Back to basics
This author has been lucky enough to see the Atelier franchise slowly evolve over the past five years. With each PlayStation 3 title, new mechanics have been introduced, scrapping those that didn't previously work and improving on those that did. Atelier Shallie: Alchemists of the Dusk Sea is the biggest improvement yet, though, as it...
More than a slice
Warriors titles have enjoyed a good run on Sony's underappreciated handheld, with ports of recent releases proving to be decent alternatives to their home console counterparts. At times, portable play suits the hack and slashers better, as you can jump in and out of battle at a moment's notice. The only consistent problem is that...
The handheld ultimatum
These days, publisher Koei Tecmo is all but forced to shove its Warriors games onto handheld consoles. With portable devices ruling the Japanese market, it makes perfectly logical sense, and what kind of musou fan would turn down the opportunity to wreck thousands of enemies on a small screen from the comfort of a seat on the...
A good sssstarting point
Warriors titles may be having a decent critical run of late, but even that doesn't help the fact that this year has already had its fair share of titles from Koei Tecmo's slash-'em-up franchises. We've had Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition and Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Reborn, and now we've got Warriors...
Mix it up
Shop keepers are an important part of almost every RPG, but they very rarely get the attention that they deserve. They focus a bunch of effort into putting together a nice collection of weapons and potions, and do they even get a spot in the final cutscene? Were they even asked? In Atelier Rorona Plus: The Alchemist of Arland, you’re...
"What's the deal with Dynasty Warriors?" is a question that's echoed every now and then across the gaming sphere. To say that it's a divisive property is an understatement – this is a franchise that's in possession of a rabidly loyal core fanbase, while each new instalment receives wildly varying review scores that range from...
Sporting a name that's almost as ridiculous as its core gameplay, Dynasty Warriors 8: Xtreme Legends Complete Edition consists of both Dynasty Warriors 8, which released on the PlayStation 3 last summer, and the Xtreme Legends expansion, which can also be purchased separately as a standalone title on Sony's ageing console. The latter...
Showing some skin
Did you ever watch Home Alone and ask yourself whether it’d be more entertaining with giant, bloody traps and massive buildings? Deception IV: Blood Ties is just like that, only instead of the main character being a lucky little albino kid whose parents hate him, you play as Satan’s daughter, a young woman who has a horrible...
Dead and Alive
Ryu Hayabusa – gaming icon and goody two-shoes – is a little bit too awesome, don’t you think? He’s worked his way through some of the hardest games on the market, hardly breaking a sweat. He’s faced all sorts of fiendish enemies and has come through mostly unscathed. But not anymore – Yaiba Kamikaze, a psychopath ninja,...
Once again focusing on the practice of alchemy and the need to complete countless jobs for the populace, Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky is the latest entry in developer Gust's long running series. It's full of the kind of mechanics, tropes, and characters that fans have come to expect – but does the tried...
Toukiden: The Age of Demons tells the tale of a world engulfed in war between rampaging demonic hordes – known as Oni – and humanity's last hope of survival: Slayers. This overarching narrative paves the way for gameplay that's undoubtedly similar to Capcom's popular Monster Hunter franchise – but with the addition of a...
Girls just wanna have fun
It’s been less than a year since we last went toe-to-toe with Team Ninja’s curious cleavage meets combat comeback Dead or Alive 5, and now – following a temporary detour on the PlayStation Vita – we’re strapping up our appendages and digging out our most inappropriate fighting gear again. As its name so...
There comes a time when you begin to ask yourself why you’re still playing a series of games that has somehow spawned eight main iterations and countless spin-offs while retelling the same old story over and over again. What could possibly be keeping your interest in a franchise that has done almost nothing but stick to its guns for...
Far more than pushing square
In many ways, Dynasty Warriors' long running Empires spin-off series is more refined than the set of original games that form their basis. Typically, they add in new characters, weapons, and stages, overhaul a few mechanics, and overlay everything with relatively simple strategy elements. Indeed, Empires games are known...
Fist of the bore star
Sequels are generally a straight forward affair – or at least they have been this generation. Ideally, a sequel should remove or fix problems that plagued the first game, while adding new, polished content and improving core gameplay. With Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2, developer Koei’s job should have been a...
Looks can be deceiving
Dead or Alive 5 is nothing if not utter nonsense. Tecmo Koei has had seven years to stuff its flashy fighting series full of gibberish, and it’s delivered. Unfortunately, it’s forgotten to fully advance the combat systems at the heart of the experience along the way – and the sequel feels like a half-step as a result...
A welcomed new touch
Omega Force gets plenty of stick for sticking too closely to the same old template with its Warriors titles, and while the aptly titled Dynasty Warriors Next sticks to its tried and true basics, it also shakes up the formula by making creative use of Vita's control inputs. The real-time hack-and-slash feudal warfare is further...
A bloody mess
To accept a life that walks in the path of a ninja is to accept death itself. Bloodshed flows like a river through the fingers tightly grasped to the hilt of his blade. Burdened with carrying the weight of the thousands of lives he’s taken, always knowing that payment for his sins will come in due time. In Ninja Gaiden III, series...
A cut above
Taking up the way of the ninja is to accept a life of constant challenge and sacrifice, as death dealing is a ninja’s foremost priority. While many will try, very few will ever hold the necessary skills it takes to walk this path alone. Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus has slashed its way onto PlayStation Vita as a launch title and puts the...
While some of the world's biggest sports are absent from PlayStation Move — we're looking at you, FIFA and Madden NFL — the controller has proved an enticing prospect for developers keen to bring, shall we say, less widely-embraced sports to the masses. After PDC World Championship Darts: Pro Tour and WSC Real 11, Tecmo Koei has taken the...