Star Wars: Republic Commando returning this April

The team at Aspyr Media is having a field day with re-releasing Star Wars games at the moment, including hits like Jedi Academy and Episode I Racer. But now things are getting serious, as it’s set to squad up this April with the return of Republic Commando.

The first-person shooter/strategy game first debuted on the Xbox platform years ago, then recently resurfaced when it becomes available as an enhanced title for the Xbox One and, later on, Xbox Series X. But now Aspyr wants to introduce the legend of the Delta Squad to more players, as the game will be available on April 6th for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. In addition, it will also be reasonably priced, going for just $14.99.

The game won’t have multiplayer like the original version. However, improvements will be made to the game’s controls to make them a little more current, so they work wonders with the DualShock 4, DualSense and Switch controllers. So you’ll have that going for you. Plus it’s bound to look great!

The trailer is below, so give it a look and prepare for the return of the Commando! Now, if we can just get some TIE Fighter titles going…

Why Is Godzilla Worth So Much On PlayStation 4?

In 2014, Bandai Namco decided to give Godzilla another try on the console front, after years had gone by since the glory days of Godzilla Destroy All Monsters Melee and Godzilla Save the Earth. So, on PlayStation 4, it released a contemporary fighting game featuring the giant monster and his buddies, trashing everything as best as they could.

The game didn’t quite fare as well as the company was hoping, as it got poor scores from critics and didn’t sell as well as it would hope. And when the license faded, it decided to quietly end its production and move onto other projects.

But then something happened. If you do a quick search for the game on eBay, you’ll find that it’s become an impressive collector’s item, with complete copies selling for anywhere between $160 to $250 – and maybe even higher if the game is brand new and sealed. That makes it the rarest PlayStation 4 game out there, aside from the physical version of Gravity Rush Remastered, which also didn’t get that big a production run.

So what happened? Did the game strike a chord alongside the same levels as the previous PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube Godzilla games? Or did fans just want something featuring the big lug, since there are really no other games featuring him?

Even though most critics found the gameplay lacking in the new Godzilla game, there’s no question that its essence is true to the original films of lore. IGN actually noted in its review (with a score of 4.5, by the way) that “the spirit of the old-school monster movie is where Bandai Namco absolutely nails it.”

The game was actually developed by the team at Natsume, a bit of a stretch from the previous developers of Godzilla games. However, the team did its homework, going for that old-school mantra and even going as far as leveling up the destruction so that it took advantage of the PS4 hardware. For good measure, players could also unlock special modes related to Godzilla, such as Evolution Mode, the Kaiji Field Guide, and even the peculiar Diorama mode, featuring a number of memorable monster models. This would allow players to recreate infamous battles from the films.

More than likely, the sheer essence of classic cinematic Godzilla is what makes the game such a huge draw. For good measure, it’s also got a who’s who of monsters from the films, as follows:

  • Godzilla, four versions (including the 1995 version and the more current 2014 one from the box office hit)
  • Anguirus (Showa)
  • Rodan (Showa)
  • Mothra (Showa)
  • Mothra (Heisei)
  • King Ghidorah (Heisei)
  • Hedorah (Showa)
  • Mechagodzilla (both the 1974 and 1975 versions)
  • Biollante
  • Battra (Larva and Imago)
  • Space Godzilla
  • Destroroyah
  • Gigan (the upgraded 2004 version)
  • Super Mechagodzilla
  • Mecha-King Ghidorah
  • Type-3 Kiryu
  • Jet Jaguar (YES!)

There’s just a ton of content here for old-school fans, as well as those thirsting for a big monster fight. Again, the controls may not have been as smooth as Melee, but regardless, it set the stage for some big monster encounters – and still kind of does today.

As for why fans may have passed upon it at release, it didn’t get as much hype as many were expecting. That may have been due to the lacking reviews at the time, or the fact that the license just wasn’t as big of a draw as, say, Tekken or Soul Calibur. That’s a bit mind-boggling, considering Godzilla’s universal appeal. And let’s not forget the movie that came out at the same time, too.

But now fans are discovering it and even asking for a reprinting, though the license is likely out of Bandai Namco’s hands at this point. There’s always the possibility of a sequel, especially with Godzilla vs. Kong creeping up on us next month. But, for now, if you want to track down the original, it’ll cost you a pretty penny. But, hey, to some of us die-hard kaiju fans, it’ll certainly be worth it.

Long live Godzilla!

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 Nintendo Switch review: once bitten, twice sly

We would’ve been content enough with the masterful Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night from Igarashi-san and company when it released last year, if only because we’ve been waiting for ages for our Symphony of the Night itch to be scratched. But Inti Creates launched a surprise from left field with the 8-bit style Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon, a thrilling throwback title that fit right in with the short but sweet legacy of the series. And now, while we wait to see what Igarashi has planned next, that team has already returned with a sequel.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 pretty much picks up where the first game left off, with a handful of characters battling evil forces with an array of weapons. Like before, you can switch between these heroes with ease, using their abilities to access new areas and uncover secret goodies. But is the adventure worth it the second time around? We’d definitely say yes.

Some New Faces To Join the Old

The only returning character from the first game is Zangetsu, the warrior who’s relentlessly hunting down enemies. He’s joined by a number of favorites, particularly Dominique, an exorcist who knows a thing or two about using her spear; as well as Robert, who can nail enemies from afar with his rifle; and Hachi, a dog that can summon a demon tank. Yes, you read that right. You might’ve seen him in Ritual of the Night; and now he’s on full display here.

That’s one way to make an entrance.

You can balance between characters to find all the goodies within the game, and use them against some of the mega-bosses here, which are better designed than the original game. They require a lot of damage and a bit of strategy, including a weird pseudo-train boss with a hero embedded on the front, complete with shield. It’s just…odd. But fun in its own Bloodstained sort of way.

What’s great is how Curse of the Moon 2 lets you revisit completed stages. This is ideal when you unlock all the characters, as you can explore unreachable areas and even take on new strategies for bosses to wipe them out much more quickly. And each one has something special, though, honestly, Hachi is likely to be your real favorite here. Let’s be honest.

The gameplay is exquisite and just as solid as the original game, if not a little more refined. Death can still come cheap in certain areas, just like the Castlevanias of old; but it’s about what we’d expect with the territory, so that’s not entirely a bad thing.

And what’s more, collecting everything in the game unlocks an ending that really wraps up the adventure nicely. It’s worth the effort.

A Presentation To Be Proud Of

Inti Creates once again pays full-on tribute to the classic Castlevania games with Curse of the Moon 2. Its 8-bit heritage shines in every aspect of the game, from the multi-scrolling backgrounds that are reminiscent of Dracula’s Curse past to the neat little animations. And what’s more, the level design is stunning, even if it’s not an open world like Ritual of the Night. Its point A-to-point B method works just as well as the first game.

Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon 2 is a hot time.

I also liked the mid-stage sequences, which not only get you acquainted with each character’s abilities but also lets them interact with each other in humorous ways. They’re short but definitely sweet.

And the music is awesome, dare I say. It sounds like something you’d hear from the Castlevania games of old, taking advantage of 8-bit processing like a champ. Not to mention the sound effects resemble something from the NES era as well. It all sounds wonderful, especially on a headset. There are no character voices, but they aren’t really needed here.

Accept This Curse As Your Own

I’d like to think that Curse of the Moon 2 continues to move the Bloodstained series along in its own special way. It improves upon components from the first game, while at the same time introducing effective and memorable characters (HACHI!) that really add something. Some more stuff to do after collecting everything would’ve been ideal, but overall, this is one Curse that’s well worth the acceptance.

RATING: 8.5/10

A sequel that continues to carry the Bloodstained name with pride, Curse of the Moon 2 is worth partaking.

Why Ghost of Tsushima Is a Much Bigger Deal Than You Might Expect

Sucker Punch’s Ghost of Tsushima has finally arrived on PlayStation 4 after a slight delay in development, with the team pouring all its effort into the game. And based on early reviews and sales, it’s easily becoming a hit on the PlayStation 4 front.

But there’s a lot more going into this game’s release than you might expect. That’s because of the many aspects that tie into it. Let’s take a look at what makes Ghost of Tsushima so damn special.

It’s Practically the Last First-Party PlayStation 4 Release Before the PlayStation 5

There’s always a chance that we’ll see some sort of surprise release from the company. But the way it’s looking now, Ghost of Tsushima could be Sony’s last first-party release for the PlayStation 4 before the PS5 arrives later this year. That follows a trend of best-selling titles that have come out for the platform over the years, including Uncharted 4, The Last of Us Part II, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and countless others.

And what a way to go. Ghost of Tsushima didn’t get the incredible amount of hype that the Last of Us sequel did, but Sony did push online for it in a big way with behind-the-scenes footage and cinematic trailers. And word of mouth is spreading very quickly.

So while it may be Sony’s last hurrah with the current hardware, it’s one hell of a way to go out. With a bang. (And with a samurai, no less.)

Sucker Punch’s Reputation Built Up For Something Great

Ghost of Tsushima marks a huge turning point for Sucker Punch Productions, who have been making great games for the last couple of decades.

The Sly Cooper games marked a huge turning point for Sucker Punch.

It got its start producing Rocket: Robot On Wheels for the Nintendo 64, a small sleeper hit that eventually got the attention of Sony. That prompted them to team up with the developer for a trio of Sly Cooper games on the PlayStation 2, creating a popular new franchise for the platform.

But Sucker Punch would move on to bigger things on the PlayStation 3, creating the superhero/supervillain adventure Infamous and its follow-ups. The developer would continue to work on the franchise on PS4 with two games, Second Son and First Light.

Now, with Ghost of Tsushima out for release, Sucker Punch has turned a monumental corner with its development and set itself up to continue its efforts on the PlayStation 5. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

It Pays Tribute To Arika Kurosawa In the Best Way Possible

There’s no doubt that Ghost of Tsushima is inspired by classic samurai films of old – namely Akira Kurosawa, the director of Seven Samurai and Sanjuro. In fact, one of the key modes featured in the game is Kurosawa Mode, in which the game takes a turn for the black and white, featuring original Japanese language and subtitles.

To get this mode up and running, the developers at Sucker Punch actually got the blessing of Kurosawa’s estate, so that they could pay loving tribute to the long-time director, who passed back in 1988. As a result, many fans are pleased by the end result, playing Ghost in the best way possible.

Holy cow, Kurosawa mode is beautiful.

Of course, some people may prefer color, if only to see the absolute vivid details that the game is capable of. But for those that really want to get that old samurai feeling out of Ghost, Kurosawa Mode is the way to go. (Not to mention that the photo mode is surprisingly fun. Here’s to a good looking samurai!)

The Wind Is Your Guide

Usually, in video games, you have markers that give you a good idea of where to go in the open world. However, in Ghost of Tsushima, you actually have to rely on something else – the wind.

To get an idea of where your next objective lies, all you need to do is follow the wind current within the game. It’s fairly easy to see, with waves brushing over the land. It’ll also give you an idea of how you can travel within the world, whether it’s on your loyal steed or by foot, depending on the distance.

It’s a nice touch, keeping the game distinctively old-school while adding a flair that truly works in one of its nature.

Khotun Khan Is an Outstanding Villain

Finally, you know how most games feature bad guys that are letdowns and really don’t offer anything of importance to the story? We’ve seen that all too often. But Ghost of Tsushima actually has a terrific one, the terrifying Mongol warrior Khotun Khan.

Khan is ready for battle.

Not only is Khan confident in battle and absolutely relentless in his attack style, but he’s also…sympathetic and honorable? Believe it or not, there’s some depth to Khan as he’s speaking with Jin and his uncle, as you see his motivations right upfront. Sure, he’s ruthless, just like Genghis Khan before him. But you actually get an idea of where he’s coming from. Not that you relate to someone as merciless as him, but you feel the need to bring him down, and that motivates you to continue on your journey.

And no matter what language you choose, he’s incredibly well voice acted, adding to the depth of his character. Your final battle with him is nothing short of spectacular, and it’s all about the build-up.

Ghost of Tsushima is available now for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.

Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade PlayStation 4 review: quintessential fish shooting

So, a few days ago, we reviewed the Home compilation of Darius Cozmic Collection. And while it has excellent emulation and a few cool features (not to mention the sheer joy of shooting evil metallic fish), it does come up short with its heavy price tag and lack of variety.

Now, we come across the Arcade version of Darius Cozmic Collection, offering seven different versions of three different games, all favorites from the saga – including the timeless Darius Gaiden. And it’s got a few more options to choose from, along with, whew, a slightly lower price tag. But is it worth dipping into for just under $50? Well, that depends on your fandom. But if you love all things Darius, it’s worth a look.

What’s In the Package?

Here’s the full list of games that you can check out in the Arcade compilation:

  • Darius (Arcade, original version)
  • Darius (Arcade, new version)
  • Darius (Arcade, extra version)
  • Darius II (Arcade, Dual Screen version)
  • SAGAIA (Arcade, ver.1)
  • SAGAIA (Arcade, ver.2)
  • Darius Gaiden (Arcade)

Once again, it’s three games total, with Sagaia acting as a modified version of Darius II. But fans may notice the subtle little changes between the games, and feel the urge to take them on just to see what they have to offer. On top of that, they can play around with options, trying their luck with a Training Mode or going all out for a top-scoring run in an effort to save the universe.

Wait, what kind of fish is this? Screw it, shoot it.

I will admit, the team at M2 – which handles many of Sega’s retro titles among others – did a commendable job bringing these arcade hits to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch. Darius Gaiden in particular is dreamy, looking just like its arcade counterpart. We do wish that G-Darius came along for the ride as well, but Taito has already confirmed that for the next collection.

And though Darius and Darius II are on the wide side – they originally debuted in arcades with a dual monitor system – they look perfect. What’s more, they hunker back to the origins of the series, so you can see where it all began.

M2 also loaded the screen with various pieces of information, along with some slick looking wallpaper. So it’s handled pretty well, despite the fact that you have to get close to the TV to see what’s going on with a couple of these games.

It’s Fun To Shoot Robo-Fish

In spite of the small arrangement of titles – couldn’t Arcade and Console just been released together as a $60 bundle? – M2 and Taito bring the heat when it comes to gameplay. All of the Darius games are a lot of fun to play, especially as you collect power-ups or drop those sweet looking bombs on unsuspecting bosses in Darius Gaiden. What’s more, a friend can come along for the ride in two player, doubling the firepower.

Wait, did you say something?

There are more options included here than in the home collection, and this is more of an obvious choice given the smaller price tag of $44.99. But I can’t help but think that Taito could’ve done the aforementioned thing, or at least made them $19.99 apiece. This might be a little hard for people to swallow, though the die-hard players are on board.

A Great Collection Regardless of Price

Taito once again jacked up the price of a Darius collection through the roof, and that’s likely to turn a lot of people off. But those who don’t mind will find a lot to appreciate in this Arcade collection, especially if you want to see where the whole thing began. Plus, considering Darius Gaiden goes for a pretty penny on Sega Saturn anyway, you can get a perfect version here for a fraction of the price.

It just depends on how badly you want to shoot robo-fish. But we know some of you have that fetish, so dig in.

RATING: 8/10

A better-suited collection than the Home version, Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade will suit shmup fans.