If you have a PSP (or Vita) then you really owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of the magnificent Corpse Party from Team GrisGris, localised by XSEED. (Editor’s note: Since this article was written in 2012, you can now also get a version of the game for 3DS and PC, though note that these are slightly different to the version under discussion here.)
While initially resembling a top-down SNES-era role-playing game more than a traditional visual novel, it quickly becomes apparent that this is a game where story — and, more importantly, atmosphere – is king.
This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.
Continue reading From The Archives: Darkness and Scissors – The Horror of Corpse Party
Alongside Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda series, Falcom’s Ys was instrumental in helping to establish and refine the Japanese take on the action RPG genre.
Both were designed with accessibility and ease of understanding in mind — Zelda through stripping out complicated RPG mechanics like statistics, experience levels and dice-based mechanics, and Ys through simple, straightforward implementation of these mechanics — but both very quickly diverged in their own distinctive directions.
Let’s take a closer look at how the mechanics of the Ys series have evolved and changed over the years.
Continue reading Ys: Evolution of an Action RPG
The Ys series is one of the longest running franchises in gaming — yet it’s not nearly as well known as the Final Fantasies and Zeldas of this world.
This is a shame, because not only does Ys represent developer Falcom arguably at its finest, the series as a whole has also been key in the development of the action RPG as a subgenre.
It also holds the dubious honour of being one of the most remade series of all time, refreshing and rewriting its various installments long before the concept of the HD remake ever reared its head.
Let’s take a look at the main series’ various releases in chronological order and see how it’s developed.
Continue reading Ys: Introduction and History
One of the biggest strengths of the Senran Kagura series as a whole is its comprehensive lore, consisting of numerous intertwining character backstories and its own take on Japanese mythology.
Interestingly, the complete series doesn’t take a linear approach to exploring its narrative, instead breaking itself into three main branches: the “main” plot, the Versus plot, and the spin-off stories. Each of the individual installments stand by themselves as a complete story in their own right, but taken in context with all the other companion pieces, it’s clear that Senran Kagura is a franchise that has been thoroughly planned from start to finish — and it’s very likely we haven’t seen the last of it with Estival Versus, not by a long shot.
So where does Estival Versus itself fit in to the grand scheme of the complete series? Read on and let’s find out.
Continue reading Senran Kagura Estival Versus: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation
One of video gaming’s great strengths is the opportunity it affords us to truly, interactively immerse ourselves in other cultures.
We talked about this a little while back when we examined how Steins;Gate is positively dripping with the otaku culture of Tokyo’s Akihabara district, even going so far as to include an in-game glossary explaining and defining all the memes, urban legends and specialist jargon that crop up throughout the narration and dialogue.
Steins;Gate is far from an isolated example, however; Acquire’s Akiba’s Trip 2, localised for Western PS3, PS4 and Vita audiences as Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed, also provides you with the opportunity to live the life of an otaku in their spiritual home — and in a somewhat more interactive manner than Steins;Gate’s visual novel stylings.
Oh, and also there are vampires. Kind of.
Continue reading Adventures in Akihabara