Tag Archives: Action RPG

PS2 Essentials: Crimson Tears

Once upon a time, there was a funny little fighting game on PlayStation called Ehrgeiz.

Ehrgeiz was noteworthy for a number of reasons: its high-resolution graphics; its beautifully slick framerate; its inclusion of Final Fantasy VII characters in its roster… and the bizarre inclusion of a full-on dungeon-delving action RPG mode.

If you have fond memories of that particular aspect of Ehrgeiz, then you’re most certainly going to want to check out Crimson Tears, since it’s by the same developer (DreamFactory) and expands that concept into its own distinct experience. And, given the apparently enduring popularity of games with roguelike elements, it’s a game that remains impressively relevant even today.

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PSP Essentials: Dungeon Explorer

I enjoy beating games, particularly when they have a good story and especially when they have a dramatic finale.

But sometimes it’s nice to have a game on hand that you can just dip in and out of pretty much indefinitely. Arcade-style games fill this niche pretty nicely, but it’s also cool when you find something with a bit more in the way of “persistence” — something that you can continue playing over time and continue to discover new things about.

Recently, I fired up Dungeon Explorer by Hudson for the PSP, a spiritual successor (and, technically, prequel) to the company’s 1989 PC Engine/Turbografx classic of the same name. And… I think I’m going to be playing this game for a long time.

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Cyberdimension Neptunia: Action Neptunia’s Latest Evolution

While the Neptunia series is primarily known for being RPGs, developer Compile Heart’s frequent collaborator Tamsoft has had a number of shots at bringing the franchise into the real-time action realm.

Over time, the scale and ambition of these “action Neptunia” games has expanded considerably, with Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online marking the most convincing realisation of the formula to date at the time of writing, blending elements of the mainline Neptunia games with an appealing and enjoyable real-time combat system.

Let’s look at how “action Neptunia” has evolved over time, and how Cyberdimension Neptunia refines the formula.

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Cyberdimension Neptunia: Introduction and History

The Neptunia series is not only one of the most remarkable success stories in Japanese gaming, it’s also one of the most interesting, diverse franchises out there.

From its humble beginnings as a low-budget RPG with an atrocious critical reception to its current, widely recognised status inextricably associated with Sony platforms, even the most hardened cynic has to admit by now that there’s probably something to this series.

A big part of what has kept Neptunia fresh and interesting over the years is the fact that it’s not afraid to step outside of its traditional RPG comfort zone and experiment with gameplay styles. And, since we already explored the history of the mainline series when we dove deep into Megadimension Neptunia V-II back in 2016, it’s these spinoff games we’ll be looking in more detail today.

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The MoeGamer Awards: Most Eclectic Soundtrack

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of made-up prizes that give me an excuse to celebrate games, concepts and communities I’ve particularly appreciated over the course of 2017. Find out more and suggest some categories here!

Music is a massively important part of the modern gaming experience. As technology has improved, particularly in the storage department, we’ve seen a notable shift away from game systems synthesising music in real time using built-in sound chips — a process that often produced a distinctive and instantly recognisable sound unique to each platform — and towards more traditionally recorded music.

While this does diminish each modern platform’s individuality in terms of the distinctive timbres of their games’ soundtracks, it does leave composers free to let their imaginations run wild and express themselves — and for us as listeners to focus on the compositions themselves rather than admire how the musicians got around technical limitations. Today’s award celebrates a delightfully eclectic and enjoyable soundtrack that blends a variety of styles together into one coherent whole; the kind of soundtrack that simply wouldn’t have been possible back in the eras of chiptunes or synthesised MIDI music.

And the winner is…

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What’s in the Box: Cyberdimension Neptunia – 4 Goddesses Online

After a slightly longer wait than expected due to a printing error with the soundtrack CDs, the limited editions for Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online are finally here.

As with most of Idea Factory International’s releases, it’s a substantial but affordable release containing a nice selection of goodies — some practical, some purely to go “ooooh” at. IFI’s limited editions are always reasonably understated and never feel the need to go for the excess of some “Collector’s Editions” — particularly those from triple-A Western publishers — and it’s for that reason I like them. They’re easy and fun to collect and display, and they keep the focus on the game.

So let’s take a look inside the box of this newest one, then!

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Winged Sakura: Endless Dream – Dungeons and Defenses

Let’s get one thing out of the way up front, because it seems to be a common point of confusion if Steam reviews are anything to go by.

The Winged Sakura series is not the same as the Sakura series. The Sakura series is a sprawling range of ecchi and hentai visual novels with a distinctive anime-inspired art style, developed by Western indie group Winged Cloud. Meanwhile, the Winged Sakura series is, at the time of writing, a trilogy of three disparate games with a shared cast, a (different) distinctive anime art style, this time developed by Winged Sakura Games, also known as one-man studio and BCIT graduate Hong Dang (plus freelancers).

To put it another way, if you’re one of those people who sees a new game with Sakura in the title and thinks “oh no, another Sakura game” or makes other similar assumptions, note that Winged Sakura: Endless Dream is nothing to do with those games, despite similarities in both its title and the name of its developer. It’s also really rather good.

Clear? All right then. Let’s continue.

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