Here in the West, we’re all thoroughly familiar with the idea of furthering your enjoyment of a game by purchasing additional merchandise to celebrate your love of it.
Depending on the game, we might get action figures, posters, comics, books, soundtrack CDs… but rarely something “extra” in the original medium, unless a sequel comes along, or perhaps some DLC.
One thing that Japanese developers and publishers like to do — and which we’re seeing increasing numbers of localised for English-speaking audiences — is produce a “fandisc” for a popular work. And while the idea may seem self-explanatory, I’ve seen plenty of examples of people who don’t quite “get” it.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Reflexions: Shinobi Intimacy
At the time of writing, Sony has just announced that production of the PlayStation Vita will be ending in 2019, with no plans for a successor.
This follows news from earlier this year that we’re counting down the days until the last Western physical Vita release, with many of the last releases coming in limited form from boutique publishers such as Limited Run Games and Special Reserve.
With all that in mind, I think it’s about time we looked back over this remarkable and vastly underappreciated system’s life… and celebrated the things it did really, really well.
Continue reading Reflections on PlayStation Vita
Those of you who read my coverage on Senran Kagura: Estival Versus will know how much I enjoy the beat ’em up genre… and how much I appreciate its history.
With that in mind, Capcom’s announcement that it would be releasing a new product simply called Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle made me kiss £15.99 goodbye even before the package was released. Doubly so because it was also coming to Switch… and who doesn’t want to bust some heads on the go?
Today we’ll take a high-level look at the package as a whole, then over the course of a series of Capcom Essentials articles in the coming weeks, we’ll explore the individual games in the collection in more detail. Suffice to say for now that £15.99 is a very fair price for this bundle, and I highly recommend it to all fans of the genre.
Continue reading Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle: It’s The Belt For You, Lad
I’ve tried numerous times to “get into” fighting games over the years with varying amounts of success.
Back in the SNES era, I had a good time with the original Street Fighter II and managed to beat it with most of the characters — but my skills have gotten severely rusty since then. Beyond that, my main contact with the genre has primarily been the Dead or Alive series, which I enjoyed for a combination of its cast of beautiful people and its enjoyably fluid, reasonably accessible action.
But I’d always find myself hitting a wall. I’d never be able to pull off impressive combos, I’d struggle to reliably trigger special moves and I’d have difficulty understanding the underlying strategy that is fundamental to the fighting game experience as a whole. Oh, what to do, what to do?
Continue reading SNK Heroines: Fighting is Fun
I’m not a big sports game guy, but I’ve always had a lot of time for Nintendo’s takes on tennis and golf.
The Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis in particular stole many hours of my life back in the day — as well as again a little more recently, I must confess — so I was rather excited to check out the Nintendo Switch incarnation of the series.
Among other things, the new game promised a return to something I had particularly liked about the aforementioned Game Boy Color version: a substantial single-player mode. So it’s that we’ll be focusing on today as I talk about my first impressions of the game.
Continue reading Mario Tennis Aces: Some First Impressions
Japanese games have a number of different ways of handling narratives from a first-person perspective.
The typical “visual novel” approach allows the player to ride along inside the protagonist’s head, being privy to their innermost thoughts as well as the things they say out loud. But in other instances where this approach has not been used for stylistic purposes — and particularly where a silent or quasi-silent protagonist takes the lead — a companion character is often employed to either speak “for” the protagonist, or to complement them in some way.
Gal*Gun Double Peace featured the delightful Ekoro, who beautifully complemented protagonist Houdai’s bafflement at the situation in which he found himself through dry wit and a touch of sarcasm. And Gal*Gun 2, which features the player themselves as the participant quasi-silent protagonist, has Risu; equally delightful, but in a rather different way.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Risu the Angel
A common criticism raised by people who have arbitrarily decided for one reason or another that they are “anti-Nintendo” is that the company relies too much on rehashing old ideas, particularly when it comes to its “big” franchises.
This is, of course, nonsense, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the company’s flagship Super Mario series. The portly plumber’s past few adventures have included a simple but enjoyable mobile game that eschews gacha nonsense in favour of accessible mechanics, a full-on construction kit with online functionality, a vast but highly accessible, level-based 3D platform adventure with the option to play in cooperative multiplayer and a challenging 2D platform adventure later expanded with an even more difficult set of levels. And this is to say nothing of how the series has continually reinvented itself over the years.
Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo Switch continues Mario’s proud tradition of starring in an enormously varied series of games that cater to the tastes of both casual and hardcore gamers alike. And it’s one of his best games to date.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Super Mario Odyssey