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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