XSEED Promises to Fill the Year with Bugs and Boobs

When it comes to localizing niche Japanese games, there isn’t a track record much more solid than XSEED’s. Since getting kicked off ten years ago, the company has brought over a steady stream of solid titles from series like Wild Arms, Rune Factory, Ys and many more. The localizer has an impressive amount of titles debuting in the coming months and invited us out to San Francisco to check them all out. The upcoming year looks to be just as niche as usual, but four of their most popular franchises are receiving new games and an intriguing new IP is making its debut.

Likely the most anticipated game is The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. Part of the famed Legend of Heroes series, Trails of Cold Steel takes place on the same continent as Trails in the Sky, delivering a standalone story delving into the lore of the series. Features include the Combat Link System that nets a multitude of combat benefits by bonding with allies throughout the school year, Cross-Save so players can swap between PS3 and PS Vita as well as new “ARCUS” units allowing for more ready access to abilities and quicker customization. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel is due out for PS Vita and PS3 this winter.

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When Earth Defense Force 2017 debuted in 2007, many assumed it was simply a generic budget title. Those who tried it out, however, found richly enjoyable gameplay hidden behind its admittedly rough exterior. The series found an instant cult following and two more games were released in North America. Sadly, however, the series had a hard time expanding beyond its niche audience and a large part of that was likely due to confusing numbering and the fact that the original games weren’t released in our neck of the woods. XSEED is looking to remedy that by releasing a remake of the second title dubbed Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space and a remake of Earth Defense 2025 under a more correct title of Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair.

Earth Defense Force 2: Invaders from Planet Space epitomizes the core essence of the series, featuring seventy-eight unique missions with six difficulty settings per mission. Multiple classes are featured including Ranger, Pale Wing and Air Raider, each bringing a wholly unique gameplay style to the proceedings. The PS Vita remake also boasts four player online co-op and new English voice-overs.


Earth Defense Force 4.1: The Shadow of New Despair, on the other hand, takes the series to a new generation (literally) offering a litany of firepower including hundreds of weapons, airstrikes, jetpacks, tanks and giant mechas. Ninety-eight online missions (local co-op is also available) are featured and the entire game runs at 60FPS/1080p. While the original wasn’t released that long ago, 4.1 is practically a new game featuring over fifty percent new content and more NPC soldiers who respond to the player’s commands.

While the Earth Defense Force game features plenty of bugs, the second part of this article’s title should have been a dead giveaway that XSEED has another Senran Kagura game planned. Although the fifth Senran Kagura released out west in a short amount of time, Senran Kagura Estival Versus is notable for taking the series to the big screen in HD and boy is it noticeable to the extent that playing it in the company of others can prove challenging. Much like E3, I circled the demo station a few times before casually picking up a controller and audibly exclaiming “Oh I wonder what this game is?” Of course I already knew and didn’t fool anybody, but even surrounded by observers, it’s hard to ignore how fun and sexy this game is — which is the entire point.

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While we couldn’t confirm what resolution and framerate it runs at on PS4 (likely 1080p/60fps), the busty ninjas simply pop off the screen after they pop out of their clothes. The beach acts as a perfect back drop for the action of the game, which also features full anime cutscenes. There’s over two dozen playable characters, all of whom can be deeply customized with various outfits and accessories and up to four players on PS Vita and ten players on PS4 can hop into the action and play modes ranging from “Understorm” to “Capture the Bra.” Fail to pretend all you wish like I did, but it’s clear exactly what you’re getting with a Senran Kagura game and Estival Versus looks to offer the best example of it yet. Senran Kagura Estival Versus is due out for PS4 and PS Vita this winter.

One of XSEED’s most intriguing new titles is Nitroplus Blasterz –Heroines Infinite Duel– which comes from Examu, the developers of Arcana Heart. Examu has teamed up with Nitroplus to pit its visual novel’s most popular characters in a giant battle royale. Players select a main fighter and two partner characters that can be summoned throughout the match for a special ability. While the game is still early in development (it hasn’t yet even been released on consoles in Japan), it’s readily apparent how solid a fighting game it is. While the mechanics are as solid as would be expected form Examu, it’s the style that steals the show. All of the Nitroplus girls are simply adorable and seeing the ones that don’t look like they should be anywhere near a fight mopping the floor with their opponent is infinitely satisfying. Nitroplus Blasterz is due out later this year for PS4 and PS3.

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Although the games touched on in this article are XSEED’s flagship releases, the publisher isn’t stopping there. Joining the roster isĀ  Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale as well as the recently announced PC titles Xanadu Next, Little King Story and Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus. There’s months chock-full of Japanese goodness set to trickle out thanks to XSEED and it’s all shaping up to be worthy. Be sure to stayed glued to Hardcore Gamer for our continued comprehensive coverage of each title.