Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Nov 302022
 

It’s time to talk about another otome I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while now, Piofiore: Fated Memories.

Piofiore follows a young woman named Lili who has grown up at a church in Italy, not knowing that she holds special significance to the region that will soon draw her into a conflict involving the mafia.

The choices you make in the very short common route will determine the form this introduction of conflict takes, and which of the game’s love interests you’ll spend the rest of the route with.

With most of the love interests being criminals, it should come as no surprise that this is a darker story, with a lot of death and violence and other disturbing content.

One route in particular I saw less as a romance and more like a thriller in which I had to carefully weigh every choice to try to avoid death or worse. (Yes, I’m talking about Yang.)

However, I’m not so sure I agree with the general assessment that Piofiore is story-driven. A couple routes are more story-driven than others, and it has a finale that emphasizes the plot, but most of the routes are focused on Lili’s growing relationship with the love interest in question.

And that’s probably a good thing, because one of the plot revelations is so wild, so ludicrous, that I was just relieved the later routes didn’t address it again.

Click for the wildest Piofiore spoiler
What does it mean that Lili is the “Key Maiden,” and why is this so important? *deep breath* Because the Catholic Church wanted to hide the fact that Jesus didn’t actually ascend, so they put a special seal on his tomb that can only be broken when a special woman chosen by astrology has sex with the heir to the Falzone mafia family, after which their blood can be used to unlock the tomb, which has miraculous healing properties.

…………..what?

There were also some occasional character inconsistencies across different routes, which bugged me a bit.

As for the routes themselves, though, they were all decently enjoyable. I found a couple less interesting than the others, but there weren’t any I really disliked. At the top of my list are Gilbert, whose route was just pure fun from start to finish, and Dante, who has some of my favorite traits. …And then there’s Yang, whose route was certainly something.

Despite all of its dark content, it feels like an oddly romanticized view of the mafia at times. It’s like they didn’t want to show the love interests being too bad (except Yang), so it glossed over the actual criminal activities in favor of romantic moments and delicious food.

Ah yes, the food. Food comes up so often it deserves a special mention here. I feel like half the dictionary entries are Italian desserts. Playing Piofiore made me hungry!

But I didn’t mind the noble criminal approach to half the routes, even if it did feel a little silly at times.

In short, while it’s not a new favorite, I enjoyed Piofiore enough that I’ll eventually pick up the recently-released sequel. If you’ve played Piofiore, what did you think of it?

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Nov 282022
 

With Black Friday having just passed, today is Cyber Monday, and we’re heading toward the holidays. That means it’s a time of great sales, so if you’re looking to do some video game holiday shopping or want to pick up a few games yourself, here are some highlights that I’ve seen.

…And by “highlights,” I mean I’ll be focusing on some of my favorite series and games that otherwise interest me.

Ace Attorney Sales

Ah, Ace Attorney, my beloved Ace Attorney. While we wait anxiously for news of a new game or collection, several games from the series are currently on sale to help you take the plunge into this series or talk your friends and relatives into it.

The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles for the Nintendo Switch is currently on sale for $29.99 at Amazon. You can also find the sale deal at Best Buy. Meanwhile, digital copies are on sale in the Nintendo eShop for $24.99 and on Steam for $24.79.

Although the game is also available digitally on PS4, it doesn’t appear to be on sale there right now.

Set well before the events of the main series, The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles is a collection of two games following Phoenix Wright’s ancestor, Ryunosuke Naruhodo. I enjoyed the first game and can’t overstate my love for the second, so please play these games.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Wright Trilogy is on sale for $14.99 at the eShop, PlayStation Store, Xbox Store, and Steam.

If you want both of those, you can buy the Phoenix Wright Trilogy and The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles together in a digital bundle from the eShop for $34.99 and Steam for $34.79, an additional discount.

What about the other games in the series? Well, while Capcom has yet to port the rest of the series to modern platforms, Apollo Justice, Dual Destinies, and Spirit of Justice are all on sale in the 3DS eShop for $4.99 each. With the 3DS eShop shutting down in March, getting these games on sale is probably a good idea (although I’m still hoping for a collection announcement).

All right, we probably should talk about some other games so that this doesn’t become just an Ace Attorney deals post.

Yakuza and Judgment

So let’s take a look at my second-favorite series, Yakuza. Linking to all of my Yakuza reviews might be a bit much when you’re looking for sales, so I’ll just let my glowing review of Yakuza 0 give you an idea.

You’ll find a lot of good prices on the Yakuza series on Amazon, though none seem to be actual sales.

For digital copies, however, you can get Yakuza 0 for 4.99 at the PlayStation Store and Steam. From PlayStation, the same price also applies to Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2. If you’re sure you want to jump into the series, the Yakuza Origins bundle also lets you buy those three games together for $14.49.

While there’s no sale on the remastered collection of 3-5 at the PlayStation Store, they’re on sale separately for $7.99 each (Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, Yakuza 5).

Steam has similar Yakuza sales: Yakuza 0 for $4.99, Yakuza Kiwami and Yakuza Kiwami 2 each for $5.99, and a bundle of those three for 16.12.

Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5 are on sale on Steam for $6.99 each, but Steam also has them bundled at $19.92 for a tiny additional discount.

(There are also sales on Yakuza 6 and Like a Dragon, but since I haven’t played them yet – I’m working on it! – I haven’t included links here.)

Then there’s Judgment, a spin-off following a lawyer-turned-detective. As you might imagine, given my love for Ace Attorney and Yakuza, this idea tremendously appealed to me, and I absolutely loved it. The truly spectacular Judgment sales have unfortunately passed with the end of the weekend, but the Xbox Series X version is still on sale for $19.99 on Amazon and $15.99 at the Xbox Store, while the digital PS4 and PS5 versions are on sale at the PlayStation Store for $14.99 and $15.99 respectively, and Steam brings in a sale at $29.99.

Other Games

More sales you should know about!

Kingdom Hearts 3 is on sale at Amazon for $12.78 for the PS4 version and $7.99 for the Xbox One version.

Nier Automata recently came to the Nintendo Switch and is now on sale for $29.99 at Amazon. The PS4 remake of the first game, Nier Replicant, is also on sale at Amazon for $19.99.

Digital copies of AI: The Somnium Files are on sale for $7.99 at the eShop, PlayStation Store, and Steam, and I implore you to play this game if you like mystery/detective stories, because it is amazing.

Persona 5 Royal – which I haven’t played yet, but I loved the original – is also on sale at Amazon for $29.99 for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions.

(Meanwhile, some new games I haven’t gotten to play yet, like Star Ocean: The Divine Force and Harvestella, already have decent discounts, which has me tempted… but I’m resisting. So far.)

Conclusion

Many more sales will undoubtedly come and go, but this should help you get started on your 2022 video game holiday shopping! Did you pick up anything in the sales? Did you notice any great sales I’ve overlooked? Do you think this post is just me trying to get more people to play Ace Attorney and Yakuza? Let me know in the comments!

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Nov 252022
 

This morning, Aquaplus held an Utawarerumono broadcast.

I didn’t particularly expect anything to come from it, since Monochrome Mobius just came out and they had a mobile game and upcoming anime adaptation to discuss.

However, Aquaplus announced a new Utawarerumono spin-off visual novel!

Gizoku Tantei Nosuri, or Chivalrous Thief Detective Nosuri, as detailed here by Gematsu, is a digital-only visual novel launching in Japan on December 22 for PS4 and Switch.

I haven’t gotten far enough in Utawarerumono yet to know who Nosuri is, but I’m intrigued.

It sounds like this might be a pure visual novel, which is interesting. While the main trilogy is a visual novel strategy RPG hybrid, they’ve now released a traditional JRPG spin-off and announced a visual novel spin-off.

While there isn’t a full trailer, they do have a short TV commercial.

One thing that concerns me, though, is its platforms. Being released on the PS4 and Switch wouldn’t normally be a concern, except that Monochrome Mobius just came out for the PS4, PS5, and PC, but only the PC version was localized. Meanwhile, Mask of Deception and Mask of Truth aren’t available digitally on consoles, because their license was never renewed. Back when the Monochrome Mobius localization was announced, I speculated that the PC-only localization together with those two being delisted from PSN meant they sold poorly on consoles.

So this new spin-off having no PC release makes me nervous about its localization chances. Let’s hope for the best, though!

In the meantime, I’ve got some Utawarerumono to catch up on.

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