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Tatsunoshi
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


For no discernible reason, another Hakuoki game has been released, this time for the Nintendo DS. It's Japanese language only but will work on any DS unit. Since it's a direct port of a PSP game, I've cut and pasted the review of that for your reading pleasure. Yes, this is what we call "phoning it in".

"Hey, everyone! Ever wanted to peek into the daily lives of Shinsengumi members? Play games with them and see their-not-so-serious side? Help them out with chores such as clothes washing, tea making, daily training, baking cupcakes, and packing fudge? Well, if so, please forward your forum ID to Kitsuno so he can ban you. After that, you may want to check out Hakuouki Yuugi Roku (薄桜鬼 遊戯録, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons Play Record, DS, will play on any system, Japanese language only). You can go on adventures, help out the members, and get to know more about them. The Shinsengumi are regularly proportioned in the adventure section of the game and are chibi-fied in the 'chores' section. The game invites players to 'come see their cute sides and gush'. This for a group of swordsmen who were brutal enough in real life, but in the game are literally blood drinking demons who tear their enemies to shreds. Still, this is one of the most popular and heavily franchised vid game franchises and is enormously popular among women. You can read more about the story behind the franchise in the other Hakuoki games we've featured earlier in this thread."

Comes in Limited Edition (left) and regular (right) versions-the limited edition looks like it comes with the game, a drama CD, and a pack of artwork postcards.
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PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Just out for the PS3 (Japanese language only, will work on any PS3) is Nobunaga No Yabou: Tendou (信長の野望天道with パワーアップキット, Nobunaga's Ambition: The Way of Heaven with Power-Up Kit). It's pretty much the same as the original release of the game, but everyone knows how much Koei relies on the time-honored practice of double-dipping. They have introduced a new element to strategy, that being the promulgation of culture. There are nine new scenarios (for a total of 26), and 100 new historical generals (bringing the total to an amazing 1400+). There are also new events. It appears the big improvement is the "Game Editor", especially the "AI Editor", which allows the player to issue more in-depth guidelines for how he wishes his fiefs to be run. This allows players to jettison much of the micromanaging the game is notorious for and concentrate on combat. This was one of the lowest rated games by players in the entire Nobunaga No Yabou series, but it appears to be more about boredom with this particular type of game than a commentary on its quality as it's actually quite good.



Of course, the recent interest in J-history in Japan and particularly the Sengoku has been driven by women-specifically, women who love otome games, dramas, manga, and anime based on the men of the Warring States. So we've got yet another entry in the otome "girl's dating sim" genre-that being Iza, Shutsujin! Koisen! for the PSP (いざ、出陣! 恋戦!, Now, to the Front! Love Battle!). 恋戦 can mean "love game", but we've rendered it "love battle" because of the subject matter. Princess Hana has been entrusted with her home domain by her dying father. In order for her family to survive, she must deal with the most powerful daimyo of the Sengoku and contend with their vastly different personalities. Which of course means the goal of the game is to find your one true love amongst the likes of the Oda, Tokugawa, Takeda, Uesugi, Date, etc. This new edition of a prior release features a completely full-voiced story by noted Japanese voice actors and comes with new CG cutscenes and scenarios. Available in the limited edition (L) with a drama CD and a book with illustrations, sketches, and an interview with the artist. Then there's the regular edition (R).
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
I've had a few requests over the years for info on how to sign up for the Japanese Playstation Network on a North American PS3 from folks who don't speak Japanese. It's really easy, and earlier tonight while looking for something else found a page that gives you step by step photos on how to do it. In case anyway wants to do so in the future, I've put the link on the first post in this thread (however, be advised at the time of this post that with the recent hacking problems the Japanese PS3 network is down just like the US version and will not be coming back online for anywhere from days to weeks).
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2011 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


For those of you that just HAVE to have every game with 'Ninja' in the title (and you know who you are) is "Cubic Ninja" for the Nintendo 3DS. This is the North American English language port of the Japanese game of the same name we covered a few months ago. Help "Cubic Ninja CC" in this pretty simple platform game where he must rescue the Cubic Ninja Princess by sneaking and swimming around various Mario-like dangerous abstract environments. The 3-D screen might make it a bit more interesting than it sounds, and you don't need to use any buttons to play (although you can)-much like some IPhone games, you simply tilt the 3DS unit in any direction to make him move that way. However, that's usually a fast track to inexact control and gamer rage, so stick to the pad controls.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Capcom really phoned it in with their newest release in the 戦国 Basara (Sengoku Basara) series, 戦国 Basara Chronicle Heroes (for the PSP, 二世の契り 想い出の先へ
). It's virtually the same game as the previous PSP entry, Battle Heroes-they've added a grown up Tokugawa Ieyasu, Ishida Mitsunari, and made Matsunaga Hisahide playable but left out the other new characters from Sengoku Basara 3. Some backgrounds are new, gameplay is virtually the same, and there's one new mode (Unite The Country) that basically uses an old mode with a 'tournament theme' built around it. This for a game that was pretty much as mindless and one dimensional as it gets in the first place. Not that this will keep the hordes of teenage girls, anime buffs, and yaoi fans that fuel the huge success of the series from gobbling it up.



And Idea Factory, the studio that churns out the Hakuoki games, has released another otome game: the second in the Nise no Chigiri series, Nise no Chigiri Omoide no Saki e (二世の契り 想い出の先へ, Past and Present Vows: Towards Memories of the Future). Nise no Chigiri usually means marriage vows, but the title is a pun that also ties in with its theme of time travel. Yes, they've ripped off the Harukanaru series (not to mention Abarenbo Gaijin) for this PSP entry (二世の契り 想い出の先へ). Schoolgirl Mana travels back in time to the Sengoku period and lands right in the middle of the conflict between the Uesugi and Takeda. In this follow up to the original, she's still stranded in the past and finding true love with assorted ninjer and samurai in the down time between battles. The game does look to be a cut above Idea Factory's usual efforts, with nice artwork and good voice acting. A solid choice for fans of girl's dating sims. It's available in the limited edition (on the left) with a drama CD and the regular edition.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


After a near-record almost three months without a Hakuoki game comes the PSP port of Hakuouki: Reimeiroku (薄桜鬼黎明録, 'Pale Cherry Blossom Demons:Record of the Dawn'-Japanese language only, will only work on any PSP). You can purchase this shining example of the otome game genre and Japan's slavish devotion to PS2 technology in either the limited edition (left, comes with drama CD and what looks like a sheet of stickers) or regular version (R). If you must know more, we reviewed the PS2 version a few months back, so go check it out-it's the same game.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


(Somewhat) New from Koei is Nobunaga No Yabou: Soutenroku with Power-Up Kit (信長の野望・蒼天録 with パワーアップキット, roughly "Nobunaga's Ambition: Record of the Blue Skies" with power-up kit) for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work with any PSP). The title refers to the player's attempt to be as "mighty as the blue sky above" by conquering all that lies under it-Souten being a popular theme in anime and manga (think "Fist of the Blue Sky"). This is an older 'Nobunaga's Ambition' game and is a direct port of the PS2 title of the same name (which itself was a port of the regular PS2 and PSP games only with the power-up kit added...got that?). It's the same province grabbing game virtually everyone with an interest in Japanese history has tried at one time or another. The power up kit adds an editor that allows players to tinker with the game parameters, adds new scenarios (bringing the total to 12), brings the total of in-game generals to 1800 (and lets you play as a subordinate general), and more.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Joining Sengoku Musou 3Z and Sengoku Musou 3 Moushouden as spin-offs of Sengoku Musou 3 is "Sengoku Musou 3 Empires" (戦国無双3 Empires, Peerless Of the Warring States 3: Empires). It's for the PS3 (Japanese language only, will work on any PS3) and comes in both a Premium Box (L) and Regular (R) version. The game combines the strategy aspect of the Nobunaga No Yabou series (albeit slimmed down and simplified) with the wild 'beat the living crap out of the enemy' gameplay the main Musou series is known for. During the strategy phase you'll develop your cities and hire vassals, but when it comes time to go to war, you'll be one against thousands, putting your chosen character's martial skills to the test. Developing cities adds to your troop numbers, gold, population, troop recovery, and provides other unique benefits in battle. There are shops available to augment weaponry and you can earn extra funds to spend there by having a save file for the earlier Sengoku Musou 3Z on your PS3 (it will also transfer certain files to the gallery and unlock new weapons for several characters).

The goal of the game is to, of course, unite the country under your banner but there are multiple ways to get there. There are three basic modes:

1) Historical-10 famous daimyo are given stories that start at key moments of their life. For example, Uesugi Kenshin's game begins when he accepts a request for help from the Murakami, pitting him against the Takeda. This mode is presented in chapters and players need to accomplish specific goals in each chapter to advance. A couple of the historical scenarios don't look very historical, though, such as Chosokabe Motochika tracking down 'Hosokawa Gracia' after she runs away from her father, Akechi Mitsuhide.

2) Free Mode-play as one of over 600 characters from 25 clans in a bid to conquer the nation.

3) Create-A-Warrior (CAW) Mode-the same as free mode, except players can use characters of their own design.

The official press release:

"Return to the battlefields of the Warring States and clash against opposing armies of oncoming attackers. Players choose a clan from the period of the Tokugawa Dynasty and hack and slash through various missions in a bid to unite Japan under a single crest. Sengoku Musou 3 Empires includes a story mode which allows players to experience the drama and intrigue of the Warring States under the auspices of a clan of his choosing. A new move added to the game is the "Spirit Evade" maneuver where a protagonist presses the "X" button to break away from combination attacks.

Game Features
● Over 600 warriors to choose from
● Create a unique character by mixing pre-built parts
● Expand the game with new download content
● Build castles and towns to support troops against enemies
● Social integration feature (this being for the cell phone game 'Hyakuman No Nin Sengoku Musou')

The Sengoku Musou 3 Empires Treasure Box includes four bonuses:

● Secret Walkthrough Manual / Visual Story Book
● Collection of 40 mini character standees which are packaged in a binder
● Exclusive Treasure Box game download content which allows players to build and embellish a ninja village.
● DLC code to download special banners which feature super-deformed renditions of the Tokugawa heroes. "

The game is big on utilizing DLC through the Japanese PS3 Store and also through Hyakuman No Nin Sengoku Musou, the cell phone 'social game' that uses superdeformed versions of the main characters. Here's a partial list of DLC available, other than the two bonuses mentioned for the Premium Box:

1) Filling out a survey for Empires at Gamecity will net you a code that unlocks a new character and building for Hyakuman No Nin Sengoku Musou.

2) When you register for Hyakuman No Nin Sengoku Musou with Empires, you receive 4 new buildings for your castle city.

3) When you register two codes included in Empires with Hyakuman, you'll unlock characters Oichi and Okuni.

4) Buying the official strategy guide nets you a DLC code for a rare building, a Study.

5) Preordering the game from GameCityJP provides a DLC code for a rare weapon in Hyakuman No Nin Sengoku Musou and also gives you a character card.

Finally, the game contains a gallery that saves CGI movies, voice clips, character models, and has an encyclopedia that gives historical information on the characters and events in the game.

It's an excellent game that adds just enough strategy to keep the battles from getting monotonous. It likely won't be coming to the US under the 'Samurai Warriors' brand name, so if you want it you'll have to import.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
It's been awhile since I've been around to update the vidgame thread. Let's start with a few English language games:



...well, it DOES have 'samurai' in the title. "Power Rangers Samurai" for the Wii (North American Wii) and DS (any version) features kid-friendly fighting and action.

"A new generation of Rangers is here for the Nintendo Wii & DS! Practice the mysterious Samurai Symbols of Power, activate your Ancient Samurai Sword Discs and become your favorite Power Ranger Samurai! Use your special powers & weapons to battle the evil forces of the netherworld. Use teamwork to join forces with your fellow rangers and become Samurai Megazord for epic boss battles! Rangers Together, Samurai Forever!

-Protect the World From Evil!-Join the new generation of Power Rangers to master the mystical and ancient Samurai Symbols of Power which give you control over the elements of Fire, Water, Sky, Forest, and Earth!

-Armed For Battle!-Use your Samuraizer (DS Stylus, Wii Remote) to master the symbols and morph into Red, Blue, Green, Yellow or Pink Ranger, then use your Fire Smasher, HydroBow, Forest Spear, Earth Slicer, or Sky Fan to battle hordes of Knighlok monsters.

-Teamwork-Martial arts training and fitness combined with team based battles teaches the importance of working together, friendship, & responsibility to battle armies of evil & overcome tough challenges.

-Samurai Power Up!-Unlock secret passageways, access hidden levers, and mystical pathways to get hints on how to defeat the Nighloks and collect Zords to gain Samurai Megazord combinations and finishing moves.

-Samurai Megazord, We Are United!-Engage in exciting boss battles against the likes of MegaMonster by combining your animal Zords to form the giant Samurai Megazord!"

Somehow Friday and Conlan never mentioned the 'Ancient Samurai Symbols of Power', but that Samuraizer sure sounds like a 'must-have'.



"Shinobi" was released for both the Japanese (L) and North American markets on the 3DS (Japanese version will only work on a Japanese 3DS, NA version only works on a NA 3DS). It's pretty much the same action that everyone's come to expect from the Shinobi series of games, taking advantage of the 3DS dual screen:

"Betrayed by your friend, you must battle an ancient and evil clan in this epic continuation of the acclaimed Shinobi series.

A CLASSIC REBORN

Re-experience the classic gameplay of the original Shinobi games, with a modern twist. Pattern-based enemies, twitch gameplay and side-scrolling action are enhanced with a unique 3D style, deeper combat and all-new challenges.

FAST AND FURIOUS COMBAT

Defeat enemies with skill and style as you switch between ranged, melee and acrobatic attacks on the fly. Rely on your Ninja magic to get you out of tight spots and give you the advantage during intense fights.

BECOME A MASTER NINJA

With a brand new combo system to master, a host of achievements to unlock and challenge maps to complete, you will want to return again and again to better your score and ranking. Watch recorded replays to help find your weaknesses and perfect your Ninja skills."

Yes, being a ninja is good.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Despite the title, Musou Orochi 2 (無双 Orochi 2, Orochi’s Unmatched 2) for the PS3 (Japanese language only, works on any PS3) is actually the fourth entry in Koei’s Orochi series, following Musou Orochi and Musou Orochi Maou Sairin for the PS2 and Musou Orochi Z for the PS3-presumably, the number reflects the PS3 offerings. Left to right are the PS3 Treasure Box version, the XBOX 360 Treasure Box, the regular PS3 version, and the regular XBOX 360 version. The Treasure Box includes a copy of the game, a CD soundtrack, a desktop calendar, and a DLC code for a super-secret weapon. If you ordered early enough, you’ll also get a code for DLC Santa Claus costumes for the characters, which are way kewl.

Musou Orochi 2 is a brawling game with a dose of strategy, as your lone warrior fights against not only the hordes of the serpent king Orochi but (assuming you’re playing as the Sengoku faction, which you should) those rotten bastards from China’s 3 Kingdoms period that have allied with them. Actually, the alliances blur in this fun beat ‘em up, as Japanese team up with Chinese against other Japanese and Chinese with Orochi thrown in. The short version of the story:

“The serpent lord Orochi has died, but the battles between the Sengoku and Sangoku heroes continue. Daki, the righthand woman of Orochi is trying to resurrect her lord, and gods and goddesses are sent from heaven to aid the warriors.

Kaguya gives gamers the chance to return to the past to change the future. Rescue the friend that died in past battles and win new weapons. Build unbreakable bonds with comrades to unlock story elements and create a better ending. New original characters join the Musou heroes, recruit them into your team, combine skills with them to blow your enemies away. Cut your foes down the way you mow the lawn.”

Gotta love that last line.

This time around, besides the Sengoku Musou and Sangoku Musou characters, there are also characters from Ninja Gaiden (Hayabusa Ryu), Bladestorm (Joan of Arc), Warriors: Legends Of Troy (Achilles), Trinity: Souls of Zill O’ll (Nemea), and best of all, the Dead or Alive franchise (Ayane). All in all, over 130 CHARACTERS. Yes, 130 to choose from, each one with their own moves and abilities. Every character ever seen in the Sengoku/Sangoku franchise is here, along with Kaguya (the gal from ‘The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter’), Susanoo (legendary slayer of Orochi), Shuten Doji (Ruler of the Oni), and Ne Zha (some Chinese guy we didn’t care enough about to check out).

There are weapons shops, friendships to be made, restaurants, all kinds of new attacks, and create-your-own scenarios that can be published online. DLC for the game will also be hitting the Japanese PlayStation network soon. This is no doubt the ultimate bust-‘em-up fighting game, with gorgeous graphics, tons of unlockables, tight controls, and just enough strategy to keep things interesting. Highly recommended.



And where there’s a Musou game, there can’t be a Sengoku Basara game far behind. Enter Sengoku Basara 3: Utage (戦国 Basara 3: Utage, Flamboyant Warring States 3: Party). Released by Capcom, the company continues its well-known business practice of double or triple dipping, making you pay at least twice for the same game. Utage has been released for the PS3 (on the left, Japanese Language only, will work on any PS3) and the Wii (Japanese language only, will only work on Japanese Wii units). It basically makes all of the characters playable from Sengoku Basara 3-14 in all. You can now play as fat boy Kobayakawa Hideaki, Tenkai (who is Akechi Mitsuhide in-game), Frenchman wannabe Mogami Yoshiaki, Christian pretty-boy Otomo Sorin, Katakura Kojuro, Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, Kasuga, Maeda Toshiie, Maeda Matsu, Hojo Ujimasa, Sarutobi Sasuke, Matsunaga Hisahide (who wasn’t in SB3, but returns from part 2), and Tachibana Muneshige and his dual chainsaws. If the little bit of strategy in Musou Orochi was too much, Utage is for you-there is no strategy involved at all, just gleeful, mindless slaughter of the enemy.

If you have a game save from the original Sengoku Basara 3, you can use it with Utage to make the original 17 characters from that game playable here as well (along with their levels and weapons). Eight of the new characters have brand new story modes, a new battle mode, a co-op mode, a tag system where you can switch off to a new character during battle (if you earned their trust in Japan’s event mode), new scenarios, new max level limits, a new difficulty level, and more gameplay tweaks.

The Sengoku Basara franchise is immensely popular in Japan, particularly among teenage girls (for its mostly pretty-boy metrosexual characters and anime-styled character models), and its American fans swear it’s the best samurai themed game on the market (we don’t think so). There are anime and manga adaptations, figures, toys, drama CD’s, artbooks, and pretty much any other merchandised item you can imagine. For our money, its main draw is the goofy sense of humor it brings to the proceedings, but otherwise you’re better off with Sengoku Musou or Musou Orochi.



And speaking of heavily merchandised pretty-boy metrosexual characters, don’t look now, but here comes yet another Hakuoki game-Hakuoki 3-D (薄桜鬼3D, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons). It’s for the Nintendo 3DS (Japanese language only, only works on Japanese 3DS units). Hakuoki might be the most repackaged game in video game history-and here it is again, but this time in 3D!!!!!!!!! Wooooootttttttt! Well,here’s the cut ‘n paste of the story again, just in case you haven’t seen the 20 other descriptions of this game on the thread:

“The name Hakuouki is a play on kanji, based on the Ishikawa Raizo film Hakuouki (released in the US as Samurai Vendetta, but actually means Chronicle of the Pale Cherry Blossoms)-the ‘ki’ is pronounced the same but, using a different kanji character, has a decidedly different meaning. The Shinsengumi are of course the ‘pale cherry blossom demons’-portrayed here in manga style as romantic pretty boy types who are nonetheless completely brutal when it comes to fighting. This is because the Shinsengumi really ARE demons here-the Bakufu has given them an esoteric potion that increases their fighting skills, but also gives them a craving for blood (which at times turns them into virtual vampires or zombies-hence, the symbolism of pale cherry blossoms-pale skin, red blood-juxtaposed with the traditional meaning of an early, glorious death). The protagonist of the story is Yukimura Chizuru, a young girl who, searching for her father in Kyoto, runs across the Shinsengumi in the aftermath of a slaughter while they’re feeding. They bring her back to their HQ to keep her from talking and she enters into their world, finding true love and tragedy amongst the death and violence.”

This otome ‘girl’s dating game’ is available in the limited edition (L) and regular edition. Limited edition comes with three sheets of 3D character cards along with a drama CD. If this isn’t enough Hakuoki for ya-it’s coming to the United States on PSP in March. Yes, it is. It was too much to ask for us to be safe forever.



And speaking of repackaged classics, here’s one for real men-Sengoku Hime: Senran Ni Mau Otometachi (戦極姫 戦乱に舞う乙女達, Ultimate Battle Princess: Maidens Who Dance Towards War) for the PSP. It’s just a repackaging of the original PSP version (Japanese language only, works on all PSP units) with new cover artwork. It’s your standard Nobunaga’s Ambition province grabbing game, except all the daimyo are now hot anime chicks! Why? Who cares?



We also have a brand new game system to talk about-the Sony Vita. It’s the successor to the PSP and is already out in Japan (and will hit the USA in February). The Vita features region lockout, so you won’t be able to play Japanese games on an American unit and vice-versa. It’s not selling too well at the moment, but features one outstanding game ninja fans will want to check out: Shinobido 2 Sange (忍道2 散華, Way of the Ninja 2: Heroic Battle Death, Japanese language only). If you’re a fan of the Tenchu ninja stealth series, you’ll love this game. In fact, developer Acquire originally produced the Tenchu series of games but lost the rights to them-and they just went ahead and created another ninja stealth series, Shinobido. The first two games (Shinobido for the PS2 and Shinobido Homura for the PSP) were never released in the USA (although they saw European releases). This one will be when the US Vita launches under the title of Shinobido 2: Revenge Of Zen. Anyway, if you can’t wait, the Japanese version is great-it’s a sequel to Shonibido Homura. It’s ninja stealth and slaughter at its best with a good story, excellent level design, multiple endings, and lots of interesting characters. Our personal favorite game of the moment.



And lastly for this time around is Ore no Shikabane O Koete Yuke (俺の屍を越えてゆけ) for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on all PSP units). Fans like to translate this as “Over My Dead Body” but literally it’s more like “Exceed Me After I Die”. This RPG actually features an original hook and an interesting game mechanic. Here, a family in Edo period Japan has been cursed by demons after they have defeated an evil daimyo. For the rest of the story, here’s the press release:

“Pass your weapons and abilities to your offspring so that one day they could defeat the evil lord that cursed the clan. Everyone in the clan has an ultra-short life-span and is unable to have children by normal means. Fortunately, the gods took pity and let them continue their bloodline by using divine powers.

The game created a cult following since it was first released on the PlayStation. Now, with better graphics, more gods and an improved network system, your lineage of heroes can launch a crusade against the demon lord once again on your Sony PSP.”

You literally are fighting the clock to produce new offspring to further your family line by all sorts of bizarre means before you die (while continuing to fight the minions of the demons), with each generation becoming more powerful (hence the “Exceed Me After I Die” part). It’s one of the most original games ever seen, and unlike anything you’ve probably played to date. It comes in regular and limited (R, with a copy of the game, an explanation booklet, a strap, a pouch and a PSP cleaning cloth inside special packaging) editions.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
With Christmas/New Year’s out of the way, new releases are sparse and most tend to be ‘niche’ games or re-releases-like this week’s offerings. All of these games are Japanese language only and will only work with the Japanese version of the indicated game system (except where noted).



One of our all-time favorite titles is the Onechanbara series. What’s there not to like? Zombies, hot chicks in cowboy hats and bikinis, Japanese schoolgirls, insane over the top swordplay, and buckets of blood. It’s a no-miss! And the new release for the XBOX 360, Onechanbara Z: Kagura, while unfortunately giving us new main characters, nevertheless has them as a hot chick in a cowboy hat and bikini and a Japanese schoolgirl. The more things change…

“Sisters band together, girls get into bikinis and pick up their swords to fight enemies. Slaying monsters become more thrilling in Onechanbara Z. The battles are bloodier and the girls become sexier. The newest game will get a Z rating, so be ready for some over the top action and fanservice sequences.

A new girl named Kagura takes up the sword in a new hack 'n slash action game where zombies and the monstrous overlords are eviscerated and plundered in gory fashion. Kagura bears a strong resemblance to Aya of previous Onechanbara game with her svelte yet buxom frame, wavy tresses, and cowboy hat. Kagura battles the undead with her half-sister Saaya and the two are half-human and half-vampire killing machines. At the outset of the game, the two sisters are en route from Romania to Japan to eliminate Aya and Saki for rousing zombies all over the world.

The two girls are armed with three weapons each with which to slay their adversaries and deal damage on a quick and massive scale. For example, Kagura wields dual swords while Saaya is armed with a chainsaw to buzz through undead flesh. A new system introduced in the game called 'Blood Recovery' allows the sisters to regain health by drawing in their own spilled blood. Since the sisters are vampires, they can perform a move called 'Heroic Drain' which sucks blood from powerful foes to reduce their vitality and prepare them for the eventual kill.

Zombie blood is drenching the bikini red this week!”

Screenshots look awesome. Saya the schoolgirl uses an oversized chainsaw to battle the monsters. She’s our new best pal.



For the Playstation Portable (will work on any PSP unit) comes “Kannou Mukashi Banashi Portable” (官能昔話). It’s from Idea Factory (makers of the Hakuoki games) and the title translates as ‘Sensual Tales Of Old’, so what does that tell you? Right, it’s an otome dating game for girls. It takes fairy tales and legends from around the world and gives them more of an…adult…spin. ‘Bluebeard’ seems to be the big draw here for this RPG style game, but we’re including it here since there’s a chapter with Hosokawa Gracia and her tale of love and betrayal with Hosokawa Tadaoki. It might have been fun to play from Tadaoki’s viewpoint and get to ravish the good Christian woman, but nah, you play as Gracia. Comes in limited edition with a drama CD and a copy of the game (L) or regular edition.



And if you missed “Sengoku Basara 2/Sengoku Basara 2 Heroes 2-Pack” for the Wii or “Nobunaga No Yabou: Tendou” (Nobunaga’s Ambition: The Way Of Heaven) for the PS3 (will work on any PS3 system), they’ve been released in discounted “best price” versions-still the full games complete in every way, you’ll just spend less. You’ll find more info on both earlier in this thread.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


This week we have a lower-priced reissue of the excellent PS3 game "Samurai Dou 4" (Way of the Samurai 4). As a bonus, it comes complete with most of the DLC released through the Japanese Playstation Store for the game-hence it being "Samurai Dou 4 + Plus". It's back to the Bakumatsu for what is essentially the samurai version of 'Grand Theft Auto'-you're free to roam anywhere in the game world and be good, evil, stand for honor, be a coward, become rich, or just walk around killing everything in sight. The choice is yours. It's back to the Bakumatsu in part 4 after a short sojourn to the Sengoku in part 3. You can find out more about this outstanding game in our coverage of it earlier in the thread.

It's Japanese language only-will it be coming to the West in an English version like its three predecessors? Yes and no. It will be released this year, but only in Europe-but since the PS3 is region-free, those in the US will be able to import and play it.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
New to the US Playstation Home Network is "Great Edo Of Nippon"-a Japanese "home lounge" play area. This fun free to play game lets all Playstation Home users visit Edo period...err, Edo and explore the virtual city peopled not just with regular characters but other Playstation Home members. It's free to play and has all kinds of cool areas to explore-vendor stalls, a clothing store, bathhouse, row houses, and more. It's kind of like 'Way of the Samurai'. Right now there are just a couple of minigames where you can catch goldfish and win virtual 'yokai' in a shooting gallery, and you can also practice swordplay. As the game develops, you'll be able to access lots of new areas like Edo's elaborate canal system and do battle with Yokai (both as an individual and in group fights). For those who really get into this sort of thing, you can buy 'virtual clothes' at the clothing store so you fit in with the era (and also boost your stats for fights), or even an Edo period fish bowl to keep your caught goldfish in.

For now, though, just walk around the city, talk to the folks you meet, gather some clues for the future, and enjoy. We've played this game on the Japanese Playstation Network and once the monsters are added it gets crazy. You'll likely run into us at some point (Tatsunoshi)-we're the samurai in the black formal kataginu with the dragon running next to us (yeah, we know, it's Singe the Dragon from Dragon's Lair).

Brick McBurly was also spotted dancing in the middle of the main crossroads in the center of town and later wandering around dressed in just a fundoshi, which drew a crowd of Edo period women-some things never change.

You can find a video and a few screen shots here.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


If you liked the 'ink and brush' game Okami, then you'll love the newest game for the PS Vita (Japanese language, Japanese PS Vitas only). "Sumioni" (墨鬼, Ink Ogre) gives players a brand new world of horrible creatures from Japanese mythology to battle-by using your sumi-e skills to 'paint' your will upon the world.

"The Heian era is when monsters, ogres and onmyouji roam the land. In this world, the player becomes the Sumioni, or the ink ogre. With a wave of his pen, he can open a path, burn down his foes and call forth the most powerful spirit.

Acquire's newest action game combines the cutting edge technologies of the PS Vita with the elegance of brush paintings. Slash at enemies, pass through stages and win different brushes to activate new skills. Use the touch pad to draw paths and symbols to launch powerful attacks.

But beware, when you use up the ink, there will be no skills left. Use your ink and brush to defeat the ogres.

Besides the touch screen, the back pad also plays a very important role in the game."

The artwork is also very reminiscent of Okami, with a very flat, stylized sumi-e look to it. Lots of of oddball attacks and imaginative monsters. It's easy to learn, innovative, fresh, and fun.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


For the soon-to-be-obsolete-but-still-awesome PSP system (will work on any PSP, Japanese language only) comes Sengoku Musou 3Z Special (戦国無双3ZSpecial, Warring States Unmatched 3Z Special). It's basically a port of Sengoku Musou 3Z for the PS3 and Sengoku Musou 3/Moushouden for the Wii. These games are your basic 'one warrior against a thousand' bust-ups with a dash of strategy to keep things interesting. You can read more about the game action in our reviews for the original Sengoku Musou 3 and Sengoku Musou 3Z elsewhere on this thread.

But wait, it's 'special'. What makes it so? Well, there are a couple of new game modes and up to four players can join in for an online battle. You can also load your save data from a PS3 unit into the PSP game if you had the original PS3 SM3Z.

"Welcome to the warring Japan once again. Sengoku Musou 3Z covers the time period between Sengoku and early Edo period, bringing you generations of heroes and brand new play-modes. Load your PlayStation3 save data into your Sony PSP to continue your war on your journey.

The new portable version brings you two new co-op modes - the Musou Enbu and the Mougi Enbu. Conquer the lands together, even an impossible boss becomes less impossible when you deal with him together. After sharpening your blades on the NPC characters, challenge other warriors by logging into the adhoc play mode. A total of 4 warriors can engage in a battle royale."

There are also DLC costumes available for the characters, giving them costumes from SM1, SM2, Musou Orochi 1 & 2, and some recolored costumes. Available now is the "Uesugi Vs Takeda" pack with a variety of costumes for Yukimura Sanada, Naoe Kanetsugu, Takeda Shingen, Uesugi Kenshin, and Kenshin's sister Aya. Coming with pre-orders of the game is a pack with costumes for Ishida Mitsunari, Kato Kiyomasa, and Fukushima Masanori. Future plans include a 'Fudge Pack' with costumes for Oda Nobunaga and Mori Ranmaru (yes, really).



Not being content with merely enslaving Japan's female teens, Idea Factory has brought their incredibly popular otome game (girl's dating sim) Hakuoki franchise to the West. Yes, you can now buy an English language version of the original game for your PSP (English language, will work on any PSP)-Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom. The game was appropriately released on Valentine's Day for the gaming pleasure of young girls...and guys who picked it up thinking based on the cover it was a Castlevania game.

"Japan's Edo Period was drawing to a close. The shogunate, who'd held power in the country for more than 200 years, found itself challenged by the imperial court, and by several domains who had chaffed under shogunal rule. In this midst of this political unrest, an organization rose to prominence: the Shinsengumi. Originally formed to protect the street of Kyoto from dangerous ronin, they came to represent the last, tragic bastion of the honor-bound samurai culture that had defined much of Japan's history.

In Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, a young woman comes to Kyoto in search of her missing father, and soon encounters danger and the Shinsengumi in quick succession. When it becomes clear the Shinsengumi are also searching for her father, she is put under their protection. But odd things are afoot in Kyoto - possibly even supernatural happenings. Can she navigate this maze of mortal danger and political intrigue? Amidst so much mystery and death, can she find romance?

Key Features:

One of North America's First Otome Games: Experience a historical fantasy adventure while pursuing a relationship with one of several male love interests in a game specifically created for a female audience - one of the first of its kind localized for North America.

Experience a New Kind of Adventure: Enjoy a visual novel filled with beautiful illustrations and changing character portraits. Examine character biographies, check your story progress, and replay scenes you've already watched.

Chose Your Own Fate with Multiple Endings: The story is told through the eyes of one young woman, but the player will be presented with a number of decisions she must make. The result of these choices will determine her ultimate fate, and the fate of the men of the Shinsengumi.

Introduction to the Hakuoki Franchise: Hakuoki is a series that enjoys major popularity in Japan among the gaming populace. Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom has even received an anime adaptation. "

I find it interesting that they've varied their marketing approach for a Western audience. They're emphasizing the vampiric and horror elements of the game over the romance element both in the text and packaging, probably to cash in on the Goth crowd and the hordes of 'Twilight' fans.

One might wonder why they didn't go with a full-blown PS3 release-well, they're being cautious. The few otome games that have been released in the West have flopped since teen dating dynamics are quite different here than in Japan. Using one of the versions of Hakuoki made for a portable device fits in better with the game being a 'visual novel' that can be played/read when one has a spare moment, giving it the best chance to find its target market-small, but growing. Female gamers in the West have been largely ignored (unlike Japan, where they're a major force in the market) so it is nice that an effort is being made to produce some games geared towards them. The recent release of "Catherine" (a bizarre dating/adult/horror Japanese game ported to the West) was a huge success, so the market might be changing.

The game comes in a limited edition (L) with a soundtrack CD and 72 page artbook-and is actually reasonably priced at $39. The basic game (R) goes for $29.


Last edited by Tatsunoshi on Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Otome games and ninja-they drive the world of Japanese-history themed games, and we have a little of each this week.



Forgoing the world of the Genpei Wars to cash in on the Shinsengumi/Bakumatsu craze stoked by the Hakuoki franchise is Harukanaru Toki No Naka De 5: Kazahanaki (遙かなる時空の中で5: 風花記, In A Distant Time 5: Chronicle of Snow on the Winter Wind). This popular and well done otome (girl's dating sim) game for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP) is an expanded version of the original effort from last year with more story paths to explore and more endings.

The 'snow on the winter wind' appears to be the female time traveling lead judging by the box art, appearing in a white flurry not unlike a sudden snowstorm. Girls can hook up with the most famous figures of the Bakumatsu, including members of the Shinsengumi, Sakamoto Ryoma, and Saigo Takamori. Except here Saigo won't be a fat old worm ridden sourpuss and Ryoma won't be a smelly, drunken homeless dude. Nope, they'll be as anime pretty boy as it gets.

"Kazahana is a romance that blooms in the chaotic Bakumatsu era. Something evil is spreading its claws toward the world, only the priestess of the white dragon can save the land. So together with the eight leaves, she travels back time to fight.

But every time she goes back to the past, her lifespan shortens, so between her life, romance and her destiny, she has to make an impossible choice, and the monsters will not wait for her.

The sequel comes with a new character. The Onmyouji Rindou seems like a savior, but his cynical remarks and his attitude makes the priestess wonder about his true intentions. And aside from him, there are new routes and new endings.

The Limited Edition comes with an Art Collection, a set of Art Cards, a drama CD and a protection charm pendant. "

And that Limited Edition Treasure Box is seen on the left, with the two pack (with the new game and a copy of the original Harukanaru 5, along with some Art Cards) in the center and regular edition holding down the right. Koei Treasure Boxes are the best in the business, and even with the change in time period the series is still the best regarded historical otome series in Japan.



The Playstation Vita (the heir apparent to the PSP) has made it to the West and one of the first titles available is Shinobido 2: The Revenge Of Zen (Western Vita only, English language). This is a direct port of Shinobido 2 Sange released for the Japanese Vita (see its listing a couple of posts back). It's an excellent stealth game by the same people who did the Tenchu series and well worth buying a Vita for.

"Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen is the sequel to Shinobido: Way of the Ninja, featuring the series' trademark Stealth-Action gameplay with the addition of new stylish assassin moves and a dynamic storyline. Developed by Acquire, the story is set six months after the events of the previous franchise release, with the Utakata region once again at the center of the storm and embroiled in a civil war involving the mysterious Magic Mirror. Players will take on the role of Zen, a man who has suffered betrayal at the hands of his companions and the loss of his home. Saved by the Asuka clan of Utakata, Zen makes up his mind to live as an assassin and begins a perilous journey in search of revenge."

If you're from the US and wondering how you missed Shinobido 1, don't worry-it was only released in Japan and Europe.



For those who like their ninja a bit more contemporary, there's Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus for the Playstation Vita (released in versions for both Japan/Japanese and the West/English). This is a port of the PS3 title of the same name, but hey, it's PLUS. How so, you ask? Well, it has a few new missions, a Ninja Trial Mode, and a Hero mode for beginners allowing for unlimited Ninjer Magik and other aid from the game. But for the most part it's a port of the original nextgen Ninja Gaiden/Black/Sigma for the XBOX/PS3. Not that that's a bad thing, since the game was great. But you should buy Shinobido first.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


While we're waiting for THE BIGGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT 'NOBUNAGA'S AMBITION' release in years (more on that next week), here's another chapter in the "Nobunaga No Yabou Online" series to tide everyone over.

New for both the PC (will work on any PC that's up to the specs) and PS3 (will work on any PS3, but you need to have access to a Gamecity Account or else you won't get beyond the opening movie) is Nobunaga No Yabou Online: Houou No Shou (信長の野望 Online 鳳凰の章, Nobunaga's Ambition Online: Chapter of the Phoenix). Similar to World of Warcraft, Gotham City Imposters, and other massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), here you take the role of a Sengoku period warrior, priestess, monk, merchant, mage, or step into the shoes of Brick McBurly as he combs the area for outlaw shrine maidens. OK, maybe not that last one, but it would be kewl.

Don't expect much in the way of historical accuracy here-the only thing this game has in common with the main Nobunaga no Yabou series is the name and the names of the characters. This online version is loaded with monsters, magical spells, exploration, dungeons, and RPG leveling up and item grinding. Yes indeed, it's a lot like D & D except that it's set in Sengoku Japan, making it a lot more fun. This chapter concerns the mystical Chinese Phoenix that we just talked about in the "Time in Japan" thread in the "Ancient Japan" forum. There is a bit of the city development and recruiting that goes on in a regular Nobunaga no Yabou game, but it's much more personal and less abstract.

In addition to needing access to the net/Gamecity account, also make sure you're at least fairly proficient in Japanese, or you will be quickly shunned and no one will want you in their group.

"Live the life of a Sengoku warrior through Nobunaga no Yabou. The newest update-the Chapter of the Phoenix-brings in some brand new elements.

You now have your own down town, develop it and put facilities into it. Open the gates to your friends and visit their towns to get more inspiration and perhaps even Nobunaga's secret cookie recipe, baked to perfection at Honno-ji. In fact, the more towns you visit the more you gain.

Another reason you want to develop your down town is because it is linked to the number of officials you can recruit under your flag. These officials are from a variety of job classes and skills. Take them to battle, level them up and give them better equipment.

The new chapter also comes with the Hideyoshi Senki (yes, that's him and Nene on the box cover)-a new dungeon for everyone to brave. Some of the battles and events invite all gamers to reach beyond their world into a common battlefield. Become the conqueror who united the whole nation!"

Form left to right is the PS3 Premium Box, the PS3 regular edition, the PC Premium Box, and the PC regular edition. The Premium Box comes with a copy of the game, a CD soundtrack with 12 new background tracks, a nice hardbound guidebook to the in-qame world, and DLC codes for 8 in-game items your character can use.

Yes, it all sounds a bit goofy, but the game really is a blast to play. I played as a team with my in-laws (both in their 80's!) during the last chapter and we had a great time.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Hey, ever wonder what the yakuza are up to when they're not having their financial assets confiscated by the stalwart champions of justice in US Treasury? You guessed it-they're singing karaoke, going to hostess bars, and killing zombies! You can relive all the glory of being a Japanese gangster during the zombie apocalypse in Sega's new PS3 release, "Yakuza: Dead Souls". In Japanese with English subtitles, this is the Western port of the latest entry in Japan's popular "Ryū ga Gotoku" series. It's one of the best 'sandbox' style games out there-at times hunting down zombies and the main game are cast aside for days on end as you and your character go to hostess bars, visit convenience stores and restaurants, get 'special' massages from famous J-model Komori Jun, bowl, play darts, sing karaoke, play ping-pong, try your skills at the batting cage, visit video arcades, win stuffed animals in crane games, and gamble your fortune away at a casino. After that, it's time to drag out the heavy firepower or just obliterate the zombies with your mad yakuza hand-to-hand skillz. As with past entries in the Yakuza series, things are violent and bloody with special 'heat' movies that kick the bloodletting to an entirely new level-and best of all, you can arm your bar hostess playmates and have them watch your back! Downloadable DLC on the PS3 Network also gives you the opportunity to get new weapons and items, new karaoke songs, and best of all, new skimpy outfits for the hostesses. It's a pretty dead on recreation of the Kabukichō district in Tokyo, although in-game it's called Kamurochō for legal reasons. Play as the 'legendary' fourth chairman and series star Kiryu Kazuma, loan shark Akiyama Shun, Majima 'Mad-dog' Goro and Goda Ryuji, the Dragon of Kansai (who has a gatling gun for an arm).

Treat yourself and watch the BEST KARAOKE VIDEO EVAR here. Make sure to stick around for the ending.

"Yakuza: Dead Souls is set in the infamous red light district of Tokyo, which is under attack from hordes of zombies. Players will not only face armies of the undead and incredibly powerful mutants, but a treacherous Japanese underworld that is just as merciless. Playing through the eyes of four of the most infamous characters of the series, witness allegiances shift quickly and the line between friend and foe lost. If you thought zombies were bad...meet the Yakuza! "

We're playing it now and loving it.



And for those who like their violent rampages confined to the samurai era, here comes the Sengoku Basara double pack. This Japanese language release for the PS3 (will work on any PS3 system) contains both Sengoku Basara 3 and the add on game, Sengoku Basara 3: Utage. Immensely popular with anime fans and women for its rather fey character models, this wouldn't be a bad idea for Westerners who want to play Utage and also have access to all the playable characters from the original game to pick up. The Western version of the game (Sengoku Basara: Samurai Kings) failed miserably so Utage will never be officially released here, and the J-version isn't compatible with the English version. Now, why you might want to is up in the air, since the game is about as brain dead as it gets, but does manage to amuse at times.

Anyway, we've reviewed both of them in previous entries on this thread, so check them out for more information.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


As we alluded to a couple of weeks ago, the biggest and most popular Nobunaga’s Ambition game (at least in terms of sales) has arrived! It’s the most anticipated-and dreaded-NA release to ever hit the shelves. It’s 'Pokemon Purasu Nobunaga No Yabou' (ポケモンプラスノブナガの野望, Pokemon Plus Nobunaga’s Ambition)! New for the Nintendo DS (will work with any DS system, Japanese language only), all of your favorite Sengoku period historical figures are now duking it out on the battlefield with their very own ‘Pocket Monsters’ in the ultimate battle for supremacy. Well, sorta. Apparently ol’ Nobunaga, frustrated at his inability to finish things off in Sengoku Japan, has instead moved to the fantasy world of Lanse and enslaved the populace there. In a rare show of unity, all of the other daimyo have done so as well since it’s no fun without Nobunaga around. It’s up to the player to conquer the 17 castles on the map and defeat that bastard Nobunaga, bringing peace back to the land. Along the way they’ll bond with their Pokemon, make friends from enemies, persevere against impossible odds, and prove themselves worthy of being a Pokemeister, or whatever it is they call themselves.

“Nobunaga is leading his warriors to conquer all 17 states in the land of Lanse. As the leader of the opposing force, you have to bond with your pokemon and lead your men to battle. Each state has its representative pokemon, and each of them has a special skill or affinity, know their full potential, because Nobunaga has the legendary Zekrom in his power.

Every battle is huge, each side can send 6 warriors into the fray. Start off by recruiting stray warriors and taming wild pokemon. The more skills you have, the better, as battlefields are all different, one type of skills can't conquer them all.

When you are not fighting, strengthen the defences of your fortress. And when the PC controlled opponents become much too easy for you, log onto the network to fight the other warriors. ”

The game doesn’t play at all like a Nobunaga’s Ambition game, and also doesn’t play at all like a standard Pokemon game. Instead, it’s more of an RPG/Tactics game where the player will pick a castle and deploy their Pokemon on a gridded map to battle the monsters of the opposing players. Levels have a set number of turns where the player must accomplish an objective-usually eliminating the enemy creatures. There’s a very gentle learning curve with early levels being guided tutorials and later levels featuring six-on-six monster action where choosing an appropriate team for the battle at hand and getting the most out of their special powers and abilities is the difference between victory and defeat.

The game is fast moving and plunges the player straight into the action. Within 15 minutes, we had turned back several assaults on our home castle, defeated Hideyoshi and his ‘monkey’ Pokemon, taken his castle, recruited Sen No Rikyu, set out to beat up the Chosokabe and Mouri, lusted over Nobunaga’s cupcake of a sister Oichi, and ignored Maeda Keiji when he showed up at our house.

The game is more accurately described as 'Pokemon Plus Sengoku Musou', since the character models are anime versions of the historical figures from that series (with slight modifications of a few like Hideyoshi). One presumes Nobunaga No Yabou was used instead for its greater sales appeal. Pretty much every famous daimyo and their generals shows up-among them Uesugi Kenshin, Takeda Shingen, Sanada Yukimura, Tokugawa Ieyasu, Shimazu Yoshihiro, Naoe Kanetsugu, Tachibana Ginchiyo, Date Masamune, Imagawa Yoshimoto, Shibata Katsuie, Mori Motonari, Hashiba Hideyoshi, Chosokabe Motochika, Ishida Mitsunari, Kato Kiyomasa, Fukushima Masanori, Akechi Mitsuhide, and of course Teh Tenma Maou hisself, Oda Nobunaga. Players can name and choose the gender of their character-we of course chose the girl since she was wearing a Sengoku period micro miniskirt and because we got a consistent laugh at how her maedate appeared to be growing out of the sides of her head. Castle designs are fanciful (Hideyoshi’s looks like a big sunburst helmet) and there are plenty of entertaining dialogue screens that make the game into a virtual ‘light novel’.

It’s a great game for kids and adults that are easily amused like us. Action filled, fun, and an over-the-top anime sense of humor give it a wide range of appeal. The game also works on the 3DS. In addition to the single-player game, you can also pack up your team and play against live opponents over the DS’s Wi-Fi network. 'Pokemon Plus Nobunaga No Yabou' is also right up there with Hakuoki and Sengoku Basara in merchandising-there are figures, books, towels, tissues, key chains, comics, guides, and of course a Pokemon-style collectible card game (the vidgame even comes with a bonus card that can be used when playing the deck version). We found it a nice break from the ultra-serious Sengoku games we usually play, and it’ll be interesting to see if this one gets translated into English for Western players.



Ho hum...it's yet another game in the Hakuoki series. But wait! 'Hakuouki: Bakumatsu Musou Roku' (薄桜鬼 ~幕末無双録, Pale Cherry Blossom Demons: Record of the Bakumatsu's Peerless) breaks the mold for Hakuoki games-and in a good way. Instead of the standard otome girl's dating game that's been recycled through a few dozen ports, this one is (as you might guess based on the name) similar to the Sengoku Musou series. Yes, you can now actually take the pretty boys and drop them into the middle of a Bakumatsu battlefield where they can tear a hole through the armies of the traitorous rebels! It's a step in the right direction for the series, since there were only so many ways they could repackage the original game.

"Bitter, sweet, and romantic, the shinsengumi has been romantic heroes in Hakuouki. This time, they are showing off their swordsmanship and their battle powers in the action game. Meet their warrior sides in Hakuouki: Bakumatsu Musou Roku. These men are the last samurai, drop them into the battles between the armies of the new government and the weakening shogunate.

Each character has his own story. So fight their wars to get to know about the men. The game expands the existing universe, bringing gamers to even more battlefields and plot points. Snippets from the anime will play a part in the storytelling and original characters will join the fray."

How will the overwhelmingly female fan base react to having their heroes put to the test in a warfare game? Well, the gals have made Sengoku Basara (the game this one most resembles) a huge pop culture hit, so our guess is that this will do great and pick up a bunch of male gamers along the way.

The game is for the PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP) and comes in two editions-the limited edition on the left and the regular edition. The limited edition comes with a soundtrack CD (NOT a drama CD), a postcard, and a 'special replica katana sword'. Don't get too excited about the sword-it's a miniature.





The Ninja Gaiden series has set the standard for straight out action games since its debut way back on the NES, and the current run of games on nextgen consoles has excelled in all areas-graphics, play control, badass moves, music, extras, and challenge. Not to mention busty blonde babes in skimpy leather thongs as back-up characters. It’s one of the most popular franchises out there. The photos above should give you an idea of just how popular-not only is the newest game 'Ninja Gaiden 3' being released on multiple systems, but also in regular and collector’s editions. Even more unusual is that the Japanese and Western versions are being released at the same time-only the most outrageously popular games get that sort of treatment. Top row, left to right (US Editions)-PS3 Collector's Edition, XBOX 360 Collector's Edition, PS3 Regular, XBOX 360 Regular, Strategy Guide. Bottom Row, left to right (Japan Editions)-PS3 Collector's Edition, XBOX 360 Collector's Edition, PS3 Regular, XBOX 360 Regular. The Collector's Editions come with all sorts of cool extras-a copy of the game, an official soundtrack CD, an "Unmask" art book, a "Duel Of The Masked" action figure (actually two figures), and a Dead Or Alive 5 Premium Edition Alpha "Scramble" stage demo DLC code voucher.

"New gameplay mechanics and presentation that places the Dragon Sword in your hands, along with the consequence that come with using it.

Through a new story and new characters players will learn more about Hayabusa's past and present life than ever before.

Intense ninja action that will challenge players while remaining accessible for players new to the franchise.

Franchise first multiplayer options, featuring a challenging set of modes including cooperative and competitive action.

The "Ninja World" system which lets players control and customize an ordinary ninja to try to advance him.

A Hero Unmasked: With a new story and new characters, players will learn more about Hayabusa's past and present life than ever before.

Cutting Down your Enemy: Through new gameplay mechanics and presentation, players will feel what it's like to cut through an enemy's flesh and bone, along with the consequence that comes with it.

High-Octane Ninja Action: Built upon the same intense action that the series is renowned for, Ninja Gaiden 3 will challenge players while still remaining accessible for players new to the franchise.

Online Action: A rich and challenging set of online modes are being implemented, giving players the option to play cooperatively or competitively. New challenges, characters and missions await those who choose to join the Shadows of the World online!"

So unleash the power of your inner Ninjer and kick some ass with the ninja to end all ninja, Hayabusa Ryu.

And if this isn't enough to keep Hayabusa fans happy, tune in next week for yet another game that will feature him as a playable character...
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Warriors Orochi 3, the Western port of Musou Orochi 2 has arrived-kinda sorta. In North America, you can only get a hard copy on the XBOX 360-if you want it for PS3, it’s digital download only. Why? According to Koei (who developed the game), it’s because Sony won’t allow NA retail versions of a game that uses Japanese voice acting to be released on the PS3 (the game is in Japanese with English subtitles). Now, since there are several games on the PS3 that do just that (including the entire Yakuza series-like Yakuza: Dead Souls from a couple of weeks ago), someone’s telling lies. Is it Sony or Koei? We don’t care to speculate, but since Warriors Orochi 3 did indeed get a retail release on the PS3 in Europe, you should be able to draw your own conclusions.

Game makers are increasingly moving towards skipping retail releases and going straight to digital download. This not only saves them the production costs of having discs and cases made and manuals printed up but also means that players won’t be able to sell their used games on eBay or to retailers like Best Buy or Gamestop. This means that if you want to play a game, there will be no used copies, borrowing it from a friend, renting, or waiting for the price to drop-you’ll have to pay full price for the digital download. Obviously, this works out great for the game manufacturers but terribly for the players. And if your PS3/XBOX360/etc account ever gets comprised, suspended, or otherwise becomes unavailable-every dollar you’ve spent on games will go down the drain with it. So we recommend that players avoid digital download of console games whenever possible (as opposed to PC games, where generally once they’re on your hard drive, they’re yours-although venues like Steam are trying to change that, too).

Anyway, back to Warriors Orochi 3. How did it end up being 3 when the Japanese version is 2? That’s because Musou Orochi: Maou Sarin was released as Warriors Orochi 2 in the West-because we Westerners like numbers rather than subtitles with our sequels, y’know. At any rate, it’s the same game as the Japanese version we reviewed a couple of months back-the ultimate hack ‘n slash fighting game with a team of three characters (that can be shuffled during play) against the armies of the soon-to-be-reborn Orochi. The 132 playable characters include the entire cast of the Sengoku/Sangoku Musou series (known as Samurai/Dynasty Warriors in the West) along with several new characters taken from Japanese and Chinese history, not to mention Koei’s other Musou series-and even well known icons like Ayane and Ryu Hayabusa from the Dead or Alive/Ninja Gaiden games. There are dozens of battlefields and online play featured as well as a ton of downloadable content comprising costumes, new battlefields (some of them quite hilarious), music tracks, wallpaper, and more. This is another disturbing trend-game companies charging for DLC that should be part of the disc in the first place. Buying all of the currently available DLC for Musou Orochi 2 will easily set you back more than the price of the original game. Check out our review of the Japanese version earlier in this thread for more information. Absolutely no historical relevance to any of the goings-on other than the names of most of the characters, but we recommend it anyway.



And coming to your PSP (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP) is Sengoku Hime 3: Tenka o Kirisaku Hikari to Kage (戦極姫3~天下を切り裂く光と影, Ultimate Battle Princesses 3: A World Torn By Light And Shadow). This is one of our personal favorite game franchises, as it’s basically a Nobunaga’s Ambition game where all of the famous Sengoku leaders are portrayed as hot anime chicks. It has established itself in our hearts as the Anti-Hakuoki-as we noted in a review of an earlier entry in the series, who wouldn’t want to check out Nobunaga’s rack? This port of the game is based on last year’s PC version but has extra elements added. Gameplay is surprisingly straightforward and provides players with a solid portable Sengoku ‘province grabbing’ game along with cutscenes and a lively storyline.

67 provinces are yours for the taking-along with over 110 of the Sengoku’s sexiest generals like Uesugi Kenshin (who legend has it was a woman in the first place), Takeda Shingen, and Oda Nobunaga. Many of the generals are making their debut in the Sengoku Hime series and there are ten playable scenarios with separate playable clans, including the debut of the Miyoshi. Princess Gou (Tokugawa Hidetada’s wife) also appears as the heroine of another scenario. The combat system has had many features added-generals will have a bigger influence on combat, individual skills can aid the performance of troops, and capturing an enemy castle will earn items that can be given as rewards to your generals and boost their stats and abilities. There have been lots of new cutscenes, dialogue screens, and artwork added for the PSP version as well.

Sengoku Hime 3 comes in a Limited Edition version (L) as well as the regular version ( C)-although the limited edition is likely to end up using the artwork on the right. The first run of the regular version will contain several postcards with chibi-themed artwork featuring the game’s characters, and the Limited Edition comes with a drama CD and art book. Buy the game today and find out how Sanada Yukimura manages to keep her boobs from spilling out of that dental floss stretched across her chest…
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 28, 2012 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


“Deadliest Warrior”, the fighting game based on the popular Spike TV series that features warriors from different countries and eras in single battle, has received hardcopy releases on the Xbox 360 and PS3 (previously it was download only). English language only. Here’s our bit on the downloaded version-

“Only slightly goofier in concept is 'Deadliest Warrior' for the American Xbox 360 (English language, with a PS3 version to come). Based on the TV series seen on Spike TV, this downloadable game found on Xbox Live! Network features the alleged greatest warriors in history pitted against each other in a one-on-one fighting game with different modes, minigames, and unlockable weapons. Two of the warriors included are 'samurai' and 'ninja', natch. So if you've ever wondered who would win, a samurai or a knight, or if a ninja could toast a pirate, here's your chance to settle it once and for all-at least until the next round. The game is 'historically accurate', and you can tell by checking out the straight bladed ninja-to used by the ninja and the garish red paint scheme used on a traditional Japanese castle during one of the rounds (which you'd only see on a large shrine or a Okinawan castle). That aside, for the 8 bucks or so it costs to download, it's brainless fun, featuring rounds that are over in seconds with lots of gore and flying limbs. You can also download a samurai helmet and armor (or even a ninjer costume) to use on your Xbox 360 avatar which are very kewl. I did-I'm not proud . By the way, if anyone still plays Tenchu online on the Xbox 360, if you run across user Tatsunoshi-prepare for me to flip out on you.”



Another month, another Hakuoki game. This time it’s a Nintendo DS port of the PS2 game ‘Hakuouki Reimeiroku’ (Japanese language only, will work on any DS). It comes in the limited edition (left) and the regular release. The limited edition features a drama CD and a collectible drink coaster-seriously. I suppose Idea Factory assumes everyone needs a stiff drink after 30 or so Hakuoki games. At any rate, here’s another cut ‘n paste job from the PS2 version-nothing has changed, after all:

“Happy Halloween from those of us at the SA! Say, what's the scariest thing in Japan this time of year? Halloween Horror Nights in Universal Osaka? The ballooning yen to dollar exchange rate? A visiting Jason Voorhees? Obenjo Kusanosuke? Nope. They all pale in comparison to the release of yet another Hakuoki game, bringing the total for the last year to between 15 and 20-yes, really. This time around it's Hakuouki: Reimeiroku (薄桜鬼黎明録, 'Pale Cherry Blossom Demons:Record of the Dawn'-Japanese language only, will only work on Japanese PS2 systems) for the PS2 (again showing why the PS3 hasn't caught on in Japan-since RPG's are all the rage there, the PS2 still works perfectly fine for them). The latest entry in this series doesn't appear to be an otome game, but a bit more of an actioner with an emphasis on story, voice acting, cut scenes, and unlockable artwork. Learn the origins of the Shinsengumi when beaten up, impoverished young Ibuki Ryunosuke meets Serisawa Kamo.”



Otome games and ‘interactive novels’ have surged to the forefront of Japanese gaming, so there’s yet another ‘historical’ otome game (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP) from Idea Factory this week-this time for the PSP. “Miyako: Awayuki No Utage” (雅恋 あわゆきのうたげ, Elegant Love: The Banquet Of Light Snowfall-although without kanji, I’m not sure about that last part-for some reason, lots of Omyoji battles take place in snowfall).

Miyako takes players back to the Heian era and features such storied figures of legend such as Omyoji (and Abarenbo Gaijin co-star) Abe no Seimei, evil magician Ashiya Doman, and warrior Minamoto Yorimitsu (better known as Raikou). They, along with other mages and yin-yang masters, are vying for the affections of Sayuki, a young shikigami (or so she’s told by Abe no Seimei). According to my wife, who is as obsessed by otome games as any schoolgirl, this is one of the better ones with excellent voice work, soundtrack, and even some decent fighting and RPG elements to go along with the storylines. She says Seimei is a real bastard in this one. This game is a ‘fan disk’ that adds onto the original Miyako game with new characters, paths, and endings. It comes in a limited edition (L, with art book and drama CD), regular edition, and the two-pack ( R) that includes a copy of the original Miyako game.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


First up for this installment is another time traveling otome game for the PSP-“Bunmei Kaika: Aoiza Ibunroku Saien” (Japanese language only, will work on any PSP). The translation’s a mouthful-“Civilization and Enlightenment: Record of the Strange Tale of Aoiza: Repeat Performance” (文明開華 葵座異聞録 再演).

‘Civilization and Enlightenment’ was one of the Meiji government’s major slogans, and indeed that’s the era where most of the action takes place. Modern day schoolgirl Mito Aoi is cleaning a silver mirror in the family warehouse when it is struck by lightning. Aoi is absorbed by the mirror and transported back to 1873 where she falls in with a troupe of traveling performers called ‘Aoiza’. It’s no coincidence that the troupe’s name echoes Aoi’s-they’ve been protecting a sacred stone called ‘Futaba Aoi’ and when they see the same stone on Aoi’s wrist (a stone she was born holding), they take her to be the living embodiment of the gem. The game follows the ‘Way of the Dating Game’ as Aoi builds relationships with the members of Aoiza as well as many of the people and government officials they run across in their travels. And of course, one of the troupe is a dead ringer for the childhood friend she left back home. According to Mrs. Tatsu, this is one of the gentler otome games where even the bad endings just have Aoi returning to her own time alone.

This is an expanded version of the original game (hence the ‘Repeat Performance’) and also comes with a drama CD in its first run edition.



Looking at the artwork for “Akai Katana” (English language version of the original Japanese game, for Western XBOX 360’s only), you’d swear it’s another otome game…or at least some sort of RPG or adventure game. There’s some rather overt sexual symbolism goin’ on there. But nope, it’s a ‘bullet hell’ game based in an alternate version of Japan’s Taisho period (1912-26). REALLY alternate, because it has fighter planes pretty much straight out of Star Wars. It’s one of the better horizontal side-scrollers shooters out there-a genre not seen very often these days. The press release:

“Experience sensory overload with CAVE's latest addition to the shoot-em-up arena, Akai Katana.

Set in a parallel world resembling Japan's Taisho period, the people have discovered the powerful Blood Swords. Requiring human sacrifices to unleash their immense destructive power, these swords have been used by the empire to crush neighbouring countries. However, all the bloodshed and power gained through sacrificing close family members has made some of the swordsmen reconsider. With new fighter planes and the powered up swords at their disposal, this small band of rebels now fight back against the tyrannical empire.

Created specifically with the Xbox 360 in mind, Akai Katana is the first CAVE release to feature horizontal combat in sumptuous HD and eye-watering full 16:9 support.

Prepare for a new definition of 'bullet-hell'!”



And speaking of hell, get ready to descend into it with your party of intrepid adventurers in “Samurai & Dragons” for the PS Vita (Japanese language only, will work on any Vita). This is actually a “free-to-play” downloadable game for the Vita, but the retail version includes a slew of extras that make it worthwhile. You get currency coupons that can be used to make purchases within the game, discount coupons that can be used to get deals on more, friend coupons that can be given to other players to entice them into joining your party, and ‘rare general’ cards for Uesugi Kenshin, Date Masamune, Shimazu Yoshihiro, and Takeda Shingen. There’s also an uncommon card for the deck based version of the game, and a DVD.

This game is basically your standard RPG/Dungeon Crawler, and has a ton of traditional fantasy elements like knights and dragons-with samurai and ninja thrown in. It’s an MMO, an action game, a sim, and an RPG-and you’ll need to have internet access for your Vita to play. As noted, you can simply download the free version to your Vita, but as with most ‘free-to-play’ games you’ll need to sink some money into it for within-game purchases or spend a lot of hours grinding your levels up.



And finally, there’s Shin Sangoku Musou VS (真・三國無双 VS, Genuine Unrivaled In The Three Kingdoms) for the Nintendo 3DS (Japanese language only, will only work on a Japanese 3DS). This is basically the same game as ‘Sengoku Musou/Samurai Warriors’-your character destroying thousands of the enemy single-handedly on famous battlefields. In this case, they’re the battlefields of the Three Kingdoms era of China and the officers are the big names from Wu, Jin, Shu, and Wei. We’re including it because for some reason they’ve thrown Sanada Yukimura, Naoe Kanetsugu, and Ishida Mitsunari into the mix. We’re not sure why, except that it will get more people and especially the ladies (Naoe=warrior of luv and the gals dig Mitsunari’s tsundere ‘tude) to buy the game. Here’s a bit more about it:

“Who is the last one standing? Join the Musou VS action to find out. The newest instalment in the franchise brings the flow of adrenaline back. By incorporating the slide pad into the gameplay, players can activate sure kill attacks with a spin or a swipe, or chop down regiments of foes with rapid presses.

Create your own warrior, and team up with historical characters in the single player mode. There are brand new scenes, battlefields and scenarios to live through. Get out of the scripted events and engage in a battle royale. A total of 4 gamers can join together, group into teams and make war with the others. Your aim is to take the other team's bases. “
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Not much new this week-just a reissue of Akai Katana Shin (赤い刀 真, The True Akai Katana) for the Japanese Xbox 360. This is the same game (just in Japanese) as the Western version, Akai Katana (which for whatever reason has the kanji for 'shin' in the title but didn't use it in the translation), which we reviewed in our last post-so you can read about it there.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


The biggest selling Nobunaga's Ambition game of all time has made the trip across the Pacific-and in the process being struck from the game's title. Yes, it's "Pokemon Conquest" for the Nintendo DS (will work on any DS), the English language port of the Japanese game "Pokemon + Nobunaga No Yabou" that we reviewed a few weeks ago. All of your favorite warlords and figures from the Sengoku have been transplanted to the fantasy land of Ransei and it's up to your generic male/female character to take Pokemon in hand and kick their ass back to Japan. The official press release...

"In Pokémon Conquest, you take on the role of a young Warlord who is linked with a Pokémon. Together with your Pokémon, you must set out to recruit Warrior allies to strengthen your growing kingdom. Along your journey, you will encounter a variety of Pokémon, as well as figures from Japanese history which fans of the famous Nobunaga's Ambition series of games will recognize. The game contains nearly 200 Pokémon, including many from the recent Pokémon Black Version and Pokémon White Version games, which have sold more than 4 million copies combined. As the battlefield unfolds in Pokémon Conquest, you must choose the correct Pokémon type to inflict maximum damage on your opponent. The turn-based skirmishes, allow you to choose different tactics for intense 6-on-6 battles, and battle conditions can change on every turn, keeping you on your toes in anticipation of what will happen next.

•It's a new way to play Pokémon in a land filled with Warriors and Pokémon and the ties that bind them together.
•The main action of the game takes place on the battlefield where Pokémon fight in a turn-based, tactical battle system.
•Be a Warlord, and control your Pokémon in battle! As a Warlord, you command other Warriors and their Pokémon in your army.
•All Warriors have a special ability they can use to help their Pokémon in battle, but Warriors are there to command the Pokémon on the field of battle. It is their Pokémon that move, fight, attack on the field of battle.
•Recruit Warlords and Warriors by defeating them in a unique battle system never seen in a Pokémon game. As you acquire castles, new Pokémon, Warlords, and Warriors become available as well as new ways to train them.
•When battles are won, you take control of the new castle, recruit Warriors from that kingdom, and gain access to new Pokémon."

Other press releases for the game studiously avoid any mention of the NA franchise whatsoever so as not to muck up the minds of impressionable young Westerners with Japanese history.

If you preordered this from Gamestop, you also received a bonus code for five extra Pokemon. Members of the Gamestop Power Up Rewards Club are able to cash in 1000 points to get five more (as well as the first five if you didn't preorder). There's an insert in first run copies of the game for yet another, and free codes for an additional six will be added to the game's official website periodically. Pokemon EVERYWHERE! Wheeeeeee!!!!!!!

For more info, see our review a few posts back.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Other video games “pale” in comparison to the Hakuoki franchise. With the release of yet another Hakuoki game, that brings the total for the series to near 30 releases in less than two years. This time around its Hakuoki: Reimeiroku Nagorigusa (薄桜鬼 黎明録 名残り草, 'Pale Cherry Blossom Demons: Record of the Dawn: Vestiges Of Grass'-Japanese language only, will work on any PS3) for the PS3. The latest entry in this series is an enhanced port of the original Hakuoki: Reimeiroku from the PS2. Unlike most of the entries in the series, it’s not an otome (girl’s dating sim) game, but more of an actioner/interactive novel with an emphasis on story, voice acting, cut scenes, and unlockable artwork. Learn the origin of the Shinsengumi when beaten up, impoverished young Ibuki Ryunosuke (a fictional figure) meets Serisawa Kamo (the Shinsengumi’s original leader). As with most games made for the otome crowd, it comes in a limited edition (on the left, with drama CD and themed mouse pad) along with the regular version on the right (if you preordered, you also got the drama CD).

What’s new in this version? Enhanced PS3 graphics, a new scenario, new paths to take in the story, additional artwork and rewards, and reminisces by Shinsengumi members Hijikata, Okita, Saito, Todo, and Harada as they look back on the ‘vestiges of grass’ (a Japanese allusion to remembering past times) and the early days of the group. Ryunosuke was attacked by Shishi of the Imperial faction, leaving him wounded, starving, and broke as he wandered around Kyoto. Despite mistrusting samurai in general, Ryunosuke is recruited for the Shinsengumi after being rescued by Serisawa Kamo. He grudgingly develops respect for the group and its goals. The early history of the group is seen through Ryunosuke’s eyes. In their initial stage, are the Shinsengumi still the blood-drinking vampiric demons (as a result of a serum developed by a doctor working for the Shogunate) that they are in the other Hakuoki games? Guess you’ll have to play to find out. Me, I'll be playing "Lollipop Chainsaw".
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