January 10, 2011

Review – Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman

Review ZHP Unlosing Ranger vs DarkDeath Evilman
Would it shock you to learn that Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger Vs. Darkdeath Evilman was one of the best games I played in 2010? It certainly was the game with the longest, most esoteric title that anyone played in 2010. Beyond the hokey moniker however, there hides a roguelike tactical RPG that is wholly fresh, inventive, and surprisingly accessible.

Z.H.P. is a strange game, to say the least – though I use the term ‘strange’ as both a term of endearment and for descriptive purposes – the pre-title sequence warns you right off the top that the game only contains one battle, but that it’s awesomely epic. This had my interest piqued well before the title sequence and opening story portions fully introduced me to the breadth of Z.H.P.’s overt strangeness.

The opening story is told through Television news updates and eye witness accounts, global attention fixed on the scene of an epic battle that is about to take place between the supreme hero and his arch-villain nemesis. Running late to the epic showdown is our hero however, the Unlosing Ranger, and unfortunately for the well being of all mankind he is unceremoniously hit by a car and killed along the way. With his last breathe he bequeaths the Unlosing Ranger mantle to you, the accident’s sole witness.

Taking up the challenge thrust upon you, you set out for your date with destiny – the final showdown against Darkdeath Evilman, wherein you are instantly killed and sent to a realm known as Bizzarro Earth.


January 2, 2011

Review – Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood!

Prinny 2 Dawn of Operation Panties Dood
A lone Prinny once again slips on the red hero scarf for the sequel to Nippon Ichi Software’s side-scrolling deviation to the Disgaea universe. As the extended title suggests, and perhaps causes some brief moments of awkwardness at the checkout counter, Prinny 2 tasks players with retrieving a pair of Mistress Etna’s unmentionables by slicing across several 2D stages in order to save the day and avoid facing her demonic wrath.

The original release, Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?, remains one of the most difficult action games on the PSP – forged in the dark pits of hell and causing me to spend a few weeks recovering in a mental asylum back in 2009. While this sequel doesn’t buckle in challenging players seeking to perfect their ranking scores, there are a few changes that open the invitation for those who haven’t splurged on robotic fingers just yet. The most immediate addition is an easy mode that allows players to take three hits before dying as well as the opportunity to regain health points, which just to tweak your self esteem are symbolized by diapers – pink baby blocks also appear throughout stages on this setting to make jumps easier and block some enemy attacks.

Remarkably even this setting may leave some stunned at the challenge Prinny 2 smacks down.


December 22, 2010

Trailer Park – Hyperdimension Neptunia

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , , — Nathan White @ 8:53 am

Hyperdimension Neptunia
There are few things I enjoy more than girly JRPGs filled to the brim with bubbly techno music and anime inspired character designs. Sakura Wars: So Long My Love most recently filled that cotton candy-shaped hole in my heart, but now Hyperdimension Neptunia is finally on the way and we have NIS America, the patron saint of Japanese quirk to thank for bringing it to the West.

If this newly released trailer is any indication, Neptunia should satisfy all of my aforementioned prerequisites for a delightful time sink. On top of that, there’s a battle system that utilizes game consoles personified as goddesses, the ability to summon pictures and even game characters from your PS3’s HDD, and in-game use of your own images all on an epic journey through a world called Gamindustri (“Game Industry”, in case the subtlety isn’t smashing you in the face hard enough).

The game is slated for release in February 2011.


December 20, 2010

Review – ClaDun: This is an RPG!

ClaDun This is an RPG
“This is an RPG!” declares ClaDun’s subtitle – and the statement is most definitely warranted. Actually, ClaDun is more of an action RPG but I won’t be a stickler. I will serve you with a warning though: ClaDun is old school in both style and substance. It’s a dungeon crawler that will ask you to spend time grinding. You will have to repeat multiple floors and entire dungeons many, many times, and you WILL die. You will die a lot.

At the game’s onset you are introduced to Pudding, a female wanna-be adventurer, and Soma, her lap dog male companion. Pudding, we discover, is terminally ill with “die laughing disease” and is desperately seeking Arcanus Cella, a mythical realm where you find whatever you are looking for. As it turns out, Pudding is looking for treasure, which is the perfect motive for a dungeon crawler.


December 10, 2010

Your Prinny 2 Overdose

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 3:41 pm

Prinny 2
NIS America aims to sweeten your weekend by ending off the week with a barrel full of videos for Prinny 2: Dawn of Operation Panties, Dood! Yes, I still feel awkward writing that title, but don’t let that stop you from overdosing on footage from the game, which should start 2011 off on the right note when it releases January 11th.

Catch it after the break dood!


September 24, 2010

Delicious Culture Candy, or Unlosing Ranger – The First Ten Minutes

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 4:06 pm

Z.H.P. : Unlosing Ranger vs. DarkDeath Evilman
Housewives and children set aside their chores and Government’s watch with bated breath as the battle to determine the fate of the world is broadcast live on television. But for all the fanfare, the fated showdown between Demon General Darkdeath Evilman and the invincible Unlosing Ranger is so one-sided, with the Unlosing Ranger being invincible after all, that many simply carry on with their day, even if it includes running over said Ranger on his way to the fight.

NIS has crammed so many bits of cult love into the first ten minutes of Z.H.P. that, perhaps for the first time ever, I laughed like a lunatic at the play of it all before any actual game even begins. The game finds the means to scream at you before you even press start, warning players that there will only be one fight, but that it will be an epic and long one. From there it grabs at super hero tropes and Power Ranger oddities, 80’s apocalypse anime doom, and quick editing that offers cameo appearances from completely random characters, simply because it can.

This is NIS off their medication, with another PSP game with a very strange name (Z.H.P.: Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman) – though this time it isn’t just a case of being crazy for the sake of it, though that is ever present. There’s fertile ground for the character customization to feed naturally through the parody and knit a sweater of awesome out of the cultural threads on hand.

That the game offers customization options for the “me! me! me!” swarm I often catch myself belonging to, helps invite me into an strategy game with a wealth of customization options – without hammering me over the head at the outset, or in simpler terms, not being nearly so stuffy about it as the genre generally is.

Who doesn’t want to play a hand at customizing the ultimate hero?

As for the game that unfolds beyond the first ten minutes, stay tuned. Or if for some reason you’ve no idea what game I’m talking about, catch up with the trailer after the break.


June 30, 2010

Review – Disgaea Infinite

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 8:23 pm

Disgaea Infinite
It’s fair to say that one never knows what to expect from any new game release, despite the availability of news and early views to encourage plenty of expectations or hesitations. And yet never have I flown so blind into a new title than with NIS America’s new deviation for the Disgaea series.

I was aware of the term “visual novel” prior to pressing start for the first time, and somewhat prepared for a significantly larger portion of narrative authority versus interactive playtime, but I was gleefully ignorant of any real idea toward how it all might unfold across my PSP screen.


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