Friday, February 21, 2014

Monster Hunting, Toukiden, Left Behind, and [embargo'd]!  


I haven't talked about Monster Hunter in a while (hi @Nightdreamer!) but I guess that's because there really hasn't been a lot to talk about. Until now, that is. The big news is that Capcom recently announced MH4U will be coming to the States in 2015. That's a bit of a wait, but at least we know it's coming, so that’s something to look forward to.

In the meantime, it's always bothered me that I never completed Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (PSP/Vita) at 100%. When I was first playing it, I didn’t have anyone nearby to quest up with on a regular basis, and I got about halfway through G-Rank solo before it became too tough to do without going insane.

However, after I put the game aside, my wife got bitten by the bug and jumped into MH3U (WiiU/3DS). Now that we're done with 3U (which we did complete 100%) she ended up getting a Vita and has just now started MHFU herself. She's just beginning, but she's already deep into it and making fast progress.

If you’re a Monster Hunter who's never played Freedom Unite, or if you never completed it, I'll be posting about the game and the progress we make through the year. As such, I invite you to play along with us and post comments here about your own progress. Also, last I checked it was still possible to still hook up with people online through a PS3 (although it's kind of kludgey) but the option is always there.

Also, I still owe @J_Monster an essay which is currently half-completed, so I want to assure him that I have not forgotten. :-)


Speaking of hunting, I just turned in my review of Toukiden (Vita).

It started out quite well, but it became too repetitive too soon. It didn't have enough of the detail and nuance that keeps a game like that going, and I put about 15 hours into it before it just got so boring that I couldn't keep on. 

It's still a good game and it makes some smart choices, but the fact is that once you've played the best, there's not really a lot of reason to play second-best. I’d say it’s still worth a look for newcomers, but as someone who’s spent hundreds of hours carving parts with the game that basically invented the genre, there's not enough here to hold my attention.


In other games news, I recently completed the Left Behind DLC for The Last Of Us, and it was absolutely fantastic

I would recommend it without reservation to anyone who was a fan of TLOU, and I salute Naughty Dog for what they pulled off there. My review should be up soon, so keep your eyes peeled.


For the upcoming @Gamecritics podcast, we’re going to be talking about The Banner Saga (PC), 999 (DS) and Virtue’s Last Reward (3DS/Vita).

I haven't played Banner myself and won't be able to because my PC is a pile of garbage at the moment, but I did play 999 for a while and found it incredibly tedious. However, I have been assured by multiple people that VLR (its sequel) fixes most of those problems and is a worthwhile play. I have my hands on a copy now, so I’ll be checking into it before our next recording.

Feel free to play any or all of these before you listen in, and we may also bring up Lightning Returns (AKA Fashion Fantasy) as a backup, so heads-up on that one if it's in your near future.


Finally, I'm currently playing through a brand new embargo’d game for review.

I'm not at liberty to discuss it at the moment, but the Cone Of Silence will be shattered on February 24 -- although I'm not sure I'll have release-day coverage ready. It seems like a pretty chunky game with a lot to get through, and having only received code two days ago, I'm a little skeptical that I'll have it finished and written up by then.

What I can say is that it's a hotly-anticipated title with quite a few people hoping to see it crash and burn, but so far it's been quite a good time. It's not perfect, though. I'd say it's about 85% ‘awesome’ and 15% ‘Jesus, what were they thinking?’ but that's a really good ratio for a game of this sort.

Also, certain things about it have surprised me, frankly. Some aspects of the control scheme turned out to be much better than anticipated, and I was also treated to some of the most explicit sex I've ever seen in a videogame. I was actually quite happy that no one else was home at the time that I got to that part, because that would've been extremely awkward to explain to the wife and son. After all, it's not every day that you get a full-screen view of a naked woman riding cowgirl-style, or a man begging to have his nipples pinched.

In any event, it's been a thumbs-up sort of thing so far, and I'm also thrilled to finally have something substantial to play on my PS4. Real talk: it’s been gathering dust since the release day, unless you count the times I logged in to download free stuff from PS Plus. Anyway, I hope to have the review done as soon as possible, but if I can't make the 24th embargo then watch my Twitter feed and I'm sure I'll have a lot to say with more specifics at that time.


Straight from the keynote in downtown San Francisco, NIS America is proud to announce four new title acquisitions for the North American and European markets for 2014! Please see below for the titles and press releases.

Battle Princess of Arcadias (PS3 - PSN Only) - Click here to read the press release!
Disgaea®4: A Promise Revisited (PS Vita) - Click here to read the press release!
Danganronpa™ 2: Goodbye Despair (PS Vita) - Click here to read the press release!
Fairy Fencer F™ (PS3) - Click here to read the press release!


Have a hankering for fresh squid? Skip the sushi bar and pay a visit to the Nintendo eShop instead when SQUIDS Odyssey arrives on Wii U™ and Nintendo 3DS™ this spring. In this fanciful role-playing game from The Game Bakers, an insidious black ooze is seeping into the Squids' lush underwater kingdom, turning ordinary crabs and shrimp into dangerous monsters. For the first time on consoles, join a brave shoal of Squid heroes on their quest to protect their homeland.

In this tactical RPG, the heroes' squishy bodies become their best weapons: simply stretch a Squid's tentacles, then let go to fling it across the battlefield. Choose among 15 Squids in four classes, each with unique abilities and attacks, to build the perfect party. Then lead your team into turn-based battles against corrupted crustaceans using the party's strengths, the environment, and enemies' weaknesses to devise strategic attacks. The game's captivating adventure storyline and 90+ missions promise at least 15 hours of gameplay, while 65+ stat-boosting helmets provide numerous ways to customize.

As the ultimate SQUIDS compilation, SQUIDS Odyssey includes two campaigns previously released on PC and mobile devices with tons of improvement and tweaks, along with a brand new campaign in the Japanese kingdom of Wakame.SQUIDS Odyssey also includes a new Squid hero named Oktoku and four exclusive themed helmets. The controls have been completely reimagined for the Wii U console: players can use the Left Stick to aim and shoot, go hands-on with the Wii U GamePad touch screen, or even play exclusively on the GamePad. The Nintendo 3DS version features a choice between the +Control Pad or the Nintendo 3DS stylus, plus a gorgeous layered 3D effect that shows off the Squids' underwater utopia like never before.

SQUIDS has become a globally recognized brand with more than two million game downloads to date. A digital comic book series is underway from APE Entertainment and a children's television series is in early production. Learn more about SQUIDS on Facebook:


CastleStorm is coming to mobile devices! The mobile adaption of the game will be free to play and offers players an incredible amount of content and exciting features that made the game a success on console and PC platforms.

Featuring console quality graphics and controls tailored for the touch screen, CastleStorm – Free to Siege includes four full campaigns with 150 battles and four nations with distinct troop classes, weapons, spells, bonus rooms, eight playable hero characters as well as brand new spells for the mobile version!
Players with Android devices interested in getting their hands on the game early are invited to participate in a private beta starting today. To join the beta, join the CastleStorm – Free to Siege Google Group by visiting, opt-in to the CastleStorm Beta on the Google Play Store and then download the CastleStorm Beta. Community feedback can be submitted via the Zen Studios Forums. Space is limited so join today!

CastleStorm – Free to Siege will release on iOS, Google Play and Amazon later this spring.


Today we are pleased to inform you that publisher, Rising Star Games has just announced that the cult hit Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut: Ultimate Edition, and Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut standard edition are now available on the PlayStation®Network for PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system across North America at the permanently reduced price of $19.99.
Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut, the award-winning game from the creative mind of Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro, gives players a mysterious open-world experience featuring detailed interactions with Greenvale locals, as well as numerous side quests and mini games to help solve the murders and uncover hidden town secrets.

Playing as special agent Francis York Morgan (just call him York - everyone else does), players must investigate the brutal murder of a young local beauty. Amidst the backdrop of soaring mountains and a small American town, York must solve the mystery of the Red Seed Murders and stay alive in a place where supernatural creatures and a killer seek to end his investigation.


One of the most anticipated PSone® games of all time, Tomba! 2: The Great Adventure, is now on the PlayStation®Network on for $9.99 from MonkeyPaw Games, Inc. for PlayStation®3, PSP® and PlayStation®Vita.

The wait is over - Tomba! 2 is here and it’s ready to be downloaded to your handhelds and console today.  MonkeyPaw Games worked tirelessly to bring the sequel of the cult, retro hit Tomba! and is proud to be delivering on their promise to fans in North America.  The game is presented in its original Japanese form - a true import.  Players not fluent in Japanese can check the MonkeyPaw Games website for play-by-play instruction on how to progress.

Continuing the events of the original game, Tomba! is living happily until he gets an anonymous letter that his friend has been kidnapped. Not letting his friend disappear without a trace, Tomba! attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery. It quickly becomes apparent that pink colored animals with curly tails traditionally found on farms might hold some clues.

Tomba! 2 expands on the first game in nearly every way imaginable. Better visuals, more diverse missions and even power suits that grant Tomba! special abilities. The platforming gameplay retains all the classic charms and touches that make the Tomba!series such special games to experience and are truly a platform gamer’s dream. The swine won’t know what hogtied them.

Tomba! 2 is part of the Retro Rush event from MonkeyPaw Games. MonkeyPaw is working toward releasing six PSone® titles on the PlayStation®Network in the first quarter of 2014. More information about the Retro Rush event can be found on the MonkeyPaw Games website at

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