The Collector’s Edition Of Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir Is Awesome

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir is looking to bring back the original awesome game in a brand new way, but Atlus is also doing something to make the package even more special.

Odin Sphere

The remake is getting a collector’s edition that Atlus is calling the “Storybook Edition” that costs $79.99. This particular edition will only be available for the PlayStation 4 in the USA and includes a 64-page hardcover art book, a t-shirt, a metal slip case, an art print and gorgeous outer box.

For those who don’t have the money for the Storybook Edition fear not, as even the standard edition of the game comes with a softcover art book.

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir will launch sometime in 2016 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.

Stella Glow Looks Charming And Magical In The Game’s Launch Trailer

The Nintendo 3DS is getting a new RPG today called Stella Glow, and a new launch trailer has been released that shows off some magical and charming footage.

The aesthetic of Stella Glow is pretty standard for 3DS RPGs, with anime visuals and over-the-top characters and story. Still, the way it all comes together in this trailer is very cool and does make me want to give the game a shot at some point.

Stella Glow is available exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS now.

Atlus Announces Shin Megami Tensei IV FINAL For 3DS

Atlus was running a countdown for something Shin Megami Tensei IV related earlier, but now that the countdown is over we know what it’s all about. They revealed Shin Megami Tensei IV FINAL, which will be a new game set in the same world as IV.

No real information has been given on the game yet, though Shin Megami Tensei IV FINAL will be the first game in the series to be linked to another game in the series since II. It could be a sequel to IV, it could be a prequel or it could even be a pre-sequel… who knows?!

Shin Megami Tensei IV FINAL is launching exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS on February 10th, 2016 in Japan. A release in the USA has not been revealed as of this writing.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Persona 4: Dancing All Night (PlayStation Vita)

There are few series out there that can pull off warranting spin-off games, and even fewer that have spin-off games that are even worth checking out. However, the Persona series is no stranger to spin-offs, with it already being a spin-off of the Shin Megami Tensei series. That makes Persona 4: Dancing All Night the spin-off of a spin-off, and this time the series is tackling the dance genre.

If you’ve played Persona 4 Arena Ultimax or its prequel then you’ll understand the basic premise of this game: incredibly bizarre events occur that thrust our beloved Persona 4 characters into a situation where they must all band together for the common goal of thwarting whatever evil awaits them. The events that follow are usually incredible silly and serious simultaneously, but you go along with it because that’s what this series is all about. This time, though, there will be no fighting, but dancing.

The game takes place about a month after the epilogue of Persona 4, with Rise Kujikawa returning to the entertainment industry. Things don’t stay normal for long, though, as a strange internet video seemingly sucks the J-Pop idol group Kanamin Kitchen into an unknown world without a trace. Thus, Rise asks Yu Narukami to summon the old crew to reform the Investigation Team to try and save the pop idols and figure what the frig even happened.

So, what follows is lots and lots of character dialogue that the series is known for, with some dancing levels thrown in every now and then to remind you that this is, in fact, a game. The set up is very similar to Arena Ultimax, as you have a level tree with branching narratives that follow certain characters as the story progresses. The game doesn’t give you the option to choose which narrative you want to follow first, as it instead takes you along a set path and hops back to the beginning of a different side of the story once the current one ends.

Unfortunately, the story on hand here isn’t all that good, with an overall narrative that is overflowing cliches and characters that are constantly spelling every single slightly vague plot point out. I know that this game isn’t M-rated like Persona 4 is, but sometimes I was really wondering if the devs thought I was 3 years old with how much spoon-feeding they were doing with the story. Thankfully, the characters themselves are still mostly very likable and you can’t help but overlook the times where they fall into their “We can do it if we all work together!” speeches.

Out of all the different types of gameplay that the entire Megami Tensei series has tackled, Dancing All Night has to be the biggest departure yet. There are no true battles to speak of, instead we have brief dance levels where one of the characters dances along to a variety of different J-Pop songs while we hit button commands to the beat of the song. The gameplay is very simple, as button prompts begin from center of the screen then move towards the edges where you must press them when they reach the circles. The buttons you have to press will appear closest to the ones on the actual Vita, making it easier to understand what is going on despite the button prompts not moving in a linear path like say Dance Dance Revolution.

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Like in most music games, you get more points if you hit the notes at the perfect time. The more perfect notes you hit the higher your score will be, though if you miss too many times you’ll be booed off stage and will have to try again. If you do really well you have a chance to unleash “fever”, which summons another Persona character on the stage to boogie with you.

However, my biggest complaint about this gameplay is that it isn’t very challenging, and simply isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. No matter if you hit all the button commands or none of them, your dancer will never falter and the flashy and well-choreographed dance number will continue regardless. It also seems really strange your dance moves just kind of happen while the evil shadows watch on, as I would have much preferred a dance off. Imagine a Bust-A-Groove style game where you and someone else and an opponent are dancing against each other and you can summon your persona to throw off their rhythm? THAT would have been sweet! Instead, the only real use that the Personas have is that they cap off each song with a little solo of whatever instrument they have. It’s entertaining, but there was potential for so much more.

If you’re looking for a real challenge then hop into the game’s free play mode and play the songs on hard. Seriously, the difficulty bump from normal to hard is BIG and makes the campaign seem like a cake walk.

Still, as simple and easy as the standard gameplay may be, it’s still addicting and thankfully the soundtrack is able to pick up the slack most of the time with some really catchy tunes. There’s also something ridiculously intriguing about watching characters who have been through the messed up events of Persona 4 dance like complete idiots. Seriously, the Persona series is the only series that can pull off this kind of a spin-off without causing people to show up at Atlus HQ with pitchforks and torches. Bizarre is at the very root of this series’ DNA, and Dancing All Night is just another vein branching off from this wild and crazy heart.

Persona 4: Dancing All Night isn’t a game that I would recommend running out the door to get, but those out there who love dancing games and the Persona 4 cast they should definitely pick this up. The gameplay might not be anything revolutionary, but it can still be extremely addicting in short bursts. There’s also another very hefty story and dialogue to sift through, though it isn’t satisfying from a narrative perspective as much as it is from a character one. Overall, if you don’t know what the hell a Persona is this definitely isn’t the game for you, but hardcore fans with an open mind are sure to have a new obsession in the form of Dancing All Night.

RESPECTABLE

Persona 5 Gets A New Trailer And A New Delay

Persona 5 is one of the most anticipated games for PlayStation 4, though it just seems to keep slipping through everyone’s fingers. It was supposed to release worldwide by the end of this year, though now it’s only confirmed for a Summer 2016 release in Japan.

Sure, the news sucks, but the silver lining is that the game got a new trailer. The trailer, unsurprisingly, features some incredibly bizarre characters and situations that the Persona series packs in droves. Check out the new trailer for Persona 5 below.

Condemn O.R. Condone – Lost Dimension (PlayStation Vita)

What would you do if you were put in the position to vote for a member of your own team to be killed in order to stop the one who threatens to end all existence? What if that person was secretly a traitor and you were ultimately protecting your comrades? Then again… what if they were innocent?

In the near future the world of Lost Dimension is in ruins after a catastrophic attack kills millions, and amidst all the rubble a mysterious pillar has appeared. A strange man going by the name The End appears on the pillar and claims responsibility for the attack, and now says that if nobody reaches and kills him at the top of the pillar he will finish off the world for good. The surviving members of the human race send in the best that they’ve got to try to get inside, but nobody can get anyone near it before being decimated. Thus, a secret service team called S.E.A.L.E.D. is sent in to do what the others could not: put an end to The End. The members of S.E.A.L.E.D. are all teenagers with special abilities called Gifts, ranging from conjuring fire or warping metals to attack foes. The member that has the most interesting Gift is our protagonist, Sho Kasugai, who has an ability called Vision that allows him to hear the voices of the other members of S.E.A.L.E.D..

This is very important, because there is a traitor in the group that Sho must discover. The kicker here is that the traitor is randomized on each floor other than on the first playthrough, so no matter how many times you play you’re never going to know who the traitor will be on a particular floor. Nope, you’re going to need to brush up on your detective skills to pinpoint the traitor all on your own, and *then* try and convince your remaining teammates of the traitor’s identity so they join you in voting for them to be “erased” at the end of each floor’s judgment trial. Think Danganronpa, but rather than your teammates being brutally murdered in ways that humiliate them they just get zapped and are never seen again. Also unlike Danganronpa, whether the person who is voted to to be erased is guilty or not doesn’t matter, as that person’s fate is sealed after that point. However, seeing an innocent person act in disbelief as they are about to be executes isn’t a pretty sight, so it’s better for everybody if you get that traitor.

Even though everyone is suspicious of each other being a traitor, the biggest and most satisfying element of Lost Dimension is the relationships you build with your teammates. After each battle you have the opportunity to talk to any of your teammates, and the first few people you talk to will generally result in you raising your camaraderie level with them. This is important for a couple of reasons, as not only will it flesh out the characters and allow you to connect with them more, but it’s also necessary to get the game’s true ending. This game requires you to become close with each and every one of your teammates to get the true ending, and considering that a few will be killed off before you can get to that point it will require a minimum of two playthroughs. Trust me, you’re going to want to play through it twice because the ending that you get on the first playthrough is pretty blah, but the second playthrough reveals a lot more meaningful plot elements not only at the end but throughout the course of the story.

While the main story of Lost Dimension doesn’t involve a whole lot of character development (everyone wants to kill The End to save the world), it’s your personal interactions with the characters that go a long way in making you understand them more. On the surface many of the characters seem pretty one-note, but if you take the time to interact with them it almost always ends with you having a different opinion of them. Some characters who appear mean on the surface have good reason to be so, while the more friendly characters might not be as friendly as you once thought. The writing and voice acting for these characters is always great, making regular interaction with your teammates between battles a consistent joy.

Lost Dimension has a simple gameplay interface and structure, but it actually contains a lot of depth the further into the game you get. In between story and side missions that show up on a list for you to pick you’ll always return to the same room to interact with your teammates, buy new items at the generator, or most importantly, use your vision to figure out who the traitor is. You will make your way through 5 floors of missions that get increasingly more difficult, which means you’ll want to be doing those side missions in order to get more experience points to level up your characters and their Gifts. You will also be graded on each mission at the end, with higher grades getting you better rewards and thus encouraging you to keep coming back for more.

The battles take a tactical RPG approach, where you bring in six of your comrades and choose where you want to place them on the battlefield before the battle commences. The battles themselves are turn-based, though they move back and forth between enemy and player phases. The cool thing about Lost Dimension‘s battle system is that the amount of space between you and your foes is the most crucial element. If you’re near a foe that some of your teammates are also near it will initiate “assist attacks” from your available teammates after your attack to deal out some potentially fatal damage. Even better, if you find that you take a move and can’t quite get to an enemy you can “defer” your move to a teammate who has already taken their turn, allowing them to attack twice and avoid missing out on dealing more damage.

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The crux of the gameplay is that, as you take damage and deal it, you will slowly lose your sanity. There is a sanity meter for each character that you need to keep an eye on, as it can quickly drop to zero if you consistently use your most powerful attacks. What happens if your sanity reaches zero? Your character goes berserk, which loses you control of them for a few turns. During these few turns the character will attack whoever is closest to them, friend or foe, and the damage they deal will be massive. You might be thinking that this is something you want to avoid at all costs, but if you know what you’re doing it can actually be a huge positive as you can deal out massive damage quickly. This is yet another mechanic in Lost Dimension‘s gameplay arsenal that really makes it feel fresh and adds a lot of strategy to each mission.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Lost Dimension had combat that was in real-time and not a series of static images as some of its visual novel contemporaries end up being. The combat animations look great and the accompanying voice acting from your teammates is solid all around. Each characters personality shines through during combat, which often results in some funny situations depending on which character you’re talking about. My personal favorite character in combat is the justice-seeking George, who yells out “EXCELLENT” every time he lands a good attack.

Like any good RPG, each character of Lost Dimension has their own skill tree that is jam packed with new moves for you to learn as you gain Gift points to put towards them. These range from attacks, status buffs and more that will give each character a seriously impressive arsenal of moves to play around with in the later stages of the game (or new game plus). As characters get erased you will also be able to equip that particular character’s materia to one of your surviving members materia slots, which gives you access to even more moves to use in battle. This game gives you tons of options in terms of combat moves, and that’s something I appreciate a lot in a game like this.

Lost Dimension is a game that I have a really hard time coming up with any flaws for, even though it’s not a game that’s flat-out amazing. It’s easy to pick up and play due to its level-based mission structure, but also has depth in both its combat and story that really sucks you into its world. The story doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of the Danganronpa series, but the little cues that it takes from that series are great and really allow this game to be something more than just an average turn-based strategy RPG. I know that I never miss an opportunity to plug the PlayStation Vita and this game will be available for the PlayStation 3, as well, but Lost Dimension is perfect for the Vita and is the next great game to be added to its library.

RESPECTABLE

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir Will Have Classic Mode For Longtime Fans

Odin Sphere: Leifthrasir is currently in the works for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita, which is a complete HD remake of the original PlayStation 2 game. However, even though the game is going to have a completely revamped look, it will come with a classic mode for those who want to relive the original experience.

Odin-Sphere

As or what else is being added to the game, developer Vanillaware is adding mid-bosses, cross-save between each version, updated controls and enhanced enemy AI. If you happened to miss the Japanese trailer that was released earlier this week you can check it out directly below.