PS Vita Review: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f

(NOTE This review is my opinion only. All pictures are taken in game using the PS Vita’s screeshot function)

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f
Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f

I am going through my collection of PS VIta games and review the ones that I have missed. First up is Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f, a rhythm game developed by SEGA and Crypton Future Media and published by SEGA. It is a part of the Hatsune Miku: Project Diva series of rhythm games and is the first one on the PS VIta.

Meet the Vocaloids, the Uncanny Valley's newest tenants
Meet the Vocaloids, the Uncanny Valley’s newest tenants

As with most rhythm games, to play use press the buttons during the music when prompted to. Project Diva f also uses the PS Vita’s touch screen to flick stars to the rhythm as well. The characters for the buttons (X, Square, Triangle, and CIrcle) fly in from off screen to a little circle. You time your button press witth the note hitting the circle.. Near the end of the song, a Star meter appears and hitting the note correctly builds up the meter. If it is filled and you flick the star note at the correct time you will get a Big Finish to the video.

Hit the notes to score big.
Hit the notes to score big.

The songs are in Japanese and feature Miku or the other Vocaloids, the computer generated singers that are big in Japan. Even the songs they sing are created using the Vocaloid program. Some song have more than one character, but it does not affect game play. The characters act out the videos, often appearing in new costumes, which you can purchase with in-game points. After you beat the songs you can also watch it like a music video..

\The games' settings range from a Chinese dance hall to a futuristic city to grassy fields.
\The games’ settings range from a Chinese dance hall to a futuristic city to grassy fields.

Other modes are the Diva room, which you can interact with you favorite Vocaloid by touching the screen and buying them gifts. There is a Shop that you can buy unlocked outfits for the Vocaloids. as well as the gifts. There is an edit mode in which you can take one of the game songs or an MP 3 and make you own level. You can even upload these levels to challenge other players on PSN.

Miku loves donuts.  Give her donuts!
Miku loves donuts. Give her donuts!

This is a pretty basic rhythm game. Once you have beat all the songs (and the few available as DLC), there isn’t much replay value. The ability to download user generated content is nice, but if they made one based on an MP3 they have, you must have the same one on your PS Vita. The different Vocaloids sound different enough, but unless you can understand Japanese or just really like the sound of J-Pop, the novelty wears thin. I bought the game because I was curious about the Vocaloids and I like the game enough. If you are a fan of the Vocaloids and/or J-Pop, this might be up your alley. Others might want to try the demo first. You might find it addictive enough.

Miku performing Cat Food.
Miku performing Cat Food. Yes, the band are a bunch of clowns…

Hatsune Miku: Project Diva f is available as a digital download from the PlayStation Store.. A sequel, Hatsune Mike: Project Diva 2nd is available digitally and in physical format as well.

3/5.

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PS Vita Review – Dead or Alive 5 + (Repost)

Dead or Alive 5 Plus
Dead or Alive 5 Plus
The PS Vita has gotten a lot of ports of fighting games.  Games like Ultimate Marvel Vs Capom 3, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter X Tekken have all made an appearance on the Vita, with tweeks to utilize the Vita’s features.  Tecmo Koei, which has supported the PS Vita since launch, has released a verison of its fighting game known for it’s juggling combos and jiggling breasts:  Dead or Alive 5 Plus.
All characters start unlocked in this version,  Kasumi's and Ayane's special VR costumes shown
All characters start unlocked in this version,
Kasumi’s and Ayane’s special VR costumes shown
The game is a great port of the PS3 verison of DOA 5.  The storymode is the same as found in the regular version, following each cast member and their part in the overall story line.  The action is fast and fluid, sporting amazing, if slightly less detailed graphics.  Like DOA 5, there are other fight modes like versus, for one-off battles, arcade, in with you take your character through several battles, a time attack mode and survival.  The Vita version does not have tag battles, though they are in the story.
New comer Mila is one of two new characters to join the DOA franchise
New comer Mila is one of two new characters to join the DOA franchise
To make up for that loss, DOA 5+ has the Training Plus mode, which adds a free training practice mode, command training to learn your character’s moves, a tutorial, to help newbies to DOA learn the controls and Combo training, which you complete certain combo challenges.  The PS Vita also has a Touch Battle Mode, in which you tap and pinch the screen to fight in a first person battle.  Yes, you get to poke Kasumi all you want, if she doesn’t kick your ass first.
pany shot!
The Touch Battle mode gives you a first person view of the action
Another added bonus for those who have the PS3 version is the cross save mode.  You can upload your save online to unlock any costumes you already have earned in the PS Vita version and vice versa.  Outfits unocked this way will show a controller by the picture.  The game also give owners of both versions extra costumes for the ninja characters (Kasumi, Ayane, Ryu and Hayate), a high tech body suit and a VR helmet (or something.)
The costume in question for Kasumi
The costume in question for Kasumi

Like Ultimate Marvel Vs Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken, all DLC costumes bought from the PS3 version entitles you to the PS Vita version.  Just download it on for Vita to unlock the costumes in the game (ensure you download the individual sets, not the larger collection as they will  cost money.)  You can also take picture of you characters during replays and save them to your PS Vita’s memory.

DLC outfits like the Sexy Santas are available for DOA5+
DLC outfits like the Sexy Santas are available for DOA5+
Take photos in replay mode to capture the beautiful action
Take photos in replay mode to capture the beautiful action
The PS Vita version includes separate trophies for the game, online play and cross play, in which you can challenge those playing on the PS3.  If you are looking for a portable fighter full of beautiful characters, this is the game to get.
Mil tussles with Srah Bryant, one of three characters visiting from Virtual FIghter 5.
Mila tussles with Sarah Bryant, one of three characters visiting from Virtual Fighter 5.
The camera moves in close for Hitomi's Critical Blow
The camera moves in close for Hitomi’s Critical Blow
Kasumi cheerleader
This costume for Kasumi is one of the special pre-order DLC that was availiable.
4.5 out of 5

PS Vita Review- HyperDimension Neptunia; ReBirth1

 

NOTE:  THIS REVIEW IS MY OPINION ONLY.  ALL IMAGES TAKE FROM THE GAME WITH MY PS VITA.

HyperDimension Neptunia

HyperDimension Neptunia; ReBirth 1 is a Japanese Role-Playing Game (JRPG) on the PlayStation Vita. It was developed by Compile Hearts, Idea Factory (IF) and Felistella and published in North America by Idea Factory International. It is a remake of Hyperdimension Neptunia for the PS3 which saw a western release in 2011.

HyperDimension Neptunia takes place in a realm called Gameindustri during a period called the Console Wars. Four lands are at war for supremacy, represented in combat by their Console Patron Unit or CPU. The lands and their CPUs are; Lastation, with Noire (Purple Heart), Leanbox with Vert (Green Heart), Lowee with Blanc (White Heart) and Planetptune, with the titular heroine, Neptune. All of them are cute anime girls.

The Console Wars involved anime chicks fighting each other, apparently.
The Console Wars involved anime chicks fighting each other, apparently.

In case you didn’t notice, each character/realm represents a video game console. Noire is the PS3, Vert is Xbox 360 and Blanc is the Wii. Neptune represents Sega , and her name is a nod to the Sega Neptune, a Sega Genesis/ 32X hybrid that was planned but cut in favor of the Saturn. Why didn’t they reference the Saturn or the Sega Dreamcast, the console that lost the actual console war? I don’t know. Sega distributed the original game in Japan; maybe they did not want to bring up sad memories?

Neptune in her normal form. !
Neptune in her normal form.

So as you can guess from above, the console war does not go well for Neptune. At the start, she is knocked from the heavens and crashes down to Planetptune. She is found by a well-meaning but a bit ditzy woman named Compa who helps her recover. Neptune has lost her memory, though, and is in contact with a mysterious voice named Histoire, who needs her help. Along with another adventurer named IF (called Iffy by the girls), they set out to travel the lands to regain Nep-Nep’s (Compa’s nick name for Neptune) memory. Along the way they discover a plot to take over the realms from the CPUs and encounter the CPUs as well.

Left to Right:  Compa, Neptune and IF
Left to Right: Compa, Neptune and IF

The game play is typical of JRPGs with your character fighting monsters to level up and get money to upgrade weapons, armour and get supplies. Battles take place in areas you get to from the world map. Enemies are visible are you move around the area and combat is initiated only if you get to close, perform a symbol attack (attack first) or trigger an in game event. Combat is turned based, with each character able to move in a certain area during their turn and attack, either with a physical attack with their weapon, a skill attack or magic. Combat end one the enemy is defeated (with surviving party members getting XP) or when the party falls.

Battles are turn-based.
Battles are turn-based.

Certain characters, such as Neptune have another skill called Hard Drive Divinity ,in which they transform into their CPU or Goddess forms. Neptune transforms into Purple Heart and her attacks and stats increase (as well as not looking like a loli) You can change and upgrade you HDD form with game discs as you progress in the game. You can do the same with the other CPU characters if you recruit them along the way.

Neptune transformed into PurpleHeart
Neptune transformed into PurpleHeart

 

This game is a pretty fun JRPG. The setting is truly unique and but it plays like you typical Final Fantasy-type game, which is a good thing. The characters are interesting and have English voice actors bring them to life. Sure the character design is a bit cutesy but it works in this type of RPG; one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sometimes the character or Neptune is self-aware, commenting on how the game is a remake and how certain event did not occur in the same way as the last game.

 

Overall, this is a great RPG for the PS Vita, which seems to be having a drought in games. This is not the only HyperDimension Neptunia game for the Vita as there is an Idol training sim HyperDimension Neptunia: Producing Perfection out as well. They are planning to release a remake of the second game as well as two other spinoffs (one featuring Noire/Blackheart, the PlayStation avatar in a lead role as well as an action game developed by TAMISOFT who did Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus) for the PS Vita in the next few months. So there will be a lot of Neptune and the girls available for the Vita in 2015 This game is solid addition to the PS Vita catalogue.

 

Compa is your party's healer, but she tends to go a bit overboard with the bandages.
Compa is your party’s healer, but she tends to go a bit overboard with the bandages.

4/5

PS Vita Review: Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed

 NOTE:  THIS REVIEW IS MY OPINION ONLY.  ALL PICTURES ARE CAPTURED IN GAME WITH MY PS VITA.  ENJOY.

Akiba's Trip:  Undead and Undressed
Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed

AKIBA’S TRIP: UNDEAD AND UNDRESSED is a third person beat’em up developed by Acquire and published in North America by XSEED. It is the sequel to the Japan-only game, Akiba’s Trip.. It is for the PS Vita system and is available in physical or digital format.  It is PlayStation TV compatible.

The game’s setting is the famous shopping district in Japan called Akiharbara (or Akiba for short.) It is a Mecca for those who love video games, electronics, collectables like action figures, and manga. Shops cater to fans of these items, called Otakus. The game recreates this famous area, even including some real shops and landmarks. You can find shops from restaurants, maid cafes to “adult novelty shops” (though since your character is 17, you are told to come back when you’re older.) Some shops don’t sell items in the game, but it gives you a bit of information about the real-life store it is based on.

This guy changes your life...FOREVER!
This guy changes your life…FOREVER!

The game itself revolves around your player character, an otaku, as you find yourself an unwitting participant in an evil scheme. A mysterious man from the Magaimono Corporation is building an army of Synthizers, energy vampires, to attack the people in Akihabara and drain their energy. Your character is to be the newest synthizer in his army. Your strong will and timely intervention by a mysterious girl named Shizuku helps you avoid this fate and you make your way to your friends, a rag tag group of concerned otakus called the Akiba Freedom Fighters. With them you set to find out the Synthizer’s evil scheme and stop them…by beating the pants off of them. Literally.

Shizuku saving your life.  Yeah...Saving... That's it....
Shizuku saving your life. Yeah…Saving… That’s it….

You see, Synthizers , like vampires, can be destroyed by exposure to the sun. But, unlike vampires, clothing acts as a protective barrier. So, in order to defeat them, you must beat them enough that their clothes are damaged and them rip it off of them. It doesn’t matter if they are male or female, you strip them to their underwear to defeat them. But as a Synthizer yourself, you are also prone to bursting in flames while in the buff.

Combat can leave your enemies exposed
Combat can leave your enemies exposed

The game is well acted. There is a full English voice cast bringing the characters to life. The original Japanese voices are available with English sub titles. Your character remains silent for the most part, with the only voice acting for the character used for the fights. You interact with the characters, such as Shizuku, your mysterious savoir, Touku, your tom-boyish childhood friend, , Kati, a foreigner form Finland, and Nana, your character’s little sister, who refers to you in terms like “Brotagonist.”

Shizuku and Nana meet at Freedom Fighter HQ
Shizuku and Nana meet at Freedom Fighter HQ

Combat occurs when you encounter enemies while patrolling Akiba. You can target the head, body, or legs of an enemy to wear down their clothing pieces. Once you have some sufficient damage, you hold the button for the body part and remove the piece of clothing. Strip them down to their underwear and you have defeated them. Sometimes you can perform a chain strip, rapidly stripping you enemies. If you get a high enough combo, you can do a strip finisher with even takes off their underwear. Any items or articles of clothing you take from an enemy, you can pick up and use for yourself, even the underwear. Yes, you can wear the underwear of you vanquished foes. Ew.

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Strip them fast enough and your opponent’s unmentionables can be yours…

 

The game is good. The acting and the cut scenes are good, and the story is interesting enough that I want to keep playing to find out more. The premise of stripping your enemies may seem weird and a bit of fan service, but it works for the story and there seems to be more male enemies, at least as first. You can’t just attack normal citizens and strip them down, though some side missions may result in fighting a normal human. You can get power ups in to increase your strength and effectiveness against certain enemies. There is even one specifically for enemies in “normal lolita-type outfits.” Hmm, maybe the creep factor is there…

Ads for stores or Japanese games pop up during load screens
Ads for stores or Japanese games pop up during load screens

Combat is chaotic, with you and your partner character fighting in the streets of Akiba. Sometmes the camera goes too close to see you enemy, sometimes it pans out too far. Locking on a character is problematic as you zone in on the one you attacked. If another enemy starts attacking, it is hard to switch targets. If you have a weapon with a good attack radius, this is not so much a problem, but it can get annoying.

Just because, here is a picture of Kati, the Finnish maid.  Enjoy
Just because, here is a picture of Kati, the Finnish maid. Enjoy

There is not much customization for your character, save you name at the beginning. You can equip the clothing you bought or taken from your enemies. You can have a female character if you download one of the free character skins from the PlayStation Store (many are based on characters from other games or anime). This is cosmetic, however as the cut scenes still show the default male character and the NPC still refer to you as such.

The female character models are available as DLC but have no effect on the story
The female character models are available as DLC but have no effect on the story

All in all, it is a decent game. I have always wanted to go to Akihabara, but this is probably the closest I will get. I like it when some of these stranger games from Japan get a western release as we get to see something different. Akiba’s Trip: Undead and Undressed is definitely different. It may not be for everyone, but fans of Anime and Japanese games will want to check it out

3.5 out of 5

This is Shion Kasugai, a young CEO of a pharmaceutical company.  She has taken an interest in .  Can she be trusted?the Synthizers and you
This is Shion Kasugai, a young CEO of a pharmaceutical company. She has taken an interest in the Synthizers and you. Can she be trusted?

PS Vita Review: Samurai Warriors 4

Samurai Warriors 4
Samurai Warriors 4

(Note: This review is my own personal opinion. This is not a paid review. All pictures have been captured in game on my PS Vita.)

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SAMURAI WARRIORS 4 is a third person hack-and-slash developed by Omega-Force and published by TECMO KOEI. It is the latest installment in their SAMURAI WARRIORS series and is also available on PS3, PS4 and PS Vita The version reviewed is the PS Vita copy.

Battles can take place in open fields to walled castles
Battles can take place in open fields to walled castles

SAMURAI WARRIORS 4, like the previous versions of the series presents a fictionalized account of Japan’s Sengoku period from 1555 to 1615 A.D. Most of the characters are based on real people; some might have not have actually been in the battles they are featured in due to their age at the time or, in case of the female characters, their sex as the women did not fight. Some didn’t really exist. Each character has a stylized costume and weapon to stand them apart for others. Each has a special Musou attack. when they magically bring down fire, ice, move as super speed etc to destroy the enemy.  So, you know, not historically accurate.

Helynne preforms a Musou attack
Helynne preforms a Musou attack

The game play feature levels with a large map with a main objective (usually defeat a certain enemy or get to a certain area) and defeat conditions (die, enemy commander escapes etc.). You battle through hundreds of enemy soldiers with the occasional named officer or one of the opposing faction’s main characters. As you defeat your enemies, you get experience and level up, becoming stronger and harder to kill, which carries over to the next battle. You can also get more powerful version of your weapons for fallen enemies or buy or upgrade them between battles.

Custom Characters are back!
Custom Characters are back!

There are three modes to this game: Story Mode, Free Mode and Conquest Mode. Story Mode has you play each of the factions story, sometimes replaying the same battle on different sides as it goes through the period. Free Mode lets you replay any level you have completed as any character that you have. Conquest mode lets you create your own character and travel through feudal Japan, meeting the famous warriors of the period and fighting in battles to gain fame.

As for the creation mode, you get about 20 slots for created characters. You can customize their sex, face, costume and name.   You can choose for 6 different weapons at first, unlocking new ones as you complete the relationship quest for the many characters from the main game in Conquest Mode. You can even use pictures from you PS Vita’s memory and create custom character portraits and Musou Kanji for your created characters.

You can upload jpegs for custom portraits or Musou kanji.
You can upload jpegs for custom portraits or Musou kanji.

SAMURAI WARRIORS, much like all of TECMO KOEI’s WARRIOR games, hack and slash game with some historical depth but not much. They keep retreading this period with each installment, much like Dynasty Warriors and Three Kingdoms-era China, adding more quasi-historical characters. Still, I find them fun and I like the option of custom characters. I really liked Samurai Warriors 2 Empires on my Xbox 360 back in the day and though 4 does not have the Empire mode (maybe a future iteration?), the conquest mode lets you take your created character into this world.

SAMURAI WARRIORS 4 also features cross-save and cross goods compatibility. You can upload you save from on platform and download and play it on another (i.e. PS4 to PS Vita). Buying extra costumes and weapon DLC entitles you to goods for all three versions. This is good as I can take my game with me on PS Vita when I travel, then upload it them download it on the PS4 and continue where I left off.

 

Just a screen shot of an unrelated game (VANGUARD PRINCESS) used as a Musou Attack Kanji.  Nothing to see...
Just a screen shot of an unrelated game (VANGUARD PRINCESS) used as a Musou Attack Kanji. Nothing to see…

SAMURAI WARRIORS for the PS Vita is available in physical media or as a download for all three Sony platforms. The game costs $39.00 on the PS Store for the PS Vita. A physical copy for the PS4 costs $69.99 CDN.

4/5