Category Archives: PlayStation Vita

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Hyperdimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection

gaming advance, box art, neptunia, producing perfection, vitaThe Hyperdimension Neptunia series is a role-playing game franchise intended to parody the game industry. Each of the main characters, known as CPUs, represent one of the three consoles of the previous generation: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii, with the main protagonist Neptunia depicting the unreleased SEGA Neptune. Supporting characters are inspired by development studios and publishers, and the world itself is unsubtly named Gameindustri. There are elements of self-awareness, but it’s a series that sometimes crosses the line between parody and imitation. Producing Perfection might be one of those things.

As a spinoff, Producing Perfection strays from the standard RPG fare of battling random encounters and defeating dungeon bosses to progress the story. Rather, the title instead belongs to the visual novel genre–a game genre that exists almost exclusively in Japan. Players must work with one or more of the protagonists to turn them into a popular idol. Yes, it’s an idol management simulator.

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Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

dragon ball z, box art, battle of z, playstation vitaAlmost every year sees a brand new videogame release in the Dragon Ball Z series. While typically focusing on the fighting aspect of both the manga and the show, the games often change after two or three sequels. However, after a disappointing release with Dragon Ball Z: Ultimate Tenkaichi, it’s no surprise that the developer has attempted another relatively new approach. This time, the team fighting, arcade titles are seeing a console release on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.   Continue reading

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Ys: Memories of Celceta

Ys_Memories_of_Celceta-Box_ArtYs: Memories of Celceta is the first of the many Ys IV action-role playing games in the Ys series, and is developed by Nihon Falcom, Even though this Ys is only a reboot of a remake of two older Ys games, only the basic premise is shared as both the game play and some of the plot points have been changed. Due to this being Falcom’s first attempt at Ys IV, this is the most significant of the Ys IV titles and is already considered canon.  

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Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Danganronpa, trigger happy havoc, playstation vita, box art, euDanganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a murder-mystery game that became quite the hit over in Japan even before it launched in 2010, with the PlayStation Portable demo leaving quite an impact. The demo even contained an exclusive scenario just to demonstrate the mechanics without spoiling even the story of tutorial chapter in the final release. In Japan, Danganronpa is successful enough that the franchise is seeing it’s third videogame release, with the third non-spinoff title also teased.  Continue reading

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Resistance: Burning Skies

Resistance, Burning Skies, PlayStation, Vita, Box art, ReviewResistance: Burning Skies was a game that caught my interest a fair bit, simply as a result of my own skepticism regarding the success of emulating a first-person shooter on a handheld device.  Would Burning Skies be as lacking as expected, or would it be able to take advantage of the PlayStation Vita’s hardware to finally deliver a good first-person shooter experience?

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Nihilistic Software
Genre: Action//First-Person Shooter
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: July 12th, 2012 (JP); March 29th, 2012 (NA); June 1st, 2012 (EU)
PEGI: 18+

Taking place in August, 1951, the east coast of North America is under an alien invasion. Despite the bleak situation, fire fighter Tom Riley stands up in the fight against the Chimera, motivated by his desire to return to his family.

Burning Skies keeps to the same structure as its console brothers as a first-person shooter in which every weapon has their own unique alternative fire. The PlayStation Vita lacks the extra buttons to emulate the experience efficiently. Instead, the title takes advantage of the Vita’s touch screen to enable alternative fire–a method which meets great success. It’s definitely nice to see developers take advantage of the Vita’s “gimmicky” features effectively, rather than using it as an actual gimmick.

Visually, the title also successfully portrays its setting which furthers the player’s immersion. Regrettably, there are some graphical issues and blurred textures leading to a slightly less visually appealing experience. Additional details, such as closing in on the face of an enemy Chimera that Riley has just attempted to melee and not even making some of their complicated faces messy.

Resistance Burning Skyies, Gameplay Screenshot, Review

Riley accidentally interrupted a good game of Chimera hopscotch.

Despite Nihilistic’s effort though, the story was somewhat dull. There was a lack of real character development throughout the campaign. Enemy units became repetitive to the point that completing the story got less challenging, rather than more difficult. The title’s approach to upgrading weapons was interesting in concept; however, each weapon upgrade was easy to find and, disappointingly, wasn’t even very useful. The campaign length is short too, spanning roughly eight to nine hours long. This is pretty average for a first-person shooter, but it also loses the potential Burning Skies had to engage the player in such a way that they could be immersed even further into the possible lore. As it stands, the fictional world just wasn’t explored enough.

Multiplayer is composed of the most common three multiplayer modes to launch with a title: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Survival. In Burning Skies, the player can compete in matches across six maps with up to seven other players. For some strange reason, players who have not completed the title’s single player campaign will be kicked off of the multiplayer mode and forced to start the campaign.

Ultimately, Resistance: Burning Skies feels like a relatively average shooter. It doesn’t perform spectacularly, but despite a few minor hiccups (and one bizarre design choice regarding locking the multiplayer) it delivers an adequate experience and nothing more. Fans of the franchise will probably plough through the campaign once and then forget about it.

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Unit 13

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I’ve been interested in Unit 13 since the day it was announced, and that having a third-person shooter, featuring different team members and abilities, would have been great on the PlayStation Vita–a handheld device. The title was also developer Zipper Interactive’s (the developer of the SOCOM titles, which was often met with mixed reception) last videogame release. Was Unit 13 yet another average release to add to Zipper’s repertoire, or did it finally break the developer’s recent mold?

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Zipper Interactive
Genre: Action//Third-Person Shooter
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Release Date: March 6th, 2012 (NA); March 7th, 2012 (EU); March 8th, 2012 (JP)
Rating: 16 (PEGI)

The player takes control of a soldier in the special forces Unit 13. Instead of playing a generic all-round soldier, the title offers the player a choice of playing a select number of classes which can be chosen before each of the thirty-six missions in the standard campaign. Each mission rewards the player with experience, allowing each team member (read: class) level up, obtaining new equipment. The beauty of the game is that each class is entirely what they would be expected to be, and they are clear in what their functions are. Furthermore, each class has their own role in a mission, allowing different approaches to the mission.

Unit 13, Gameplay, Screenshot

Someone took this food fight too far!

Infiltrators are the standard stealth class. Players must sneak around the field, whilst killing as few enemies as possible–killing enemies results in a lower final score. Additionally, infiltrators can destroy cameras, deactivate alarms and can take advantage of smoke grenades. Alternatively, players can assume the role of the unit’s Gunner class to enjoy massacring their foes, allowing the player to storm the field and unleash pure, brutal carnage. In total, there are six available classes: Commando, Technician, Pointman, Gunner, Infiltrator, and Marksman.

Unit 13 isn’t limited to the thirty-six campaign missions either, as players may also participate in the High Value Target missions; each of these missions are ranked out of five stars. These missions are also typically more challenging than the campaign without losing the enjoyment. Unfortunately, players looking for further challenge from either mission sets will be disappointed, as there are no difficulty options available; instead, missions generally just get more challenging as the player progresses and that is that.

As a launch title for the PlayStation Vita, Unit 13 would have been expected to attempt using the various hardware features of the handheld (such as the touch screens and SIXAXIS). Fortunately, the title uses these features sparingly. The player can touch the screen to reload their weapons but may also use one of the Vita’s face buttons if preferred, opting to implement a less intrusive means of adapting the touchscreen. Meanwhile, the motion control and rear touchscreen aren’t even used at all. Unit 13 handles the hardware with class.

Unit 13, Gameplay, Screenshot, Vita

Taking a break to party.

Although, as a launch title, it would have been preferable had the title also taken advantage of the Vita’s ability to render high quality graphics, instead looking a little average. It’s also a bit odd watching someone get blown up with absolutely no blood effects. Despite the plain visuals, the soundtrack paints a better picture and often further intensifies the gameplay.

Regrettably, the biggest disappointment in Unit 13 isn’t even a fault in its performance or quality, but rather in its lack of community. Whether this is a result of its popularity or low platform sales, this reviewer found absolutely no one to participate in an online match with. It’s a shame, because it would have been interesting to see how well the title handles its multiplayer cooperation mechanics.

Unit 13 was a pretty good game, for what it’s worth. The soundtrack was good and, even though the multiplayer was non-existant, the gameplay was solid and well refined. Certainly, the PlayStation Vita could do with some more titles like this, and it is a shame that the development studio closed some time after launch.