Friday, February 14, 2014

Revisiting Chibi Robo, Marvel Puzzle Quest changes, and Monster Hu...Er, I mean Toukiden  


It's been a crazy week, but there's loads to talk about... Let's jump right into it with some links.


First, I was honored to be a guest on the @Gaymebar Podcast. The topic was the incredibly underappreciated Chibi-Robo! on the Gamecube from way back in 2006, and these guys really dug deep in taking a look at it. You can catch that convo here.

Apart from that, I've had a load of new reviews go up at @Gamecritics.


In terms of what I've been playing, I'm still putting quite a bit of time into Marvel Puzzle Quest, although there's not a lot to say on that except that there will be big changes coming in the next six weeks. A recent list of new features went up, and it includes things like character respecs, alliances, and changes to the boosts.

Otherwise, I'm currently in the process of reviewing Toukiden: The Age Of Demons on Vita. 

The embargo just dropped so I'm free to talk about it as much as I wish, and right now I think it's safe to say that it's probably the best Monster Hunter clone that's come down the pipe so far -- and believe me, when I say it's a clone, I mean that quite literally. Almost everything about this game is directly lifted from Capcom's series with a few tweaks here and there, but since we aren't going to get a new Monster Hunter until MH4U drops in 2015, I'm more than happy to spend some time on a wannabe that's this good. Toukiden understands what makes MH tick better than most, and it shows. 

But, where does it diverge from the source material? The difficulty level is lower, it has better tutorials, more info is given to the player, it has a story for those who enjoy some plot between bosses, and most missions feature up to 3 AI companions who can generally hold their own. 

If you've ever been curious about jumping into Monster Hunter but felt like it was too cryptic or daunting, this would be the perfect gateway drug in which to dip a toe. There's no danger of it replacing Capcom's beauty on any level, but more of a good thing (especially when it's this approachable) is always welcome.


Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE) is now accepting applications and submissions for its 2014 Gamers In Real Life (G.I.R.L.) Game Design Competition. Through the G.I.R.L. scholarship program, SOE will award one winner with a $10,000 scholarship to be applied towards tuition, room and board, and other educational expenses at the winner's college or university. In addition to the cash prize, the winner will also be given the opportunity to be hired as a paid intern for up to 10 weeks at SOE's headquarters in San Diego for hands-on experience working on award-winning franchises, including PlanetSide® and EverQuest®.

Now in its seventh year, the scholarship has played a major role with helping aspiring game developers gain knowledge and skills in the video game design field, while providing them with valuable assistance for educational expenses. Past winners have gone on to make their own impact across the gaming and art industries.
Submissions for the 2014 G.I.R.L. Game Design Competition will close on March 19, 2014. To apply, applicants must register with Scholarship America®, SOE's scholarship administrator, and submit their application for evaluation, as directed here:

For more information about G.I.R.L., please visit To follow G.I.R.L. on Twitter, go to or to join G.I.R.L. on Facebook, go to  


Capcom today announced that Strider will officially release across North America on February 18th as a $14.99 digital download title on PSN (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3), with the XBLA (Xbox One, Xbox 360) and PC (Steam) versions out on February 19th. The original assassin returns soon, along with two all-new Challenge Modes and a slew of extras and bonus content that are sure to please Strider fans of all ages.

Revealed today, two new Challenge Modes have been added to the core Story Mode included in Strider. Beacon Run offers a “speed run” race style mode that gives players a white-knuckled experience, challenging them to hit consecutive checkpoints while slicing through enemies, in the shortest amount of time. Survival Mode tests player’s combat skills with a variety of different item and ability load outs, as waves of progressively difficult and diverse enemies converge on Strider Hiryu.

Global online leaderboards track both Challenge Modes, as well as Story Mode times and status results. Whether competing against the world’s best speed runners or going head-to-head against friends, players can track their stats via the Striderleaderboards, which introduce an addictive layer of depth and replayability.

Furthermore, players can unlock new sets of costumes by uncovering the vestiges of Striders fallen in battle against Grand Master Meio’s evil empire. Unlock all costumes to have access to a full array of customization options, allowing players to create their own unique and playable Strider character.


This week sees the first outing for the new Family Gamer TV weekly news show. The program, hosted by long-time contributor to the channel Jordan Erica Webber (video-game critic for the Observer amongst others), aims to pick out applicable gaming news for families while also taking a look at video-game sales chart broken down by the PEGI age groups.

Andy Robertson of Family Gamer TV said of the new enterprise, “While families will often dip in to more avid gaming sites to find out what’s happening with the likes of Skylanders, Minecraft, Disney Infinity and LEGO games there hasn’t been video that keeps them up to date with news on a weekly basis. We are simply filling that gap.”

         First Episode:
         Playlist:

Focusing on game sales by age group offers a different take on what is hot in video-games. Titles otherwise submerged beneath big sales in the PEGI 16 and PEGI 18 category can now get more of the limelight. It also reveals how few big selling games are found in the PEGI 12 category, something the industry would do well to rectify.

From here the show dips into the latest news, rumours and updates on the big family games, while also keeping an eye out for indie titles and lesser known experiences that might be a good fit for families.
Finally the show rounds things off with a look at the upcoming releases, again grouped by PEGI rating. This offers a chance for families to plan how they may spend their gaming allocated funds a little more wisely.
Webber commented on taking up the new project, “With so much gaming news out there, families can find it hard to know where to go and what to trust. I want to make it easy for them to keep up to date with the news that matters to them.”

Aksys Games announces today that XBlaze Code: Embryo, a visual novel based in the BlazBlue universe, will be released in North America for the PlayStation®3 entertainment system and PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system this coming summer! Featuring a complex storyline and an innovative path selection system, XBlaze Code: Embryo is a visual novel that weaves a story as compelling and exciting as BlazBlue!
XBlaze Code: Embryo Features

Set 150 years prior to the events in BlazBlue, XBlaze Code: Embryo follows Touya Kagari, a high school student who finds himself embroiled in events beyond his understanding when he’s attacked out of the blue. A girl called Es appears and protects him, but then refuses to leave, claiming her mission is to ensure his safety. Suddenly thrown into a world of magic and the supernatural, Touya will struggle to uncover a hidden truth.

A Compelling Visual Novel – Created for fans of visual novels and BlazBlue alike,XBlaze Code: Embryo features a completely new story based in the BlazBlue universe.

An Innovative New Path System – The unique “TOi” system brings information about your surroundings to your fingertips! Touya’s path will change depending on what you choose to read.

Get Immersed – XBlaze Code: Embryo offers several endings and routes, including a gag one!

XBlaze Code: Embryo has not yet been rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB).  For more information, visit

Dying Light’s “Humanity” trailer shifts the focus from the infected to the survivors – people who had enough strength and luck to endure the outbreak. Yet, the worst is not over, as in the quarantine zone every day is a struggle and every night is a challenge. Sadly, the human mind can withstand only so much.
In what ways does the quarantine zone influence you? Does killing the infected really leave no trace on your mind? How long can you defend your humanity? What will happen when you eventually break?
Watch the “Humanity” trailer at:

Dying Light is a first-person action survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world, where players scavenge for supplies during the day as to be best prepared to survive the night. The game will launch for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2014. For details visit and


TECMO KOEI America is pleased to announce today that TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS has shipped for the PlayStation®Vita handheld system and is available at retailers across North America and for digital download via the PlayStation®Store. Developed by Omega Force, creators of the famedDynasty Warrior series, TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS casts players in the role of a Slayer, a skilled warrior charged with hunting monstrous Oni (demons) that threaten all of humanity. 
“With a rich story exploring many eras of Japanese history, memorable characters, stunning visuals, complex combat system, and four-player support, TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS represents the most ambitious title to date from the team at Omega Force,” said Amos Ip, SVP and General Manager of TECMO KOEI America. “Following its massive success in Japan, we are very excited to be able to bring this title to gamers and fans in North America.”

TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS is set in a vibrant, fantasy infused representation of Japanese history spanning from the Asuka period to the final days of the Tokugawa shogunate. New Slayers will begin their journey on the frontlines of battle in the Utakata Village, build a party from a cast of memorable characters, and join the hunt for adventure with up to four friends via ad-hoc or online multiplayer.

But be warned: Defeating the Oni threat will be no small task. Utilizing the unique Targeted Destruction combat system, Slayers must master a variety of weapons and attacks, working closely with allies to systematically slash, thrust, and crush the towering Oni, piece-by-piece. From the ashes of fallen Oni, arises Mitama, the souls of legendary heroes, which Slayers can use to imbue their weapons with special abilities and attributes. With over 200 Mitama in the game, the ability to customize and combine lets Slayers bring their weapons of choice to life with the power and influence unique heroes of legend.
TOUKIDEN: THE AGE OF DEMONS is developed by Omega Force and published by Tecmo Koei. The ESRB rated “T” (Teen) game is available on the PlayStation®Vita handheld system for an MSRP of $39.99 (USD).


Gekkoukan High School's Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad isnow recruiting members from the EU! You can join by downloading Persona 3 FES, which is now available in the PlayStation®Store for the PlayStation®3! Experience the enhanced version of 2007's award-winningPersona 3 game and continue the journey with a brand new epilogue. 
Persona 3 FES is an RPG that has players balancing normal student life while taking part in the most dangerous after-school extracurricular activity: exploring the mysterious Tartarus, a tower that appears only within a mystical "Dark Hour" taking place between the seconds of 12:00:00 and 12:00:01 AM. As the newest member of S.E.E.S., it's up to you and your school chums to protect the world from the Shadows that lurk within the labyrinth. 

Persona 3 FES includes both the critically acclaimed Persona 3, and "The Answer," a second adventure that takes place after the events of the main game. Get ready for a dark, gripping adventure and unleash your Persona on the denizens of the Dark Hour.
Persona 3 FES is packed with more than 120 hours of gameplay and is now available for download for €9.99/£7.99 in the PlayStation Store. Persona 3 FES is rated PEGI 16+ 


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