Ph LEVEL Review: Sonic Mania

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To say the hype surrounding Sonic Mania has been considerable, would be quite the understatement. The game started as a fan-game, with a dedicated group of players coming together to take matters into their own hands, and create a true-to-form Sonic the Hedgehog game in the vein of the classics, using new and older content to craft intricate levels, with updated sprites.

However, SEGA got word of the project and it was quickly ordered a cease-and-desist. Except, it wasn’t. Instead, SEGA snatched up the developers and started working together with them, noticing a rare opportunity, and taking full advantage of of the situation to create a great game. Did it work out? Hit the jump to find out.

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Yoko Taro Saved Platinum Games

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Platinum Games has long been a fan-favorite studio, with a love for innovative franchises and new ideas, they’ve never shied away from making the quirky but lovable title. From Bayonetta, to The Wonderful 101, they’re an absolute favorite. However, after the studio put millions into Scalebound, only to have it cancelled, they were in trouble. Enter Yoko Taro, and the little game that could, NieR: Automata.

After the game’s release, it has outsold and outshone all expectations, becoming a merchandising giant, and one of the best games of the year. Platinum’s Hideki Kamiya has taken to Twitter to formally credit NieR producer Yoko Taro, with single-handedly saving his studio from bankruptcy. Hit the jump to check out the message.

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Sonic Mania Launch Trailer

Today is the long-awaited release of Sonic Mania, and with it, we have an incredibly charming new trailer for the retro-inspired title. Players who pre-ordered the game will be receiving a free digital copy of Sonic The Hedgehog this morning, on the platform that they chose to purchase the game on.

Hopefully we get a fantastic vinyl release of the Sonic Mania soundtrack, because the music in this trailer was so wonderful. Hopefully the excitement around this title gives SEGA a better understanding of what we’re after as Sonic fans.

Okami HD Headed to Xbox One and PlayStation 4

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Kotaku UK has a scoop, claiming that Okami HD is getting another re-release, this time on PlayStation 4, and Xbox One this holiday season. There’s no real information about the release, currently, but it’s a good chance that the title will receive PS4 Pro and Xbox One X support, with the PlayStation 3 version of Okami HD rendering the visuals in 4K, and the scaling them down.

Capcom is taking initiative in bringing many of its older titles to newer consoles, but in the process, most of their newer IP’s have taken a backseat, with new major titles being few and far between for the company at this point. It’s nice to see lesser-ported titles like Okami finally making the jump to systems such as the Xbox, though.

Gran Turismo Sport Coming This October

It’s admittedly a bit sad to see how far Gran Turismo has fallen down the pecking order of franchises that Sony cares about in regards to the PlayStation. What was once considered a cornerstone, is now relegated to a 30-second trailer. However, after several delays, we finally have a definitive release date for the game at October 18th.

In addition to the release date, we were also shown a special edition. The Gran Turismo Sport Limited Edition comes with an eight car GT Sport Starter Pack, 30 GT Sport avatars, a Livery Sticker Pack, a Chrome Racing Helmet for your Driver Profile, $1M in-game credit, and Steel Book package.

City Shrouded in Shadow Trailer Looks Amazing

The upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive, Kyoei Toshi (or City Shrouded in Shadow) has its first full trailer, and as expected it looks ridiculous. The game sees you take control of the protagonist, a normal guy trying to survive various monster attacks in Tokyo. This includes Godzilla, Evangelion Units, Gamera, Ultraman, and many more.

City Shrouded in Shadow launches in Japan on October 19th. There is no word on localization, but a man can dream.

Original Sonic Designer Creates Work for Sonic Mania

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Probably what has to be one of the most adorable and supportive moves we’ll see this week, original Sonic The Hedgehog designer, Naoto Ohshima, created a piece of artwork in support of the upcoming Sonic Mania title from Sega, despite no longer working for the company.

You can hit the jump to view the artwork in full. Sonic Mania will release for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch on August 15th.

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DJMAX Respect Limited Edition and Release Date

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I haven’t covered any of DJMAX Respect up to this point, but this limited edition is beyond cool, and it forced my hand. The title is an upcoming rhythm-action game for PlayStation 4, which includes a comprehensive list of past songs from older DJMAX games, as well as a great selection of newer songs.

The Limited Edition (seen above) includes the game, an art book, a two-disc soundtrack, six pins, and a replacement cover with DJMAX Portable 1 & 2 on it. The game is set to release across Asia and Korea on July 28th, with worldwide release dates expected to be announced soon. Hit the jump for a look at some newly released songs for the game, as well.

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Watch_Dogs 2 Getting Party Mode

Watch_Dogs 2 has been consistently delivering new and exciting free content since its launch, and done a great job at keeping promises. One of its more lofty promises was that of a 4-player Party Mode for online multiplayer. Well, this Tuesday, July 4th, that promise is made a reality, as players can join up with 3 other friends and raise hell across San Francisco.

The update also includes a few bug fixes, as well as new maps, outfits, weapons, and more. Ubisoft states that Party mode is meant to be “more about cooperation than competition, so anything that happens in this mode will not affect leaderboard standings.” This should most certainly be a great update.

First Look at Taiko No Tatsujin on PlayStation 4

Bandai Namco has released a first look at the newest Taiko game: Taiko No Tatsujin: Session de Dodon ga Don! The newest entry in the rhythm series is being released on PlayStation 4 later this year, with a new local multiplayer function to give the game a classic arcade-feel, as well as multiplayer “ghosts” to compete with your friends when they’re not there.

The trailer above also gives us a look at the new drum controller from HORI for PlayStation 4. The latest title features over 70 tracks, including Your Name’s theme song “Zenzenzense” by RADWIMPS, and more.

Diablo 3’s Necromancer Finally Hits This Month

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The Necromancer class in Diablo 3 has been teased for what seems like ages, and now, we’re finally getting it on June 27. The Necromancer will be priced at $14.99 and will require the Reaper of Souls expansion on PC to play. The pack will also grant access to additional character slots, a portrait, banner, sigil, accent and pennant, a brand new pet and some items for your pets.

Blizzard also revealed the new Eternal Collection for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, that will give console players full access to the game and all of its DLC, including the Necromancer.

Mistwalker to Announce New Title

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Mistwalker head, and Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi is set to announce a new title from his acclaimed studio Mistwalker. Mistwalker hasn’t released a core console title since The Last Story on the Wii, and even further with Lost Odyssey on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

The new title will be announced on a Famitsu live stream on June 22. You can check it out on NicoNico LIVE at 8:00pm JST (Japan Standard Time), with a special guest appearance by Nobuo Uematsu.

PhE3: Bethesda Recap

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Bethesda had no real surprises in store, but that doesn’t mean what we saw wasn’t a welcome sight. Updates of the VR front for the company, as well as a few new pieces of DLC, and expecting game reveals dominated their late-night keynote.

Hit the jump for the full offerings from Bethesda Softwork’s E3 conference.

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Crash Bandicoot Announcement Incoming

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After passing the torch from Naughty Dog to Vicarious Visions, it seems Activision is privy to the excitement around the release of the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy releasing later this month for the PlayStation 4.

According to the full Activision schedule for E3, there’s going to be a Special Crash Bandicoot Announcement lodged between Call of Duty and Destiny 2. What that means could be anyone’s guess? Maybe the trilogy won’t be a PlayStation 4 exclusive? Maybe we’re getting a full new Crash game?!

A New Bubsy Game?

In what is most certainly not something anyone was expecting, developer Accolade, which closed their doors in 2000, has just announced a new game for their… popular character, Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back. The last Bubsy game to be released was in 1996, with Bubsy 3D. To say it did less than great would be an understatement.

Bubsy: the Woolies Strike Back is an all new Bubsy adventure featuring Bubsy in a bevy of exotic locations as he travels the planet looking for the beloved Golden Fleece. Bubsy must use all of his classic moves and a few new ones to dodge and out bobcat a battalion of Woolies, sharks and bess, not mention the gnarliest UFO bosses to ever grace a Bubsy adventure.