It’s always been a bit crazy how Japan has managed to remain so different when it comes to video games. Senran Kagura is probably one of the biggest examples of this: a game based on Japanese myth, mixed with more modern themes, but not one that simply takes game mechanics from something already popular. While Shinovi Versus continues where Burst left off, the series really doesn’t feel like any game before it. Shinovi Versus builds on the earlier games, but adds quite a bit to it thanks in part to the increased power and control available on Vita. READ MORE
When you first encounter Natural Doctrine, it appears to be a hybrid of Valkyria Chronicles and a crazy person’s conspiracy wall. As you play more, the symbology and walls of tied-together information begin to be somewhat more legible, but the metaphor becomes ever stronger: Natural Doctrine searches frantically for answers to how to make a good strategy RPG and overlays a web of complicated systems to try to make that happen, but ultimately it’ll just drive you mad. READ MORE
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
The long, long line of Musou games thrives on sheer volume of content. Those who aren’t fans of the series will get nothing out of the prospect of doing something they don’t like dozens upon dozens of times, but if you buy into the Warriors formula, you can expect Omega Force to pile your plate high with characters, battles and unlockables. Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate, the third enhanced edition of the game, adds an extra layer of cameos and modes to a title that already offered quite a bit. READ MORE
Surprisingly hot on the heels of the release of the first game, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair has both the benefit and the challenge of following an experience that is still quite fresh in players’ minds. Considering how much the original Danganronpa turned the visual novel genre on its head, it’s hard not to wonder whether the sequel could live up to its standards.
I’m happy to say that it did that and then some. READ MORE
Stealth games have gone through somewhat of a renaissance as of late, augmenting traditionally rigid mechanics you associate with the genre for something more forgiving. This is a way to introduce the genre to new players without alienating the veterans, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. CounterSpy continues this new traditional in style, with randomly generated side-scrolling levels and a focus on maintaining the balance between pure stealth and action. READ MORE
Emulating another genre within a game has been met with varying levels of success. Probably the most well-known of an MMO-within-a-game structure is the .hack series. That franchise spanned seven games and, for the most part, did its best to emulate the MMO structure inside a “regular” RPG of sorts. Years after .hack made an appearance in both anime and video games, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment rolls around with a similar premise. Is SAO able to raise the bar on this kind of formula? READ MORE
I’ve been sitting here, staring at a blank page for almost an hour. How do you write about a game like Hohokum? I recall my adventures with the game’s lead “character,” taking me through vast worlds full of bizarre characters and creatures that are all unique, yet somehow feel singular. It’s a game with no real premise or clear objectives, yet I found myself (sometimes) engaged with its colorful landscapes. Let’s explore Hohokum and see if we can dissect it, shall we?
Players have been enjoying The Swapper on PCfor the previous year, but console fans are just recently getting their first taste of the game on the PS4, PS3 and Vita. The Swapper is a puzzle-action game hybrid, similar in feel to Braid, but with a much darker and more realistic tone set on an abandoned space station. The game does make a few missteps, but the atmosphere, along with some unique and well-thought-out puzzle mechanics, make this a game that anyone even remotely interested in it should play. READ MORE
I’ve never been to Japan before, but I imagine it’s not unlike playing the new title from Acquire and XSEED, Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed. Sure, the game features way more blood-sucking demons than you might find in the real Akihabara, but otherwise it has to be close, right? Akiba’s Trip is exactly as bizarre as I expected, but it’s also surprisingly charming despite its rough edges.