Jeff deSolla

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Vertical shooters these days are largely something we see as part of the past, or as super-difficult PC games from Japan. Velocity 2X is neither of those things. The original Velocity was a typical vertical shooter that started as a PlayStation Mini, designed for the PSP, though it eventually received a PS Vita and PSP port called Velocity Ultra. In addition to taking the series to the television, Velocity 2X adds varied level types and increased accessibility. READ MORE

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At this point, getting a handheld Disgaea remake is nothing new. The first game was ported to both PSP and DS, and the second made it to PSP. Then Disgaea 3 was released on Vita two years ago, and here we are with the fourth game receiving the same treatment (and uniting the core series on one device). So how does it compare to both its ported peers and the PS3 original? READ MORE

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The Oddworld series has returned to its roots with New ‘n’ Tasty. Original 1997 classic Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee has been fully remade for new platforms, and returns to Abe’s original adventure as he frees his fellow workers. Abe is a janitor at RuptureFarms, a meat processing plant that is responsible for driving the creatures providing the meat for its products into extinction. Having run out of animals to harvest, the company’s newest scheme is to turn Abe’s species into its next product. Abe overhears those plans, and realizes he must escape from RuptureFarms as the game begins. READ MORE

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Influences from the NES era are nothing new. This has been an ongoing trend in indie games, often to draw on the nostalgia factor and also cut the costs of developing in HD. Some might even say the trend is getting a bit overdone, and I might have agreed with them until now. Shovel Knight has proven that combining old art styles and mechanics, and mashing together old genres, can still be done well. READ MORE

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Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection puts the characters of Hyperdimension Neptunia franchise into the roles of pop idols, competing for “shares” of the popularity in the world of Gamindustri. This spinoff places the series into the long-running Japanese genre of idol-raising simulators, in which players guide the lives and careers of pop stars on their way to success. It also manages to be the first such game to see Western release, meaning it stands without the context and general appreciation of its general concepts. READ MORE

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As the first release using the new Unreal Engine 4, Daylight is an anomaly, in that it’s a horror game and not the usual first-person shooter. You are trapped in an abandoned hospital that is infested with ghosts called Shadows. You must find a way out with the help of another character, who you only communicate with over audio channels. The world is procedurally generated, which means that no two playthroughs follow the same layout. As a result, this limits how much narration the player can receive, to avoid having it repeat too much. The narration is ominous and fits the feel of the game, even when it is largely working as a tutorial. READ MORE

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Blizzard has always been able to create great expansion packs, going all the way back to the days when added content for a game was released on discs in stores. Reaper of Souls is no different. Blizzard has done a lot to turn around the flaws of the original, bringing back a lot of the gameplay that made Diablo II and its expansion so well-loved. READ MORE

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The original Ragnarok Odyssey proved to be a great early hit for the Vita, finding success both in and outside Japan with its loot-driven hunting formula. With what is both an expansion pack and a revamped base game, Ragnarok Odyssey ACE refines its gameplay and adds content, along with making the move to the big screen with a PS3 release. READ MORE

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As a new game from the Disgaea team, The Witch and the Hundred Knight has a lot to live up to. Though it ventures into the realm of hack-and-slash action-RPG instead of the usual turn-based tactics, the team has retained its love of telling a story about the bad guys, complete with crazy plot twists. You play as the Hundred Knight, a creature summoned by Metallia, the Swamp Witch. As she is unable to leave the swamp, she sends you on missions for her, to spread the swamp further into the land of Madea. The main conflict: Metallia is locked in an endless struggle with her nemesis Malia, the forest witch. READ MORE

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The Atelier series has always been a little different from your traditional Japanese RPG. Keeping away from the typical world-ending plot, the series’ games often focus on one town or group of characters. Escha & Logy continues this trend, but adds a new wrinkle with a second protagonist. READ MORE