Introducing Freedom Wars, Oreshika and Soul Sacrifice Delta.
Sony's Japan Studio - the place that lent a hand in developing such classics as Demon's Souls, Shadow of the Colossus and Gravity Rush - has announced a trio of new games coming to European and North American Vitas.
Chief among these is Freedom Wars, a third-person action game being co-developed by Dimps (co-developer of Street fight 4 and Sonic 4) and Shift (Gods Eater Burst). Based on its trailer below, it looks like a pretty even mix of shooting and melee brawling and it supports up to eight-player online co-op, with four-player ad-hoc support. It tells the story of a future where people are sentenced to prison for a million years just for being born. Talk about original sin, amirite?
The second part of Japan Studio's upcoming trio is the RPG Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines. Little is known about this one, but it follows the story of an ancient Japanese clan that has a maximum lifespan of two years. The terminally ill soldiers must attempt to lift the curse and get in the gods' good graces so that subsequent clans will be more powerful. After all, I imagine it's pretty hard to imbue life lessons upon your children when you're only alive for two years. Actually, it's impossible to have children when you're only alive that long, but this is a fantasy game, so I think it's safe to assume that rapid aging is part of the equation.
Expanded PlayStation Vita adventure Soul Sacrifice Delta looks headed for a Western launch.
Delta, the game's updated version, was yesterday rated for a PAL release by the Australian Classification Board (thanks, Siliconera).
Designed by Mega Man and Dead Rising creator Keiji Inafune, the bloody action game sees you sacrifice allies and even parts of your own body to work powerful spells and take down demons, Monster Hunter-style.
Despite being visually scaled back to work on hardware that is considerably weaker than Xbox 360 or PS3, games like Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Assassin's Creed: Liberation and Need For Speed: Most Wanted prove that the PlayStation Vita is capable of faithfully bringing triple-A console blockbusters to the small screen. However, the spectacle of playing expansive, big budget titles might not be the best fit for a portable gaming machine: recreating a similar level of detail is likely to have a considerable impact on performance, while the underlying gameplay mechanics may not gel well with the shorter play-times associated with gaming on the move.
It's been over a year since the PlayStation Vita launched, and despite some excellent games like Gravity Rush and Persona 4 Golden, it's fair to say that we're still waiting for its killer app. We'd love to say that Keiji Inafune, Sony's Japan Studio and Marvelous AQL have finally cracked that code - but although Soul Sacrifice has a lot going for it, it falls into the trap of style over substance.
The story focuses on a nameless slave who is captured and then imprisoned by a powerful sorcerer. At first, it seems like the slave's situation is pretty hopeless. All he can do is crawl around his cell with nothing but oversized bugs to keep him company. But when a talking book named Librom appears from a pile of rubble, the slave is offered a potential lifeline. By reading Librom's pages he can relive the author's memories. This allows him to slowly learn the art of casting magic spells and unravel the mystery behind the sorcerer who has imprisoned him.
The way the story is told through the pages of Librom is one of the game's strongest suits. Soul Sacrifice has clearly been built on a modest budget and yet the simple silhouettes and sombre soliloquies help bring this grim fairytale to life. It's not the kind of story that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, but much like the short stories in Lost Odyssey, it's handled with minimalist elegance. It's just a shame the gameplay doesn't live up to the dark fantasy painted by these words.
Keiji Inafune's violent Vita-exclusive Soul Sacrifice has boosted the handheld's hardware numbers above 3DS.
More than 105,000 copies of Soul Sacrifice were sold in Japan last week, Famitsu reported (thanks, NeoGAF).
Last week, Vita hardware sales skyrocketed after the handheld's price cut. Seven days later, Sony's machine has maintained this performance. It even increased its numbers slightly to 61,152 units sold, around 1000 more than the 3DS.