XSEED is famous for localizing quirky Japanese niche titles that you wouldn’t always assume you’d see Stateside, and quite often the gambles they take pay off exponentially. While the PSP may be entering its final hours as a viable portable system, that isn’t keeping developers from releasing brand new options for gamers to dig into. Unchained Blades is a cut-and-paste dungeon crawler with anime aesthetics that attempts to draw in players with its gorgeous artwork and promise of beautiful women and brash heroes, but in the end it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Hampering its release even further, it’s meant to be followed later this year by a release on the 3DS. Is the PSP iteration worth trying, though?
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Otome games, or “maiden” games are hard to come by in the US. Most visual novels and dating sims tend to cater to the young male demographic, presenting a harem of women to befriend, date, and otherwise form relationships with. So the English-language localization of Hakuoki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom, a PSP release, is a pretty big deal. Its play style reflects that of a “choose your own adventure” story and packs in plenty of bishounen for its intended female audience, plus an engaging narrative that sticks with you long after the journey comes to an end.
Fate/Stay Night was an extremely popular visual novel-turned-anime from famed company Type Moon, which made it to the West not that long ago. Since then we’ve seen the release of the manga adaptation and spinoff fighter Fate/Unlimited Code. However, despite its multiple releases across different types of media, the Fate series is still relatively known to most people outside of its cluster of dedicated fans. For those peering in from the outside, the series revolves around “Masters” waging a war with summoned fighters “Servants” in order to attain control of the Holy Grail (not the same one you’re thinking of), which grants the user a perverse amount of power.
Corpse Party may sound like a modern revival of the oft-reviled NES torture adventure classic Chiller, but in reality it has little to do with that shocker. It also involves no dancing and grinding corpses on a dance floor with a DJ. This new horror release, localized and enhanced by XSEED games, is a reworking of the original PC title made entirely via RPG Tsukuru, also known as RPG Maker. Corpse Part: Blood Covered…Repeated Fear is the full name of this quirky selection, with the subtitle dropped for American audiences who are likely experiencing the game for the first time. The PSP release is an interesting beast – not as polished and complete as one would like, but an engaging creepfest nevertheless.
As horror enthusiasts are probably aware, the Obscure franchise as a rule is approached with trepidation. And for good reason. It’s not exactly the creme de la creme of the land of Pyramid Head and cursed tattoos. While the original game stood on its own as an intriguing thriller, its Wii sequel tended to disappoint, as migrations to the Wii tend to do. It stands on wobbly legs as a survival horror title, stumbling more than once as it struggles to be recognized as a viable spectacle of the macabre. Now that it’s on the PSP, this is one port you may be wise to pass up, especially if you have a strong aversion to pitiful, Americanized attempts at college horror films. Because that’s what Obscure: The Aftermath is trying to be, and that’s a nightmare in itself.