Games And DVD Roundup: ‘SOUL HACKERS,’ ‘THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT 2’ AND MORE
This week we take a look at at a Nintendo 3DS port and two DVDs that you probably missed the first go around.
Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner — Soul Hackers
(3DS, $40, Mature)
I adore just about all Shin Megami Tensei role-playing games for their verbosity and thoroughly Japanese oddness. They don’t come much stranger than this slice of cyberpunk strangeness, a remake of a Sega Saturn/PlayStation game from the late 90s, set in an alternate future in which demon-summoning online hackers go back and forth between a physical and virtual city, contending against dark forces. Gun-shaped computers, managing interpersonal relationships with branching dialogue and a complex combat system are all part of the dense package, which becomes more familiar and fascinating the more time you spend with it. There’s little hand-holding here. You’re left to search for clues as to how to advance on your own, or in online walkthroughs.
While $40 may seem like a steep price for a handheld game, there’s a ton of value here if you’re interested in the subject material. As with every game in SMT’s popular Persona subset, here are no doubt dozens upon dozens of hours of gameplay, and I’ve only managed to scratch the surface.
The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia
($19 Blu-ray, $15 DVD)
With such a ridiculous title, I was all prepared to make fun of the ridiculousness the movie surely contained, but I was pleasantly surprised by the surprisingly creepy and robust scare-fest. I’ve still got no idea what this Georgia-set horror flick has to do with Connecticut, but the movie’s surreal, Asian horror-style frights managed to hook me. Battlestar Galactica fans should be all over a rare chance to see Starbuck herself, Kate Sackhoff, land a lead role in the movie. She plays the flighty live-in sister of a woman (Abigail Spencer) who moves to a haunted Georgia plantation with her husband (Chad Michael Murray) and daughter.
Credit first-time director Tom Elkins for establishing a creepy tone and managing to keep a pretty much nonsensical story together. The Blu-ray/digital copy combo rounds up filmmaker commentary, deleted scenes and a featurette on the supposedly true story on which the flick was based.
Save the Date
It takes a lot for straight-to-video, wedding-themed romantic comedy to turn my head, but Save the Date managed the trick by snagging the ridiculously talented and underused Alison Brie (Community) and Lizzy Caplan (Party Down) as its leads. They play sisters on the verge of marriage who deal with disappointments in their lives and relationships, which happen to be with a pair of dudes in the same band, as they decide whether or not to cash in their chips and take the wedding plunge. Honest, thoughtful writing keeps the affair from tipping over into Bride Wars-style stupidity. Writer/director Michael Mohan provides commentary, and there are also deleted scenes and a music video.