Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Review

Let me say upfront that I am a big fan of Sword Art Online. While others may enjoy trashing the series for the directions it goes at times, I fell in love with the high stakes drama it presented for viewers. While .hack had some characters falling into comas if they encountered a certain person, Sword Art Online had thousands of people locked into an MMORPG, fighting for their very existence.

.hack//Sign came close with a main character who is unable to log off, but when people in SAO died in the game, they died in real life. To me, this is an amazing concept that had me hooked from the beginning. My love may have tapered off a little with Sword Art Online II, but I am always eager for something to renew my enjoyment.

But even though Sword Art Online takes place inside an MMORPG, this experience hasn’t transitioned well to video games. Hollow Fragment had a huge translation problem, while Lost Song fell into a hole of mediocrity. Does Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization have what it takes to set it apart from its disappointing brethren? Yes and no. Continue reading

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5 Exciting Independent Games from PlayStation Experience 2016

PlayStation Experience has to personally be my favorite event of the year. Don’t get me wrong – I have been going to E3 since 2011 and have loved my time there as well, but for different reasons.

A lot of it has to do with meeting up with the rest of the staff and industry people that I’ve interacted with online and in person. It’s being able to attend these amazing press conferences that are excited to be a part of in person. But that week is mostly dedicated to the big dogs in the business. I have been attending PlayStation Experience since its inception back in 2014. Continue reading

I Am Setsuna Review

The main story opens with a lone mercenary traveling through the snowy banks of a desolate land, his legs carving a path through the mounds of soft powder. The masked man takes on different tasks in order to survive this harsh arctic environment, seeing them through to completion no matter how arduous they may be.

Approached by an unknown figure after completing a job, he is told to visit a small village on a tiny isle off the coast of the mainland. In that village, once every ten years, a ceremony is held where a sacrifice is chosen. That person must set out on a journey to the Last Lands to fulfill their prophecy. There resides a young girl there who is about to reach the target age, and he is ordered to eliminate her. Continue reading

Attack On Titan Hands-On Impressions

I can’t say I have spent a lot of time with Attack On Titan as a property. Sure, I read several volumes of the manga and the first dozen episodes of the TV anime, but I still don’t know much about the characters or the overarching plot that was introduced after I had already given up on the material.

Walking into the Koei Tecmo closed meeting room at E3, I noticed the giant poster adorned on the wall to promote the upcoming release from the company’s subsidiary, Omega Force, best known for their Dynasty Warriors games – a series I am a huge fan of.  Continue reading

Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book Review

Atelier Sophie represents a jumping-off point for the series as it finally makes its way to the PlayStation 4 after continuing on in the last generation of consoles. Granted, the game was still released on the PlayStation Vita and on the PlayStation 3 in Japan (that version was not localized).

However, with the leap to the latest hardware, we should get a glimpse in what developer Gust is capable of with more horsepower at their disposal. While there is an indication of that happening here, it still falls short of what I would have loved to see. But that isn’t to say it was a disappointment. Continue reading

Omega Quintet Review

Marking the very first exclusive Japanese RPG for the new crop of gaming consoles, Omega Quintet is poised to make a mark and ideally set a solid foundation for what’s to come.

For the past several years, Compile Heart has found its biggest success with Hyperdimension Neptunia, a series which has spawned sequels, remakes, spin-offs, and even an anime. While Neptunia Victory II was just released in Japan, the developer took a chance on an original IP and brought it here to the West.

The focus of the story is on the cataclysmic appearance of the Blare who threaten the existence of mankind. The only thing stopping these monsters from destroying mankind are the Verse Maidens, young ladies who have the special power to eradicate them with the magical power of their music. Continue reading

Toukiden: Kiwami Review

I recommend checking out my review of the first title as this will cover only the new content exclusive to the enhanced release.

When I wrapped up my review of Toukiden: Age of Demons when it arrived a little over a year ago, I talked about how I would love to see a sequel to the title. Things left off on a very interesting note with its fascinating plot and well-developed characters.

Those types of things are a basic necessity for me to stay engaged with the hunting subgenre. It kept me away from Monster Hunter due to its lack of a real story. It’s also why I like God Eater far more.

The original Toukiden did plenty of positive things, but it still had issues with taking a template almost wholesale from another series and try to ride that success. My concern with Kiwami is that it would be all that once again in a simple port with additional dressings without the proper closure I was seeking.

Good news: Toukiden: Kiwami is definitely not that and instead a heck of a lot more, and I loved it. Continue reading