Tag Archives: characterisation

Azure Striker Gunvolt: An Electrifying Action Platformer

As we’ve already seen, one of Inti Creates’ biggest strengths as a developer is its ability to understand what made the games of the past great while simultaneously updating them with modern conveniences and conventions.

Azure Striker Gunvolt, a relatively new series from the company but one which has already gone on to be popular and well-received, is a great example of this philosophy at work. Adopting a pleasingly chunky but detailed late 16-bit pixel art look and combining it with delicious 2D art, excellent storytelling and a well-crafted world, the game provides an excellent experience, whether you enjoy it on its original host platform of the 3DS, its port to PC or its most recent incarnation on Nintendo Switch as part of the Azure Striker Gunvolt Striker Pack alongside its sequel.

Let’s take a closer look at where this game from and what makes it tick… or rather buzz, perhaps.

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Waifu Wednesday: Eve

Later this week, we’re going to take a closer look at Inti Creates’ excellent Blaster Master Zero for Switch and 3DS. So it’s only fitting that we devote a Waifu Wednesday to its heroine.

Blaster Master as a whole actually has rather more detailed lore than you might expect for… well, for something with a title like Blaster Master, and Eve has played an important role in the series’ backstory from the beginning.

However, she wasn’t directly “seen” until the novelisation of Blaster Master by Peter Lerangis (writing under the pen name of A. L. Singer) that formed part of the Worlds of Power series that novelised a number of popular NES games. And then she was completely reimagined for Blaster Master Zero anyway, which had the scope to make a lot more of its narrative context than the NES original did.

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Waifu Wednesday: IF and Compa

I can’t in good conscience separate these two, so it’s a two-hander for this week’s Waifu Wednesday as we give thanks for the lovely IF and Compa.

Recurring characters in the Neptunia series since its very inception, IF and Compa are the personifications of developer-publisher Idea Factory and subsidiary developer Compile Heart respectively. They’re an inseparable pair — a reflection of the fact that you never see a Compile Heart game without Idea Factory branding, for obvious reasons — and, between them, popular choices for series waifus.

They’re also an interesting contrast to the main cast of goddesses, for numerous reasons.

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Cyberdimension Neptunia: Art Imitates Life

The Neptunia series has always, at least in part, been about taking a sidelong glance at elements of popular culture, particularly those related to video games, and Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is no exception.

Through its overall aesthetic — particularly its art and music — it both pays homage to and parodies a variety of influences in both the online and offline role-playing game spheres, but in doing so it manages to retain a strong enough sense of its own identity to still be clearly recognisable as a Neptunia game.

In fact, through the combination of Tsunako’s distinctive character designs, their energetic scripts and their light-hearted, inclusive nature that draws the player in to the experience, there’s a strong argument for Neptunia games being some of the most immediately recognisable Japanese games on the market today. And I’m all for that.

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Waifu Wednesday: Blanc

It’s Waifu Wednesday, and a popular request over the last few weeks of Neptunia-themed Waifu Wednesdays has been Lowee’s goddess Blanc. So this week I’m granting that wish!

Blanc is quite a contrast to the other goddesses of Gamindustri in quite a few ways, but she’s a popular character in her own right — and, like Noire and Vert, is an excellent personification of the company she is supposed to represent.

Hailing from the magical, wintery land of Lowee, Blanc personifies Nintendo, both as a representation of the company’s hardware from the Wii era onwards, and a number of aspects of the company from over the years.

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Cyberdimension Neptunia: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

One of the interesting things about the Neptunia series as a whole is that it doesn’t really have an overarching “big plot” as such, but nonetheless sees each of its characters getting plenty of development.

Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online is an especially intriguing case in that, although it is a spinoff title from the main series, previous examples of which have been regarded as non-canonical, it feels like one of the most significant instances of each member of its main cast “advancing” in their overall development and growth.

In fact, in many ways, the fact Cyberdimension Neptunia does not feature a prominent note that it is a non-canonical installment can lead us to believe that it is a quasi-sequel to Megadimension Neptunia V-II and its predecessor Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory/Re;Birth3, particularly given the presence of characters who were introduced in those games, such as Plutia and Peashy (Victory/Re;Birth3) and Uzume (V-II). And in that context it’s actually a very significant installment in the series from a narrative perspective.

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Waifu Wednesday: Nepgear

A month of coverage for a Neptunia game is as good a reason as any to celebrate my favourite series waifu and indeed joint-favourite waifu of all time (alongside Amane from Grisaia).

Yes, it’s Nepgear, the long-suffering sister of series protagonist, reluctant and self-conscious protagonist of her own games (Hyperdimension Neptunia mk2 and its subsequent remake Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation) and all-round bucket of pure nerdy adorability. That’s totally a word, I don’t care what my spellchecker says.

I’ve mentioned Nepgear a few times over the years, most notably in last year’s Valentine’s Day piece, but it’s high time she got her own article. So here it is, by goodness!

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