PERSONA 4: ARENA (2012/13) – ATLUS & ARC SYSTEM WORKS
When the announcement was first made that there was going to be a fighting game based on the universes of Persona 3 and 4, I was eager with anticipation. And then we got news of a delay…no problem, I could wait a bit longer. And then America got it with region locking so no one could import it – and the buzz for the game kind of fizzled out. After almost 9 months since its original release, Persona 4: Arena has finally come out in Europe. Has it been worth the very long wait? Continue reading A “Beary” Good Fighting Game – Persona 4: Arena Review
GUESS WHAT’S FINALLY OUT IN EUROPE TODAY???
Wish this game hadn’t been delayed unto 2013…
As mentioned in yesterdays news update, today I had the pleasure of sharing the summer sun with thousands of other people at the MCM Expo in London (a very pleasant day, but one to make you thank the powers that be for the invention of air conditioning in buses and buildings). Alongside the ever strong contingent of anime fans, this Expo also enjoyed a boost in space dedicated to gaming affairs with the usual suspects such as Nintendo, Capcom, and Square Enix turning up to show off their latest wares. The following is a quick report on the highlights from my day
As a general overview, much like last year I didn’t manage to get a substantial amount of time with all the games on offer, due to some stupidly long queues that refused to dissipate during the day. As a result, anyone wanting to know how Lollipop Chainsaw or Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance play will be sorely disappointed by this article. Reading between the lines however, the constant demand for these games throughout the day would imply that they have done something right.
There were two games that really caught my eye during the day, and interestingly enough both of them were to be found nestled on the screen of a 3DS. First off we have Mario Tennis Open, which I’m happy to report is fantastic to play – straight from the get go it feels like a polished version of the excellent Mario Tennis of the Nintendo 64 era. Its simple to pick up and play – perhaps too simple, as like with a few other games that have been released on the 3DS (Street Fighter 4 comes to mind), the touch screen is filled with auto commands prompts that you can press with your stylus to activate the trickier shots like lobs and drop shots. I found myself largely ignoring the prompts and playing purely with the buttons, which didn’t impact at all upon the game experience. The abilities that the playable characters bring to the field could perhaps do with a bit of tweaking (King Boo’s ‘Weird’ style means he can add insane curve to spin shots for an easy win), but overall Mario Tennis Open looks like a solid, enjoyable game to have on the move. It was just released this last week, so if I’ve piqued your interest it’s available to buy.
The biggest surprise of the day however was Theatrhyhm, the musical rhythm involving the tunes and characters from Final Fantasy. When I first heard this game being announced I immediately disregarding it as a stupid idea, and decided to give it a go today to see if my fears were well founded. Turns out, it’s actually pretty good fun. Utilising the 3DS’ touch screen and stylus, you have to tap the screen at the correct moments to follow on screen prompts that let you play along to the music from the various games within the franchise. Multiple game scenarios and difficulties are featured in order to give a bit of variety to proceedings, including full FMV footage from the games rendered in 3D in some cases which was a very pleasant surprise to see. The combination of experience with handheld games in the form of the Dissidia titles, an artistic style that doesn’t take itself too seriously and the strong music the series is known for make this a game that stands out from being a bog standard rhythm game, and while I wouldn’t recommended it to non-Final Fantasy fans, fans with a 3DS should put their scorn aside and try it out; tapping out the rhythm to stuff like Clash On The Big Bridge on Ultimate difficulty is great fun.
Alongside being able to play a few titles, Gamespot UK were also on hand to present some media exclusives. In the short time I had the opportunity to sit down, I managed to get a hands on look at Sleeping Dogs (formerly called True Crime: Hong Kong) – the alpha build was shaky to say the least, messing up a few times during the demonstration, but the core ideas within the game, including environment sensitive finishing manoeuvres (some of which, including setting a mans head on fire using a cooker hob had members of the audience smiling sadistically) and a high emphasis on cinematic storytelling makes it an intriguing prospect; it won’t be winning any awards and won’t distract people from the shiny GTA V announcement that looms on the horizon, but it could be a potential mindless filler title to enjoy in August. Gamespot were also proud to announce ‘exclusively’ that Persona 4: Arena will be getting a European release this year…despite the fact that the news broke on the internet yesterday. Nothing more was revealed on gameplay, story or vocal talent, however we were handed bits of card and told to download the free ‘Teddie Vision’ app, which then turns an image on the card into a video when viewed on a phone via the app. Cool stuff.
And so there we have it; a quick and informal summary of the day. I apologise that I couldn’t report on much more, but I did want to see the rest of what was on offer while covering as much gaming as possible. Now if you will excuse me, a nice long sleep is in order.
P.S Honourable shouts on the cosplay front to the girl dressed as classic Pac Man, and the hulk of a man pulling off the angry village psycho from the start of Resident Evil 5.
I must begin this article with an apology. It’s been quite a few hectic weeks for me – deadlines and exams, finishing off society work, and in the last few days the sun has decided to burn Britain to a crisp so there has been much socialising to do. Alongside this, I’ve been writing up my next project for the blog, which should come to fruition over the next week or so. All of this means that news updates have been somewhat non-existent. To make up for this, I deliver to you a very short and sharp news blitz:
- After a slight lull in big titles through March and April, the big hitters came back in force during May. Rockstar Games Max Payne 3 has a fine average of 87 on Metacritic, and despite some massive game errors at launch Diablo 3 has earned the record of being the fastest selling PC game ever, shifting 3.5 million copies on the day of release.
- Alongside the big releases, some games have been delayed though – the latest casualty to join Bioshock: Infinite in 2013 is DmC, the reboot of the Devil May Cry franchise. The game will now be released on January 18th 2013 worldwide.
- The boxart for Halo 4 has been revealed. I like it
- Those of us who have played the hell out of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim may be surprised to learn that Bethesda are still adding new features to the game. Alongside the usual raft of bug fixtures, the 1.6 patch will finally allow you to swing a weapon while riding a horse, allowing for mounted combat; a feature that has been a long time coming in my opinion.
- In a double whammy for Persona lovers, Persona 4: Arena has been confirmed for a European release on both PS3 and Xbox 360, and the opening for Persona 4: Golden (the enhanced remake of the magnificent original game set for release on the PS Vita) was popped onto Youtube last night. The animation was done by the studio, Madhouse, who are experts in the field – check it out via this link.
- Finally, this year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most loved franchises in gaming: Street Fighter. And to celebrate, Capcom have put together a tantalising Collector’s Edition set for release on September 18th in America for $150. For your money you get quite a bit: Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Street Fighter III 3rd Strike Online Edition, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition and Street Fighter X Tekken(all playable on PS3 and Xbox 360), a two-disc Blu-Ray set which includes a documentary and the Street Fighter IV & Super Street Fighter IV Anime movies as well as all episodes of the Street Fighter animated series and Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie, a 8” light-up statue of Ryu, an 11-Disc Soundtrack, a 64-page Hardcover Art Book, and a replica of Ryu’s martial arts belt. Sold!
So what you got to look forward to in the next few weeks? I’ll be travelling down to London tomorrow for the annual MCM Expo, and I hope to get some hands on time with a few of the games being showcased there, including Lollipop Chainsaw which is getting its first UK showing – if I find anything cool, expect a report on Monday. And as promised, hopefully my latest project should begin next week as well, as I count down the ’20 Games That Changed The World’. In the meantime, enjoy the blue skies and sunny weather
New console releases usually lead to a busy week of news, and the last few days have been no different. Alongside the newest handheld in town, there’s also some other issues that have burned their way to the top of the agenda…
- So the wait is over – the Playstation Vita is finally available in the UK to purchase. The console was given its official launch at midnight on Tuesday in London, and you can now pick one up from various retailers for about £230 – although as ever, the supermarkets are going to be the best place to pick up a good deal (Asda are doing the standard Wi-Fi version for £197 at the moment). Among the launch titles, from initial reviews it seems like there’s a fair bit of quality amongst the games with Uncharted: Golden Abyss, FIFA 12 and Lumnies getting the high scores. If you have picked up a Vita, please write in the comments – I’d be interested to see what people make of Sony’s latest gamble in the handheld market. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for sales figures over the coming days to see how the British public have responded to it as well.
- And now for what can only be described as a shit-storm from Bioware regarding DLC content for the upcoming Mass Effect 3. Yesterday, a piece of DLC called ‘From Ashes’ was leaked onto Xbox Live before being swiftly removed. The DLC will allow you to recruit a Prothean to your team (which if you know anything about Mass Effect is a pretty big deal), and will be available as from day one. If you buy the Collectors Edition, you will not get charged for the content. The punchline? It seems that the game isn’t finished, and you will be paying more to actually get the full game. I apologise for being smarky and cynical, but this smells of money grabbing from EA, who took control of the Mass Effect franchise from the second instalment. If this piece of DLC isn’t relevant to the storyline, then I don’t really give a damn – however, the fact that it seems integral to the entire plot of the Mass Effect canon has rightfully made fans angry. Long story short; I’m increasingly worried that we as consumers are being forced to pay more than we should have to for a complete game.
- Atlus have confirmed that their arcade based fighter, Persona 4: The Ultimate In Mayonaka Arena, is going to be released in the United States. The 2D fighter, featuring characters from both Persona 3 and Persona 4, will be coming to both the PS3 and the Xbox 360 this summer under the slightly more manageable title of Persona 4: Arena. There is no word on a European release thus far, but one would think that Atlus would localise the title as they have done recently with the excellent puzzler Catherine. I’ve been playing through Persona 4 recently after recommendation, and I am quickly finding myself enjoying the Shin Megami Tensei universe as a whole, so I would very much welcome a European release.
- The customary update for a FIFA title following the January transfer window is now available for FIFA 12 – it will download automatically if you enter a head to head match. I haven’t got the patch myself so I can comment on any stat changes yet, but at least Paul Scholes have returned to the Manchester United setup.
- Borderlands 2 is set for release worldwide on September 21st 2011, as the Winter catalogue of games starts to build up.
- Finally, Kojima Productions are beginning a search for people to help make the next Metal Gear Solid title, which we should presume will be Metal Gear Solid 5. Kojima himself recently said that he would probably have to make the fifth game – here’s hoping that the game will materialise and that it’s not another spin-off.
That’s your lot for today, feel free to check out my ever expanding Best VGM list from the tab at the top of the page.