It is titles like Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven that helps me truly appreciate the work that niche publishers like XSeed put into their localizations. I do not say this because I enjoyed Lord of Magna, as I honestly found it rather bland, but more so because it shows they care for the genre as a whole. Yes it is a pipe dream to live in an industry where every time I see a new JRPG announced, I don’t need to tell myself “this game looks very cool, it’s a shame that it likely won’t be loacalized” but when even some of the more mediocre titles like Lord of Magna are being localized, it definitely provides a lot more hope that a lot of the best titles will get one.
I will also admit that curiosity plays a large factor in that I like to see if these games are any good in the first place, and even when a game does not get the best reception I still tend to prefer seeing it for myself. As such I generally am hesitant to take any claims of “this game wasn’t localized because it’s terrible” seriously. It can sometimes make one feel like an ass if you ask a publisher to localize a game that can take up time and money only to say that their game is bad and their effort was pointless. So despite me not caring for Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven, I am still glad XSeed brought it over and I’m glad to have given my money if only because it supports them for doing so (plus it comes with a nice looking box with a soundtrack CD, which the collector part of me always appreciates).
To start things off, I will say that I did not have much to expect going into Senran Kagura Burst. In fact, I do not even really remember what prompted me to buy it. I do enjoy a lot of the lesser known niche titles and I probably just decided to support this one due to no one else bothering, but normally I tend to prefer JRPGs and Visual Novels as opposed to action games. That being said, Senran Kagura Burst is absolutely superb. Senran Kagura is a game that at first looks like a rather simplistic Beat-em- up with a silly fan-service driven plot, and technically it still is. It should be known however, that Senran Kagura Burst is more then it appears.
What seals the deal for Senran Kagura Burst is the fact that it is actually two great games instead of just one. One of the two separate storylines you choose at the start of the game is actually the entirety of the first Senran Kagura game, while the second storyline is an all new adventure. Senran Kagura Skirting Shadows alone would have been worth the thirty dollar price tag in terms of both quality and content, but the fact that you have a whole other game of even higher quality is what really brings this package up. While I probably would be exaggerating if I said that the total package was worth sixty dollars, I still would have felt as though I got my money’s worth if I paid that much. Read more
Disclaimer: A majority of this review is going to focus on how Corpse Party Blood Drive works as a follow up to previous games in the series, as well as how it is as a finale. As such, there will be major spoilers for the first two Corpse Party games. However, there will be no major plot events revealed for Blood Drive itself, and anything else of similar nature will be kept to a minimum.
Corpse Party: Blood Drive had a lot riding on it for me. In my review of the original Corpse Party, I pretty much did nothing but praise the game up until the last few paragraphs where I talked about how the ending almost killed it for me. The reason the first game’s overly manipulative and forced downer ending had such an impact on me was because of how excellent the game’s writing and atmosphere was up to that point. Building up such amazing characters and writing, only to end on that note was practically a slap in the face to anyone who played the game, and it made the experience a lot less satisfying.
Corpse Party: Book of Shadows is not a sequel in the traditional sense. If anything, it is more of an expansion on the original game. I would say that it is similar to DLC but considering that the game is twice as long as the first game that would be rather demeaning. That does not mean Book of Shadows is bad though. Book of Shadows does do a nice job at telling an engaging story and an eerie atmosphere, albeit not as well done as the first game. What Book of Shadows does not do well at, however, is advancing the main story of the Corpse Party series. It certainly adds a lot of background to the Corpse Party mythos though, and it will satisfy fans of the first game as long as long as they are not expecting a full blown sequel.
In concept, Book of Shadows starts out with what one would actually expect to be a unique continuation of the first game’s story. The opening cutscene shows the depressing aftermath of the first game’s ending for where reality has been altered so that everyone who died during the events of the first game has never existed in real life yet the remaining cast members still remember them. This is shown to be particularly bad for Naomi Nakashima who is shown falling into clinical depression in the game’s opening cutscene. Strangely enough, this is the only part of the game that takes place directly after the first one until the game’s final chapter. Instead the chapters seem to take some really strange directions and seem to be as far from advancing the main plot as possible.
Corpse Party or, Corpse Party: Blood Covered – Repeated Fear as it is known in Japan, excels in just about every possible presentational aspect and creates and utterly horrifying atmosphere and feel to it that makes for an incredible horror experience. It creates a intimidating and oppressive atmosphere in addition to a strongly written and endearing cast of characters that you will want to see make it out alive. The only issue with the game was its ending, and said ending is not even that much of a problem since Corpse Party: Blood Drive has given us a much more satisfying conclusion. Also, Corpse Party doesn’t have much in terms of gameplay and is basically just an RPG Maker movie (Ala To the Moon or Actual Sunlight) without RPG Maker and higher production values, so there’s not much to talk about there.
If this hasn’t been made clear already, I LOVE the Lunar series. There is such an undeniable charm to the series that is lacking in so many games, even though they are as standard as JRPGs get story wise. It does seem unfortunate that Game Arts has not created anything that successful since the Grandia series (one that I still need to get to myself), and also that it is entirely likely that we only fell in love with the Lunar series because of Working Designs’ alterations to the script (hence why the scripts for the fan translation of Walking School and Dragon Song were bland in comparison, and why the series has fallen out of popularity in Japan). Anyway, this week’s VGM is the final boss theme of the first Lunar, “Go Go Go!”