I’m having a horrendous time trying to get this blog started so I’m going to start with a public service:
Here are some games in the current (EU) PSN Easter sale I really think more people should play (on the Vita).
Persona 4 Golden – Frankly I don’t know a Vita owner who doesn’t recommend this game. If you enjoy JRPGs with brilliant characters, solid dungeon crawling, and an awesome soundtrack do yourself a favour and go get.
Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA f 2nd – Your mileage may vary but this is a strong rhythm game with some far too catchy songs (and some amazingly ridiculous videos). If you already hate the vocaloids this won’t sway your heart but if you already like her (or don’t mind either way) this one’s a fun challenge.
Danganronpa 1 & 2 – These two games are extremely clever and seriously twisted. You’ll find yourself making assumptions and being unfooted over and over and genuinely caring about the characters, even though they’re very strongly based on archetypes. My one gripe with this series are the mechanics required for the trial sections. They’re fiddly and it’s entirely possible to know the right answer and just be incapable of getting the game to react to it. In the second game you can turn these particular mechanics down to easy – do it and enjoy the game for the story, it’s not worth fighting through.
Freedom Wars – Never thought I’d enjoy a game so reliant on shooting but this one is awesome, and made awesome mostly by the excellent setting and world building involved. Set in a dystopian future you quickly find yourself being conditioned to obey, or using all your points to purchase yourself the right to run, speak to the opposite sex, and even to sleep lying down. Story is a bit thin but it’s got a lot around that to keep you occupied.
Toukiden Kiwami – If you haven’t bought Toukiden yet just go straight to Kiwami, it’s a re-release of the original Toukiden with extra content included and additional story beyond where the first game finished. This is Monster Hunter set in Feudal Japan, fighting demons to save the world. The story is, again, thin, but the supporting characters are charming, the setting is well done, and the combat is enjoyable.
Steins Gate – I can’t lie, I’ve not made it very far into this one because I don’t much like the protagonist and I struggle a bit with the science aspect, but this is one of the most highly recommended visual novels and it’s definitely worth trying. In short: science, time travel, secret organisations? (not sure), murdered person? (also not sure, also not graphically shown, if that’s a concern).
BlazBlue Chronophantasma Extend – This is just one of the fighting series I enjoy the most, the story is bonkers, the characters are interesting, I love the art, and the actual fighting feels intelligent and tactical (and a little bit hope and a prayer). Chronophantasma Extend is the most recent release and is a re-release of the last game but with some extra characters.
Code: Realize Guardian of Rebirth – One of the few English language Otome games we have and it’s a stunner. The artwork is beautiful and the characters are all charming and intriguing. I’m not entirely sure what the story’s doing sometimes and the person who decided to name a character “Herlock Sholmes” needs to be given a stern talking to but if you want to try a dating sim or if you have an interest in a visual novel with a steampunk setting please give this one a try.
Norn 9: Var Commons – Another of our rare Otome games, this tells the story of a group of teenagers who have been collected up by this large spaceship (kind of) to be taken to some destination unknown where their special powers will be used to save the world. You can choose to play as one of three female protagonists, each one having three men they can romance. The game actually suggests playing the first few routes in a particular order and I’ll second this recommendation as it introduces you to the world and the characters very well.
Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Curry God – Rogue-like where you are a young girl trying to save her favourite curry restaurant from closure by venturing into dungeons to find the ingredients for the ultimate curry. Tongue firmly in cheek, with tonnes of ridiculous side characters and solid dungeon exploring mechanics I really love this game and want more people to try it, but as a warning it might make you really hungry…
Trails of Cold Steel – The first part of a new series set in the Trails in the Sky universe (though not necessary to have played them), this JRPG gives me serious Valkryia Chronicles vibes, taking place in a military school in a country caught up in civil unrest you are one of the students in a radical new class – one that mixes both the rich and the poor for the first time. I’ve not got very far into this but I already recommend it.
Criminal Girls: Invite Only – Haha, laugh all you like but I genuinely like this game (and want the sequel in English already!) You awake in a strange dungeon/prison, forced to lead a group of girls – convicts – up through the dungeon floors in the hopes of reaching the top. These girls are bad souls, criminals in life, but if they can fight their way to the top they stand a chance of being reborn again into the world, to start over. Of course this dungeon-crawler is most famous for the punishment system, the girls are criminals after all and don’t take kindly to being bossed around, meaning you have to punish them (using the touch screen, naturally) while they’re tied up in various lewd poses in order to level them up and unlock new abilities. It can be an embarrassing game to play but I really like the battling, I like the monsters and the dungeon designs and I like the underlying theme of redemption. I still recommend it.