February started with a huge surprise in the form of PlayStation Plus title, Yakuza 4 on PS3. This is my first experience of the Yakuza series and I have been blown away by it. Essentially, it is the spiritual successor of Shenmue, with a little bit of Streets of Rage thrown in for good measure. After spending a good hour trawling through the included story summary for Yakuza 1 to 3, I was ready to enter Tokyo underworld.
In Yakuza 4, you actually play as four different characters spread over a arcing story. The game opens with you controlling Shun Akiyama mysterious money lender with a secret in his past and a strange method to lending money. You are quickly thrown into the middle of a gangland murder involving a loyal friend and a woman who wants money.
Yakuza 4 has a wealth of things to do in its Tokyo. Everything from eating at restaurants, shopping at the local markets, playing in the arcades and running a hostess bar complete with dressing up mini game. Its like Shenmue grew up. I did not expect to sink 10 or more hours into this game this month. I would highly recommend taking a look a this.
I have just recently started playing Transistor , another PS Plus title for February I had heard good things about Transistor and was excited to give it a go. I was going to do a Let's Play of it, but time got the better of me. Transistor is a isometric sci-fi adventure with turn based combat. That is actually simplifying the game too much. Transistor is a beautiful and yet complex game. Battles can be played in real time, but a the touch of a button you can freeze time and plan your movement and attacks. Its nothing that hasn't been done before but it's just so elegantly done here.
The Power-up system is fascinating. You collect new attacks and abilities by absorbing the Souls of dead people in to Transistor, your sword. you can then look at that person story in the inventory, complete with a fragment of their story. The more you use their associated power the more of their backstop you unlock. It is a great way of making you want to mix up your attacks and abilities.
I cannot write about Transistor without mentioning the soundtrack. The games music is absolutely amazing and just taps into the games atmosphere with its moody electro-rock jazz feel. The soundtrack is so good, I bought the soundtrack from the games website and haven't stopped listening to it since.
Finally, the big thing of February was getting my hands on a shiny New Nintendo 3DS. You can read my impressions about the console itself here. I picked up three games with the console, Luigi's Mansion 2 the sequel to one of my favourites Gamecube games. Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the latest sequel to my all time favourite Gamecube game. Finally, rather then jump straight in with The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which came out the same day as the New 3DS, I got The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds.
Special mention to Animal Crossing, the game that brought my friends together back in 2002 on the Gamecube, has now brought my family together on the 3DS in 2015. New Leaf is the first Animal Crossing game to allow you to make significant changes to the way your town runs and looks. This is done by making the first player to enter the village the new Mayor. Such a site change with powerful repercussions. Now I set the rules and my minions... Erm villagers have to dance to my drum. First change I made... The Night Owl ordinance which forces everyone to start up late a D the shops to be open until late at night. Far better than the time travel I had to do in earlier versions. Next, I expanded my evil domain by instigating the Public Works project of.... Building a yellow bench. It is by the sea view, but faces away from it... pure evil!
Expect more updates about village life as the months go on. Going on how long I have played other versions of Animal Crossing, it could be years. You have been warned.
Now we are into March and it's already looking to be a good month of gaming. Staring with PS Plus games and Helldivers. Before moving on to a birthday for me which hopefully bring The Order:1886 and other goodies. Keep an eye out during the month for more updates and hopefully new gameplay.