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IVEJUNE ISSUE PART 1 <strong>2019</strong><br />

©<strong>2019</strong> CTMG. All Rights Reserved.<br />

MEET THE CHARACTERS --- DOUBLE PASS GIVE AWAY --- SOME FUN FACTS


Go to page 20 for more details on MEN IN BLACK INTERNATIONAL and how you could win some double passes (Australia Only)


From the Editor<br />

Hello and welcome to the <strong>June</strong> edition of Gametraders Live!<br />

We have a smaller issue again for you but this time that is because<br />

we are splitting the magazine into two. As you may have noticed this<br />

one is Men in Black TM : International themed but the next one, which<br />

comes out in two weeks, will be themed based on our next giveaway.<br />

Inside part one we have some fun facts about Men in Black TM :<br />

International as well as a meet the characters and information on how<br />

you could win a double pass. We also have an article about Godzilla<br />

to discuss how Godzilla came about, as well as plenty of interesting<br />

articles and reviews.<br />

We hope you enjoy the magazine and as always if you are interested in<br />

writing for our magazine please email live@gametraders.com.au<br />

Emily Langford<br />

Emily Langford,<br />

EDITOR


What’s inside<br />

MEN IN BLACK TM : INTERNATIONAL pg. 16<br />

LONG<br />

<strong>LIVE</strong><br />

THE<br />

KING<br />

REVIEWS:<br />

CASTLEVANIA<br />

&<br />

MORTAL KOMBAT 11<br />

pg. 8<br />

pg. 26 & pg. 44


THE <strong>LIVE</strong> TEAM<br />

EDITOR & DESIGNER: Emily Langford<br />

WRITERS:<br />

Scott F. Sowter, Entertainment Review and Opinion<br />

Paul Monopoli, Interviews / Retro Editor<br />

A LOOK BACK AT ACQUIRE’S<br />

GAMES FOR PLAYSTATION<br />

Pg. 54<br />

Adam Cartwright, Evan Norris & Ben Dye,<br />

VGChartz<br />

VITAS LOST GAMES:<br />

A LOOK AT THE DIGITAL FUTURE<br />

Pg. 32<br />

MEN IN BLACK TM :INTERNATIONAL<br />

GIVEAWAY<br />

Pg. 20


MOVIES<br />

MEN IN BLACK<br />

LONG <strong>LIVE</strong> THE KING


,tv&<br />

ANIME


In 1954 Gojira was released in Japan.<br />

Toho Studios created the giant monster<br />

film to keep up with a popular trend in<br />

sci-fi horror that was sweeping the world.<br />

However there was something about<br />

this monster that made him special.<br />

Something about this film that worked<br />

perfectly. Something about this monster<br />

that would lead to a sixty year legacy that<br />

includes thirty-two films, video games,<br />

comic books, countless merch items and a<br />

lifetime of pop culture references.<br />

force of these weapons. It remains the<br />

only country in the world to have had such<br />

horror released upon a civilian population.<br />

The atomic bomb was dropped on<br />

Hiroshima at 8:15am. From where the<br />

bomb fell a 1.6km radius was totally<br />

decimated. It left fires and destruction<br />

for a further 11km. 80,000 lives gone in<br />

a blink. Days later a bigger bomb was<br />

dropped on Nagasaki. Japan surrendered<br />

days later. Obviously Japan committed<br />

some atrocities during the war. Many felt<br />

that dropping the bombs was the only way<br />

So why sixty-five years later are we still<br />

obsessed with this giant lizard?<br />

to guarantee their surrender. This has been<br />

debated for years. Regardless of that, the<br />

power the allies displayed ended WW2<br />

In the 1940’s mankind cracked the secrets<br />

and changed the world forever.<br />

of the atom. Like the good murderous apes<br />

we are we fashioned these monumental<br />

discoveries into the most diabolical<br />

weapons ever made. On August sixth and<br />

August ninth 1945 Japan experienced the<br />

Japan is left with this psychic and physical<br />

scars. There is no way they couldn’t be.<br />

Atomic power was unleashed upon them.<br />

Nine years later director Ishiro Honda


was hired by<br />

Toho Studios to<br />

make a monster film.<br />

Honda served in the<br />

Japanese military and was<br />

plagued by vivid nightmare of his<br />

service. As horrible as it sounds, he was<br />

perfect for the job. He created a giant<br />

lizard that was created or awoken by the<br />

use of the atomic bomb. The monster<br />

eventually entered Tokyo Bay and over<br />

several attacks he destroys much of the<br />

city. Towards the end of the film a noted<br />

scientist named Serizawa creates a<br />

no one will<br />

ever be able to<br />

replicate its<br />

destructive power.<br />

weapon more powerful than the atomic<br />

bomb called the oxygen destroyer.<br />

Serizawa then sacrifices his life using the<br />

weapon on the monster to ensure<br />

Honda infused the film with as<br />

much horror as he could. If you watch<br />

the film now, some of it seems corny, sure.


But the scenes of burn victims in their<br />

thousands, laying on stretches in make shift<br />

hospitals, it’s chilling. You have to think to<br />

the Japanese, just nine years ago, this was<br />

a reality. The monster wasn’t of flesh and<br />

blood but a plane, raining radioactive fire<br />

down on them. Its jaw dropping on the pulse<br />

filmmaking. Commentary of a countries pain<br />

in the disguise of a monster movie.<br />

the Japanese words for gorilla and whale.<br />

Not the most pleasant of nicknames to<br />

live with but it worked for Honda. Thus<br />

Gojira was born. In 1954 the film was<br />

re-cut and released in the United States,<br />

adding American actor Raymond Burr into<br />

the film and changing some of the scenes<br />

that made America look more or less like<br />

the bad guys. They westernised the name<br />

Gojira to Godzilla.<br />

His monster needed a name. Thankfully<br />

that name came from the most unlikely<br />

of sources. One of the crew on the Toho<br />

Studios sets, was a larger man and he had<br />

a nickname. “Gojira”, the combination of<br />

Gojira was a massive success and from<br />

there the whole monster genre just took<br />

off. There was no stopping the new king of<br />

the monsters.


Fast forward to <strong>2019</strong>. The new Hollywood<br />

film Godzilla King of The Monsters just hit<br />

cinemas. The film stands as an amazing<br />

love letter to the original Japanese source<br />

material. More faithful than any other<br />

western reboot or remake to date. It<br />

captures the over the top feeling and<br />

love of its giant monsters. Sixty-five years<br />

later and Godzilla is still stomping all over<br />

cinema screens. Only now he’s brought<br />

to life with state of the art digital effects<br />

rather than puppets, rubber suits and<br />

model cities. So why does this lizard still<br />

capture our imagination? I believe it all<br />

comes down to spectacle and escapism.<br />

Godzilla is a giant being that we helped<br />

create and it has turned against us. He’s an<br />

animal out of control. He’s Frankensteins<br />

monster and Jaws all rolled into one. He’s<br />

massive. He’s the force of a hurricane and<br />

weapons of war. He makes us feel small.<br />

And maybe that’s it. Sometimes it’s nice to<br />

feel small. Godzilla stands as a reminder<br />

of our place in the world. Nature will<br />

always beat us. The weapons we create,<br />

our bodies and our buildings are simply<br />

no match. He stands as the ultimate<br />

reminder that we will ruin this world and<br />

it will not be so forgiving with us. It’s a<br />

cautionary tale. Like fairy tales of old, don’t


go into the woods because the wolf will<br />

get you. Well, keep making weapons and<br />

destroying the earth and the big bad lizard<br />

might come and royally ruin our day.<br />

symbol of trying to cope with their grief to<br />

cartoon monster smashing buildings there<br />

will always be a place and a meaning for<br />

this giant lizard. Long live the king!<br />

Godzilla has endured so long now, and<br />

he will continue to endure. He’s a staple<br />

of pop-culture. He’s been in snicker bar<br />

By Scott F. Sowter<br />

Twitter: @ScottFSowter<br />

commercials and the Simpsons. You don’t<br />

get much bigger than that. From a nations


meet the characters<br />

Agent H<br />

Agent M


CHRIS HEMSWORTH AS AGENT H.<br />

ONE OF THE MOST ADMIRED AGENTS AT THE MIB LONDON OFFICE, AGENT H<br />

SAVED THE WORLD ONCE, FROM A EVIL ALIEN RACE CALLED “THE HIVE.” HE<br />

WILL FIND HIMSELF AT THE CENTER OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO A MOLE AT<br />

THE AGENCY.<br />

TESSA THOMPSON AS THE NEWLY MINTED<br />

AGENT M.<br />

AFTER A CHILDHOOD ENCOUNTER WITH AN ALIEN AND SOME STRANGE MEN IN<br />

BLACK SUITS, SHE SPENT THE NEXT 20 YEARS TRYING TO TRACK DOWN AND<br />

JOIN THE “MIB”, THE SECRETIVE ORGANIZATION THAT POLICES ALIEN ACTIVITY<br />

ON EARTH. SHE WILL FORM A PARTNERSHIP WITH AGENT H TO ROOT OUT THE<br />

MOLE IN MIB LONDON.<br />

KUMAIL NANJIANI, PLAYS PAWNY<br />

A PINT SIZE ALIEN WITH AN OVERSIZED PERSONALITY WHO <strong>LIVE</strong>S ON A CHESS<br />

SET. WHEN THE QUEEN HE SERVES IS MURDERED, HE PLEDGES HIMSELF TO<br />

AGENT M, MUCH TO HER CHAGRIN, AND H’S AMUSEMENT.


Agent O<br />

EMMA THOMPSON AS AGENT O,<br />

HEAD OF MIB NEW YORK.<br />

HEAD OF MIB NEW YORK. IMPRESSED BY AGENT M’S<br />

TIRELESS EFFORTS TO FIND AND JOIN MIB, SHE SENDS THE<br />

ROOKIE AGENT ON HER FIRST MISSION TO LONDON WHERE<br />

O HASBEGUN TO SUSPECT SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT.<br />

LES TWINS PLAY LETHAL ALIEN<br />

ASSASSINS FROM THE PLANET<br />

DRACO.<br />

AS AGENTS OF THE HIVE THEY SEEK AN ALIEN SUPER<br />

WEAPON THAT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO EARTH THAT<br />

COULD CHANGE THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE<br />

UNIVERSE.<br />

RAFE SPALL PLAYS AGENT C<br />

AGENT H’S COLLEAGUE AND ARCH RIVAL<br />

AT LONDON BRANCH. C IS JEALOUS OF H’S SKILLS,<br />

LOOKS, RELATIONSHIP WITH HIGH T... YOU GET<br />

THE PICTURE. WILL THIS SEETHING RESENTMENT<br />

TRANSLATE INTO BETRAYAL?


LIAM NEESON AS HIGH T, THE HEAD OF<br />

THE LONDON BRANCH OF MIB.<br />

A LEGENDARY AGENT IN HIS OWN RIGHT, AND A FATHER<br />

FIGURE TO AGENT H. HE WAS WITH H THE NIGHT THEY SAVED<br />

THE WORLD FROM THE HIVE. HE’S JUST DISCOVERED THAT<br />

HE HAS A MOLE IN LONDON BRANCH. HE TASKS AGENTS<br />

EM AND H TO HUNT DOWN THE MOLE AND SAVE THE<br />

ORGANIZATION HE LOVES.<br />

High T<br />

REBECCA FERGUSON<br />

PLAYS AGENT H’S ALIEN<br />

EX-GIRLFRIEND<br />

RUTHLESS ALIEN ARMS DEALER. H ONCE WENT<br />

UNDERCOVER TO BRING HER TO JUSTICE,<br />

BUT ENDED UP FALLING FOR HER INSTEAD.<br />

SHE STILL HAS FEELINGS FOR H -- DECIDEDLY<br />

NEGATIVE FEELINGS. THE PATH TO FINDING THE<br />

MOLE RUNS THROUGH HER BEAUTIFUL, AND<br />

DEADLY, ISLAND REDOUBT.


DOUBLE PASS GIVE AWAY<br />

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the<br />

universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to<br />

date: a mole in the Men in Black organisation.<br />

Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani,<br />

Rafe Spall, Laurent Bourgeois, Larry Bourgeois with Emma Thompson and Liam<br />

Neeson.<br />

Directed by F. Gary Gray. In cinemas <strong>June</strong> 13.<br />

WIN A DOUBLE PASS!<br />

In cinemas December 13<br />

Thanks to Sony Pictures and Gametraders you could win a double pass to see<br />

the new Men in Black TM : International.<br />

All you have to do is go to the Gametraders Facebook page and like the<br />

competition post, tag who you’re going to take and comment why you want<br />

to see Men in Black TM : International! - For a special double entry also let us<br />

know which fun fact from our magazine you found most interesting!


©<strong>2019</strong> CTMG. All Rights Reserved.


FUN FACTS & TRIVIA<br />

Paul Smith plays a cameo in the<br />

movie as the proprietor of the type<br />

writer shop which hides the secret<br />

entrance to MIB London.<br />

The Art Department produced<br />

610 technical drawings for this<br />

MIB movie. In total, they printed<br />

44 miles of technical drawings,<br />

which were issued to all the<br />

key departments.<br />

The MIB London set was built to be<br />

exactly the same size as the MIB<br />

New York set in Men In Black III –<br />

25,000 sqft.<br />

For the scene in the Moroccan Kasbah,<br />

where MIB agents try to corner M & H, all the<br />

agents on the roof of the Kasbah Mosque<br />

had to be of the Muslim faith. It was the first<br />

time anyone had filmed a scene with people<br />

on the top of the mosque.


H’s vintage Jag hides a multitude of alien<br />

busting fire-arms; one in the door handle, the<br />

front wing mirror, the rear bumper, the hubcap,<br />

the exhaust pipe, and the rear wheel.<br />

130 tons of red sand was<br />

transported from the Peak<br />

District to Leavesden Studios<br />

to make the sand dunes of the<br />

Merzouga Desert on E Stage.<br />

55 white-card scale models<br />

of the set builds were made<br />

and used in planning camera<br />

angles and lighting.<br />

Les Twins, who play the alien<br />

twins, were once backing<br />

dancers for Beyonce.<br />

During the flash back sequence, the<br />

neuralyzer used on Molly’s parents was<br />

an original prop from the first Men In Black<br />

movies.<br />

The original neuralyzers are<br />

12 inches long, whereas the<br />

<strong>2019</strong> version is slightly smaller<br />

at 10 inches.<br />

The graphics team created<br />

four different alien languages<br />

for the signage in the MIB<br />

London arrivals hall.


gameS<br />

VITA’S LOST GA<br />

A LOOK AT THE<br />

DIGITAL FUTUR<br />

A LOOK BACK AT ACQUIRE’S GAMES FOR<br />

PLAYSTATION VITA


REVIEWS<br />

MES<br />

E


Evan Norris<br />

REVIEW NS:<br />

CASTLEVANIA<br />

ANNIVERSARY<br />

COLLECTION<br />

While Castlevania’s future may be in doubt<br />

there’s no denying the greatness of its<br />

past. Enter the latest Konami 50th birthday<br />

compilation, Castlevania Anniversary<br />

welcome quality-of-life features, and a<br />

digital history book that covers the origins<br />

and early life of one of Konami’s signature<br />

series.<br />

Collection, which captures the slice of the<br />

franchise before it veered toward nonlinear<br />

action-adventure. Featuring titles<br />

from 1986 to 1994, it’s a near exhaustive<br />

look at the foundational action-platform<br />

games that defined Castlevania before the<br />

advent of PlayStation. Disregarding one<br />

glaring omission, it’s a worthy collection,<br />

with several good or great games, some<br />

Altogether, the Castlevania Anniversary<br />

Collection hosts eight games, all perfectly<br />

ported by M2 (Sega Ages) from original<br />

platforms like NES, Gameboy, SNES,<br />

Famicom, and Sega Genesis. These include<br />

the original NES trilogy, two Gameboy titles,<br />

Super Castlevania IV, Bloodlines, and, for<br />

the first time in North America, Kid Dracula.


Every one is available immediately from the<br />

main menu, where scrolling text introduces<br />

the back-story for each.<br />

black sheep of the early franchise, can be<br />

frustratingly cryptic, but its experiments<br />

with RPG systems, open-world elements,<br />

and a day-night cycle are intriguing.<br />

Every single title in the collection is<br />

noteworthy, if not excellent. The premier<br />

Castlevania, despite its age, is still a<br />

fun, atmospheric adventure through<br />

Dracula’s castle. It’s sequel, Castlevania<br />

II: Simon’s Quest, often considered the<br />

The most beloved of the original trilogy<br />

is the prequel Castlevania III: Dracula’s<br />

Curse, which returned to the first game’s<br />

straightforward gameplay but added<br />

branching paths and unlockable characters,<br />

to which players could swap mid-level.


Castlevania: Bloodlines, the youngest<br />

game in the collection and the only<br />

one from a non-Nintendo platform, is<br />

remarkable also, thanks to two starting<br />

characters, wild level design, unique<br />

primary weapon upgrades, and secondary<br />

movement and fighting mechanics<br />

combine with staggering level design,<br />

thick atmosphere, amazing graphics<br />

(bolstered in spots by Mode 7), and some<br />

of the best music and sound design in<br />

video game history.<br />

and tertiary attacks for sub-weapons.<br />

Due to its speed and missing Castlevania<br />

staples, it’s the most atypical of the<br />

compilation, but it’s a welcome addition<br />

nevertheless.<br />

Regrettably, that other great Castlevania<br />

game of the era, Rondo of Blood,<br />

is conspicuously absent from the<br />

compilation. Leaving out titles like<br />

Symphony of the Night or the GBA/DS<br />

The best of the bunch—and one of the<br />

two greatest Castlevania games released<br />

before 1997’s Symphony of the Night,<br />

which changed the rules forever—is Super<br />

Castlevania IV, a reimagining of the first<br />

game in the series. Released in 1991, this<br />

SNES title turned the series’ stiff, weighty<br />

platforming and inflexible whip controls<br />

adventures makes sense here, if Konami is<br />

attempting to capture a set of games with<br />

similar templates and mechanics—and,<br />

honestly, the franchise is so rich it could<br />

support two more collections on top of<br />

this one—but there’s no excuse to leave<br />

out the last great “classic” Castlevania<br />

game.<br />

upside down, granting players control<br />

over hero Simon Belmont mid-jump<br />

and the power to manipulate his iconic<br />

whip in eight directions. These liberating<br />

Aggravating the decision to exclude<br />

Rondo is the inclusion of an inferior<br />

Gameboy title, Castlevania: The Adventure.


While interesting from a historic<br />

point of view—it introduced brand<br />

new whip power-ups—it’s a slowmoving,<br />

clunky, monotonous<br />

game with no sub-weapons. Its<br />

portable follow-up, Castlevania II:<br />

Belmont’s Revenge, is surprisingly<br />

enjoyable however. It reintroduces<br />

sub-weapons and allows players<br />

to choose in which order to attack<br />

several castles, a la Mega Man.<br />

It would be easy to call Belmont’s<br />

Revenge the hidden gem of the<br />

anthology if it wasn’t for Kid Dracula,<br />

which launched in Japan in 1990 on<br />

Famicom but never saw an official<br />

English translation until now. A<br />

parody of the series, it’s a bright,<br />

unserious ride through the usually<br />

grim, gothic world of Castlevania.<br />

This is still an action-platformer at<br />

heart, but in tone and structure it’s<br />

more Kirby than Simon Belmont.


In terms of special features and<br />

customization options, Castlevania<br />

Anniversary Collection is solid, although<br />

not comprehensive. Players can choose<br />

from three different borders and six<br />

different screen settings (e.g. pixel perfect,<br />

scan lines, etc.), and save replays of the<br />

most recent action. Crucially, the game<br />

allows a single save state for each game,<br />

which is almost mandatory for some of<br />

the more punishing entries. Unfortunately,<br />

multiple save states and the ability to<br />

remap buttons are unavailable. So too are<br />

the Japanese versions of the anthology’s<br />

games, although Konami has promised<br />

these in a free update sometime soon.<br />

It’s nice to see Konami celebrate the early<br />

history of arguably its greatest franchise.<br />

Minus Castlevania: The Adventure, easily<br />

the weakest entry in the compilation, the<br />

games on display are great, good, or, in<br />

the case of titles like Simon’s Quest, at<br />

the very least mechanically interesting.<br />

Moreover, every one is brought faithfully<br />

back to life by the technical wizards at<br />

M2, and buttressed with some modern<br />

quality-of-life features. The absence of<br />

Rondo of Blood hurts, and there’s an<br />

opening for more bells and whistles,<br />

but taken as a whole this second part of<br />

Konami’s year-long birthday celebration is<br />

a worthwhile trip to the past.<br />

Finally, just like Konami’s Arcade Classics<br />

collection, this bundle includes a “Bonus<br />

By Evan Norris, VGChartz<br />

Book”, with design documents, concept<br />

art, and interviews with important figures<br />

like composer Michiru Yamane.


BEN DYE<br />

VITA<br />

A LOOK AT THE


’S LOST GAMES:<br />

DIGITAL FUTURE<br />

Ever since the advent of<br />

full-game downloads on<br />

consoles, it seems the market<br />

has slowly been shifting<br />

towards a digital future<br />

where games are delivered<br />

through internet connections<br />

rather than physical disks.<br />

While the convenience<br />

this brings is undeniable,<br />

and plenty of gamers have<br />

embraced having a stuffed<br />

memory card in their Vita,<br />

there are major pitfalls that<br />

are slowly beginning to show,<br />

one of which is that games<br />

can be delisted without<br />

any prior warning, leaving<br />

them lost to time unless you<br />

bought them before they<br />

disappeared.<br />

It’s these that I’m aiming<br />

to examine in this article<br />

- games which have been<br />

removed from the PlayStation<br />

Store, both those that are<br />

digital-only (meaning they’re<br />

gone forever) and those that<br />

have physical releases that<br />

you’ll need to hunt down.<br />

Why have they been delisted<br />

and what does this mean for<br />

the Vita’s digital future?


Digital Delisted Games With Physical Releases<br />

Of course, the best case scenario for the<br />

games that will be featured in an article like<br />

this are those that have had both physical<br />

and digital releases, because this means<br />

that although they’ve been removed from<br />

digital storefronts you can still hunt down a<br />

physical copy, so you’re not completely out<br />

of options.<br />

and Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth. Both of<br />

these received physical English releases in<br />

Asia, meaning you can still get them, but<br />

prices are insanely high for both – Digimon<br />

regularly fetches upwards of $90/£90 on<br />

eBay, while Asterisk War is commanding<br />

more like $250/£250. Others, like Dragon Ball<br />

Z: Battle of Z, J-Stars Victory Vs+, One Piece<br />

Pirate Warriors 3, and One Piece Unlimited<br />

Sadly, some of these have become hugely<br />

pricey as time has gone on, the main<br />

offenders being anime licensed titles from<br />

Bandai-Namco like A.W. Phoenix Festa<br />

World Red also received physical releases in<br />

Europe, making them slightly easier to hunt<br />

down, but even for these titles prices are only<br />

going to increase as time goes on.


Given the aforementioned titles’<br />

sudden disappearance from digital<br />

storefronts, I would also be on alert<br />

for other anime games suddenly<br />

disappearing from the store without<br />

notice. Things like Digimon Story:<br />

Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory and<br />

Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs<br />

Force could well be next. Again, Asian-<br />

English physical versions are available<br />

for both, but with cart production<br />

ceasing this year these are only going<br />

to get rarer and rarer.<br />

Licensing is a common issue<br />

among delisted titles. The Marvel<br />

licence in particular seems to<br />

be problematic. This means<br />

games like The Amazing Spider-<br />

Man and Ultimate Marvel vs.<br />

Capcom 3 are long gone (sadly<br />

so too is the DLC for the latter, a<br />

problem which has also affected<br />

LittleBigPlanet as it offered<br />

Marvel-themed DLC), and so too<br />

is Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel’s<br />

Super Heroes.


Speaking of Disney, its Star Wars IP formed<br />

part of Angry Birds Star Wars, which is<br />

now delisted, but so too is the Angry Birds<br />

Trilogy. This is a bit baffling since they were<br />

both originally mobile titles.<br />

Disney also licensed Epic Mickey 2: The<br />

Power of Two to Sony and this can only<br />

be played via a now-expensive physical<br />

release.<br />

The SpongeBob licence also seems to have<br />

expired for publisher Activision, meaning<br />

SpongeBob Heropants is gone and physical<br />

copies are beginning to shoot up in price,<br />

despite the game being a bit of a dud. Three<br />

more games which can’t be picked up for<br />

a reasonable amount anymore are Ben 10:<br />

Galactic Racing, Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen,<br />

and New Little King’s Story, the latter of which<br />

only got a physical English release in Europe<br />

A similar thing happened with both LEGO<br />

Lord of the Rings and LEGO The Hobbit,<br />

with both disappearing mostly overnight<br />

from all digital storefronts, not just Vita.<br />

Thankfully, pre-owned physical copies can<br />

be found at fairly cheap prices; something<br />

and Asia, meaning it’s pretty rare and getting<br />

rarer by the day. WRC3 on the other hand is<br />

delisted but easy enough to find. Whether<br />

you should or not is another matter, given it’s<br />

effectively obsolete with the much better WRC4<br />

having released.<br />

also true of Virtua Tennis 4: World Tour<br />

(although prices are starting to creep up).<br />

Speaking of sports titles, all three of the<br />

four FIFA games have been delisted, with<br />

only FIFA ’15 remaining (surely a ploy to<br />

get you to buy the most recent version,<br />

although it barely matters since they all<br />

play the same). Football Manager Classic<br />

2014 is also gone too, despite some of the<br />

PSP Champion Manager games still being<br />

up!<br />

Oddly, despite being produced by mobile<br />

gaming giant Gameloft, Asphalt Injection and<br />

Dungeon Hunter Alliance have been delisted<br />

on Vita. The former sort of makes sense<br />

because it includes licensed vehicles, but the<br />

latter is baffling considering the PS3 version is<br />

still available. Perhaps it has something to do<br />

with Ubisoft publishing the Vita ports, which<br />

caused some kind of contractual issue (Ubisoft’s<br />

licensed rhythm game Michael Jackson: The<br />

Experience is also gone).


Digital Delisted Games Without Physical Releases<br />

The other key class of games here is, of<br />

course, those that only received digital<br />

releases and had no physical counterparts,<br />

meaning they’re lost forever if you didn’t<br />

grab them while they were up on the<br />

store.<br />

any English text, making it a fairly useless<br />

import unless you want to muddle<br />

through. Thankfully, the developers<br />

warned of the delisting in advance and<br />

even sold the game for $0.99 for its final<br />

few weeks, meaning it was easy to grab<br />

as long as you had a PlayStation Network<br />

The one semi-exception to this rule is<br />

account.<br />

Adventure Time: Secret of the Nameless<br />

Kingdom, which oddly received a physical<br />

release in Japan but not the west. Sadly,<br />

this physical version does not include<br />

Other titles weren’t so lucky. For example,<br />

games like Sony’s music festival simulation<br />

BigFest disappeared once its online


servers went down, even though the<br />

game is still fully playable without them.<br />

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition is a<br />

title that went without much warning<br />

too, likely due to an upcoming PS4/XB1<br />

port, which meant that publisher Gearbox<br />

didn’t want gamers playing the older<br />

version (oddly it contained slightly more<br />

content than the newer release).<br />

Journey (I didn’t realise it myself until<br />

randomly browsing the other day. The<br />

loss of this one is a shame as it was highly<br />

recommended by a user on a forum I<br />

browse) and Superfrog HD, both of which<br />

had no real reason for being removed<br />

given they’re self-published indie titles.<br />

They go to show the volatility of the<br />

digital-only future.<br />

One of the first games to be delisted<br />

that really made headlines was Plants vs.<br />

Zombies, one of the console’s western<br />

launch titles that was a shining example<br />

of digital distribution done right...<br />

until it mysteriously vanished from<br />

the store without warning (likely to do<br />

with the licence given to Sony Online<br />

Entertainment expiring). Another game<br />

that received a surprising amount of<br />

attention for its delisting was The Pinball<br />

Arcade, which lost a large number of its<br />

tables (offered through DLC) late last year,<br />

effectively gutting it in terms of content.<br />

The biggest offender in this regard is<br />

the whole of PlayStation Mobile, though<br />

– a now-defunct service which allowed<br />

developers to create small games for<br />

a nominal fee and put them up on the<br />

cluttered PSM Store. The whole initiative<br />

was shut down in 2015 and, worse still,<br />

you can’t actually re-download any of<br />

these titles anymore, meaning games<br />

like Forevolution, Rymdkapsel, Sword<br />

of Rapier, and Tokyo Jungle Mobile are<br />

potentially lost forever (I have the games<br />

on my OLED Vita, which is probably going<br />

to die at some point, and then they’ll be<br />

gone for good for me).<br />

Less fanfare was made about the<br />

disappearance of things like Jazz: Trump’s


Free-to-Play Games<br />

The final group of games I want to<br />

touch on here are free-to-play titles,<br />

which rely on micro-transactions to stay<br />

viable, meaning that once the servers go<br />

down the games go down with them – a<br />

terrible result for those of us who want<br />

to preserve titles we love into the future.<br />

but I still enjoyed my time with it and<br />

would recommend people try it out for<br />

something different on the handheld.<br />

In fact, Sony-published F2P titles have a<br />

habit of disappearing. Destiny of Spirits<br />

went down less than a year after being<br />

released, Ecolibrium is being shutdown<br />

in May alongside Invokers Tournament,<br />

The main one that stands out for me<br />

is Invokers Tournament, Vita’s first and<br />

only MOBA. Although it’s not gone<br />

yet (server shutdown is the 15th of<br />

May), there’s only a month and a half<br />

left to play it. It’s not the best game,<br />

and Fat Princess: Piece of Cake was<br />

swiftly removed from the store too. I<br />

feel like it’s only a matter of time until<br />

Run Sackboy! Run! is gone, so if you’ve<br />

ever been tempted to try it out the time<br />

is now.


A few third-party developers also tried<br />

their hands at the F2P market. One of the<br />

strangest was Square-Enix’s effort with<br />

Deadman’s Cross, a shooter mixed with a<br />

card game that seemingly didn’t do very well<br />

as it was shut down within a year. Treasures<br />

of Montezuma Blitz seemed to last a lot<br />

longer, but sadly even that’s gone now too (I<br />

don’t even remember hearing about it being<br />

Compile Heart named NepNep Connect:<br />

Chaos Chanpuru which mixed in characters<br />

from a variety of its Vita titles, including<br />

Monster Monpiece, Neptunia and Trillion?<br />

Well, it’s delisted now, alongside things like<br />

Picotto Knights, a side-scrolling brawler<br />

from GungHo, Tri-Ace’s cover-shooter card<br />

game Judas Code, and both Chain Chronicle<br />

V and Samurai & Dragons from SEGA.<br />

removed).<br />

Square-Enix also released a new entry in its<br />

One of my biggest regrets with Vita gaming<br />

was not getting a Japanese account sooner,<br />

as there were a tonne of fun-looking F2P<br />

titles on the Japanese store that are now<br />

long gone. Did you know, for example,<br />

that there was a crossover card game from<br />

Mana series, entitled Rise of Mana, which<br />

was supposedly pretty well received, but the<br />

service was shut down in 2016 (apparently<br />

Square-Enix is looking to re-tool the game<br />

as something else, but that seems unlikely at<br />

this point and it definitely won’t be for Vita).


Two Gundam games – Gundam Conquest<br />

V and Mobile Suit Gundam: Battle<br />

Fortress - were also released in the region<br />

but went before I had chance to try them<br />

out. The fact these titles all disappeared<br />

so quickly means I’m probably going to<br />

have to hurry up if I want to play things<br />

like the Yakuza F2P spin-offs on the<br />

Japanese store, before they’re gone for<br />

good too.


Conclusion<br />

As you might have gathered<br />

from the tone of this article, I’m<br />

a massive advocate of physical<br />

media, because it gives me the<br />

opportunity to preserve my games.<br />

I’m still planning on playing my<br />

Vita for years to come and having<br />

this matter is to make sure that<br />

you don’t wait too long to buy<br />

something if you’re interested,<br />

especially if there’s some kind of<br />

licence involved (the recent news<br />

about Driveclub is a fantastic<br />

example of that).<br />

a copy I can put in a drawer to<br />

come back to later means I don’t<br />

have to rush to grab things before<br />

they’re gone. Sure, physical carts<br />

won’t last forever either (although<br />

they don’t suffer from disc rot,<br />

there are other problems with flash<br />

memory), but they at least offer a<br />

better solution.<br />

Thankfully, there are companies<br />

out there like Limited Run Games<br />

that are working hard to preserve<br />

games (even if they’re not always<br />

entirely succeeding, with things<br />

like Night Trap being full of bugs<br />

and Ys Origin launching without<br />

the patch on the cart), so there are<br />

more physical options than ever<br />

The financial advantages of digital<br />

distribution mean we’re seeing<br />

more and more games opt for this<br />

route. Many indie titles wouldn’t<br />

be possible if physical production<br />

before. Vita’s digital future has<br />

offered many advantages, but I’m<br />

certainly glad that carts exist and<br />

I’ll be playing mine for years to<br />

come.<br />

was the only way to release, for<br />

example. But it also means we’re<br />

By Adam Cartwright<br />

at risk of seeing many more games<br />

lost to time. My only advice on


REVIEW ps4:<br />

MORTA


L KOMBAT 11<br />

Evan Norris


NetherRealm Studios is the best thing to<br />

happen to Mortal Kombat since Ed Boon and<br />

John Tobias. After successfully rebooting the<br />

famous fighting franchise in 2011 following<br />

publisher Midway’s bankruptcy, the studio,<br />

headed by series co-creator Boon, turned in<br />

arguably the best installment yet in Mortal<br />

its immediate predecessors with an hourslong,<br />

big-budget, cinematic campaign, which<br />

exploits the franchise’s rich mythology. With<br />

multiple playable characters, several stunning<br />

set-pieces, lots of unlockables—including one<br />

fighter, Frost—and plenty of fanboy fodder, it’s<br />

absolutely worth playing.<br />

Kombat X. Now, NetherRealm has produced<br />

another great entry with Mortal Kombat 11<br />

(MK11), a technically-superior 2D fighter rich<br />

in content and customization options.<br />

Picking up where Mortal Kombat X ended,<br />

the story in MK11 follows an unlikely alliance<br />

of Earthrealm and Outworld combatants that<br />

forms to combat a new divine enemy, Kronika.<br />

For a lot of fighting games, story mode is an<br />

afterthought; for Mortal Kombat, it’s a source<br />

of pride. MK11 continues the tradition of<br />

Using her powers of time manipulation,<br />

Kronika seeks to reboot the universe in order<br />

to restore harmony between light and dark.


To this end she manipulates multiple time<br />

streams, in the process bringing modern<br />

versions of series’ heroes into contact<br />

with their younger selves, and resurrecting<br />

characters long dead. The fan service<br />

possibilities are self-evident, and Boon<br />

and company waste no time giving longtime<br />

fans all the dream match-ups and<br />

encounters they can handle.<br />

Here players can hone their skills against AI<br />

opponents, practice executing fatalities—<br />

the franchise’s grisly finishing moves—or<br />

learn the ropes in a deep, expansive tutorial.<br />

Featuring basic, advanced, and characterspecific<br />

lessons, it’s a terrific primer for the<br />

complex rules and mechanics of the game.<br />

One particular lesson, “Frame Data”, is a<br />

brilliant breakdown of the anatomy of a<br />

move—beginning, middle, and end. Anyone<br />

Story mode takes up a sizable chunk of the<br />

game, but it’s only one of many modes.<br />

MK11 falls into four main buckets: Konquer,<br />

confused by the invisible science of fighting<br />

games should absolutely visit this lesson; it’s<br />

revelatory.<br />

Fight, Kustomize, and Learn. While “Learn”<br />

comes last, it’s probably the best place to<br />

start, particularly for fighting game rookies.<br />

The heart of the game is “Fight”, where<br />

players fight locally or online. In the online


arena, players can participate in highstakes<br />

battles against human opponents<br />

from around the globe, or try low-pressure<br />

“kasual” battles. Finding a match or creating<br />

a “kustom” lobby is quick and easy, and lag<br />

is virtually non-existent. The programmers<br />

at NetherRealm have worked wonders with<br />

netcode in MK11.<br />

Overall, the game plays tighter and slower<br />

than Mortal Kombat X, thanks to some small<br />

but meaningful changes. NetherRealm has<br />

slowed walk speeds, shortened combos, and<br />

removed run altogether to create a more<br />

deliberate fighter focused on spacing and<br />

punishing opponent misses. In addition, the<br />

developer has split the Super Meter into<br />

separate offensive and defensive meters—the<br />

They’ve also turned in an entertaining,<br />

tactical fighter with support for a large cast<br />

of characters and many different play styles.<br />

former used to enhance special moves, the<br />

latter deployed for special wake-up attacks<br />

or to “fall out” of an opponent’s combo.


Another new, less welcome addition is the<br />

bone-cracking Fatal Blow, which essentially<br />

replaces X-ray attacks from the last game.<br />

Where X-ray moves required a full Super<br />

Meter, the Fatal Blow works independently,<br />

becoming available once a player’s health<br />

is below 30%. These cinematic, gory<br />

attacks can deal up to 35% damage to an<br />

opponent, swinging the tide of battle in<br />

favor of the losing player. You can only<br />

opponents each, and a unique ending<br />

for each character. Towers of Time is a<br />

constantly-changing rotation of challenging<br />

themed towers, e.g., “defeat an assortment<br />

of foes when random Modifiers are active.”<br />

Finally, the Krypt is a giant dungeon filled<br />

with chests that require one of MK11’s<br />

many currencies to open. Together, these<br />

destinations are the best way to collect the<br />

game’s ubiquitous, excessive loot.<br />

use your Fatal Blow once per match, which<br />

limits its effectiveness across a best-twoout-of-three<br />

contest. However, if the<br />

super-move is blocked or misses, it will<br />

become available again a short time later,<br />

which is overly generous. Ultimately, it’s an<br />

emergency move that seems a little out of<br />

place in a game that goes out of its way to<br />

reward smart, thoughtful play.<br />

If MK11 has a flaw, it’s that it has too<br />

much stuff. With several currencies—<br />

time krystals, koins, soul fragments, and<br />

hearts—daily challenges, daily rewards,<br />

konsumables, objective rewards, and<br />

customization assets like skins, intros,<br />

victories, augments, and end of round<br />

taunts, it’s simply overwhelming. The game<br />

allows you to create custom characters<br />

Once you’ve figured out the basics in<br />

“Learn” and visited pain upon human rivals<br />

in “Fight”, you can take on AI fighters in<br />

“Konquer”, which, in addition to story mode,<br />

boasts Towers and the Krypt—two staples<br />

of the series. Klassic Towers are traditional<br />

arcade single-player modes with several<br />

with unique outfits, moves, and gear in<br />

“Kustomize” (player-made characters are,<br />

wisely, ineligible for ranked matches and<br />

tournament play), which is a wonderful gift,<br />

but it’s an exercise in futility to keep track of<br />

your latest unlocks or even to differentiate<br />

the good loot from the bad.


A lot has been made of the game’s excessive<br />

all others are earned via in-game activities.<br />

grind—and to be fair Towers are still a stiff<br />

challenge despite a recent patch—but it’s<br />

not clear MK11 was designed uniquely with<br />

micro-transactions in mind. Featuring online<br />

connectivity requirements, daily challenges,<br />

and rotating items in the Premium Shop, it feels<br />

more like a game that wants to be booted up<br />

every day, not necessarily a title that demands<br />

additional monetary compensation. Only one<br />

form of currency, Time Krystals, is available for<br />

purchase in the PlayStation Store, for example;<br />

Now, if you desire a particularly rare or specific<br />

piece of gear, and can’t win it in the Towers<br />

of Time or find it at random in the Krypt, you<br />

might need to spend real-world money in the<br />

Shop—assuming that item is in daily rotation.<br />

With 1,500 unlockable skins, 75 unlockable<br />

intros, and 2,250 gear pieces, however, you<br />

might just throw your hands up and focus on<br />

fighting. If you’re a cosmetic completionist, well,<br />

Elder Gods help you.


MK11 sports a solid roster of 25 base<br />

characters—one of which is unlocked in<br />

story mode, one purchasable in the game’s<br />

virtual store—although there is a shortage<br />

of new faces. The game includes only three<br />

new combatants (not including a nonplayable<br />

boss), where Mortal Kombat X<br />

introduced eight. Stages, however, are a<br />

different story. There are 21 in total, each<br />

boasting detailed, dynamic backgrounds<br />

and plenty of interactive pieces. Kharon’s<br />

Ship, an ancient galley on a sea of blood,<br />

is especially memorable. So too is Kotal’s<br />

Colisseum, with its circling charioteers and<br />

NetherRealm has done it again. Mortal<br />

Kombat 11 is an outstanding fighting game<br />

with new, more deliberate mechanics,<br />

a spectacular story mode, and loads of<br />

online and offline content. Technically<br />

and graphically, it’s a huge success, and<br />

content-wise it will keep you covered for<br />

weeks and months to come. Its relatively<br />

small roster of new fighters is disappointing<br />

and its ubiquitous, often incomprehensible<br />

loot (and corresponding grind) a source<br />

of frustration, but its exceptional fighting<br />

fundamentals and substantial modes shine<br />

through.<br />

monstrous beasts.<br />

Its large list of pros and small list of cons<br />

By Evan Norris<br />

notwithstanding, MK11 is the prettiest game<br />

in the franchise. With smooth graphics,<br />

real-time damage, detailed and expressive<br />

models, 60 FPS, and the aforementioned<br />

dynamic stages, it looks noticeably better<br />

than Mortal Kombat X—which looked pretty<br />

darn good only four years ago. Music is<br />

similarly a highlight. “Kronika’s Hourglass”,<br />

a mix of hip hop beats and Middle Eastern<br />

trills, is one of the more exceptional tracks.


FOR<br />

ADAM CARTWRIGHT<br />

A LOOK BACK AT


ACQUIRE’S GAMES<br />

PLAYSTATION VITA<br />

This is the second entry in a<br />

series of articles I’m writing that<br />

look at the output of a number<br />

of Vita-supporting developers<br />

from launch through to the<br />

present day. I’ll be examining<br />

their history in the games<br />

industry, the games they<br />

released on Vita, how those titles<br />

performed, what games they<br />

could have released but didn’t,<br />

and finally I’ll provide an overall<br />

conclusion on their Vita support.<br />

Just like Artdink, Acquire is a<br />

quirky Japanese developer with<br />

a history of experimentation<br />

and big ideas, but has<br />

unfortunately been at the mercy<br />

of low budgets throughout<br />

the years, leaving gamers with<br />

some fantastic titles that suffer<br />

from a large amount of jank.<br />

Acquire worked on Vita from its<br />

launch in Japan through to early<br />

2017, injecting a nice level of<br />

variety to the console’s library<br />

despite some of the technical<br />

shortcomings of its titles,<br />

making the company a prime<br />

candidate for examination here.


History – Big Ideas, Small Budgets<br />

Acquire’s entry into the gaming world was<br />

through the sandbox stealth-action title<br />

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins on PS1, which<br />

became a shining example of what would<br />

be its trademark style going forward. It<br />

featured a traditional Japanese setting<br />

steeped in mythology and focused on<br />

open-ended gameplay allowing you to<br />

take down targets however you saw fit. It<br />

was successful enough to spawn a number<br />

of sequels, including the moderately wellreceived<br />

Tenchu: Shadow Assassins, which<br />

as of the time of writing is the last entry in<br />

the franchise we’ve seen.<br />

Despite its history with Tenchu, Acquire<br />

effectively ditched the franchise to work on<br />

a rival ninja series known as Shinobido in<br />

2005, which saw entries land on both PS2<br />

and PSP. The games felt like a continuation<br />

of the original Tenchu ideas (which at<br />

the time was being handled by other<br />

developers, most notably K2 of Valhalla<br />

Knights fame), although critical reception<br />

to the Shinobido titles wasn’t particularly<br />

positive, with critics often noting their<br />

poor animations and stiff movement<br />

mechanics.<br />

Another relatively famous franchise<br />

created by Acquire was Way of the<br />

Samurai, an open-world samurai<br />

simulation that contained a number of


similarities to Tenchu, including a historical<br />

setting and very open-ended gameplay<br />

(although it focused much more on the<br />

sandbox elements). Again, reviews were<br />

middling, with critics tending to praise<br />

its ambition but chide its execution. Still,<br />

it spawned a number of sequels on PS2,<br />

PS3 and PC (as well as remakes of the<br />

first two games on PSP, which can be<br />

played on Vita if you have a Japanese PSN<br />

account), although WoTS seems dormant<br />

at present (publisher Spike-Chunsoft<br />

somewhat replaced it in 2015 with the<br />

Ukiyo duology). Another series created<br />

by Acquire which landed on PSP was No<br />

Heroes Allowed, designed in conjunction<br />

with Sony’s Japan Studio (showing what a<br />

positive relationship Acquire had with Sony<br />

during the 2000s). No Heroes Allowed was<br />

designed as a reverse dungeon crawler<br />

– your goal is to protect the demon lord<br />

Badman from invading treasure hunters<br />

by digging out an elaborate underground<br />

labyrinth and populating it with monsters.<br />

It proved popular enough to birth a<br />

number of sequels and even a VR remake<br />

in 2017.<br />

Elsewhere, plenty of Acquire’s titles<br />

were seen as so niche that they only<br />

released in Japan – things like Akiba’s<br />

Trip demonstrated yet again a focus on<br />

open-ended gameplay, recreating Tokyo’s<br />

Akihabara district and mixing it with<br />

brawler mechanics in which the player<br />

must strip vampires to expose them<br />

to sunlight, while Dekavoice was a PS2<br />

adventure featuring gorgeous cel-shaded<br />

graphics built around using a headset to<br />

issue commands to supporting characters.


Vita – A Continuation of Acquire’s Successes<br />

Given its storied history with development<br />

on Sony hardware, it was unsurprising to<br />

see Acquire commit to the Vita early on,<br />

although a lot of what the firm released<br />

was a continuation of series and ideas<br />

that we’d seen before.<br />

The best example of this is the launch<br />

title Shinobido 2: Revenge of Zen,<br />

a direct sequel to the events of the<br />

previous two entries in the franchise. It<br />

still contained the same sandbox stealthaction<br />

gameplay Acquire had become<br />

well known for, bringing back things<br />

like the grapple hook and wing suit for<br />

movement, but also provided little tweaks<br />

to the formula to take advantage of the<br />

hardware’s inputs. I personally loved it,<br />

although in general reviews were pretty<br />

down on the game due to its short length<br />

and sometimes obtuse explanations of<br />

mechanics.<br />

Acquire also expanded on the ideas<br />

that were debuted on PSP with Akiba’s


Trip in its sequel Akiba’s Trip: Undead &<br />

Undressed, which landed on the handheld<br />

in 2013 and came west a year later thanks<br />

to XSEED Games. Like Shinobido, it<br />

contained the same base gameplay seen<br />

in its predecessor (an open-world brawler<br />

about stripping vampires) but expanded on<br />

it massively alongside a new story and set<br />

of characters.<br />

different gameplay, taking the form of an<br />

action-RPG not dissimilar to the Tales of<br />

series. It marked yet another gameplay<br />

experiment for the company that didn’t<br />

work for the majority of players (it was<br />

criticized for being bland and rather<br />

pointless), although there was definitely<br />

still fun to be had with it.<br />

It received a middling critical reception<br />

overseas, with reviewers tending to criticise<br />

its technical shortcomings but praising its<br />

originality.<br />

Oddly, for the next entry in the Akiba’s<br />

franchise Acquire steered things in a<br />

completely different direction. Akiba’s<br />

Beat was set in the same location as Trip<br />

(Akihabara) but featured completely<br />

The company also worked on two entries<br />

in the Wizardry series named Wizardry:<br />

Labyrinth of Lost Souls and Wizardry:<br />

Town of Imprisoned Spirits that were<br />

ported across from PS3 to Vita in Japan in<br />

2016 (although sadly the pair never came<br />

west, despite the former having already<br />

been translated into English), as well as<br />

a PlayStation Mobile-exclusive entry in<br />

the No More Heroes franchise called No<br />

Heroes Allowed: No Puzzles Either!.


New Experiments, Same Old Acquire<br />

Of course, Acquire didn’t just rest on its laurels<br />

when it came to Vita development and continued<br />

to explore new ideas on the new hardware, which<br />

(as ever) met with a somewhat mixed reception.<br />

gameplay base. Both were part of the early push<br />

for digital-only releases on Sony’s handheld with<br />

lower-than-average price tags, better reflecting<br />

the level of development Acquire worked at<br />

(although this perhaps wasn’t reflected in the<br />

The first of these came very early in the console’s<br />

review scores they received).<br />

life – Sumioni: Demon Arts is a 2D platformer<br />

with a striking sumi-e artstyle (similar to that<br />

seen in Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines) that uses<br />

the touch screen to paint bridges which are used<br />

to progress through levels. Released in the west<br />

again by publisher XSEED, it was followed later in<br />

2012 by another experiment called Orgarhythm<br />

that mixes god game elements with a rhythm<br />

They also tried something new with Aegis of<br />

Earth: Protonovus Assault, an extremely unique<br />

tower defence game that landed on Vita in 2016<br />

in the west. In it, you control a city that is being<br />

attacked by giant creatures and must construct<br />

defences then literally rotate the urban area to<br />

defend from the oncoming waves, making for a


wholly unique experience that perhaps wasn’t for<br />

everyone, but was certainly memorable for those<br />

who played it.<br />

Conclusion<br />

Acquire is one of those developers that people<br />

will either love of hate – the developer’s output<br />

Unfortunately, Aegis of Earth and Akiba’s Beat<br />

were the last games Acquire developed for<br />

Vita, but in terms of missed opportunities there<br />

were very few games that could have come to<br />

the handheld but didn’t. That’s because in 2011<br />

Acquire was purchased by GungHo, the company<br />

behind the hugely successful Puzzles and Dragons<br />

mobile title. This meant a shift in focus for the<br />

is certainly ambitious, but often held back by a<br />

lack of polish and high level of jank due to the<br />

miniscule budgets involved. This has led to some<br />

mildly popular franchises over the years – things<br />

like Tenchu and Way of the Samurai managed<br />

to find sales success in both Japan and overseas<br />

despite their shortcomings, but in recent years the<br />

company has moved on to a range of new ideas.<br />

developer which then went on to work on a<br />

number of phone games such as Divine Gate<br />

and Road to Dragon. Such titles just wouldn’t<br />

have made a lot of sense on Vita with their F2P<br />

monetization systems.<br />

It would have been nice to have seen the third and<br />

fourth Way of the Samurai titles make their way<br />

across to Vita, as their predecessors had done on<br />

PSP (they would have filled a great gap in terms<br />

of sandbox-style open-worlds on the handheld),<br />

but I suspect that the company’s purchase by<br />

GungHo put a stop to any plans like this. Acquire<br />

also worked on Rain, an atmospheric adventure<br />

On Vita, Acquire continued to work to its “big<br />

ideas, small budgets” mantra, with games like<br />

Akiba’s Beat and Shinobido 2 being filled with<br />

good ideas, but somewhat lacking in terms<br />

of execution. They’re nonetheless surprisingly<br />

enjoyable games if you’re willing to give them<br />

a chance. Others like Orgarhythm and Sumioni<br />

offer some nice variety to the Vita’s library and<br />

embraced new delivery methods. Acquire may<br />

have now moved on to bigger things (recently<br />

working on Octopath Traveller for Switch), but its<br />

Vita support is something I’ll always appreciate.<br />

published by Sony itself, but this only landed on<br />

PS3, which seemed like a bizarre decision given its<br />

By Adam Cartwright<br />

October 2013 release date.


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