System: Nintendo 3DS/Publisher: XSEED Games/Developer: Tamsoft/Players: 1/Release Date: 11-14-13
There’s a steady pattern when it comes to 2D brawlers. You walk forward, some dudes show up, you bust some heads, and then told “GO”. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s been like this since the beginning, and almost unchanging. Sure you got the occasional extra move, super power, or RPG elements, but the core gameplay remains the same. Enter Senran Kagura Burst, a game that aims to deliver with fast-paced action and and bountiful plot. Does the game deliver a well-rounded experience, or does it deflate from the genre it is? Hit the jump to find out!
After many teases and inklings, we finally have confirmation that Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus will finally make it’s way westward, once again by XSEED. This entry of the game is a sequel to Senran Kagura Burst, and this one is a Vita game. First let’s talk how this will be sold. Not only will it be digital, there will also be a limited print run of Shinovi Versus. This edition will come with a soundtrack CD and a Shinobi Syllabus, a book containing illustrations, profiles, and strategies. I’m guessing it’ll be similar to the book that came with Shin Megami Tensei IV. XSEED hasn’t announced yet how one will be able to get a hold of these copies, though fans believe it could be through online shopfronts like Amazon. Pre-order methods have not been posted yet as of this writing.
Among the staff here at The Wired Fish, there’s no mistaking that I like me some old-school games from my youth. Much of what I bought this past Christmas was old PS1 games off the Playstation Store, chief among them being Wild ARMs 2. When talking it up on Retro Weekends, I reminisce about simpler times when all I had to worry about was going to school, doing my homework, and get further in that new game I got. Times have changed, with life moving at a faster pace now that I’m older, and info being fed to me faster than any magazine ever could back then. So when I happened upon Senran Kagura Burst, I came in expecting pretty much what I expected (and being all the more happy for it). But the bodacious package came with a neat little treat that I didn’t expect.
Senran Kagura is getting extra Life and a bigger Hometowns as a sequel, Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson has been announced by Tamsoft. Starting off the confirmation of the sequel is a the addition of Co-op gameplay. While it wasn’t much of an issue in the original game, it’s odd for a brawler to not have it. So now it’s possible to have team ups like Asuka and Homura, or Haruka and Hibari. Local Co-op is a given, but it’s unknown if there will be online co-op as well. Alongside Co-op will be tag-team.
So if you’re like me, you’re balls-deep into Senran Kagura Burst. You played some missions, unlocked some sexy outfits, and picked out a favorite shinobi (mine’s Haruka if you’re wondering). However at some point during your bedazzlingly bodacious adventure, the camera can’t quite seem to get its act together. In other words, the camera just ping-pongs back and fourth. At first it’s a nuisance, but it gradually gets worse. For me, I was playing as Haruka (of course), and for some reason the camera started acting up. Since Haruka runs really slow, I thought it was probably her run speed that made the camera not know how to track her. This turned out to not be the case since I later played as Hikage, who’s much faster, and the camera was still glitching out, and this time it was much worse. When facing enemies, the camera’s all fine. But when moving on to the next wave, it begins to spaz out, only to correct itself when the next wave begins. Lather rinse repeat.
After many teases by XSEED of a pending fall release, they’ve finally confirmed that Senran Kagura Burst will finally come out on the 3DS exclusively on Nintendo eShop on November 14th. The story follows the girls of both the Hanzo National Academy and the Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy. Both factions are shinobi academies, and both follow different ideologies of what a shinobi should stand for. On the Hanzo side, they feel that the shinobi should fight for the good of the people and strike down evil. On the Hebijo side, they’ll take on any jobs regardless of whose side you’re on as long as you pay good money, even if the job could be perceived as working for evil. Of course when both sides meet, sparks fly while clothing shreds. It’s safe to say that the girls of these academies don’t get along.
Before Dragon’s Crown and its online beat ’em up mayhem, there was Grand Knights History. GKH was a PSP RPG by Vanillaware that was rather online heavy with players choosing a kingdom to align with and going online to face other players and their kingdoms. Two years after release, publisher Marvelous Entertainment has announced that the game’s servers in Japan will be shutting down, effective October 31, 2013. The game was scheduled to be localized by XSEED (with Europe’s Rising Star Games using their translation of the game for European release). However, when Vanillaware’s time, resources, and funds were running low due to Dragon’s Crown development and UTV Ignition shenanigans, XSEED had no choice but to drop the localization. This disappointed Vanillaware fans, hurting even more so knowing that the text translation was complete and it was up to Vanillware to insert and program the English version (which is then followed up by more QA).
Out of morbid curiosity, I asked XSEED’s Hatsuu if there’s any chance of GKH being picked up again and getting released now. I pretty much expected a “no”, and that’s exactly what I got. So sorry Vanillware fans, this is one game we won’t be playing.
[UPDATE]For the sake of consistency, I’ll just update this article instead of making a new one. Hit the jump to see the update.
After a few hints and inklings since the initial game’s Japanese release, in comes word that XSEED might be localizing a Senran Kagura game. First was the registration of HanzoNationalAcademy.com domain, referencing the setting of the Senran Kagura games. The site is registered to XSEED JKS inc. Going there (at the time of this writing) only shows blank slate with text that reads “Your website is ready. This site has been successfully created and is ready for content to be added. Replace this default page with your own index page.”
Next up was an image of a kinda yellow, kinda flesh toned square tweeted by the XSEED’s Twitter account. This was followed by Kenichiro Takaki, the Senran Kagura producer, tweeting this, and then this.
Now THIS is something I was afraid of. Once the vocal minority got super vocal after a stonking pair of humdingers graced the internet in early April, other companies would become afraid to localize anything Japan makes due to content (instead of sales like before).
For those who don’t know, Senran Kagura is a brawler with two entries on the 3DS (Senran Kagura and Senran Kagura: Burst) and one on the Vita (Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus). The 3DS and Vita games play a little differently on each platform. The 3DS games play like a regular brawler while Shinovi Versus on the Vita plays more like a mix of Dissidia meets Dynasty Warriors. One of the major defining features of this game is the copious amounts of… action on screen. I guess you call it a brawler with Japanese fighting game sensibilities (huge combos, juggles, and crazy ass attacks).
I’ve been somewhat ignoring this game for a while now. Don’t know why. Probably because I didn’t quite get a good grasp on how this game was going to be played when the first trailers were shown. There’s also the fact that a lot of the KID stuff is in Japanese without English subtitles, so I did quite get a grasp of the story either. However my recent need to gravitate to the free spirits of the game industry has brought me here, and now I’m hyped as hell for the game!
Dubbed the black sheep of the Rainfall titles, Pandora’s Tower may very well be the last big release on the Wii. The company making the game, Ganbarion, doesn’t have the pedigree of Monolithsoft or Mistwalker, didn’t have stellar sales like Xenoblade and The Last Story, and critical reception was pretty average. However its premise and association with Operation Rainfall might make it a cult hit.
The story follows a girl, Elena, who has been cursed and is slowly turning into a monster. A soldier for the kingdom Athos, Aeron, takes Elena away from the festival they were in so that the townsfolk don’t kill her. In the trailer, we hear what Aeron has to do to lift the curse from Elena. We also get a glimpse of the relationship focus the game has with Elena questioning Aeron’s acceptance and love for her.
Pandora’s Tower was originally set to release on March 26th. However, according to Amazon, it’s been delayed to some time between April 22nd-April 26th. A pretty far delay, but makes sense considering what’sgettingreleased this month. It hurts a bit, but a wise move nonetheless.
Last week came news that Grasshopper Manufacture, the developer known for housing the batshit insane Suda 51, was bought up by GungHo Entertainment. GungHo is known for hosting the servers for Ragnarok Online and acquiring Gravity Co. Ltd., the developers of the game. GungHo also hosted the servers for MMORPG Shin Megami Tensei Imagine (which is now run by Atlus Online). Given the track record of this company, it seems like a strange choice for them to acquire Grasshopper Manufacture since GM has no experience with online games. However GungHo has faith in this new venture, stating in a press release, “We believe the strength of a publisher lies in its creative talent so with the addition of GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE and SUDA51 we are adding some of the most innovative talent in today’s gaming world.” The press release also touts GungHo’s access to AAA resources that Grasshopper can use in its development of future titles.
The other news regarding this acquisition is the announcement of Killer Is Dead‘s U.S. release. Grasshopper’s latest game will be published by rising niche publisher and fan favorite XSEED. Interestingly, GungHo already has a U.S. publishing branch with GungHo Online Entertainment America, and is run by XSEED’s former president, Jun Iwasaki. XSEED themselves have published several GungHo games, so it seems like these two publishers have a good relationship going. So why bother with a U.S. publishing branch for GungHo?
Just when you thought all hope was lost for Pandora’s Tower after the release of the Wii U, XSEED comes in to save the day. Previously, XSEED brought over The Last Story. Pandora’s Tower is an action RPG with heavy puzzle elements. The story follows a woman named Elena who, during a festival, succumbs to a curse that slowly starts turning her into a monster. Aeron, Elena’s love interest, takes her away to avoid being killed by the town guards. Mavda, a witch, takes them to a place called The Scar, with contains different towers attached by large chains. It’s here where they are toled that Elena must eat the hearts of the monsters Aeron kills to keep the transformation at bay. And yes, you see her eat the hearts, which rest assured look none too appetizing.
Pandora’s Tower is the third and final game left in the Operation Rainfall campaign to bring Nintendo’s JRPGs stateside. Of the three titles (the other two being Xenoblade and The Last Story), Pandora’s Tower was the black sheep of the bunch, receiving Average reviews and selling the least worldwide. Not having the acclaim of the the other two, begging for a U.S. release of this one looked hopeless. Even OpRainfall was caught by surprise. With the release of the Wii U, Nintendo had pretty much stopped support of the original Wii, making a U.S. release of this game even less likely. And now? Well what can I say? XSEED gained a whole boatload of respect from JRPG fans. And OpRainfall? Mission Accomplished.
Despite the somewhat shaky launch of The Last Story, XSEED sent out a press release celebrating the game as their most successful title ever. This prompted XSEED to go ahead to the production of a second printing of the game without the artbook in it and sell it for $30. Even better, the launch copies of the game (the ones with the artbook) that might still out there will now sell for $40. So if you haven’t bought the game yet, now’s a good time to get it, and you might even be lucky if you find those launch copies. Also, to all you Wii U owners out there. The game might like better if you have an HDMI cable. While the Wii U doesn’t upscale Wii games, its passing via HDMI might be somewhat beneficial and make things look less like an .mpeg on an HDTV.
Hopefully Nintendo’s seeing this. While a success for XSEED might not have the same definition for Nintendo, they don’t have to put their expectations so damn high to the point that it’ll be unattainable. And you don’t have to spend a crapton on marketing. So Nintendo, especially NoA, don’t be so damn stingy with the games in Japan.
About two weeks ago XSEED released The Last Story to the masses… Hold on, let me correct that. XSEED shippedThe Last Story to the masses. Of course on August 14 I called GameStop and I was told that they didn’t have it in yet. You can see how that all went down here. So then, On Thursday of that week there was a podcast taping, so I wasn’t going to have a chance to pick up the game. Looking online, it looks like GameStop wouldn’t have it until that Friday. So I made a good choice to not bother calling them. However, upon coming home something happened that pretty much solidified my choice in stores for the foreseeable future.