastly, before you begin a playing a song, you can choose to buy a help item to assist you with clearing a difficult song, or purchasing a challenge item which makes it a little bit more difficult but with more benefits in the end.  Clearing a song with a help item will usually award you the lowest rank upon clearing, but it helps you not fail it.  Challenge items include having the targets appear much later to the point where you almost miss them, to having only half your health and you must clear the song before it depletes.  By clearing with a challenge item, you can earn 2x to 4x the amount of diva points.

Overall I'm really enjoying this game compared to previous entries in the Project Diva series.  The graphics are just so sharp, bright, and detailed; and the costumes are all just wonderful.  Menu navigation as a whole has improved in my opinion, as you can select a different module for each song independently of each other.  I also really like the songs they put in the game.  Some of my favorites include Himitsu Keisatsu (Secret Police), World's End Dancehall, and Black Rock Shooter, which finally makes its Project Diva debut.

So if you're a big Vocaloid fan, this game is a must have.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney gets release date in Japan

The long awaited cross-over game between Professor Layton and Phoenix Wright will be released in Japan on November 29th.  The game will also have a playable demo during the Tokyo Game Show coming up soon.

The game will take place in a fantasy setting called Labyrinth City where our professor and defense attorney will help some wrongly accused individuals.  The gameplay will be split into two different parts, an Adventure Part where you play as Professor Layton and do what he does best, solve puzzles and gathering clues.  The Trial Part is where you take control of Phoenix Wright in a special courtroom to go through a "Witch Trial" where there will be multiple witnesses taking the stand at the same time.

There's currently no news as to whether the game will come stateside, but with the recent announcement of Ace Attorney 5 getting a western release, and with the extreme popularity of both Professor Layton and Ace Attorney games here we should expect them to bring it over sometime in the future.  Looking forward to it when it does, even though I've never played a Professor Layton game.

1st 2 Madoka Magica Films will play in Los Angeles +4 other cities.

Aniplex of America will be showing the two movies in select theaters in five cities in the US.  For us in Los Angeles they will be selling special merchandise at the premiere in the Downtown Independent October 19-25.  Other locations include New York, Chicago, Houston, and San Francisco, but I don't think they will be selling anything.

They've also put up a subtitled trailer for the movie.

Nintendo's WiiU now has release date and price

Nintendo has let out a flood gate of new information about their new console coming out this fall.
The WiiU will be out by November 18, 2012, and comes in two bundles.  There is a standard version that comes with the console, the WiiU gamepad, 8GB of memory, AC Adapter, sensor bar, and a HDMI cable, for $299.
The Deluxe bundle comes at $349, and includes all the above, with an upgrade to 32GB of memory, a WiiU Gamepad charging dock, a membership pass for something called the Deluxe Digital Promotion which gives discounts for digital products till 2014, and the pack in game Nintendo Land.

You may have noticed that they do not include any Wii Remotes with any of the bundles as the console will be compatible with existing remotes, but the catch is that they have to be Wii Remote Plus or have the Motion Plus attachment. Additional Wii U gamepads costs are also currently unknown and whether the console will support a second one is a mystery at the moment.  The Wii U does have backwards compatibility with Wii games, but Gamecube games are not so keep your Wii's or Gamecube's around.

They've announced that Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U will be launch titles alongside the console but no news on what else may be released day one.  They have confirmed that there will be 50 games within the launch window of November 18 through March 31.  Some notable releases in that window include Pikmin 3, ZombiiU, Wonderful 101( aka Project 100), Assassins Creed III, Mass Effect 3, Wii Fit U and much more.  There's a complete listing here from Kotaku.

Some big third parties have announced exclusive future titles for the Wii U like Xenoblade developer Monolith Soft.  Capcom has announced Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate exclusively for Wii U as well as a 3DS version.  And surprisingly, Platinum Games announced Bayonetta 2 as a Wii U exclusive and will be published by Nintendo.  Koei also announced a port of Warriors Orochi 3.  There aren't any dates for these games in the US yet, but Warriors Orochi 3 and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will be release titles in Japan.  Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will also be bundled together with the console in Japan only.

There's also something like a social network for the WiiU called the MiiVerse.  No details on how that functions yet to my knowledge.  The cost of a Wii U game is also currently unknown but I would like to assume they will cost $60 now like everything else, especially if they consider the Wii U's hardware to be comparable to a Xbox 360 or PS3.

EDIT: Looks like I was right with the $60 price tag of Wii U games.  All games will retail for $59.99.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bakemonogatari Limited Edtion Blu-Ray Box Set from Aniplex releases this Holiday Season

Aniplex of America has revealed today the details of their long awaited Blu-ray box set of the hit anime Bakemonogatari. 

The box set includes all 15 episodes on 6 Blu-Ray discs, Japanese audio with subtitles for dialogue and onscreen text, Character audio commentary, textless OP and ED animations and TV previews, 3 cases inside with double sided case wraps all in a sturdy rigid box featuring an original illustration by Akio Watanabe.
 Plot Summary from Anime News Network: Although there are still traces of the brief period he became a vampire, third-year high school student Koyomi Araragi is human again. He happens upon others with their own supernatural problems and finds that he can empathize. Koyomi becomes involved in their lives, seeking to help them and occasionally asking for advice from Meme Oshino, the homeless man who helped him become human again.

This is again a Limited Edition Box Set by Aniplex, so it means once it sells out, you probably won't be able to buy it again.  It is scheduled for release on November 20th, 2012.  It is up for pre-order for $149.98 here at Right-Stuf.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Valkyria Chronicles 3 Complete Artworks gets a US release, though the game is still not coming.

The North American publisher of many video game artbooks Udon Entertainment will release the Valkyria Chronicles 3: Complete Artworks book this December 2012.

The artbook will include illustrations by lead character designer Raita Honjō, with character biographies, vehicle and weapon designs, promotional art, creator commentary, and interviews.

Udon seems to care a lot for the American fans that missed out on the game as they will also include a in-depth summary of the third game's story since Sega has shown no interest in localizing the game for American audiences.  This seems like the closest we will get to having the game I suppose and it's better than nothing.  They have also released artbooks for the first two Valkyria Chronicles.

The 256-page book will retail for US$44.99. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phoenix Wright returns in Ace Attorney 5! (Updated!)

Great news for fans of Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney as a 5th game in the series has been announced for the Nintendo 3DS.  Set one year after Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the 4th entry in the series, Phoenix returns as a lawyer after losing his license eight years ago after a conspiracy. He is accompanied by a mysterious girl in yellow who wears a black glove on her right hand and a crescent earring.

New in this game, scenes within the courtroom are now in complete 3D, including all characters like the judge, Phoenix himself, and probably anyone who appears in the courtroom.  The camera in the courtroom can be controlled by the player to view from many angles.

One of the first scans shows him facing off the younger brother of veteran prosecutor Winston Payne, who you may remember from past games.  Phoenix's first client appears to be a high school girl who is prone to spasm attacks.

It's still a mystery as to whether characters from previous games will make an entrance such as Apollo Justice, Trudy Wright, and the absence of Maya and other members of the Fey family.  No release date for the game has been announced yet.

Update: Capcom has confirmed that Ace Attorney 5 will be getting a release in the West.

Images and source from:Anime News Network