A new Virtual On game was just released and it's good

I feel like this needed a PSA since I’ve seen so few people talking about it on the sites I frequent.

A Certain Magical Virtual-On was just released on PS4 and Vita. It’s a franchise crossover with a light novel series that I’m not familiar with, but it’s a real-deal new Virtual On game with some occasional anime characters flashing over the screen.

The environments, mech designs, music, and effects are 100% what you’d want from a 2018 Virtual On game. The controls are a little different and don’t feel obviously built around twin sticks, now that there’s an auto-rotate button, but there are some neat new wrinkles that come with this and the game seems beefier to me than Force. There are 1v1 and 2v2 modes, and the online matches I had against some JP players didn’t feel bad despite the distance.

There’s also a new knockdown-based points system and point-based penalties to try to steer the game away from extremely defensive play. Different knockdowns earn you different amounts of points, and it’s EXTREMELY SATISFYING to smack someone with a heavy hit and see “WRECKED +70 POINTS”.

It’s getting late, but I’m looking forward to playing more this weekend. Maybe you can turn off the character overlays, lol.

Oh god…

I mean, gameplay is all that really matters with a Virtual On game right…right?

I don’t even hate anime, but not like this, not like this…

Tried the demo on the jp store. As a long time VO fan I don’t mind it, if it gets the series to appeal to newer and younger players. One button super move aside (when charged up), the core gameplay itself is 100% hardcore.

I was wondering what the general consensus was on this how that the dust has settled? Is it well balanced and does it feel as characteristic to play as the older titles?

Access Games was primarily behind this title, by the way, which is somewhat interesting. I thought they did a good job with the Ace Combat 2 remake on 3DS, but they tend to be hit-and-miss as a work for hire studio (Drakengard 3 had more than a few issues).

I want to get the game but can’t afford to import. Im hoping by next year there is a price drop. I’d there split screen or system link options?

I’ve ordered a copy of the game on PS4, since it appears to be 30fps with a tiny HUD on Vita. Will report back.

So I got this in the post recently. I’m enjoying it quite a bit despite having only played an hour - far from enough time to discern the quality of the AI or the balancing of the roster!

What is interesting are the controls. There are both “Smart” and “Veteran” control schemes. From what I remember when playing the demo the smart controls are designed around moving with a single stick while constantly locking on to enemy pilots as a means of adjusting your view. Think of how ARMS does things.

In the final game I went for Veteran since this uses both analogue sticks to manoeuvre your robot, but it wasn’t what I was expecting given previous games. Rather than use both sticks to steer your direction and move forwards or backwards, Access Games and Sega have opted for shooter-like controls. The left stick works like it does in shooters, while the right stick moves your view left or right. Launching into the air with a button temporarily locks on as you’d expect.

While it’s clear they’ve come up with dual stick controls that fit a controller better, I can’t help but feel that the mere act of piloting your ship no longer carries the same expression of mastery, and individuality as previous games did, where you really had to rethink how you used both sticks to even competently move about! I didn’t play the last console game (Virtual-On Force) so I’m not sure if this is new to the controller adaptations for the series, but I was surprised.

So I’ve already clocked up nearly a dozen hours on this. It is a very good game.

My fears about the controls were mostly unfounded, by designing them solely for a traditional pad it lets you focus more on what you need to do rather than how you can do it, while there still being a lot of nuance in how you might pull that off (change directions, or strafing, while using your turbo isn’t slick and straightforward).

As @Tain mentioned in the OP, the new rules are pretty great. You can still win if you get a KO by knocking out your opponent’s strength (each drain of the health metre will lower the strength bar), despite having less points than your opponents.

The single player is surprisingly excellent, including the story mode, which gets pretty difficult in its third act. I played Index’s arc last night and it took me at least ten tries to beat the boss stage. Story mode aside, there’s a fairly substantial mission mode where you try different game types as whatever characters you want, including a traditional arcade type where you face off against several opponents in one go. There are three difficulties: Normal, Hard and Extreme, alongside an online mode I wasn’t able to try. I appreciate how it’s still focused on pure battling over content grinding or levelling.

Access Games and Sega did good with this. Bit gutted there isn’t a Switch version to take with me on the go - the Vita edition is stuck at 30fps with some rather murky looking visuals.

I’d like to try the online mission mode at some point. Anyone in? The servers are dead.

I haven’t seen any human competitive options other than those nestled in the Network screen, and the multiplayer mission mode stuff also takes you straight to the network screen. I don’t have a second Dualshock 4 to test if connecting one unlocks local play.

Perhaps the Vita version has it among two players. It’ll never happen, but if Sega were to rerelease it on the Switch with a heavy emphasis on tabletop mode local multiplayer as they did Puyo Puyo Tetris I’d be all for that…

Oh man a table top split screen version would be insane. Thanks for all the impressions. Local play options matter a lot to me. Especially for anything that has a competitive 1 on 1 nature.

No problem. I’ve finished the story and most of the mission types now, and I think the game needs some more balancing, some characters are clearly much better picks than others in terms of their abilities and perceived damage output.

From the credits I can confirm it was mostly developed by the folk at Access Games.

Just a heads up. The 360 arcade port of Virtual OT is on sale right now.

Another heads up. PS4 is getting a ton of virtual on ports!

Hyped for these PS4 releases, pls come to the west.

Just need to figure out how to get twin sticks working on the ps4 now.

Are those sticks available from Arcade parts shops? I would love to build a VO stick. I feel without these controllers the game isn’t that fun.

I don’t know and would have to research. It would be great if they were.

It seems the first Virtual-On is backward compatible as well as OT: https://majornelson.com/blog/xbox-one-backward-compatibility/

It’s just listed as “Virtual-On” in this list with an asterisk to indicate it’s Japan-only. I’m guessing buying non-matching region 360 games is harder than Xbox One because the store pages seem to use the legacy systems?

I could have sworn virtual OT was bc on xb1 but I guess I’m wrong. Interesting that the Japan version is bc. I never knew it existed. I wonder if it’s region free to download on XB1 like other region locked games. When I popped in my Japanese panzer dragoon orta it downloaded a Japanese version of the game.

OT is definitely BC on Xbox One, sorry about the confusion. It’s the original Cyber troopers Virtual-On which is also BC - but only available in Japan.

Picked up the original Virtual-On for Saturn and it diff remind me of one aspect of this new, Access Games-developed entry which is rather iffy: the AI.

When you play as Raiden (or Mikoto Misaka who pilots it) you can use the bazookas to cheese your way through most fights in Toaru Majutsu no Virtual-On. The AI generally leaves too many openings to dodge them effectively.

I was surprised that the original game’s AI is much more competent at dodging the same attack - I should probably boot up OT again too.