Press round-up – Winter 2018

Atelier Lydie & Suelle Firis

As I said last time, most of my English reviews will now be published on VGChartz. Once again, it is a significant opportunity for me so I definitely want to play that card to the maximum. In order to organize things on this end, I’ll write a report like this every new season to recap every article. That said, I will have a few blog-exclusive PSVita reviews coming, so stay tuned for that also.

Review – The Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4)

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Massive JRPG, Trails of Cold Steel III kept me busy for something like 130h, making it one of the longest games that I’ve ever played (excluding the 400h on Modern Warfare 2 multiplayer, but that’s another story). Characters, storytelling, combat, strategy… Falcom’s talent fully gathered in one memorable adventure, its only problem being the subpar graphics considering it’s a PS4 exclusive now.

Review – Great Ace Attorney 2 (3DS)


The second part of the non-localized historical spin-off of the Ace Attorney series. This entry send us back to Sherlock Holmes’s London, where defense lawyer Ryônosuke will have again to find his way to the truth in tricky cases. A lot more exciting than the first one, Great Ace Attorney 2 sheds light on many unanswered questions and features crime cases full of humor and also incomparable atmosphere.

Review – Death Mark (PSVita/PS4)

Death Mark Akazukin

Well, you probably know this one. This is the updated review of one of my top games of last year, a horror story that I think is not going to be matched any soon. This article draws a brief recap of the sixth chapter, appeared in the PS4 version and given as free DLC on PSVita.

Review – Atelier Lydie & Suelle The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings (PS4)

Atelier Lydie & Suelle

Hugely anticipated as far as I’m concerned (since Atelier took back the GOTY spot last year), this newest Atelier game kinda fell short of the great expectations I had for it, because of its appalling level-design, the irritating DLC policy and the flat story. A serviceable Atelier game, but far from the best entries.

Review – Sword Art Online Fatal Bullet (PS4)

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Another new installment I was eager to experience, I even bought the digital premium edition with the season pass. No regrets, but the feeling that BandaiNamco is unable to make a SAO game without silly mistakes in it. The renewed gameplay is cool, gun-friendly world of Gun Gale Online is fun to roam into, but little presence of SAO characters makes it feel like a different IP.


My games of the year 2017 (GoTY 2017)

Best Action game

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Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch)

For a first Switch game, Fire Emblem Warriors has been an awesome pick. Omega Force delivers here one of the best Warriors game ever : the ferocity of the fights blows everything that has been done before, and general direction was quite good. Loaded with the best characters and clever maps, it was an amazing experience all the way.

Runner-up : Nier Automata (PS4) & Senran Kagura Peach Beach Splash (PS4)

Best Shooter

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Call of Duty Modern Warfare Remastered (PS4)

Generally I don’t agree with the « it was better before » whole narrative. But when it comes to FPS, well, that works. The multiplayer in Infinite Warfare is garbage, so you ought to come back to what’s good. And here we must admit that « before », Call of Duty mutliplayer was remarkably well-designed and provided a lot of fun. What else then than embracing this excellent remaster?

Runner-up : none

Best Fighting game


Tekken 7 (PS4)

While having an underwhelming solo, Tekken 7 does things right on the important part : online. Matchmaking is effective, music options very nice, costumization as good as ever, moves are over the top and gameplay still is an absolute reference for the genre. Clearly a must-have to enjoy figting once a while.

Runner-up : none

Best Racing game

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Gran Turismo Sport (PS4)

Gran Turismo Sport scared me at release : without any solo championship, I wondered if the IP wanted to commit suicide or something… Fortunately, solo leagues came via update about a week ago, a necessary addition to the driving challenges, which are a cool part but insufficient alone. With trickier driving than before, GT Sport has of course a dream-like concentration of models and an awesome photo mode for car lovers.

Runner-up : Wipeout Omega Collection (PS4)

Best RPG

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Atelier Firis, the Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey (PS4)

I spent January 2017 on Atelier Firis and that was absolute delight. The series had recovered everything that had made it great (limited time, alchemy challenges, hidden bosses…) while adding a massive innovation : an astonishing open world that transformed management. 70 hours of exploration, wonders and surprises. Atelier Firis is probably going to be unique.

Runner-up : Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4)

Best Puzzle game


Shin Yomawari (PSVita)

Unable to trigger another revolution (because basically copy/pasted from the original), Shin Yomawari still gets its deal of searching and puzzles. Gameplay is a bit more irritating than the in first one, but the game is loaded with intense secquences than will put you on edge.

Runner-up : none

Best music

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Great Ace Attorney 2 (3DS)

No hesitation in this category this year : I’ve been listening to Great Ace Attorney 2’s OST for 4 months now! Capcom’s game is never ending greatness for your ears, the entire soundtrack going from good to magnificient. Joyful melodies, dark themes, epic orchestrations, there is nothing that Great Ace Attorney 2 doesn’t do well.

Runner-up : Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana (PSVita)

Best narrative

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Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4)

I’m still shaking. My heart almost couldn’t take it at the end of Trails of Cold Steel III. Falcom obviously wanted to make it spectacular, so that the slightest information on Trails of Cold Steel IV is pure gold. Of course, even before that, writers placed several key reveals and intense secquences. A clear intensification of Trails of Cold Steel story-telling.

Runner-up : Death Mark (PSVita)

Best atmosphere


Death Mark (PSVita)

I cleared Death Mark over a long week-end. That was fortunate, because I couldn’t imagine myself dropping the game to go to work. I was completely hooked by Death Mark’s hypnotic atmosphere. Experience’s game is the darkest I’ve ever played, it was even difficult to breathe given the fear of what could come out. Music and sounds reached perfection.

Runner-up : Shin Yomawari (PSVita) & Iwai Hime Matsuri (PSVita)

Best design


Death Mark (PSVita)

Death Mark is memorable for a reason : its design perfectly fit the horror genre. The look of the environements alone scares you to the bone. Terrifying details are rife, atrociously mutilated bodies too. And I don’t even mention the Ghosts : after chapter 3, I couldn’t even turn off the lights at night…

Runner-up : Nier Automata (PS4)

Best game you might never play

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Great Ace Attorney 2 (3DS)

Notice that I won’t mention Death Mark here. I’m confident that NIS America or some other company will bring it to the West. Regarding Great Attorney 2 though, that seems toasted… A shame, because that second part of the Victorian spin-off had super great story and humor.

Runner-up : Iwai Hime Matsuri (PSVita)

Most disappointing

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Cyberdimension Neptune 4 Goddess Online (PS4)

Compile Heart needed to fix years of IP mismanagement with Cyberdimension Neptune 4 Goddess Online, and they failed miserably. This Action-RPG is poor in every departement and doesn’t inherit the Neptunia spirit. The Neptunia IP is weak now, the lack of ideas eventually ended up being lethal. Tsunako is being out-fashioned by Nanameda Kei, and producer Mizuno is ridiculous compared to other teams at Compile.

Runner-up : Nights of Azure 2 (PS4/PSVita)

mini Platinum-trophy Game of the year

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Atelier Firis, the Alchemist and the Mysterious Journey (PS4)

The king of RPG-Management was back this year. I could feel once more the delight of adeventure, the heat of battle and greatness of never ending frontiers. The alchemy challenges in an open world is something that had never been done before, like a wave which you need all all your might and wits to resist to. The Golden Age of Atelier was back.

mini gold trophy Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4)

mini Silver_Trophy Death Mark (PSVita)

mini-bronze_trophy Ys VIII Lacrimosa of Dana (PSVita)

Enough of E3! Let’s talk about other games #2017

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Zanki Zero (PS4/PSVita)

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Survival-RPG produced by the DanganRonpa team, Zanki Zero has the most interesting concept this year. Zanki is an idiom known in shoot’em up which represents the number of starships remaining before game over. In the same logic, the 8 boys and girls of Spike Chunsoft’s devastated world will have to progress and survive until no one remains. Rather advanced in its management, Zanki Zero will ask the player to quell the stress of the characters and even take care of their natural needs.

Shin Yomawari (PS4/PSVita)

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Remarkable game of 2016 in the fear department, Yomawari obviously sold well enough to warrant a sequel because Nippon Ichi Software plans to release Shin Yomawari in very territory this year. You will this time control two girls on after another, the world will be larger, including indoor environments among new frightening spots.

Tokyo Clanpool (PSVita)

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Compile Heart is on the move on Vita with a brand-new DRPG, the heroine which is… a loli prime minister ! Along with her cabinet, Natsume tackles the exploration of a mysterious black tower that crashed on the Japanese Diet building. Openly political, Tokyo Clanpool features a support rating as central criteria.

Dragon Quest XI (PS4)

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After the moral collapse of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest XI is one of the references JRPG fans must consider. Casino, horse racing, dragon mounting, smith… SquareEnix’s next hit underlines its rich content and classicism to better attract summer players.

The Great Ace Attorney 2 (3DS)


Cool but significantly incomplete, Great Ace Attorney had sequel” written all over it. That’s now on rails and we’ll again have the pleasure to experience the Victorian and Meiji era with Ryunôsuke, but also from the eyes of his distant cousin Ryutarô.

Legend of Heroes Trails of Cold Steel III (PS4)

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Falcom likes to play with fans’ feelings with its first PS4 exclusive. Trails of Cold Steel III reshuffles the roles and calls back popular characters from older episodes. Unexpectedly, Aurelia becomes headmistress of Thors Academy, Tio makes a noticeable entrance and eccentric Dubally will once more stand on your way along with the threatening secret society she belongs to. Meanwhile, no word on your former comrades from Trails of Cold Steel II… Falcom or the master of suspense.

Nights of Azure 2 (PS4/PSVita/Switch)


Obsequious to Nintendo’s orders in exchange for a juicy part of profits in the Fire Emblem Warriors project, KoeiTecmo had left Nights of Azure in the dark the time the were preparing the Switch version. Having recently reappeared in the press, Gust’s action-RPG showed its final casting of Ashule’s partners and detailed the swimsuits offered as an apology for the long delay.

Moero Castle Panzers (PS4)


Compile Heart had a clear purpose when choosing PS4 as the only platform for Moero Castle Panzers. The company intends to offer the usual Moero experience (touching the girls’ body) in the best 3D they can deliver. In terms of battle, we’re now looking to tactical-RPG featuring various jobs depending on the equipped underwear (!).

Review – Ace Attorney 6 Spirit of Justice

Ace Attorney 6

After two years getting nothing because Capcom’s unwillingness to localize Great Ace Attorney, justice is served for western Ace Attorney fans who can at last come back to court. And they didn’t wait all this time for nothing…


The adventures of the remote ancestor Ryûnosoke are a thing of past (literally, by the way). Phoenix Wright, the unrivaled hero of the series, comes back in his famous blue suit for some exotic story, since it happens abroad for most part. Arrived in the kingdom of Kurain to see his old friend Maya Fey (who was his assistant in the first 3 games), the lawyer now in his thirties will soon get itself into trouble in a judiciary system a bit… original.


Much to his surprise, the very job of defense attorney doesn’t even exist in Kurain. The judiciary system is considered perfect and the defense of the defendant totally pointless. Phoenix becomes therefore the one and only brave enough lawyer to face the prosecution in this weird country which deliver sentences based… on divination! (Very) young princess Leifa is indeed capable of summoning the memory of the victim and showing his/her last moments of life. Which directly brings us to the big innovation of Ace Attorney 6.


At the start of each trial, Leifa will “display” what the deceased has seen just before dying, and you surely guessed that it will be right against your case! That said, the dead don’t lie : what you’ll see is completely true and you can’t accuse Leifa of “lying”. However, her interpretation of the fact is not perfect and she will overlook some small details that are key to explain the course of events. That’s were you must strike : the five senses of the victim are displayed and you must find the one (sight, smell, touch, etc) that doesn’t fit with the prosecution’s theory. When interpretation is busted, Leifa leaves and the trial continues in a normal way, that is to say testimonies to examine and evidence to show at the right time.


As in Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, Pheonix is not alone. Apollo and Athena will take the spotlight in regular trials taking place in the usual regional courtroom. While the Apollo/Trucy duo will sound familiar because being thrown in a case revolving around the young magician’s performance, it’s clear that Capcom doesn’t really know what to do with Athena, her only trial not having the slightest investigation part!


To make up for this, we’re happy to welcome back Simon Blackquill : the prosecutor of Ace Attorney Dual Destines will have a bigger role than his counterparts in the previous episode. Pheonix’s colleagues will face a international prosecutor called Nayuta Samahdi. Monk himself, the character seems almost to far-fetched (even for the series) : his interventions feel repetitive, and he lacks the charisma to live up to Blackquill or even Barok Von Zieks.


Lawyer specialized in psychology, Athena comes back with her famous mood matrix, interface capable of analyzing the witness’s feelings. Used quite a few times in this sixth episode, this system will ask you to find contradictions between the testimony and the displayed mood of the person telling it. The intensity of emotions and the context of the crime are also to be taken into account. This time, you’ll also have to point out and interpret visual elements present in the witness’s subconscious.

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Other gameplay mechanics are still there but more discreet. Apollo will use again its bracelet of truth to detect nervous gestures of people hiding something, and getting them to talk. Pheonix will have a few psy-locks to break : some interlocutors need to be shown a few pieces of evidence to remember stuff or lower their guard. The gameplay variety is thus actually more satisfying than in Great Ace Attorney.


Capcom said they wanted to make Ace Attorney 6 harder so that it wouldn’t look like a mere visual novel. Mission accomplished? Maybe yes, maybe not. The game is very inconsistent in the hints it provides to the player : sometimes you won’t get any help at all, sometimes some allusions may lead you directly to the answer when comes the time to show some proof. Still, this newest episode is back with complex intrigues, countless hypothesis and numerous mysteries. The player’s brainstorming never stops here. Some puzzles were actually nicely tricky, like this one that will hella difficult to localize because based on the Japanese alphabet hiragana.

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Every time you makes two mistakes in a row, a small “help” command will pop, allowing you to ask the partner’s opinion, who will give more or less directly the solution. Capcom should have found better balance in this, because relying on this option can be felt as a personal defeat by the player, which wouldn’t be the case with the usual hints. Besides, Ace Attorney keeps the “logic path” at the end of each trial. That was far from needed, this system being unnecessary guidance in thinking instead of the player. Another surprising thing is that when you actually lose in a trial, the game doesn’t throw you back at the beginning of the chapter but… exactly where you lost! Saving and game over are just for show : there is no more challenge or pressure.


Ace Attorney 6 does live up to the series’ reputation for its narrative. It then again contain eccentric and amazing characters : among lots of others, the schizophrenic comedian having four personalities, the amnesiac resistance member and… a toy helicopter! All this set of course in a story full of amazing twists and surprises. The intensity of the narrative never goes down in the 50 hours of play or so. The suspense is incredible, the humor is juicy, the emotion will bring you to tears. Impossible to stay unimpressed when the culprits are unmasked or unexpected witness come to court, all the more true that timing coincides with the best music. Reveal the Truth is as good as ever, but Menyo’s theme will rival it this year. Better still, Capcom’s game goes into uncommon topics like Rakugo, traditional Japanese comedy, making its content fresh and original. Interesting also to point out that the last chapter starts on a civil case, a first that makes for an unforgettable confrontation.


Cherry on the cake, the publisher had some free content ready just after the release of the game in Japan. It’s composed a full additional chapter and two mini-trials. While the latter are mainly fun stuff and parody, the chapter toki o koeru gyakuten adds 20% of content free of charge! It’s as cleverly written as the main chapters, and reunites Phoenix, Maya, Edgeworth and Larry Butz for a trial like “the good old times”. Series veterans, you will be thrilled.

Years go by but Ace Attorney never lowers the experience. Innovating, fascinanting by its well directed narrative, Ace Attorney 6 is a gem for lovers of puzzles and good stories. We’d have wanted Capcom to be more cautious with the gameplay, but it’s nevertheless a huge hit.

Review – Great Ace Attorney


While Pheonix Wright spends a well-earned vacation, the Ace Attorney series knows no pause and jumps more than 100 years in the past. This time, you will bring justice in Meiji era Japan and Victorian Britain.

Whereas Ace Attorney Dual Destines symbolized the twilight of the judiciary system, Great Ace Attorney describes its early days. Indeed in the early Meiji era, the job of lawyer itself just had been created and there’s much to do to ensure fair trials. In this context, Asôgi Kazuma is sent to learn as much as possible about modern law in the most advanced country in the field : Great Britain. That’s the first problem of this new episode : Naruhodo Ryunosuke, the main character, is not a lawyer and doesn’t even wish to become one before being forced by the circumstances. So from the very start, he looks rather shallow compared to our usual hero in blue suit.

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The transition is very awkward and weights on the narrative in a whole, which ends up uneven. The first trial taking place in the Japanese capital is very exciting, with a number of crazy plot twists and an historical context amazingly illustrated. The Westernization of Japan is described here like it is in Natsume Sôseki’s I am a Cat. It is pretty fun to witness the cultural and economic differences between Japan and the West at that time, as it triggers a lot of hilarious anecdotes. In brief, everything from the costumes to the politics is brilliant of authenticity and history-lovers should love it. Follows a second chapter rather dull, without any trial, and its conclusion is so stupid that the player is left with mixed feelings.

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The (very large) part taking place in the UK immediately revives the interest. Once again, the general design is absolutely fantastic. First of all, the mischievous Sherlock Holmes takes the scene in a very surprising manner, but efficient nonetheless. Every chapter of Great Ace Attorney is introduced like a Sherlock Holmes novel, the second one being no less than an extremely clever parody of The Speckled Band! The great detective is like you’d imagine, very confident in himself and a bit mocking, but there’s a small difference : his conclusion are all far-fetched! This brings us to one of the new feaures. When investigating a location, Sherlock Holmes will make some unrealistic hypothesis : it will be up to you to “correct” it and find out the truth by pointing out the right detail. That said, there are not a lot of those phases, nor are they very complex. In spite of this, Great Ace Attorney full of delicious easter eggs for the readers of Arthur Conan Doyle’s series.


It’s still a pleasure to wander in past London, where we appreciate once more the genius character design that made the series famous. The secondary characters have been designed in great detail : from the old officer of the British army proud of its service to Scotland Yard, the various situations and conversations of this episode are as good as ever. Cherry on cake, one of your client will be Natsume Sôseki himself! The famous Japanese novelist is totally eccentric, speaking time to time in yojijukugo, those idioms in four kanjis. All that is greatly enhanced by the soundtrack, which contains delightful melodies in investigation, and exhilarating themes in the key moments. Confess the Truth 2015 in particular is sumptuous composing, ideal for the turning points of the trials. On the other, I lament the fact that some characters haven’t been shown in more depth : Susato ends up being a rather classic sidekick without any big role (although Athena had her own chapter in Ace Attorney Dual Destinies) and prosecutor Barok Von Zieks never appears outside the courtroom. That’s the first time the main antagonist haven’t got a proper background, quite a shame…

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The trials of Great Ace Attorney don’t differ much from the traditional gameplay of the series, that is to say showing the right piece of evidence at the right moment. Even though the game rises the challenge a bit by avoiding unnecessary hints like Ace Attorney Dual Destinies had, the evidence list is often not that big and the cases didn’t feel as complex or surprising as in the previous games. That still leaves the fun of solving cases without modern scientific investigations, with weird means like the music box or the botanic book. The game system introduces the jury in the decision process, but doesn’t really change things much as it’s heavily scripted. It’s very much like the multi-witness system seen in Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney (which also comes back in this game) for you simply have to find the contradictions between the jury members.

The 3rd chapter is quite exciting as it’s very tense, and delivers some deep thinking about the lawyer’s role (a it like in the end of Justice for All) : should Naruhodo believe his client at all costs? Should he win by any means? His carrier or the truth? The stakes are high and our young jurist faces a tough choice, and so is the player. The 4th chapter is way less interesting (common crime, unsurprising solving) but fortunately the last one comes to a deeper and more emotional conclusion. The broader story appears more complex by adding a lot of political or technological elements connected to each other. Generally, this latest Ace Attorney comes further close to a visual novel rather than being a puzzle game.

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The last issue with this game is that there are some mysteries left unexplained. The culprit of the first trial flees and you don’t know anything about his motive. The question regarding The Hound of the Baskervilles doesn’t find an answer. Worse, those two characters are shown 15 seconds to never be seen again in the narrative! Is that a sign of a chaotic development or of an upcoming sequel? I would wish for the latter. Another serious letdown : dubbing. Altough the trailers shown before the game came out were all fully voiced, everything has vanished in the final version! It’s as mute as the other entries. When you think that even modest Vita visual novels include full dubbing, some complaining is in order. All the more annoying that Capcom also forbids us from taking screenshots via the Miiverse. Tight budget? Last minute hesitations? Great Ace Attorney looks unfinished…

Uneven, questionable on some parts, Great Ace Attorney is nonetheless fascinating in the fun provided by the characters, the beauty of its design and the outstanding historical rendering. A game definitely enjoyable and moving towards the end, even though the gameplay doesn’t shine like in previous episodes.

Enough of E3! Let’s talk about other games! #2015

Yoru no Nai Kuni (PS4/PS3/PSVita)


After barren months full of bullshit, Gust makes its great return with the new IP they had promised long ago. Yoru no Nai Kuni, Nightless Country probably when localised, is an Action-RPG that plays a lot like Drakengard 3, yuri elements added. The main character Arnas will also be able to summon creatures & demons and even transform into them. Graphically speaking, it is much like the latest Atelier titles, that is to say good character models but barren environments. No catch this time, Yoru no Nai Kuni releases on PS4, PS4 and PSVita at the same time.

Blanc + Neptune Tag vs Zombie Army (PSVita)

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Blanc won the popularity poll of the Neptunia series in late 2014 (I would like to recount the votes though), and has thus the privilege to be the star of this new spin-off. New? Nothing sure about that so far, since it seems to directly inherit the assets of Neptunia U Action Unleashed, plus the school setting and the multiplayer mode.

Tokyo Xanadu (PSVita)

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Falcom is hungry for challenge. Rather than rushing Sen no Kiseki III, the rising Japanese developer invests in a new IP exclusive to PSVita! Tokyo Xanadu trades Heroic Fantasy for urban legends and will explore parallel worlds to the Japanese capital. This Action-RPG will have you control a duo of characters, with of course combined attacks like in Sen no Kiseki. Falcom’s genius design needs no introduction and the graphics seem slightly above Sen no Kiseki II.

Valkyrie Drive (PSVita)

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The Senran Kagura license takes a pause and Kenichiro Takaki takes up the consumer game part of the media mix project Valkyrie Drive. Titled Bikkhuni (no, not bikini), the game seems to take the recipe of its model. Not much details have been shared to date, we’ll have to wait until its simultaneous release with the anime Mermaid and the smartphone game Siren that share the same universe.

Kan Colle Kai (PSVita)

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Tired to see Nintendo and Intelligent Systems doing nonsense like CodeName STEAM instead of delivering Advance Wars 5? Kan Colle kai is for you! In this turn-based strategy game will have you build squads of shipgirls to counter the dark army of the Abyss. Be careful though, their gear is sensitive to impacts. This port of the ultra successful browser game is going to be a Vita best-seller if preorders are to be believed.

Ace Attorney 5 (3DS)

One of the (numerous) missing games of the Nintendo Digital Event, Great Ace Attorney prepares its summer release in Japan. The preorders are dangerously low but it won’t prevent it to become a reference of the 3DS line-up this year. Benefiting from Capcom’s technical mastery to make a gorgeous 3DS game (which Nintendo doesn’t even try anymore), this latest entry also appeals by its leap back in time. Great Ace Attorney explores the Japanese & British Empires in the end of the 19th century, with astonishingly appropriate design. I recently played the short demo dropped on the Japanese e-shop and it already looks FAN-TAS-TIC!

Makai Shin Trillion (PSVita)


Always delayed, never hit, the fateful day arrives for Makai Trillion. I will get my most awaited game on July 23rd. Despite two delays, the hype is still intact thanks to the regular Dengeki articles that have shown tons of new bizarre NPCs, amazing artwork, details on the progression systems and suspense. Compile Heart’s game actually features permadeath like Fire Emblem, so the choices will be heavy. The user interface shown above has a flurry of parameters such as friend level, fatigue, money, and many tabs that pretty much guarantees extensive management. Atelier’s succession might be here.