The Sky Crawlers – Innocent Aces Review: Happy Hunting!

I personally have little experience when it comes to the hundreds of hard-core-as-hell plane combat games. I grew up during a time many years after the era where vertical shooters and shmups like Gun Nac and The Guardian Legend were as common to video games as platformers. I’ve had my rare outings: be they a quick run through an Area 88 arcade cabinet at a local con, to the semi-realistic pilot simulators once showcased at the East Dallas Science Place (imagine a science museum, but bigger), to early memories of either Star Wars X-Wing or Tie Fighter my dad once owned, with a full-motion pilot joystick and everything, that we could never seem to run on our family desktop.

But what about any of the Star Fox games you may ask? Let the record state that the only Star Fox games I like are the ones where flight combat is shared with either the puzzles and adventuring of Star Fox Adventures or the time Nintendo tried to make a Halo-esk console multiplayer FPS of Star Fox Assault. Thankfully, my odd pedigree with dog-fitting didn’t stop me from checking out The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces on the Wii.

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces was made by Access Games, the same developer who credits include the equally odd-ball pair Deadly Premonitions and this year’s Drakengard 3. I have some familiarity with the Skycrawlers’ name from being a fan of director Mamoru Oshii’s film adaption of Hiroshi Mori’s novels. I immediately put Innocent Aces in the same tie-in boat as the two Eureka Seven PS2 games, The New Wave and The New Vision. A nice form of reassurance that Innocent Aces’ might have been trying to shoot  higher than the average Anime tie-in game came when I read that Oshii and Mori were personally involved in Innocent Aces’ production. This way, Innocent Aces can be seen as a hybrid of Mori’s source material and Oshii’s experience adapting Mori’s source material.

Looking at the reverse cover like this makes me wonder. Does being a Veteran pilot just make you tan or am I missing something?

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Hakuoki-Demon of the Fleeting Blossom Review: All the Pretty Sashes

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I like to test different game genres whenever I can, with the only caveat being most of the genre’s not part of my mainstays: RPGs, Action, FPSs, and Adventure, tend to thrive on ramped up player challenges. For example, dungeon crawlers and especially their masochist off-shoot brother (little sister?) roguelikes; are difficult because of features like permanent death and random enemy wave spikes that; intimidate me far more than the looking at any monster at the end of a cave hallway. Hell, the recent Etrian Odyssey 4 with its rocking soundtrack had a casual mild mode specifically made for people like me. I am also dreadful at strategy games; owning almost every post GBA Advance Wars game but have yet to beat even one. Visual Novels on the other hand, specifically the young women-targeted otome games, focus less on the skill and execution. How about I start with the most recently popular one, 2008’s Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom?

Hakuoki, developed by Idea Factory and released in the U.S. by Aksys Games, is a huge franchise in Japan branching into both manga and anime adaptions from its original Play Station 2 release. Like a big fish in a small pond, Hakuoki’s has a swath of ports, Play Station 3, PSP, DS, 3DS, to its various amounts of cell-phone charms and wall scroll merchandise, painting the series as a samurai-filled media juggernaut. Fitting I guess, since Hakuoki is marketed as the first big example of an American release of an otome game.

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Hammerin Hero Review: STOP!…Obvious M.C. Hammer Joke

The PSP, out of all the handheld systems that are readily available is one in which I have the least experience. To be honest Hammerin Hero is the first game I have ever beaten on the system. Frankly at launch I was not impressed with the system, I have always been geared more toward Nintendo when it came to buying handhelds. Ever since the original Game Boy up until now I have associated handheld gaming with.Nintendo.  To me, the PSP always seemed to be the awkward kid at the dance sitting in the bleachers that I wanted to go up and befriend but cool, sexy, and super interesting Nintendo was always more alluring. I am probably missing out on a number of good titles on the PSP for instance, hell the Katamari series has a game for the PSP, and Katamari is in my list of top series of games.

With all of the games I have emulated, reaching way back into the NES and SNES library, I realized why Hammerin Hero sounded familiar when fellow writer Franklin Raines assigned me to review it. I had played its’ first ancestor, Hammerin Harry for the NES, not but a few months prior. While researching Hammerin Hero, I learned that the series was created by Irem, best known for the R-Type and Metal Storm series. Remembering how great it was, I was excited to dive into this game and see what eighteen years would do for the series. 2008’s Hammerin Hero released by ATLUS proves to be more than I expected.

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Valkyrie Profile Covenant Of The Plume Review: Ganging Up On Others For Fun And Profit.

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Old Norse mythology told of the Valkyries, the chooser of the slain, who would fly over the battlefields and chose who died in battle, these slain warriors became einherjar, taken to Valhalla, where they prepared for Ragnarok (well, about half of them, we don’t care about the other half. But if you must know, they go to Freya’s garden Fólkvangr, Odin knows what they do there…) this was considered amongst the highest honors that could be bestowed upon a fighter. But things are never that simple, and while honor and praise are all well and good, they do not feed a family, and in a time when men where undoubtedly the breadwinners and soldiers of a household many families would be left destitute, even worse perhaps, was losing a good father, a loving son, or a dear friend. This anguish is the main source of the conflict in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume.

Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume, was developed by tri-Ace for the Nintendo DS and published by Square Enix in 2008, then brought over to the U.S. in 2009, still published by Square Enix. Covenant of the Plume it is the third installment in the Valkyrie Profile series and a prequel to the first game, Valkyrie Profile.

Covenant of the Plume centers, not around any of the titular Valkyries, but in a mortal youth named Wylfred. Wylfred’s father, Thyodor, was slain in battle and welcomed as an einherjar by the Valkyrie Lenneth, This doesn’t go over too well with his family, who were left in poverty. It didn’t take long for Elsie, Wylfred’s little sister, to die of starvation. And because the rule of three exists for a reason, Wylfred’s mother went insane from grief and regressed to her days as a young maiden in love, as such she only recognizes Wylfred as her late-husband (though this isn’t elaborated upon).

Having his family torn apart by his father’s death, Wylfred swears revenge upon the Valkyrie, Lenneth, and what better way to find her than in the battlefield. Thus, Wylfred sets out with his best friend, Ancel to become a mercenary. However, a mission gone wrong puts Wylfred on the verge of death, outraged at his quest for revenge getting cut short, Hel, ruler of Niflheim (the underworld), offers Wylfred the power to carry out his revenge, in order to use it he will have to sacrifice everything he has, but does he have the malice to carry this through to the end?

Four on one? Sounds fair to me.

Four on one? Sounds fair to me.

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