Thursday, July 21, 2016

World of Final Fantasy (PS4, Vita) Welcome to Grymoire! Trailer

World of Final Fantasy is the other big Final Fantasy game that is due out this fall alongside Final Fantasy XV. This one, however, is more to tickle the nostalgia bones of fans of the series, as well as presenting lots of new ideas both gameplay and aesthetic-wise. World of Final Fantasy launches in October.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Localizations, Please! Midsummer Day's Dreams Edition

With the advent of digital marketplaces on consoles and handhelds, gamers in the west have seen more games that might have been stuck in Japan decades earlier see release on this side of the Pacific.

The Localizations, Please series of articles continues with a new edition featuring five more games that are currently only available or planned to be available in Japan. These games are ones that many gamers wish would reach our side of the world.

After you've perused and seen my arguments for why these upcoming five games should be localized, feel free to name other yet-to-be-localized games that you'd love to see brought to the west.

Dragon's Dogma Online (PS4, PS3, PC)

Released in 2015 in Japan, Dragon's Dogma Online has been a free-to-play game with cross play for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC versions of the game. A new land known as Lestaria is where up to four players can join a party and quest throughout the land, doing battle with enemies both small and large. If you'd rather go it solo, three AI pawns can join your cause to help out. It's essentially all of the goodness of the offline Dragon's Dogma games with a larger world that is planned to get expansions. With the interest that gamers had toward past Dragon's Dogma titles, it seems like this free-to-play online iteration of the series would do well if only Capcom decides to release it for the west.

Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (PS4, Vita)

The latest chapter in the long-running Ys series is set to release later this year in Japan. The title, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is a PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita title that for the first time in series history features a dual protagonist system. Obviously, Adol Christin returns, but a new female character acts as the other protagonist. Otherwise, Lacrimosa of Dana plays similarly to Ys Seven and Memories of Celceta, offering a three party system where players can switch between characters on the fly as opposed to Oath of Felghana and Ys Origins' more platforming-focused combat. No word yet of localization has been heard, but it seems more to be a matter of when rather than if. Hopefully, westerners like us get to officially see Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana get a localization announcement in the coming months.

Great Detective Pikachu (3DS)

Danny Devito as the voice of Pikachu or not, it would be a grand pleasure to have Nintendo release Great Detective Pikachu over here on this side of the earth. The Creatures-developed game released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop earlier this year in Japan after a three-year development period. Great Detective Pikachu itself is an adventure game with players assuming the role of young boy Tim Goodman who teams up with Detective Pikachu in order to investigate, examine, and solve a number of peculiar mysteries. This is done through examination of various scenes, the discovery of clues, and interviewing both people and Pokemon. The numerous spin-offs of the Pokemon series are usually pretty stellar, and the creativity behind Great Detective Pikachu makes it an exciting prospect for release in the west. Hopefully Nintendo pulls through on this.

Digimon World: Next Order (Vita)

With the release of Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth earlier this year, Digimon is back in the minds of gamers. What better way to continue the series's momentum than with releasing another recent Digimon game from Japan to the west? That's exactly what the PlayStation Vita exclusive Digimon World: Next Order is. No doubt that a retail release wouldn't be the smartest to do, so like Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, the latest in the Digimon World series could see a digital-only launch, as Vita owners are very much a dedicated bunch and still buy games. Regarding the actual gameplay, Digimon World: Next Order plays similarly to past games in the series, though this time a second Digimon partner is available, changing things up considerably. Here's hoping that Cyber Sleuth did well enough to have Namco Bandai consider localizing Digimon World: New Order for the west.

Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain (Vita)

The dungeon crawler is quite the niche genre in gaming. At the same time, it has found a home of dedicated handheld systems like the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain is a game that released last month in Japan on the latter, offering detailed dungeons to travel through with clever traps to carefully avoid. The use of dolls to equip to party members in the game's dungeons is a major part of the gameplay, allowing for all five party member slots to equip eight dolls each. This adds up to 40 players in battle. With the popularity of anime-styled games with niche genres on the PlayStation Vita in the west, it's with heavy hopes that NIS America picks up Coven and the Labyrinth of Refrain and brings it over to our side of the world.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gravity Rush 2 (PS4) NEW HEIGHTS Trailer

Defy gravity... AGAIN! A release date has finally been announced for North America, Europe, the UK, and Japan. All four territories will see Gravity Rush 2 release within a three-day period with Europe getting it first on November 30, then Japan on December 1, and finally, the UK and North America on December 2. Sony's Japan Studio keeps the PS4 momentum going this holiday season!

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon (3DS) More Newly Discovered Pokémon Trailer

Did anyone order some new Pokémon? Well, that's what we've gotten from The Pokémon Company's official YouTube channel! New Pokémon like Mimikyu, Bewear, and Wimpod! Okay, the last one isn't the most exciting, but these six new Pokémon add to the new lineup of Sun and Moon. Which of these new Pokémon is your favorite?

BLTN Reviews: Killzone: Shadow Fall (PS4) Review

While we may be more than halfway through the month of July, there will be plenty of new reviews coming this month to SuperPhillip Central. The first is a game that launched with the PlayStation 4 in 2014. Hence, why this is a Better Late Than Never review! It's Killzone: Shadow Fall!

Get in the zone.

Sony hasn't let go of the idea of making the Killzone franchise its Halo for the PlayStation brand. While the games don't nearly have the same level of fandom as Microsoft's illustrious FPS franchise, the games sell well enough to have Sony keep trying. While I haven't really found a lot of the past Killzone games to be much to make note of, I did very much enjoy Killzone: Mercenary on the PlayStation Vita enough to call it one of my favorite FPS games I've ever played.

Thus, after my high on Killzone: Mercenary, I was open to playing the latest game in the series, the PlayStation 4 launch title, Killzone: Shadow Fall. With an engaging single player, a robust online and offline multiplayer offering, and a story that treks into new territory for the series, I ended up enjoying what I played of Guerrilla Games's latest.

In Killzone: Shadow Fall, you take on the role of Lucas Kellan. The first chapter of the game delves into the current situation with the Vektans and the Helghast. As a child, Lucas and his father are forced out of their home, and the two stealthily move through Helghast-occupied territory to escape to somewhere much safer. In the process they meet up with an ISA soldier who assists them along the way. However, in a skirmish, Lucas's father is shot and killed right in front of the young boy's eyes. Thus, the ISA soldier takes Lucas under his wing, all the way to the present where Lucas is now a Shadow Marshall for the ISA, and the soldier is now a commander for the ISA, giving Lucas new missions.

The Vektans and Helghast now occupy the same planet and are in an uneasy cold war of sorts where any volatile jolt could result in full blown war. A gigantic wall splits up the Vektans from the Helghast, and without spoiling too much, instead of the Helghans being labeled as this wholly evil force this time around, the lines between good and bad blur considerably in Shadow Fall.

All of the plot in Killzone: Shadow Fall plays out through protagonist Lucas Kellan's eyes.
All of the narrative is told through Lucas's eyes. However, this means that there are points in the game where gameplay is interrupted by long sessions of exposition where your character just stands around or automatically moves. The lengthiest example of this is midway in the game, a story sequence that begins a chapter that last upwards of five minutes. This cannot be skipped unlike the standard scenes that begin and end each chapter, so this makes it really annoying and bothersome on repeated plays of the same chapter.

Killzone: Shadow Fall itself is a traditional shooter where you get a maximum of two guns to hold at once, a handful of grenades, and to keep yourself alive in dangerous situations, some adrenaline packs. The latter not only restores your health quickly instead of needing to hide in a corner hoping your health regenerates before enemies can get an angle on you to shoot you dead, but it also gives a brief period where everything slows down, giving you a great opportunity to pop enemies before they know what hit them.

Killzone: Shadow Fall delivers intense firefights and visceral melee action.
Further moving Shadow Fall away from just being an ordinary shooter is the addition of a robotic companion that assists Lucas on most of his missions, the OWL. OWL has four functions to it, each selected by swiping in a given direction on the PS4 controller's touch pad. Lucas can assign the OWL to shoot a given target, terrific for distracting enemies in an intense firefight; he can have OWL summon a shield that will defend temporary against enemy bullets; he can send OWL out to stun a group of enemies, or with certain shielded enemies, remove their defense; and one of my favorite uses for vertical levels is the ability to have OWL create a zipline for Lucas to zoom across, allowing him to reach otherwise inaccessible areas (or areas that would kill him if he tried to fall down to by himself).

OWL's main use is to hack terminals to open doors, shut off security panels, and other electronic systems. It can also be used when Lucas has taken too much damage and give him a shot of adrenaline to bring him back to the world of consciousness or else suffer death. However, of course, Lucas can't just keep using OWL's various abilities over and over with a cool-down period. OWL has to recharge, so players have to use it strategically. This means you probably shouldn't send OWL away from Lucas to shoot down enemies if he's about to lose all of his health. OWL will be too preoccupied to revive Lucas, pending he has a spare adrenaline pack.

Many levels offer nonlinear design, letting you as the player take on the level as you desire.
Additionally, no longer is Killzone merely mostly a corridor shooter. The level design of Killzone: Shadow Fall is much more open ended for most chapters compared to past Killzone games. While this can result in not knowing where to go, you can always just tap up on the D-pad to get a bearing on where you next objective is. Regardless, the open ended design allows for much more player control in how they handle missions which is fantastic and most welcome. For instance, one can disable security systems so enemies can't call for reinforcements, or they can simply go in guns blazing with reckless abandon. Though, the latter isn't recommended on harder difficulties. One can stealthily move through levels, entering vents and other alternate paths, or they can once again do their best Rambo impression, shooting down foes with their gun barrel blasting as play plow through levels.

After playing through the approximately 10-hour campaign by your lonesome (that time can greatly increase through going after the various collectibles and playing harder difficulties), you'll probably want to move on to what most longtime Killzone players love most about the series-- its multiplayer. I'm happy to say that despite not being hugest fan of FPS multiplayer games, Killzone: Shadow Fall's offering, both online and off, is pretty darn nice.

I see I have two attendees to my shotgun party. Welcome. Did you RSVP?
Warzones have parties of people roaming to game after game while remaining together. Of course, you can always play individual matches in a one-and-done fashion as well. There are three character classes to select from and a load of loadout options available. The lack of an experience system means that players beginning the online multiplayer experience won't have fear of feeling far behind because they are not only outmatched skill-wise compared to players who have been enjoying Shadow Fall's multiplayer modes longer, but also because they have much worse equipment. Thus, it's much easier to jump into Killzone: Shadow Fall's multiplayer than a game like Call of Duty, for instance.

Not only can you play the Warzones already manufactured by Guerrilla Games themselves, but you can customize and create your own Warzone scenarios yourself. You can select from Shadow Fall's nice selection of ten maps, choose from modes like Search & Destroy and Capture & Hold, and even include bots. Yes! Bots! In a 2014 console game with online! This gave me grand memories of fully customizing every facet of a multiplayer match in Perfect Dark, my favorite FPS game to date, so if Shadow Fall can give me memories of that awesome multiplayer game, then that's high praise coming from me.

With everyone on the same level playing field,
Killzone: Shadow Fall is good for both beginners and longtime players.
The visuals of Killzone: Shadow Fall are absolutely jaw-dropping. This in part to Shadow Fall moving away from past games' drab brown and grey color pallets to something much more bright, vivid, and vibrant in specific levels. The game manages to hold a steady frame-rate for the most part, even in the most intense firefights. Meanwhile, the sound design manages to delight with consistently well done voice acting and moody orchestrated music accentuating the action and more subdued portions of the game.

With a stellar single player campaign and lasting multiplayer goodness, Killzone: Shadow Fall was a pleasant surprise as my first PlayStation 4 game. Although the narrative can interrupt gameplay way too much and certain non-shooting segments feel shoehorned in and rather clumsy, overall, Killzone: Shadow Fall manages to be a stellar first-person shooter that is definitely worth looking into for any PlayStation 4 owner who enjoys the shooter genre. Fall in!

[SPC Says: B-]

Monday, July 18, 2016

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - Back from Vacay! Edition

A storm with heavy winds erupted in the Central City area last week, resulting in power going out for about 48 hours in my neck of the woods. It gave me an impromptu vacation from the site, but now I'm back with regular updates for SuperPhillip Central, and that starts with a new edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs!

This week we kick things off with a battle theme from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. We then rock out with a menu theme from Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. Buck Bumble gives us an atypical title theme that gets us bum to the bass. Mega Man Battle Network then gives us a triumphant victory theme after a hard-fought battle, and finally, Final Fantasy V bestows this edition with a song great to begin a fun adventure with.

As always, just click on the VGM volume name to listen to the song mentioned. And also, as always, the VGM Database is there if you want to be linked to the 1,185 VGM volumes previously listed on the old Favorite VGMs!

v1186. Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (GCN) - Battle Theme

Perhaps this is blasphemy, but I find the Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door soundtrack to be the weakest in the Paper Mario series. In fact, as unpopular an opinion this may be, but I find the Sticker Star soundtrack to be the best and most varied. Regardless, the battle theme of Thousand-Year Door has the motif of the Super Mario Bros. main theme sprinkled throughout it. Get ready to battle and perform well on stage to give the audience a battle for the ages!

v1187. Sin and Punishment: Star Successor (Wii) - Menu

It was amazing to see Nintendo actually come out with a sequel to what was formerly a Japan-only Nintendo 64 game. Two generations later, Wii owners across the globe got to enjoy Treasure's sequel to Sin and Punishment, the glorious Star Successor. The music has a heavy rock focus as evident from the sensational menu theme. It's almost worth the price of entry alone! ...Well... almost!

v1188. Buck Bumble (N64) - Title Screen

The slightly out-there pick of the Favorite VGMs this week, Buck Bumble's title screen theme is a rhythm rappin' delight. Bum to the Bass, baby! Buck Bumble itself is a widely overlooked gem in the Nintendo 64 library, a console that wasn't short of games that some consider cult classics and diamonds in the rough.

v1189. Mega Man Battle Network (GBA) - Winner!

You've just deleted a series of viruses or evil Net Navi. What is your present? Well, not only some zenny and perhaps even a new chip, but you also get this peppy victory theme! Well done, Mega Man.EXE. Your virus busting abilities are top notch, and you're just the Navi to save the Web from the WWW!

v1190. Final Fantasy V (SNES) - Ahead On Our Way

The west missed out on Final Fantasy V when it originally released. We'd see it finally hit our side of the world with the Final Fantasy Anthology for the PS1, containing both Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI on one disc. Ahead On Our Way is the opening theme for the former, a catchy song that gets one invigorated and in the mood for adventure!