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Showing posts with label PS4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PS4. Show all posts

Sakura Wars Returns with Flying Colours (PS4 Review)

The Sakura Wars (aka Sakura Taisen) series is possibly Sega's worst-kept secret, at least for us in the West. Most Dreamcast fans have probably encountered it at some point, but without the ability to understand the Japanese language, most have not proceeded further. This Japanese steampunk-themed tactical RPG series was a massive hit in its country of origin, spawning sequels and spin-offs, as well as crossing into other forms of media. As I'm writing this, the Sakura Wars multi-media franchise has surpassed over 4 million units shipped in Japan.

Despite the series' massive success, Sakura Wars was probably deemed too culturally-different for Western gamers, probably due to its heavy use of unfamilar (at least, back in the late '90s and early 00's), visual novel/dating simulation-style gameplay. The only Sakura Wars game from the original batch to be localised into English was the fifth game in the franchise, Sakura Wars V: So Long, My Love (released on the Wii and PS2). Most would probably agree that it wasn't the best entry the series had to offer, but hey, at least it was something. The series would then remain untouched for many years.
This was no small franchise. A big thanks to our very own Mike for the pics.
But Sakura Wars has stepped back onto the stage and into the limelight once again. Sega have blessed us with a worldwide (albeit, staggered) release of a flashy modern-gen reboot of Sakura Wars, exclusively for PlayStation 4. Developed by Sega's CS2 R&D department, Sakura Wars saw involvement from new and returning staff; including veteran Sega producer Tetsu Katano, director Tetsuya Otsubo and music composer Kohei Tanaka. Tite Kubo, the creator of manga ultra-hit Bleach was responsible for the designs of the main cast of characters. There was also guest artists like BUNBUN (Sword Art Online), Ken Sugimori (Pokémon) and Shigenori Soejima (Persona), who contributed their talents towards the designs of various supporting characters. It's clear from such star studded pedigree that Sega really pulled out all the stops for this one, and as an owner of a pre-order copy that turned up three days too early, I'm happy to confirm that it resulted in a big success. If you're a fan of Sakura Wars, you'll be happy to know Sega have done the franchise the justice it deserves. If you're new to Sakura Wars, this is the perfect entry point.

The Dreamcast Legacy - Jupiter and Mars

There is a hardy breed of gamer that has a special soft spot in their gaming hearts for a certain woe-be-gotten series, and that heart whispers the name Ecco. The games are not obscure by any means, as the majority of Sega aficionados would have at least had a taste of dolphin (eww!) during either the 16-bit golden age or the new millennium reboot on Dreamcast. Only a much smaller subset - the most diligent and committed gamers (read: sado-masochistic gamers) - persisted far enough through the sheer vertical learning curve to be rewarded with one of the most unique gaming experiences of all time. 
I think this is about as far as most people got in the original series
Unfortunately for fans of the series, the full potential of the Ecco saga has always been frustratingly unfulfilled. The original 16-bit games were supposed to be realised as a trilogy, but the third game never materialised. Ecco II: The Tides of Time sadly ends on a sombre note - much like the Empire Strikes Back - but unlike Star Wars, there is no Return of the Jedi to close out the third act.
Unlike Ryo in his cave, it seems Ecco is destined to be forever lost in the tides of time 
The amazing reboot on Dreamcast was handled by a new creative team at Appaloosa Interactive (formerly Novotrade) and did not continue the same story left open by the Mega Drive games. This does not hamper my esteem for the game, in many ways it had to start from a clean slate after a six year hiatus. Defender of the Future is my all time favourite game on Dreamcast, and it should be held in as high esteem and discussed in the same company as games like Metroid Prime for updating a classic 2D game style and successfully refashioning it into a fully realised 3D world. 

Rez Infinite PlayStation VR: Play Test & Impressions Video

Last week the DCJY were lucky enough to get the chance of putting the upcoming Rez Infinite for PlayStation VR through its paces. In short, the experience was breathtaking and we can't wait for the final release of the game. What could the future hold in terms of other VR Dreamcast re-releases? Which other titles would you like to see given the VR treatment? Let us know in the comments!


A Dreamcast-themed PS4 Controller

This type of thing would normally be reserved for an Alanis Morrisette song, but hey - we're all about forgiving and forgetting here at the Junkyard. While it's probably true that the Dreamcast would have had a much longer natural lifespan had the PlayStation 2 not loomed into view so soon after Sega launched it, you can't deny that the PS2 was also a great system and brought lots of new features to the table. The PlayStation 4 is currently enjoying quite a bit of success though, and console customisation specialists Extreme Consoles clearly thought it was high time the PlayStation paid some respect to it's fallen adversary. Naturally, they've come up with this:
Dreamcast-themed PS4 Controller
Yep, a Dreamcast-themed PS4 controller. The accurately coloured face buttons, Dreamcast-branded centre button and VMU details are lovely. For maximum authenticity you could argue that they should have removed the right analogue stick; and obviously, there isn't an actual VMU slot because this isn't a Dreamcast-compatible joypad (as if you needed reminding)...but as a piece of hardware for a PS4-owning Dreamcast fan, you could do much worse. Also, reports that it beeps when you turn it on are unconfirmed. Here's a YouTube video showing the pad in all it's glory:


For further info, feel free to visit Extreme Consoles' website and Twitter.